Wednesday, May 28, 2014

OATrageous Oatmeals? You Betcha!
And How About a Pre-Release Giveaway!?!

I have literally been waiting for more than five years for Kathy Hester to come out with an oatmeal book. I mean, she comes up with oatmeal recipes that are truly oat-rageous. She can turn a simple breakfast food into gourmet fare and somehow manages to come up with seemingly endless oaty variations. Irish Cream Oat Pancakes, Pear Rose Cardamom Cake Oatmeal, and Coconut Banana Pecan Coffee Cake Oatmeal are just a few of the yummalicious recipes that have made me swoon.

Kathy used to post a new oatmeal recipe to her blog every day. And I would wake up each morning with unbridled giddiness, looking forward to every new recipe she'd create. Now that her oatmeal book is finally here (well, almost here—you can pre-order it now at, I feel an overwhelming sense of excitement and anticipation all over again.

I had a chance to preview a pre-release copy of OATrageous Oatmeals: Delicious and Surprising Plant-Based Dishes From the Humble, Heart-Healthy Grain, and the recipes in this book are out-of-this-world fabulous! With offerings like Cashew-Oat Cream Cheese, Southern-Style Oat Biscuits, Butternut Squash Maple Walnut Scones, Pomegranate Rose Smoothies, Curry Cashew Savory Granola, Creamy Butternut Squash Oat Soup, Eggplant Pizza Sliders (Yup! They're made with oats!), and Dreamy Dark Chocolate Oat Cream, you will never look at the humble oat quite the same way again. And yes, there are lots of recipes for morning oats, too!

Here's a sneak-peek of the deliciousness that awaits readers who get their hands on a copy of OATrageous Oatmeals. I made this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Oats last night and savored every bite of it this morning. With just the tiniest smidge of rum, it won't get you tipsy, but you may feel a bit decadent starting your day off so deliciously!

Photo credit: Kate Lewis
Blackberry Mojito Overnight Refrigerated Oats
(Copyright ©Kathy Hester 2014, reprinted with the kind permission of Page Street Publishing Company, Salem MA)

Sweet juicy blackberries soaked in bright lime and mint flavors with the faintest aroma of rum will perk you up even on the toughest mornings. You can add a teaspoon or two of chia seeds to make this extra thick.

1 cup blackberries (cut in half if large)
1/2 cup (120ml) unsweetened nondairy milk
1/2 cup (31g) rolled oats
2 Tbsp minced fresh mint or 1/4 tsp mint extract
Zest from 1/2 lime or 1/4 tsp lime oil
1/2 tsp rum or rum extract, optional
1 Tbsp agave, to taste (or your choice of sweetener, to taste)

Add all the ingredients in a mason jar or a dish with a cover. Mix well and let sit in the fridge overnight. Stir and eat. Makes 1 serving.

Per serving: Calories 255.8, protein 4.8g, total fat, 4.3g, carbohydrates 52.9g, sodium 90.0mg, fiber 10.8g

Now you can be among the very first to dig into all of the delectable recipes in OATrageous Oatmeals when it is released in September, because I'm giving away a copy to one lucky reader! To enter to win, simply leave a comment below, and then follow the Rafflecopter prompts.* Your comment is the only mandatory entry requirement. To earn additional entries, you can also follow any or all of the other steps. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Sorry international friends, this giveaway is open only to U.S. residents.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It's Time for a Mocha Frappe!

It was a balmy 85° here today and the perfect occasion to enjoy this season's first mocha frappe! I can't think of a more luxuriously delectable way to cool off. I made mine caffeine-free with Teeccino Mediterranean Herbal Coffee, but feel free to make yours with your favorite brew. My recipe is featured in SO Delightful: 50 Dairy-free Recipes that are Truly SO Delicious!

Mochalicious Frappe
Makes 1 serving

2/3 cup hazelnut coffee or herbal caffé, chilled
1/3 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Creamer
1 scoop So Delicious Mocha Almond Fudge Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert
1/4 tsp vanilla extract or 2 drops vanilla-flavored liquid stevia
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
Dairy-free whipped topping
Grated dark chocolate

Place first five ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass, and top with dairy-free whipped cream and grated dark chocolate. For an added touch of elegance, sip through a GlassDharma decorative dots glass straw.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

My Great, Big, Yummy Breakfast:
Pistachio-Crusted Matcha Green Tea and Coconut French Toast

Nutrition pioneer Adelle Davis once said, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” Now science confirms that was she spot on, and most of us have our daily calorie intake turned upside down. Two 2013 studies (one conducted at Tel Aviv University and the other by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Tufts University, and the University of Murcia in Spain), studied how changing the timing of meals by switching a high-calorie dinner with a high-calorie breakfast but keeping the total daily calories the same would impact weight loss. The results of both studies conclude that a great strategy for losing weight is to make breakfast the biggest meal of the day. That makes sense, because eating the most calories earlier in the day gives you more time throughout the day to burn those calories off. But even if you don't want to lose weight, there are other significant advantages to eating heavier in the morning and lighter in the evening. Starting the day with a big breakfast causes your body to have significantly lower levels of the hunger-regulating hormone ghrelin, making you feel more satiated and far less likely to snack in-between meals. Additionally, eating within one hour of waking jump-starts your body’s metabolism, and a large breakfast appears to keep your metabolism revved up throughout the day. Since I hate feeling hungry and love feeling energetic, this is one strategy I am doing my best to adopt. On days that I stick to it, I notice a dramatic difference in the way I feel throughout the day and even in the quality of sleep I get at night.

Lucky for me, breakfast is quite often my favorite meal of the day. (I have been known to eat breakfast for dinner!) While most days, many of us don't have time to prepare an elaborate breakfast, on weekends and holidays we often have the luxury of a little extra time to prepare a special breakfast feast. So I rounded up a few of my favorite ingredients, and came up with this recipe for Pistachio-Crusted Matcha Green Tea and Coconut French Toast. Choose a nice, crusty, whole-grain bread for this recipe, and be sure you toast it first.

Pistachio-Crusted Matcha Green Tea and Coconut French Toast
4-6 slices crusty, whole-grain bread, toasted
3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage)
1/4 cup non-dairy creamer (I used So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut Milk Creamer)
1 tsp matcha green tea powder (I used Kiss Me Organics Matcha Powder)
1 large or 2 small, very ripe banana(s)
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp unsalted roasted pistachios
1 Tbsp flour (any kind will do)
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp organic raw cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
Vegetable oil for coating the pan
Organic powdered sugar and coconut

Combine the coconut milk, creamer, and matcha green tea powder in a blender, and pulse a few times to allow the matcha to blend into the liquid. Add banana, 1/2 cup of pistachios, flour, vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, and blend until smooth.

Pour mixture into a large bowl. Lightly oil a large non-stick skillet, and heat on medium-low. 
Dip a slice of bread into the mixture to coat well on each side, being careful not to soak.

Add the bread slices to the pan, and slowly cook until nicely browned on both sides. Sprinkle each slice with powdered sugar, coconut, and reserved 1 tablespoon of pistachios. Serve with maple syrup.

Power Breakfast

Most days we may not have time to prepare an elaborate breakfast. But we do want to jump-start our body's metabolism with a morning meal that is delicious, filling, and energizing. For me, the perfect weekday breakfast combination is a matcha green tea smoothie paired with a slice or two of whole-grain toast topped with sunflower seed butter. This delicious day-starter is loaded with nutrition and comes together in minutes.

Unlike coffee, matcha green tea powder provides a boost of mild, sustained energy throughout the day, while also enhancing calm. (Apparently, Chinese Daoists and Japanese Zen Buddhist monks use matcha to relax and meditate while staying alert.) Matcha is also said to increase focus, boost energy, and detoxify the body. And, it tastes delicious! So give this luscious green smoothie recipe a try, and let me know if it makes you feel pretty wonderful throughout the day, too.

Power Green Smoothie

1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp organic matcha green tea powder (I like Kiss Me Organics brand)
1 very ripe banana
1 mandarin orange, peeled and segmented
1 apple, cored and chopped
2 large kale leaves, chopped
3-4 drops vanilla stevia liquid

Place the milk and matcha in a blender container and pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass, and enjoy. (All the better through a Glass Dharma straw.)