After yesterday’s post of the sour-zesty Earth and Sea smoothie, I thought I’d share something a little tamer today. How about some chocolate oatmeal? Yes, sir, that works for me! I can say that I’m officially a chocoholic if there ever was one. If you have access to dark chocolate, I’ll be your best friend … (Actually, make that fair trade dark chocolate)
So this morning, naturally, I was craving chocolate. My favorite chocolate quick fix – which is really simple to make – is chocolate oatmeal. The best thing about oatmeal in general is that it is highly customizable: you’re in the mood for sweet banana nut flavor, you can whip it up in an oatmeal … if you’d like that spicy sweet taste of ginger, you can create a bowl of delectable ginger spice oatmeal. Inspired by another blogger, Kath, who is uber creative with her oatmeal recipes, we even adapted one of her salty recipes for oatmeal – before the fast, we used to eat oatmeal with 2 eggs – sunny side up, of course
So where were we? Oh yea, we were talking about chocolate! Good news for those joining me in this vegan fast – this recipe is 100% vegan, and super delicious. I’ve made it before countless times with milk, and thought I’d notice the difference in flavor with almond milk as the substitute, but I didn’t even notice!
Here’s what you’ll need to feed two:
- 1/2 cup of organic rolled oats, soaked overnight
- 1 cup of filtered water
- 1/2 cup of organic almond milk, preferably homemade
- 1 fair-trade banana
- 3-4 organic strawberries (this is one of those foods that you should definitely try to buy organic … the conventional ones are known to soak up a ton of pesticides)
- 2-3 tablespoons of organic unsweetened baking cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon of 100% unsweetened dark chocolate bar, broken into pieces
- 1 tablespoon of raw, organic cacao nibs (more details on this ingredient below!)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened unsulphured shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon unfiltered flaxseed oil
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of 100% pure maple syrup
- handful of walnuts, broken into pieces
- 1 heaping tablespoon of organic currants (or raisins)
- 1 teaspoon of dried goji berries
- 1 teaspoon organic chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
And the step-by-step … easy as 1-2-3 … umm … 4-5!
- First, cook the oats. If they’re rolled oats that have been soaked overnight, they won’t take more than 5-7 mins to cook. If they’re the steel cut kind, they can take anywhere from 30-40 minutes to cook. Of course steel cut is healthier because it retains more nutrients … but who has 40 minutes to spare in the morning?! Hah. So to cook: Add 1 cup water to a pot with 1/2 cup of oats. Bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, lower heat to medium-low, add 1/2 cup of almond milk. Keep pot covered and stir occasionally for 3-5 minutes, then turn off stove.
- Chocolatize it: When making chocolate oatmeal, you have to add all the chocolate-inducing ingredients first, so that there are no clumps and everything melts evenly. Add the bits broken up from the dark chocolate bar and the cacao nibs first. Stir in to melt. The nibs may not melt all the way – that’s ok. Then, add the baking cocoa powder and stir well so that all the chocolate is evenly distributed.
- Now the chopping. Chop a banana and rinse and chop 3-4 strawberries.
- That’s it with the cooking. Now the mixing: Add in all the other ingredients, in no particular order: fruits, chia seeds, walnuts, goji berries, currants, flaxseed oil, maple syrup, shredded coconut, cinnamon.
- Eat! Once everything’s mixed in, take a minute to inhale the appetizing chocolate smell and then pour in a bowl and devour the entire thing.
Today I was literally savoring each bite of chocolate heaven. I can’t go through explaining the health benefits of each of these ingredients right now, but as promised, I wanted to focus in each post on at least one healthy ingredient that is not widely popular.
Since this post is focused on all-things-cholocate, why don’t I share a bit about the cacao nibs? I think I will …
This is what they look like, up close and personal:
What are they?
They’re basically the purest form of the cacao bean. A thin shell covers each cacao bean, which is removed before eating. After the shell is removed, the bean breaks into tiny pieces called nibs.
Why are they so great?
Well, besides the fact that they’re chocolate, they’re also supremely healthy. Check out the stats: “Cacao nibs provide more antioxidants than blueberries, red wine and green tea. Cacao nibs also increase the release of ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters in our brains. It acts as a natural anti-depressant, helps reduce PMS, and provides a sense of well-being. Cacao beans are rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese” (Glo Bakery).
And if that’s not enough: “…what’s healthy is the cacao bean, which is minimally processed. This amazing, hedonistic bean is one of the world’s longest-revered foods (think ‘time of the Aztecs’ old) and has in recent years been shown to be a veritable powerhouse of cognitive enhancement, mood and bliss-enhancement (thanks in part to the theobromine in cacao), antioxidants, flavonoids, catechins and many other brain & body-enhancing elements.” (BrainReady).
How to eat them?
Put them in oatmeal, make a chocolate drink out of them, use them for baking, add them to fruit salads. The possibilities are countless if you’re imaginative in the kitchen!
Where can you find them?
I bought my first bag of raw, organic cacao nibs from Whole Foods. Of course, it was pricey, but I was trying it out so I didn’t want to buy online. But you can also find them at other health food stores or online. I’m currently trying to do a bit of research about the most affordable (but trustworthy) place to buy them … I’ll keep you posted!
So besides my consumption of chocolate today, I also made vegan banana bread for the first time (thanks to my friend Iriny who gave me a great recipe) … I’ll be sharing it tomorrow!
Anyway, time to relax and take the rest of the night off … maybe we’ll watch a movie! Feels like it’s been eons since the last one … that’s another thing I’m a big fan of … movies!
I’ll leave you with this:
(And no, I never watch made-for-TV movies, lol)