I spent a good bit of time bouncing around Colorado last week w/this crew, riding bicycles, cooking food/eating food and it wasn’t until I was riding in the car back from Aspen, with the ridiculously beautiful blue sky stretched as far as I could see above and the mountainsides covered with stark white aspen trees + their bright green, early summer leaves that I realized that all that pinch-me-goodness was all in a few days work, here in my Colorado backyard, and its all part of settling into a routine of just being here.
Last year at this time, I was preparing for a grand bike tour through the Alps. The year before that, I was planning a three-week trip to China. In fact, its been several years when I didn’t feel like I was leaping – literally – around the globe, through noteworthy experiences without much time to process them, or much opportunity to realize what I was missing by always being on the move.
Later this week, I’ll fly to California for a quick trip with ChefsCycle and, when I get home, I have nothing terribly big on the calendar. You might guess that this would inspire a smidge of panic – “no adventure on the horizon?! “ The truth is that no plan is adventure enough for me. Finding a routine here in Boulder is just what the doctor ordered, and it’s just the kind of *new* that I’m craving these days.
Adventure and globetrotting is fun and exciting, but tiny tubes of toothpaste aren’t. It’s not much fun to have access to only one-quarter of your underwear.
You know what IS fun? Having the space in your life to ride a cruiser bike to happy hour on any night of the week. To feel the freedom to take a nap when you’re tired. To accidentally while away a whole afternoon at the pool reading magazines, or in the kitchen whipping up ice cream concoctions because you don’t have anything else you have to do. They’re just routines of home, but they’re simple little adventures too. Routine adventures. Sounds like fun to me!
This Miso + Maple Chia-Oatmeal is one such “routine adventure.” It came of a empty refrigerator sometime over the winter when I had the morning to watch the snow fall and wanted something comforting but not much to make it with. On busy mornings, I make oatmeal in the microwave or in a bowl on the countertop — allowing the oats to sit in boiling water while I buzz around the house getting ready. So, making breakfast on the stove is a nice process. And, it allowed me to play with different grains and to realize that by cooking it slowly and deliberately, I have the opportunity to cook in a lot of flavor that way, too.
Even now that the snow has melted, this particular bowl of cereal has evolved into one of my favorite breakfasts, and particularly now that long summer bike rides are here because it has the sticking power of a savory, substantial meal but it’s still fresh, flavorful and makes my body just feel whole. I top it with whatever fresh ingredients I have but always with avocado and maybe a poached or soft, yolky egg but otherwise its a little different each time so when a few friends asked for the recipe, I had to really think about it.
The recommended ingredients you see in the recipe below are my most educated guesses. When I add chia and quinoa, I toss in a handful. The oats? Its two scoops. When I add the liquid, it’s just to cover the grains and then I add more as the liquid cooks off or if I want it to be a bit more loose. I flavor as I go and I’m sure I add a little more miso, or maple, or an extra pinch of salt now and then but I taste it as I go and stop flavoring when I’m happy. The method I describe below is a good place to start finding your own routine with this one; first cook the grains, then season them. But as the recipe became more and more part of my repertoire, I started adding Braggs + maple to the early cooking stages, then adding the miso last. All of this to say the recipe is difficult to mess up, it’s totally up to your taste preferences, and making it great is all about trusting yourself, what you know, the routines you follow.
Quick notes here: Bragg’s Liquid Aminos is available at most well-stocked grocers these days, in the aisle with the oils and vinegars. Be sure to melt the coconut oil in the pan before adding the grains, particularly if you’re going to add flavorings as you cook the cereal. You don’t want to burn the grains on the bottom! Lastly, you can easily make this cereal gluten-free with gluten-free oats. Et voila!
Be adventurous with this one; load up those bowls. I hope it becomes part of your best weekend (or weekday!) routines too. Enjoy! – xo L
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons chia seed
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups / 5 oz / 140 g rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups / 350ml water to start, and a little extra as needed
- 1 1/2 cups / 350 ml almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- 2 tablespoons miso, or to taste
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup or to taste
- To taste: Bragg's Liquid Aminos, Maldon salt
- Toppings: poached eggs, sauteed or raw kale w/lemon juice, pepitas, minced chives, sliced avocado, sliced radishes
- Melt the coconut oil in a medium saucepan, stir in the oats, quinoa and chia, and patiently cook until the grains get well-toasted and fragrant. Stir in the water and almond milk and simmer until the liquid has absorbed and the grains are the consistency that you like. (You'll know that the oats are done when they're nice and soft, the quinoa when its developed a little halo around the grain, and the chia when its absorbed some liquid.) Remove from heat. Place the miso in a separate bowl, and scoop a few big spoonfuls of the grains. Stir well with a spatula, pressing and spreading the miso into the grains, and then gently, but thoroughly fold this miso back into main pot of cereal. Add Braggs Liquid Aminos, maple syrup, a little bit of sea salt and maybe even a zest of lemon to taste. I like my cereal rather savory with a nice balance of salty and sweet from the Braggs Taste and maple. You may also decide you want more miso, just temper it in with the grains before adding to the pot of cereal as you did in the first addition.
- Serve topped with lots(!) of minced chives, radishes, avocados and eggs. Make sure it's properly seasoned/salted and all the flavors will come together.