Raised from Scratch

growing up outside the box: alternatives to processed food and television

Slow Down and Savor It: Oatmeal for Autumn October 18, 2012

If oatmeal conjures memories of mushy slop loaded with sugar and tiny dried apple pieces, it’s time you created new associations with this healthy grain. Oatmeal is fabulous, and a recipe like this one should leave the whole family satiated and smiling. Steel cut (Irish) oats are simply chopped oat groats – they are the least processed of all oat products, and they are typically stocked right alongside the old-fashioned and quick oats these days. If not, check the organic section of your grocery store. Seriously, once you try them, you’ll never want to go back to quick/instant oats.

I like to cook half of the apple pieces with the raisins 5 minutes before the oatmeal has finished cooking and add the rest with the sunflower seeds in my bowl for a little crunch. Just 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup is plenty to sweeten the whole batch (in fact, I like it even without) because apples, raisins and cinnamon lend their natural sweetness to the oats. Enjoy the chilly mornings!

Autumn Oatmeal

4 cups water

1 cup steel cut (Irish) oats

Generous pinch of salt

½ cup raisins

1 cup apple, diced into ¼ – ½” pieces (about ½ of a large apple)

½ t. ground cinnamon

2 T. golden flax seeds

½ t. vanilla extract

2 T. pure maple syrup

¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds, roasted or raw

Milk or milk substitute (optional) for serving

Place water, oats and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a strong simmer and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add raisins, ½ of your chopped apples and cinnamon; cook additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat, stir in flax seeds, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Place in bowls and top with remaining apples, a generous sprinkle of sunflower seeds, and a dash of cinnamon. Serve with milk or milk substitute if desired.

Serves 4

What are some of your favorite oatmeal add-ins?

 

Quinoa Waldorf Salad October 12, 2012

A perfect fall dish – great for potlucks and picnics as it tastes best at room temperature. I’ve brought this to multiple get-togethers and the recipe is always requested. With all the fruit and fresh greens, this salad is refreshing and a great way to celebrate the season. If you haven’t tried quinoa before (pronounced keen-wah), I highly recommend it. Quinoa is the only grain (okay, technically a seed, but cooked and eaten like a grain) in the world that is a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids, so it’s wonderful for vegetarian diets. The tiny quinoa pearls have a ring around them, which will unfurl as it cooks and the seeds will become translucent. Many brands sell pre-rinsed quinoa, but rinsing in cold water at home prior to cooking ensures any bitterness from the seeds’ natural protective resin is washed away.

This recipe is easily modified. The most recent version I made, and the one pictured, I used regular raisins instead of golden, omitted the dried cranberries and celery, and used extra apples because I was bringing it to a potluck celebrating Johnny Appleseed Day. I hope you’ll try it next time you’re in the mood for a fall salad!

Quinoa Waldorf Salad

2 cups water

½ t. sea salt

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained

1 large apple or 2 small apples (pink lady, gala or fuji are great), unpeeled, cut into ½” cubes

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced (optional)

2 scallions, thinly sliced

½ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup golden raisins

2 T. walnuts, chopped (optional)

2 T. seasoned rice vinegar

4 T. fresh orange juice

¼ t. ground ginger

2 cups fresh baby arugula, washed and dried

½ t. fresh black pepper + additional salt to taste

Using a sieve, rinse quinoa under cold water for about 30 seconds, briefly allow to drain. In a saucepan bring water and salt to a boil, add quinoa, cover and reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes until water is adsorbed and quinoa fluffs easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, chop apple, celery and scallions and place in a large serving bowl along with cranberries, raisins and walnuts. In a small measuring glass whisk together rice vinegar, orange juice and ground ginger. Once quinoa has cooked and the water has all been absorbed, add it to the apple mixture and toss to combine. Pour orange vinegar dressing over salad, stirring. Gently fold in arugula to coat the greens but not tear them.

Serve with additional walnuts if desired.