Chocolate Coconut Cashew Granola

Chocolate for breakfast? That sounds like a decadent dessert-type guilty pleasure. When I think of super sweet breakfasts, I imagine waffles or pancakes topped with a huge pile of whipped cream, maybe some chocolate sprinkles or a big drizzle of syrup. Yum! But this is not the way to start a weekday, no matter how tempting. That stuff belongs to the weekend!

I have been craving bananas and chocolate for a few days but didn’t want to go over to the dark, er … dessert side. Instead, the idea of chocolate in the morning morphed into a healthy quick breakfast idea that we enjoyed for a few weeks.

The inspiration for this chocolate granola comes from Kitchen Confidante’s Mocha Coconut Granola Working with what I had in our pantry, I added a few ingredients here and substituted a few others there. As with most granola recipes, this is a jumping off point. You should add whatever dried nuts and fruit you want to create your own custom bowl of hearty granola.

Serve Chocolate Granola with whole milk plain yogurt, some fresh strawberries and a drizzle of honey, or sprinkle over your favorite chocolate muffin mix for a little crunch. Of course, if you’re like us, you’ll have a hard time resisting eating by the handfuls out of the jar.

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Chocolate Granola

coconut oil cooking spray
3 cups rolled oats, multi grain cereal or a combination
1/4 cup flax seeds
2/3 cup chopped cashews
1/2 cup desiccated coconut, divided
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup agave
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons espresso powder, or instant coffee
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cacao nibs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lightly misting with coconut oil cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the cereal, flax seeds, cashews, and a 1/4 cup of the desiccated coconut. Mix together. In a small sauce pan over low-medium heat, add the coconut oil, agave, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and a small pinch of salt. Heat, whisking until a smooth consistency.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal and mix until well combined. Spread on the baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes. Checking every 10-15 minutes, gently string the cereal and rotating the pan.

Allow to cool and store in an airtight container for two weeks or longer.  


Orange Banana Bread

We can get citrus year round today, but specialty citrus like blood oranges are still only available seasonally, and that’s a good thing. We like instant gratification just like the next person (one of us more than the other), but some things are better when we have to wait, and when that thing is almost over it’s nice to preserve some of it for a little longer.

Candied citrus is an easy way to make a good thing last another month or two. I read about the technique at and made up a batch. Slicing was a bit of a challenge since the fruit was a little soft. That didn’t matter much, the fruit topping produced an interesting rustic look for the banana bread, a slight adaption from something I found at, thank you.

Fruity olive oil and dark chocolate play well with the ripe bananas and orange. Adding zest to the bread batter will enhance the bright orange flavor from the candied topping. I forgot the zest in the batched in the photos, but I included it in the recipe. No matter. Like everyone else, we have more than enough bananas in the freezer to whip up a batch of banana bread anytime we want, and a little more time to make another batch of blood orange candied citrus.

Candied citrus can be used in a variety of ways. When sliced properly, the beautiful rounds fit perfectly on top of muffins and cupcakes—either baked in or decorated with.  Chopped candied citrus can be thrown into a variety of baked goods or desserts when a little citrus is needed. Candied citrus truly is a good thing for any baker, but hurry and get the end of season citrus now or you’ll just have to wait until next year. Enjoy!

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Orange Banana Bread

1 cup / 4.5 oz all-purpose flour
1 cup / 5 oz graham or whole wheat flour
1/3 cup / 2.35 oz light brown sugar/coconut sugar/muscovado sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup / 3.5 oz coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups / 12 oz mashed, ripe bananas (~3 bananas)
1/4 cup / 60 ml plain, whole milk kefir or yogurt,
Zest of one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the top:
canned orange slices

Preheat the oven to 350° F, and place a rack in the center. Grease a 9- by 5- inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan, or equivalent.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate pieces and combine well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, yogurt, zest, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and top with candied orange slices.

Bake until golden brown, about 50-55 minutes..

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.

and a drizzle of soy sauce.

Congee – Chicken Porridge

As the new year approached, we started searching for chicken porridge recipes. They were all similarly easy to put together, but they also all called for long grain white rice. We like white rice but we also wanted our version to be more healthy, so we substituted the white rice for brown basmati rice. The brown rice gave it more fiber and the basmati lent a nutty taste to the porridge. We also like mixing grains whenever we get the opportunity. Our morning oatmeal will sometimes have polenta, quinoa, or whatever small amount of grain or seed we have on hand. So with the basmati rice we included steel cut oats, a traditional morning staple and just regular wheat.

This dish also cooks a lot longer then regular oatmeal or rice, about twice as long. The rice breaks down into a mush like consistency. The result is a savory morning, afternoon, or evening treat. The batch that we made was too much for just the two of us so we froze part of it. We now  look forward to  coming home after a morning run to find a thawed batch of the porridge sitting on the counter from the night before and all that is required is a quick reheating of the porridge, a couple poached eggs, and a few chops of the knife for the condiments to bring this yummy dish back to life.

Congee — Chicken Porridge
(Serves 6-8)

1 whole chicken (organic preferred)
1 small cinnamon stick
few whole allspice
small handful of whole peppercorns
1 star anise
1 inch knob of ginger (peeled and sliced into thick rounds)
3-4 carrots, scrubbed clean and cut into 2-inches
2-3 celery stocks, cut into 2-inches
1 large shallot, cut into large chunks
1 gallon of cold water, or more to cover the bird
1/8-1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cups brown basmati rice, or other long grain rice (not instant)
2  cups steel cut oats (not rolled oats), or other whole grain, or a combination
3-4 chopped green onions
small bunch chopped cilantro
Chinese donut, cut into pieces (optional)
soy sauce
sesame oil
Sriracha and other hot sauce condiments

Put the chicken, vegetables, and spices into a large stock pot and cover with cold water, about a gallon, and add the soy saucePut the stock pot on the stove and over medium heat cover the pot and allow the water to come to a boil. Once the water is boiling turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 1 hour. Turn the heat off and remove the chicken. It will probably be falling off the bones. Strain the stock and discard the vegetables and spices.
Return the stock to a clean pan and add the rice and steel cut oats. Over a medium heat bring the broth, rice, and oats (and grains) to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook slowly stirring occasionally for about 2 – 2 1/2 hours. During the last half hour you’ll want to stir more frequently to avoid scorching the bottom. This can be done the night before, covered and finished the next morning.
In the meantime, when the chicken has rested and cooled, remove the skin and bones from the chicken and shred the meat with your hands. Careful to remove all cartilage and gristle. If you’re eating the congee right away, add half to all of the chicken— depending on the size of the bird and the amount of meat. If you’re cooking the congee the night before, refrigerate the shredded chicken and add to the congee the next morning.
Serve in warmed bowls with chopped green onions, cilantro, Chinese donuts, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and Sriracha or other hot sauce.

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