[Your breakfast awaits.]
Those of you who follow me on Facebook or twitter might already know that I’ve spent eight out of the past nine days without my computer. (It was infected with a horrible virus that three computer fix-it guys couldn’t fix; we lucked out on Number Four). Because my full-time job occurs almost entirely online, and because I also write this blog and write for other websites, and because I am a wee bit addicted to social networking, being without my computer felt a little like an amputation. (Okay, fine, that is a slight exaggeration. It felt like being thrown into solitary confinement in a maximum-security prison. It felt like being transported to Oslo without any money or any interpretor. It felt like someone had shaved my head and stuck a big “Kick Me” sign on my posterior while I’d been sleeping.)
In the end, my involuntary break allowed me to do a few things around the house I’d previously had no time to do (or had been avoiding): I organized our CD collection, cooked up a bunch of new recipes, taught The Girls a new trick, spent evenings with the HH, finally folded all my sweaters, and even read a book–the paper kind!. And, as it turned out, the world did not stop spinning because I couldn’t be at my desk for the greater part of the day. And while I wouldn’t wish a computer virus on anyone (well, except maybe for the hackers who created it), the outcome really wasn’t all that bad. I retrieved most of my stuff (minus a few older files) and I had a few days of more-than-usual introspection and a slower pace. All good, right?
In fact, my leisurely morning routine from last week is what brings me to today’s post. During my week after The Crash (no, no, don’t panic; I’m not suddenly prognosticating about the economy. I mean my computer crash, silly!), I also rediscovered the joys of a cooked, hot breakfast (and even on a school day!)
[See all the crinkles on that bag? That's because I've been using it--a lot.]
Quite some time ago, the lovely folks at iHerb sent over a sample product for me to try (full disclosure: I did not pay for the product, nor was I obliged to write something about it, nor was I obliged to write anything positive). Today’s foodstuff is from Madre Labs, a company that produces a variety of superfood-based products using whole foods as raw materials. (They also created the Midori Greens I reviewed a while back). I tried out a sample of Cocoa Cardio powder, a mix of non-alkalized cocoa powder, beet root powder and hibiscus extract. Instructions on the bag suggest using it as a beverage (the way you’d sip cocoa or coffee). Of course, when it comes to anything edible, I cannot simply follow instructions!
What I really liked about the Cocoa Cardio was
- the non-alkalized cocoa contains more polyphenols (heart health-promoting substances) than regular Dutch process cocoa;
- the powder can be used in the same way as cocoa powder–who says you have to restrict yourself to beverages?;
- I love beets and was tickled every time I noticed the deep red accent they imparted to the foods I made with it;
- once sweetened, the powder had a lovely flavor that was almost equally “cacao” and “fruity”;
- it’s chocolate, people!
The first thing I did was mix up my habitual chia pudding, using a little Cocoa Cardio for additional flavor. As you can see, the beets made their presence known in the red undertones of this pudding:
The real triumph, however, was a Chocolate Almond Butter made with Cocoa Cardio (and you know how crazy I am about nut butters). I also recently discovered Ashley’s Breakfast Bakes, and with my extra (non-computer) time in the mornings, I decided to treat myself to a version of Carob and Buckwheat Breakfast Bake, bathed in a cascade of melty nut butter and topped wtih a dollop of Plumberry Jam (about which I’ll post anon). The combination of moist, crunchy breakfast cake; melty, gooey nut butter; and tart, sweet jam was almost tranformative.
Yes, I’m glad I’ve got my computer back. . . . but just a little sad that treats like this will now be relegated once again to the weekend.
And now you can try some Cocoa Cardio for yourself!
The Giveaway: Enter the giveaway from iHerb to win one of five pouches of Cocoa Cardio! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling me what you like about Cocoa Cardio (or any other Madre Labs product).
The contest will remain open until midnight my time on Monday, November 7th, after which time I’ll choose five winners at random and post their names here (so be sure to come back and check if you won!).
The Rules: Winners must be registered at iHerb (it’s free) to be eligible. If you are outside the US, you may be required to pay shipping charges, depending on the taxes or tariffs of your country. Winners are asked to email me at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom, with their full mailing address, once their names have been announced.
[Warm, cakey, crunchy, caroby bliss, all bathed in a melted, sweet, chocolate and fruity topping. Can you think of a better breakfast?]
Carob-Buckwheat Breakfast Bake (adapted from here) with
Heart-Healthy Chocolate Almond Butter (Suitable for ACD Stage 2 and beyond)
Although I use two ramekins, this is actually a single-serving recipe. Because I found the interior of the bake was taking too long to cook all the way through, I divided the batter in two so that it would bake up more quickly. You can always use Ashley’s method and bake it in a single-serve (heat proof) soup bowl for a single “cake.”
2 heaping Tbsp (40 ml) whole uncooked buckwheat groats, ground in a coffee grinder (about 1/4 cup/60 ml once ground)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) whole gluten-free grain of choice (I’ve used buckwheat, teff, amaranth [pictured] and quinoa, all with good results!)
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cinnamon
1 Tbsp (15 ml) carob powder
1 Tbsp (15 ml) whole chia seeds
1 Tbsp (15 ml) ground flax seeds or meal
1/4 tsp (1 ml) baking powder
pinch fine sea salt
2 Tbsp (30 ml) chopped walnuts, cashews or other nut; or sunflower, pumpkin or hemp seeds (my favorites were walnuts and hemp seeds)
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla almond, soy or rice milk
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp (15 ml) Almond-Chocolate Butter (recipe follows) or any nut butter you fancy
2 tsp (10 ml) sugar-free jam of choice (I used homemade plum-cranberry jam)
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Spray a single-serve, oven proof soup bowl or two ramekins (about 7 ounces/200 ml each) with nonstick spray. If using ramekins, place them on a cookie sheet.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground buckwheat, whole buckwheat, cinnamon, carob powder, chia seeds, flax seeds, baking powder and salt. Stir in the walnuts.
Add the applesauce, milk and vanilla and stir to blend well. Turn the mixture into the loaf pan or divide evenly between the two ramekins.
Bake 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through, until the batter is dry and puffed and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Top with nut butter and a dollop of jam (or your favorite sugar-free jam). Makes one very generous serving. May be frozen (but why would you want to?).
Chocolate (Beet) Almond Butter
A delicously smooth and glossy almond butter flavored with Cocoa Cardio. Chilled, it’s solid and spreadable, but it will soften at room temperature. A truly delicious way to get your heart-healthy antioxidants!
1 cup (240 ml) smooth natural almond butter (I use Maranatha)
2 scoops Cocoa Cardio (may sub with 3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp/50 ml regular cocoa)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut oil, preferably organic
pinch fine sea salt
1/4-1/2 tsp (1-2.5 ml) pure stevia powder, to your taste (I used NuNaturals)
Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl or in a mini food processor until smooth and evenly blended. Transfer to a jar or covered container and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes 1-1/4 cups (300 ml). Will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 weeks.
["Mum, hang on a second here. . . did you say, 'taught the Girls a trick'? But wait. . . how can you teach your daughters a trick?! What happened to three equal beings working cooperatively through our own free will to assure that your slippers are where they should be? It's a philosophical conundrum. . . I mean, I've suspected for quite some time that Chaser and I were adopted, but is there something else I should know. . . ?! Mum?!"]
Last Year at this Time: SOS Kitchen Challenge for November (Sweet Potato Recipes)