Yumchaa Indian Summer Porridge

Porridge is one of the ultimate nourishing comfort foods, and – as we’re heading towards colder weather – it seems like many of us are finding ourselves drawn to the cozy carby comforts of a hot bowl of oats.

While I do always like to mix things up with my porridge, my absolute favorite right now is tea-flavored porridge, using the limited edition ‘Indian Summer‘ rooibos blend by innovative tea company Yumchaa. I took one whiff of this and knew I would love its exotic, warming fragrances, which include chai spices, cinnamon, holy basil, ground roasted almonds and carrot flakes. The mix also contains fun little shooting stars that look absolutely delightful if you pick them out and use them to decorate your porridge.

This beautiful blend infuses my morning porridge bowl with so much flavor – its notes of Indian summer bringing an alluring warmth to winter mornings.

This is not the first of Yumchaa’s teas that I’ve tried, as they’ve been so kind as to send me some of their other flavors in the past, as well as invite me to a wonderfully relaxing Yoga & Mindfulness evening at their Tottenham Street Cafe in London, which was followed by tea (of course) and cake.* I really love their unique teas (favorites include the white tea-based ‘Gentle Giant‘, the mind-blowing ‘Blue Voodoo‘ (it really turns your tea blue!), fiery rooibos-based ‘Chilli Chilli Bang Bang‘ and ‘Peanut Butter & Jam‘), the packaging, and the vibe in their lovely cafes, which are worth keeping up to date with for things like yoga brunches 😉

*[While I have been sent this tea, I want to mention that I haven’t been paid to endorse Yumchaa or any of their products, and am only stating my genuine thoughts and opinions.]

Now, enough chatter, let’s get to the recipe!

 

Ingredients (for 1 serving)

Porridge

  • 40 g oats
  • 20 g quinoa flakes (or more oats)
  • 200 ml boiling water
  • 1 heaped tbsp Yumchaa Indian Summer tea
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp full fat coconut milk + 2 tbsp water (or 4 tbsp oat milk)

Toppings

  • ca. 50 g frozen berries, defrosted
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • orange zest, from 1/2 orange
  • (maple syrup to sweeten, if desired)
  • additional: mango, nut or seed butter

 

Instructions:

  1. The night before: Pour the boiling water into a pan, mix with the looseleaf tea, place the lid on and leave overnight. (Alternative: grind the tea into a fine powder and use in your porridge the morning you make it; this saves time and adds extra flavor, but can leave you with gritty bits if the tea is not finely ground).
  2. The next morning, pour the liquid through a sieve and then back into the pan. Heat up and add the oat and quinoa flakes.
  3. Let the flakes soak up the tea-flavored water while cooking on medium heat for a few minutes.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk & water/ or oat milk as well as the maple syrup and let the porridge cook for another 5 minutes or so.
  5. While the porridge is cooking, make the chia jam by combining all the ingredients (berries, chia seeds, orange juice & zest, and – if using – maple syrup) and heating up, either in another small pan or in the microwave.  Mash it all together with a fork and set aside.
  6. Once the porridge is cooked and wonderfully creamy, serve together with the chia jam and any other toppings you desire, like mango and walnut butter.
  7. Enjoy! (Maybe with a cup of Indian Summer 😉 )

xoxo

 

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Oaty Bowls of Goodness

Oats are one of my ultimate comfort foods. I used to regularly have overnight oats for breakfast with mashed banana and hemp protein – but after making my first smoothie bowl I never looked back 😀 Since then I’ve been indulging in my love of oats later on in the day, as a quick, warming dinner or the perfect post-workout lunch.

They are full of comforting carby goodness and are wonderfully versatile! It’s so easy to switch things up a bit, adding different ingredients to the porridge, or playing around with toppings.

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As people have been asking me more and more, I thought I’d share with you how I make my oat bowls – from the basic recipe to what goes into the nut buttery sauces I’ve started using.

Basic recipe:

  • 70g whole oats
  • 1 cup liquid (usually a mix of almond milk and water)
  • pinch of salt

This will make a very thick, stodgy porridge – which is just how I love my oats. If you know you prefer a thinner, more runny porridge, you’ll want to add more liquid. You can also modify the quantities to make more or less, as desired, but this is the basic ratio I use.

Flavor fun:

  • adding a tsp of vanilla extract
  • looseleaf tea – I love rooibos and/or honeybush – maybe my South African roots coming through 😉  Depending on how coarse the tea is, you can get a slightly gritty texture, so you might want to grind the tea into a finer powder
  • cacao powder
  • turmeric, ginger & cinnamon
  • maca (I’ve also previously uploaded a recipe for Maple Maca Oats)
  • lucuma – I use this sometimes to naturally sweeten the porridge a bit, as I don’t want too much sweetness in the oats if I’m using a sweet topping; you could, at this stage, also, however, add maple syrup, another sweetener of your choice, or even some mashed banana to the oats
  • protein powders – I use hemp or brown rice protein if I want an extra protein punch

Toppings:

  • fruit – I always love having some berries on top, fresh or frozen, warm or cold; you can also slice up some banana, or add any other fruit you’ve got at hand
  • chia jam – I heat up 150g frozen berries (usually blueberries & raspberries) with 1 tbsp chia seeds and ca. 1.5 tbsp maple syrup, till you get the perfect gloopy, jammy mix (ca. 10 min. on medium heat)
  • crushed nuts – great for an extra crunch; I love using walnuts and pecans
  • nut butter – if you’re a nut butter addict like me, this is essential! Peanut butter, walnut butter (!), hazelnut, almond … or, why not go for a seed butter – I’ve found pumpkin seed butter goes really well with strawberries on porridge
  • sauces – my go-to sauce is mixing 1 tbsp (or more 😉 ) of nut or seed butter with almond milk and maple syrup, adding cacao powder if I want a chocolatey, nutella-like vibe, or maca, for some unique, warming goodness
  • chocolate – what could be better than a square or two of your favorite chocolate melting into the hot oats?

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(Lazy) Method:

Pour your oats into a microwave-proof bowl, add a pinch of salt, and whatever you want to flavor it with, such as cacao powder, lucuma, rooibos tea and vanilla extract, stir, add the liquid and then pop into the microwave. I put it in for 1.5 minutes, so no time at all! While that’s cooking away for you, chop up some fruit or whatever you’re topping the oats with, and whip up a quick sauce, e.g. almond butter, maca, almond milk and maple syrup – just stiring all the ingredients together, tasting along the way, until you get the desired sweetness and balance of flavors and the consistency you’re going for.

As you can see, the options are literally endless!

Hope you enjoyed reading about how I make my oats, and let me know what your favorite ways of having porridge are!

xoxo

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Feel Good Fact: Oats are a great way to get more heart-healthy fiber, and are high in manganese. A diet high in fiber has also been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

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Maple Maca Oats

 

I’d like to share  with you this super simple but decadently delicious recipe for a hot, nourishing and sweet bowl of oaty goodness (as what could be better on a cold winter’s day?).

The first time I made this I was actually planning on venturing into the wild world of savory oats, but ended up impulsively reaching for some of my favorite ingredients in an almost trance-like state, and, before I knew what hit me, I had devoured the bowl in a matter of seconds (it’s that good). The maca and maple syrup work so well together, giving this a really uplifting and satisfying sweetness, while the coconut oil adds a luxurious silkiness to the dish and really brings out the flavors. It’s just a very honest, happy bowl, if that makes sense 🙂

Usually I prepare this as a simple lunch or dinner for when I know I’ll want something warm and wholesome, but don’t have the time or energy for cooking and cleaning up, but this would obviously also make a great breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 50g whole oats, uncooked
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds*
  • brown rice milk (ca. 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 heaped tsp maca powder
  • maple syrup to taste

* These are for the sake of adding some extra nutrition, so if you don’t have any around, leaving them out won’t change the taste 😉

Topping ideas:

  • crushed walnuts
  • raisins
  • nut butter (especially peanut or almond butter)
  • berries
  • chia jam

Pour the oats, ground flaxseeds and maca into a bowl and add enough brown rice milk so that the oats are completely covered (you can adjust the amount of liquid depending on whether you prefer your oats more or less stodgy; I tend to just eyeball it), cover in clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight, or for a few hours at least. The next day, simply heat up the oats (I do this in the microwave but you can of course also do this on the stove), stir in the coconut oil, drizzle with maple syrup and enjoy!

Feel Good Fact: Besides being rich in vitamin C, maca, a root native to Peru, provides iron and copper and is said to help alleviate mood swings. (Placebo or not, I personally find it puts me in a good mood – even just the smell of it makes me happy!)

Tahini Honey Walnut Oats

This is a very simple oatmeal recipe that follows the same principle as my Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats: soak some oats, leave them overnight, add yummy things to it the next morning. The inspiration for these flavors came from my time in New York recently. I was staying with a friend and since I wasn’t going to get all fussy and make smoothies every morning I popped over to Whole Foods to find a box of healthy cereal (not so easy let me tell you! I only found one without added sugar in any form) and some rice milk. While looking through her kitchen cupboards for something to spruce up my plain whole grain cereal I came upon an inviting pot of creamy tahini. Added some chopped banana, crushed walnuts and cinnamon along with a big dollop of sesame paste and voilà – I was in heaven.

Here is the flavor combination translated into overnight oats:

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 40g oats
  • brown rice milk (or any other plant-based milk)
  • 1 banana
  • generous tbsp of tahini
  • a few walnuts
  • honey (or maple syrup) to taste
  • cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla pod

Soak the oats in just enough rice milk to make everything wet, without drowning them in liquid. Cover and leave overnight. Mash in a banana the next morning, stir in the tahini and scraped out vanilla, crush some walnuts for on top, drizzle with honey  and sprinkle over some cinnamon.

Variation: If you want this (or any other overnight oat recipe) warm – perfect for a cold gloomy morning – just pop it into the microwave for about two minutes or according to your preference after adding the banana, tahini and vanilla. You can also cook the oats the traditional way on the stove, of course, but I personally find this too much unnecessary work 😉

Feel Good Fact: Tahini is a good source of calcium, which supports bone health.

Hope you enjoy!

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Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats

This bowl of oats embodies what whole plant-based eating is all about for me: getting to eat something scrumptious, filling and even sinfully sweet, that’s also incredibly good for you! No compromise either on health or taste – it’s a beautiful win-win situation leaving you feeling excited, satisfied (physically and emotionally) and almost a bit smug!

The recipe for this all came about about because I wanted to prepare breakfast for my boyfriend. My boyfriend is vegetarian and likes his dairy, so at my place he’ll usually go for muesli and milk. One particular Sunday afternoon before he came over I realized that we were out of milk. Since he’s not exactly a fan of plant-based milks I started thinking about what I could dish up for him. He’s always been very accommodating to my special needs and desires and I always appreciated the rice milk and oat puffs he’d buy specifically for me, before I switched to bringing my own breakfast along (It’s so easy to bring a smoothie or chia pudding the night before and leave it in the fridge.) While thinking about what he would enjoy I remembered that I used to sometimes prepare a Bircher muesli for him the night before, soaking oats in orange juice, then mixing in Greek yogurt, grated apple, ground hazelnuts, whatever dried fruit was around and drizzling some honey on top. He always loved that. From there I started thinking about what I could make that we could enjoy together. A dairy-free version. Hmm… and then it clicked. Coconut milk! It also had to contain a banana, since my overnight oats always have mashed banana in them – they create such a great texture and wonderful subtle sweetness. And from there the other flavors just fell into place. Here’s how I made it:

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 40g oats
  • rice milk (/any plant-based milk)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk (the kind you use for cooking)
  • 1 heaped tsp cacao powder
  • 1 generous tbsp peanut butter
  • (optional: cacao nibs to decorate and honey or maple syrup for extra sweetness)

Place the oats in a small bowl and cover with just enough rice milk to make everything wet – the oats shouldn’t be swimming in it or anything. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning mash a banana and add it to the oats along with the coconut milk, cacao and peanut butter. The first time I made it I added some honey, but that made it almost too sweet – it felt too much like dessert, my boyfriend said. Not that that was necessarily a bad thing, he added… But we both found that it’s perfectly sweet enough without the honey. I’d suggest trying it without any sweetener and then adding some honey or maple syrup if desired. It’ll still be so much better for you than sugary cereal 😉

Variation: If you’re out of peanut butter (a misfortune I try to protect myself against and hope never happens to you!) or just want to switch things up, try this with tahini instead of peanut butter. My boyfriend actually prefers this version. Here I added a tiny bit of maple syrup though, to combat any potential bitterness from the tahini – feel free to try without though. (See the tahini version below – unfortunately I didn’t have time to decorate properly, as I had a flight to catch!)

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Feel Good Fact #1: Oats protect against heart disease, thanks to their high fiber content and unique compounds, while also stabilizing blood sugar and reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Feel Good Fact #2: Cacao is incredibly high in antioxidants, which neutralize free radical damage and it can also enhance our mood, making us feel good. What better way to start the day?