Hearty Oatmeal with Apricots, Almonds, Coconut & Ginger

Hearty Oatmeal with Apricots, Almonds, Coconut & Ginger

Hearty Oatmeal with Apricots, Almonds, Coconut & Ginger

My penchant for "Kind" brand energy bars was the inspiration for this oatmeal.  I took the ingredients from my favorite type and incorporated them into this amazing oatmeal.  This is easy and quick to make, perfect for a weekday breakfast.  (Prep the apricots and measure out all of the ingredients while you clean up after dinner the night before to make it super-fast!)  You'll power through the morning!  Serves 2

1/4 cup chopped almonds (sliced or slivered may be substituted, but give them a rough chop)

2 teaspoons coconut oil

1 3/4 cups water or almond milk

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

8 dried apricots, sliced thin

2 teaspoons crystallized ginger, chopped fine (fresh, grated may be substituted, more honey will be required at the end)

1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal

1/3 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

Honey, to taste

In a medium saucepan melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Add the almonds and cook until they just start to brown a bit.  Remove from the heat and carefully and slowly add the water or almond milk.  Return to the heat, add the salt, apricots and ginger and bring to a boil.  Add the oatmeal, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and it has thickened.  Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut.  Add honey to taste and serve.

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Berry French Toast with Maple Greek Yogurt & Crispy Sweet Almonds

Berry French Toast with Maple Greek Yogurt & Toasted Sweet Almonds

Berry French Toast with Maple Greek Yogurt & Toasted Sweet Almonds

This is a great weekend dish! The recipe just came to me one Saturday morning as I looked through the kitchen and refrigerator for breakfast inspiration. This is what I ended up creating; a scrumptious French toast combination that isn't just sweet, like most French toast, these flavors and textures are totally satisfying!  Make the nuts and prep the yogurt the night before (let it come to room temperature while making the toast) to make final preparation the next morning quick and easy!  Serves 4

Make the Berry Topping:

2 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Combine the berries, syrup, and lemon zest in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook until the berries break down and are very soft.  Combine the water and cornstarch and whisk into the berry mixture.  Bring to a boil and cook for a minute, then reduce heat and keep warm until ready to serve.

Make the Sweet Toasted Almonds:

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Generous pinch of salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

Heat a non-stick medium skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the almonds, sprinkle with salt and swirl and toss until they begin to toast and brown.  When the almonds are light brown, sprinkle with the sugar, swirl and stir until the sugar melts and the nuts are all a medium golden brown and coated with the sugar.  Remove from the heat and pour onto a plate to cool.

Make the Maple Greek Yogurt:

2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1 1/2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Make the French Toast:

8 slices sturdy, stale white bread (I used Crusty Country White Bread)

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup whole milk

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Combine the eggs, milk, zest, and extract in a pie plate.  Whisk really well, until the eggs are smooth and the mixture is smooth.  Dip each slice of bread into the mixture, pressing a bit, then turn and repeat.  Place the slices on a sheet pan as they come out of the egg mixture.

Place a serving platter in a preheated 180-degree oven. 

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat until hot.  Spray with non-stick spray.  Add 2-3 slices of bread to the skillet and cook until the first side is a deep golden brown and the top begins to look a bit dry.  Turn the bread and cook until the other side is golden brown.  Place the toasts on the platter in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve.  Repeat with the remaining bread slices.

To serve:

Place 2 pieces of French toast on each plate.  Top with several mounds of yogurt, pour Maple Berry Mixture along each side of the yogurt, then sprinkle with the almonds.

Serve immediately.

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