cherry

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Bake

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a wonderfully fun and delicious holiday season and are already off to a great start for 2019! It’s been a while since I’ve shared any recipes on here, and I thought I’d start the first Monday of the new year off on the right (productive) foot.

My first official recipe for 2019 contains one of my favorite ingredients- chocolate! As you can see, there are no crazy diets, detoxes, or Whole30 challenges going on in our house. Danny and I listened to our bodies’ need for lots of fiber in the form of vegetables, whole grains, and plant protein for the past week, and now we are hearing loud and clear the desire for something sweet again. You see, the longer you practice intuitive eating (and yes, it does take practice) the louder your voice for gentle nutrition becomes (aka prioritizing greens and lighter fare after a holiday, for example) and the more reasonable your desire for your favorite sweets become (aka those sweet cravings are not all consuming!).

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So, with the new year still comes lots of chocolate and I’m even including it in breakfast! This weekend I got back into the meal prep groove and decided to whip up this oatmeal bake inspired by The Crunchy Radish. I love a high fiber oat-based breakfast because it keep me feeling full for hours and gets my gut bugs back in order after the holiday. I used frozen cherries because they’re convenient, and chocolate and cherry is an unbeatable combination!

A note on the chocolate- I admit when I first made this recipe I was a little light-handed on the amount used, so trust me when I say the three tablespoons is necessary! I recommend to always have your pantry stocked with unsweetened cocoa powder to add to oats, smoothies, and baking projects. I really like FlavaNaturals as their flavanol-rich cocoa powder contains 40x more antioxidants than blueberries! I’m in no way sponsored to say this- I just really like their cocoa!

I hope you all enjoy this make-ahead, chocolate-y breakfast!

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Bake- serves 4-6 portions

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups rolled oats

  • 1/4 cup plain raw almonds, roughly chopped

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • pinch of fine ground sea salt

  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder- I like FlavaNaturals

  • 1.5 cups unsweetened almond or soy milk

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled

  • 1.5 cups frozen cherries, halved

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 8-inch baking dish with butter or coconut oil.

  2. In a large bowl, mix oats, almonds, cinnamon, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt.

  3. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg, milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, and half the cherries.

  4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together in the baking dish. Use a spoon to gently stir together so the milk is evenly distributed and moves through the oats. Top with the remaining cherry halves.

  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is set. Watch closely as the dark chocolate color won’t allow you to see if the top layer is getting too browned. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes until serving. Serve with a spoonful of plain greek yogurt or maybe a drizzle of nut butter. Stores well in the covered baking dish for the week.

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Grilled Apricot and Cherry Grain Salad

If someone asked you to bring a drupe salad to a summer picnic, would you know what that is? How about if they asked for a stone fruit salad? Throughout the months of July and August, peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, and apricots, otherwise known as drupes or stone fruits, burst onto the scene at farmers markets and beyond. These are hands-down my FAVORITE fruits, so when The Recipe Redux challenged us to make a healthy recipe celebrating stone fruits, I was feeling peachy keen.

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New York City has over one hundred farmers markets to pick up in-season goodies, however at the time of the redux I found myself at my family's house in Eastern Pennsylvania, where luckily local farm stands aren't few or far between. I love shopping at and supporting local farms and businesses whenever possible. Another fun adventure would be go to pick your own stone fruits if you find a farm nearby!

Peaches would have to be my most favorite of these fruits- the fuzz, the flesh, the juice, I could go on- but I figured most of the recipes entered for this month's challenge would use this ripe beauty. I wanted to showcase two stones that maybe don't get as much love- apricots and cherries- and I challenged myself to come up with a savory salad, rather than a sweet breakfast or dessert. What resulted was oh so delicious and is a dish I know I'll be making for summers to come.

Apricots are fairly straightforward to prepare- simply slice down the "seam" that runs around the circumference of the fruit in order to get two halves, then remove the pit. Cherries, on the other hand, are a bit more tedious and staining, but I find them to be well worth the effort. To remove cherry pits, you can buy yourself a fancy pitter tool, I've seen others use a chopstick to poke out the stone, or do as I do and slice them in half, then dig your fingers in and rip out the pit, resulting in very red fingers and nails. Both of these fruits pair well with herbs and spices, but I played up another member of the drupe family- pistachios.

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Before I run away singing about the other ingredients, here is the full recipe for you to make yourself! I hope you enjoy!

Grilled Apricot and Cherry Grain Salad- serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooks quinoa

  • 2 ears of corn- shucked and raw kernels cut from the cob

  • 6 apricots, halved and pitted

  • 10 cherries, halved and pitted

  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

  • Lime

  • Olive oil

Directions

  1. Start by cooking 1 cup quinoa according to package instructions. This will make 2 cups cooked. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

  2. Cut the kernels from two corn cobs and place in a large mixing bowl.

  3. Prepare the fruit by first cutting both apricots and cherries in half and removing pits. Add cherries to bowl with corn. Drizzle apricot halves with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then take to the grill and set face down. Cook on the grill for about 3-4 minutes until inner flesh starts to caramelize and show grill marks. Remove apricot halves from the grill and let cool before slicing into quarter pieces. Then add to corn and cherries.

  4. To the corn and fruit, add the cooked quinoa, chopped pistachios, feta, and a squeeze of juice from half a lime. Serve as a side salad at your next gathering.

For more super stone fruit recipes, check out my fellow Recipe Reduxers below!