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coconut flakes

Breakfast Sweet Potato Boats

Breakfast Sweet Potato Boats

I eat a lot of oatmeal. A lot.

Recently, however, I’ve been striving to switch things up. I’ve been experimenting with other grains, but also with sweet potatoes, my new favorite for adding a little variety to the breakfast table.

Trust me, sweet potatoes needn’t be just for dinner. They’re a real treat when complimented by other sweet flavors (cue bananas & maple syrup) and accented with nuttiness (cue peanut butter & toasted almonds).

Plus, a sweet potato’s natural creaminess isn’t far off from a traditional breakfast porridge, and you can really top it off with many of the same ingredients you might use with oats or other sweet (vs. savory) breakfast bowls.

Beyond the add-ins mentioned above, I utilized cinnamon and coconut flakes, two natural pairings to sweet potatoes. But really the options are endless. You could try pineapple and coconut milk, almond butter and raisins, tahini and cinnamon apples, etc. etc.

Give it a try and let me know what you think! Continue Reading…

Peanut Butter Date Fudge

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Evenings are slowly getting chillier and quickly growing dark prior to the dinner hour. Already, I want to spend more of them curled up in my kitchen.

While summer is filled with some of my favorite produce, it’s autumn and winter when I move into my real cooking groove.
Toasted sesame seeds

It’s also prime wedding season, and my photo ventures call for portable, energy-packed snacks like these. My tastebuds call for them all the time, so really it’s a win-win. Ya feel me?

Inspired by a recipe I saw over on Food & Wine, I knew I had to try this “fudge”. No sugar – just dates – this is the kind of fudge that’ll spike your energy, not bring it down. Yet, it has all that dense, sweet goodness you’d expect from a fudge. Again…win.

Peanut Butter Date Fudge

Throw some toasted sesame seeds on top for an extra punch of flavor, and toss a few coconut flakes on there too for some crunch. Both help brighten its appearance and make it an easy sell to guests. Although, one taste would do the trick as well.

Peanut Butter Date Fudge

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Grace’s Coconut Oat and Nut Granola

Coconut Flake and Nut Granola

Granola’s great in the summer. However, there’s something about heating up the oven, stirring up a large bowl of oats.  And then letting the warm, toasty smells fill the room while baking away the morning of a cold winter day. Call it winter solace. Granola solace. Call it whatever you want to describe a moment that sometimes just can’t be summed up in words.

Coconut Flake and Nut Granola

Coconut flakes are my new obsession, and I find them now to almost be a mandatory component of granola. I tracked through Philadelphia for nearly 2 hours – across 5 different stores – just to find them a few months ago, determined to make this Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Coconut Bacon. At the time, I was questioning my sanity. But after finally finding the flakes, and later obsessing over them during multiple cooking encounters, I am now questioning the sanity of the stores that are not carrying them.  Coconut flakes are worth every last step of an adventure to go find them.

For my Philly followers, check out Essene Market in Queen’s Village. For everyone else, I got tipped off along my travels that Vitacost.com is a good place to order coconut flakes.

Whatever you do, don’t succumb to buying the shreds. Unfortunately, they’re simply not the same as their larger, flakier counterpart.

Coconut Flake and Nut GranolaFeel free to play around with the nuts you use in your granola. I personally love a little variety. Pecans, walnuts & almonds are always a must for me, and various other seeds are generally just an added, crunchy health bonus.

Coconut Flake and Nut Granola

Spoon over hot or cold cereal in the morning, enjoy as is with milk, or simply pack a handful in a bag to eat on the run. Granola is a versatile, energy-packed snack, and when you make it yourself, you can ensure you’re fueling up on the good stuff. Forget chowing down on a bag of sugar and unnecessary processed ingredients. That’s no good. Plus, when you skip out on making it yourself, you miss that toasty smell from your oven like I mentioned before. Nothing beats that.

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Blackberry Oatmeal with Toasted Coconut Flakes

Blackberry Oatmeal with Toasted Coconut Flakes

This breakfast had no intention of making it to the blog. But after creating it and seeing it come to life, hitting the Internet was inevitable. I mean, gorgeous, right?! Its vibrance reminds me of the Quinoa Beet Tabbouleh I made over the summer. Colorful foods, in nature, are ones I want to eat. Kind of like colorful conversations. Those are the ones I most want to have.

Blackberry Oatmeal with Toasted Coconut Flakes

Speaking of, will you all help me get a conversation going on FFF’s Facebook page? My Internet marketing skills are failing. Oh no, the world is going to end. But really, I just get (entirely too) excited when something turns out great in the kitchen and I can share it with all of you. It’d be great to eventually build more of a community. Ya feel me? One day.

Anyway, back to this oatmeal. It’s really a simple recipe that plays off of the natural beauty of blackberries. I’ve been loving coconut flakes lately, and in their toasted form they really add a satisfying form of crunch. Toast up the walnuts too if you want for an extra cozy breakfast.

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Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Vegan Coconut Bacon

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Vegan Coconut Bacon

There’s this new spot that opened up in Philadelphia last year called COOK, designed for cooking demonstrations and classes. It features a 16-seat bar that sits in front of a workspace and large open range, with mirrors that hang above for the audience’s viewing. Here, foodie experts and chefs come to hold tastings and learning sessions. And the audience watches/joins in/eats, depending upon the night’s topic. The place is an absolute gem.

Brussels Sprouts

A newfound friend recently invited me to a vegan Thanksgiving class being held there, which would bring me my first COOK experience. By the end of the experience, I was entirely smitten. I do hope this means more nights there to come.

The event was held by a sweet lady named Rachel who owns Miss Rachel’s Pantry, a vegan catering and delivery service as well as a communal table styled restaurant. During the session, she whipped up recipes like cashew brie with toast, winter veggie stuffed seitan roast, and the recipe I bring you today. As the cooking transpired, the audience tossed out questions while COOK’s event host poured an endless supply of wine. Rachel’s responses were incredibly warm and so was the night.

Coconut Flakes

For me, this salad was definitely the highlight of the menu. I had only ever had coconut bacon once or twice before, and the raw brussels sprout concept was entirely new to my taste buds. Together, they make a combination that gives memory to a salad.

This is a bowl of leaves that’s far, far more than just a salad. With the toasty sunflower seeds, sweet and tart cranberries, and smoky coconut-y bacon, theres a huge depth of flavor going on here, all complimentary to the earthy, cabbage-like flavor of the brussels sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts

COOK often sends you the recipes from their events, which is awesome because I had been planning to recreate this recipe since my last bite. I whipped it up yesterday for a lovely Friendsgiving, and plan to make it again for my family’s own Thanksgiving. When a salad gets rave reviews at a party, you know its worthy of remaking and eating twice within a week’s time. If you don’t get around to it for Thanksgiving, I recommend you bookmark this for later. Thanks Rachel!

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