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Savory Japanese Oats

Savory Japanese Oats

“It’s a little too sweet. I’d like it better if it wasn’t so sweet.” “…Classic Grace.”

It’s a common dialogue between my friends and I. It’s also why I rarely order cocktails off a pre-made menu. Why I always opt to add my own sweetener to my yogurt. Order my coffee black. And prefer to make my own granola and salad dressings and desserts.

I don’t trust others to sweeten my food because it always turns out just “a little too sweet”! My friends would disagree with me on this. And I will agree to disagree, on most occasions.

Scallions

I’m not one of those puzzling non-dessert people. In fact, my sweet tooth can get a little out of hand sometimes. (Cue the disappearance of 1/2 of a dark chocolate bar  after intentions of only eating one square). But I do prefer everything on the bitter side. That means dark chocolate vs. milk. Froyo vs. gelato (a frequent trigger of that quoted dialogue above). Espresso vs. lattes. Beer vs. cocktails. Etc.

I love sugar. Just not in dominating amounts. Which means you’ll rarely find me ordering oatmeal at a restaurant because you’ll rarely find a restaurant serving oatmeal without sugar being the commander of its seasoning. (A spoonful of sugar’s needed to make the oatmeal go down? Some friends would agree with that too.)

Savory Japanese Oats

Often, I don’t want my oatmeal sweetened at all. My new obsession is savory oats, and if you haven’t tested this out yet, I recommend giving it a try.

Going the savory route creates a breakfast that feels so fresh and energizing, it’s hard to turn back. I know soy sauce on oats, and scallions too, might sound strange, but trust me on this one. It’s unique in all the right ways.

Purple Sweet Potato

Unique, kind of like purple sweet potatoes. Are these not gorgeous?! They’re totally worth the splurge at the grocery store if you can afford it, and also find them. To me, that smile that will come after piercing their just-baked skin and seeing their vibrancy is worth it alone.

Purple Sweet Potato

Yes, I play with my food sometimes.

Japanese Savory Oats

Here, the sweet potato adds a little sweetness that pairs well with the heat of the Sriracha and bite of the onion. Sesame and toasted nori continues to infuse the delicate oats so that each bite has a profusion of complimenting flavors. You could easily fry up an egg (or soft boil) and throw it on top for another dimension. Regardless, you’ll end up with an incredible, no-sugar-need bowl of oats that no one will say is “too sweet” and that everyone will say is pretty fantastic. And energizing, too.

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Vegetable Nori Rolls with Crunchy Lentils and Turmeric

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

It’s crazy how much can happen in a year. How fast time can move. How change can progress. At the beginning of 2013, I quit a full-time job that, while paying my bills, was doing little else but bringing me down. I then cycled through a jillion part-time jobs, took a jillion and one photos, fell in love, fell out of love, traveled on impulse, flew out to Paris, photographed my first wedding, launched a few new ideas, schemed up a few more, had a ton of “is this real life?” moments, met a lot of clients, made new friends, shedded old friends, have become really comfortable with myself and learned a ton about what it means to live life if you really want to live it. At my age, it means taking chances. Trying new things. Learning what, and maybe who, it is you love. And practicing all of that, one way or another. Maybe that goes for every age. Probably so.

Rainbow Veggies

This year has also been a year of more and more experimenting in the kitchen, seeking out new inspiration, and growing my food photo skills. The food blog world is continuously proliferating. I saw it this past year more than ever, and find myself endlessly inspired. I’ve also come across some new friends with similar visions to spread healthy eating, and who share in the joy of eating and cooking with others. This, as well as stumbling upon some new start-ups in my city with similar viewpoints, excites me more than ever. I can’t wait to keep filling my life up with these connections and companions, and venturing into new directions. And of course sharing some of the successes here on my blog.

Vegetable Nori Rolls with Crunchy Lentils and Turmeric

A few of my favorite ingredient discoveries this year include coconut flakes, ground cherries, raw honey and the turmeric root I’ve used to spruce up this wintertime sushi. Turmeric root is a gorgeous, and incredibly healthy kitchen ingredient in which lately I simply cannot get enough. You can find it at Whole Foods, masked in a form that resembles the root-like structure of ginger. In fact, the two look nearly identical until you peel the outer layer, and find the vibrant orange of the turmeric masked beneath. A common spice in Indian cooking, likely you’ve used, or at least tasted, its powdered form before. In its fresh status, it takes on a slightly less pungent flavor that crosses its inherent characteristics with that of both ginger and carrot. At least, that’s what it tastes like to me.

Vegetable Nori Rolls with Crunchy Lentils and Turmeric

For these sushi rolls, feel free to use whatever staple ingredients of the season you have on hand. This time of year, steamed sweet potato could be nice, or maybe some kohlrabi, sliced thinly into matchsticks. I chose to go with this colorful array I had in my fridge, running out only to obtain an avocado. Don’t miss that component if you can help it! Once cubed, slightly sprinkle it with salt. This really draws out the flavor of avocado.

A fresh start to the New Year, we could all fair well to commit ourselves to a path of healthy eats. As I’ve said before, a healthy body = a happy mind. That’s worth repeating and remembering. Cheers to all of you and another year ahead. With all that happened in 2013, I’m brimming with energy for what this next year will bring. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Vegetable Nori Rolls with Crunchy Lentils and Turmeric

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