January 29, 2015

Almond Vanilla Bean Porridge with Blueberry Compote

I don't usually post recipes with a lot of fancy ingredients because I don't often have fancy extras on hand. However, I concocted this tasty bowl of porridge and spent some time making it look beautiful, so of course, I had to share it with you. :-)

I recently learned how to scrape the seeds out of a vanilla bean pod and I am in love with vanilla. The smell, alluring flavor, heavenly taste... Therefore, when I happened to have a vanilla bean on hand, I knew I had to create something worthy of its exotic presence. Also, it seems the more time you spend preparing your food, the healthier it turns out. This oatmeal is comprised of rolled oats, vanilla seeds, flax seeds, almond milk, almond pieces, coconut sugar, cinnamon, blueberries and agave nectar.

Each ingredient has healthful benefits--

Rolled oats - heart healthy, full of fiber, rich in protein, reduce the risk of coronary disease, mineral rich
Vanilla bean - anti-inflammatory, improves cognitive mental performance, soothes the stomach
Flax seeds - reduces blood pressure, helps alleviate depression, lowers cholesterol
Almonds - reduce risk of heart attack, lower cholesterol, protect artery walls from damage, aid in weight loss
Coconut sugar - lower glycemic index than regular sugar, retains some nutrients from the coconut plant
Cinnamon - regulates blood sugar, enhances cognitive processing, prevents brain swells from swelling after traumatic injury
Agave nectar - lower glycemic index (Now, yes, I've heard how "evil" agave is because it contains so much fructose. But I rarely eat high fructose corn syrup which is the real monster out there, and I only added a very small amount because agave is very sweet and you don't need that much. It's better than adding regular sugar and you have to pick and choose your battles. Everything in moderation, right? That's how you keep the weight off and the healthy choices abounding.)
Blueberries - major source of antioxidants, prevent memory loss

Almond Vanilla Bean Porridge with Blueberry Compote
Makes 2-3 servings

1 cup old fashioned or rolled oats
1 3/4 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp agave nectar
2 tsp flax seeds
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 Tbsp sliced almonds
1 container blueberries
1/2-1 banana, sliced

In a saucepan over high heat, combine the oats, 1 cup of the almond milk, half of the vanilla seeds, and the cinnamon. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then remove from heat, cover the pan and set aside. Stir in 1 Tbsp coconut sugar.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the blueberries, 2 Tbsp water, the remaining half of the vanilla seeds, and the 1 tsp. agave. Cook, stirring, until the berries release their juices, about 6 minutes.

To serve, spoon the hot oat porridge into 2 or 3 bowls. Drizzle with the warm blueberries. Top with the banana and sprinkle with the almonds, coconut sugar, and flax. Feel free to get creative and use whatever toppings or berries you like.



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