Dark Chocolate Blackberry Oatmeal

Dark Chocolate Blackberry Oatmeal

Blackberries were on sale this week! I know that some people will frown on me for having bought them because seasonal/local yadda yadda, but if we eat tomatoes from Mexico during the winter (boo winter tomatoes 😫), then why not blackberries? Besides, blackberries are still in season down there, brudder. Er…..hermano.

I was excited and purchased plenty, with plans for salad and baking and all kinds of wonderful things, but then ended up eating most of them by the handful. Guess I’ll have to go get more, oh darn. One of my favorite things ways to eat them is with salted almonds and chocolate chips.  While this combination makes a wonderful snack, it does not make a very good breakfast. I had some of it before class and was rather hangry by 11. So  this good little snack needed a hearty upgrade,  which is where the oatmeal comes in.

In the past few years, fancy oatmeals have become suuuuupper popular. Um, I’m not sure this falls into the category of fancy, but it’s not your powdery-apples-in-a-paper-package oatmeal. Not that there’s anything wrong with powdery apple oatmeal, but I just like this a lot better. I hesitate to even introduce the word fancy because this oatmeal actually comes together rather quickly. You can even microwave the oats and save yourself a pot scrub, if you wish.

Dark Chocolate Blackberry Oatmeal

If you don’t finish all of it (I might have overshot on the hearty part just a little), you can put in in the fridge and the chocolate-maple sauce turns to fudge. Fudge, I tell you. Speaking of fudge, how many times are y’all planning on watching A Christmas Story? We run Roku instead of cable, which means no TBS. However, Netflix holds a wealth of terrible-wonderful-terrible Christmas movies. The Mistletones, anyone?

My mamabear came to see me and she brought me a huge bundle of fresh herbs. My aunt works on a little New Jersey farm and sent them over to me.  I put a little sage in with the almonds, it gives it just a little bit of a Christmas note. I think I like the holidays best this way: start with subtle notes, and then build to to a song, and then the whole show.


Dark Chocolate Blackberry Oatmeal

Serving Size: 1 hearty bowl


    for the topping
  • 5 medium-large fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds
  • 2/3 cup blackberries, divided
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chocolate chips
  • for the oatmeal
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup water or almond milk
  • pinch of salt


  1. Chop up the sage. You should end up with a scant teaspoon. Bring a small skillet to medium heat, and add the slivered almonds and the sage. Toast for about 4 -4.5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almonds darken.
  2. Move the almonds and sage onto a plate, give the skillet a quick wipe-down, and then return it to the stovetop without ever turning off the heat.
  3. Add 1/3 cup of the blackberries to the skillet with the 2 tbsp water. Cover the skillet and allow the berries to turn scarlet, about 1.5 - 2 minutes. Add the maple syrup, cover again for 1.5 - 2 min. Smash the berries if they haven't already liquefied, and then stir for another 30 seconds. Mixture will start to thicken. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Bring the water to a boil, stir in the oatmeal, cinnamon, and vanilla, and allow oats to cook over medium heat, about 5 minutes. You can also do this in the microwave.
  5. Top the oats with the blackberry chocolate sauce, the almond-sage mix, and the remaining blackberries. Enjoy.

P.S. it’s finals week (ugh what the crab) and I have a project that needs some finishing touches. I might be out for a few days while I focus on, ugh, priorities. Please cook up a lot of goodies so I can daydream about them on my study breaks. ❤️



Simon Snow Sour Cherry Scones

simon snow sour cherry scones

I’m too old to read YA fiction, yet I’m old enough to read it and not care who judges me for doing so.

Who decides what “young adult fiction” is anyways? Maybe they’re the ones who need to grow up, judgey-pants.

Right now (like the rest of America, I guess), I’m enjoying the clever prose of Mrs. Rainbow Rowell.  I’ve just finished Carry On, Simon, and I’m still relishing it in my head.

I’ve read RR’s Fangirl more times that I care to admit. Carry On, Simon came out of Fangirl to a certain degree, but with too many layers of meta to fully describe here. If you’ve read them both, you know what I’m referring to. And if you haven’t read either, you should! Start with Fangirl.

Simon loves sour cherry scones.  He has a list of things he misses about this school, and sour cherry scones take the #1 spot. As soon as I read that, I knew I had to make myself some of these scones.

simon snow sour cherry scones


The book version of these treats are “soft and light and a little bit salty.”

The ones here are soft for sure, but they’re also dark and nutty and rich, with a thick layer of sour cherry jam slathered right in the middle.  I wanted to give Baz a nod, so I coated them in chocolate to resemble bloody vampire teeth.  But they are lovely with or without the chocolate. And that’s saying a lot — I’m not often a chocolate optional kinda gal.

Hey! Jason just got home and ate two of them before he even kissed me hello. I need to go hide the rest of them.

Simon Snow Sour Cherry Scones

Since this isn’t how Mrs. Rowell wrote the scones,  they are sort of pastry fanfiction.  Which is rather appropriate for Fangirl/Simon Snow fan.

Simon Snow Sour Cherry Scones

Yield: 8 scones


    Sour Cherry Jam
  • 1 cup dried sour cherries (the kind with sweetener added)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Scones
  • 1 and 1/2 bananas (large, very ripe ones will work best)
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup fine almond flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tbsp golden flax meal
  • chocolate coating
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips


    For the Jam
  1. Place the cherries in a microwave safe bowl and cover with water. Microwave 3 - 4 minutes. Drain water.
  2. Place cherries and in a food processor and blend till a uniform consistency is reached, set aside.
  3. For the scones
  4. Slice up the bananas and place them in a small non-stick skillet. If you don't have a non-stick skillet, lay a little coconut oil down first.
  5. Cover the bananas with the maple syrup.
  6. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently but constantly.
  7. When you begin to notice larger bubbles, turn the heat to medium low. Stir more vigorously, breaking up the bananas with your spoon. Continue to stir until the the bananas have mostly liquefied. This whole process should take about 6-7 minutes.
  8. Immediately place the bananas in a bowl -- if you leave them in the skillet, even with the heat off, the caramel will burn and stick. It should look kinda like baby food. Set aside.
  9. Combine the milk and flax and set aside. (flax egg)
  10. Blend the oats to a fine, silky flour.
  11. Combine the oat flour, almond flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  12. Combine the caramelized bananas, vanilla, and flax egg.
  13. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones. At first it will seem like there's not enough wet ingredients, but keep going and everything will come together just fine.
  14. Divide the dough two into two equal-sized balls.
  15. Place each ball in between two pieces of parchment and place a cutting board over top. Press down the the cutting board to flatten each ball into a disk. Each disk should be about 1/4 inch thick and about 5 1/2 - 6 inches in diameter. Wasn't that easier than rolling it out? Yes, it was.
  16. Okay. Back to your cherry jam. It may have cooled some. Pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds or so. This will make it easier to spread. I also found it helpful to dip my spoon in hot water when spreading.
  17. Spread the jam generously on one of the disks. You might have some jam left over.
  18. Gently pick up the other disk and place it over the first. You don't need to press down.
  19. Preheat your oven to 350.
  20. Slice the disk into eight even pieces. Place on a parchment-covered baking sheet.
  21. Bake for 20 - 22 minutes, until nice and golden on top.
  22. Allow to cool slightly before adding chocolate.
  23. Melt the chocolate.
  24. Carefully spoon or spread chocolate over the tapered end of each scone. Allow excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl.
  25. Allow chocolate to harden. Enjoy with tea.


-may sub the almond milk and flax for 1 egg

-To maintain optimum freshness, store in an airtight container in the fridge

-lightly adapted from Fine Cooking's Gluten-Free Breads Cakes, Quiches and More 2014, page 42


Simon Snow Sour Cherry Scones

Apple Glazed Apple Donuts

Apple Glazed Apple Donuts gluten free vegan apple donuts

It’s apple time!

I’m sure you’ve been seeing lots of apple donut recipes lately. There’ s a reason for that, you know. Apple donuts are classic. One of the things defines a classic (recipe, song, outfit, story et al) is that you can spin it many different ways and yet it remains timeless.

These are made with oat flour and fresh apple sauce and dates. I’m in love with the apple glaze here — sweet and sticky, a perfect compliment to the gentle walnut crunch.

I’m including the apple sauce recipe, not because I think you’re a moron who doesn’t know how to make apple sauce. I know you can make sauce. But everyone’s ideal apple sauce is different – I normally like mine spicy and chunky, eaten cold with  yogurt – so I’m just sharing what works best for this particular donut

Apple Glazed Apple Donuts


  • apple sauce
  • 3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, & sliced
  • donuts
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 dates
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • glaze and topping
  • 2 1/2 tbsp applesauce
  • 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • small handful of chopped walnuts


    for the apple sauce
  1. Place the apples in a small saucepan with about an inch of water. Cover and cook over medium heat 16-18 minutes. Stir the sauce and turn off the heat. Allow to sit, covered, for about 18 more minutes. Remove from burner and puree till smooth. Allow to sauce too cool before continuing. The sauce can be made a few days beforehand, if you like.
  2. for the dohnuts
  3. Grind the oats to a smooth and silky flour and set aside
  4. Place the dates in a small bowl, and cover with 1/3 cup water. Microwave 3-4 minutes. Do not drain the remaining water. Puree to a paste. Set aside.
  5. Combine the oat flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.
  6. Combine the apple sauce, almond milk, vanilla, and date paste.
  7. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  8. Preheat oven to 425.
  9. Divide the batter evenly in a 6-ring donut pan.
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  11. for the glaze
  12. Combine the apple sauce, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Lay the top of the donut down in the glaze to coat it. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Enjoy


Five Simple & Healthy Breakfasts


1. Blueberries, kasha, almond milk, brown sugar

Combine kasha, blueberries, and almond milk in a bowl. Sprinkle lightly with brown sugar.


2. Pineapple beet juice, avocado, egg, Sriracha

For the juice, combine 3 medium beets and half a pineapple in a blender. Puree and strain through a flour sack cloth.


3. Overnight Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Oats

I know overnight oats are so last year, but that doesn’t stop them from being delicious. Combine 1/3 cup of oats, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, pinch of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 5 chopped dates, and 1 tbsp chia. Allow to sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, add in a banana and a small handful of chocolate chips. Enjoy.


3. Raspberry Kale Mini Smoothie

Combine 3/4 cup frozen raspberries, handful of kale, 1/2 cup almond milk, and honey to taste in a blender. You can make it heartier by adding a banana or peanut butter, but it tastes really wonderful and refreshing as is.


5. Popped amaranth, strawberries, honey

Tips for popping amaranth:

1.No matter how much amaranth you’re popping, it will go all over the stove. Save yourself the cleanup time by using a large pot with a glass lid. 2. Don’t use any lubricants such as oil or non stick spray.  3. Instead of stirring, shake the pot back and forth vigorously….just like if you were making popcorn 4. Amaranth can be finicky. Start of by testing a spoonful in the pot. If it doesn’t burn, you’re good. 5. Let the pot get really hot before you put the amaranth in 6. Let a little over half of the amaranth pop, remove from heat, and continue to shake. It will continue to pop and you won’t get as many burned bits.





Crispy Kale and Potato Stacks

A few years ago, I was at a diner having brunch with my family. My aunt offered me her leftover hash browns, and I shrugged. Ok. As she passed the plate over, she gave me a sheepish look. “I only ordered them because I like the crispy crust,” she explained.

I looked down at the potatoes. All the crust had definitely been picked off, showing the pasty tubers below. They were pale. There might have been an onion in there somewhere. But they definitely didn’t look or sound good anymore.

And I realized my aunt was right. She was the kind of person who was right about pretty much everything, and hash browns were no exception.

The best part of the hash brown is the crust. So we need a hash brown that is all crust, and these potatoes are nothing but crust. Well, there’s a little kale in there too, but what you won’t find are sad, slimy, undercooked hash brown middles. (Oh, dear please don’t let me have offended the people who like hash brown middles. We’re still pals, right?)

Serve these hot, with a side of sunny side up eggs and a big glass of freshly squeezed juice. We had them as breakfast-for-dinner. There was some leftover sauce and I had it the next morning, mashed up with a hard-boiled egg before work. I’m pretty sure this sauce would be a perfect sandwich spread, or a pasta sauce, or, even a dip. That means you’d be dipping veggies in more veggies, which is a super healthy way to kick off the weekend. And earns you lots of chocolate.

Not that you need an excuse to eat chocolate. ♥


Crispy Kale and Potato Stacks

Yield: 10 stacks

Serving Size: 5 stacks


    for the potatoes
  • 4 medium golden potatoes
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • for the kale
  • 1 lb kale, stalks removed
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • pinch of cayenne


  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Scrub the potatoes and grate them on the fine side of your grater.
  3. Put all the grated potatoes in a flour sack cloth and squeeze as much moisture out of them as you can.
  4. Mix the potatoes with the chives and salt.
  5. Put the potatoes on a silicone sheet and spread them out really thin. You should be able to cover most of a 12 & 18 pan. It won't spread all the way to the edges. I used a rolling pin.
  6. Make some score marks on the potatoes so that you have about 10 even rectangles.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Flip the rectangles and bake for about 20-25 more minutes.
  9. When you remove the potatoes from the oven, they should be crispy but still a little pliable.
  10. Cut each rectangle into 3 pieces. It's easiest if you use scissors. Set potatoes aside.
  11. Put the vegetable broth in a sautee pan and bring to a boil.
  12. Add the kale and garlic to the pan and let it cook for 2-3 minutes without stirring.
  13. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4-5 more minutes, or until it looks as though broth is reduced to 1/4 cup.
  14. Remove from heat and puree. I just put in in a huge mug and used my beloved immersion blender (thanks again, Ema!)
  15. To serve, layer three potato crisps with kale sauce in the middle (potato, kale, potato, kale, potato, kale).
  16. Garnish with crema or sour cream if desired.

Cajeta Cardamom Chocolate Donuts

cajeta cardamom donuts gluten free

Yikes. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? So are these.

I’d been wanting a donut pan for a while, but last Friday sent me over the edge. So many people had lovely amazing donuts! I wanted them all. The moment I got off of work, I drove right over to Michaels to pick one up. My co-worker was asked me why I was rushing out the door and I was all “ahhh I gotta go buy a donut pan!”

I’d made a batch of Rick Bayless’ cajeta last week too, without any real plans for it. You don’t have to make your own cajeta for these, but it does enhance the flavor. Rick recipe calls for one cinnamon stick, but I used twice that and got great results. But if you are short on time (cajeta is no quick caramel sauce, it’s a labor of love), you can just pick up a jar at the Mexican food aisle of the grocery store or at the Mexican grocery.

cardamom cajeta donuts gluten free

If you’re not familiar with cajeta, it’s a deep, rich, very thick caramel made from goat’s milk. It’s sort of like dulce de leche, but dulce de leche is from cow’s milk. Often, dulce will be reduced even more from its caramel state to become a solid fudge.

cardamom cajeta donuts gluten free

BGE was hovering over me the hole – er, whole – time I was making these. He got mighty pouty when I told him he couldn’t have them until they were frosted and photographed. He started referring to the blog as a person. “Oh the blog is hungry! The blog’s gotta be fed! None for poor me.”

I rolled my eyes and told him he could have all of them as soon as I took the pictures. Then I made him a chicken sandwich and he did a little dance in the living room.


Cajeta Cardamom Chocolate Donuts


    for the donuts:
  • 1 cup of gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup unsweet almond milk
  • 2 1/2 tbsp homemade or store bought cajeta (warmed till a just-pourable consistency BEFORE measuring)
  • for the topping
  • 1/4 cup cajeta
  • chopped nuts ( I used pistachios to mimic the green of a cardamom pod)
  • 4 oz of dark chocolate
  • -OR-
  • 2 oz of dark chocolate plus 2 oz of Mexican chocolate (the chocolate pucks with the granny on them) plus 1 tsp coconut oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 425
  2. Combine flour, cardamom, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Sift together.
  3. In a food processor, combine the cajeta, the almond milk, extract, and banana. You may have to scrape the cajeta down a little bit if it's sticking to the sides.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, mix well.
  5. Scoop the batter into a pastry bag and pipe into a greased donut pan. Fill about 3/4 of the way up.
  6. Bake for 10-12 min.
  7. Turn out the donuts out of the pan and let them cool.
  8. While the donuts are cooling, work on the topping.
  9. For the cajeta topping, place the uncovered jar of cajeta in a water bath over medium heat. Spread the cajeta on the donuts or pour it into a shallow dish so you can dip them. Chop up a little more chocolate and sprinkle it onto the cajeta topping, along with some nuts.
  10. For the chocolate topping, melt all the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. Then dip your donuts in, sprinkle on more nuts, and you're done!

adapted from Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats



Sweet Tamales and Coconut Milk Atole

sweet tamales coconut milk atole

Tamales and atole are a classic combination. Atole is a thick silky drink, usually chocolate but sometimes vanilla. Some people refer to it as “Mexican hot chocolate.”

Tamales and atole are served at weddings, and at first communions, or just on lazy weekends. On any given Saturday morning in Mexico City, you’ll find tamale vendors peddling their treats. Folks will slip out of bed early to bring home a bag full of tamales and huge Styrofoam cups brimming with atole. Then they’ll languish at the breakfast table, stuffing themselves with warm carbs. Or at least that’s what I liked to do, especially after an intense week of swim workouts.

There are the savory tamales, with their buried pockets of red and green salsa. And then there are the sweet pink ones, flecked with plump raisins and the occasional pineapple chunk.

Sometimes I would eat so many that I couldn’t even touch my atole. So it would go into the fridge. Atole is best warm, but it’s much thicker when cool, which is also lovely.

I lightened up these tamales by reducing the sugar and substituting most of the fat with carrots. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between these and the traditional lard-based ones.

Sometimes atole can be found at grocery stores, sold in a Swiss Miss-like powder. The instant kind isn’t anywhere near as good and is thickened with cornstarch. The best atole is thickened with the main ingredient in tamales – masa harina. Maybe that’s why they taste so good together.

Sweet Tamales and Atole

Yield: 8 small tamales


    for the tamales:
  • 1 cup of masa harina (MASECA in the international aisle of the supermarket)
  • 1/4 cup tubrinado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup of packed shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup softened coconut oil
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup beet juice*
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • corn husks for wrapping (also available in the international aisle, or at any Mexican grocery)
  • for the atole
  • 1 cup unsweet, unflavored almond milk
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp masa harina
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • pinch of ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar


    for the tamales
  1. Put about 20-25 cornhusks so soak in a pot of water. Heat on medium-low for about 30 min. You won't need all the cornhusks, but some are sure to tear or be unusable, so I like to prep more than I need.
  2. While the husks are soaking, combine the carrots, coconut oil, and banana. Mix very well.
  3. Add the beet juice to the carrot mixture and set aside.
  4. Combine the masa harina, the sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a large bowl. Stir so that everything is well combined.
  5. Add the carrot mixture to the masa harina mixture. Beat until well combined. It might still be a little crumby, so mix it the rest of the way with your hands. It should resemble slick play-doh.
  6. Add in the raisins. If you don't like raisins, you can leave them out.
  7. Remove the corn husks from the water and pat them dry.
  8. Divide your dough into 8 equal parts. Shape the parts so that they resemble little bricks that are about 3 inches long, 1 1/2 inches wide, and 1/2 an inch thick.
  9. Place a dough piece at the center of two husks, as shown above. Fold the husks lengthwise and then crosswise to cover the dough. Repeat with the rest of the pieces.
  10. Set up your steam pot. If you have a lobster or crab steamer, you should definitely use that. I don't have one, so I placed an oven-safe bowl at the bottom of a large pot (bowl was right-side-up) and set a vegetable steamer on top of that. You want to be able to cover the pot.
  11. Fill the pot with several inches of water. The water should reach until about 2 inches below the bottom of the vegetable steamer.
  12. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium. Layer about 6 cornhusks in the bottom of the vegetable steamer, and then place your tamales on top of that. The tamales should sit vertically in the steamer. Cover the pot again.
  13. Steam the tamales for about one hour and ten minutes. Check the water levels occasionally and refill as needed. I did not need to refill at all.
  14. Uncover the pot and remove it from the heat. Let the tamales sit for about 15 more minutes. You can serve them immediately, but they will keep for a few days. You can reheat them in the microwave.
  15. for the atole
  16. Combine the almond milk, masa harina, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, and sugar in a pot over low heat. Whisk briskly to combine. I cheated and used my immersion blender.
  17. Once everything integrated into the almond milk, add in the coconut milk and heat again.
  18. Bring the heat up and stir (don't use the immersion blender this time) until thickened.
  19. Remove from heat and serve. Atole tastes best when it's just warm, but not piping hot.


* I used beet juice because sweet tamales are traditionally pink. If you don't have beet juice, or can't find it, apple juice or cranberry juice will do. The tamales just won't turn out pink.


Tamales adapted from Que Rica Vida and Taste of Home. Atole from The View from Great Island