After reviewing Andie Mitchell’s blog, I decided that I had to give one of her recipes a try. While scrolling through her extensive recipe tab early this morning, I decided that breakfast was the obvious route to take. I was determined to find something I had never tried before. I soon came across her Healthy Breakfast Quinoa with Coconut Milk and Apples. Not only am I obsessed with cooked apples, but I am a sucker for anything with coconut flavor. Besides these eye catching ingredients pulling me towards the recipe, I was also intrigued by her untraditional use of quinoa in a sweet breakfast dish. It reminded me of oatmeal: one of my favorite foods. Whether its oats with chocolate protein powder and cocoa nibs or fresh blueberry oatmeal with honey, oats are my go-to food for any meal of the day, especially breakfast. I was interested in the fact that she took an alternate route and made this breakfast meal with an ingredient I usually associated as a base or side in savory dishes.
After a quick trip to HEB to pick up the items I didn’t already have (orange marmalade and nut meg) I began preparing the ingredients. I read over the directions she had listed at the bottom of the blog one more time and began cooking. I started by bringing the quinoa and coconut milk to a boil and then letting it simmer. I would add a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk at a time if I felt like the quinoa looked too dry. While the quinoa cooked, I began melting coconut oil in a separate pan and when that was completely liquefied, added the sliced apples along with some water, the cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. (Tip: Make sure to watch the apples, stirring and flipping them often. I had a couple of slices burn after leaving them on the same side too long.) When the quinoa had softened and about doubled in size, I took the grain off the heat. At about the same time, the apples were golden brown and soft (the same color and texture form my Apples for Dessert blog) and were giving off a sweet aroma.
I took the apples off the heat and stirred in the tablespoon of orange marmalade until all the apples were coated with the sweet gloss. It was time to plate. I placed a large scoop of the quinoa in a bowl along with the apples and some chopped pecans. To finish, I added another dash of cinnamon and some more coconut milk like Andie had recommended.
Like the picture on her blog that had originally caught my eye, the warm, fragrant bowl beckoned me in. While the quinoa had the same satisfying texture I expected, the bowl did not have as much sweetness as I had wanted from a sweet breakfast recipe. Of course this is a healthy breakfast dish and Mitchell even states in her blog that it has “…just the right amount of sweetness from the apples–not too much (we’re still trying to keep it healthy and low in sugar!) but enough for it to be flavorful.” But for a sweet-tooth like me, it was missing the mark. To compensate, I added a small drizzle of pure, organic honey and stirred it in. After this small addition, the bowl was perfect. The orange marmalade added a citrusy note to the apples that I was pleasantly surprised by and in my opinion was complimented by the honey. The chopped pecans were a nice textural contrast to the soft apples and the classic spice combination tied the entire dish together.
Overall, the breakfast was a deliciously unique take on a beloved grain that completely satisfied my hunger; I was full! I recommend this dish to anyone like me, who enjoys a warm bowl of oatmeal or grits for breakfast. While the sweetness was lacking for me, this does not apply to everyone or even most people; my taste buds love sugar, what can I say? I know many people, including my parents, who would have absolutely loved the dish without the addition of honey. Feel free to experiment! That is what is so cool about trying new recipes, it can always be altered to your own preference! One Andie Mitchell recipe down, many more to go.