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For me January is a month of exhalation, letting go of all the stresses of finals and holidays and entering into a new month, a new quarter, and a new year. For me it is a great sigh of relief. Relief to be back into my much desired routine of life, studying, exercising, and nourishing myself in ways that I know are best for my mental and physical health. January is like stepping outside into the cool crisp air, after clocking long hours in a temperature controlled building without much access to natural light. You feel rejuvenated, energized, and awake.
Today in Seattle, we are experiencing torrential down pours, thunder and lightening, and strong winds. Weather that deters even the most dedicated outdoor enthusiasts. For me, it is a sign to start slow, and enjoy the here and now watching the trees dance outside my living room window. It is the perfect day to cozy up with a cup of tea and oatmeal for breakfast. So that is what I did.
I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned my love for oatmeal. The gentle texture and versatility can make this traditional breakfast staple a savory dinner, or even tasty warming snack, on the days I just crave comfort or even digestive ease. Most recently I have gotten in the habit of making a big pot of steel cut oats Sunday night, then I have most of my breakfast covered for the following week. Its easy, delicious, and quick if you count sleeping the cooking time away. The thing I like about steel cut oats is that they give you a little bit more texture than simply rolled or quick oats. The mushy texture transforms into a hearty porridge, and therefore more of a sensory delight.
As of late I have been loving the combination of cardamom, coconut sugar, and cashew cream to enhance my basic oats. And for a little added crunch I top it all with a bit of chopped roasted walnuts. It is absolutely delicious - a bowl of oatmeal has never tasted so good!
Cardamom, is becoming more and more recognized in recipes outside of the chai tea blend. It is used in baked goods, in milk beverages, in spice rubs, and today in my oatmeal. It’s sensory characteristics, stimulate my mind and bring me comfort. Cardamom, also known as “Queen of Spices”, has been noted for its ability to support our innate antioxidant system, reducing free radicals, proving to be a anti-cancerous agent (1). The phytochemicals indole-3-carbinol and DIM, which are also found in cruciferous vegetables, are responsible for the chemopreventative properties of cardamom, especially against hormone responsive cancers (1). In addition cardamom has been used for centuries in herbal medicine to treat digestive upset, acting as a carminative by reliving gas and bloating. Today it is often added to digestive bitters formulas.
It is important to have a balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrates in your morning breakfast to balance blood sugar, support the endocrine system, and maintain satiety until lunch. Simple toast and jam, will cause your blood sugar to spike, leaving you tired, and quickly hungry for more. With 10 g of plant based protein, 12 g of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, including anti-inflammatory omega-3’s, and 7 g of cholesterol reducing soluble fiber, this delicious oatmeal will keep you full on 300 calories per serving. It is a great way to keep your brain fueled and running throughout the morning.
With the delightful aromas of cardamom, and creaminess of the cashews, this oatmeal will not only keep your tummy happy, but also your taste buds! Start a batch of steel cut oats tonight, soak your cashew nuts, and start off your morning right with this delicious take on the everyday, perhaps even boring to some, oats. I promise you, they will no longer be a bore after you try this recipe!
Enjoy with a cup of hot tea! My current favorite is caffeine free Organic India Sweet Rose Tulsi Tea. Tulsi is an Indian herb known for its powerful adaptogenic abilities, stimulating the mind and uplifting mood without the added caffeine. To learn more about tulsi, click here. With a teaspoon of honey, and a splash of your favorite creamy beverage, this tea smells and tastes delicious!
Note: The cashew cream makes many servings. You will have plenty for a double batch of oats, or even to top on pancakes or an evening dessert.
Steel Cut Oats with Cardamom Scented Cashew Cream
Makes 4 Servings
For the Oats:
1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups filtered water
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
For the Cardamom Scented Cashew Cream:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in water
¾ cup filtered water
2 ½ tablespoons raw honey (maple syrup or agave if you are vegan)
¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus 1-2 pinches to taste
¾ - 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground psyllium husk
¼ cup filtered water
Toppings per Serving:
1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla hemp milk (I used Pacific), warmed
2 teaspoons coconut sugar
2 tablespoons cashew cream
1 tablespoon walnuts, roasted and chopped
Preparing the Oats: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and add the steel cut oats and sea salt. Stir and turn off heat. Cover and let it sit overnight.
The next morning, add the remaining cup of water, and heat the oats, stirring until creamy. Reserve a 1 cup serving and place the rest into container and refrigerate for 3 more breakfast meals.
Note: If you are using a gas stove you will have to keep cooking the oats on low for 20-25 minutes. Stirring occasionally to make sure they do not burn. You may need to add the additional 4th cup of water now.
Preparing the Cashew Cream: Rinse the soaked cashews with fresh water and toss into a high-speed blender. Add 3/4 cup of filtered water, honey, sea salt, and cardamom. Blend until creamy and smooth. Add more cardamom and sea salt (a pinch at a time) to taste.
Meanwhile, mix the psyllium husk with the ¼ cup water and allow to gel. Whisk together the cashew cream with the psyllium husk gel. It will quickly firm up. Place into a sealable container and store in refrigerator. The cream may become more firm with time. To rejuvenate the texture just add a tablespoon of fresh water to thin the cream again.
Assembling your Oats: Put a 1 cup serving of oats into a small pot along with 1/3 cup hemp milk. Stir together and heat until warm. Top with coconut sugar, cashew cream, and roasted walnuts.
Sometimes if I am in a hurry, I put 1 cup of the cooked oats and the hemp milk into a bowl and microwave it for a minute (instead of heating it on the stove). Stir well and then add the additional toppings.
1. Acharya A, Das I, Singh S, Saha T. Chemopreventive properties of indole-3-carbinol, diindolylmethane and other constituents of cardamom against carcinogenesis. Recent Pat Food Nutr Agric. 2010 Jun;2(2):166-177.