A new year brings a fresh outlook and a clean slate. The last few years I have wavered in my thoughts toward resolutions. I have made them (and kept them), made them (and ignored them), and refused to make them in the first place. Last year, while buried deeply in work and stress, the prospect of trying to improve anything about myself—when I could hardly stay afloat to begin with—seemed almost laughable. As we enter into 2015, I feel quite similar to last year: too tired to think up a list of resolutions. I know that I should be thinking positively, taking time to imagine a better self, but I'm writing this after an eleven hour work day and, with a pile of work to still sift through before bed, I'm struggling.
Instead of putting even more pressure on myself by resolving to cook healthy meals or to take advantage of the gym membership I have been paying for (but not using) the last three months, I am going to switch it up and resolve to teach myself a few new tricks.
While baking comes quite naturally to me, cooking is entirely something else. Seasoning dishes, cooking meat, or dreaming up new dishes are not tasks I feel comfortable with (nor am I good at any of them). For this reason, I want to learn to truss and roast a proper chicken. I intend to go back to old episodes of Julia Child's The French Chef and let her show me the way.
I have never made a batch of perfect macarons on my own. After buying four pounds of almond flour, this will change.
As I have said a dozen times before (and I will say a dozen times more), I adore reading. Earlier this year, without space for a bookcase, I bought a Kindle to encourage myself to delve into the books again. While I didn't think I would enjoy a digital reader, I surprised myself by loving everything about it. This year I want to make time to read more books, even if it is just setting aside a few minutes before bed.
And, as always, find the inspiration to keep baking.
For the past few years, I make a sweetened quinoa for breakfast each morning, finding it a filling and satisfying way to begin the day. With a new year upon us, I thought a new recipe of an old favorite seemed suitable. The quinoa cooks in coconut milk, becoming creamy and subtly flavored. When cooked, almond butter is added for a nutty undertone and maple syrup is swirled for sweetness. A topping of chopped almonds and toasted coconut complete the ensemble. Best of all, this makes a large batch, which can be heated for breakfast throughout the week.
One Year Ago: Almond Date Banana Smoothie
Two Years Ago: Candy Cane Cupcakes, Chocolate (Dairy-Free) Ice Cream, Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal, and Raspberry White Chocolate Scones
Three Years Ago: Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream, and Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes
Four Years Ago: Peppermint Ice Cream, Banana Cinnamon Muffins, Vanilla Pear Milk, and Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Coconut Almond Quinoa
Yields 3-4 servings
14 ounces (414 ml) full-fat or light canned coconut milk
1 cup (170 grams) quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons almond butter
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (adjust to personal sweetness)
Toasted coconut flakes
Splash of soy or almond milk
In a large saucepan, stir together quinoa and coconut milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in almond butter and maple syrup, adjusting for personal sweetness.
Divide evenly between 3-4 bowls and top with chopped almonds and toasted coconut flakes. Add a splash of soy or almond milk.
To store, quinoa can be kept in the refrigerator for several days. Reheat in the microwave, add a splash of milk, and it can be made as a quick weekday breakfast.