Healthy & Delicious Chocolate Pudding Multi-Grain Oatmeal

Whenever I think of porridge I think of something bland and beige, the sort of thing that only people in prison and old time-y kids in Charles Dickens novels eat. This all changed after seeing this amazing post “To Talk Porridge” from Megan Gordon at A Sweet Spoonful. This porridge was not bland; it was topped with cranberries, coconut, and almonds; and it was not beige (well not entirely anyways), it was swirled with deep red and tinged with pink. And multi-grain oatmeal guys, is really just code for porridge. It just sounds nicer than the word ‘porridge’.

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Taking inspiration from that post I came up with a yummy and very chocolate-y multi-grain porridge that is essentially like eating chocolate pudding for breakfast…chocolate pudding that is dairy free, refined sugar free, egg free and has 358 calories, 4.5 grams of fiber, 5.7 grams of protein and is full of healthy coconut fats and omega-3. If you switch the grains too you could definitely make this gluten-free.

Chocolate Pudding Oatmeal

Chocolate Pudding Oatmeal

Although I’ve always liked the idea of oatmeal I never really liked hot oatmeal itself. It was sort of gluey and too one note. I think porridge, or maybe this porridge, solves that issue by using more than one grain for texture, so its more “toothsome” (stealing this word from A Sweet Spoonful’s post as I thought it was very evocative of what I was going for…). Naturally I started with rolled oats but for texture variation I added farro and spelt. Using a variety of grains also makes it healthier, adding in different nutrients, fiber and protein (depending on the grains you go for). I also added some chia seeds at the end which not only possess the uncanny power of transforming anything into “pudding” (look it up) but are also rich in omega-3. In order to reduce cooking time I used Trader Joe’s 10-Minute Farro and for the spelt I’m pretty sure I just used regular spelt even though the cooking time for spelt is supposed to be quite long…but it was still fine with 10 minutes.

Chocolate Pudding Oatmeal

For the liquid in the porridge I went with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, which is very low in calories but still adds creaminess. And after ensuring this was healthy to make it delicious I added cocoa powder, dark chocolate, coconut flakes and pistachios. To make it sweet you have a lot of options; brown sugar, honey or agave would be nice but in trying to stay healthy I used coconut sugar sweetened with stevia. My mom gave me this stuff because she abhors my Splenda habit (sorry Mum) and on its own or in a drink I think the Stevia taste is too pronounced but in something like this it blends in very well with no detectable aftertaste….must be all that chocolate 🙂

Chocolate Pudding Oatmeal

Chocolate Pudding Oatmeal

In order to avoid gluey oatmeal I followed the tips that Megan gave out on her post including to toast the oats first, only add the oats when the liquid is boiling and to avoid stirring the mixture while it cooks.

Oatmeal, Farro & Spelt

Oatmeal, Farro & Spelt

BASIC MULTI-GRAIN OATMEAL

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:
– 1/4 cup rolled oats (76 calories, 2 grams fiber, 2.75 grams protein)
– 1/8 cup Trader Joe’s 10-Minute Farro (80 calories, 1.5 grams fiber, 3.5 grams protein)
– 1/8 cup spelt (73.5 calories, 2.4 grams fiber, 3.1 grams protein)
– 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil (58.5 calories)
– 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (60 calories, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein)

1. Heat a pan on medium heat and add the coconut oil when hot. Toss the oatmeal, farro and spelt in and toast in the coconut oil until they start to smell toasty. This also helps reduce cooking time.
2. Meanwhile, heat a pan with 1.5 cups of almond milk and bring that to a boil.
3. Add the toasted grains to the boiling almond milk, lower heat to simmer, cover and cook for 8 minutes.

CHOCOLATE PUDDING MULTI-GRAIN OATMEAL

– 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (36 calories)
– 2 tablespoons coconut sugar with stevia (96 calories)
– 2 squares dark chocolate (100 calories)
– 2 tablespoons chia seeds (136 calories, 1.4 grams protein)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Once you have your basic multi-grain oatmeal cooked for 8 minutes, uncover the mixture.
4. Add in the the cocoa powder, coconut sugar, dark chocolate, chia seeds and remaining 1/2 cup of almond milk. You can add more or less almond milk depending on how thick you want your porridge. Stir minimally to combine, taste for doneness/add more sweetener if necessary then let cook for another 1-2 minutes.
5. Remove from heat, add in the vanilla extract, stir, add toppings and serve.

Grains

Grains

Coconut Oil and Coconut Sugar with Stevia

Coconut Oil and Coconut Sugar with Stevia

Cocoa and Dark Chocolate

Cocoa and Dark Chocolate

Chocolate Pudding Multi-Grain Oatmeal Pre-Toppings

Chocolate Pudding Multi-Grain Oatmeal Pre-Toppings

Now for the toppings. This is honestly perfectly fine by itself but some toppings really go that extra mile with making it feel like a dessert. I went with coconut flakes and pistachios.

Chocolate Pudding Oatmeal Post-Toppings

Chocolate Pudding Oatmeal Post-Toppings

Toppings

Toppings

But you could also go with fresh berries, dried apricots and almonds, fresh bananas with a peanut butter swirl (or PB2 if you’re conserving calories, see this post.), or anything you think pairs well with chocolate. Perhaps more chocolate.

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Another route you can go if you are not craving a simpler or fresher final product is to omit the chocolate and then add cinnamon and fresh fruit. This option also saves you 58 calories per serving so that your final product will be closer to 300 calories per serving.

Vanilla, Cinnamon & Berry Multi-Grain Oatmeal

Vanilla, Cinnamon & Berry Multi-Grain Oatmeal

VANILLA, CINNAMON & BERRY MULTI-GRAIN OATMEAL

– 2 tablespoons coconut sugar with stevia (96 calories)
– 2 tablespoons chia seeds (136 calories, 1.4 grams protein)
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– fresh or frozen berries

1. Once you have your basic multi-grain oatmeal cooked for 8 minutes, uncover.
4. Add in the coconut sugar, chia seeds, cinnamon and remaining 1/2 cup of almond milk. You can add more or less almond milk depending on how thick you want your porridge. Stir minimally to combine, taste for doneness/add more sweetener if necessary then let cook for another 1-2 minutes.
5. Remove from heat, add in the vanilla extract, stir, add toppings and serve.
6. If you are using fresh berries, slice over top and if you are using frozen microwave/heat until defrosted and juicy then pour it over the top of your oatmeal. Normally I will always choose fresh berries but in this case the ones that were frozen will be soft and bleeding berry juice that mixes into the oatmeal. “Bleeding” is a poor word choice here but you know what I mean. I’m all for it.

Vanilla Cinnamon Multi-Grain Oatmeal Pre-Topping

Vanilla Cinnamon Multi-Grain Oatmeal Pre-Topping

Post-Topping

Post-Topping

Added almonds and pumpkin seeds too btw.

Added almonds and pumpkin seeds too btw.

This version is also completely vegan. The chocolate pudding version is most likely vegan as well but I think that depends on the veganness of your dark chocolate. Mine was just regular Trader Joe’s dark chocolate so I believe it probably did have milk solids albeit a very small amount of them.

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TIPS:
– Substitute other grains, I think wheat berries would be soooo good in this because of their chewy texture.
– Depending on how soft or how textured you want this vary the ratio of grains (more oatmeal will make it softer) or cook it for more or less time.
– You could even use different grains to make this gluten-free; amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum, rice and some kinds of oats are gluten-free. Just make sure you adjust the cooking times accordingly for the grains you use.
– So many toppings would be good with these. I really want to make the chocolate one again and add PB2 to it for peanut butter flavor then top with sliced bananas and a little swirl of real peanut butter. For the chocolate-free one I think some cinnamon baked almonds and pears with pecans would make it amazing. Or lots of coconut and a few chocolate chips if you only want a hint of chocolate.
– As I mentioned before the chocolate-free one is vegan and the chocolate pudding version is most likely 99.9% vegan depending on how vegan the dark chocolate you use is.

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Cafe Chloe

Cafe Chloe is an adorable French cafe in downtown San Diego. It serves simple but tasty French food and its a great place for brunch or dinner. They have classic French food like pâté, steak frites, and croque madames as well as some more modern (or California-fied if you will) interpretations of French food such as whole wheat pancakes with cherry syrup. Cafe Chloe uses mostly local and organic ingredients which is always nice as well. We decided to stop here for brunch on a Sunday morning and we were able to get seated right away.

Cafe Chloe

Cafe Chloe

On the weekends they have this amazing Sticky Bun. It’s flaky and cinnamon-y with a sticky, sweet glaze and pecans. I once got it later in the day and it was stale-ish and not as amazing so definitely try to get this when its fresh! I also took home the other half I didn’t finish and had it with ice cream. This was one of the best ideas I have had in recent memory…

Sticky Bun

Sticky Bun

For brunch they have the usual Bloody Mary/Mimosa offerings as well as a fresh pomegranate juice. If you have never had fresh Pomegranate Juice it tastes so much better than POM. It’s more complex; sweet and very tart with a hint of bitter at the end. Loved this.

Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate Juice

As far as actual brunch offerings we went with the Croque Madame and the Greek Yogurt with Apricot-Hazelnut Granola and Lavender Honey. The croque madame was pretty good. I wish it had more mornay sauce but French ham, gruyère, bread, and a sunny side up egg are really all the things I crave for brunch (namely meat + cheese + carbs + egg). The frisee salad on the side is also a nice side that adds some lightness to the whole thing.

Croque Madame

Croque Madame

If you prefer something a little on the sweeter or lighter side their granola was really good. The apricot and hazelnuts along with the lavender honey gave it a much more interesting taste than the plain granola + yogurt + honey + berries/bananas you get at most places. The apricot and lavender work really well together, sweet and chewy apricots + floral honey is a match made in heaven. As much as I love eggs and some kind of ham/meat for brunch I think the granola will be my go-to dish here from now on!

Greek Yogurt Granola

Greek Yogurt Granola

Overall this is a lovely little place to go to. It really does have the feel of a French cafe and both the inside and the patio are nicely decorated and welcoming. After a lovely meal at this classy little cafe I made a mental note to come here more often!…

CHECK:
Sticky Bun $3.50
Pomegranate Juice
Croque Madame $13.75
Greek Yogurt Granola $7.75

Cafe Chloe
721 Ninth Ave #1
San Diego CA, 92101
http://www.cafechloe.com/

Brooklyn Girl Eatery – Brunch

So Brooklyn Girl has brunch, which I had no idea existed or else I would have gone sooner. Came here on Saturday around 11 am and was happy to see that there were plenty of free tables, which is nice considering trying to come around dinner time without a reservation has not worked well for us recently!

Brooklyn Girl

Brooklyn Girl

DRINKS:First of all, let me say right off the bat that Brooklyn Girl has the BEST Bloody Mary I’ve ever had. And this sentiment was echoed by others at our table. It’s so flavorful and has the perfect amount of spice. Watery Bloody Marys might very well be one of the worst things ever. I blame these bland and watered down specimens for me believing I hated Bloody Marys for most of the 24 years I’ve been on this Earth (I have seen the light and converted about 3 months ago). They have a special Bloody with bacon and a pickled quail egg too but we all went with the House Bloody which is described as “No Frills, All Delicious, Svedka Vodka, House Bloody Mix Celery, Jalapeno stuffed Olive, Lime, S&P rim”. Spot on.

Bloody Mary

House Bloody

We also loved their Horchata Borracha, or drunk horchata if you habla español. Housemade horchata + Kraken rum = deliciousness. This also came with a cinnamon sugar rim that was a nice touch.

Horchata Borracha

Horchata Borracha

ENTREES: As far as brunch options go they have omelettes, benedicts, pancakes, french toast, granola, and some less usual fare like their burger (add an egg to it!), a T.A.B.L.T. (Turkey Avocado Bacon Lettuce Tomato), a duck confit + duck egg dish, chicken and dumplings, and a breakfast pizza! It’s definitely an interesting but tasty selection.

I went for the Breakfast Pizza which did not disappoint at all. It comes with thick cut bacon, aged white cheddar, eggs, and chives. No tomato sauce on this pizza, and it was better this way. It’s super savory and there’s enough bacon that you get some on each bite. That with perfectly cooked eggs with soft yolks that are perfect for dipping in was heavenly. Wish the pizza had more char on it but besides that it was just about perfect. And huge too! Definitely more than enough for splitting.

Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza

Some of the other dishes we ordered were the South of the Border, a Mexican inspired benedict. This came with house chorizo, poblano peppers, black beans, red onions, flour tortillas instead of a biscuit, poached eggs, and an ancho hollandaise. I’m not a huge black bean person but besides that everything was pretty tasty. The chorizo was flavorful and the eggs were perfectly cooked. We asked for some hot sauce for this dish and with that it was good to go.

South of the Border

South of the Border

We also got their Traditional Benedict. This was smoked ham, english muffin, poached egg, and hollandaise with potatoes on the side. Despite this being pretty standard fare I liked it even more than the South of the Border because all the components were individually so good. The potatoes were super crispy and I don’t normally like thick cut ham but this one tasted so much more like real pork than the usual salty processed stuff that I could eat it by itself.

Traditional Benedict

Traditional Benedict

DESSERT: Lastly we also ordered the Bread Pudding. This took a while to arrive but it was well worth it. It was piping hot and studded with dark chocolate chips. It comes with an anglaise sauce to pour over the bread pudding, and when you do that the chocolate starts to melt into the anglaise and creates rippling chocolate swirls in the vanilla sauce. Eating this together with the hot custard-y bread is amazing. I was dying for an espresso after this but sadly their espresso machine wasn’t hooked up yet (they recently remodeled). Oh and I didn’t take a picture of it because we all devoured it immediately. So here’s more picture of food:

Not the Bread Pudding

Not the Bread Pudding

CHECK:
3 House Bloody’s $24 ($8 each)
Horchata Borracha $10
Breakfast Pizza $13
Traditional Benedict $11
South of the Border $14
Bread Pudding $8
TOTAL: $86.40

Overall, Brooklyn Girl continues to impress me both with their creativity and with the top-notch quality of their ingredients. They also do a good mix of having traditional options and bolder dishes for the more adventurous. I would definitely highly recommend brunch, especially before everyone else catches on and it becomes as busy as their dinner services!

Brooklyn Girl

Brooklyn Girl

Brooklyn Girl Eatery

4033 Goldfinch St
San Diego, California 92103
brooklyngirleatery.com

Cafe 21

Cafe 21 has long been ranked #1 brunch in SD and being a fan of Hash House I always wanted to go to see this restaurant that upstaged Hash House’s pizza-sized pancakes and my favorite pesto scramble with chicken

sangria, cafe 21, san diego

Sangrias at Cafe 21

Cafe 21 has two locations, one in the Gaslamp and one in North Park. Brunch tends to get pretty busy so we would advise you to go early or late and in general the North Park one is less crowded than the Gaslamp. We went to the North Park location around 10 am and only had to wait a couple minutes for seating at the bar.

You know when sometimes you go to a restaurant and one dish stands out so you know what you absolutely must order? At Cafe 21 there were 4 dishes that I absolutely wanted to order. I considered ordering 2 and taking the rest home but finally decided I should not completely cancel out the benefits of the hot yoga session I attended that morning and decided on only one dish – it wasn’t easy.

Cafe 21 has 4 kinds of sangria and they’re all displaced on the wall – two red wine ones and two white wine ones. We were stuck deciding between the Pineapple Citrus and the Watermelon Cantaloupe. We asked for a taster and ultimately decided on a pitcher of the watermelon one. It was very refreshing tasting and tasted more like melon than wine. This was served with a slice of fresh watermelon and lots of ice; perfect for a hot day.

watermelon, sangria

Watermelon Cantaloupe Sangria

The menu has quite a few options ranging from frittata-style omelettes that come in cast iron pans (you can get one side dish with them), benedicts that come on corn cakes, salads, sandwiches, yogurt parfaits and specials. I decided on the Filet Mignon Omelette that comes with bell peppers and goat cheese with a salad for the side.

salad, strawberry, cafe 21

Side Salad with Strawberry

filet mignon, omelette

Filet Mignon Omelette

The omelette was fluffy and delicious, it comes super hot in the cast iron pan. I loved the goat cheese but wished the bell peppers were a little more cooked as I like them soft instead of crunchy. The filet mignon was cooked medium-well, I suspect it was rarer but cooked while sitting in the cast iron pan. The side salad was delicious, simple greens but dressed with a slightly sweet berry dressing and garnished with fresh strawberries.

My friend got the Prosciutto Omelette. This came with prosciutto, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese. It looked amazing and I think I would pick that one over the Filet Mignon Omelette next time. All the omelettes come with toast as well.

Prosciutto, Omelette

Prosciutto Omelette

Overall everything was quite good, the service was excellent, and we kept staring at dishes come out of the kitchen and inquiring as to what they were as everything looked amazing. Can’t wait to come back here and try the lavash bread with turkey sausage topped with cheese or the smoked salmon, egg, and avocado sandwich. And the baked pancakes with apples….And the shrimp corn cake benedict! Clearly will have to return more than once…

Cafe 21

750 5th Ave
San Diego, CA
92101

2736 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA
92116

http://www.cafe-21.com

PB & BCH Toast

If you are currently at a loss for breakfast we have the simplest recipe for you. It involves no cooking (is toasting cooking?) and it will be ready in about 5 minutes, depending on how fast your slicing skills are.

As much as we would love to have a full breakfast everyday, one rarely finds the time to make rashers of bacon, crispy potatoes and scrambled eggs on weekday mornings. And breakfast is, as most of us are tired of hearing, the most important meal of the day. Although we too are guilty of occasionally skipping breakfast, many studies have shown that people who eat breakfast eat less throughout the whole day. Almost on par with skipping breakfast is having an unsatisfying breakfast. Although many times cereal will do just fine, if you are pressed for time and want something hot you need nothing more than 4 or 5 ingredients.

Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Honey Toast

Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Honey Toast

INGREDIENTS:
Loaf of country whole wheat bread (We like Trader Joe’s Demi Miche bread)
Peanut butter (we are partial to crunchy but we know this is a controversial topic)
1 banana
Honey
Shredded or flaked coconut (or any other topping of your choice!)
Coconut oil

Directions:
1. Slice some of the bread to your desired thickness.
2. Toast. Spread coconut oil on both sides then pan fry until golden on each side.
3. Spread the peanut butter generously on one side.
4. Slice the banana and layer on top of the peanut butter.
5. Drizzle with honey.
6. Top with coconut flakes.

Should you follow these ridiculously simple (almost to the point of being unnecessary) directions: The toast will be hot, crunchy on the outside, and will smell coconut-y and butter-y at the same time. The peanut butter will begin to melt where it touches the bread and ooze over. The bananas and honey will add sweetness and lastly you’ll have some more texture and flavor from the coconut. So good! This would also be a perfect afternoon snack.

TIPS:
– If you are allergic to coconut you can use butter instead of coconut oil and omit the coconut flakes.
– This would be also delicious with just plain white bread or super dark rye bread.
– This is what the Trader Joe’s Demi Miche bread looks like (here).
– Instead of the coconut flakes you could also top this with dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, dates…), chocolate chips, cinnamon, nuts, or berries!

Bailiwick

After seeing pictures of Bailiwick here I decided that’s where I wanted to go for brunch on Saturday morning with a friend. It’s primarily a cocktail bar but they serve brunch on weekends.

Bailiwick – sdcitybeat.com

The restaurant itself has a whimsical decor; a lot of light blue and white with big chandeliers and vintage bird cages. Oh and a bathtub full of champagne by the front entrance:

Tub full of champagne at Bailiwick

Tub full of champagne at Bailiwick

The whole place is light, airy, and a nice option for brunch. Especially if you intended to go to Cafe 21 (which is right next door) but encountered a 2 hour plus wait. Instead of a bread basket you get Frozen Grapes Infused with Syrah to nibble on while you wait for your food.

DRINKS: They have the usual brunch suspects; mimosas and bloody marys. The mimosas come in different flavors besides just orange and you can opt for grapefruit, pineapple, and cranberry. I got the Pineapple Mimosa and it was nicely flavored and not overly sweet like I feared. My friend ordered the Belvedere Bloody Mary and it came with all the fixings, including pancetta. You could also go bottomless for $15.

APPETIZER: I got the Breakfast Cheese Plate which I thought was unique. I was afraid it would be too much cheese (and not enough bread!) as is common with cheese plates (disclaimer: I woke up ridiculously early that day and so had already had breakfast…) but it was perfectly portioned. You get two types of bread (raisin and marbled rye), ricotta and shavings of two strong cheeses. It also comes with cubed fruit (pear, apple, dragonfruit) and some honey yogurt that is lovely but awkward to eat out of a flat board. The dish is a starter and might be too small for someone with a healthier appetite but I was a fan.

Breakfast Cheese Plate

Breakfast Cheese Plate

ENTREE: My friend ordered the Continental Omelet which she added veggies too. It was served with slabs of (VERY) thick-cut bacon and home-style potatoes. This was served in a cast iron pan and the portion was fairly large. Bacon was crisp, potatoes were good, and the omelette was huge. Definitely a good option if you are hungrier.

CHECK:
Pineapple Mimosa $8
Bloody Mary $12
Breakfast Cheese Plate $9
Continental Omelet $9
TOTAL: $41.04 (w/ tax)

Overall this was a enjoyable and affordable brunch place that would perhaps cater to girls over guys given the decor and restrained portions. The menu was fairly small but had good options that covered both classics like the egg+meat+potatoes or french toast crowd but also something for those wanting something more original or lighter fare with the Breakfast Cheese Plate or the Brown Butter Grilled Oysters. Will be returning here. Perhaps not when ravenous/hungover.

Bailiwick
756 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
http://bailiwicksd.com/