Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day–probably because it’s almost like a mini-dessert. I usually try to eat something healthy that will keep me full throughout the morning, but I also splurge on sugar: I gravitate toward sweet cereals, oatmeal with lots of berries and brown sugar, and toast with fruity jams. Lately, a lot of the recipes I come across for brunch and breakfast foods imitate dessert in some way: “hot chocolate oatmeal,” “creme brulee French toast” and “strawberry shortcake pancakes” are just a few that have caught my eye.
This weekend, I made a chai spice and almond smoothie and carrot cake oatmeal. Both recipes combine elements of other dishes I enjoy: the chai spice smoothie reminds me of drinking warm, soothing Indian chai tea, and carrot cake oatmeal includes most of the ingredients you’d find in the dessert.
For the smoothie, you’ll need to create a blend of chai spices: I used cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. The original recipe also called for black pepper, but I decided to leave that out. Add a spoonful of almond butter, a splash of almond milk, and a banana, and you’ll have a delicious smoothie worthy of dessert or breakfast.
The carrot cake oatmeal combines grated carrot, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and raisins. You bring quick cooking (or, steel-cut) oats to a boil, add the carrot, spices and sugar, and then bring the mixture to a simmer. Once the oats are cooked through, you can remove them from the heat and mix in more sugar to taste.
Even though both recipes take a little extra time and effort (something most of us don’t have during the regular week), they’re perfect for a lazy weekend at home. Plus, they’re healthy–so you can have your cake, and eat it, too.
Chai Spice Smoothie (adapted from here)
Chai Spice Blend:
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground allspice
Combine all spices together. Store in an airtight container.
- 1 cup almond milk, or any other nut milk
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 banana (frozen or room temperature)
- 1 heaping spoonful almond butter
- 1-2 tsp chai spice
- a squirt of maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
Carrot Cake Oatmeal (adapted from Joy the Baker)
1 cup / 240 ml milk, plus extra for serving
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1 /2 cup grated carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
In a saucepan, bring the milk to a gentle boil. Stir in the oats, carrots, raisins, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt and return to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and partially cover. Cook the oats stirring just once or twice until it begins to thicken and the oats are soft yet chewy, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange zest. Serve warm with extra milk or sugar.