This past weekend I celebrated my birthday! I’m not normally someone who’s big into making a huge thing out of it but since this one was the big three-o I figured we should do something, so Philip and I drove out to Banff for the night. It was only for one night but it was nice to get out of the city for a short amount of time, plus is was freakin’ gorgeous out! Sunny, warm , the perfect weather for wandering around in the mountains 🙂 We didn’t get there until late in the afternoon and by that point we were both starving like two malnourished seagulls; I was hoping to hit up Nourish Bistro but they were closed at that time, so instead we headed to the The Magpie & Stump for some texmex. They don’t have much for outdoor seating but being as it was so late in the day, we managed to snag a seat outside and relish in the sun. I don’t like super sweet drinks but I was in the mood for something refreshing and something more exciting than water so I ordered one of their wine margaritas. Damn are those things easy to drink. It’s just white wine, triple sec and lime juice and totally hit the spot.
I ordered the bean and veggie burrito (minus the sour cream and cheese), I really like that they have a couple different heat options, jalapeno, habanero and ghost peppers…I went with habanero since the thought of eating ghost peppers sounds like something only a lunatic would do (or maybe if your mouth is made of fire?), I’m sweating just thinking about eating those things The food was pretty good, I’m probably not the best one to comment since I basically inhaled the plate but they actually know what vegan means at this place, so they get bonus points for that! Afterwards we spent most of the night drinking tasty beer at Banff Ave. Brewing Co. I’m not a big beer drinker but they had a Saskatoon Berry Ale that was mighty tasty, Philip on the other hand went straight for the IPA which he ended up being a big fan of ;). I didn’t take any pictures but I loved the hotel we stayed in. It’s called The Fox Hotel & Suites and the rooms are set up kind of like little apartments/cottages. The way the rooms are decorated make me feel like I’m staying in someone’s fancy cabin, plus there was a fireplace! I think the best part about the place is their hot tub room, it’s huge and it’s set up so you feel like you’re in a cave with an open ceiling, totally perfect for relaxing and staring up at the stars.
Before we headed out to Banff, I figured a hearty and healthy breakfast was in order. I haven’t had steel cut oats or buckwheat for breakfast since I got my new blender, which is odd considering how often I used to eat them, but I’ve been in some kind of a smoothie obsessed faze lately. I couldn’t make up my mind between the buckwheat or the steel-cut oats, so I decided to combine the two! Adding some spices and milk, I made a creamy delicious porridge to keep me full and happy. I love the texture of both buckwheat and steel cut oats, unlike rolled oats which are pretty mushy when cooked, both grains have a fantastic chewy texture. They take a nice bit longer to cook but your patience will be rewarded. Plus they reheat really well, so you can just make a huge batch when you have some free time and heat up a portion for breakfast every morning.
I was really in the mood for some fresh fruit as a topper, but seeing as we haven’t been to the grocery store in a while, we were kind of lacking in the fresh food department. So instead, I made do with what I had on hand and stumbled across some dried figs that I had bought for something else and as usual, forgot to make. I chopped them up and simmered them in a mixture of orange juice, maple syrup and cinnamon, which resulted in plump orange infused figs and an orangey syrup. Being as I didn’t add any sweetener to my porridge, drizzling the syrup and figs over top made it soooo good. It added just enough sweetness and extra flavor so that you could still taste the subtle nuttiness of the porridge. I also sprinkled some toasted walnuts on top to add a little crunch. This was a uber yummy and filling breakfast, I think my daily smoothies now have a new competitor in the morning breakfast championships.
OAT & BUCKWHEAT PORRIDGE WITH ORANGE INFUSED FIGS
- 1 cup dried figs , quartered
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- zest of half an orange
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 3/4 cup gluten-free or regular steel-cut oats
- 1/2 buckwheat
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (I used vanilla)
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, for garnish
- Place the figs, orange juice, zest, cinnamon and maple syrup in a small-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir; cover with a lid, and set aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, add the coconut oil. Once heated add the cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Cook the spices, stirring frequently until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the oats, buckwheat and quinoa stirring so that the grains become evenly coated with the oil and spices. Stir and toast the grains for 3 to 4 minutes until they release a slightly nutty scent.
- Add the water and milk and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes. Stir in the salt and continue to simmer, stirring frequently as it will start to stick, until the oats absorb almost all the liquid and the grains are creamy, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in vanilla and let the porridge stand for 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle each bowl of hot porridge with warm figs and toasted walnuts, if you prefer your porridge a little sweeter, add some additional maple syrup.