Savory Oatmeal with Garlicky Greens and Bacon

by Amanda Paa on June 29, 2015

Savory Oatmeal with Garlicky Greens and Bacon {heartbeet kitchen blog}You’re probably wondering why it’s the end of June and I’m posting a recipe for savory oatmeal.

Sunny and warm mornings greet us as we wake, new flowers blossoming on the patio where I enjoy breakfast every chance I get. It seems like the perfect opportunity for fresh fruit atop yogurt and a glass of iced coffee, but I sit with a strong cup of joe and this steaming bowl of creamy oats, garlicky greens, sizzling bacon, and mushrooms.

Savory Oatmeal with Garlicky Greens, Bacon and MushroomsFor more reasons than one, it evokes emotion for me, clearly defining comfort food just as oatmeal should. After a year of health struggles, I’m getting back to my old self again. I’ll be completely honest in saying that it has been a bumpy and frustrating road.There were days of hopelessness and depression, feeling like I was never going to get better, that I must be doing something wrong.

But in the end it was a combination of things — finding the nutrition my body needed (not necessarily following a plan even though it might be scientifically proven), hitting the pause button on life to rest and re-evaluate, and antibiotics to help me fight the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

Savory Oatmeal with Garlicky Greens and Bacon {with Earthbound Farm}Over the last 5 weeks I’ve successfully reintroduced oats, rice, lentils, nuts and seeds, egg yolks, lactose-free dairy, and chocolate. Those wins have helped tremendously, and I’m relieved to be able to eat more of my favorite whole foods. It’s a work in progress as my body continues to heal, and I am overwhelming grateful to be being feeling better.

Savory Oatmeal with Garlicky Greens and Bacon {heartbeet kitchen blog}The idea of reinventing sweet standby’s like waffles, pancakes, and pies in savory fashion has always intrigued me. This recipe is my way of thinking beyond classic oatmeal and summer salads thanks to my partnership with Earthbound Farm.

Savory Oatmeal with Garlicky Greens, Bacon and Mushrooms (heartbeet kitchen blog)There’s a lot to love about this morning bowl. It’s an example of just how beautiful and satisfying simple ingredients can be. Thick and hearty oats are slowly simmered while the bacon fries and then mushrooms are sauteed in the salty drippings.

The Kale Italia blend (here’s a coupon for you to try it!) is peppery and bold, the perfect compliment to the naturally sweet and nutty oats. It’s a zesty mix of baby kale, tangy mizuna and the classic Italian greens: arugula and radicchio. Sauteed with lots of garlic and olive oil, they become silky and void of their raw bitterness. (And I’ve made the greens that way as a quick side dish several times now.)

Garlicky Greens {paleo}

With each bite, I’m enamored by the different flavors, textures, and comfort this savory oatmeal brings.

I’ve got some work to do, but I feel alive again, ready to enjoy slow mornings and embrace the life that sits in front of me.

Savory Oatmeal with Garlicky Greens & Bacon

This conversation is sponsored by Earthbound Farm. The opinions are all mine.

Savory Oatmeal with Garlicky Greens and Bacon

serves 2
2 cups water
1 cup milk (I used hemp milk, but dairy or non-dairy of any variety will work)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 1/4 cups organic rolled oats
8 slices of bacon
4 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces Earthbound Farms Kale Italia (about 1/2 of the container) — click here to find your nearest store that carries it

Bring water, milk, and salt to a boil in a saucepan, then stir in oats. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until desired consistency. Stir a few times during while they cook, but not too much or the oats will get gummy.

Meanwhile heat cast iron skillet to medium high and cook the bacon in batches, flipping once and letting the pieces get crispy. Set on a towel to drain. Leave 2 tablespoons bacon grease in the pan and add mushrooms, stirring to coat. Return heat to medium and cook for 6-7 minutes, until mushrooms are softened and browned.

Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside. Add the olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Stir in garlic and let cook for 1 minute, until fragrant, then add Kale Italia greens and 1/4 teaspoons salt. Stir to coat, turn heat down to medium, and cook for 3 minutes, until greens are wilted.

Assemble each bowl with greens, mushrooms and bacon. Drizzle with some of the leftover bacon fat if you desire.

13 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Breakfast, Fall, Main Dish, Recipe Box, Spring, Summer, Winter



Stacked Beet Salad with Crispy Shallots + Herb-Infused OilI always knew that vacation was good for the soul, but its timing couldn’t have been better. California certainly welcomed me, and for 7 days I was surrounded by love and compassion, engaging conversations, and activities that make my heart happy.

Beautiful Beets ~ via heartbeet kitchen blogFirst I flew to Los Angeles to see Kelli, the friend I can always count on no matter how many miles we’re apart. We first connected over food while she lived here, and there is still nothing else that compares to sharing the kitchen with her, then watching her effortlessly create the most wonderful dinner party – the kind with twinkly lights, a fresh tablecloth, fancy glasses and food that satisfies.

Stacked Beet Salad with Herb-Infused Oil & Crispy Green GarlicStacked Beet Salad with Herb-Infused OilDuring my stay we embraced the sun with breakfast on the patio, several walks around her cute Burbank neighborhood, and a subway adventure to Grand Central Market. What a wonderful place, a curious food lover’s dream for sure. If I lived there, you can bet this $3.50 plate of juicy carnitas with those perfect crispy bits would be a weekly occurrence.

Stacked Beet Salad with Herb-Infused Oil & Crispy Shallots {paleo, vegan}Basil & Tarragon Infused OilFrom there I made my way to San Francisco to stay with Sarah and Alanna, whom I consider some of my best pals, even though we’d yet to meet in person. That’s the beauty of blogging, something that I’m grateful for more and more each day.

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35 comments   • • •   as featured in:   AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), Fall, Main Dish, Recipe Box, Salad, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian, Winter



Sticky Apricot Basil Chicken Thighs

by Amanda Paa on May 31, 2015

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Apricot Basil Glaze {gluten-free} Have you hopped on the chicken thigh bandwagon yet? If not, I think this easy recipe might be your one way ticket, no looking back. Like many, I grew up a child of the late 80’s, where fat was considered the devil and Jane Fonda was every woman’s 6:00 am pal. A typical “healthy” dinner consisted of baked chicken breasts with steamed vegetables and a sprinkle of reduced-calorie cheese, a glass of raspberry Crystal Light to wash it down. Oof.

Thank goodness we’ve taken back the roots of cooking and embraced both techniques and ingredients that let real food shine. These Sticky Apricot Basil Chicken Thighs are a testament to both.

Sticky Apricot Basil Chicken Thighs (via heartbeet kitchen blog)I’ll be honest, chicken thighs seemed a little intimidating before I made them the first time. With skin-on and bone-in, how exactly do I do this? With help from Bon Appetit and my cast iron skillet, juicy chicken with salty, crispy skin was just 20 minutes away. The most important piece is starting with a smoking hot pan and searing them skin side down to render out the fat, and give the thighs something to “fry” in. Think about it – this is why you love bacon.

And don’t forget to let those babies rest, just like you would with steak. This holds in all the flavor and lets the salt permeate into the meat.

How to Make the Crispiest Chicken ThighsI could have served the finger lickin’ good thighs just like that, but another little trick is making a quick sauce from whatever jam or preserves you have. I’ve learned that fruit brightens and balances meat really well, working harmoniously together. Ever notice why good restaurant meals are never heavy in one taste and lacking in another?

Crispy Chicken Thighs Apricot Glaze 5With little effort thanks to apricot preserves from Cascadian Farm Organic, this basil infused glaze brought this meal from really good to “kick the table” delicious. A quick simmer with minced shallots, white wine vinegar and a little dijon mustard is all it takes. And if apricot isn’t your favorite, this would work well with any 1/2 empty jars of jam you have sitting in your refrigerator too.

Apricot Basil Glaze ~ delicious on chicken or porkSmothered on the crispy chicken after it comes off the pan, a sticky texture with a sweet & savory twist emerges.

Sticky Apricot Basil Chicken via heartbeet kitchen blogHope you join me on the chicken thigh bandwagon, and if you make these in your kitchen, tag me on instagram, @amanda_paa so I can see your creations!

Many thanks to Cascadian Farm for sponsoring this post, a company I regularly use in my kitchen. I’m so grateful they provide all of us with accessible, organic fruits and vegetables. And thank you for understanding that I carefully choose the brands I work with that help make this site possible. All opinions are 100% my own.

Sticky Apricot Basil Chicken Thighs

serves 2
I served the chicken with roasted purple cabbage wedges, which I’ve been loving, and I think they almost need their post. But for a quick method, just cut the core out of the cabbage, slice 1/2 inch thick slices, then coat both sides with olive oil and salt. Roast at 375 degrees for 25 minutes and this heavenly side dish is ready.

Sticky Apricot Basil Glazed Chicken Thighs (gluten-free)

1 1/4 pounds, or about 3 bone-in & skin-on chicken thighs (pasture-raised)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt

Apricot Basil Glaze
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon smooth dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup Cascadian Farm Organic apricot preserves
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced basil

Rub chicken thighs with 1 tablespoons olive oil and salt, then let sit while you prepare the sauce so that they come close to room temperature.

For sauce, heat olive oil to medium high heat in a small saucepan. Add shallot and salt, cooking for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Stir in mustard, vinegar and preserves. Lightly simmer for 5-6 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in basil and turn off heat.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to medium high heat in a 12 inch cast-iron skillet. Wait until very hot, then add chicken thighs skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn heat down to medium and continue to cook for 8 more minutes so that it can “fry” in it’s own fat, until skin is golden brown. Flip and cook for 10 minutes.

Transfer skillet to oven and cook for 8-10 minutes longer, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear. Transfer to a plate, smother with glaze, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Sticky Apricot Basil Chicken Thighs (gluten-free)

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 What is Collagen/Gelatin & How to Use it As An Egg Replacement (for AIP/paleo baking)

"Chocolate" Carob Bread with Date Caramel Frosting {AIP/Paleo}There’s no doubt about it. I miss chocolate. I’ve never been one who fights over the last piece of rich, caramel praline cheesecake, but rather craves the sweet treats that go well with coffee. Those that can stand in for breakfast or dessert like this “Chocolate” Carob Bread with Date Caramel Spread.

If you’ve been following along with my autoimmune journey, you might know that things of this nature are temporarily on the back burner. But I want you to know that I’m feeling great right now, a week into the SIBO antibiotics, a lot of rest and personal reflection. Today marks day 7 without a flare, the longest streak in a year. To say that I’m joyful is putting it very lightly.

Chocolate Carob Bread with Date Caramel Frosting ~ via heartbeet kitchen {paleo, egg-free}Along this whole ride, I’ve been focused on celebrating the food I can enjoy and embracing ingredients that I would have never stumbled upon without the situation. Having said that, this soft and moist “Chocolate” Carob Bread comes with 3 new to me ingredients – carob, cassava flour (which is grain-free, nut-free), and collagen/gelatin as an egg replacement.

When I opened the bag of raw carob powder, the lush cocoa smell that escaped was incredible. It’s made from the long bean-like pods of the carob tree, a flowering evergreen shrub. As I tasted it, flavors of an americano blended with dark chocolate bar came to the surface. I found it naturally sweet, and I was confident it was going to replace cocoa in the best of ways.

Chocolate Carob Bread with Date Caramel Spread {paleo}The smooth and moist texture is thanks to Otto’s Cassava Flour (a root vegetable also known as yuca), the hottest grain-free flour hitting the streets. The entire root is dried and ground, minus the peel. There’s no grittiness to it compared to tigernut flour, which I find to be sandy on its own. It’s equal to butternut squash and sweet potato flour in silkiness, but has little flavor, making it very versatile for both sweet & savory recipes.

"Chocolate" Carob Bread with Date Caramel Frosting {AIP, paleo} via heartbeet kitchenIn terms of mimicking the binding power of eggs, collagen/gelatin has worked wonders for me. It helps hold the bread together, the result being thick and fudgey slices, no crumbles to speak of.

Collagen has gotten a lot of press lately in health magazines because of its natural presence in bone broth, but if you’re like me prior to a few months ago, you’re probably thinking what the heck is this? And why should I be using it? Well, I’ve teamed up with the folks at Vital Proteins to give you the inside scoop, plus they’re GIVING AWAY  both types of their collagen to one of you, enter at the end of the post!

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37 comments   • • •   as featured in:   AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), Fall, Recipe Box, Spring, Summer, Sweets, Winter



Raspberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars: gluten-free, veganI don’t mind when terrific ingredients finally get their day in the spotlight, even becoming a little “trendy” like kale or brussels sprouts. For years rhubarb was known as the vegetable trying to being a fruit. Too tart for some, not pretty enough for others. But now it’s abundantly seen on dessert & bakery menus across the country, recipes and pretty photos plastered in food magazines.

Raspberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars {naturally gluten-free, vegan}Earlier this week I posted a Rhubarb Fig Jam that sadly I have just about a spoonful left of, and yesterday I made these Gluten-Free Raspberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars for my segment on Twin Cities Live (click to replay). We talked about tips & tricks to eating gluten-free on a budget, like DIY ingredients such as the oat flour used to make this spring treat and starting a group buying club for specialty ingredients.

Amanda Paa with Elizabeth Ries

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39 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Recipe Box, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Sweets