My son, who will be turning three later this summer, recently started this weird picky eating phase some time in November. Where before he would eat EVERYTHING, he is now much more cautious and often downright rejective. One thing he has not lost, however, is his love for oats. Hot oatmeal, granola, overnight oatmeal, muesli….anything with oats (even with nuts and dried fruit), he will eat. For the sake of variety, I’ve been experimenting with different ways of preparing them and I’m happy to share today one of my successful creations that I’ve been meaning to post for quite some time now.
This specific overnight oatmeal recipe was inspired by the flavor profile of Middle Eastern sweets, specifically that of Ashta; a Lebanese clotted cream used as a filling in phyllo pastries and other desserts. From the creaminess of the milk, the fragrant sweetness of orange blossom and rose water, to the nutty bite of the pistachios, this nutritious breakfast will feel like an utter treat. The best part is that it’s naturally sweetened and there is no cooking required; the oats soften overnight as they soak in the milk. You can make them in a bowl if you’re eating breakfast at home or you can pack them in little mason jars for a quick breakfast on the go. According to the Minimalist Baker, one of my favorite food bloggers, overnight oats keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, but are best eaten within the first 12-24 hours so you might not want to make them too far ahead of time. As long as you have your ingredients on hand, you can whip one up every night in well under 10 minutes. Alright, let’s make some Middle Eastern dessert for breakfast!
Ashta Overnight Oatmeal
1/2 cup of Old Fashion Rolled Oats (We prefer Bob’s Red Mill Regular or Organic)
1 cup of unsweetened milk of choice
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 teaspoon rose water
1 tablespoon honey (more if you like it sweeter)
Ground pistachio, unsalted
Dried rose petal
*Serving size: 1.
*If you want your overnight oats to have a thicker, slightly gelatinous texture like pudding then add 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds. My husband isn’t a fan so I leave them out.
*If you’re not a vegan and would like some extra richness and creaminess, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of ashta or greek yogurt.
* I purchase my pistachios whole from Trader Joe’s and grind them myself in a small food processor.
1. In a bowl or mason jar, add milk, honey, orange blossom water, and rose water. Stir to combine.
2. Add in the oats and stir until all the oats are fully immersed in the liquid.
3. Cover securely and place in the fridge overnight.
4. The next morning, take your container out of the fridge and stir the mixture. . Drizzle with quality honey and top generously with crushed pistachios and rose petals. Enjoy
What are your favorite ways to eat oats? We would love to hear from you in the comments below and if you try this recipe, share your thoughts and tag us on Instagram so we can see. And as always if you enjoyed this post, please follow us and share.
Although Ramadan ended over a month ago, we are still having a difficult time breaking some of our Ramadan schedule and habits. Not only do we still stay up pretty late (midnight is the norm for me), but we also eat like mice early in the morning because it feels strange to fill up right after we’ve woken up. With all the things we have going on in our life, we certainly can’t afford to skip out on the most important meal of the day so today I’m sharing a simple breakfast idea that’s sweet, crunchy, and filling. Banana sandwiches are something we grew up eating as a treat. My father would make it for us and share stories of his picky-eating days, growing up in Beirut, where all he would eat was bread and sugar to fill up. I guess you can’t really go wrong with bread and banana! Thankfully none of us turned out that picky but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the product of my father’s resourcefulness 🙂
When I got married, I was introduced to a whole different world of foods I had never eaten. One of those things was geimar, a creamy Iraqi spread similar to clotted cream. It’s thick and rich in just the right way and it’s unsweetened which makes it the perfect base for a sandwich like this. We don’t eat it often but when my in-laws are in town we make sure to get our fill of geimar, samoon (Iraqi flatbread), and honey. When I photographed this recipe, I used sourdough toast that I had on hand but you can use any bread you like. If you desire more substance and less bread, you can cut the banana length wise and roll it up in a thin pita bread just like my dad used to do.
Quality artisan bread/toast
Salted butter or clotted cream
Note: You can use unsalted butter if you’d like but I find the saltiness works wonderfully with the sweetness of the honey and banana.
Toast the bread of your choice and generously lather on some butter while it’s still a bit warm. Layer on banana slices and walnuts and then drizzle on some honey. Serve alongside a nice cup of piping hot tea.
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We pride ourselves in our diversity as a family so this post will touch on that a little bit. Together, my wife and I, have roots from six different countries including where we were raised: Albania, Iraq, Lebanon, Poland, Sweden, and The United States. This specific recipe has been a breakfast staple in my household growing up and my father used to make it for us as far back as I can remember. Although the ingredient list is simple, this dish is truly a labor of love; from the slow caramelizing of the onions to the bubbling and simmering of the fresh tomatoes with turmeric and pepper. It’s the spiciness and subtle sweetness of the scrambled eggs that really sets it apart from its omelet cousin. Served with warm, freshly-baked samoon or sangak and sweet, mint-infused black tea, makhlama is sure to brighten any morning.
In 2014, we visited my family in Sweden and my wife was able to taste the epicness (made-up word) of my father’s makhlama for the first time. Since then, it has become a highlight of our weekend breakfasts together. While in Sweden, we would eat makhlama alongside räksallad, a creamy shrimp salad, and knäckebröd (Swedish crispbread) and it was simply delicious. At home in the States, we eat it with buttery croissants, sharp Vermont cheddar or creamy labneh, and arugula. We consider ourselves very blessed that we have such diverse tastebuds and culinary menus to draw from when meal planning. There is never a dull meal. We eat and enjoy dishes from all around the world and we get to share with each other (and hopefully one day with our children) the memories of what those meals conjure up.
Iraqi Eggs in Tomato Sauce (Makhlama)
1 medium sweet onion
4-5 small ripe tomatoes
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Note: Serves 2-4
1. Dice the onions very finely and sauté in hot vegetable oil on low until light brown and caramelized. This takes time so be patient and stir often so as to not let it burn.
2. In the meantime, dice your tomatoes and prepare your spices. Once your onions are slightly caramelized, add in the tomatoes and spices and cook off until thickened.
3. Crack your eggs into the pan and scramble them around until cooked.
4. Serve with warm delicious breads, cheeses, and fresh herbs. And of course a nice hot cup of chai!
What are some meals that remind you of your childhood growing up in a different culture?
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