Thank You so much to Naked Juice for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own. #DrinkGoodDoGood
Wednesday of last week, I woke up to one of “those mornings”. I am an early riser to begin with, but I had decided to get up even earlier than normal in an effort to tackle an ever-mounting pile of work on my desk. I watched the sunrise, put on a pot of coffee, and slipped into some my comfiest clothes. As I sat down, my arm accidentally hit my freshly poured cup, spilling it all over said clothes. I was not off to a great start.
Soggy as I was, I pushed on through, but there would be more accidents to follow; a computer glitch here, a failed recipe attempt there. These things happen. As the wee hours of the day turned into the early afternoon, I started to feel sluggish, due in part to a lack of caffeine, but also because I had skipped my usual workout. A break was in order. I rounded up my sister – who was coincidentally off to a similar start – and my Mom, and together we decided to head to a local hiking trail to get some fresh air.
My sister is a very accomplished mountain runner and as a result of her training, she knows all of the best spots in the area to hike. The spot she lead us to was a new-to-me four-mile loop that backs up to a “Secret Garden” and a series of art installations. I love to explore so I was happy to be out of my element if even for a little bit. Chatting and climbing, exercising outdoors on a beautiful day, all the while with two of the people I love most in this world, only made me feel happier. Not wanting the high to end when we were done, I suggested we stop at some of the local farmstands, which dot the country roads that we would take home. I live for produce this time of year, and this part of Upstate NY never disappoints when it comes to supplying it.
Off we went then on the second part of our adventure, collecting items at every pull-off. We found the first concord grapes of the season, graffiti eggplant, tiny heads of purple cauliflower, and deep black plums shaped like hearts. Our final stop took us to the only fig grower in the state, where we ate fruit plucked directly from the tree. I would have photographed the figs too had I been able to wait to eat them. As I sorted through my loot later on, I felt extremely lucky; to have my family close to me, to be healthy, and to have so much wonderfully fresh food at my fingertips.
You see, I recently learned about food deserts. Food deserts are areas in which people (nearly 30 million Americans, currently) live without access to affordable, quality, fresh fruits and vegetables. I am teaming up with Naked Juice today to tell you that there is something simple we can all do to help change that. As a part of their #DrinkGoodDoGood initiative, Naked Juice has partnered with Wholesome Wave to provide produce where there is none. Following an initial contribution of 250,000 pounds of produce, for every fruit or vegetable selfie shared (You can see mine below!) with the hashtag #DrinkGoodDoGood, Naked Juice will donate and additional 10 pounds of produce to communities in need. To participate, all you have to do is snap and upload your own selfie; easy-peasy!
- For the Bruléed Oatmeal:
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 3 cups nut milk of choice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- For the Vanilla Poached Plums:
- 2 ripe plums, cut into thick slices or wedges
- ¼ cup apple cider
- 1 vanilla bean
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- Place the oats, nut milk, cinnamon stick and salt in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes give or take, until the oats are tender but not mushy.
- Meanwhile, mix the coconut sugar and maple syrup together in a small bowl.
- Turn your broiler on; preferably to the low setting if you have both low and high options.
- Once the oatmeal is cooked, divide it evenly into two oven-safe bowls. Spoon equal parts of the coconut sugar mixture over the top of each bowl of oatmeal. Arrange the plums skin-side up in a separate oven-proof dish, along with vanilla bean and thyme, and pour the apple cider over the top. Place the bowls of oatmeal, as well as the dish of plums underneath the broiler (about 10 inches underneath it, if possible), and broil for approximately 8-10 minutes until the oatmeal is bubbling and the topping is caramelized, and the plums are soft and browned. To serve, spoon the plums and cider on top of the oatmeal.