Years ago, I had a word-of-the-day calendar. I love this idea, this ritual of bringing a new concept into the everyday. Of diving into the depths of language and storytelling and perceptions of consciousness. I love losing myself in books, poems, songs; strings of words woven together to produce a richly colored tapestry of the human experience. I love how lyrics and prose can transport, can switch on the projector inside the brain–or perhaps it’s the soul–and spin reel upon reel of vivid imagery, sights and smells and sounds and tastes, emotions spanning the spectrum from gut-wrenching to gut-wrenchingly beautiful, melancholy to hopeful, inspiring to calming.
We are these stories told.
I had a small notebook (one of many), and pasted from back to front my favorite daily words from this calendar. Words that resonated, words evocative, words that spoke their meaning by their sound:
I went looking for that notebook today, and I found it. But apparently in one of my organization/moving/cleaning frenzies I had torn out those words-a-day. Better to use the notebook for more practical enterprises such as jotting down grocery lists, I suppose. Rarely do I regret things that I have given away or thrown away in my near-constant attempts to declutter. But I will admit this was one of those rueful times; I can’t help but wonder what gems made up the full list. But now then begins the time to (re)discover. To listen, to read, with an ear and eye toward new favorites.
And on the subject of new favorites: a new favorite breakfast. Labneh with ancient grains granola. For a vegan version, I imagine you can sub a plain, non-dairy yogurt for the plain yogurt in the recipe below. If you try it, please let me know how it works!
Labneh & Ancient Grains Granola Breakfast Bowl
For each serving: 1 C plain, whole milk yogurt
small pinch salt (opt)
- Stir the salt into the yogurt, if using.
- Place the yogurt in a double layer of cheesecloth, tie the top, and set to drain over a deep bowl. I found that tying a chopstick into the cheesecloth is a handy way to suspend the bundle over the bowl.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or longer, if you want the labneh thicker).
- When ready to eat, place the labneh in a fresh bowl, spread to an even thickness, and top with your favorite granola, fruit, nuts & other goodies!
Ancient Grains Granola
1 C raw amaranth, popped (will make about 2 3/4 C)
1/2 C uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 C unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 C brown sesame seeds
1/2 C chia seeds
1/2 C hemp seeds
2 t vanilla powder
1 1/2 t coarse sea salt
3/4 C olive oil
1/2 C + 2 T maple syrup
- Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.
Once it’s hot, place a scant 1 T amaranth seeds in the pan, cover with a lid, and begin shaking the pan. You’ll hear it popping.
- When the popping slows down, after 10 seconds or so, pour the popped amaranth (it’s okay if not every grain pops) into a large bowl.
- Repeat until all the amaranth is popped.
- NOTES: if this is the first time you’ve popped amaranth, give yourself a few practice rounds. It takes a few tries to figure out the timing, and I will admit to burning the first few batches. By using just 1 T (or a bit less) per round of popping, you’re far less likely to scorch the kernals.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Farenheit.
- Mix the quinoa, coconut, seeds, vanilla powder, and sea salt into the large bowl of popped amaranth.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and maple syrup.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir to combine.
- Place the mixture on a parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until the mixture is golden and fragrant, and the moisture has somewhat evaporated.
- Let cool, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- NOTE: this granola does not “cluster” like many oat-based granolas, but it is no less delicious! The maple lends a hint of sweetness, the olive oil a savoriness, and the grains and seeds a wonderful textural crunch.
Labneh-granola breakfast bowl
- Top a bowl of labneh with ancient grains granola, fresh and/or dried fruits, nuts, jam, more maple syrup … the works!