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Toasted Coconut Breakfast Risotto

Toasted Coconut Breakfast Risotto—sounds perfect for a cold day in January, don’t you think?

That’s exactly what we’ve got here in the northeast. A cold and somewhat gloomy day. Lots of snow on the ground. A nip in the air. All I want to do is hibernate.

Not possible. The little dogs still get excited about going for a walk—and if they don’t get one they add to the chaos that’s already my home. Holiday stuff is still hanging around waiting to be stored for another year. The kid is making camping stoves from empty soda cans. Laundry is overflowing its basket.

So, we get bundled up and out we go. Every now and then the little boy dog picks up a paw and begs to have it rubbed vigorously until warm. Yes, he’s very spoiled.

Despite the frosty temperatures my husband is camping with the Boy Scouts. It’s the annual Freezeree. He looks forward to it every year. I know. It’s a little crazy. But, it makes him happy. He’s happy. I’m happy. Besides, I’m sleeping in a warm house under a big quilt.

When I got up this morning he was already gone. Lucky me, he made the coffee before he left. I woke up to a quiet house lightly scented with coffee and filled with a sleeping college kid and snoozing dogs. Just enough time for a few hours of just me and…well, whatever.

Seemed like a good time to make a warm, delicious breakfast. Coffee in hand I pulled out all the ingredients and started stirring. About a half hour later I was savoring a bowl of steaming Toasted Coconut Breakfast Risotto.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Toasted Coconut Breakfast Risotto

Heat a small cast iron frying pan over a low heat. Add:

½ cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Gently brown the coconut while tossing it lightly with a silicon spatula. The pan retains heat and will continue to brown the coconut so once you get it lightly browned remove it to a dish to cool.

Bring to a simmer in a medium saucepan then turn off the burner keeping the water there to remain warm:

2½ cups water

In a separate saucepan over medium heat add and heat for a minute:

1 tablespoon grapeseed or other vegetable oil

Stir in, coating with oil, and heating for another minute:

½ cup Arborio rice

Add and stir in:

¼ cup dried fruits (cherries, cranberries, raisins)

Now you’re going to add the hot water ¼ cup at a time. The first addition will create a bit of steam so add it carefully. Stir the risotto until the water evaporates and then add another quarter cup. Continue in this manner until all the water has been absorbed and the risotto is plump, soft, and creamy.

Caution: this requires a lot of attention and stirring. If you walk away to do some other tasks you may easily burn the risotto. Trust me on this.

When all the water is absorbed and the risotto is soft and creamy remove it from the heat.

Stir in the remaining ingredients:

¼ cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg (optional)
sea salt

Let it sit for a minute or two to cool and then gently stir in all but a heaping tablespoon of the toasted coconut. Serve in a bowl topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, brown sugar and the remaining coconut.

Makes about 2 or 3 servings.


Risotto is a wonderful naturally gluten-free food that lends itself to so many flavoring options. Here are a few to get the ideas sparking:


Sensitive Pantry—Carmelized Fennel & Onion Risotto

Gluten Free Goddess—Roasted Acorn Squash Risotto

Gluten Free Girl—Bacon Spinach Risotto

Book of Yum—Seven Herb Risotto

Celiacs in the House—Crispy Vegetable & Risotto Cakes


Savor {Orange Oatmeal Scones}

Every New Year’s Day one of my best friends picks a word as her focus for the year ahead. I marvel at her decision to do this—to think about and live by that word all year long.

It takes the same kind of self determination to go gluten-free and never look back. I’ve done that. I guess I can pick a word and see where it takes me. Maybe I need a vision board—like the ones some of my GF blogger friends are creating—hanging in my office to remind me to center myself on something more than the necessary day-to-day tasks that seem to fill the moments, hours, and days to overflowing.

Looking for the right word is not something I decided to do New Year’s Day morning. I’ve thought about this for weeks while hustling and bustling through preparations for holidays, getting up to speed on a new job, celebrating with family and friends, dealing with an aging mother and the passing of older relatives. Thinking about it on days I feel like talking myself off the ledge while I breathe deeply into a paper sack. And, even when I know that life is really very good—having coffee or dinner with friends, picking up my son from college, snuggling a little dog or enjoying a rare quiet moment.

Little snippets of sayings and songs passed through my head as I searched for a word. Don’t worry, be happy. Stop and smell the roses. Things like that. Happy?  I thought of one of my favorite little books The Tao of Pooh (a must read! over and over and over.) Tao? Zen? Nothing was snapping.

And, then today I read this post over at Tickled Red and something clicked. I get this woman. I connect with her on some level—little sparks of connectivity like snyapses popping across the internet.

What she wrote spoke to me. A word in her post popped off the page—SAVOR. Yes. That’s the word.

Savor—to enjoy or appreciate completely.

Yes. That’s it. That’s the word for 2011. Savor.

I’m going to wrap my head around that word and see where it takes me.


Orange Oatmeal Scones

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. The rack should be in the center position.

Mix together and set aside:

½ teaspoon orange extract
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons orange marmalade

Place the following dry ingredients into a food processor fitted with a blade and then pulse a few times until all ingredients are mixed evenly.

1½ cups sorghum flour
1¼ cups gluten-free flour blend (Authentic Foods Multi-Blend Flour recommended)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt

Add and pulse about 12 times (in one second pulses):

½ cup cold Earth Balance Buttery Spread, cut into small chunks

The mixture should resemble coarse meal. (If you are doing this by hand put the dry ingredients in a big bowl and whisk until combined. Then, using two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut the Earth Balance into the dry mixture.)

Transfer from the food processor to a large bowl. Add and mix in:

2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

Using a spatula, stir in about half of the coconut/orange juice mixture. Add the remaining liquid a little at time until the dough begins to form. The dough should be a little soft and sticky but should hold together when formed and cut. (This ratio of liquid to dry ingredients worked perfectly for me but you can adjust the dough to reach the desired consistency by adding more coconut milk or flour, if needed.)

Lightly dust the counter top or pastry mat with sorghum or rice flour. Separate the dough into thirds. Form each third into a circle about 4 or 5 inches across and 1½ inches high. Cut each round in half and then half again to create 4 wedges.

Place on a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet and, if desired, sprinkle each scone with a pinch of turbinado sugar. Bake for about 15 minutes until the scones are lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack when cool enough to handle. Serve warm or at room temperature.


More wonderful scone recipes for you to savor:


Book of Yum—Amaranth Scones (Gluten, Egg, and Dairy Free)

Book of Yum—Cardamom Date Scones (Gluten, Soy and Dairy Free)

Nourishing Meals—Maple Raspberry Scones (Gluten, Egg, and Dairy Free)

Lexie’s Kitchen—Lexie’s Scones (Gluten, Egg, and Dairy Free)