Have you dined at Boma at Disney World's Animal Kingdom Lodge? If you have, you might have seen a large vat of steaming and perfectly cooked oats labeled as plant-based and simply titled "Coconut Oats." Hopefully, you had also joyfully spooned some of these creamy grains into a bowl and sauntered back to your seat with toppings such as banana chips and a sprinkling of brown sugar. That first bite? Wow.
Recently returned from a lovely family holiday in Florida, I immediately set out to make a copycat version of these coconut oats. This isn't exact, but close enough, and while I may not get back to Boma any time soon, this is now a recipe I get to enjoy over and over again. I can't wait to serve them up to others in our party who also had (several) heaping bowls of Boma's version and let them return to Oz for a meal, and then, recall all the fond memories we made on our trip!
Sustainability Spotlight: What is the fundamental crux of who you are and who you develop into? Is it "stuff" that you have, or would you say it's fostering, making, building, and enjoying memories? For me, it's 100% memories. As you may have noticed (readers that I hope are out there!), memories are a big part of my sustainability and vegan journey. The journey is not only built upon where I was, but are also built on where I'm going. More importantly, it is stacking those memories. The building of them; one on top of another to not only have a foundation, but also an experience level which takes my pathway in new directions. Perspective, emotions, clarity, and comprehension are all wrapped up in memories.
Making and fostering those memories can be the best gift provided or given to people; even yourself! In those memories, you can have experiences which fundamentally impact and change who you are, who you want to be, and who you will become. Sure, "things" are fun, for a bit. They do not have lasting power and they certainly do not have the power to change who you are as a person. Seriously, name one physical "thing" that you were gifted that changed who you are as a person. In rare instances, maybe there was a "thing" that changed who you are as a person. Do you still have that "thing" or do you have the memory of the experiences that accompanied that "thing?" Probably the memories of the experience.
I note all of this because my family trip that inspired this recipe was an experience, filled with memories which were the ultimate gift of the trip. My kids will remember that experience through their whole lives, and they will remember who they experienced that trip with as well. Those memories are priceless, and will shape who they are and will be (even if in some small way).
Consider this for the holiday season (and all the birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries to come); give the gift of experience over "stuff" (which is not sustainable). Let your emotional connection with people shine and provide them with the memories of you, their experience, and how it felt to be wrapped in that moment together. "Things" come and go, but memories can last a lifetime; they can be impactful. They may even inspire.
My recent memories inspired this recipe and every time I make this sustainable (vegan) copycat, I'll remember that breakfast, my family and all the great experiences we had. Together. Each time I use the recipe to recall the memory, it will become even more solidified and a part of who I am; who I will be. Now, that is a lasting (sustainable) gift!
1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil (the kind that tastes like coconut; very important here!)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp roasted ground cinnamon (if available; otherwise, regular cinnamon is fine)
1 tsp ground ginger
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 cup steel cut (Irish) oats
3 cups coconut water
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup oat milk
Garnishes (optional): Bananas (chips or fresh) and more unsweetened coconut flakes
In a medium saucepan (with tight-fitting lid), add coconut oil through vanilla paste and heat over medium-high heat until fragrant; whisk a few times.
Next, add the oats and stir to coat the oats in the spices.
Now, add the coconut water and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for ~5 minutes.
Turn off the heat, add the chia seeds, stir and cover. Let sit overnight.
In the morning, add the oat milk to your oats; stir to incorporate fully.
Now, over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a "boil" (it will be thicker than the night before, so it might "simmer" - that's okay). Heat for another 5 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Serve in bowls with fresh banana (like I did) or banana chips (like Boma) and enjoy!
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie