On my 23rd birthday, I showed you how to make this coconut-pecan butter, so it’s only fitting that I brought this rich, cozy topping back for my 27th birthday post, right?
Today’s recipe is really a stovetop version of my German Chocolate Cake Baked Oatmeal, which I made half a decade ago. It’s really just a chocolate oatmeal made memorable by the coconut-pecan topping. Since it’s a cake batter, it’s perfect for celebrating birthdays. 🙂
Yes, today I turn 27. I’m a little stunned at the progression of my 20s; it continues to surprise me with its twists and kinks and U-turns.
Five years ago, I had dreams and idealistic ambition as I reached my college graduation. Four years ago, I had perspective and momentum as I began my long-awaited career as an educator. Three years ago, I had emerging confidence (and exhaustion) as a new but satisfactory full-time, perfectionistic teacher. Two years ago, I had pessimism and hopelessness as a burnt-out teacher who no longer loved teaching–who hated it, in fact. One year ago, I had confusion and fear about the complete lack of plans in my future–just a master’s degree with nowhere to go.
Each passing year made adulthood feel a little more insufferable, and each of these stages have been documented on this blog, sometimes explicitly, and sometimes implicitly through stretches of time with no new recipes.
This year (this month, in fact), I accepted an internship as a copywriter. A copywriter. I write things. About health! I sit at a comfortable desk. And I write things. There are no students. THERE ARE NO STUDENTS!!! And I write–about health!
The moment I accepted the position, the dark, scathing inner voice telling me I would never get out of education, or that I would be trapped working in department stores for the rest of my life, or that I would simply be unemployed for the rest of my life, finally backed the hell off. As figurative as the “weight on your shoulders” idiom is, it felt pretty literal this past week as I floated through my first week as a copywriter.
So yeah, my 27th birthday is more than just a celebration of another year: it’s a celebration of the end of a five-year downward spiral. When people told me “something will come up” or “you’ll figure it out eventually,” I knew they were right, but the mystery of it all–not knowing WTF I would be doing or even what I wanted to be doing five years from now–was suffocating. It’s a thousand times easier to breathe when you feel like you deserve to breathe.
In other words, it felt right to celebrate this birthday–this multipurpose celebration–by returning to a five-year-old recipe, a “cake” that originated before all the Dementors showed up.
- [reads] the article “What Beyoncé Won was Bigger Than a Grammy” via the NYTimes
- [tunes] I’m pretty sure I’ve already shared this song “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi but I REALLY LOVE IT
What you'll need:
- 3/4 cup milk of choice, or water
- 1/4 cup quick cook steel-cut oats
- 1 smallish sweet potato, peeled and mashed
- 4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey Special Dark)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp maple syrup (adjust to your preferences)
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp coconut-pecan butter
How to make it:
- Bring milk (I use 1/2 c almond milk and 1/4 c water) to a boil, add oats, and reduce heat to medium. (If you'd like to add a teaspoon of flax or chia seeds, do so now.)
- Mash sweet potato well. Once more of the liquid has absorbed, stir it into the oatmeal.
- Add cocoa powder, vanilla extract, maple syrup and salt. Stir. If the oatmeal is getting too dry, add another splash of milk or water and stir to make it creamy again.
- When you're pleased with the consistency of the oatmeal, transfer to a bowl.
- Add coconut-pecan butter, a splash of your milk of choice, another sprinkle of coconut and/or pecans (I toasted mine), and any other additional toppings you'd like (e.g. chocolate chips, berries)
Just an FYI:
This recipe is adapted from my Sweet Potato Fudge Oatmeal.