In Motion


I’ve learned something about myself this week: I’m a neurotic packer. I don’t think this is a new trait, I think I’ve just now come to realize it. I’ve been putting off the huge task of packing up this apartment but the time has come to get down to business. I started by packing things that I wouldn’t really notice were gone: ski stuff, summer clothes, cookbooks I know I won’t use over the next two weeks. Then I take those boxes and put them in the back of the closet so I don’t have to look at them–this way, everything continues to look in perfect order. Just so.


Well guess what? You can only put so many boxes in the closet and things can only look in relative order for so long. Eventually you have to actually pack all of your books and the contents of the kitchen cupboards. You have to pack your favorite coffee mugs, rain boots, desk files and linens. So I’ve officially taken the dive into disorderly-chaotic-packing mode. Now I’m tripping over boxes and newspapers. Two boxes have become a brand new coffee table, one a handy foot rest under the kitchen table. I’m embracing it. It’s all in motion now.

And as part of that, I’m trying to clean out my pantry so we’re not loading jars of grains and beans and dried fruit into the U-Haul next weekend. And that’s how this hearty, warm cereal came to be. It’s only slightly sweet and combines farro, coconut milk, and a little honey–all topped with almonds, dried cherries and coconut flakes.

With all of the packing and goodbyes, I can’t imagine that this next week will be filled with much notable cooking or baking but I’ll be sure to check in with, at the very least, a photo or two. In the meantime, if you have any packing advice or recipes you love that will use up pantry goods in a flash, I’m all ears. Happy almost weekend to you.

Warm Farro Salad with Coconut, Almonds and Cherries

Warm Farro Salad with Coconut, Almonds and Cherries

  • Yield: 2 servings
  • Prep time:10mins
  • Cook time:40mins

The nice thing about this recipe is its versatility: you can use any fruits and nuts you like or have on hand, really. I also prefer my morning cereals without much sweetness, so feel free to add a bit more honey if you prefer. As breakfasts go, this cereal is on the richer side as the farro is actually cooked in coconut milk. If you’d prefer a lighter version, you can  use all water–you’ll still have some of the coconut flavor from the toasted flakes on top.

Ingredients

1/2 cup farro
1 cup water
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut chips
1 tablespoon honey
pinch salt
1/4 cup dried cherries

Instructions

Soak cherries in warm water for five minutes to soften them. Drain and discard water.

Bring the water, coconut milk and salt to a simmer and whisk in the farro. Return to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Simmer  for 35 to 40 minutes, or until farro has absorbed most of the moisture.

While hot cereal is cooking, preheat oven to 325 F. Toast almond slices and coconut chips for 5 minutes or until fragrant and golden.

Once the farro is cooked, add honey. Portion into two small bowls and top with toasted coconut, almonds and dried cherries.  If you’d like top with a drizzle of honey.  Serve immediately.

Comments

  1. sara

    I have something almost exactly the same but with pom seeds instead of dried fruit in the cookbook, love it :) The drawback of having a project like this in process forever, is that I swear to you a very close version of every recipe, since written, has shown up in a blog or magazine. Old news now! All to say, I think coconut milk is so good on morning grains, really makes it rich tasting. Good luck to you and the move, possibly my least favorite process ever. But oh the joy of a new house with someone you adore? nothing sweeter.

    1. megang

      Sara: Isn't that always the way?! I remember a weird spree where Deb from Smitten Kitchen was posting what I'd planned on posting the day before I was planning to quite a few times in a row... great minds I guess, yes? I am so, so excited to catch a glimpse of that book of yours. You and Heidi both fall in the same camp for me: you just cook the way I cook (most of the time ... with the exception of tarts and ice cream, of course) and I so look forward to adding your book to my weekly rotation of inspiration. Happy weekend, my friend.

  2. Janet

    No goodbyes!! Only "see ya in Seattle's!"

    Packing sucks. Wait, I have a solution: don't move!

    I kid, I kid (kind of). It will all come together, as it sounds like it's starting to. This sounds way delicious. Feel free to make it for me when I come visit. ;)

  3. Amy

    Ah this looks perfect, exactly exactly my favorite flavors and textures when it comes to breakfast time. I will be trying it out soon. In the meantime... good luck with this final stretch home before (wondeful!) seattle!

  4. tea_austen

    Oh, the pain of packing—but you have such good things waiting for you at the other end!

    xox

  5. Danielle

    You're going to need many more bowls of this to sustain you through the marathon of packing, but it will be all worth it in the end :) See you soon xo

  6. Christa

    My goodness, that looks delicious!

  7. betty

    packing is a huge pain but I find it quite relaxing, anyways this looks delicious and I never thought about using farro with these ingredients

    1. megang

      Thank you, Amanda! Have a wonderful weekend!

    2. megang

      Amanda: Thank you so much. Always nice to see your comments and encouragement. Hope you're having a wonderful weekend. ~m

  8. tracy

    oh man...that coconut milk drippage....seductive!

    i'm such a crazy packer. i want everything to fit perfectly into each box and i take my sweet ass time. when i'm wrapping up all my kitchen stuff i love to look at everything and inspect it...and admire my collection.

    then it's so much fun unpacking a kitchen...only for the fact that it's like you open up little gifts of your favorite items.

    see you soon!

  9. Sara Mendez

    This looks so good! I really want to make this!

  10. Lauren

    Farro + Coconut milk= AMAZING- Full PROOF morning satisfaction! Can I even get crazy and put coconut butter on top!!!??? I think I might :)

    1. megang

      Hi Lauren! Of course you can -- did you know Trader Joe's sells coconut oil now? My best discovery this week! Enjoy.

  11. Stacy

    That looks like a perfect and utterly soothing breakfast for a time of motion and change! Best of luck with the transition.

  12. Jill

    I'm a post late on this, but congratulations on your move! Reading stuff like this makes me a little fidgety, as I've been in the same apt for 8 years and the same job for 12. But there's something to be said for finding a spot that keeps you pretty happy for that long, too, I suppose.

    This recipe you posted here looks delicious, as always. Congrats again!

    1. megang

      Jill: Thank you! I envy you for being in the same apt for 8 years and the same job for 12! I feel fidgety b/c I can't seem to do either, so I suppose the grass is always greener, yes?

  13. Chez Us

    I am crazy with packing as well. I like each box organized and labeled so I know exactly what is in it - just incase I decide I need something during the craziness. I do love - purging while packing. It is liberating to finally get rid of things that I know I won't use in the new place, especially if I haven't even thought of them in the past.

    Cannot wait to see the new house - and to enjoy a bowl of morning bliss.

    1. megang

      @Chez Us: I cannot wait for you to see it, too. Have I mentioned we have a guest room??? xox, and see you soooooon

  14. Kimberly

    This looks divine, and I am so excited about your move - as I have done the same thing (moving from Vancouver BC to Seattle 12 years ago) and know the joy of melding two lives into one.
    Best of luck in the next few busy weeks,
    K.

  15. nicole

    made this last night and ended up having it for dessert. It was great. I used dates, coconut, crystallized ginger and toasted pecans. I would probably use a little less coconut milk as I found it a bit sweet, but everyone else thought it was perfect. Didn't use the honey.

  16. LindySez

    I found this recipe looking for some new ideas for using Farro and I really think this sounds like it would be great for dessert or for breakfast. That said, wondered why you threw away the cherry soaking water rather than use it as a part of the cooking water? Anyway, moving is my nightmare so I do hope yours went smoothly.

    Cheers

  17. Kate

    Sounds delicious. Could you make this the night before and refrigerate, or would it be too mushy the next day?

    1. megang

      Hi, Kate-
      Oh absolutely you can do this in advance. You may need a little extra liquid when you're reheating to loosen it up, but it's delicious the next day. Enjoy! ~Megan

Join the Discussion

Healthy Comfort Food

Thai Carrot, Coconut and Cauliflower Soup

Thai Carrot, Coconut and Cauliflower Soup

People describe raising young kids as a particular season in life. I hadn't heard this until we had a baby, but it brought me a lot of comfort when I'd start to let my mind wander, late at night between feedings, to fears that we'd never travel internationally again or have a sit-down meal in our dining room. Would I ever eat a cardamom bun in Sweden? Soak in Iceland? I loved the heck out of our tiny Oliver, but man what had we done?! Friends would swoop in and reassure us that this was just a season, a blip in the big picture of it all. They promised we'd likely not even remember walking around the house in circles singing made-up songs while eating freezer burritos at odd hours of the day (or night). And it's true.

Oliver is turning two next month, and those all-encompassing baby days feel like a different time, a different Us. In many ways, dare I say it, Toddlerhood actually feels a bit harder. Lately Oliver has become extremely opinionated about what he will and will not wear -- and he enforces these opinions with fervor. Don't get near the kid with a button-down shirt. This week at least. He's obsessed with his rain boots and if it were up to him, he'd keep them on at all times, especially during meals. He insists on ketchup with everything (I created a damn monster), has learned the word "trash" and insists on throwing found items away on his own that really, truly are not trash. I came to pick him up from daycare the other day and he was randomly wearing a bike helmet -- his teacher mentioned he'd had it on most of the day and really, really didn't want to take it off. The kid has FEELINGS. I love that about him, and wouldn't want it any other way. But, man it's also exhausting.

Read More
Cheesy Quinoa Cauliflower Bake

Cheesy Quinoa Cauliflower Bake

I just finished washing out Oliver's lunchbox and laying it out to dry for the weekend. My favorite time of day is (finally) here: the quiet of the evening when I can actually talk to Sam about our day or sit and reflect on my own thoughts after the inevitable dance party or band practice that precedes the bedtime routine lately. Before becoming pregnant for the second time, I'd have had a glass of wine with the back door propped open right about now -- these days though, I have sparkling water or occasionally take a sip from one of Sam's hard ciders. Except now the back door's closed and we even turned on the heat for the first time yesterday. The racing to water the lawn and clean the grill have been replaced by cozier dinners at home and longer baths in the evening. You blink and it's the first day of fall. 

Read More
Stuffed Shells with Fennel and Radicchio

Stuffed Shells with Fennel and Radicchio

I'd heard from many friends that buying a house wasn't for the faint of heart. But I always shrugged it off, figuring I probably kept better files or was more organized and, really, how hard could it be? Well, I've started (and stopped) writing this post a good fifteen times which may indicate something. BUT! First thing's first: we bought a house! I think! I'm pretty sure! We're still waiting for some tax transcripts to come through and barring any hiccough with that, we'll be moving out of our beloved craftsman in a few weeks and down the block to a great, brick Tudor house that we wanted the second we laid eyes on it. The only problem: it seemed everyone else in Seattle had also laid eyes on it, and wanted it equally as much. I'm not really sure why the homeowner chose us in the end. Our offer actually wasn't the highest, but apparently there were some issues with a few of them. We wrote a letter introducing ourselves and describing why we'd be the best candidates and why we were so drawn to the house; we have a really wonderful broker who pulled out all the stops, and after sifting through 10 offers and spending a number of hours deliberating, they ended up going with ours. We were at a friend's book event at the time when Sam showed me the text from our broker and I kind of just collapsed into his arms. We were both in ecstatic denial (wait, is this real?! Did we just buy a house?) and celebrated by getting chicken salad and potato salad from the neighborhood grocery store and eating it, dazed, on our living room floor. Potato salad never tasted so good. 

Read More
Smoky Butternut Squash and Three Bean Chili

Smoky Butternut Squash and Three Bean Chili

If your house is anything like ours, last week wasn't our most inspired in terms of cooking. We're all suffering from the post-election blues -- the sole upside being Oliver's decision to sleep-in until 7 am for the first time in many, many months; I think he's trying to tell us that pulling the covers over our heads and hibernating for awhile is ok. It's half-convincing. For much of the week, instead of cooking, there'd been takeout pizza and canned soup before, at week's end, I decided it was time to pour a glass of wine and get back into the kitchen. I was craving something hearty and comforting that we could eat for a few days. Something that wouldn't remind me too much of Thanksgiving because, frankly, I can't quite gather the steam to start planning for that yet. It was time for a big bowl of chili.

Read More
To Talk Porridge

To Talk Porridge

Porridge is not the sexiest of breakfasts, it's true. It doesn't have a stylish name like strata or shakshuka, and it doesn't have perfectly domed tops like your favorite fruity muffin. It doesn't crumble into delightful bits like a good scone nor does it fall into buttery shards like a well-made croissant. But when you wake up and it's 17 degrees outside (as it has been, give or take a few, for the last week), there's nothing that satisfies like a bowl of porridge or oatmeal. It's warm and hearty and can be made sweet or savory with any number of toppings. The problem? Over the years, it's gotten a bad rap as gluey or gummy or just downright boring or dutiful -- and it's because not everyone knows the secrets to making a great pot of warm morning cereal. So let's talk porridge (also: my cookbook comes out this month! So let's take a peek inside, shall we?)

Read More