This Snooze Copycat Quinoa Breakfast Porridge is a sweet and hearty bowl of comfort food. A perfect healthy protein-packed breakfast for cold mornings this winter!
This post was sponsored in part by Visit Denver, and gave me the ability to bring you amazing inspired content from another part of the country.
Just a bit of a warning here – today is going to be a long one. And it’s totally photo-heavy. I just have so much to share with you!
If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (username: happyfoodholly on both), you know that I spent a few days last week in Denver with my wife for the first time. Not only did I want to surprise her with a little getaway for her birthday, but I have started something new here on the blog that involves some travel. With Denver just an hour flight away, I booked the trip right away!
You guys, I have been going crazy trying to contain my excitement about this new series on the blog. I am going to take you around the world, one city at a time, to find the healthiest ways to enjoy each location. I’m going to check out the best eats and find the healthiest options for you. I’m going to check out the best ways to get fit in the city. I’m going to discover all the hidden little gems so you know exactly what to do when you travel!
Maybe it’ll help you plan your next vacation or getaway! So let’s get started with Denver! This is going to be a 3-part series, and today we’re talking about the FOOD!
So when I knew we’d be travelling to Denver, I knew we had to check out Snooze. Snooze: An AM Eatery. I had seen the flights of dessert-y pancakes featured on their Instagram. I had heard about it from friends. The only problem I saw was, how the heck was I going to eat healthy there?
In fact, I almost decided against it because I thought there would only be sweet indulgences available. Another glance at their menu, and I realized I could give it a chance. They have a “light as a feather” section, so it was game on! I knew going in that I would have either the “Snooze Continental” or the “Quinoa Porridge.” Both healthy options. I just couldn’t decide what I was in the mood for.
Ultimately, I decided on the quinoa porridge: “A hearty blend of quinoa and oats topped with fig preserves, walnut streusel, dried currants, dried cranberries and whipped mascarpone.”
Do you know how difficult it is to find a restaurant that will give you a bowl of homemade oats that doesn’t just come from a package that reads, “just add water?” Seriously. I eat oatmeal almost every single morning, and I like to continue the tradition on vacations. But when the only offering is a packet of instant oatmeal, I am turned off and end up with eggs.
You guys, this bowl of porridge is exactly what I’ve always wanted and more! I didn’t feel like I was eating a bowl full of quinoa. It felt like oatmeal topped with some of the most delicious and comforting spices! Knowing that I was getting that extra boost of protein in my quinoa was just a perk!
I knew I would be recreating this one for you!
And really, any restaurant that offers you a breakfast cocktail while you’re waiting to be seated is a winner in my book!
AND and extra 5 points was given to Snooze for carrying the same Pure Via Stevia that we use in our coffee at home.
AND there may or may not have been an extra mimosa made on accident that we ended up with.
TOTAL WIN AT SNOOZE!
The next place I want to tell you about is Comida.
We met up with Ashley from Visit Denver on our second day there, and we had definitely worked up an appetite. After walking almost 8,000 steps just to get there, we were HUNGRY!
Comida is located inside The Source, in the River North (RiNo) District of Denver. The Source is an old industrial building that is now comprised of 15 local artisan merchants. From a bakery, to restaurants, to a small art gallery, a bar, and even a yacht club, this place is eclectic and totally the place to be!
We started off at Comida with a sampling of their homemade chips and three different salsas. Oh man! I love me a good salsa! The Cucumber Jalapeno Crema was my absolute favorite. I ended up getting more to drizzle on my lunch.
For our lunch eats, Ashley recommended the tacos. She says they are the absolute best and gets them multiple times a month. When you hear that from a local, you know it’s the real deal!
I ended up opting for a the Mexi Mess: “big ole’ bowl of classic comida eats”
Again, this was a win for me! I ended up with deliciously spiced mushrooms, brown rice, cheeses, and black beans. WINNING!
Between the food and atmosphere, I was in heaven and ready to move right in!
Acorn – This is another restaurant located at The Source, and if you’re into something a bit fancier, this is right up your alley. Not only is it fancy, but it’s considered fresh farm-to-table fare and was recommended to us more than once as a place to visit. If only there had been more time!
“Similar to its critically acclaimed sister restaurant in Boulder, OAK at fourteenth, Acorn’s culinary and inspirational foundation is its oak-fired oven and grill, which produce a seasonal, ever-changing menu of craveable, family-style small plates and entrées. Guests will also find a selection of favorite dishes from the menus at OAK.”
I need to go back just so I can try their German Chocolate Cake. It sounds to die for!
The Corner Office – One afternoon while we were perusing about, we realized we were starving. We had been walking all day and although it was only 3pm, we needed to eat. We had dinner reservations within a few hours, so we only needed something small, so we stopped by our hotel’s restaurant to check out their appetizers. The Corner Office is located downtown and is connected to The Curtis Hotel, although you can access it from the street as well.
Thankfully, I spotted a hummus platter right away, and that was that. OH and am I glad I did because it was some delicious hummus. I’ve eaten quite a few different hummus concoctions in my life, and this was one of the best. It was slightly salty with kalamata olives, yet garlicky and perfectly savory. Served with a light flatbread, I was set! It was the perfect amount to split with my wife, and we were given the extra boost we needed to make it until dinner.
Osteria Marco – Oh, and speaking of dinner. If you’re looking for a nice dinner while you’re in Denver, you have got to make it to Osteria Marco. Located in Larimer Square, the place to be, is this bustling Italian Restaurant that is just full of life. Chatter that you can practically hear from the streets. Liveliness that you can see as you walk on by. And once you get in there, you know exactly why. It’s contagious!
Everyone is happy. Everyone is having a great time and really enjoying the company they are with at Osteria Marco. I fell immediately in love, and I hadn’t even tried the food!
Now you’re probably thinking – Italian Food. How can I go healthy here? Well, I have a few tips:
- only eat half
- pick something vegetable-based (I got the eggplant Parmesan, which was perfection)
- savor every bite and eat slow
You know my motto. Enjoy life. Enjoy the finer things. Indulge every so often. Osteria Marco is one of those times it’s okay to indulge. It is 100% worth it. (as is their burrata appetizer if you’re a cheese fan like I am!)
MilkBox Ice Cream – Speaking of indulgences, MilkBox Ice Creamery was one of the other places I indulged and felt zero guilt about. Located inside the ever-so-hip Union Station in Downtown Denver is one of the cutest ice cream parlors I’ve seen. It’s retro. It smells like amazing waffle cones. And the service is stellar. We went there our first night in town, and I was just so impressed by how nice everyone was! You don’t get that in every city. I promise.
I tried a couple different flavors before deciding on the Salted Peanut Butter Cup, which the guy who was helping me mentioned was his favorite, so I knew I had made a good choice. I was in HEAVEN! So creamy. So sweet & salty all at once. Love at first bite, all the way to the end. The wife felt the same way about her scoop of Espresso Fudge. I have to agree – her’s was amazing as well!
Acme Burger – Before we got ice cream though, we did grab dinner while inside Union Station. After travelling all day, we really just wanted a fresh veggie burger and some sweet potato fries. Easy peasy, and I’m so glad we checked out Acme Burger. Everything was made fresh. The burger was on-point. I especially loved the homemade potato rolls that held the burger and all the fixin’s together.
Other places that were recommended to us but we didn’t get a chance to try:
Chopped Salads – “As you probably guessed from our name, we make salads. Damn good ones. But that’s not all. To round us out, we also have excellent wraps and soups. All available for absolutely free delivery right to your mouth.”
Root Down – “Root Down aims to connect the neighborhood to a dining experience in the same way ingredients are connected to food. There should be a seamless bond between the elements and experience, which stimulates the senses and draws people in.”
Linger – Their roasted beet salad and falafel both sound amazing!
Ophelia’s – A sister restaurant to Linger, is an old brothel turned restaurant. With live music and never-ending mimosas for brunch, I’m so sad we missed out on this one. We tried hard to make it but it just never happened. There WILL be a next time!
Sweet Action Ice Cream – “Made by hand with local dairy and ingredients, flavors like vegan chocolate, red velvet, salted butterscotch and blackberry lavender keep people lining up all day long.”
I cannot say enough good things about Denver. All the food was amazing, and there was an abundance of places to choose from. Everywhere we asked for food recommendations, they were added to the ever-growing list. Next time, we’ll need to plan at least a week in town so we can try even more restaurants.
On top of the food, the city itself was just beautiful! We were there just as the colors were changing, so everything was colorful and autumny. My favorite. And the weather was perfect. Warmish with a slight chill in the mornings and evenings. That’s perfect for me!
But of course, the trip did have to come to an end (and this post must also! longest.post.ever!)
Once I got home, I couldn’t make my Snooze Quinoa Porridge fast enough and have been so excited to share it with you.
It will warm you up from the inside out. It’ll be naturally sweet, yet savory enough to still remind you that you’re making a healthy choice.
- 1/4 cup quinoa , rinsed
- 1/4 cup rolled oats or steel-cut oats
- chopped pecans
- coconut sugar
- fat free cream cheese
In a small saucepan, combine quinoa, oats, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a slight boil. Once you have brought it to a boil, lower the temperature to low and cover for 20-30 minutes until water has been dissolved.
In the meantime, cook the toppings in a small pan. The measurements are dependent to your liking, and you can change the toppings around too. But the general idea is that you heat nuts, dried fruit, about a teaspoon or two of agave and about 1/4 cup of water over low heat. Stir often until most of the liquid has been dissolved and topping has become aromatic.
For cream cheese, mix about a tablespoon or two with a drizzle of agave.
Once quinoa and oats have been cooked, dish up and top with the nuts and dried fruit topping, cream cheese mixture, a sprinkling of coconut sugar, and almond milk.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a picture, upload it to Instagram and tag me (@happyfoodholly) and use the hashtag #inspiredbyholly
Make sure you stay tuned to find out exactly how I was able to eat the entire time we were there without feeling like I needed to go on a diet when I got home! Coming soon!
For more healthy breakfast options:
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THIS POST IS SPONSORED BY VISIT DENVER. THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME TO CONTINUE CREATING GREAT CONTENT FOR YOU BY SUPPORTING PARTNERSHIPS WITH SUPER AWESOME BRANDS THAT HFHL LOVES TO WORK WITH! AS ALWAYS, OPINIONS REMAIN 100% MY OWN.