An extremely wordy post about date flakes.

Wow. Three weeks flies by pretty quickly. I’m drop­ping back in again, with the hopes that you haven’t totally lost faith in me and my increasingly-sporadic rambles.

But the excit­ing thing is, in my absence from blog­ging, I’ve devel­oped so much (SO MUCH!) that I want to share on this blog, rang­ing every­where from pack out antic­i­pa­tion, to new work projects, to recent trips across the states, to upcom­ing trip ideas, to new ideas in gen­eral. Excuse this lit­tle bit of word vomit, I took one of these this morn­ing. So now, where does one start?

shields date flakes

I know, let’s start at the begin­ning. Some­times the begin­ning means at the header of a page, some­times it means at a marked start­ing line, but today, my begin­ning is start­ing with break­fast — as many of your morn­ings do too, I gather. (Cau­tion: If you’re not into wordi­ness right now, I’d sug­gest you skip to the bot­tom, because admit­tedly, this is a very long entry with a lot of fluff in the middle).

Every morn­ing I wake up hun­gry– this is a staid fact in my life– which means I have some assem­blance of a break­fast every morn­ing. It’s usu­ally more sim­ple than any­thing fancy, mean­ing that I gen­er­ally avoid turn­ing on the stove to make break­fast. I make my slice of toast, or juice, or bowl of oat­meal, and then eat it, in front of my com­puter, simul­ta­ne­ously check­ing emails and let­ting my mind wan­der to things such as the break­fast rou­tines of other peo­ple. You see, it’s a bit of a yearn­ing of mine to have the same break­fast every morn­ing, like many of you claim to do. Fresh yogurt and home­made gra­nola with beau­ti­ful fruits every morn­ing is the pre­ferred sta­ple, but I’d get down with a slice of hearty-grained toast with peanut but­ter too, and seri­ously even just half a grape­fruit every morn­ing. As long as it’s every morn­ing. Though I so des­per­ately want for one of these rou­tines, and have tried so hard in the past for weeks at a time to turn myself into an everyday-same-breakfast-er, I’m never com­mit­tal enough, nor sure enough, nor deci­sive enough, nor have planned ahead enough, to have one sin­gle item for break­fast every day. It really is one of my desired goals though, and there — I just shared with the world one of my embar­rass­ingly super­flous, and highly unnec­es­sary goals in my life.

date flakes- in the bag

Recently part of my break­fast has been a green juice, which has been made semi-routine-ish thanks to the addi­tion of our shiny new *expen­sive* blender. And inter­spersed here and there, par­tic­u­larly if it’s cold and dreary out, I’ll heat up a big bowl of oats. If you too like to encounter a bowl of steam­ing hot oat­meal in front of your face in the AM, I am highly sug­gest­ing the addi­tion of date flakes, or date crys­tals. The name date flakes sounds a bit gross, and look just slightly less so, but I promise you they add a world of fla­vor and com­plex­ity to an oth­er­wise sim­ple bowl of hot oats.

And here, is where the point of this blog post actu­ally starts (I warned you ear­lier of wordi­ness, so you can’t fault me for that now).

I first tasted date flakes in Palm Springs, where date flakes have been a rag­ing fad since the 60’s. By now, it can be stated they have out­run their sta­tus as a fad and are turn­ing more into a local sta­ple, some­thing for tourists to seek out should they find them­selves in the Cal­i­for­nia desert. In Palm Springs, where a date indus­try has cre­ated a name for itself, date flakes are mostly used in hybrid milk­shakes, or rather, frozen-yogurt health shakes cre­ated from the hippie-bohemian types that tend to fre­quent Palm Springs.

After con­sum­ing one of the afore­men­tioned date shakes, I told myself I would go home and make a date shake every day to sat­isfy my sweet tooth. How­ever the act of pur­chas­ing and drink­ing a date shake in Palm Springs and mak­ing a date shake in your blender at home, some­how, some­where, presents a large gap of dis­co­nu­ity, where your date shake at home tastes noth­ing like the one you had in Palm Springs. This phe­nom­ena hap­pens often with ham­burg­ers and hot dogs, as well as with milk­shakes in gen­eral, and some­times Chi­nese Food and other types of eth­nic foods.

Which leaves you with a lot of date flakes you antic­i­pated on mak­ing shakes for in your pantry, to be used now for what.…?

date flakes - in the hand

The answer is oat­meal. I pre­vi­ously would always add brown sugar in my oat­meal, but this has since changed. Date flakes are hard and crunchy out of the bag, but when heated in oat­meal become melted and soft and become one with the oats (yes, I just said “become one with oats”). They add a height­ened com­plex­ity of sweet­ness that plan old sugar or honey does not, and since they’re nat­ural, they’re infi­nitely health­ier than processed sugar.

I’m excited to try to sprin­kle these date flakes into a banana or zuc­chini bread WHEN I GET AN OVEN AGAIN, but in the mean­time, these lit­tle can­died pieces of dates are absolute heaven in my semi-routine break­fast bowls of oat­meal. Shield’s Date Gar­den is one of the more famous com­pa­nies who sell date flakes out of the Palm Springs area (and who also offer online order­ing), but any other brand you might find would prob­a­bly be fine. I’ve yet to ever see these at any Whole Foods or health store on the East Coast, so I’d rec­om­mend order­ing online. Also, sorry for that photo of my extremely dry hands. Win­ter here in DC is killer.

Oat­meal with date flakes

  • 1/2 cup old fash­ioned oats
  • 3/4 cup — 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp date flakes
  • accom­pa­ni­ments: blue­ber­ries, peaches, and/or wal­nuts, cashew nut milk or soy millk.
  1. Rinse oats once under cold water and drain. Add up to 1 cup water. Heat in microwave for 1 minute, then add date flakes. Heat for another 1 minute, watch­ing care­fully as the oats will have a ten­dency to over­flow (if it does, take the bowl out and stir, then con­tinue heating).
  2. Add accom­pa­ni­ments as desired. If you’re feel­ing crazy, add a pinch of salt to your oatmeal!

Shields Date Flakes - closeup

I’m also excited because date flakes and oat­meal with soy milk fits into my plan to go Gluten Free for a few weeks. I’m telling you, I’ve got a lot to say since I’ve missed blog­ging for a few weeks. But there’s more research and plan­ning that needs to be done for that, so for now we’ll leave it as yet another silly and super­flu­ous goal I’m set­ting in my life.

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