Greetings from down south!
I know I’ve been a little remiss with updating my blog this past month, but I’ve embarked on a new adventure, and I’m ready to once again make your web browser slow with my picture-heavy entries.
At around 3am this morning Michal and I packed up the car and made the 12+ hour trek to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
I like how the above picture makes Michal and I look like the worst car packers ever, but I assure you there was some method to this madness (i.e. cooler full of food goes closest to me).
After some fun gridlock traffic in NYC, we moved on to the land of Snookie, and also the land of where rest stops have the most amazing international chain ever created….Cinnabon.
The above photo came out blurry, but the Cinnabon motto reads, “Life needs frosting.”
I don’t think life needs this much frosting though…
Michal polished off the whole row as I watched in horror, and he had a smile on his face the entire time.
My breakfast consisted of an overnight oats recipe I’ve been perfecting over the past few weeks…
Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal (overnight oats style)
- 1/2 cup old fashion oats
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tbs. peanut butter
- 1/2 tbs. raw chocolate powder (I use Navitas brand)
- 1 tsp. chia seeds
- One handful of blueberries
- Sweetener to taste
The reason these are called overnight oats, is because there is no need to cook the oatmeal. You just combine all the ingredients in a glass or bowl the night before, mix them, and then let it sit overnight. In the morning you will have something that may not look so pretty, but it will taste like dessert.
After further stuffing ourselves with some Luna bars (which Michal just realized are made for woman), we crossed over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
The bridge was built over the ocean, and runs for over 4 miles, so it’s a bit eerie when you drive over it. There are also a few tunnels along the bridge which run underwater, so this furthers the creepy factor.
Once we reached dry land we saw a lot of this…..
and LOTS of this stuff…
If the car wasn’t moving so fast I could have captured all the billboards which make it seem as though all they sell down here are fireworks, cigarettes, and liquor.
One billboard promising the biggest selection of fresh grown fruit and vegetables spiked our curiosity, so we stopped, and they were NOT lying…
Holding my goods with pride even though I can barely carry it.
And as promised Powell’s had fireworks….
Who cares if the boxes of fireworks all read “Y2K Celebration,” I’m sure they work just fine…
After leaving Powell’s we did a straight shot to the Outer Banks, and another 2 hours later we arrived at home sweet home (or at least we get to pretend it’s our home for the next seven days). In total the trip took us about 12 hours, and we traveled over 550 miles!
If you ever want to go on a budget-friendly vacation, the Outer Banks is it! As long as you have a group of friends to go in on a house with, a dollar will take you very far down here. Nine of us went in on this house, and it’s awesome, especially since it’s close to the beach, and it still comes with it’s own pool.
The kitchen is really spacious, and our group of friends is going to be taking turns cooking dinner, so this will save everyone a lot of money throughout the week.
Is it weird that the room I was most excited about was the bathroom in our bedroom?
This bathroom was the size of my bedroom at home (picture does not do it justice).
In total we each paid $400 to have the house for the entire week (and we didn’t even fill up all the bedrooms, so you could reduce your costs by much more if you go in with more people). I’d say look for a smaller house, but if you’ve ever been to the Outer Banks, you know that houses with less than 6 bedrooms don’t exist here.
There is so much more I want to type, but I’m running on two hours of sleep, and we have a friends wedding tomorrow morning, so I’m off to bed.
I think with over 20 pictures in this entry, it’s safe to say the blog has officially been revived, so stay tuned.
August 22, 2010 No Comments
I threw this oatmeal together Sunday morning, and it ended up tasting like banana bread, so I had to share.
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 cup water
1 cup almond milk (or any type of milk product)
1 cup oatmeal
2 tbs. ground flaxseed meal (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 large banana cut into small pieces
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
Sweetener of your choice added to taste (honey, agave syrup, brown sugar, etc…)
Directions: Bring milk and water to a boil. Add oatmeal and ground flaxseed meal, and then reduce heat to low. Add in banana, cinnamon, vanilla, and sweetener. Stir occasionally. Oatmeal will be done in 5-10 minutes.
I of course added a dollop of peanut butter on top, but there are a variety of things you can do, such as….
…drenching it in strawberry syrup like Michal did.
To achieve this, let a bag of frozen strawberries thaw out over night, and then you will have a bag full of lots and lots of natural syrup. If you’re cut for time, just throw some frozen strawberries in a mug and then heat in the microwave for about a minute.
I used the other half of the banana to make a side dish of “mini peanut butter banana pies,” which we enjoyed along side the oatmeal for breakfast.
As you’ve noticed, my culinary “skills” never really extend beyond 10am, but I hope to change this with my Meatless May challenge, where I’ll be eating vegetarian for the remainder of the month, so expect some extremely basic vegetarian recipes to be posted up here soon.
May 3, 2010 No Comments
When I woke up Sunday morning in Boston, all I could think about was oatmeal. After looking at a multitude of menus online, I came to the conclusion that no where in Backbay serves a proper bowl of oats.
After day-dreaming about the grand opening of my future upscale oatmeal cafe, I decided I would have to get creative if I wanted to enjoy my favorite breakfast cereal.
Being that Boston was a mini-vacation for me, the thought of cooking oatmeal seemed too labor intensive, so I stopped by the neighborhood Whole Foods to see what I could come up with.
I ended up making the following purchases:
Fresh ground almond butter, coconut flakes, and fresh fruit.
Sadly, they had no hot oatmeal, but as fate would have it, there was an Au Bon Pain across the street.
With their powers combined, I created this:
Coconut Almond Oatmeal with Mixed Berries
It’s quite easy to re-create this oatmeal. Just dump an obscene amount of almond butter over the top of your oatmeal, and then garnish it with coconut flakes and fruit.
I’m actually pretty proud of this impromptu creation, and considering it fed Michal too, it ended up being a budget friendly breakfast. The real treat though is that I now have a lovely container of coconut flakes to add to my oatmeal at home.
After breakfast, we took a beautiful walk through the neighborhood I lived in my last year in Boston. Since I’m staying for the weekend in my old apartment, it’s literally like re-living the past…
Special thanks to Alice and Jason for letting me stay with them (again).
You guys rock.
April 12, 2010 1 Comment
I live for Saturday mornings, especially the sunny ones where by 9am it’s warm enough to enjoy breakfast outside.
On this mornings menu was homemade Pumpkin and Flaxseed Oat Bran with lots and lots of strawberries (I had already eaten about 7 by the time this picture was taken).
Pumpkin and Flaxseed Oat Bran Recipe
1 cup water
1 cup almond milk (any type of milk will do)
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup oat bran (I used Trader Joe’s Natural Toasted Oat Bran)
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 tbs. of Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal
1 tbs. of Pumpkin Spice (also Trader Joe’s)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Sweetener of your choice (I like agave syrup, brown sugar, and stevia)
Directions: Bring water and milk to a boil. Add all ingredients; reduce heat to low. Cook for about 10 minutes (or until it thickens), then serve. Feel free to garnish your bowl of oats with whatever you like (I topped mine with a scoop of peanut butter and strawberries).
If you hate oatmeal, I apologize for subjecting you to so much of it on this blog, but I tend to go through food phases, and right now I am all about being the poster child for fiber. Plus, this blog is about what makes me happy, and this morning this is what made me happy….
Sunlight and Oats
I have a pretty big day planned out. Michal and I decided that for today’s adventure we’re going to go on an epic bike ride (all we need to find are bikes and a cool location).
April 3, 2010 1 Comment
I’ve had a can of Trader Joe’s Sweet Potato Puree for a while now, and to be honest, I sort of had this vision while I was buying it of me finding it in my kitchen cabinet 10 years later with dust on it, but lo in behold, this morning it saw daylight…
Now I know I just did an entry about the many crazy habits adventures of my breakfast routine, but this mornings cooking experiment was way too good not to share, so I’ll try and make this brief….
Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal
Ingredients (serves 2):
1 cup water
1 cup almond milk (or any type of milk)
1/2 cup steel cut oats (I used Quaker)
1/2 cup sweet potato puree
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
A sweetener of your choice sprinkled on top (optional)
Directions: In a medium sized pot, bring water and milk to a boil. Add steel cut oats, sweet potato, and spices, and reduce heat to low. Simmer on low for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. (do not cover with lid). Take pot off of heat, stir, and let sit for 10 more minutes. Garnish with raspberries and enjoy.
Some advice about cooking with steel cut oats: No matter what brand of steel cut oats you buy, they all take a really long time to cook. Depending on your stove-top, you may have to cook them for up to 40 minutes on low before the mixture begins to thicken, so this isn’t the type of breakfast to make before work. The good news is that steel cut oats taste just as good the next day, so feel free to make a big batch the night before, and then just re-heat them the next morning on the stove top or in the microwave.
If you don’t have the patience, feel free to make this recipe with regular oatmeal, but I assure you that the texture and taste of steel cut oats is worth the wait…
While the steel cut oats were cooking, Michal and I decided to fit in a trail run. Although it looked as sunny as last Saturday’s 75 degree weather, it was in fact 27 degrees.
Cold weather aside, the trail run was really nice.
All in all, we covered about 2 miles of trails and 2 miles of road, but the best part was getting to come back to a huge batch of steel cut oats waiting for us on the stove.
Alright, I’m off to relax for a bit and then do some laundry, but tonight I have an adventure lined up in Brooklyn, so stay tuned.
March 27, 2010 No Comments
There are breakfast people, and then there are….other people.
I am a breakfast person.
This wasn’t always the case though. As a child I was an extremely picky eater, and if there wasn’t a box of Lucky Charms around, I would rather starve.
Then there were the awkward formative years of middle school and high school, where breakfast was just…wrong. Microwavable french toast sticks, pop tarts, hostess donuts, Pillsbury cinnamon buns, and yes, even fluffernutter on toast, amen!
And then there was college–a place where breakfast only existed on a Sunday, and even then it happened well after 12pm.
So in retrospect, I’m not quite sure how I ended up here:
Yup, that’s right. That’s everything I used to make my breakfast this morning, and I even left out a banana and bag of frozen raspberries. Here are a few more shots…
And just so we’re clear, every morning (no matter what’s on the menu), my breakfast is this elaborate. In fact, I usually dedicate 45 minutes to my breakfast every morning, which I know sounds crazy, but once it becomes your routine, you realize how nice it is to have time to cook a warm breakfast, enjoy every bite, and relax with a cup of tea.
For today’s breakfast I had a can of pumpkin to finish off, so I made one of my favorites…
PUMPKIN PIE OATMEAL
Ingredients (makes one serving):
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Almond Milk (or any type of milk is fine)
1/2 Cup Oats (I used old fashioned oats, but instant works just fine)
1/2 Cup Spelt Flakes (I realize most people don’t buy Spelt flakes so just add another 1/2 cup of oatmeal)
1/3 Cup Pumpkin (you can buy it in a can in the baking aisle)
1 tbs. Chia Seeds (or you can add 1 tbs. of flax seeds, granola, or raisins)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
And of course a sweetener of your choice sprinkled on top (sugar, honey, agave syrup, etc…)
Directions: Bring the milk and water to a boil. Add oats, spelt flakes, pumpkin, and chia seeds, and reduce heat to low. Stir well, and add vanilla, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon. Oatmeal will be ready in about 10 minutes.
For added protein (and flavor) I added a dollop of peanut butter on the top of my oatmeal, followed by some fresh blueberries. I also paired my oatmeal with a spinach egg beater omelet on the side.
Non-breakfast people have no idea what they are missing!
After first breakfast, I quickly prepared my “second breakfast” which is usually just something I eat at around 9am when I’m starving at work again.
I threw some raw almond butter on a piece of whole wheat bread and then paired that with a Green Monster Shake (I added frozen raspberries to the basic recipe).
T.T.A. Budget Friendly Tip: Buy organic fruit in the freezer aisle. The fruit doesn’t lose any of it’s nutrients, and you will save quite a bit of money, especially when it comes to strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Plus, frozen fruit works much better than regular fruit in shakes, and if you cook it in with your oatmeal, it really seeps into the oats for a lot of flavor. The only fruit I can’t stand frozen are blueberries (they never taste the same).
My second breakfast (seen here at my desk at work).
And now it’s 7:30 pm, and I’m off to eat dinner (yawn–so lame).
March 25, 2010 2 Comments