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apology

7 July 2011

In case you haven’t, um, noticed, I’m likely to be even more MIA around here recently than usual. Changes ‘n’ such; little time/mental energy for blogging (or even thinking about food, really, though trust me I’m eating my fair share of it).

The good kinds of changes, mostly, I think. May be back, eventually; maybe not. We’ll see.

Not that anyone reads this thing anyway. Still, I for one appreciate closure.

granola bars for breakfast

1 July 2011

Breakfast is, unequivocally, my favorite meal of the day. I wake up every morning thinking about my imminent bowl of oatmeal. In fact, the first thing I do once conscious is put some oats on the stove, and only then do I stumble through my morning routine (make bed, brush teeth, occasionally brush hair but don’t count on it, clean litterbox, feed cat, sweep kitchen for the first of many many times that day, water plants, boil water for tea), all the while impatiently awaiting their completion. Then I mix in some stevia, some cardamom, a whole lot of cinnamon, and take the steaming bowl + steeped tea outside to my “breakfast nook” where I leisurely enjoy them and sometimes even let myself read fiction. It’s heavenly.

Did I mention that all of this takes place between 5:30 and 6 am? You see, that’s the only time span nowadays where being outside here can be described as anything other than “insane.” Thus, this is also the only time of day when it’s feasible to do the other things that I enjoy — maybe even more than oatmeal — such as, say, riding. Which means that my breakfast-schedule and my barn-schedule sometimes conflict.

granola bars

breakfast-to-go!

This was all just an excessively long-winded way of introducing the solution I schemed up in the form of portable, hassle-free, eat-in-the-car-at-5-am breakfast bars (after rejecting — though admittedly not before entertaining longer than might be ordinarily considered rational — the idea of waking up at 4:30 for my oatmeal). Chewy but texture-ful and just a bit crispy on the edges, packed with good things (including, of course, oats), not too sweet, and hearty enough to get me through a long morning at the barn without being heavy.

Breakfast “Granola” Bars

scant 1/2 cup bulgur
1 cup water

1 cup quick oats
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond meal
2 tbsp oat flour
2 tbsp wheat germ
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp brown rice syrup

Bring 1 cup water to boil. Add bulgur and turn down heat. While the bulgur is cooking, preheat oven to 350º, grease two loaf pans (or an 8×8 pan if you have one for slightly thicker bars), and combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. When the bulgur is fluffy and almost all the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and add the rest of wet ingredients to the pot; mix to combine. Add wet to dry, mix well, and press into prepared pans. Should be slightly sticky; add more brown rice syrup if it’s not sticking together (or if you just want sweeter bars — these aren’t very sweet at all). Bake for ~25 min, or until just slightly brown around the edges. They’ll be really crumbly at first, so let cool for at least 10 min before cutting into bars. Makes 8 big breakfast-sized or 16 snack-sized bars.

granola bars

mmm, texture-rific!

This “recipe” was the result of rummaging through my cupboard/fridge, dumping various things — mostly the things I was almost out of — in various bowls, mixing ’em all together, and hoping for the best. So, consider it more a loose set of guidelines than a rule, I’d say. I like the chewiness of the bulgur, though I bet they’d be even better with some chopped nuts in there for crunch, and maybe some toasted coconut? Dried fruit? Play around!

why I shouldn’t be a food blogger

30 June 2011

No, this isn’t going to be a post about how I don’t blog for days on end, or how I completely forget about WIAW* after being super-excited about joining that bandwagon for two weeks in a row, or how I eat the same meals every day for weeks and am too cheap/habit-driven to experiment with new ingredients, or how I’m too lazy to do anything other than snap crappy iPhone photos despite the beautiful canon DSLR languishing unused in my closet, or even how every single one of those crappy iPhone photos is taken in the same place featuring my (one) placemat and one of my (two) bowls.

Although, come to think of it, those are pretty good reasons too.

No, today I realized that I probably shouldn’t be a food blogger because I eat a lot of really, really ugly food.

Exhibit A: this morning’s breakfast.

oatbran + chia pudding

mmm, gruel topped with fish eggs?

To be fair, that tasted delicious. Oat bran (Did You Know that oat bran cooked like oatmeal tastes just like cream of wheat? This was my first exciting discovery of the week; my second exciting discovery of the week was that I actually like cream of wheat, apparently, despite hating it when my mom used to make it for me as a kid — too mushy) topped with chia pudding (chia seeds, homemade almond milk, espresso powder, stevia; speaking of which, third exciting discovery of the week — which was really more like a “d’oh” moment — was that you can, in fact, make almond milk out of almond meal when you don’t have/can’t afford more almonds).

Still not convinced? Exhibit B: this afternoon’s lunch.

ugly salad

what's that? some sort of . . . swamp . . . thing?

Cabbage, sauteed zucchini slivers, pesto hummus, balsamic vinegar. Tasty, but let’s face it: this baby isn’t going to be winning any beauty contests, even if I did have real food-blogger plates/props/lack-of-laziness.

Ah well. I’ve got granola bars in the oven and a chocolate sorbet base in the fridge, both of which stand a chance of being less hideous. Fingers crossed.

* Admittedly, missing WIAW might’ve been a good thing this week, since all I could stomach yesterday was several bowls of oat bran due to nausea caused by some combination of psychosomatic concussion-paranoia and muscle relaxants after getting, um, slightly trampled by a horse. Fun times.

recipe rut

27 June 2011

When I cook bulk batches of things like beans and grains, I often find myself making the same thing over and over rather than combining them in new and interesting ways. For example, I made sweet ‘n’ spicy rice ‘n’ peas three times over the past week, and I’ve been eating lots of simple Asian-inspired salads of “sushi rice” (brown rice + rice vinegar + agave), edamame, corn, tamari, and chili-garlic sauce. I never get bored of eating the same thing for days on end — especially when it tastes this good! — but it does lead to admittedly boring blogging.

Yesterday I had some sort of 24-hour bug and couldn’t leave my bed or stomach anything more than chia oatmeal. (Fortunately — particularly when you’re having a hard time, um, keeping down liquids — that stuff’s super-hydrating: I’ve successfully made it with up to 3 cups of water per 1/2 cup oats.) Woke up at 5 pm and finally felt semi-hungry, but for some reason the only thing I could possibly imagine eating was a biscuit. I whipped up one of Chocolate Covered Katie’s single-lady dinner muffins, but used 2T oat flour + 1T oat bran and subbed tofutti cream cheese for the butter a la this recipe. Perfect.

Today, happily, I’m feeling human again: human enough to do some yard yoga, and to finally cook a real — and different — meal:

asparagus and bulgur

Sauteed garlic, asparagus, and bulgur, with basil and some white wine to deglaze (I’ve always wanted to do that!). Delicious.

I also whipped up some yummy pesto hummus: recipe forthcoming!

chia grapefruit breakfast bars

24 June 2011

As is becoming something of a habit of late, I found myself this afternoon unable to focus on philosophy, instead staring at archived recipes on Angela’s blog. As is becoming something of another habit, I eventually came to the conclusion that there was one thing I absolutely had to bring into the world right this very instant — something that was, of course, composed almost entirely of ingredients I didn’t have. In this particular case, for example, I owned 6 of the 13 listed ingredients, two of which are really the same thing (oats and oats ground into flour?), and two of which are salt and baking powder, which shouldn’t even count.

chia grapefruit breakfast bar

Now, maybe if I were a normal human, with normally functioning human cognitive capacities, this fact might’ve led me to select a different recipe — maybe one from my exponentially out-of-control “to-try” bookmark-folder, even. But, no, not this girl: I went with it. Only . . . different.

Chia Grapefruit Breakfast Bars
(inspired by Oh She Glows)

2 tbsp chia seeds
juice from 1/2 grapefruit
3/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond meal
heaping 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp olive oil

Combine grapefruit juice and chia seeds in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Once the chia + grapefruit mixture forms a gel, add in other liquid ingredients and stir to combine. Add wet to dry and mix; resulting dough should be sticky but not too liquidy. Spread/press into a greased 9×5 loaf pan (or double recipe and use an 8×8 pan) and bake at 350 for ~25 min. Let cool in the pan for 20 min, then on a wire rack for 10 more. Makes 12 small bars, or 6 big ‘uns.

chia grapefruit breakfast bars

mmm . . . oaty

These are a great snack and/or on-the-run, no-time-for-enormous-bowl-of-chia-oatmeal breakfast. Subtly sweet but not overly so; mild grapefruity tanginess (and why haven’t I ever seen grapefruit called for as the citrus element in recipes like this?); perfectly moist and chewy. These would be awesome with some sort of toasted-nut-crumble on top for some crunch, maybe in a more dessert-like incarnation?

lavender oatmeal ice cream update

23 June 2011

You guys. I (bravely) tasted it this morning and it wasn’t nearly as disgusting as I remembered. Kinda tasty, in fact. Stuck it in the ice cream maker — because ice cream makers can make anything better — and baked up a quick crunchy oat crumble (oats, oat flour, brown sugar, applesauce, oil) to mix in. The result? Oddly addictive! (The crunchy oat crumble may or may not be the best part, but still.)

lavender oatmeal ice cream

some day, I'll invest in an ice cream scoop

I won’t bother with a recipe — yet — because although I’ll happily eat this stuff, I probably wouldn’t serve it to others as is. (With a few modifications, though? Almost definitely.) Also the ingredients are kinda . . . unorthodox (because obviously I couldn’t handle the thought of making my standard go-to perfectly deliciously decadent recipe for just me): involved overnight oat bran/chia pudding, lite coconut milk, dates, and (too much) lavender. Yeah, I warned ya.

lavender oatmeal ice cream

at least I've got this classy glass

WIAW #2

22 June 2011

It’s Wednesday again?? Yikes, time flies when you’re unemployed and spend all day reading philosophy. Guess it’s time for. . . .

Breakfast was a huge bowl of chia oatmeal:

chia oatmeal

1/2 cup oats, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 2 cups water, stevia, cinnamon, cardamom

I also may or may not have had a pre-run cacao “brownie“:

brownies

Snacked on a big bowl of watermelon, which I forgot to photograph. (Hint: it looked like a big bowl of watermelon.) At some point I decided I wanted to make ice cream for a post-yard-yoga lunch, because it’s ok to eat ice cream for lunch when you live alone. Somehow ended up with a lavender oatmeal ice cream base; if you think that sounds like a kind of soap . . . well, it sorta tasted like that too. Will probably attempt to salvage it and freeze it tomorrow; we’ll see.

Inhaled more watermelon after my 110-degree practice. (That’s right: if I’d gone to the studio there’d have been fans on to keep the temperature down. I live in a crazy place.) All I wanted for lunch was some more of yesterday’s delicious rice ‘n’ peas; 10 minutes later, that’s what I had:

rice-n-peas

and just as wonderful this time 'round

Also, quite a few glasses of vanilla-cinnamon sun tea. Might as well make the ridiculous sun down here work for me, right? And I need a caffeine source now that I can’t afford to patronize coffee shops. . . .

Came home late and famished from a fantastic mental representation reading group meeting; whipped up a quick and tasty salad of odds ‘n’ ends: Israeli couscous, edamame, frozen peas, frozen corn, tamari, rice vinegar, sriracha. Cool and filling and veggie-ful (plus I’ve been wanting to use up that Israeli couscous for ages):

couscous salad

and if you thought my iPhone photos were bad before, this is what happens when I get home after sunset....

Not a particularly exciting WIAW, but I’m not a particularly exciting gal — and besides, that’s kinda the idea behind project simplify anyway, right?