Thursday, June 9, 2011

Your Stomach on the Line

After last post, Joce had me thinking; I'm going to try to write about more of the culinary adventures I have.  
Especially things that are inexpensive and easily reproduced.  I, fortunately, did not subsist on ramen noodles in my dorm room at school because our dining services were actually great, but I have learned what's good food to keep around!
I have developed a fondness for oatmeal Maybe I'm overthinking it, but it absolutely excites me when I consider all the ways you can prepare oatmeal-- like a blank canvas! I prefer plain oats, either instant or microwavable.  I think it tastes better than the other instant oatmeals, and I know there aren't any odd chemicals or flavorings.  When I have more time and a stove I definitely go with rolled and steel-cut oats.  I tend to cook the oats in half water-milk (whoo, a dairy serving!) and fill it slightly above the oats in the bowl-- I'm a not-too-lumpy-or-moist oatmeal person :P.  It's kind of trial and error, similarly with the microwave times because all are different, though starting with one minute is good.
Then, comes the culinary freedom!  Some ideas that I mix and match:
  • pushing some oatmeal aside to eat with plain or vanilla yogurt, or applesauce
  • mixing in fruit jams (also helps plain yogurt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
  • maple syrup or honey
  • brown sugar (while the oatmeal is still hot, so it caramelizes :)
    cinnamon (I use generous amounts) and a dash of nutmeg
  • sliced almonds or walnuts
  • toasted coconut
  • any fresh or dried fruit
  • granola mixed in, or improvise with your favorite cereal
  • a dash of whipped cream or a few mini marshmallows :)
  • and savory flavors! I haven't gone too much into that, yet I imagine eggs and cheese with thyme would rock.
Yeah, it seems obvious, but once I started thinking about all the possibilities I was blown away.  I have oatmeal nearly every morning.  It was so convenient at school because you can throw whatever you want into it. Oh, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are my absolute favorite.  I still haven't tried baking oatmeal, but I'll post about that once it's done :).  Do you have any oatmeal ingenuity that you would like to share?

The picture next to my breakfast (accompanied with a chai latté) was my lunch!  I could, without a doubt, live on baby spinach I love eating it straight out of the bag.  I just happened to have the perfect melange of food in my house to make this extravagant salad: leftover summer squash that was sautéed in olive oil and dill, leftover sliced chicken, a diced tomato, peanuts and dried cranberries.  Then I added a bit of a herb olive oil dressing.  It was so satisfying, my bragging is obnoxious but I felt like this was breaching restaurant quality (at least a Panera-type :P).  What's your favorite food to indulge on in the summer?  I could also o.d. on watermelon!!

Ahh, and Monday night I finally had my first backyard bonfire of the season.  Nothing like keeping the neighbors awake with my friends under the stars.  I think I ate four s'mores and roasted numerous marshmallows.  I was so glad to go to bed smelling of burning wood.

Listening: "North by North" by Faded Paper Figures


Natalie said...

Hurrah for culinary adventures! I read, like, 40 food blogs every day, so I'm perfectly content with yours being added to the mix. :D MMM OATMEAL. It really is the perfect breakfast food, cause you can add absolutely anything to it and have it be fantastic. I'm definitely an apples and brown sugar girl, hehe.

I love summer bonfires so much. SO MUCH! :)

Allison said...

Yummm, Nicole! This was not the post to read when my stomach is growling from PMS kicking my ass and turning me into a ravenous animal all the time.
Omgosh, I used to eat oatmeal every. single. morning. I got so oatmeal-ed out, but I also never thought to put amazing things into it to spice it up! I only recently got into oatmeal again (and have been having the instant hazelnut flavor, which is so boring). You have now totally inspired me to get more innovative with it! And YUM for your salad! That sounds so, so perfect, and good salads are one of the hardest things to come by.
I LOVE all your pictures, and the picture of your lovely bonfire, my dear! I owe you a serious catch-up email soon -- I'll shoot for doing it this weekend.
Miss you, xox

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