Monday, January 9, 2012

ode to oatmeal

breakfast is a beautiful thing. 

Sorry for the lack of an intellectual post today, I'm just really happy about food right now. recently I've become quite obsessive about oatmeal. I think it was the realization that I can put ANYTHING on top of it and still fool myself that it's a healthy breakfast. Not like I'm garnishing my breakfast with chocolate cake or anything, but nutella? coconut? white chocolate cranberry larabars? (ohh that was the best breakfast ever.) I used to think oatmeal of as a bowl of bland white mush, so if this has been your limited experience as well, please please change your life. SO GOOD.

1/2 C oats (old fashioned, rolled, steel cut. I personally prefer steel cut, but if Walmart as opposed to Whole Foods is your grocery stop, they may be more difficult to find.) 
1/2 C milk
1/2 C water 
dash of salt (secret: I never use this. I understand using a pinch of salt in anything with yeast or baking soda/powder, but oatmeal? I fail to see what it adds. So if you're a compulsive salt-adder, feel free to frown upon my rebellious cooking habits.) 
1/2 banana, cut into chunks
1 tsp PURE vanilla extract (never ever ever use imitation! please, for the love of all that is delicious!)

Combine all ingredients (minus vanilla) in a small saucepan over medium heat. I normally just let mine sit (no stirring yet) while I get dressed, do dishes, whatever. Because I hate waiting. When the oats have absorbed most of the liquid, stir/whip around the edges to make the bananas nice and fluffy. yum. Add vanilla, and whatever you want on top. Excellent combinations include raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, walnuts and extra bananas, peanut butter (trust me, it's fantastic.), trail mix, peaches, apples and cinnamon, pumpkin, almonds and coconut, pumpkin seeds, maple syrup, crumbled cookies, muffins, breads, or plain brown sugar if you're boring. ;) there's no wrong here. NO WRONG. (lots of caps in this post... and parentheses... it's just one of those days.) 
also, yesterday I had a revelation. Bananas were made for nutella. And any kind of chocolate goes wonderfully with oats (these cookies? delish). So... nutella-banana-oatmeal is definitely going to be tested in mornings to come...

other favorite morning foods? As wonderful as oatmeal is, I'm looking to expand my breakfast horizons. ;)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

so this is the new year

2012. I already like the sound of it. I don't know if it's looking back at mistakes and regrets from last year, or just that I like the rather cliched thought of turning over a new leaf, but I'm so excited to see what this new year holds.

aspirations for the year...

learn a new instrument. crossing my fingers for accordion, though I'd happily settle for banjo or cello. :]

stop having such an entitlement attitude, and instead see everything as a blessing, even if it seems like something to be taken for granted.
the other day while driving (did I mention I drive now? :] getting my license and college parking pass was waaayy overdue..) I saw a bumper sticker that had striked a line through the typical phrase "God bless America", and above it was written instead, "America bless God." this simple little bumper sticker really hit me, and I thought about it the whole way home. I started thinking about how many times I have seen God bless America brazenly written all over every household plaque, back bumper, facebook wall, etc. I think patriotism is a wonderful thing, but not when it comes at the cost of humility. Certainly we should be grateful that we can live, praise, love, read, and write freely, but superiority is such an ugly thing. And furthermore, how twisted is it that we as a country expect God to bless us, when every day His name is reviled and cursed in our country?

love more.
well, here's hoping. ;)

do more impossible things. I've only crossed off 7 of my 100 things to do before I die list in the past year, which is rather pitiful. here's to a more daring year!

be less dependent on money.

live this: 
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
  Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
  Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins
  And blot out all my iniquities.
  Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
  Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
-Psalm 51:1-12