Wednesday, September 24, 2008

>> Autumn Breakfast

Autumn is truly descending upon us here in Seattle. The leaves are tinged with hints of bright fiery red, hues of vibrant orange, and golden yellows. Today is actually the first day of class for UW students, whereas for myself, it's an odd feeling of not being part of the bustle of students in a flurry of getting to class on our beautiful timeless campus. The nostalgia is certainly hitting me. However, this morning I woke up with a sore throat. Not sure if I'm getting sick, or if it's a reaction to some leftover mussel-pasta that I ate last night, but I decided that I would make myself a hot breakfast. I went onto the Quaker Oatmeal website for some sort of inspiration and found a recipe for maple apple oatmeal! However, I lacked a few ingredients.. such as cinnamon and apple juice, but regardless, with a few adaptations, it turned out really well ( well, according to my palate ;D ). My adaptation is as follows:

:: Maple Apple Oatmeal
The Quick & Dirty Method (aka via microwaving)
Serving Size 1

1/2 cup of old-fashioned uncooked oats
1/2 cup of 2% organic milk (or more if you like creamier oatmeal)
1/2 cup of freshly diced organic apples + (optional) thinly sliced apples for garnishing ;)
1-2 tablespoon of good maple syrup (mine is from my most recent trip to Whistler, BC)
1 teaspoon of whole or ground flaxseeds (to kick it up with some Omega-3s)

Place all ingredients into microwave-safe bowl, mix well and microwave for 4 minutes. Add thinly sliced apples to bowl for garnishing!

: Afterthoughts :
I would have had fun making this on the stove top but honestly, I was really hungry so I decided to make it in the microwave. It's a nice easy and less-mess way of making it, especially if you want to give yourself a morning treat but are in a hurry to bolt elsewhere.
I found that using milk instead of apple juice (as is called for in the Quaker Oat recipe), makes the oatmeal creamier. Also, I thought that the proportion of milk to oatmeal was a good choice because I like my oatmeal slightly firm (not mushy). I love the texture of the cooked apples, tastes reminiscent of apple pie, but much better for you ^^
To improve this adaptation, I suppose if I had some cinnamon on hand (I just moved recently, so lots of things are lost in boxes somewhere), I would definitely add a dash of it, perhaps even some nutmeg too. Also, perhaps adding some walnuts or other nuts to it would be a nice crunchy finish also.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

>> Ode to Blueberries

It is now September and with a long-cast glance back at the mild Seattle summer, as you may recall from my most previous post, I was pretty much infatuated with eating blueberries. So infatuated to the point of going blueberry picking at a local organic berry farm. It was loads of fun and get this: the price of one pound of organic blueberries was just $1.50. That's amazingly cheap. At Whole Foods, PCC, or Metropolitan Market (the latter two are local Seattle natural foods markets), a pint of organic blueberries is easily $4.99. Astounding.

So in light of posting about blueberries (despite backtracking a bit) -- what first triggered my infatuation with blueberries dates back to July 4th. I, of course, made dessert for a Fourth of July barbecue. I decided to make a tastefully patriotic-looking cheesecake yet still wholesome, showcasing the seasonally fresh flavours of summer goodness. So this is what I came up with: a vanilla bean cheesecake with an almond meal crust, decorated with freshly sliced strawberries, vanilla cream cheese piping and sweet plump blueberries: red, white and blue.