Tag Archives: oatmeal

nutbut

I don’t know if I have ever fully opened up to you all about my love for nut butter. Let me share my heart with you a little today.

I have a friend wo has been known to challenge people to a game called “I love peanut butter more than you love peanut butter”, which usually ends in him telling his opponent that if there was a puppy in the road and a jar of peanut butter next to it, and a car was hurtling towards the pair at top speed, he would save the jar of peanut butter before the puppy (he has even been know to push the hypothetical puppy into the path of the hypothetical car on his way to the hypothetical peanut butter jar in order to win the game).

I’m not going to challenge you all to any hypothetical duals. I do, however, happen to have a bit of hard evidence.

(not pictured: my jar of tahini)

When you get to 6 (uh..7) jars, you start wondering if you have a problem. Actually, at this point in time I’m down to 4; I polished off the scrapings of both the chocolate almond butter and the crunchy pb in the form of overnight oats (one of the best breakfasts there is).

But.. I also have a stash squirreled away…

I’ll leave the diagnosis up to you, while I focus on the nut butter.

It’s the component of most of the breakfasts I eat that I believe really makes the meal stick with me. The healthy fats and protein are a satisfying combo, and then on top of that you get the vitamin E, iron, calcium, and antioxidants that occur in nuts and seeds in various quantities. I think the fact that the nuts are ground until their oils release means that the nutrients are brought out from their cells, ready for absorption. And your tongue can tell! Isn’t a spoonful of peanut butter more satisfying than a handful of peanuts? (or is that just me?)

Oatmeal with figs, peanut butter, and maple syrup.

And the enrichment of your life via nut butters isn’t limited to breakfast. Last night I made a saute of sweet potatoes, turnips, red pepper, and onion in a easy sauce made from a mixture of tahini, peanut butter, honey, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Just mix approximately equal amounts of those ingredients together, adjust until you like how it tastes, and thin it with water to add to your saute towards the end of cooking. You can also do salad dressings from similar mixtures.

Nut butter is an easy ingredient to play around with, and the results will seldom be unsatisfactory. Worth keeping a jar or two (or six…) in your pantry for some easily-accesible energy and flavor.

I’m always open to new ideas for things to do with nut butters, so if you have any to share, please feel free!

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Peanut Palate

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I finished my jar of delicious coffee and chocolate-infused peanut butter the other day as an overnight oats breakfast. I’m sad that it’s gone, but happy to have a reason to try the next two! (I finished the honey pretzel kind too.)

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I’ve had this one open for a while: it sounds amazing, but it hasn’t grabbed me like the Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed flavor did. It’s too sweet to be used as a normal peanut butter… However it is really delicious as a topping for vanilla ice cream. When I think of it as a substitute for Nutella, then I like it more. It’s less sweet than Nutella and has those coconut undertones.

I decided to open this jar too:

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Seen here with my unadorned oats this morning.

I then proceeded to use it in my adornment of said oats:

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I cooked the oats themselves with some banana and soy milk, then stirred some ground flax in at the end– extra fiber, healthy fats, and as an added bonus it makes them creamier 🙂 The dollop of PB is on top, but it’s hiding under coconut, granola, and extra raisins.
The cinnamon presence in the peanut butter is delicious; my only complaint is that I’m always digging for raisins. Maybe I should just stir some into the jar.

So, out of the four flavors of Wild Squirrel Peanut Butter I tried, my favorite was definitely the Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed, which had ground coffee in the unsweetened peanut butter, and then a swirl of dark chocolate as a sweet off-set. It is so different from any other peanut butter i have had, but it still retains a distinct peanuttiness. I like the others too, but I think that flavor is the one I would bring up in every day conversation… and will definitely purchase again!

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Marathon Day

A first marathon is something that can only happen once.  Okay, obviously.  But it was a significant first for me, a milestone (haha?) that has been at the back of my mind for the past few years.

I usually imagined it like the pictures in the running magazines: roads, crowds, costumes, Gatorade, bagels…  What I got yesterday, though, was a simpler and perhaps more pure incarnation of the event.  We ran next to trees on a trail that used to be a railroad bed, the view occasionally opening to a small river.  There were about 450 people running, and it seemed like even fewer to me, but I’m not a good judge of quantity.  It was an out and back course, which was very useful mentally; once you hit the turn-around it feels like counting down the miles rather than adding them on.

I actually found the first half more frustrating than the second half.  I was trying to pace myself because I had no idea what to expect for miles 20 through 26.2.  My stride didn’t feel totally smooth and I actually started to get a little ache in one of my hip flexors, which has never happened before.  But as soon as I turned around and felt like I had license to start moving, the kinks started to work themselves out and the juices started flowing.  At that point, I had also just finished my caffeinated gel (chosen for the flavor variety it provided rather than its caffeine content… gel-picking gets complicated), which might have helped with the juice-boost, but it lasted for the 2nd two hours, so I’m thinking it was more runner’s high than caffeine high 🙂  I actually felt absolutely fabulous from mile 14 through 21, and then just a little less than fabulous from 21 to 26, when the quad-pounding came into play.  I think the tightness in my quads actually helped me keep the pace up, because it forced me to think about my form and the movement of my legs.  If I pictured myself moving efficiently and aligned my body according to that image, my legs hurt less and I ran faster.  Or at least, that was what I told myself, which is all that really counts because it kept me pushing!    By mile 25 I was ready to be done, but at that point what’s another mile?  It really was a rush, and I loved it.

Okay, enough with the runner gushing. I promise this is still mostly a food blog.

I didn’t take any pictures of the food I ate.   Bonnie and Chris came and met me at mile 20, then stuck around for the finish, and we went to California Pizza Kitchen with my parents after.  It made the day at least 7 times better to have them with me, probably more… Thank you so much for being there!  And of course my parents… the most enthusiastic and supportive long-distance-running-event-spectator parents I ever did see 🙂  Chris left after lunch, and the rest of us got gelato.  In the restaurant I had been watching some close-by kids eat sundaes and thus developed a need for one of my own.  I got a 2 scoop sundae with bacio (chocolate hazelnut: SO good) and tiramisu (which tasted chemically to me; I don’t know if it was due to their attempt to mimic some sort of marsala flavor in there?  It didn’t work for me, though…) which totally hit the spot, even after splitting it with my dad.

I have lots of pictures of food from today, including a Butternut Squash, Mushroom, and Sundried Tomato Lasagna my mom and I made… but I’m done in front of the screen.  My brain is making a very convincing case for sleep.

To prevent a photoless and minimally fooded post, here’s today’s breakfast:

Pumpkin oats, cranberry sauce, pear, walnuts, Toasted Almond Squares (crushed), and coffee flavor Brown Cow yogurt.

With a simple green smoothie: spinach/banana/pear.  I especially like to have green smoothies the day after a long run because I feel like the antioxidants and vitamins are going into my muscles and doing repair work.

And here’s what happened after I finished the first layer of toppings…

Peanut butter and pomegranate seeds.

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Marriage and Porridge

Weddings are such a great time.  I’m running out of engaged friends… who’s next??? 🙂  It was a beautiful evening and everything was swell: happy couple, happy friends and family, fabulous celebration.  One of my favorite parts of weddings is witnessing how much my friends’ chosen partners love and appreciate them.  I know they deserve it, and I’m just so pleased to see that other people recognize it too.

I thought that I’d be super sore yesterday, given the combination of my long run and running around/dancing in heels for hours, but I’m actually experiencing close to zero aftereffect.  Last weekend it took a few days for my calves to feel normal, so I’m pleasantly surprised by the lack of tightness in my muscles.  I suppose it’s because my body is adapting.  Good job, body.  When I got back from my run I was rushing around to get ready for the wedding, but I did make time for this  recovery smoothie, based on the Banana Tahini Cardamom Maple smoothie I had in California.  It’s a variation using honey instead of maple syrup.  It was so good.

Here’s what I blended:

  • Half a banana
  • ~1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk (but any milk will work)
  • ~1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • ~1 tsp honey
  • ~2 tsp tahini (If you don’t have/like/are allergic to tahini, I’m sure peanut butter would be delish.  I’d probably then use cinnamon or nutmeg as the spice.  Though cardamom could still work, I’m sure!)
  • ~2 tbsp oats (They add texture and a subtle, earthier sweetness.)
  • ~1 cup ice

Sorry for all the ~, I wasn’t measuring.

Last night I had work, but today I am completely free!  I’m going to use the day to get some odds and ends done, go for a run, and then cheat on Growlers with Dogfish Head for dinner with my family (we have a coupon!).  I started the day with some pumpkin oats.  Pumpkin has been playing a big part over at KathEats (one of my role model blogs), given that she had 4 pounds of it to finish, and she has been tempting me to open a can of my own.  So here is this morning’s result:

I cooked up some oats, then stirred in pumpkin puree (equal to the volume of dry oats I started with), a little maple syrup, and some cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.  It’s topped with raisins, sunflower seed butter, and some of a pear ginger muffin my mom made yesterday.  If I’d had cranberries, I would have done those, and while I was finishing I decided the perfect topping would be some toasted pecans.  Next time.

Pumpkin!  Autumn!  October!  October is my favorite month.  I’m excited for the more seasonal weather we are supposed to get at the end of this week… bring on the cool and crisp 60’s!

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Oats De Novo

Yesterday at Growlers our newest beer went on tap: Thai One On.  It’s a beer inspired by the five flavors of Thai cuisine: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and hot.  The brewmasters used chili, palm sugar, lemongrass, tamarind, and ginger in this beer, and it’s amazingly innovative and delicious.  It’s interesting to observe customers’ reactions.  Some of them love it, some find it intriguing but aren’t interested in a glass of it, and some taste it, say “interesting,” and leave it at that.  When it first went on tap, I took a sample to two of my customers, who ended up being “interested” by it and getting something else.  I told them that I really liked it, but I like weird things.  I couldn’t really think of another way to express my taste in food.

I suppose weird is relative, but with some of the things I want to post I find myself wondering whether people will just be weirded out, wonder what strange mutation of the human species I am, and go look at something else.  It probably stems from the same instinct that had me sneaking mouthfuls of green beans in Elementary school when none of my tablemates were watching, and hiding my egg salad sandwich in my lunch bag in between bites.

So I am going to make this an exercise in self-expression, and take a “don’t knock it til you’ve tried it” attitude.  I’m sharing what I like, and people who don’t like it can go (to another) home (page).

The following are two variations on oats that I have used to fortify before my waitressing shifts.  One is sweet and the other is savory.  Have you tried savory oatmeal?  Oats are like any other grain: very versatile.  Just like serving corn grits (or polenta) with cheese or maple syrup, oatmeal can be a palate for any flavor you’re in the mood for.

Savory Greens Oatmeal

I cooked about 1/2 cup oats, then stirred in spinach to wilt and added salt and pepper .  You can adjust amounts and ratios to whatever your heart desires.

That’s the base, and the toppings are up to you.  I fried an egg and chopped some cheese.

Two of my favorites!

Then topped it all with some fresh arugula and a drizzle of olive oil.

It was a perfect mid-morning brunch before the lunch shift.

Sweet Peaches and Cream Oatmeal

This is more of your basic oatmeal with some fun mix-ins.

Cook 1/2 cup oats with chopped peaches, then mix in about 1/4 cup of cottage cheese, a splash of maple syrup or honey (a teaspoon or two) and a few shakes of cinnamon.

I topped it with ground almonds and plain yogurt sweetened with maple syrup, plus a few more chopped peaches. 

A fun way to make oats more satisfying with protein from the cottage cheese.

So, at this point I’ve either scared you away to a blog where oatmeal appears in more familiar guises, or inspired you to expand your oaty repertoire.  Or, you eat this kind of thing all the time and it’s no news to you… in which case, go ahead and share your favorite unconventional combo with me!

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