Sunday, July 13, 2014

lifesaver overnight oatmeal

I've been shouting it from the rooftops everywhere but here:  overnight oatmeal.  It sounds boring and basic, but it's a weekday lifesaver with two basic ingredients.  And, in the crock pot, it's easier than you could possibly imagine.

Maybe I should back up.  I have never been a weekday breakfast eater.  I'm not, my dad isn't, and my grandfather wasn't.  I routinely skip breakfast and I'm not proud of it.  But, because on busy days I sometimes also skip lunch, the situation is untenable.  (Being a human being and all, it's important to eat more than one meal per day.)  I decided breakfast is under my control even when the work day takes over my lunch hour.  Time to change those inherited, bad breakfast habits.

Meanwhile, Pinterest was yelling at me:  overnight oats! crockpot oatmeal!  steel cut is good for youl! make your own almond butter!  I conceded:  it was time to try making oatmeal in the slow cooker overnight.  And eating it for breakfast.

There's something to it after all:  easy, healthful, minimal morning effort.  Minimal effort period.  1 cup oats, 3 1/2 cups of milk and water combo (the ratio and type of milk you use is completely flexible).  Crock pot.  You don't even have to stir.

In the morning, I spoon a heaping serving into a tupperware container and pile on toppings.  It's still warm when I sit down to my desk to check emails and-- finally-- eat breakfast. Of course, you don't have to wait.  If your schedule permits, celebrate the world's easiest breakfast by eating it at your kitchen table with a cup of coffee and your favorite daytime television.  By all means, enjoy!

This simple recipe has changed my daily life completely and so much for the better.  I'm caring for myself, and that's something worth shouting about.  The recipe follows.

Friday, July 4, 2014

maple peach ice cream

Summer is shining in to my core.  I am soaking up the sun and warm air and abundant produce.

It's finally time for fresh peaches, which always test my patience.  My grandmother Mimi used to like Georgia peaches best.  She'd drive from Charlotte to get them and bring back big woven baskets full, to store under the kitchen table until the peaches were just ready to eat.   (I might be speaking out of turn, but I think my South Carolina-born mother agreed with this disloyal errand.)  Wherever you get them, plan ahead and let your peaches ripen in a paper bag.

I didn't even like peaches until I tasted peach, basil, and mozzarella salad, when, after years of aversion, I realized that peaches are so much more than slimey and syrupy sweet.  They are bright, fresh, tender, and perfectly delicious in a galette with their unexpected friend black pepper.  And in the South, there's hardly a better way to eat them on a July day than in fresh peach ice cream.

When I set out to make peach ice cream, I had the benefit of 3 just-ripe peaches on my kitchen counter.  (Leftovers from oatmeal adventures that I will report to you soon.)  It was just enough for a quart of ice cream.

I researched peach ice cream recipes and found too many lists of ingredients with instant vanilla pudding, sweetened condensed milk, and other saccharine cover-ups.  What I had in mind was old-fashioned, simple, and not too sweet.  (After all, I've gone to a lot of trouble lately to not eat sugar, and I don't want to throw my body completely out of whack. OK, more on that later; I know we have a lot to catch up on.)

This version is simple, peach-centered, and not too sweet.  Just what I wanted.  And I love that includes a hint of maple flavor, a great memory from our trip to Vermont last fall.

Here's another nostalgic moment for me:  it's been about 2 years that I've been blogging to you.  In 2012 there was a stars and stripes chiffon cake that I was sure you would love.  I wanted to share it, so I did. And then some more, and some more, and piles of recipes and dirty dishes later, here were are.

Let's celebrate 2 years of cooking together and take advantage of summer's best.  The recipe for peach ice cream follows.