Sometimes we would have oatmeal for supper when I was little. My mom would make a pot of it on the stove, and then set out molasses, maple syrup, raisins, and brown sugar. We had fun building our own bowls…like an ice cream bar.
Until this winter I hadn’t had homemade oatmeal in roughly 20 years. I upgraded from the sugar-laden packets last fall when I couldn’t get enough Three Sisters oatmeal (still my daily breakfast at work, where the whole office can tell by nose if it’s a brown sugar or apples and cinnamon kind of day), but eventually, I had to go back to the original source. It seems a simple thing, but sweetening home-cooked oats with nothing more than dried fruits and natural sugars makes me feel like I am eating the stuff of pioneers.
Like I am Laura Ingalls Wilder, getting ready for a day of playing on the grassy roof of my dugout house. Oh, if only…
Start with some whole grain rolled oats.
Boil 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt, then add 1 cup of oats. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for around 8 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside to thicken a little while you set out your add-ins. Mine included milk, brown sugar, dried cherries, and pure maple syrup. Don’t forget the coffee.
This is one heavenly breakfast.
These dishes were a present to myself. I had been eyeing them at Macy’s for months, so when I saw the 16 piece set on sale for $30 after Christmas I went for it. I carried them home on the bus in a blizzard. They were worth it.
I also got a ton of awesome kitchen items for Christmas. Here are a few:
I have wanted these two vegetarian cookbooks for so long, I can hardly put them down. I can’t wait to make so many delicious things from them. I’m also very excited about my digital scale, jelly roll pan, BATTER FINGER SPATULA (will I feel less guilty licking this one than I do all of my other ones?), Cooking Light subscription, and this 3-D Santa mold pan:
Until I looked too closely into his vacant eyes and got a little freaked out. YIKES, Santa.
John’s family decided to do a “couples” Secret Santa gift exchange this year, so I got to participate as part of a team with John, which was a real honor. We got a goldmine of treats from his Uncle Jim and Aunty Kathy. Here is all the loot, minus one loaf bread that I ate with my Cauliflower and Potato Curry all week. John’s friend Matt is up from Brooklyn so he hasn’t been over to help me eat it, but it turns out I didn’t need any help. Bread is my real boyfriend.
(Sidenote…this bread was amazing, from Hearth Wood Fired Bread in Plymouth. Using a 22-year old natural starter, they make one thing – a French Country Loaf – the same way it was made in the 18th century. The bread owes a lot of its chewy texture and nutty taste to the five organic heritage grains that make it up. If you are in the city and want to try some without visiting Plymouth, you can find it at the Four Seasons, Fairmont Copley Plaza, and the Charles Hotel.)
But back to the goodies…
Back row = all 4 varieties of Three Sisters oatmeal
Middle Row = pure maple syrup, Dagoba organic drinking cacoa with bits of pure dark chocolate and cane sugar, Crofter’s organic raspberry jam (love the bear on the label)
Front Row = festive dishtowels, Allegro organic breakfast blend coffee, snowflake bowls, cinnamon toasted pecans with honey and brown sugar, Dancing Deer Buttermilk Pancake Mix, beeswax and soy peppermint vanilla candle, matching mugs with his and hers PJ pants
It was such a thoughtful gift…I am thinking I can make one super breakfast using most of these items on Sunday morning, before John goes to the Pats game.
I got a lot more wonderful things, but these were the ones within reach this morning while I wrestled with my kitchen sink and drank 4 enormous mugs of Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice limited edition coffee.
I am a very lucky girl.
Time to go dress up for New Year’s Eve!
Happy 2011 in advance, everyone. I am absolutely positive that it’s going to be a great one (except for the one day when I turn 30).