Quick Recipe: Apple Porridge for a Chilly Autumn Morning

Well, it’s certainly getting cold around here lately. Yesterday, we had sleet and rain all day. By the time I got home, I was soaked through and chilled to the bone. It was a nice evening for curling up under blankets with hot tea, hot cocoa, and hot food. Fiancé grabbed a heating pad to help with a sore muscle he had and TweedCat discovered that he was extra-cozy because of it, so he got the cat. But I had plenty of warmth with blankets, shawls, and warm things in my belly.

DSCN0111

This morning, the rain had passed, but it was still quite chilly. I always find myself gravitating towards porridge the instant the temperature dips below any semblance of warmth, so I put together one of my favorite quick breakfasts to take to work. I add diced fruit to my porridge before cooking it, which bulks it up, adds a bit of nutrition, and sweetens it lightly. I also added some warming spices, and topped the whole thing with nut butter for protein and fat. It preps in minutes, cooks in minutes, and is a lovely, hearty, warming breakfast for a chilly morning.

Apple Porridge

1/4 cup quick cooking steel cut oats
1/2 apple, diced
scant 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. each of ginger and allspice
3/4 cup of water

Add the ingredients to a tupperware or mason jar in the order given. It’s important to put the oats at the bottom to ensure they’re thoroughly hydrated. Seal up the container and take wherever you are going. When you are ready to cook them, give the container a little shake and empty the mixture into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes on half power, then stir, and then microwave for another 2-1/2 minutes on half power, or until cooked. Top with butter, nut butter, sweetener, or whatever strikes your fancy. Makes one serving.

Advertisements

A Busy Weekend and a Busy Monday

Sunday morning, we woke up and realized that our front garden bed was woefully neglected. We hadn’t weeded in weeks and the weeds were almost as tall as the azaleas. So that we didn’t get too much sun, I suggested we go out and weed in the early morning. The front of the house is shaded until about 9:30 a.m., so we had plenty of time to pull most of the worst offenders in the weed department. We’ll have to get out a couple of weeks in a row before fall to keep things under control and then put down more mulch as the weather cools. We also gave them a bit of water since it was drier than usual last week and they were looking crispy.

After that, we decided it would be nice to walk to the store to get supplies to make waffles. I had most of the ingredients already, but we were out of maple syrup and butter. I was really excited to find Kerrygold Irish butter at the supermarket, and at a surprisingly good price. So I got fancy butter and went home to make waffles. I stirred up the batter and Boyfriend took care of cooking them. Waffles with butter and syrup was the perfect post-weeding treat! We did get a little down time for a couple hours while we ate breakfast, and I used the time to start watching Series 3 of Downton Abbey on Amazon, and do a deep conditioning treatment for my hair.

I’ve decided to officially try to grow my hair out again, and to that end, I’ve re-joined the hair forum of which I was a member many years ago. There’s a few treatments that have attained near-cult status and I knew one of them worked for me, so I put together a treatment with conditioner, honey, and aloe. I managed to use the last of my Griffin Remedy conditioner, but since I don’t want to order online when we’re going away soon-ish, I’m trying a brand from the natural food store where do our normal shopping. I’ve used it in the past and always thought of it as expensive, but it’s not actually that much more expensive than Griffin. Anyway, I let my treatment sit for an hour under plastic wrap and a bandanna, and then rinsed it out. It left my hair very soft and shiny. I let it dry hanging over one arm of the sofa while Boyfriend showered, and then put it up while we went to the store to shop.

After shopping for the week, I set to work, baking muffins and putting together lunch things for the week. I found the absolute best whole-grain blueberry muffin recipe last week, which I made again this week and froze for breakfasts. They’re fabulous with a cup of tea at my desk after I’ve made my smoothie at home. I also made a chopped salad, and hard-cooked some eggs for protein. I’m finishing out my healthy July re-boot strong!

Sunday evening was nice because we took my mother out for a birthday dinner. I was able to have a cocktail and a nice meal with her at one of her favorite restaurants. We even all got dessert and coffee (except I had tea!). It was nice because the slightly larger dinner served me well the next morning because I got up to go running early. I’m experimenting with only washing my hair three days a week and adjusting my running schedule so I run on days I already plan to wash my hair. This allows me to skip showering on some days, saving water and my skin, which has started to get more dry lately. We’ll see how it goes.

After running and a full day at work, I spent my Monday evening at an audition to which I’ve been looking forward for a long time. It was very busy and lasted longer than I would have liked, but I got to read for both characters in which I’m interested, AND the director remembered me by name without prompting, even though he asked almost everyone else to remind him of their names throughout the evening. So maybe that’s a good sign. Either way, it was fun to get to read something from the script. It would be a fun show to be in because it would further indulge my vintage loves!

I managed to make it home very late and fall into bed, but not before eating some pizza Boyfriend saved for me. He really is so sweet!

Saturday Morning Waffles

For Christmas, Boyfriend got me a waffle iron. Waffles are one of my favorite foods, from fluffy, American-style waffles at diners, to toaster waffles, to sweet Liege waffles with their bursts of sugar. I had a waffle iron of my own once, which belonged to my father before, but it became too old and sticky and had to be discarded. So imagine my delight when I opened the mysteriously large box given to me on Christmas morning!

IMG_0166

Because we were out of town for the holidays, we did not get to experiment with the iron until this past week. First, I tried Alton Brown’s waffle recipe, as a kind of a baseline. They were perfectly delicious waffles, but I wanted something with a bit more structure and heartiness to it. So I tweaked it myself. I had already found that sprouted wheat flour offered a lighter texture to baked goods than plain whole wheat flour, and as long as I was making them whole wheat and sprouted, I decided I ought to replace refined sugar in the batter. Finally, I removed a bit of the milk called for in the recipe to make a thicker batter. I also used regular whole milk rather than buttermilk, as I hadn’t got any.

Sprouted Wheat Waffles

2 cups sprouted whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. fine-grain salt (use more if you use a coarse salt)

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

3 eggs, beaten

1 3/4 cups of whole milk

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Whisk together the milk, eggs, and syrup, and then whisk in the melted butter slowly. Mix the whole thing gently into the dry ingredients, mixing just until it comes together. There may be lumps. Cook in a waffle iron, according to your particular iron’s idiosyncracies. I got 4 Belgian-sized waffles. Keep waffles warm in a 200 F oven until you are ready to eat. Serve warm with fruit and cream or butter and syrup. If you have leftovers, freeze them in a zip-top plastic bag with the air squeezed out, and layers of parchment between the waffles to prevent sticking together.

A Full Breakfast

Weekends are for errands and long walks and lounging with a pot of tea. And for big breakfasts. This weekend, I decided I’d make myself and Boyfriend a full English breakfast.

IMG_0088

An English breakfast consists of bacon and eggs and toast, but also grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, and a pool of baked beans. And it is washed down with copious amounts of strong black tea. I had mine with a little milk. Often, it includes sausage links as well as bacon, but I decided to limit myself to one breakfast meat.

Our Saturday morning was wonderful. I dragged him out of bed a little after 8 a.m., to bundle up for a walk around the lake near our house. I wrapped up in fleece leggings, a long skirt, a thick cabled wool sweater, my vest, a scarf, my boots, and my crocheted ear warmer and found myself toasty warm, other than a bit of nip at my nose. It was chilly and clear and very quiet. There were a few runners out. Even some of the geese were still sleeping. Boyfriend was not too pleased to be up and about at that hour, but it was a lovely start to the day. And I knew he would appreciate what we had in store for us when we got home.

When I got home, I threw the rashers of bacon in the oven to bake. I got a pack of nice thick-cut bacon from a local farmer. Eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, butter, and milk were all also from nearby farmers, and I had a loaf of homemade bread in the freezer. I tipped the tin of beans into a small saucepan and put it on a low flame to warm up while the bacon cooked, and washed up the veggies. When the bacon started getting sizzly, I started frying up the mushrooms and then tomatoes, and turned the beans up a touch so they started to bubble. I toasted the bread and spread it with plenty of butter. And lastly, the eggs went in the pan to cook gently in some butter.

While all this went on, I boiled the electric kettle and made a pot of Assam tea and laid out my tea tray. Everything came together beautifully, and by shortly after 10, we had our plates. I poured some tiny glasses of orange juice because Boyfriend likes it, and I thought a small glass could do me some good in the dead of winter. We devoured our breakfasts, some of us faster than others, and I sat and sipped tea and finished The Secret Adversary, which I’d started the day before. By the time it hit noon, I felt invigorated with the walk and sustained with food and tea and was ready to run some holiday errands!