28 February 2012

warm vegetable curry

     Uuuugh. I just walked home from work and I am so ready to curl up with a hot cocoa and go to bed, because it is raining outside. That's right, raining. In February. In Minnesota. I'd assumed we'd have a lovely snowstorm, but no... so instead I walked home, umbrella-less, until my down jacket had soaked through. Gross. At least it was kind of funny when I let the dog out and she ran around the yard, pausing to shake the rain off, as though she'd forgotten how the whole water-from-the-sky thing works. :)
     Pardon the lack of solid posts here. I feel pretty devoid of fun stories to tell. I feel like I am just in a holding pattern until I can sing "We're moving to _______!!!!" from the rooftops, and by singing, I mean sobbing. I love Minnesota. I always have. In 2006 I did a summer internship here, and I did that thing I always do too much of: research. I looked up every stat on the Cities, browsed it on Google Maps, memorized the entire Wikipedia article on the Twin Cities. I even knew the Foshay Tower had a march written for it by John Phillip Sousa. Just for a 10-week internship. I did such a good job that as my plane descended over the city (the landing pattern at that time circled over downtown Minneapolis, near the U) I could pick out the buildings on campus I'd be visiting. The river was so cool with all the bridges spanning the gorge, and all the little green spaces amongst the city scene. I felt like I was about to go home, and I hadn't even landed yet. 
    Now it's 2012, I've lived here since August 2007 (yep, we moved in the day after the bridge fell). I am invested in this place. I've joked all along that all it's missing is mountains. I'm holding out for the possibility that we'll move somewhere more mountainous, as though that will somehow make it better when all my memories and many of my closest friends will be here. We even made a point of getting married in Saint Paul to show off what a great place it is. I don't want to leave it behind.

     But hey, enough gloom and doom (and free tourist advertisement for the Twin Cities Metro Area, jeez!), let's talk about dinner. I made this vegetable curry a week or so ago and it was amazing. The best part: it has cauliflower in it! I have always, always loved cauliflower. I realize it is probably a carry-over from the first, oh, sixteen years of my life when I only liked beige food. The huzz also really liked the curry (we are a curry-loving family), but he said something that totally stole my heart: "Thank you for getting me to like cauliflower." That's right, he thanked me for getting him to eat his veggies and be more adventurous with his foods. Just last week I fully converted him to the Standard North American Hippie Food diet, which includes copious amounts of homemade granola (don't you feel like granola is the epitome of hippie food?). Swoon! We've both come a long way (Velveeta for dinner, anyone?), but his willingness to try any crazy thing I make with an open mind really makes me a proud wifey.
     And from here I promise more normal, silly posts... I think there's some potential hilarity in the future soon. Two words: Jury Duty. Either that or Dog Antics. There will always be Dog Antics. :)

07 February 2012

toasted multigrain cereal

I have finally figured it out.

Okay, that was dramatic.


So was that pause.

Here's the thing: I always want to like eating oatmeal for breakfast. The trouble is, my first-ever experience was probably getting some of those just-add-hot-water packets (sugar high, WHEE!!!!) of it at girl scout camp or something. I was pretty okay with those. I probably ate them for dinner every once in a while in college. I probably added peanut butter to them too. :) Once again, I've decided I should eat oatmeal. (Our household's yogurt consumption rate is unsustainable. Sustain! Sustain! Sustain!) I tried cooking it over the stove and adding yogurt instead of milk -- not too bad. I think my problem is that I've always wanted oatmeal to taste like a cookie, and that is not going to happen. I want to eat grown-up oatmeal. But you know what makes it taste like a cookie? Nope, not the brown sugar and butter... it's the vanilla! Just a tiny drop makes it perfect. Ah, success! Now I feel extra motivated to make my own vanilla extract.

And then, this bomb dropped into my RSS reader a week or so ago: Heidi knew of my strife.

I've been making this for breakfast ever since. Okay, except for that one day we made pancakes. But I put all the grains in our pancakes, so it was like I turned my hot cereal into pancakes. I kid you not.

The recipe posted on 101 Cookbooks serves 2-3, so here's my iteration for a single serving, plus a list of what's already become my favorite set of adornments:

  • Combine rolled oats, rolled rye, and rolled barley in a 1:1:1 ratio in a bowl. Stir to combine, and store in a jar/empty yogurt container/put a lid on your bowl. I put a 1/2 cup of each into a 2 c. mason jar and shake it around until it looks homogenous to me. Yeah, you know I just used the word homogenous! You liked it! 

  • The night before, melt a sliver of butter (~1/4 T) in a small saucepan. Toss 1/3 c. of the cereal in the butter, stirring continuously, until it smells all toasty, over low heat. I don't think this even takes five minutes. Add one cup plus one tablespoon of water and a dash of salt, and put the lid on. This will hang out at room temperature while you go get your beauty sleep.

  • In the morning, bring this mix up to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, until most of the moisture is gone. Stir occasionally if it makes you feel better about things. Don't go too far or it'll be all dry and stuck to the bottom of the pan. When it's ready, scoop it into a bowl and **immediately** refill the pot with soapy water. The residue needs a good soak so that you can clean up the pan more easily. 

Now for decorations! Yay!

  • 1 T. plain yogurt
  • 2 t. toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1-2 t. good honey
  • 1-2 t. bourbon blueberries, drained (soak dried blueberries in a small jar with bourbon and a splash of vanilla in the fridge) (on the weekends I wouldn't worry so much with the draining... whatever floats your boat, mmkay?)