This Porridge Is Too Cool

Taking candy from a baby. .. What show is this?I’ve never stolen candy from a baby (stealing my husband’s though, is a whole other conversation).  Those ASPCA commercials with the Lilith Fair soundtrack break my heart (I’m not crying, you’re crying).  I don’t try to foist my beliefs on others and attempt to not judge people for their convictions (except for those who put mustard and/or Miracle Whip in potato salad, then I will totally judge those evil doers).

So, as character flaws go, I guess this one’s pretty benign.  But it’s still a ding upon my soul.

…and me.

From time to time, I’ll discover and embrace something new seemingly before it’s picked up by anyone else.  Anything really; recipes, authors, music, even mascara brands.  Then the rest of the world recognizes its excellence at a slighter later date.

When this happens, I get a little smug.  It’s mainly in my own slightly swollen head, but Petey and The Kid might hear the tiniest smidge of boasting.And on the flip side, whenever the hoi polloi is fascinated with a new fad or style, I am both wary and disdainful.  I don’t do social media, but if it has so permeated the Facespace and Twaddle that it spills over to the rest of the interwebs, where I may then read about it, then it’s truly reached peak saturation.

When this happens, I’m loathe to consider trying the shiny new.  I really dislike coming late to the party.  So, showing up when the hors d’oeuvre trays are empty and the ashtrays are full just kills me. But the very worst?

When I like it (Good grief, just writing out that statement left a bad taste in my mouth).

But there’s this thing; overnight oats.  There’s something both alluring and elegant mixing up a bowl before bed and having a filling and delicious breakfast waiting on you.There are two types of preparation.  The original begins with oats and goes from there.  But there’s another kind, I call it overnight eats, because the oats are optional.

Overnight Oats

You’ll need a 12-ounce jar (for on-the-go) or a cereal bowl (for home consumption)Add ½ cup old-fashioned oats. 

Pour 1 cup liquid over them.

Some examples:

MilkAlmond milk

Coconut milk

Soy milkChocolate milk

Fruit juice

Then add some mix-ins:

Toasted nutsSeeds

Dried fruit

Fresh or frozen fruit

CoconutNut butter

Add Flavor:

First, a pinch of salt—always

Then:

Cocoa powder or chocolate chipsA tablespoon or 2 of brown butter

Vanilla extract

Cinnamon

NutmegCitrus zest

Chinese five-spice

Garam Masala

Fresh mint or thymeApple Sauce

Mashed banana

Add some sweetness:

Brown or white sugarMaple syrup

Honey

Jam or jelly

Agave syrupMolasses

Dulce de leche

Once your jar is loaded to your taste, seal tightly and shake; if in a bowl, give it a good stir.  Place in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or up to 3 days.When ready to eat, uncover, stir, and add a little milk if it’s too stiff.

Overnight Eats

Instead of milk, use a 1 cup of yogurt of your choice.  Because it’s thicker, you don’t need the oats. You can also go savory.  Add cheese, sautéed veggies, bacon or sausage, and instead of milk, use stock.  Then top it with a poached egg; which you can also make the night before. Just give it a light poach.  Then, in the morning just float it in simmering water for a minute or less to heat and finish cooking.So, I have succumbed to a viral sensation.  But I swear on my cranky little heart that I have not, and never will pinstergram my breakfast.

Thanks for your time.

Breakfast Ogre

Almost without exception (the exception being breakfast sausage), I love, love, love breakfast food.

I adore eating breakfast out.  The omelets and hash browns at Waffle House are the stuff of cheesy, carb-y dreams.  The crispy on the outside, creamy in the center French toast at Tra’Li at Brier Creek in Raleigh is more than delicious (The Kid really digs their traditional Irish breakfast, but once you put blood sausage on the plate,  my heart and appetite are broken).  In addition to perfectly cooked, creamy, rich eggs Benedict, Watts Grocery in Durham offers fresh churros with the best chocolate dipping sauce you’ll ever dunk into to.But, my very favorite breakfast experience, hands down, is a buffet.

The reason is simple.  I can eat fifteen or twenty different dishes at a buffet, without the judgy server, or the $75 breakfast bill that comes from ordering like a lumberjack with a hollow leg.  It’s heart breakingly frustrating to be limited to either French toast or pancakes because of the social stigma attached to life-threatening gluttony.

It just ain’t right.

And unless I plan on running seven or eight hundred miles a day or switching out all my clothes for caftans, sweat pants and elastic waists, giving rein to my darkest dining desires has to be a once-in-a-great-while occasion.

This is mine.  What are y’all eating?

But as every mother who’s worth her operator’s license will tell you (multiple times); “You gotta eat something!” “Do you wanna get sick?”  “Eat!  You’re breaking my heart”  “I’m cold! Put on a sweater!”

So, one needs to eat.  But ideally something that contains less than forty-seven thousand calories and doesn’t put you into a food coma for 3 days.

It may not sound exciting, but these days many of my breakfasts center around yogurt.

The thing is, traditional yogurt doesn’t move me.  In fact, I don’t really like it.I don’t know whether you’ve taken a gander in the dairy department lately, but we are living in the golden age of fermented moo juice.  Even in the smallest grocers your choices can easily number from 20-30.

There is fat-free, low-fat, and full fat.  Sweeteners from sugar, to honey, to lab created artificial supplements, and even no sugar in some savory versions.  Extra protein, gluten-free, even dairy free.  From organic yogurt from a goat named Gertrude to synthetic concoctions filled with Captain Crunch and Oreo crumbs.

And pretty much any flavor you can imagine is available for purchase

I like bigger flavors, like salted caramel and black cherry, which can cover any strong, yogurt-y tang.  And I always pick the chiffon-style.  Then I get to work tarting it up.The easiest and quickest way to do this is to have the dairy act as a dip for graham crackers.  Most of the time, though, I really get busy with it.I add fresh blueberries for brightness.  I add dried fruit for chewiness, and pecans for crunch.  I then stir in a tablespoon or so of chia seeds because they swell up when they sit in the fridge for a half hour.  Once activated, they’re just like tapioca, and I love the gelled pop they add.

Some of the factory fancified yogurt varieties can have up to 500 calories, so I steer clear—if I want that many calories, I’ll spend it on a stack of 15 or 20 pancakes, drenched in butter and syrup.But Chobani has something called “Simply 100 Crunch”.  The peach cobbler tastes like fresh, ripe peaches, only contains 100 calories, and shockingly, includes real peaches.

So, I’ve never owned a pair of yoga pants, The Kid has never played soccer, and I don’t drive a mini-van.  But gosh darn it, I can get behind some frou frou, fancy-schmancy yogurt.Oh yeah, ogre?  That’s how The Kid used to pronounce yogurt.

Oh yeah, ogre?  That’s how The Kid used to pronounce yogurt.

No that’s an ogre I can get behind.  Except for that damn black (blood) pudding.

Thanks for your time.