Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sweet Potato Oatmeal

breakfast with Pamela

Breakfast while reading Pamela. I tortured myself in this way for about a week. I don't recommend it.
It will make you so angry.

I just finished cramming my face full of gigantic flatbread crackers and cheese, things I rarely buy because of their price and my tendency to do what I have just described. The occasion for this fit of gluttony then? They were free. This is why I go to talks. Even though I know that, ninety-eight percent of the time, I will not hear anything I don't already know, and I will spend the majority of my time fidgeting in an attempt to keep my legs from falling asleep and my brain from shutting down completely, I will go, simply because someone has promised me that there will be food in my future if I show up and stay. And it will be free.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Orange Date Scones

scones in a basket

Sometimes I do not smart things. Like stay up until 2 a.m. in the morning, trying to invent delicious and healthy vegan peanut butter cookies (and fail, not that that stops me from eating too much cookie dough), watching stupid television shows, avoiding homework, and all in all, achieving nothing but a bellyache.

Then there are other times where my baking urges lead to more productive, happier consequences. Like propelling me out of bed in the morning, motivating me to shower, dress, and blow-dry my hair in record time, and then on top of that, whip up a batch of scones to bring, still warm, to my Friday morning class. Because if there's one thing I can recommend to anyone, it's to learn how to bake. All you need are one or two good recipes under your belt, because if you show up to a gathering (be it a seminar, a meeting, or just a night with friends) you will be loved. You will be hugged. Vigorously. People will propose marriage to you. Offer you a place to live. In short, you can't go wrong with a plate of cookies. Or, in this case, a basket of scones.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Red Lentil Hummus

a shower of lentilsred lentil hummus & broccoli

Before I moved to Toronto, I was a dinner person. The evening meal was the winding down point of my day, the time that I let myself ignore impending assignments, the work I still had yet to do, and the general stresses of a neurotic student's day-to-day life. I loved the whole process, the thought that went into the meal, the chopping, the choice of ingredients, standing over the stove, the sounds and smells of cooking food. Then, the final moment of glory, when I sat down with a steaming dish of home-cooked goodness to savour.

It all sounds very romantic and nostalgic when I describe it now - not to say that there isn't anything poetic or beautiful about food or eating it (eating is one of my favourite things, after all) - but in comparison to "dinnertime" nowadays, which generally involves chocolate, tea, potentially coffee, and sometimes toast or a spoonful or three of cold lentils, it kind of is.

The truth is, I've gotten to be both a little lazy and also...a little less hungry. Part of it, I think, is my schedule, which usually involves a late-ish breakfast, followed by coffee and snacks (such as these), then a late lunch, so that, by the time dinner rolls around, I don't feel hungry enough to eat a meal, let alone feel motivated enough to make one. So I graze...on chocolate. And nuts. Sometimes I eat jam...with a fork. I eat Big Kid Food. My mother would be so proud.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Oatmeal, 2 Ways

overnight oatmealoats and bubbles

Having recently come to the terrifying realization that I actually do have to budget myself, and that such budgeting does not allow for such impulse purchases as chocolate chips, almonds, vanilla, organic sugar, special flours, baking pans - all such purchases as I have often made in the past, to the detriment of my bank account, I am now determined to live frugally. I see it more as a challenge than anything, a kind of learning curve or right of passage - going through the stage of Realizing That You Are Poor And Can't Always Have Chocolate.

And while realizing that I can no longer afford to bake cookies in the middle of the night whenever I feel like it - and I feel like this often - I also see this as an opportunity to embrace frugality and refine the art of living, and especially cooking, cheaply. Which brings me to oatmeal. Previously, I breakfasted almost solely on fruit smoothies - dessert for breakfast always wins! - which aren't expensive, so to speak, but frozen fruit tends to be a bit more costly, and I go through bags of berries pretty quickly. Oats and bananas, however, are about as cheap as they come - and tasty. Just the other week I went to Chinatown and bought several pounds of bananas (if there is a Chinatown near you, you must go to there - so affordable! It is my favourite place), let them ripen, then peeled and froze them. I still have a bag of them in the freezer, which I am slowly working through.

So I bring you two ways of eating oatmeal - both quick, cheap, and healthy ways to start the day. In fact, I get excited just thinking about breakfast sometimes. It helps me get out of bed in the morning when I know something delicious is going to happen soon.