Tag Archives: food

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IMG_0308

We have grazed over a lot of information this past few days about eating, exercise and treating our bodies kindly.  I hope you have found it interesting and also found something to help you on your journey.

Below is a small list of links for you to research on your own, get your brain thinking about some of these issues.  If you have any resources to add to the list please do so here or on the Facebook page!

Food Matters (or on Netflix)

Health For Change (also on Netflix)

Fat Sick & Nearly Dead (on Netflix)

Dr Oz on Nutrition

Michael Pollan (books)

Food Inc. (film)

Whole Foods on Healthy Eating

Dr. Andrew Weil on Supplements

Starting tomorrow we are going to begin exploring another branch of the journey through chronic Illness, Feeding Our Souls.  Stay tuned!

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fruits

Today is Day 9 of 31 Day of Surviving Chronic Illness.  You can catch up on Day 1 here.

When dealing with chronic illness there are a lot of things you have no control over: inconsiderate medical staff, painful days, insurance wars, to name a few. So rather than fretting over the things we can't control, we need to formulate a game plan to begin taking charge of the things we do have a say in. We have spent the past week talking about the whole medical maze, doctors, etc..  We might go back and revisit that subject later on in the month but for now let's move on to another piece of the chronic illness puzzle: feeding your body.

If you are suffering from chronic pain or sickness your body is already broken.  Getting it back to a state of wellness (even if only for a season) may involve more than just finding the right doctor or taking the right medications.  I believe strongly that one of the best things we can do, whether you suffer from illness or not, is to take care of our physical body.  We have a duty to be a good steward over this one body we've been given.  Treating your body with care can be a preemptive strike and an avenue of healing if it's already suffering.

The human body is such an amazing creation.  It has been designed to protect and heal itself by extracting health from the foods we put into it.  It also will respond with life-sustaining protection when we treat it kindly with exercise and rest.

For the next several days we are going to explore some of the options you have when it comes to eating, supplementation, exercise and relaxation for your physical body.  Depending on your particular illness you may not be able to do everything, but everyone can do something.

I hope you have some ideas to share as well! Feel free to comment here or on the Facebook Page about what works for you or any questions you might have.

Crullers
photo courtesy of thelastjar.com

A Friday Recipe on Friday?! I know, I can't believe it either. I'm slowly getting back into the groove of things, working out the kinks on the new self-hosted site. It all takes time.

But I do have a terrific recipe to share with you today. I've talked a lot lately about the #STARTexperiment I participated in the past few months.  You can learn more about #START here.  In the midst of #STARTexperiment I've met some wonderful new friends, some also culinary-minded, and naturally we've started swapping recipes.

One of my new foodie-friends is a gal named Becky who writes over at The Last Jar.  Becky posted some info on pickling (take a look at her canning recipes!) and it just so happened that I was canning dill pickles for the first time that weekend.  The rest is history.  I picked her brain on the subject of canning, we started getting more involved in the #STARTfood group, sharing food stories, etc.

If you've been around my site for any length of time you know that I love to link my food to my family's past.  Most of the recipes I know come from my mom, grandmothers and even great-grandmothers.  Most of Becky's recipes have the same nostalgic sensibility  with much respect to the good-'ole days. I love their simplicity but also the memories they conjure.

One of Becky's highlight recipes is this recipe for crullers.  Do you know, I wasn't quite sure what a cruller was! I've heard of them and heard them mentioned in movies but you don't see crullers much on menus in Northern California.  So I did what I always do, I looked it up.  It turns out that crullers (or krullers) are heavily rooted in German cuisine and are more common on the east coast than the west, although there are certain spot in CA where they are popular.  Also, don't get these mixed up with French Crullers, those are a completely different animal.

A cruller is similar to a doughnut, sans hole and a little more dense.  They can come in various shapes & sizes but often are covered in powdered sugar & cinnamon or a sugar glaze. Becky describes them as "a biscuit-like fried dough, a cross between a biscuit and a doughnut." What's not to love about that?!

They are quick to make, are made of simple ingredients you already have in your pantry, and after a little mixing & 3 minutes of frying you will have a little taste of Americana.

I think these crullers sound like a necessary addition to my morning coffee or Sunday brunch. Or a Tuesday.

I think you should jump over to The Last Jar, read Becky's charming story about crullers and then fry yourself up a delicious treat!

Happy Friday everyone, I hope your weekend is full of delicious blessings.

First off, Happy Friday!! Wow am I glad to see Friday this week, it has been a doozie at work.  Murphy's Law reigned supreme.  Oh well, we made it through somehow and now I can take a deep breath and enjoy the weekend.

Secondly, it's my birthday!!  Yep, today's the big day and we are celebrating with pizza.  Not just any pizza, this exact recipe for homemade No Knead Pizza from Bon Appetit Magazine.  Actually, the recipe is from the famous Mr. Jim Lahey of  "No Knead Bread" fame.  I requested it because it's easy, it's crispy and just plain delicious.

So that's why I'm reposting it today.  It's an oldie but a goodie.  Enjoy your weekend everyone, make some pizza!

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There are moments in the kitchen when you just have to yell "YES!" and do the Kevin McCallister fist pump. This recipe brought one of those moments.  I have always been intrigued by the idea of making my own pizza dough at home.  I am super-picky about my pizza.  Well, I'm super-picky in general but for pizza I prefer a thinner, crispy crust over a thick, doughy version that you will find in most of the pizza parlors in our town.  I believe (and correct me if I'm wrong) it would be called Neapolitan style: thinner, crispy, slightly charred crust, light on the toppings and sauce.  Of course, for a real Neapolitan pizza you would need a wood burning oven, which I do not currently own (bucket list) so I have to make do with a pizza stone.

Anywho... I stumbled on this recipe over at I Am A Food Blog and was excited because not only did it promise the Neapolitan style pizza I so craved but the dough requires no kneading.  No kneading?! If you have ever struggled with a wad of springy dough, trying desperately to stretch it out to a decent sized pizza-pie only to have it mock you again and again by bouncing back into a small wad of dough, you can understand my excitement.

So I figured, "What the heck, I'll give it a shot."  I started Monday night by prepping the dough, let it sit overnight, came home from work on Tuesday and...

...wow!!!  What an easy recipe and it delivered on it's promises! I'll give you a little photo tour of the process:  (I'm still working from my Iphone so sorry about the sketchy pics)

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You have to start this dough the day before but don't let that intimidate you!  The finished dough will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days so you could mix up the dough on Sunday night and have til Thursday to use it.  And making the dough is super simple.  Just combine the flour, salt and scant bit of yeast in a bowl then gradually stir in the water until you have a sticky mix.  Cover it up and set it aside for at least 18 hours.  That's right, do nothing to your mixture, just set it in a warmish spot and go about your life.  The next day, after 18 hours, it will have expanded and bubbled and will look like the above photo.

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The next step is to plop your dough out onto a cutting board, counter or baking sheet covered with flour and for good measure, sprinkle a little flour over your dough so it doesn't stick to your hands.  Then simply use your hands to smoosh (it's a technical kitchen term, probably French) the dough out into a rectangular shape.  Don't worry about dimensions,  just get it spread out in an even layer.  Then cut the dough into 4 equal portions, which will make (4) 10 inch pies OR cut it into (6) personal sized portions, which is what I did.

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Next, take a portion and fold each corner up into the middle then put it seam sides down and using your hands gently shape it into a little ball.  Don't get hung up on that last step, its not complicated.  Just fold up the ends, pinch it off and turn it over so the top is a smooth dome as shown above.  Dust all your little dough-buns with flour and set them aside on your floured board (or pan or counter).  Let them sit there, undisturbed for 1 hour.  After 1 hour of naptime, they are ready to go!

I didn't get a picture of it, but take your rested dough ball and using your fingers once again smoosh the dough out into a pizza shape roughly 10" in diameter, dusting with flour as needed to avoid sticking.  If you opted to make the 6 inch personal size, smoosh the dough out to approximately 6 or 7 inches in diameter.

Put your toppings on (please remember less is more), and cook in the hottest oven you have.  Most kitchen ovens go up to 500-550F.  I will give you links at the end that describe in full how to cook the pizzas, depending on whether or not you use a pizza stone.  It will work just as well in a regular old baking sheet so no need to run out and buy a pizza stone.  Unless you really want one.  Do whatever you like, I'm not the boss of you.

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I set out a "toppings" bar since we each had our own personal sized pizza: red sauce, onions, jalapeno, tomato, olives, salami, etc.  Can I make a suggestion?  Follow my lead and do goat cheese, prosciutto, salami and a drizzle of Lucero olive oil.  You will thank me later.

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Or you could follow my niece's lead and put a little bit of everything...twice!  It was the ultimate combo.

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This was my pizza, on one side is the goat cheese combo and on the other side is all veggie.  Making one side vegetarian made me feel a lot  less guilty about the salami even though I inhaled the whole pizza.  Girl math.

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This was my brother's pizza, all sliced and ready to go.

There were 6 happy tummies that night, let me tell you.  Right after we got everything cleaned up my brother said, "We should make some more dough tonight!"  I don't know if I'm ready to eat pizza every day but I am definitely looking forward to trying this recipe out again real soon.

So that's my pizza story, now let me give you some details and the links to the recipe.

The original recipe comes from the March issue of Bon Appetit and you can get it here.  The original recipe makes (6) 10 inch pizzas.  This link describes the difference between cooking with a stone and a baking sheet.  I wish I had read this first because technically I did it wrong.  But it still tasted delicious.

The recipe from I Am A Food Blog is basically cut down to make (4) 10 inch pizzas (or in my case, 6 personal size) and you can get it here.

Pick which ever size batch you want and let me know how you like it!  Send me pics!

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side pork raw original

I'm not sure that "sprinkle with salt & pepper; broil for 10-15 minutes" qualifies as a recipe but I really, really wanted to share this favorite food with you today.  I was shocked (shocked I tell you!) to discover how many people have never heard of this product after I put a picture of it up on my Instagram feed.

side pork raw

Everyone assumed it was bacon because, well, it does look an awful lot like thick cut bacon.  But it's not bacon. Close but no cigar.

There were some other great guesses:

  • duck belly (which sounds wonderful!)
  • pancetta
  • Serrano ham (which was also in the fridge)
  • fat back
  • raccoon (that is a story for another day)

We had this about once per week growing up and there was never enough because everyone loved it.  Hot, meaty, salty, a little crunchy...

side pork cooked final

... It's called Side Pork!

Yes, it looks just like bacon but there are some distinct differences.  I will share:

First of all, Side Pork is not cured.  It is raw as raw can be which is why you need to generously salt it before cooking.  No curing means no nitrates, yippeee!

Secondly, Side Pork is from a little further up the side of the pig than bacon.  Bacon is closer to the belly where all the fat is.  Side Pork does have fat on it but certainly less than bacon, especially after it renders down.  Side Pork is much meatier than bacon which makes it a perfect, protein-packed breakfast food.  I have been known to eat it for dinner as well.

side pork rinds

Lastly, Side Pork has a sort of...rind.  I'm not 100% sure, but I believe it's the skin of the piggie, the part that you would normally use to make crack'lins or chicharron.  For me, this is what Side Pork is all about because after it cooks in the oven, it gets all curly and crispy and toasted.  Some parts of the rind also get sorta chewy. It will be the last part you eat and you will chew on it for a while.  I'm not gonna lie, it can be tough and rubbery. Kind of like pork-flavored chewing gum.  But I grew up gnawing on those skinny rinds so it doesn't seem weird to me, I suppose just like Spam is normal to some people. You will either love it or hate it.  If you hate it, just don't eat it or you can cut it off before cooking.

Side Pork can be hard to find.  Once I asked one of the youngsters at the meat counter of my local supermarket if they had any Side Pork and he pointed me to the "fat back" next to the bacon.  I didn't know whether to correct him or pat him on the head & pinch his cheeks.  Kids today!

If you have a reliable, experienced butcher he can order Side Pork for you and may even have some in stock.  My Uncle P. (you also know him as Uncle Farmer's Market) has a butcher that orders it for him.  A couple weeks ago he paid $2.99/lb for it.  I'm a little embarrassed to tell you that I don't know how that price compares to bacon but I just don't buy bacon that often so... maybe you can tell me.

If given the choice, I prefer it cut thinner rather than thicker.  Certainly no thicker than thick-cut bacon.  I like it on the thinner side because I feel that the fat renders out a little better.  But don't get me wrong... I'll eat it thick, thin or anywhere in between.

Once you find some Side Pork, cooking it is pretty simple.  Generously salt both sides with salt and a little pepper.  Place it on a baking sheet lined with foil or broiler pan and broil for 10-15 minutes (depending on the thickness).  It needs to get well browned so that the fat melts out and the rind curls up and gets dark in some spots.  Flip it over and let the other side get a little toasty as well, about 2 minutes.  Place the cooked Side Pork on paper towel to drain off any extra fat and serve hot.

I hope you can find some Side Pork and give it a try!

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thai coconut soup
from Epicurious.com

It all started with a birthday celebration and Voxer.

6 girlfriends and I went to a local Italian restaurant for Spaghetti Night and to celebrate some recent birthdays.  This group of gals could not be a more mixed bag: some married, some single; some with kids, some with no kids; ages ranging from early 30's to 60's.  Some have known each other since birth, some are new to the group.  But we are all friends.  We care about each other.  We do life together.

We had a great time celebrating and eating heartily (no one in this group is bashful about eating) then we hopped in our cars, drove away to our 7 different homes and went to bed.

And then the next day something strange and beautiful happened.

Bright and early the next day, I heard my phone buzzing, messages coming in on Voxer (an app that is like walkie-talkie meets voicemail).  But I was at work and I didn't have time to stop.  It seemed every 10 or 15 minutes my phone was alerting me to a new message!  Later in the morning I had a few moments and I listened to the thread of messages from all 6 of my friends and it went something like this (paraphrasing for the sake of time):

(Friend 1) Thank you everyone for coming out last night, I loved spending an evening with all of you, eating and being loud.

(Friend 2) Yes, thank you everyone, it was amazing to spend time with you all.  Let's do it again on St. Patrick's Day!

(Friend 3) I want to second that, I had so much fun with you all.  Send pictures!

(Friend 4) Amen, all my favorite girls in one place!  Will have to do a Shamrock Day just to have an excuse to get together again!

(Friend 5) Thank you all for such a wonderful night, I had such a good time laughing with you. Thank you for reminding me how beautiful life is.

Here's what I forgot to tell you about this group of gals: every single one of us is going through something.  Big things, little things. Life things.  And although we spent a good amount of time laughing and celebrating the night before, we also shared the challenges and heartaches we were dealing with that week.  That day.

So the Voxer conversation took a turn later in the morning that went like this:

(Friend 3) Friend 5, I went to bed with you on my mind and woke up with you on my mind.  I'm praying for you today!

(Friend 4)  Amen, I'm praying for all of you!

(Friend 6) Can someone pray for me, I've been sick for a month and now I've thrown my back out!

So we spent the next few hours sending each other words of encouragement and prayer.

Then out of the blue, the subject of soup came up:

(Friend 4) I know what will make you feel better Friend 6, my Thai Coconut Soup that you love so much.

(Friend 1) Umm... I really like your Thai Coconut Soup too!

(Friend 3) Yeah, I've been feeling under the weather.... I need some healing soup....

(Me) I don't think I've ever had this soup....

(Friend 5) I like soup too!!

So Friend Number 4 did something completely and totally selfless: she volunteered to make a vat of Thai Coconut Soup for all of us to share.  She packaged it up individually and all we had to do was show up at her house and pick it up.

And we did.Every single girl drove over to her house to receive her gift of soup.  And while we ate her Thai Coconut Soup later that day we knew we were loved, that we were not alone in this mean world.

I know I've shared this with you before, but I'm going to share it again today and I'll go on sharing it every time I feel like I should. Jesus made a big deal out of feeding people.  There is a connection between nourishing someone's body and nourishing someone's soul.  It's such a small act, but conveys so much.

I hope you all have a support group as amazing as mine.  I hope you have people in your life who will make soup for you when they find out you are sick.  If not, you just let me know.

Here is the link to the recipe on Epicurious for Thai Chicken Coconut Soup.  This is not the exact recipe that Friend 4 used but I think it's pretty close.

Maybe you can make a little extra and share it with someone this weekend.

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Baby, it's cold outside!  When I say cold what I mean is this: I live in Northern California and it is below 65 degrees. I realize that for some of you temperatures in the 60's is bathing suit weather but this California girl can't hack it.  The forecast for this weekend is cold rain and a frigid 43 degree overnight low. It makes my teeth chatter just thinking about it!

Here is what I plan to do to combat the wintery chills: warm beverages.  Hot chocolate, hot apple cider, special coffee drinks, hot water with lemon & honey and any other toasty beverage I can curl my fingers around.

Enter this recipe from Sunset Magazine, Warm Apple Pie Cocktail.   Doesn't' that sound like comfort in a cup? And it is so simple: warm unfiltered apple juice with cinnamon, cloves, and allspice then add a splash of spiced rum and top it all off with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.

Of course if you don't mind leaving out the rum, you could make this drink with your favorite little ones.  Let them toss in the spices and spoon in the whipped cream.  Maybe even sprinkle a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg on top.  Ohhhhhhh, such goodness!

Yep, this weekend I'm going to throw some logs on the fire, do some online Christmas shopping and enjoy this yummy drink.  And you? What will you be doing to stay warm and cozy?

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Can you believe November is already here?! Oh.My.Goodness.

November 1st hit and immediately I began to think about Thanksgiving, I can't help it.  Partly it's because I want to be prepared.  But the other "partly" is because I'm dreaming about the new dishes and the old favorites that will be present at our Thanksgiving table.  It's very exciting!  However...

...many, many years ago I made the mistake of making homemade rolls for Christmas.  It was a mistake because from that time since I have been charged with providing the rolls for every Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Sometimes I make traditional rolls from the Betty Crocker cookbook.  Sometimes I make my mom's classic Angel Biscuits.  But this year I'm thinking about changing things up and making  "Lambert's Throwed Rolls."

I had seen these rolls popping up all over Pinterest but I didn't think much about it until my friend Amy (and fellow food nut) mentioned them in an Instagram post.  And now I can stop thinking about them!

Amy says “A family favorite when we visit Springfield, MO.  I found the recipe for their rolls and holy cow…they are goooood.  I even threw them at my kids to get the full effect.”

I feel like I’m missing  part of the story.   Are you supposed to chuck them at people?  Because I don't think my dad would appreciate me hurling bread at him, although Jake might find it funny.  Why are they called “Throwed Rolls?”  And who is Lambert? Is that a restaurant?  Or is Lambert the baker who first made them?  I just don’t know, maybe someone can enlighten me.

At any rate, Amy says they are tasty and that’s good enough for me so I think I’m going to give them a shot this year.  Via Pinterest I found a recipe for them over at Tammy’s Recipes.  If you aren't afraid of yeast (I’m not) these should be pretty straight forward.  They look fluffy and buttery and I think they will go beautifully with turkey.  And stuffing.  And gravy.  And… well, you get the picture.

Let me know what you're planning for  Thanksgiving!  Happy weekend, friends!!

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Copy cat recipe of Lambert's Throwed Rolls:  http://tammysrecipes.com/just_like_lamberts_throwed_rolls

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Source: thekitchn.com via Sarah on Pinterest

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I gave a lady my oatmeal today.  That sounds like a weird thing to say, right?  You give people all kinds of things: phone numbers, money, advise, the silent treatment.  You don't go around passing out oatmeal, at least I don't.  But today I gave a lady my oatmeal.

It started out like any other weekday morning, I was on my way to work and pulled into Starbucks for my ritual Decaf Americano with cream.  I decided to also grab an oatmeal since my plan was to eat a light lunch due to the fact that  I ate nearly an entire pizza yesterday, which by the way, I do not recommend.  I figured a little oatmeal today would cancel out the sins of yesterda and would fill me up a better than a Carnation Instant Breakfast chocolate drink for breakfast, which I also do not recommend.

I paid for my items and out the door I sped, coffee in one hand, oatmeal in the other.  Then I saw her.

About 20 feet from the entrance to Starbucks was this gal.  She was wearing a thin t-shirt that was probably a size or two too small for her and a pair of faded, blue, cotton pants that had seen better days a long, long time ago.  And I think she was wearing flip flops on this chilly fall morning.  Her hair was long and full but clearly she had not brushed it in a while.  She had no purse or wallet.  She looked like she could be about my age.

And she was just standing there.  Just standing there looking out into the parking lot, but not at anything in particular.  Just staring blankly.  But that's not what caught my attention in the seconds it took me to walk by her.

As I walked past her to cross the parking lot to my Ford Explorer, my fancy coffee mug full of designer coffee in one hand, my overpriced oatmeal in the other hand, dressed in warm clothes, hair brushed and makeup on, I saw it.

I saw the pain and misery on her face.  She briefly glanced over at me as I hurried by and I smiled at her because I didn't know what else to do.  She just kept on staring out into the parking lot and I kept on walking towards my car.  But it was too late.

It's amazing how many thoughts can cross your mind in 5 seconds:

"Why is she dressed like that, it's cold outside?"

"I wonder if she does drugs?"

"I bet she's panhandling, we shouldn't encourage panhandlers, they'll start making of habit of camping out at Starbucks."

"Man, this oatmeal container is hot."

"Why was her face so sad?"

"Were those tears in her eyes?"

"I bet she's cold."

"I'm going to be late for work." 

"I bet she's hungry."

"What does she keep staring at?"

"Maybe she's mentally ill?"

"I bet she's hungry."

"If I give her my oatmeal, what will I eat for breakfast?  I don't have time to go in and by another one."

"Maybe she doesn't like oatmeal."

"If I give her something will I be encouraging bad behavior?"

"She hasn't asked one person for money and nobody else seems to see her."

"This oatmeal container is really hot!"

"I'm going to be late for work."

"I'm not going to be able to live with myself today if I don't give her something."

So halfway across the parking lot, I turned around and went back.

As I approached her I thought for sure she would look my way, but she just kept staring out into the unknown.  It wasn't until I was about 2 feet from her that I saw the cuts and marks on her mouth.  I can't say for sure, but it looked like she had been struck, several times.  Her lips were bloody and cracked and the gaunt look on her face was haunting.

She didn't see me.  I was standing directly in front of her and she didn't even see me, she simply stood there staring past me.  I, in my extreme awkwardness, tried to get her attention.

"Do you want my oatmeal? It's hot."

After a couple moments of silence, she slowly turned her gaze to me and blinked as if she had just awakened from a dream.  Or a nightmare.  But at least she acknowledged my presence.

"Do you want my oatmeal? It's hot," I repeated as I gently moved the oatmeal towards her hoping she would take it.  She slowly reached her hands out and took the tiny carton of oatmeal, blinking some more.

"Yes... um, yes.  Thank you," she muttered softly, staring at the little round container.

"You're welcome, " was all me and my awkwardness managed to spit out before I turned around and walked back to my car.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw her walking quickly across the parking lot, in fact, she was darn near speed-walking, oatmeal between two tightly clinging hands.

I don't know where she was headed and I have no idea what her story is.  I don't even know if she really was hungry.  Although, call it women's intuition or whispers from heaven, I believe she was.

And I'm not telling you this story to pat myself on the back or give 3 cheers for Carey because in actuality it was just a tiny container of mediocre oatmeal and if I really was invested in helping this lady I probably should have stopped and asked her if she was safe or if she needed a ride or a coat.  I didn't give her my breakfast because I might get something in return. I did it because, like I said earlier, I would have been disappointed in myself all day if I hadn't at least tried.

And what simpler thing to do than to feed someone who is hungry?  Jesus did it all the time.  The gospels are full of stories of Jesus and the Disciples feeding people.  It's a simple act of kindness that meets someone right at the point of their need.  In fact it was Jesus that said this:

"...For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink"... "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?... "‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." Matthew 25:35-37

If there is anything I could pass on from my experience this morning, which obviously is burned into my brain at the moment, it would be this:  I bet I walk by hundreds if not thousands of people every day, every week who are hungry.  Hungry for food, hungry for love, hungry for hope.  And maybe if I can remember to keep my eyes open and actually see them I might be a little more effective at sharing some of my food and love.  And hope.

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All that to share an oatmeal recipe!  I really do have guilty feelings about not making my own dang oatmeal in the mornings, it's just so convenient to pay Starbucks to do it for me.   Guilt, guilt, major guilt.  And shame.

For a long time now I've been wanting to try this recipe for steel cut oats because I've heard that 1) they are better than regular old rolled oats and 2) they are perfect for making a big batch ahead of time then feeding on them during the week.  I think if I can manage to make a small pot of oats on Sunday, then portion them out and keep them in the refrigerator, I would have the perfect grab-n-go breakfast every morning.  That's the theory anyway, I'll give it a go and report back.

Since it's officially Fall I want to start out with the pumpkin version of this recipe, which you see above and you can find over at The Kitchn.   The pumpkin gets saute'd lightly in butter to take some of the raw taste out of it, but other than that, it's a pretty straightforward oatmeal recipe and there is a slow-cooker-version as well.  I'll also include the links at the bottom of this post.

So that's it my friends.  I hope you make delicious food this weekend, and I hope you find an opportunity to share a little of it with someone in need.

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Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-baked-pu-159872

Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-steelcut-oats-for-134185

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Corn.  Butter.  Herbs. Spices.  Could a recipe be any more simple than that?  Ok, there is a touch more to the process but not much.

Last weekend I was preparing some plump, fresh corn on the cob (just boil the water & when you smell corn it's ready) when I started craving... something spicy.  I do have a special place in my heart for chile spiked corn.  But as most of you know, I have an even bigger space in my heart for butter.  So I did what anyone would do, I combined the two.  Double the love!  Oh, and I had a tiny bit of cilantro leftover from salsa-making so I added that to the mix too.  Triple the love!

More specifically, I let 1 cube of butter come to room temperature inside my mini food processor.  I sprinkled in a scant pinch of smoked Serrano powder (this stuff is seriously hot but definitely addictive), a tiny pinch of salt (because the butter was already salted), a couple grinds from the pepper mill and about 1/4 cup of loosely packed cilantro leaves.  After a couple pulses on the food processor I had this:

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I slathered my herbed & spiced compound butter onto the hot corn and as my brother would say, "Boy howdy!".  I didn't even bother to tell everyone else what was on the corn.   I let them blindly chomp into the buttery goodness and then I basked in the chorus of "Mmmmms!"  and "Yuuuuummmms!"

I usually lean towards the Mexican side of flavors but the possibilities with compound butters are virtually endless.  Someday I might try these variations:

  • Fresh basil, a dash of balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of grated Parmesan & garlic powder
  • Fresh parsley, saute'd onions & garlic and the zest of half a lemon
  • Fresh dill, a teensy sprinkle of Old Bay Seafood Seasoning and a little squirt of lemon juice
  • I have to stop... my mouth is watering!

And you don't have to limit your use of compound butter to corn.  Compound butters are great on steaks, french bread, sandwiches, chicken, popcorn... anywhere you would normally spread a little buttery-love.  If you have extra you can roll it up in waxed paper and save it for a later day.  It can store in the fridge for about 1 week or the freezer for a couple months.  About 5 minutes of effort for a BIG flavor payoff.  Make some today, you wont regret it!

I'm hoping to catch up on some art projects this weekend. I'm taking the Brave Girl Art School course from Melody Ross.  So far it is so much fun and I know it will just get better and better.  I  hope you are doing something fun this weekend, see you back here next week!