Overnight Oatmeal

I'm always looking for ways to make my life more efficient... and I guess healthy.

While I'm sure that I'd feel terrible, I'd love to eat bacon and everything bagels with cream cheese.... almost every day. In order to balance that out, I've tried a few different ways to make breakfast more exciting, cost effective, and healthy. A couple years ago, I decided to give overnight oatmeal a go. I had seen it flooding my Pinterest homepage far too much to not try it out. What I discovered is yet another versatile meal that can fit into the fold super easily. Not to create a mountain out of a molehill - it's just oatmeal - but here is how I go about making this.

that time of year...

It's peony season.

There is something amazing, perfectly romantic and feminine about the scent of peonies. Which means, it's that time of year I dream of constantly smelling the scent of peonies. It also feels like it's right about now that the ocean starts to smell like summer salt water. I'd like to combine these two... and then live in it forever.

I waited a few days too long to capture my first vase of the season... and they might be a little past their prime ... but don't worry, they still smell amazing. It's also slightly raining today - which gives us just enough reason to not feel guilty for oversize sweatshirts, indoor time, and lots of coffee.

A weekend in Boone

While I haven’t necessarily been writing as much, I’ve often found myself referring to previous travel posts when talking to friends. This weekend alone I was at a wedding in North Carolina and made reference to my Italy posts for Venice and Rome… as well as the Fall adventure to Mendocino in California. Although, I’m not necessarily writing as much about day-to-day hubub…. I would love to always make sure I keep track of these travel posts.

In the spirit of that… and the wedding attended… here is quick rundown on my jaunt to Boone, North Carolina. Yes Boone… as in Daniel Boone. It was also rated of the Top 10 places to retire in 2012… unfortunately, I’m far from that milestone. One of my friends - and the bride! - is from this tucked away area in the Blue Ridge Mountains so it was a natural choice for a wedding location. Fortunately / Unfortunately, I enjoyed myself too much with friends and festivities to take many pictures of the ceremony and reception but rest assured  - it was beautiful. 

Lime ginger chicken tacos ... with tomato corn salsa

 Cinco de Mayo is one of my favorite holidays to cook for each year. I'm not quite sure why but I think it has something to do with the fact that tequila becomes a serious option as an ingredient... and I can't say no to that. While I've always been intimidated by a theme party, theme cooking is a whole other challenge that I love. For reference, tomato tequila salsa with seared cod (2014) and ginger margarita swordfish (2013).

This year I was a bit influenced by one of my favorite neighborhood finds - Tenoch tacos. They are seriously delicious and I can almost see their front door from my living room. It's a phenomenal $5 dinner - or maybe $6.50 - but whatever, you can get a great taco, chips and salsa. I wasn't quite sure how to get tequila into this meal - and honestly, probably could have tried harder. I got distracted by sunshine, new yoga pants and my new favorite yoga instructor.

In the spirit of trying to eat all the food in my house already, I only ended up grabbing a few fresh veggies to make some salsa and already had everything else for this adventure. I was about to run to the corner market for some tortillas when I figured I would try and make them myself. According to Pinterest, this was either a really easy task or a disaster and hard. I mean either way it's a lesson learned so I went for it.

lemon thyme haddock

I find it so comical that people don't like to cook for themselves - and by themselves, I mean "cooking for one". Some of my most favorite meals have been cooked in small batch style. Just me trolling the internet for an idea, roaming the grocery store, and then patiently waiting until the meal is ready. 

I've always loved cooking - and while I really appreciate cooking for a few people - there is something pretty great about making something just for one. Plus for people who lack self-control (that's me), it also means I'm not constantly going back to the pot for more mac and cheese. The fact that a box of mac and cheese is supposed to serve 3 people baffles me.

This week a new grocery store opened up in Boston and you would legitimately think they were giving away free groceries it was so crowded. As a family, we love going to the grocery store - especially a new one. This was actually my second new grocery store of the week having hit up Whole Foods in the Ink Block on Monday after going to the Flower Exchange. Roche Bros Downtown isn't as exciting as Whole Foods - but it is beautiful inside, the food is bright and fresh, and people are so damn nice it hurts. Plus, majestic subway tile everywhere and $5 tulips.

Homemade BLT

I haven't done as much cooking as I would expect recently... but this week I did make a beautiful BLT. I've loved BLT sandwiches since birth and truly believe they are the best sandwich. In honor of the sun returning to Boston with some degree of consistency this week, I imagined a great afternoon sitting at my kitchen table, noshing on a BLT and sending out some emails. Unfortunately, there isn't really a great place for a BLT in the North End. There are good places, but not great places.

The only obvious answer was to make my own bread and mayo for the event. 

In the past I've made a few different types of bread, but this time I attempted ciabatta. Whenever I'm looking up (almost) any recipe idea, I always add the word "easy" to the search. I'm sure there are hard ways to make ciabatta but I'm not interested in it now. While the initial steps could appear cumbersome, it is actually super easy to make (far easier than amazing scones). The bread turned out perfect as far as I'm concerned and I will definitely make it again. And soon.

In the event making bread wasn't enough of a challenge for one day, I figured I would add mayonaise to the docket. I've witnessed people making mayo before and it felt challenging but do-able. Certainly reasonable for a sunny afternoon in my kitchen - but then I found a 30-second mayo recipe and I was convinced. I'm sure there are more sophisticated and refined ways to do this, but homemade mayo in 30 seconds? Done.

The trick to homemade mayo is having the ingredients at room temperature. I obviously hadn't planned ahead for this - so I just put the egg on my fire escape in the sun.... and then went for a quick run. Success.
Here's how each of these come together. I honestly didn't take pictures of this process because I wasn't convinced it would work - but it did. Sorry about that :)

hot toddy time

I've recently been given the gift of time. The time to do nearly anything I want... at least in the short term :). While I won't say that every day has been easy street, I am significantly enjoying myself and feeling really productive... at least until this week.

This week, I've come down with some nasty, mean, voice-stealing, throat-scratching virus. You know that episode of Friends where Phoebe has the sexy singing voice? Yeah, I don't have that. I've tried so many different remedies, pills, and potions that it is maddening. Today I walked 9 miles in part because walking is more distracting than watching tv and distractions are what make the scratching go away.

Fun note? On my second trip to the doctor's today, she asked me if I had tried their "magic mouthwash". I kid you not it felt like I was in the middle of Jack and the Beanstalk and someone tried to sell me magic beans not covered by Tufts Health Insurance. I bought the $30 magic juice... took a swig... and then read the bottle. No water for an hour after taking it. Pure torture. I gave up at 39 minutes.

Here are some other things I've done in the last two weeks:
  • organized my bookshelves by color
  • got rid of one more moving box (yes, I moved exactly 1 year ago today... I'm slow)
  • made some snack organizing boxes... and organized my pantry snacks. One box has "good snacks" the other is chex mix and gold fish.
  • worked out nearly every day
  • planted some flowers from seed. I'm hoping to grow some dahlias of all shapes and sizes. Double crossies.
  • whipped up this great asparagus salad
  • paid my library fines ($19) and got a new card
  • visited the seals nearly every day
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