Wednesday, January 22, 2014

dear oatmeal.

My dear friend, oatmeal.

I've decided it's time for me to come clean about exactly how much I love you. Our relationship is only about four years deep but it feels like we've been in love for one thousand and three years. Growing up you were a mystery to me. I'll admit, it was hard to consider indulging in bowl of you when my adolescent years were characterized with thoughts of trendy frozen french toast sticks and brightly colored fruit flavored corn anomalies. And yes, cereal-eating rabbits and leprechauns are slightly more pleasing to the eye than a Quaker man.

But none of this matters.

What matters is now and now is you, my love. I've learned to trust you because no matter the time we have together, you make it work. Maybe I can't spend as much with you as I'd like and for that, you deliver. A minute in the microwave and you're as glorious as ever. But when I do have time, it's all about that steel cut. I can enjoy you hot and cold? Friends should be flexible and boy, can you do the splits.

And talk about fashion sense. You look good in mostly everything and you accessorize like a god. And so friendly! Hey, peanut butter, do you want to be part of breakfast this morning? Join the party! What's that? Cacao nibs called and was wondering if they could participate? Of course! You get along with everyone so well.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Who's this guy, avocado toast? I'll let you in on a little secret, dearest. I adore you so much I sometimes wait until later in the day the partake. Sometimes comfort from a friend is most needed at night. Hey, remember that time I tried to make you savory with salt and pepper and spinach? It's not right to dwell on the bad times.

Step aside, expensive eggs bennies, overcomplicated hashes and omelets, and why can't we just eat you solely for dessert, pancakes? I'm with my friend, oatmeal over here. Cheap, simple. No, I don't need you to pretend oatmeal is fancy with your torched sugar and crazy compotes. We're having a great time with a few berries and some toasted nuts.

I won't say there will be times when smoothie kicks are present, yogurt bowls knock at my door, and eggs come a callin'. But you. You're my forever friend.

Just to convince the others, I'll show you off with some killer recipes from around the web.

spiced steel cut oats porridge with cranberry-ginger sauce:
a sweet spoonful

food 52

joy the baker

a couple cooks

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

towards authenticity!

I read sometimes.

ENTER Brené Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection. This is serious stuff, you guys. Serious, imperfect, mind opening, brain boggling, life enhancing stuff.

I, like many many others, make a grand great effort to be perfect.

perfectionism: "the belief that if everything is perfect we can minimize shame, blame, and judgment"

Immaberealwitchu. That stuck right to me. It's like, sometimes I just want to use perfectly baked cookies, perfectly knitted hats, obtaining "the best job", having good hair days, being the funniest, as band-aids instead of actually doing the hard, long work that a life of self-love requires. It's that pooper of a voice that tells me, "once you can afford to buy all the clothes from Anthropologie, everyone will think you're incredible".

How do we overcome it? It's hard, yo. But Lady Brené really insists on nurturing authenticity over perfectionism like...erry day.


cultivating the courage to be imperfect and vulnerable

exercising compassion that comes from knowing we are all made of strength and struggle

nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe we are enough

authenticity is bravery.

Here's what's real about that. Can I control someone's perception of me? Naw. Can I control it if I have all the clothes from Anthropologie? Nope. So why bother being anyone else but me? We're all bound to feel less shame, disappointment, and blame if we enter situations with the intent of being authentic rather than being "liked". Pretty rad, I know. Pretty hard, I know. It seems a lot of us are afraid that if we really showed our true colors, we wouldn't measure up to other people's expectations. BUT WAIT because how do we even know that?!

Queen B.B. mentions how much harder it is to work on your own self-love. That loving and accepting the imperfections of others is way easier that accepting your own imperfections. The truth of all the truest truths is that there's absolutely no way we can begin to full embrace the imperfections of others unless we begin to love our own. That we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

How will I kickstart my journey towards authenticity?

I want to compare less, analyze less, give myself daily affirmations about myself, accept and believe meaningful compliments, work hard, learn lots, read instead of looking at other people's pictures, allow myself to not worry about next fall, the summer, tomorrow, tonight.

Want to play alloooooong with me?

To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight- and never stop fighting.
e.e. cummings

Friday, January 3, 2014

almond, cranberry, and oat scones.

This year let's resolve to be simpler. Let's resolve to pet more puppies, embrace the morning, appreciate fresh produce, learn how to relax, light more candles, make more soup, drink less diet pop, take more walks alone, give more non-appearance-centered compliments, be better at accepting non-appearance-centered compliments, and say more thank yous. 

And worry less. Let's all find a way to worry less. 

And make scones? Christmas has brought upon me the arsenal of simplicity and loveliness that is Dorie Greenspan's Baking, From My Home to Yours. And I'm on board ten million percent. I've altered one of her scone recipes and used just a little honey for just a little sweetness and added some cranberries and roasted, chopped almonds because...because.

Almond, Cranberry, and Oat Scones
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

1 large egg
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour (or just 1 2/3 cup all purpose)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper

In a bowl whisk together egg, buttermilk, and honey. In another, large bowl whisk together oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Drop pieces of butter on top of the flour mixture and work in with a pastry blender until the mixture is pebbly. Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir with a fork until dough comes together, being careful not to overwork it. Gently knead the dough by hand. 

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide in two. Pat each portion of dough into disks about five inches in diameter, cut into six wedges, and place onto baking sheets. Bake scones for 20 to 22 minutes or until tops are golden. Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.