I have a couple of confessions. Don’t I always have confessions?
[EDIT: Apparently I’m crazy, too. I *thought* I knew today was Earth Day. Apparently, I was misled. Sorry kids.]
This morning, I knew it was Earth Day. What better way than to celebrate the beatuy all around me (and you!) than with a big bowl of beautiful, colorful oats? Utilizing multiple varieties of nature’s wonders, and savoring each bite? Confession: I didn’t think I was feelin’ colorful.
I woke up at a complete loss as to what I wanted. And for some reason, I couldn’t get figs out of my mind. You see, I tend to forget about things when they’re out of sight. I have had some beautiful dried figs in my fridge for months. I always forget about them. Why? They’re in the produce drawer. Let’s think: anytime I’m grabbing something from the produce drawer, figs are probably not going to be what I’m in the mood for.
That being said; this morning, I wasn’t in the mood for using frozen fruit. Frozen fruit is easier for me to use this time of year – but fresh fruit is, for obvious reasons, miles better. What I would give to try a fresh fig. Dried figs are, as a mother would call an ugly duckling, pretty in their own way. But, I was in the mood for figgy banana-maple-walnut oats. And this morning, my life changed. I have Nora to thank for this – she reminded me yesterday that there is nothing wrong with simple. We all know I still love to dress up my oats. That’s part of the fun for me: both the eating element and the photographic element. But really; they are quite simple still, and today I just felt like warm and hearty was a good choice.
- 1 T. oat bran, 3 T. Bob’s 5 Grain + Flaxseeds, 1 T. Wheat Bran
- 1/2 c brewed coffee, 1/2 c. almond milk
- 1/4 of a banana, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 dried figs, chopped
- splash of vanilla, ground cinnamon
- 1 T. chia seeds
Look, Ma! No trail power!
On the Top:
- chia icing
- candied walnuts
- Justin’s Honey PB [HOLY COW I just saw as I was linking this that they have chocolate hazelnut butter now?!?!]
- and a lil compote of chopped banana and dried figs simmered in some maple syrup and almond milk
Candied Walnuts, you ask? Oh, I went there. I “toasted” some chopped walnuts – in pure Vermont maple syrup. Just a drizzle, babes! Maple syrup is pretty strong stuff – and I love that just a tiny, tiny bit can take you a long way. The best part of maple syrup? The outside of the jar – when it drips down, it crystallizes into this delicious maple-candy like yumminess. This is ironic coming from me since it is way sweet – but I think being Vermont-born, I make exceptions, and maple is one of them. I love utilizing nature’s nectar 🙂
So, yep. This bowl was life-changing. And hey, it still celebrated the earth! Milk from almonds, grown from the earth. Walnuts. Banana. Maple syrup. Figs. Oh, the figs. The figs were perfecto. I loved getting the random little seeds throughout the bowl. I think the little seeds are my favorite part of figs. That’s weird, since I hate the seeds in raspberries. Why am I so weird? And lets not forget the Timothy’s Maple Sugar Coffee, and the Justin’s Honey PB – which I was able to sample for the first time. Love!! It is a subtle flavor – which was just what I needed. All of my others are crazy, funky – I don’t think Coconut PB or Cherry AB would meld well with figgy banana oats, and I wasn’t about to open another new jar (even if it is Mighty Maple). I will definitely be buying a jar of this when I finish one!
Okay, enough rambling about oats. Have I convinced you, yet, that you should go make figgy banana oats, though? Luckily, I still have a couple more figs. Let’s hope I don’t forget about them for another year.
After finally finishing this bowl (I ate so slowly I had to reheat it on three separate ocassions. that’s way more than usual, not sure what was goin’ on) I thought wearing jeans to class would be good, and grabbed this Naked green machine smoothie for my mid-morning snack during class. Hey, it’s Earth Day – I was ready to get “what on earth are you drinking?!“ looks. But seriously – this Green Machine smoothie was sick-nasty. And around here, sick-nasty means “un-fweaking-believeably GOOD.” And I mean honestly, just look at the ingreds and nutrish. I’m lazy when it comes to making smoothies, but give me this any day and it’s gone. In mah belly, gone. I was glad that the other fruits – primarily kiwi – outshone the apple. Give me a fresh apple any day – give me apple juice and I’m outta heah.
That being said, I don’t think anybody thought anything of it, when you take into consideration I go to a relatively hippie school in Vermont. In fact, this may have been a poor beverage of choice for the day, because many people at my school take the celebration of earth day to celebrate…uh..some other things from the earth. Like…plants. Just saying.
And I don’t mean in the ways the I celebrated plants with this lunch.
I made a carrot-curry spread when I got home, which I spread on top of a slice of multi-grain bread, with a little bit of almond mozzarella. Over top, I spooned a bean mixture of just some beans sauteed in garlic with spinach and red pepper, and gave a quick mash. Super quick, easy, and tasty! Paired with some carrot fries, too. It was all about the plants and carrots today!
After lunch, I felt horses in the air with this beautiful day, and took Jiggy for a quick spin down the road. I couldn’t do too much since I had a 4:00 class tonight, but it was a nice break no less. Days like today, you’ve just gotta embrace the weather! Especially when we’re slated for more rain the rest of the week 😦
That being said, Jiggy sort of did what his name might hint he does. He jigged. A lot. And strangely, the weather started getting pretty overcast and quite windy – whaaa?! I think that may have had to do with why he was kind of a naughty boy, and when I got home I seeked the dessert I passed on at lunch time.
This is simple, but honestly, I found mass amounts of joy in this bowl of cottage cheese, plum, and almonds. Not sure why it seemed so much more impressive than usual…but I didn’t want it to end. Random.
I killed a bit of time before having to go off to class, and grabbed a pumpkin-raisin muffin with some sunbutter and a couple sahale snack cashews before heading out the door for class. Initially I had planned to leave early and check out the earth day festivities – but apparently it was all talk! My mom had called me to tell me not to get excited – only one vendor showed up and he was entirely unprepared and she was served a frozen black bean burger. She said she liked mine better. hah!
Luckily, class was let out early, and I came home and fixed a pleasing, fresh quinoa and apricot salad with spinach for dinner. I don’t think I could have made it through the three hours tonight – it was especially drawn out and just two was plenty.
I had a quick, easy meal of sweet potato and black beans tentatively planned since I figured I wouldn’t be getting home until 7:30 – but when we got out early I knew I wanted something much more fresh & light – I think the weather put me in a “bright and fresh” mood! Often times, I just tentatively meal plan, which leads me to crave the food anyways. But somedays, like tonight, I wasn’t feelin’ beans 2x! Granted – had I gotten home at 7:30 I probably would have been – convenience! But anyways – this fit the bill perfectly. I did throw in some black beans still for some more protein, but I think this quinoa is becoming a favorite of mine 🙂
- cooked quinoa – 1/3c. dry
- 1/4 c. black beans
- chopped dried apricots
- 1/4 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 carrot, diced
- stalk scallions
- two large spoonfuls (1/4 c.?) plain greek yogurt
- tsp. honey
- splash lemon juice
- cumin, curry powder, paprika, garam masala, salt
Mix everything together, and serve over a bed of baby spinach and top with some chopped nuts (preferably toasted pine nuts – I didn’t feel like toasting, though, and just chopped up some walnuts.)
Another option for dinner was going to be Annie’s Mac & Cheese. Yep. I almost wish I was craving that since I so rarely rely on quick, already-made meals – wanted to show you guys I’m a real person still, haha. I used to live on Annies and a couple weeks ago saw they had whole wheat now, along with individual servings. I snagged them both, and I’ve yet to enjoy them! I wonder if it’s as good as I remember 🙂
What’s a meal you used to swear by, but haven’t had in ages?