Category Archives: oatmeal

Cranberry-Orange-Date Bars

I could actually step outside today without feeling like I was going to lose my toes and nose after a couple of minutes! Phew. Of course…that doesn’t mean I was able to get much done, still, considering it didn’t get warmer until about 10:30. I went out to make sure Teddie still had his toes and whiskers, but didn’t ride him, just played. I feel “wrong” if I ride after 11. I know that doesn’t make sense, but it’s what he’s used to, too.

The one time I rode him in the afternoon, we had the most miserable experience to date, so maybe that’s my excuse.

Like human, like pet. Maybe we’re both morning people. Are you more productive in the morning or the afternoon? I wouldn’t say I use the afternoon to laze around – but if I’ve got a big project to do, it’s getting done in the a.m., not the p.m.!

Take, for instance, this morning: I baked cupcakes and date bars before it was even 10:00. And yes, I made my own breakfast and even got all dressed, too.

And for what it’s worth, let this be a lesson to you all: do yourselves a flavor and use fresh baking soda. I’ve been using old baking soda for…well, probably as long as I’ve been blogging…and never really cared.

I figured the things I bake just don’t rise too much due to the fact I’m usually using whole grains and…er…different…techniques.

Well, that may have something to do with it…but not when I’m making something perfectly “normal.” The first picture – cupcakes I made this morning with fresh baking soda. Above – cupcakes made with old baking soda.

There’s a bigger difference than it looks.

I’ll be making sure I use in-date baking soda from now on, thankyouverymuch.

I bet at least half of you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that sometimes, I just do the weirdest things. Borderline stupid, but I’d rather not call myself stupid. I guess we’ll just settle on “spacey.” Head up in the clouds, nah’mean? Just this morning, I can think of three things that made me immediately shake my head at myself:

  • Oiled a GreenPan. I had no idea they were as non-stick as they are so the oil just sat in one spot in the middle, and as soon as I poured eggs in, oil pooled at the top of the eggs. I felt like the guy on the Worst Cooks in America.
  • Speaking of the eggs, I was making an omelette for my mom’s b/f and totally spaced on how to make an omelette. I used to love eggs, and now I don’t even remember how to cook them. An omelette, for Pete’s sake. Shouldn’t that be almost second nature?!
  • While making these date bars, I put all the crust on the bottom, said aloud “Wow, I didn’t remember the crust being this thick last time!” only for my sister to say “wasn’t there crust on the top last time?” D’uh, Jess.

I’m glad my sister knows what’s up and Henry will eat just about anything served to him, because otherwise I might be in trouble. It’s a wonder I made it out the door with my head on this morning.

Please tell me I’m not alone – what’s the spaciest thing you’ve ever done in the kitchen?

Luckily, for all the things I do completely wrong, I can do things completely, right, too. I whipped up some rhubarb cupcakes on a whim based off of a request, and made some more date bars, too.

My mom and I were huge fans of the date bars out of Vive le Vegan last time I made them, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I made them again.

Since I can’t make the same exact thing twice (apparently) I switched it up a bit this time.

Well, it’s either that or the fact that lately I’m obsessed with anything cranberry-orange, in case you haven’t been able to tell. It’s becoming a little bit of a problem.

A problem I really, really don’t want to fix.

Cranberry-Orange-Date Bars

Adapted from Delish Date Squares from Vive le Vegan

makes 16 squares. Or 8, if you like them as big as we do.


  • 1 1/2 c. pitted Medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. water
  • juice from one large orange
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • zest from one orange
  • generous pinch of ground clove


  • 2 c. quick oats
  • 1 c. white whole wheat flour or unbleached all purpose flour (I use WWW – there are so many other wonderful flavors in these that even the most sensitive of palettes can’t detect the disguised whole wheat flour!)
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3 T. date syrup (agave or maple syrup would work, too)
  • 3 T. almond milk (I used unsweetened)
  • 3 T. coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 350*. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients for the filling except for the zest. Cook approximately 10 minutes, or until the dates break down. It might not seem like that will happen – but just keep stirring occasionally and the mixture will become smooth and thick. Once it is done, stir in the zest.

In a separate large bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Add the date syrup and almond milk and combined until clumpy, and then stir in the oil, again combining until clumpy. You might have to use your hands. The mixture will be crumbly but should hold together okay when pressed.

Lightly spray a 9×9 baking dish (or thereabouts) and press 2/3rds of the mixture in the bottom of the pan. Pour and spread the date mixture over top, and then sprinkle and then gently press the remaining crust mixture over top of that. Bake for about 28 minutes, or until golden on top. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.

I was going to save some to bring to work tomorrow…but they might not be good enough.

Which is actually just Jess-speak for “These are too damn good to be giving away.”


Filed under breakfast, cooking, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, oatmeal, recipe

If it’s Between You and Me

If it’s between you and me, I’m psyched that today was my last day working in insanity and I can now relax ad enjoy the holidays…although, if it’s between you and me, I feel like I ought to start a “Take Back December” campaign. I have plenty of wrapping and cleaning to do tomorrow!

If it’s between you and me, I’m a little obsessed with all things cranberry-orange right now.




If it’s between you and me, I was a little bit too excited to be having time for pancakes on a workday this morning, since my mom was home to take care of the horses.

If it’s between you and me, I really enjoy shoveling, and was glad to see more snow on the ground than was called for this morning.


If it’s between you and me, though, I apparently can’t focus my camera anymore. I think my eyes are going. Or I’ve just been too groggy-eyed these past couple of mornings!


If it’s between you and me, if I didn’t have this face to see every morning, I don’t know how I’d have survived the past month.




Because, if it’s between you and me, I’m beat. I didn’t know if I was going to make it through the day today.

If it’s between you and me, I’m usually biased against getting salads from pizza places around here, but seeing “mesclin greens” immediately made me choose A Crust Above for lunch.


If it’s between you and me, though, I almost always use hummus as dressing, and not the one I request.

If it’s between you and me, my hands are not as silky smooth as they would be if I took care of them…and have been moisturizing them rather than letting them get cracked and dry. Ow!

If it’s between you and me, I was a little disappointed when I came home and saw my mom chose not to make the quinoa-chickpea pilaf I suggested she wanted for dinner.


If it’s between you and me – the dish I made in its place gave me breath that is good enough revenge should we speak to each other in close vicinity.


If it’s between you and me, I’m a little bit obsessed with English muffins. As well as mushroom stroganoff.


If it’s between you and me, I really want a SuperCharge Me cookie right now…but cinnamon cereal will have to do.


It’s your turn:  If it’s between you and me……?


Filed under breakfast, dinner, lunch, oatmeal, pancakes

Always Room for Something New

There’s always room and opportunity to try new things – usually, it’s just a matter of whether we want to venture out from our usual routine and just go for it.

I’ll be the first to admit it – I’m one to get stuck in food ruts. It doesn’t help that by now, I tend to know what kinds of foods I like ad what I dislike.

But busting out of ruts? Quite fun! I mean – it doesn’t mean your diet needs a complete makeover. Just twists to your favorites; thinking outside of the box!


Cranberry-Orange oatmeal? First thought – no thanks. I like bananas in my oatmeal, not citrus fruits. Upon completion? Oh my God, I must have this again tomorrow.


  • 1/3 c. quick oats
  • 1/8 c. oat bran
  • 2 t. chia seeds
  • 1 c. almond milk
  • 2 T. homemade cranberry sauce
  • zest of half an orange
  • juice of one orange

Microwaved, and topped with:

  • a drizzle of maple syrup
  • orange zest
  • cranberry-orange nut sauce
  • walnuts
  • almond butter

and then, there’s mixing up lunch.


I realize this doesn’t look appealing – but rather than being all about sandwiches lately, I’m all about using the bread as a side to some sort of comfort dish. Like Italian Sweet Potato Gratin.

I’m not sure if this has more to do with the passing of a sandwich craze, or the fact that my bread isn’t big enough to create any sort of reasonable sandwich.


And sometimes, instead of bread – some sort of cracker for dipping into hummus. Or pretzels. because Gabriela said it best – pretzels trump crackers when it comes to hummus dipping. My favorite is Snyder’s.


I’m loving hot apple cider lately as a warm-me-up beverage. I can’t have more than one cup of coffee lately, and though I love tea – sometimes something sweet is nice!


I’ve raved before about Sahale Snacks, but these cashews are a new flavor to me…and definite winners.

I had the thought the other day to try and make a nut butter from one of their nuts – but I don’t think a bag could last that long!

I’m always bringing snacks like this to keep at work in case I get a minor case of the munchies – but lately they’re coming in more handy than usual. I dream of having the luxury to sit down and calmly eat a banana and peanut butter these days – there’s just no time before another customer walks in the door! Today I about shoved a half a banana + peanut butter in my mouth all at the same time because customers suddenly flooded us.

Of course, I realized after that that was a really bad idea because then I just had a mouth full of banana and peanut butter. Attractive.


New fruit? Check. I’ll eat anything that is buy-a-5lb.-bag, get one free.

Please don’t offer me a five pound bag of avocados. Blech.


And you know you’re really a little wacky when you spend your evening debating salad blends. A good wacky, though. This fresh herb salad caught my eye, and sounded interesting. Why not try? I really enjoy it…just one problem:


The dill is too overpowering! I guess that’s sort of the point, though. It is, after all – an herb salad.



Yes, my mushroom obsession is still in full-swing. Not only to they taste pretty good in a salad – does anything smell better than mushrooms and onions sauteeing in a bit of olive oil?

Okay – maybe if there were garlic in that equation it would smell better, but for some reason I just wasn’t feelin’ that tonight.


And for a brand-spankin’ new dessert courtesy of Foodzie?


An Effie’s oatcake. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I don’t know that I’ve ever had a oatcake – but these are far superior to any sort of cracker/packaged cookie I’ve had previously. I was going to spread jam on it per suggestion, but I’m glad I tried it plain first. Even though I am a self-proclaimed “dipper” doing such with these oatcakes would just hide their delicate flavor and texture given to them by real butter. The oatmeal adds a lovely nutty flavor, too. If these oatcakes are this good – I can only imagine what their nutcakes taste like!

What about you – what’s something new you’ve tried/done/made lately?


Filed under breakfast, dinner, lunch, oatmeal, review

Foodzie December!

I loved reading everyone’s joke. Each one brought a smile to my otherwise gloomy day.

I’m out of bananas, if that explains anything. Can’t have that happening.


1/2 c. quick oats + 1 c. unsweetened almond milk + 2 t. chia seeds + vanilla extract – topped with blueberries + roasted almonds + almond butter.

Can have hot oats happening, though.

It was 0 degrees when I woke up this morning. Don’t want that happening.


1/4 c. quick oats + 1/4 c. rolled oats + 1 c. unsweetened almond milk + 2 t. chia seeds + vanilla extract + frozen blueberries – topped with granola + coconut milk yogurt + almond butter

And so, naturally, blueberries have been making an appearance in breakfasts. Reminder of summer…and from right down the road, too – not imported across the country.

The total downside of winter is that pretty much any form of produce has traveled around the world to get to me.


For this morning’s oats, I broke in to my Foodzie goodies. I enjoy Foodzie because it acquaints me with foods that I wouldn’t otherwise a. know about, b. purchase, or c. even think to purchase. Those are all good and bad things.


I really enjoyed this granola, though. I don’t buy granola often since I can make it, and bags last so long around here. I like granolas that aren’t really clumpy, and this fit the bill!




And then, of course – there’s stuff I wouldn’t necessarily buy, but am more than willing to try. Like these oatcakes and chocolates and caramels! And I am so excited to try different salts. They’ve always intrigued me, but I have never used anything other than sea salt!


Not a fan of these caramels, though. The passion fruit flavor really turned me off – way too fruity for the chocolate and caramel. I’d have loved to try the carrot cake, though. Ah, well. I’ll give the rest (along with the beef jerky) to my mom.  She’ll be happy.

Or not. She’s not a chocolate person either and I don’t know how she feels about jerky. Whatever. I’ll find someone who will appreciate them.


And in case you were wondering, that eggplant did cook – and I’m glad. It provided lunch and dinner yesterday and lunch again today.

I cannot wait for this weekend to go much-needed grocery shopping and to bake. Or at least cook something. I have been seriously scrounging for reasonable lunches and dinners this week.

Oh, and p.s. Teddie started his own blog!


Filed under blueberries, breakfast, foodzie, oatmeal, oats, review

A Day in the Life

4:10 am: Time to get up! Wait…it’s only 4:10? Ugh. I’m sort of hungry…

5:45 am: Time to get up! Ew, it’s going to be so cold tonight.

6:00 am: Crisis. Only one banana left. Do I have it in oats this morning, or as my snack this afternoon?

6:01 am: snack this afternoon.


6:05 am: I really need to get back in my photo groove and start taking more aesthetically appealing food photographs…

-enter blogging and breakfast here.-

6:30 am: I have no idea what I am having for lunch. I don’t have anything made. Ugh.

6:31 am: Chickpea salad.


– pack lunch.-

6:40 am: Get ready. Enter the Great Hair Dilemma. Keep singing “a day in the life” by the Beatles because you decided your blog topic of the night.DSC_4383

6:55 am: All done. I hate this sweatshirt. I really need to do laundry.



7:02 am: Whatever. This works too.


7:03 am: Crawl on hands and knees looking for lens hood that just fell off your camera because you were taking a picture of your feet.


7:10 am: Get ready to brave the outdoors. Warming up gertrude comes first


This is warm compared to what it’s supposed to be tomorrow.

7:12 am: Feed Thing 1 and Thing 2.



7:17 am: Play with icicles.


7:22 am: Say “see ya lata!” to the puppernaut and set sail for the wild blue yonder barn.



8:00 am: Thank God for the temperature dropping – I would have broke a sweat with that extreme heat from before.


8:02 am: Wish you had a real winter coat for the barn. Start picking out the mares & teddie’s runs.


8:08 am: Reach face freeze point. Can’t feel face. Mittened hands are cold ad making photography extremely difficult. Persevere.



Jewel is so unpleased by Teddie’s actions.


What a dashing young lad.



8:24 am: Really can’t feel face. Leave for work.

8:48 am: Decide coffee is necessary, even though you’ve already had your cup.


Mostly decaf, anyway. And a cup that size lasts me all morning into afternoon! Though the real reason I stopped was because I didn’t think I’ packed enough food.


Was overjoyed to find a KIND bar at the gas station. Wonder if anyone else ever buys them, as the code isn’t even in the system.

8:58 am: Arrive at work. Furnace is broken. Oh yay.

10:00 am: I’m hungry.


And want my “vitamins.”

Notice bar is really out-dated.


Decide you want crackers and hummus anyways.

12:24 pm: Holy moly it’s lunch time. Hm. Maybe I’d rather make an open-faced pb & pear sandwich with my bread than just use it for dipping into my chickpea salad…


2:00 pm: Am I hungry? I think I’m hungry. Oh, maybe I just want a ginger chew…

3:45 pm: Okay now I’m hungry. Bypass banana, save it for tomorrow. Try KIND bar. Ooooh – ver ver good!

4:01 pm: Why are all these customers asking me my name all of a sudden today? Am I being rude? Are they going to report me?

5:26 pm: Almost time to go. I’ll do busy work until then.

5:28 pm: Outta here.


Always grab a piece of dried mango to tide (is that the correct spelling?) me over. So good, too. Except sometimes I feel like I’m ripping into flesh. How creepy am I?

5:40 pm: Train? You’ve got to be kidding. What am I going to have for dinner?!



5:45 pm: I’ve got to cook that eggplant. That’ll take a while though. But I’ve got to cook it. Crap. I need gas. It’s too cold to get gas! I don’t have enough good karma built up for my tank to not freeze tonight with only 1/8th of a tank, though.

6:01 pm: This gas pump doesn’t have an auto shut-off! It’s cold out! I’m hungry!

6:02 pm: Oh forget it. My tank is full enough and I can’t feel my face. The church bells weren’t making me any happier. I’m hungry.

6:11 pm: I’ve got it! I’ll put the eggplant in the toaster oven to bake and take a shower while it bakes!

6:15 pm: Crap. Cop. Oh no. Oh no. Oh phew, it’s not. Wait, I’m not even speeding.

6:30 pm: Foodzie! Yay! Okay, eggplant. Oh, I should use up these mushrooms, too. Okay.


6:42 pm: I don’t think I shower long enough to give that time to bake. And I’m hungry.

6:50 pm: Crap. This still needs another 30+ minutes. I’m starving. I don’t care what, but I’m eating.


6:52 pm: This is randomly delicious. I knew I left all those burgers in the freezer for a reason.

8:26 pm: Why did I start out writing this post saying “your,” and now I’m saying “I”?


Filed under breakfast, dinner, lunch, oatmeal, teddie