Indulge in some Honey Almond Peach Oatmeal. And then go back to whatever relatively unimportant thing you were doing before.

I’m taking a few precious minutes out from writing a theoretical care plan about a patient with acute exacerbation of chronic heart failure to tell you guys something really, really important.

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Life is better when you eat fancy oatmeal.

When I was a kid, fancy oatmeal meant being able to microwave my own packet of crappy pre-made stuff in an envelope all by myself, especially if it was the kind that came with that little weird jelly packet that you could draw your own designs with.

Now that I am an adult, I have gone past the phase of thinking that oatmeal is disgusting, and I am right back on the oatmeal train. Dan and I will frequently eat oatmeal for dinner if we are at a loss of things that we want to put in our mouths that actually exist in our house. And with all the work and school and hospital-experience nonsense that’s happening around here, it’s nice when you know you’ve got that canister in the pantry waiting for you.

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This weekend, we actually had a free morning together, so the oatmeal preparations got a little bit fancier than our standard nuts and honey fare.

Clockwise from the top left-left hand corner we’ve got some quick-cooking oats, some old fashioned oats (because I need my oatmeal to have some tooth to it, no mushy grossness for me), coconut, oat bran, cinnamon, raw sunflower seeds, and raw almonds. All pretty standard stuff around here.

But where does the “honey” and “peach” part come in?

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There we go. A fresh, ripe peach got thinly sliced, and honey was drizzled onto our nutty oatmeal goodness.

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Yes it was. Now, at this point, we got a little bit of attention from some hungry animals.

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I think it’s fair to say that your oatmeal is going to be really good when tiny cats want to know what you are up to on top of that counter.

Boiling water got poured on top, and then…

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Bam! Oatmeal! Of course, some stirring and delicate perfect placement of peach slices happened, too, but we don’t need to get into that.

Want to make some? I figured.

—–

Honey Almond Peach Oatmeal

Ingredients:
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 tbsp. sweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp. oat bran
1 1/2 tbsp. raw sunflower seeds
small handful of raw almonds
several generous shakes (I suppose that’s technically a dash) of ground cinnamon
1 tsp. honey
1/2 large peach, thinly sliced
boiling water (electric kettles are awesome for this exact purpose)

Directions:
Combine all of your oatmeal ingredients (except for the peach!) in a medium-sized bowl while you are waiting for your kettle to boil up your water. Pour boiling water over the top of your oatmeal to cover, and stir thoroughly. Use less water for some really sticky, thick stuff (that’s the way I like it) or more water if you’re into the creamy texture. The oatmeal should absorb the water fairly quickly, in 2-3 minutes.

Dan will often splash some whole milk into his oatmeal right here to make it even creamier. I am not on-board for the whole milk-in-my-oatmeal thing because I want it to be really thick and sticky, but I can see how it would be completely delicious. Milk is optional, but if you’re into it, go for it. It makes him super happy, if that’s any indication.

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Slice up your peach, and lay it on top. Arrange it in a pleasing fashion if you plan to take pictures or if you’re a big weirdo like me.

Now, when you’re eating it up, be sure to get some pieces of cool, fresh peach in with your sticky, gummy oatmeal so that you can fully experience the joy of having fancy oatmeal breakfast.

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Try to resist licking the bowl. It might be hard.

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Restless Energy

What happens when you have a whole day off and your significant other is out of town for a day? If you are at all like me, your thoughts do not run to the salacious side like you may think.

You suddenly just realize that you are an extraordinarily boring person who has a hard time getting up and doing things that need to get done without someone helping you to come up with the ideas. You realize that you talk to the cat an awful lot. You realize that you haven’t baked in an indecently long time, and a plan starts to come together.

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You’re only home alone for an hour and a half before you’ve already cleaned out the refrigerator (I like to imagine that Tracy from shutterbean was standing over me, nodding approvingly) and cleaned the coffee maker. You clean the bathrooms. And vacuum the living room. And start some awesome socks for your Mom for Mother’s Day.

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Sometimes I feel like I should abandon my long-practiced process of hand-winding my yarn and cave in and buy a winder. But then, I get started winding a ball of yarn for a new project, and that all melts away.

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No pictures of the project quite yet, but this is the beginnings of the Floral Lace Anklets from Lace Style, a truly lovely book for anyone who enjoys knitting lace for their mom. And it just so happens, I am one of those people!

These are going along swimmingly so far, and although there is no way they’re getting done for Sunday, they are getting here as fast as they can. (Just to be clear, their lateness is nowhere close to my fault. When I asked my mom last weekend what she wanted when she said that she wasn’t too into flowers this year, socks are what she came up with. Not much time to get something worthy of my Mom’s wonderfulness done, but I’m up to the challenge.)

Then, you decide to tackle the problem that’s been nagging you for a little while, in that there has been very little coming out of your oven lately.

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That sounds kind of dirty out of context.

Can I also say that I’ll never tire of the uniformity that my cookie scoop provides? Never.

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Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip cookies, courtesy of Betty Crocker and a little substituting.

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Simple and perfect and delicious.

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And irresistible, even to tiny cats.

As if this wasn’t enough for one day, suddenly some friends call you up who happen to love Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip cookies, and then you don’t have to worry as much about how to fill what was most likely going to be the long, lonely, restless afternoon and night.

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The evening fills itself with good, cheap wine at a classy locale…

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And ridiculously indulgent hot dogs. (Dat Dog, by the by, which definitely needs much more of my attention this summer.)

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If only I could have gotten a picture with of myself while shoving a hot dog in my face, but once you try to pick that sucker up, there is no turning back.

I ordered the Guiness Dog with the Chef’s Choice toppings, which involves letting other people pick what goes on your hot dog. A risky choice, and I certainly ended up with an lot of things that I would have never considered putting on a hot dog, but somehow it all worked together.

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This helped, too.  Along with a ton of napkins.

Finish up the evening with some great conversation, and then head home for some more knitting and tea and movies to put yourself to sleep, knowing that tomorrow night, you won’t still be all alone.

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Thank god.

365 Project – Week 3

It’s Friday. It’s time for 365. Actually, 365 is a bit of a misnomer because 2012 is a leap year, but I can’t bring myself to change all my titles now.

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I’ve been trying to make an effort to ‘eat my colors,’ even though saying the phrase out loud sort of makes me cringe. But look at all that color in my little lunch! Tomato soup, steamed broccoli, and homemade wheat bread. Delish!

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Bike riding at the lake and sharing coffee with my love. We were watching the sail boats.

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I love making crafts for work! This is a little Knuffle Bunny cut-and-paste page for the kids to play with after we read the story next week. If you like children’s books, and you haven’t heard of Knuffle Bunny, you should really go and investigate.

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Impromptu sushi lunch with Dan!

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The hunter stalks its prey. Or actually, the tiny housecat stalks his Kong Wubba Hugga. It sounds less dramatic that way.

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Silky lace, stitch markers, and oversized cuffs.

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Raspberry Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie via Martha Stewart. It’s quite tasty and filling so far. I need some more exciting straws.

That’s the wrap up for week 3! So far, what I’ve been discovering the most since doing this project is that I can’t really take pictures of a lot of the things that really make me happy each day. Finally feeling like I got that weird yoga pose right, Dan’s smile while he washes the dishes, giggling with my co-workers, the sound of Bowie’s bell jingling around the house as he tries to find me…these things are non-capturable. However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying. It only intensifies my resolve to pay attention to those tiny details before they slip away.

Fancy Bird Food for People

I made cookies today. This is nothing new. This is usually what I’m doing on Thursdays when I’m not studying or watching Doogie Howser, M.D. on Hulu. (Don’t pretend you didn’t like that show. When I was a kid, we even taped it every week just in case.) However, these cookies are not quite my usual.

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One might even call them healthy, if one were inclined. These are my very-slightly-altered version of everybody likes sandwiches‘s Smart Cookies.

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So many ingredients! (not pictured: even more stuff) I was in the bulk aisle of Whole Foods, trying to not have a small panic attack at how much this was going to cost, trying to remember that this would make a whole boatload of cookies that would last a while. For some reason, I tend to have grocery price anxiety (much to Dan’s chagrin), especially since moving and getting re-established in New Orleans, but I persevered.

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I mean, look at how pretty that all is in the bowl! Oatmeal, oat bran, walnuts, dried cranberries (subbing in for raisins, my only modification), flax seeds, sesame seeds, chocolate chips, coconut, oh dear…it’s like fancy bird food for people.

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It all gets held together with applesauce and maple syrup somehow, making these vegan treats not-too-sweet and delightfully chewy. It’s also mildly amusing that these cookies look almost exactly the same raw as when baked, just slightly browner out of the oven.

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The taste is both weird and great at the same time. Depending on the elements in your bite, you get either apple cinnamon oatmeal, bright and tart cranberry, dark chocolate and coconut, or even something that vaguely tastes like popcorn.

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It’s awesome. It’s moderately healthy. It makes my kitchen smell like I’ve been productive today. I’m going to make it a point to get more things involving oatmeal into our stomachs as soon as possible. I think that Shutterbean‘s Maple Oatmeal Cashew Squares might be on the way. I’m going to need to get a real cookie jar at this rate.