A Little of This, A Little of That…

We’re predicted to get between four and eight inches of snow tomorrow, and I’m excited. I know I will waffle between taking my laptop to bed and working from under my electric blanket, which my mother always joked should be “turned up to hell,” and bundling up to make snow angels, throw snowballs at the neighbor kids (that never gets old), and make snow ice cream, another of my mother’s favorites. Growing up in NE Texas, she didn’t get to eat it often. Between Portland and DC, I think I’ve had more than she had in her entire life. It’s a simple recipe- lots of snow, milk, sugar (or in my case, Splenda), and vanilla extract.

It’s also just fun to fill up a huge glass with snow and pour a Diet Coke over it.

Anything to take my mind off all the things happening in my world, although I have one great big surprise for all of you that is still under wraps until I’m told I can publish it. It’s nice to know I’m about to have an entry filled with joy, because 2016 was the worst, and so far, 2017 isn’t looking good, either.

My grandmother is still holding steady, and I am continually praying for her peaceful release with no pain.

Because I overthink everything, now I wonder if I’m going to get cancer, too… and not in a fatalistic way. Just that my paternal and maternal grandfathers, paternal grandmother, and dad have all had it. My granddad and father are both fine, and my maternal grandfather didn’t die from his, either. It was a long time between his cancer diagnosis and the ALS that eventually killed him.

So, that line of thinking is not unfounded, but not something to worry about, either. Cancer sucks, but in this day and age, it’s only sometimes a death sentence. Most of the time, it’s surgery, a little radiation or chemo, and you’re done.

I could take better care of myself, though. I went through this phase where everything I bought was superfood and mostly vegan. Right now I am currently living on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chocolate animal crackers. This is because I am one of those people who waits to eat until I have to eat RIGHT NOW. Anything that’s fast and easily portable is my “jam.”

Yesterday, though, I made oatmeal, and I am the master of oatmeal. When I used to make it at Biddy’s, customers would tell me “I don’t even LIKE oatmeal, but I like yours.” You oughtta. I start with lots of butter… or my personal favorite, Brummel & Brown.

I start by sauteéing raisins and cherry-infused Craisins, then adding steel cut and flax seeds, letting it brown with a little salt and pepper. Then I add water, vanilla and almond extracts, and sugar, cover, and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. I bought the Quaker “five minute steel cut.” They lie. Good steel cut takes time.

Then, I uncover the pan and reduce the water until it’s almost gone, because I like it very, very thick. If I’ve got it, I also add super crunchy peanut butter and wheat germ for texture. Once that’s all mixed together, I let it reduce even more, until it kind of looks like fried cereal (it basically is). To serve, I add a bit of half-n-half. Yes, it is very rich in calories and fat, but you’ll be so full you won’t be able to move and therefore, eat more. I don’t think I ate anything else for the rest of the day.

If you’re looking for a recipe, don’t come here. I never measure anything, I just taste as I go along because baking is a science and cooking is an art. Unless I’m cooking in a restaurant with already established recipes, everything I make is “a little of this, a little of that.” The only thing with the oatmeal is that I’m never quite sure how many servings I’m making until I’m done, because if I add too much water, I add more oatmeal. In this case, it worked out in my favor. I ended up with two very large servings, and if I hadn’t divided it in half in the kitchen, I might have gone for broke. It was heaven in a bowl. The fruit was perfectly reconstituted, and I thought about going back downstairs and just picking the fruit out of the second serving. To my credit, I did not.


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