Catching Up With Old Friends

by Sarah on June 23, 2010 · 1 comment

What could possibly be hiding underneath that aluminum foil?
Overnight oats return!!!!!!!
Oh, overnight oats, how I missed you. I would like to recite your virtues in iambic pentameter while standing underneath your balcony and wearing period costume, yet, although I love to channel Shakespeare whenever possible, the only words that come to mind at the moment are:

Dear oats, the night is long for you to sleep,
But in the morn’ you bring to me a great reward.
Slight preparation is the key to yum
:
Perfection in a bowl of summer breakfast
.

Gee, y’all [giggling nervously], I don’t know where that came from. Clearly not iambic pentameter. Or maybe it is? Yes, I was an English major. Yes, I took the requisite semester of Shakespeare…but these sorts of skills are ones quickly replaced by more important knowledge, like the names of all the contestants on the current season of The Bachelorette, or what songs the sang on Glee last week.

Anyways…I had been missing oats like a small child misses his mom on the first day of kindergarten, and I decided their heralded return required a fancy schmancy vessel:
This was one of two bowls I had purchased at TJMaxx perhaps two years ago and stored underneath my bed at my dad’s house in Pennsylvania, but were recently unearthed and are now eager to be utilized in daily culinary life.
[I have a slight obsession with bowls, mugs, and bugs (bowl [slash] mugs) and have a compulsive tendency to purchase them. I’m learning restraint in that, along with the general grocery compulsive disorder. It is really no surprise then that I would randomly uncover some under my bed. I’m surprised there weren’t more, actually.]

Luckily for me, Caroline had left me 1/2 of a banana when she left on Monday, meaning I was obviously destined to make overnight oats.
I added the banana to my standard O.O. base: 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1 Tbsp. oat bran, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Fruit choices were based on what I had, really…although it was convenient that everything was red, and that the ingredients rhymed. [You know how pleased I am when my meals have a theme...] First came the berries (strawberries and raspberries)…
…and then the cherries! (Cherry Berry Oats perhaps?)
Then, I added 1/4 cup vanilla soy milk.
[Yes, I am digging* all Archer Farms brand dairy products at the moment...although I guess technically soy milk isn't really dairy (?)...but, let's not split hairs people. Especially in the kitchen. I don't want split hairs in my food.]

*Did anyone else sing “Dig it, the dancing queen…” in her head upon reading that? No?
Just me?

Stir, stir, stir…
I crumbled up the leftover pecans from my Panera lunch interview
…and then, like a delicious ice cream sundae (but even better, because these cherries are real), put a juicy cherry on top!
Oh my goll, y’all, I was just so content with this breakfast. If you haven’t tried overnight oats, please let go of your hesitation and take a risk! It is cool and clean for summer, fills you up but doesn’t weigh you down as you are running around enjoying the sunshine-y days…and it doesn’t make you break into a sweat like hot oats have a tendency to do during the warmer months…

After breakfast, I met up with another favorite friend for coffee. [Yes, coffee is another old friend, but the one I was meeting was an actual person I could converse with and who would actually talk back.]
Sorry, Shannon, did I catch you with your mouth full? [I swear I offered to only photograph her food--a very LARGE, flour-y, super doughy, blueberry scone---but she said it was OK to snap one of her too...]
We met at Mozart’s, which is just down the street, and where I had been on my last visit to Austin, utilizing their beautiful deck on the lake (below) and free Wi-fi to blog before eating lunch at Hula Hut, which is next door (sort of).
Both Shannon and I ordered “bottomless” mugs of coffee, which we filled up three times (definitely more coffee than we needed and/or would have had were they not offered as “bottomless”).
Mine looks sort of messy, as I added cinnamon to it (good for you, and adds a nice little kick). I started with the Breakfast Blend, and then, as y’all know I am a sucker for variety, I went with the Chocolate Avalanche flavored coffee. [Not much of an avalanche, more of a small rock slide.] I finished with the dark roast. Surprisingly, I was not jittery at all afterward….

The rest of my day was pretty much consumed with explorations, discovering shortcuts and a branch of my bank (!), as well as obtaining a Tivo! [Since they just rolled out a new model, the old one is supercheap...however, after much finagling with the machine, I discovered I needed the wireless USB adapter for it to work...Amazon.com saved the day, and I will hopefully be up and running tomorrow...]

I also tried out this gum, which promised to be a “unique mint experience.”
So not unique. In fact, it taste just like every other peppermint gum I’ve ever had. Boo. I had been hoping for a sweetmint flavor…

Lunch was an old favorite…a salad mountain with cottage cheese snow! [I do not know where that description just came from...perhaps the heat is getting to my brain in Texas? Nope, wait. I was always this weird.]
Some more organicgirl spring mix (bought on supersale) with carrots, celery, tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, mushrooms, and a bunch of fresh basil from my new basil “pet.”
I had to add my new favorite D.L. Jardine’s Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, along with the Whole Foods 365 Roasted Chipotle Salsa.
I tried out the Target brand cottage cheese I had bought the day before, and it was delicious! In comparison with the HEB brand I recently fell in love with, it has slightly more protein and 1g less sugar, with equal amounts of sodium. Slightly higher calorie and fat content, and relatively equivalent pricing. Conclusion? Either one works for me!

What HEB does have that Target doesn’t are these Chipotle Cheese Rice and Adzuki Bean Chips that are pretty much kryptonite to my willpower. I have to use one hand to physically restrain the other, and immediate chip-clipping and putting out of sight must occur while consuming.
I might not be able to fly faster than a speeding bullet, but I do have willpower of steel on most occasions, so even the krypnotic (wow, Sarah, good job on word creation) effect of the chips could not take control, and I was able to save the chiplets for the next day’s meal!
Later in the day, I cut open another $1.49 Texas watermelon, and found a beautimous design!
Unfortunately, I had waited a wee bit too long to cut it open, and the bright, enticingly red interior was a little too soft for spontaneous snacking (AKA grabbing chunks from a bowl in the fridge throughout the day and night). However, if they say that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade…then when life gives you watermelon, you should make agua fresca!

Essentially, agua fresca is a Spanish way of saying fresh/cool water, generally flavored with natural fruit juice. Often, it is really just pureed fruit, so obliterated as to be liquified. They are delicious and perfect for a hot summer day! [Making an agua fresca also gave me an opportunity to induct my old friend, Mr. Food Processor, into the new Smart Kitchen.]

First, take about 5-6 cups of juicy watermelon and pop them in a food processor or (preferably in this case) a blender.
See how juicy this was? I hadn’t done anything but cut it and put it in the processor and it was already liquified! [There was also juice all over the counter and I now need to mop the floor, but that's another project for another time.]
I could have just gone with that…but when am I ever happy with ‘just going with that’? I added 1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves, as well as 1/2 cup loosely packed basil. [Basil? Weird! Yes...but delicious with watermelon. You can substitute all mint, or just leave out the herbs all together, meaning you could probably just mash up your watermelon in a bowl if it was as juicy as mine was.]
I used the pulse setting on the processor in order to try and contain the deluge of liquid. In a blender, choose ‘liquify.’
I didn’t worry about pieces of basil and mint being present and not completely blended, because I like the texture and taste ‘pops’ of them…if you are more concerned about it, blend (or pulse) longer.

Exhibit A (below): Reason why a blender might be preferable when making aguas frescas.

Let the mixture chill overnight, and then dilute with water, or, if you are a carbonation junkie like me, make it sparkle with club soda or sparkling water! [About 1 part watermelon puree/juice with 3 parts water...or to your taste.]
If you chose to add some sort of alcohol to this drink, I would not be offended…but it really is perfectly refreshing as a mocktail. :)

Sparkling Basil-Mint Watermelon Agua Fresca
(Makes about 6-8 servings…I think…)

5-6 cups juicy watermelon
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves
Sparkling water or club soda (6-8 cups depending on taste)
Sugar, if desired

1. Combine first three ingredients in a blender (or food processor) and liquify.
2. Allow to chill for several hours or overnight.
3. Combine 1/4-1/3 cup watermelon puree/juice with 3/4 sparkling water or club soda. [Proportions can be altered to taste.] Add sugar if desired.
4. Garnish with a lime or basil/mint sprigs for even more fun!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Cara June 23, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Now I want to make this for Thursday. Wonder if it would taste good with wine? Hmm.

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