Sunday, February 28, 2010

Crockpot Oatmeal

Yesterday, at an open house, I was asked how Mr. Barefoot and I balanced our relationship our first year.  I didn't want to tell her the truth, that there was no balance.  That we only saw each other when we watched law and order during my study breaks and hit happy hour on Friday, after which I came home and studied more.  What did I say instead?  Something that was true, but more truthy, "we bought a crockpot, and that helped a lot."  It's true.  It did.  It was great to come home to a home cooked meal.  And I've never ceased to be amazed at the depth of what I can do with my little 1.5 $4 crockpot.  Like the soft, delicious oatmeal I'm currently eating. 
Ingredients (serves 2):
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats (I used jumbo scottish rolled oats.  They are not Scottish Porridge Oats, which are the best kind.)
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • raisins to taste
  • craisins to taste
  • 1 banana, chopped up (next time I will use an apple)
  • Salt, pinch.  Recipe probably called for a teaspoon, but I under-salt stuff. 
  1. Put all ingredients in crockpot, stir.
  2. Cook for 6 hours on low.  (This will probably mean using a timer.)
  3. Serve topped with granola if you would like.
The raisins/craisins plump up and get really soft, and the fruit helps flavor the oats.  Oatmeal is a great winter food, because it's all warm. It's also a good diet food, because warm foods seem more filling, but as you can see, this oatmeal has no sugar in it (other than what is in the raisins and craisins).  (Facebook ads, you can suck your "wedding diet".)  Next up, I'm trying Gingersnap Oatmeal.  Then I might try to make a high-protein pre-long-run oatmeal for half marathon training (which starts next weekend when Boston gets back!!!!!) 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Just tweeted my first full recipe.

Yes Virginia, homemade tortilla chips are so easy that you can fit the recipe into 180 characters!  Plus, tasty and low in fat.  We're using them for a tortilla soup we haven't made in ages, but is one of the reasons I agreed to marry Mr. Barefoot. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cinnamon Bun Popcorn

It occurred to me that I should really share this recipe with the world.  My college roommate taught us to make it, and it's still one of our big guilty pleasures.  It's sticky, but delicious.  It's great study food, but make sure you have a wet nap so you don't get icing on your keyboard.
You will need:

  • 1 bag microwave popcorn (you can use butter flavor, unflavored/unsalted, light, etc.)  [I've never tried this with non-microwave popcorn, but I keep meaning to]
  • 1 container of vanilla icing (I have also used cream cheese.  I don't recommend whipped, but the light is fine.)
  • Cinnamon
  • a spoon
  • a non-metal, microwaveable mixing bowl [the bigger the better]
  • a spatula
  1. Pop bag of popcorn.  Do not burn!  If you burn it, trash it and start over.  
  2. Pour popcorn into the mixing bowl.  
  3. Add about 6 tablespoon sized dots of icing to the top of the popcorn.  
  4. Put in microwave for 30 seconds, or until icing is soft/melted.  
  5. Toss popcorn with icing, sprinkling with cinnamon as you go.  
Best. sleepover. food. ever.  That is all.  Eat with a side of the remaining container of icing.  

Monday, February 22, 2010

Eggplant and Goat Cheese Pizza

I never really thought pizza would become part of my cooking repertoire.  Pizza? That's for Joe Corbis.  However, I love trying different vegetables and cheese combinations and different sauces.  It's always fun and usually delicious (one spinach and feta experiment aside).
Tonight's pizza was eggplant; and upon realizing that we were out of mozzerella, I improvised.  The results are delicious.  You will need:

  • 1/2 an eggplant, sliced thinly into small pieces.  
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Tomato sauce
  • Pizza dough (use any recipe you like, I love the one from the New Best Recipe Cookbook)
  • Goat cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  
  2. Spread eggplant, garlic, and olive oil in a pan.  Roast in oven for 20 minutes on one side, 15 on the other while the oven preheats.  
  3. Prepare dough, preheat for 15-20 minutes in oven at the same time eggplant is roasting.  
  4. Spread tomato sauce on dough; then top with eggplant, goat cheese, and parmesean cheese. 
  5. Cook for 20 minutes.  
This is the first time a full sized pizza crust hasn't been soggy in the center, and I'm very pleased.  

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Reducing Processed Foods

I'm trying hard to reduce how much processed food I eat in my life, but I often rely on frozen lunches to get me through the day (I usually let Mr. Barefoot take the leftovers, although less so now that my office has a fridge).  Anyway, I was looking into how to make my own hot pockets today, because it's a skill I would like to have.  I found a few recipes and will test them out.  Then I was thinking, what would I put in a delicious, healthy, vegetarian hot pocket?
- Caramelized onion and feta or swiss cheese
- Vegetarian meatballs and tomato sauce.
- Butternut squash, onions, and parmesean cheese
- Black beans, taco cheese, and salsa
- Eggplant, tomatoes, and goat cheese.
-Broccoli, cheddar cheese, and garlic.

How will these keep in the freezer?  I have NO idea.  I think caramelized onion will hold up pretty well, and the meatball sub.  I also plan to make some vegetarian pizza ones, because we know those work.

Any other suggestions?  If you suggest it, I'll come up with a recipe for it!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Superbowl Munchies

We're snowed in here in Baltimore and instead of doing my homework, I'm thinking about the superbowl tomorrow. While everyone else was out buying milk and toilet paper, I was out stocking up on brie and cream cheese and pita chips. Tonight, we're eating the brie, and tomorrow we will put together some beer dip and possibly some spinach dip. I also bought spicy sweet potato fries and vegetarian meatballs and veggie ribs so I'm pretty excited. (And a little scared of the ribs.)
I also really want to try deep fried goat cheese. I'm not sure that we have enough oil for this, because that, we did not stock up on, but basically you roll goat cheese into a ball, then you dip it in batter and then you fry it and then you serve it with balsamic vinegar. I'm probably not the person you want to have at your super bowl party....
Anyway, it strikes me that the superbowl is one of those occasions in which it can be very difficult to be a vegetarian. Football is American and About Meat. If you are a vegetarian and hosting a party and want to serve meat but it scares you, try this dip or a meat-in-a-crockpot type of dish. If you want to keep your football party vegetarian and sorta healthy, serve up some barbecue tofu or barbecue mac & cheese (or beer mac & cheese) or a yummy seitan chilli and some tasty sides.
The Superbowl is also a difficult time to be on a diet. It's essentially four hours of eating. If you are currently watching your weight, make sure you bring some healthy snacks for yourself to whatever party you are going to. I like hummus, pita chips, and crudites. Another snack might be smoked almonds or other nuts. Then make sure you sit near your snack food. One tip I read recently is, if you are hosting, serve up bowls with about 30 chips and small ramekins of salsa, and set them all around the room. Each bowl has enough for about two people, and it's not like people can't get more. Additionally, if you are watching your weight, offer to DD for the evening; alcohol, particularly beer, isn't calorie-free and 4-5 beers adds up pretty quickly.
Happy feasting!