Tuesday, June 23, 2009

For me, Oatmeal was one of those things that I read about for years that was a fearful let-down when actually tasted. This was the "porridge" I'd been reading about for years? This mouth-burning, grey-brown... mush? I turned up my nose and quoth "nevermore".
Over the years, I've re-acquainted myself with it a few times. Week-long cleanses that involved eating whole grains in the morning, that sort of thing. An uneasy but cordial relationship. Most recently it made a cheap and healthy breakfast while I was on the Barkerville spring tour.

My sweetie's under doc's orders these days to get his cholesterol down, and what magic food does that, you may ask? Well, apparently oatmeal and cinnamon are both great, and as an added bonus, oats are supposed to help burn that hard-to-budge belly fat. So guess what yours truly is scarfing up for brekkie from now on? (Getting J to eat it may be harder, since he hates porridge, but I'm slowly converting to a fan of the stuff.)
Here's my secret:
  • Use good grains. For me, that means Red Mill brand grains. I use the 8-grain wheat-free variety, but I'm always open to recommendations...
  • Salt can make or break a bowl of oatmeal, say the old-timers, so I always add a pinch. Today's online opinion, however, seems to conclude that it is unnecessary.
  • Here's the clincher for me: I always add a generous serving of nuts, raisins and banana for flavour and texture. I like those items to be hot and cooked, so rather than adding them at the end I throw them in as the grains cook up. Sunflower seeds work well as the nut contingent.
  • Yesterday I was unable to find any, but when I next shop for food I will probably buy some raw hazelnuts to chop up and sprinkle on top of the oatmeal when it's done.
  • When it's all cooked up (about 7 minutes, yo. Quick!), I sprinkle cinnamon on top. Then I add a scoop of plain yoghurt and a squirt of honey or maple syrup. I will probably start putting fresh cherries on there as well, since this is the season. Tasty goodness!
I guess touring will often send you home with a renewed zeal for healthy living, since being on the road is seldom healthy in any way. Forget the nouveau rockstar "I'm travelling with my nanny, my yoga teacher, my therapist and my organic chef" scene. All four of the redboots crammed into a Volkswagon station wagon for 5 1/2 days. Competing for space in there were 2 amps, an accordion, a fiddle and a double bass! I am still in shock that we fit everything (and everyone) in. If we hadn't had a roof rack, we actually would not have succeeded. We relied on the kindness of family and friends for accommodation along the way, and boy, did they ever pull through for us! Amelia's Uncle Julian stocked the bar, fed us mountains of cheese, stayed up partying until 3am and cooked us giant greasy breakfasts for three of the 5 nights we were away. Russell's mom gave us fresh fruit and sleep when our bodies needed it most. And we had a crazy dance party at my friend Betty's house in Duncan, complete with wine and cheesecake. So as you can see, we were treated like kings, but like kings who have iron constitutions. Copious amounts of liquor, late nights, cheese and grease can take their toll. You can see pictures of us performing and cavorting here.

So anyway, this week/month/rest of my life is about clean living. Oh, and apparently it's also about adjusting to the fact that while I was away, plumbers re-directed our plumbing so that all the taps in the bathroom have been reversed. Hot is now cold and vice versa. Yes- wait for it- even in the toilet. You haven't lived until you've felt your bum warmed as you... nevermind. I don't know who they're hiring for this job, but I suspect they're discount plumbers. Thank god we're off to house-sit in North Van at the end of the week. We'll be living it up over there for a month while the plumbers bugger everything up back home.

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