Nourishment Lately 3.31.16

1-2{All the way back to 3.8.16. One of the very first warm evenings, from our back porch. The best ever happy hour.}

Hi everyone! I’m excited to be sharing a new Nourishment Lately with you today. I have been doing a lot of cooking, but I haven’t been trying a ton of new recipes, like I was regularly in winter. I wanted to pop in today though to talk about food and share a little of what has been nourishing us over the last few weeks.

This shrimp chowder with veggies + vodka sauce. Soup season is not yet over, and I am determined to make soup as much as possible until it officially warms up. This recipe is an old favorite and both Greg and I were craving it several weeks ago. So on a chilly Saturday, after running some errands, we went to a local brewery, got a growler fill, then came home and made a double batch of this soup. Perfect evening. The large batch of soup was delicious and gave us lots and lots of leftovers. We changed it up a bit from the published recipe – for a double batch, we used two yellow onions, a ton of carrots and celery (didn’t count, but we wanted to it be really hearty), one green pepper, two garlic cloves, 3/4 pound shrimp, 1.5 pounds cod, two jars of vodka sauce, a ton of veggie broth (probably 6-7 cups), salt, pepper, dried oregano and smoked paprika. It was the best. The smoked paprika was a good addition. It made it a bit more spicy, but we loved it!

This kale salad. Something else I have been craving lately – salad like crazy. Kale salad has made an appearance on our dinner plates several times over the last few weeks. The kale salad I make is based off of the recipe linked, but I use the lemon Dijon vinaigrette recipe from this post

These broccoli Parmesan fritters. This recipe is an oldie for us, one that we have been making for years. And one that we have been loving for years. Let me tell you, I have tried many times playing around with the recipe, but I’ve determined that it is just too good as written to mess around with. I don’t recommend making any changes. Few, simple ingredients are the best!

This pizza margherita. I was so hungry for pizza last week so I thought it would be nice to do homemade pizza Friday night. When Greg and I make homemade pizza, we usually go wild with toppings. We put on more toppings than the pizza can hold and we try to be super creative with topping combinations. I told him that I hoped he didn’t mind, but for last Friday, I was craving something extremely simple. This pizza is seriously the best. Just sauce (made out of canned tomatoes, salt and olive oil), fresh mozzarella cheese, a little bit of fresh basil and a little drizzle of olive oil. Greg said that was the best homemade pizza we’ve ever made and I definitely agree. I already can’t wait to make this recipe again. It really is the dishes with the fewest, simplest ingredients that are the best.

This quick pizza dough. This is the crust that I used for our pizza last Friday night. I was so happy with how it turned out. I didn’t have a lot of time, and this recipe is perfect for that. I did change it up just a little from the recipe. I mixed the dough in my food processor (so easy!), then placed the dough in a greased bowl and let it rise for an hour while we did some stuff around the house. After the hour, I punched down the dough (it hadn’t risen that significantly), divided in two and let it rest for another 20 minutes, while we prepped the rest of the ingredients. I started the dough at 5:30 p.m. and we were eating homemade pizza by 8 p.m. To me, that is awesome and I will most certainly be making this recipe again!

The First Blossoms of 2016, Part I

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:
when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
-Charles Dickens

It is officially that time of the year around here, and I love it. It means that good and warm things are on their way. And, it’s blossom time.

AKA, the time of the year where I will, for better or worse, fill my blog with photos of fruit trees in bloom (see last year’s post here). I can’t help it though, this is all just too beautiful to not share.

Today I’m sharing some photos of the very first little blossoms to show up. These photos were captured on a Thursday evening, an evening that perfectly reflected the Dickens quote at the top, driving around the orchards with Greg. A perfect evening. We drove around, I captured photos, we enjoyed the sun and then watched it begin to set. On an evening like that, I’m as happy as can be.

Here’s to many more evenings like that one, enjoying and capturing what is beautiful.

P.S. Stay tuned for many more blossom photos. I am sharing half of my photos from that evening today, and I’ll post the other half tomorrow. But there will be more, this is just the beginning of blossom time. Also, these are apricot trees!

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Peanut Butter + Jam Baked Oatmeal

As I type this, a bowl of this peanut butter + jam oatmeal sits in front of me for breakfast, as it has for countless days now. Each bite that I take is warm + comforting, especially as I look out the window to the gray morning sky and white ground.

That’s how this oatmeal came to be. A yearning for something warm. I’ve had a smoothie for breakfast almost daily for the last two years, but one cold Saturday morning recently, a smoothie just wasn’t going to do. I thought oatmeal sounded like a good idea, but I wanted it to be extra comforting, extra warm, extra special. Introducing: the breakfast that happily broke my two and a half year smoothie streak.

Let’s talk about it. The peanut butter and jam, it’s not in your face flavor wise, but I’d say that you do have to appreciate those flavors to enjoy this oatmeal. More than anything though, the coming together of the oats, milk, peanut butter and applesauce creates something special. The combination creates the creamiest oats I’ve ever had, no kidding. These creamy oats have a pleasant hint of peanut butter flavor, with a sweet/tartness coming from the jam and some crunchy texture from the toppings. I’d say that no one single flavor sticks out, everything just comes together in all the right ways.

If you plan to make this, here are some more details:

The peanut butter. If you like peanut butter, you will like this oatmeal. If you don’t like peanut butter, you still might like this oatmeal. If you LOVE peanut butter, you might actually want to add more than I suggest. The peanut butter flavor is not overpowering. Use an unsalted peanut butter if possible. If you do use a salted peanut butter, decrease the amount of salt that you add to the oatmeal. I have noted this below the recipe as well.

The jam. I thought that the jam would add sweetness, which it did, but it also adds tartness, an unexpected flavor that I love. Try to use a jam that has lemon juice in it, as that helps to add the right amount of tartness to these oats. I have been loving strawberry and blueberry jam but use what you love.

The applesauce. It acts as the main sweetener, with no other sugar added to these oats. And I will be honest, this is not a sweet dish, but that is how I prefer it. If you like things a little sweeter, you may want to use a sweetened applesauce (I use no sugar added applesauce) or you may want to add some other form of sweetener. Play around, find what you like. 

The oats. Use old fashioned or rolled oats. I thought about trying this with steel cut oats because I do love them, but I am just obsessed with the original version made with rolled oats, so why mess with something that works. Like I said above, these are the creamiest oats I’ve ever had so I don’t plan to change it up.

The milk. I have no doubt that these oats would work and be great with any kind of milk. I always use original unsweetened almond milk, but use what you love. 

Toppings. I really like to serve this with an extra dollop of jam and something crunchy. The extra jam, just because I love it and you just can’t have too much and the crunchy toppings for texture. I have been doing a sprinkle of hemp seeds but so many different things could work here. Another kind of seed, a variety of chopped nuts or a combination of both. Play around with it, find what toppings make you happy.

A few more notes:

This can be made into a single serving recipe, as that’s how I made and enjoyed it the first few times. I will list that recipe below as well. If you do make the four serving version, keep in mind that it does reheat very well. As I am the only one who will eat this in my house, that’s what I do. I just microwave the leftovers with a splash of almond milk for two minutes. Also, as far as what you bake this oatmeal in, there are options. In the recipe below, I state to cook it and then also bake it in an oven proof pot, like a dutch oven, like I did for the batch you see in the photos. I have done that successfully, and it’s nice to use only one dish. I have also successfully used an eight inch enamel cast iron skillet. If you don’t have something that can go from stove top to oven, just cook the oats in a regular pot on the stove and then transfer to any kind of baking dish for the oven. One thing to note is that you may want to lightly grease the dish that you bake it in to prevent sticking. 

I hope that these oats bring you as much happiness, comfort and warmth as they have been bringing me!

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Peanut Butter + Jam Baked Oatmeal
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups rolled oats
  2. 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil (or butter)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt*
  4. 2 cups water
  5. 2 cups milk of choice (I always use almond)
  6. 1 cup applesauce**
  7. 1/2 cup peanut butter
  8. 1/3 cup fruit jam or preserves (I like strawberry and blueberry)***, plus more for serving
  9. Crunchy toppings (I like hemp seeds and chopped nuts)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the coconut oil (or butter) in an oven proof pot over medium high heat. Once hot, add the oats and toast, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. They are done when they smell toasted. Transfer the oats to a bowl, add salt and set aside.
  3. Add the water and milk to the pot and bring to a light boil. Once lightly boiling, add the oats, stir, turn the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 7-10 minutes, or until oatmeal has thickened but is still very creamy. Add the applesauce and stir. Add the peanut butter and stir well until everything is combined.
  4. {If you are not using an oven proof pot, transfer the oatmeal to a baking dish now}.
  5. Turn off the heat, spoon the jam on top and lightly swirl it into the oatmeal.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until oatmeal is lightly bubbling and lightly browned on top.
  7. Serve, topped with a dollop of jam and crunchy toppings of choice.
Notes
  1. * The peanut butter that I use is not salted. If you use peanut butter that is salted, you may want to decrease the amount of salt that you add to this recipe.
  2. ** I use no sugar added applesauce. Keep in mind that because applesauce is the primary sweetener in this recipe, the type that you use will affect the sweetness of the oatmeal. The no sugar added applesauce makes the oatmeal just right for me, but if you like things a little sweeter, you might want to use a sweetened applesauce.
  3. *** Try to use a higher quality jam or fruit preserves that is as close to just fruit as possible. I think that the good stuff is worth it and makes a big difference in this recipe.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
Peanut Butter + Jam Baked Oatmeal - single serving
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup rolled oats
  2. 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil (or butter)
  3. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 cup water
  5. 1/2 cup milk of choice (I always use almond)
  6. 1/4 cup applesauce
  7. 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  8. Heaping 1 tablespoon fruit jam or preserves (I like strawberry and blueberry), plus more for serving
  9. Crunchy toppings (I like hemp seeds and chopped nuts)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the coconut oil (or butter) in a small pot over medium high heat. Once hot, add the oats and toast, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. They are done when they smell toasted. Transfer the oats to a bowl, add salt and set aside.
  3. Add the water and milk to the pot and bring to a light boil. Once lightly boiling, add the oats, stir, turn the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until oatmeal has thickened but is still very creamy. Add the applesauce and stir. Add the peanut butter and stir well until everything is combined.
  4. Transfer the oats to a small oven proof bowl or dish.
  5. Spoon the jam on top and lightly swirl it into the oatmeal.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until oatmeal is lightly bubbling and lightly browned on top.
  7. Serve, topped with a dollop of jam and crunchy toppings of choice.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/