Sunday, June 24, 2012

Breakfast solution: overnight oatmeal

I eat oatmeal every morning. It's become a habit for me, because it's cheap, easy to make, and healthy. I don't have to think about breakfast in the morning, and it keeps me full until lunch. Making it from scratch every morning takes a bit of time (about fifteen minutes, after boiling the water and waiting for the oats to be done, plus mixing together toppings). What's worse, though, is that it's so HOT. With the weather the way it is this summer, I hate making boiling hot oatmeal and sweating (in my non air-conditioned house) while eating it on a hot day. Well, I finally found a solution! I am so pumped about this one. As I told my friend who showed me how to do it, I think it'll change my life. Or at least my morning breakfast routine.

Overnight Oatmeal

The night before, put 1/3 cup yogurt, 1/3 cup water, and 1/3 oats in a jar. Mix together, and let it sit overnight. In the morning, pull out the jar and voila! Your oatmeal is made. The oats will absorb the liquid overnight, becoming soft and ready to eat. Then add any toppings combinations you'd like - fresh fruit, flax seed, nuts, raisins. It's so good, and so easy. No cooking necessary, and if you use a mason jar, you can screw the top on and throw it in your bag to eat at work. Hooray!

This idea came from the blog Kath Eats Real Food. The author is apparently even more obsessed with oatmeal than I am. She has endless toppings ideas, and also notes that you can use any type of liquid in the overnight oats recipe - water, milk, yogurt, whatever. Here are a few of her overnight oats ideas: Tribute to Oatmeal.

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Recipe of the week: Israeli couscous and chickpea salad

Now that it's getting hot, I'm pretty much eating only simple, grain-vegetable-and-bean recipes. Here's one I'm obsessed with lately, from the NYTimes Well blog. I make a double batch of it and then eat it for lunch for the rest of the week!

Israeli Couscous and Chickpea Salad
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous (also called pearl couscous)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 T chives, chopped
  • 3 oz. feta, crumbled
  • 2 T pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 t chili powder
Heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium-heat. Pour in the couscous and stir until the couscous begins to brown and smell toasty, usually four to five minutes. Add two cups of water and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until couscous is soft but not mushy.

Put the couscous in a big bowl and add the cilantro, chives, feta, pine nuts, chickpeas, and red pepper. Stir. Mix together lemon juice, cumin, a little salt, yogurt, and chili powder. Pour the sauce on top of the couscous mixture. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nourish: Food curriculum for upper elementary and middle school teachers

A friend of mine showed me a new food curriculum called Nourish. It looks fantastic. It's geared towards upper elementary and middle schoolers, so I won't be able to use it this fall (I'm teaching kindergarten). But it has some really great ideas for teaching about where food comes from, eating in season, food advertising, and other important food literacy concepts. It also has a bunch of graphics called Food Tools that are perfect for teaching about food systems. Here's one graphic I love and might actually print out to put in my classroom...

The curriculum also has a half-hour video that goes with it. Seems pretty awesome!
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