Peanut Butter Brown Sugar and/or Double Chocolate Overnight Oatmeal, plus the KA Mixer Winner, and Part 13AJune 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Posted in Breakfast, Fruit, Giveaway, Healthy, Jams/Jellies, Lunch | 47 Comments
Tags: brown sugar, First Love, fruit, Greek Yogurt, Heavy Cream, Jam, Jelly, Milk, Overnight Oatmeal, Overnight Oats, Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Oatmeal, Preserves, vanilla
I don’t usually go for food fads, trends or rules. In fact, I don’t abide by any rules when it comes to food. I’ve been known to bake pumpkin pies in June, and I know some people may argue this, but there is NO discernible difference between using fresh roasted pumpkin puree and canned. I’ve tested it many times over the years..and no one..I mean NO ONE, could tell the difference between the pumpkin pie using canned pumpkin and the pumpkin pie using fresh pumpkin. As long as the canned pumpkin is pure butternut squash or pumpkin puree, with no additives, it’s perfectly fine.
There..I said it, and I didn’t want to wait until Fall to say it.
By the way, did you know most canned pumpkin puree is actually butternut squash. or a variety of squash, not named pumpkin? Yes, this includes the one that starts with L.
Back to trends and fads in the food blogosphere. I have seen overnight oats all over the place for months now. Normally, I’d steer clear, because I’m not a trendy person. However, I need quick breakfasts, I don’t eat breakfast anywhere near as much as I should, and I’m sick of cheerios, toast or smoothies, when I do. After seeing Barbara’s (of Barbara Bakes) overnight oatmeal with berries, I decided I really needed to give these a shot. I also decided to blog it because I didn’t bake or cook anything for the KA Stand Mixer winner announcement, and Part 13…ummm…13A. I don’t like putting up posts without something tasty and visual in them.
This is a food blog..well, food blournal, you know.
That said, no pretty jars for these overnight oats, since you will be using up the peanut butter at the bottom and around the sides of the peanut butter jar, so everything goes into the almost empty peanut butter jar. If you want to make it look nice for serving to someone(s), spoon it into pretty glasses or bowls..like I did for photos. BUT, off of my blog, it’s getting eaten straight from the jar, then bye-bye jar – into the recycle bin!
This is not a completely healthy version, but if you want to add protein powder, flax, chia seed. hemp, swamp goo, motor oil..or whatever, go ahead – no rules.
Well, there is one rule, but it’s a general rule to get the right consistency..and that rule is 1 part oats to 2 parts liquid, plus extras of your choice. If you want it thicker, add more oats.
Here’s my version.
Overnight Refrigerator Peanut Butter – Brown Sugar Oatmeal with Jelly or Chocolate
About 2 servings
1 almost empty jar of peanut butter (about 1/4 cup peanut butter left in jar)
1/2 cup old-fashioned or quick cooking oats (I tried both and preferred the quick oats, but if you like more ‘chew’, choose the old-fashioned oats)
2 to 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk or any milk you prefer (skim, soy, rice, almond etc)
1/2 cup vanilla bean Greek yogurt or 1/2 cup heavy cream steeped with vanilla bean scrapings and pod (pod removed after steeping, of course)
fruit or jam/jelly/preserves of your choice and/or chocolate chips, chunks (optional)..I even added chocolate ganache to the bottom of one glass. No rules! You can go healthy or decadent, or both!
1. Dump the oats in the almost empty peanut butter jar. Sprinkle the dark brown sugar evenly on top of the oats. Stir together the milk and yogurt or steeped cream, then pour on top of the oats and dark brown sugar. If you’re adding chocolate chips or chunks, add now. Put the cover back on the peanut butter jar, tightly, and shake it vigorously. You’ll be stirring it come morning, so this is just a preliminary ‘shake’ to get the oats soaked and dissolve the brown sugar.
2. Put the covered jar in the fridge overnight, The next morning, open up the jar and stir it all together, digging the peanut butter up from the bottom and around the sides. Stir in fruit if you like – raspberries would be great, or swirl your favorite jam, jelly or preserves into it. If you prefer your oatmeal warm, give it a nuke in the microwave for a minute or two. Grab a spoon and dig in! Throw out the jar when you’re done..my favorite part next to eating it.
Note - I stirred extra peanut butter into the oats after they soaked overnight, only because I’m a peanut butter freak. It doesn’t need extra, but it doesn’t hurt if you’re a freak too. Also, I topped it off with some fresh, whipped cream and chocolate. If you want it topped, but healthier, use Greek yogurt.
Double Chocolate Overnight Oatmeal
1/2 cup old-fashioned or quick cooking oats (I tried both and preferred the quick oats, but if you like more ‘chew’, choose the old-fashioned oats)
1 to 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (taste)
1 cup whole milk or any milk you prefer (skim, soy, rice, almond etc)
1 tablespoon dark cocoa
1/4 cup chopped chocolate
1. Stir together milk and cocoa powder until uniform.
2.In an empty jar..like a mason jar, dump in oats, dark brown sugar, chocolate milk and chopped chocolate. Shake the jar vigorously and set in fridge overnight.
3. Eat right out of jar. I like to microwave it for a few seconds to melt some of the chopped chocolate. Enjoy!
Now to Part 13A (Yes, 13A, I’m determined to get this memoir finished in 14 parts, so I’m cheating) of Bad Boy First Love. If you’re just tuning in, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, Part 8 is HERE, Part 9 is HERE, Part Ten is HERE, Part 11 is HERE, and Part 12 is HERE.
The month I had left with him before the two-week separation was so much fun, things about it still make me laugh to this day. For one, I finally saw him drunk. It was 4th of July, and a bunch of his friends got together in an empty parking lot to party and shoot off fireworks. I brought one of my friends, who was now completely ensconced in a full-fledged friendship with Coco and one of his brothers.
Empty parking lots were a big thing in his town, no matter how small or large the gathering. They even had different nicknames for each one.
For instance, “Meet me at The Barber Pole” meant the parking lot across the street from a barber shop with a spinning pole in front. I soon knew each lot, via the nickname for it, very well.
I’d already gotten to know his friends and family well. One of my friends and I spent most of that summer hanging out with Coco and one of his brothers, whether or not Dreamboat was around.
Yeah, I know what it looks like. Gross, huh? But tasty, tasty, tasty.
He had two younger brothers, one a year older than me, one a year younger than me, and they looked nothing like him. Dreamboat was the golden boy – his looks coming from his Mother, who was of German descent. His father was a sweet, Italian man, and his brothers were dark-haired and brown-eyed like him.
They looked nothing like each other, either. The one who was older than me was about the same height as Dreamboat, but that height came with a slouch and a generous helping of grunge movement chic. He had a faint ‘stache of soft hair on his upper lip because he wasn’t old enough or hairy enough to grow a full one yet. The brother younger than me was shorter than the both of them and had a head of thicker, slightly curly hair. He was a metrosexual..rarely a hair out-of-place and always dressed well – the scent of Giorgio Armani wafting from his pores.
They looked up to Dreamboat in a way that was kind of rare in sibling dynamics, at least in my world. They adored and respected him, but at the same time – feared him as you would a parent if you did something wrong.
They called me ‘sistah-in-law’, it was cute.
SO, that night, Dreamboat got drunk – super drunk. thoroughly shnockered.
He had a very cool and calm disposition, never raised his voice to me, never out of control in any way, shape or form – BUT, on this 4th of July, once blitzed, he was all over the place, and it was fun…I couldn’t help but enjoy my pickled Dreamboat.
He was always affectionate publicly (PDA!), he didn’t care what people thought, but because he was drunk, he was almost slobbering me, hanging all over me like a dead weight. I could barely converse with anyone. I was laughing, but relieved when he pulled me away from the crowd to talk in a wooded area off to the side. He pushed me up against a tree..kissed me for a few minutes, then leaned back a bit, just looking at me. A very serious look came over his face, and although he was 10 sheets to the wind, he sounded completely sober when he said this..
“I don’t want you to leave me, please don’t go”
I reassured him instantly..”It’s only two weeks, baby..we’ll have the last three weeks of August togeth…” He interrupted me..
“No, I don’t want you to go to Boston. I mean, I want you to go to college..but locally”
I didn’t know how to respond, because I had thought about that myself. It was too late, though.. I’d already changed colleges to be closer to him, and everything was paid for and set.
Double Chocolate Oatmeal with melting chocolate shards
He nestled his face in between my shoulder and neck, and mumbled into my collarbone..
“I can’t stand the thought of not seeing you for months at a time”
He was like a child – so vulnerable, I’d never seen him like this before. I wanted to hold him forever, keep him safe…soothe his heart.
I stroked his hair (god, I loved his hair) and whispered, “But you can come visit me anytime you want, and..”
He cut me off again…
“No, you’ll meet other guys..rich college guys, you won’t want me anymore”
Was he kidding? That would NEVER happen..I loved him with every inch of my body, heart and soul. I could NEVER be with anyone else. I told him this, but not in those exact words..body, heart and soul was too poetic – I don’t talk like that..
“I don’t want anyone else, baby..I can’t even fathom it.”
That was better.
He hugged me tight, but I could tell he still didn’t feel good about it.
We remained that way for a while, his face buried in my neck, squeezing me to him so tight, at some points I couldn’t breathe. After about 15 minutes, the bark of the tree was starting to scrape my back. I tried to wiggle into another position, but then felt pain. The damn bark had scratched me..since I was wearing a white sun dress with straps in the back. I could feel the blood starting to ooze.
He was too wasted to tend to my latest injury, so I let him know what happened and suggested we go back to the parking lot. He tried to tend to it, he felt awful, but instead we went back to his house with Coco, his brother, and my friend. His parents had left for the shore with his other brother earlier that day..so after my friend patched me up, she took my car home, and I spent the night because he wanted me to. He was out like a light in minutes.
While I watched him sleep…I tried to think of a way to tell my father I was going to change schools again..apply to NYU. I couldn’t bear to be away from him for months at a time either.
Well..it didn’t work.
“NO, you’re going to school in Boston, and that’s it! ” my father shouted angrily when I tried to reason with him, “But, Dad, you went to NYU”
He left the room.
OKAY..no Plan B here, this was sticking like super glue – arguing or begging wasn’t going to get me anywhere.
Dreamboat remembered what he said by the tree..it wasn’t the alcohol, he really meant it, but in the light of day, minus the alcohol, he knew that was something he couldn’t ask of me. He apologized, but I could see in his eyes that he was hoping I would tell him I’d stay.
A little over 2 weeks of more wonderful with him, later, he left for the shore, and I left for Florida with my friends and family. The night before, I cried, and he tried not to, but we would see each other in 2 weeks, so this wasn’t the end – yet.
I have to admit, I had a blast in Florida. We hung out a lot with some guys (just friends) that my raven haired friend and I had met during X-Mas break of my junior year, who lived in the condo, owned by one of their parents, year round. Lots of partying, lots of cruising, lots of beach, and lots of climbing the fence and swimming in the condo pool at 3 or 4 am. But, I still couldn’t wait to get home and start packing for the shore and my last 3 weeks with Dreamboat. We spoke on the phone a few times, but we were always interrupted by my friend wanting to talk to his brother.
When we finally got home, packed up, and left for the shore the next day, early evening, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I drove so fast, my friends finally convinced me to let one of them drive the rest of the way. They were right, I was too keyed up and anxious to see him. As soon as we got there, around 8 pm, I fixed myself up and practically ran to the pier. The one friend who accompanied me could barely keep up, and bitched about it plenty.
I was in a zone, and that zone was him..and only him..I had to see him, smell him, touch him, feel his lips and body against mine again. He was my oxygen, my drug, the love of my life.
With Cocoa Nibs
That summer he was working on the most popular ride on the pier, second to the roller coaster, called The Enterprise. This was a ride that started spinning horizontally, then lifted up slowly, until it was spinning round and round upside down, a non-stop loop – the one Dreamboat took me on the summer before that I hated, because I don’t like being upside-down, unless my head is hanging off the edge of a bed. It also scared the crap out of me. I felt like I was going to fall out, regardless of the closed car and how tight he held me from behind.
Gravity and I don’t mesh.
Naturally, there was not only a huge line for this the ride, but a throng of girls trying to get his attention. As I approached the platform, he was running from car to car closing them shut. He looked amazing, his hair was lightened and streaked by the sun, his lightly tanned skin accentuating his beautiful blue eyes. New ‘summer muscles’ had appeared from working on the ride.
Suddenly I felt like I did the summer before, insecure, scared, nervous..worried he wouldn’t want me anymore. We had been inseparable all year-long – in our own little world back in North Jersey, and now he was the ‘rock star’ again, but on a much bigger and more popular stage than the previous summers.
I tentatively stepped up on the first step of the platform, away from the line. He saw me and came jogging over..grabbing my hand and pulling me the rest of the way up..hugging me, lifting me in his arms, then kissing me long and slow. I heard a collective groan and a few curses from the girls as we put on our little show.
When we broke for a moment, he took my hand and walked me over to the booth so he could start the ride, and then we embraced outside the booth and kissed more, little sweet nothings and ‘I love you’s’ peppering the moment. He was just as happy and excited as I was – the moment was perfect. All of my worries disappeared - just as fast as they had reappeared. I was bursting with joy, inside and out..I loved him so much it hurt.
He took both of my hands in his, and stood back..looking at me..his dazzling smile melting me to goo as usual.
“Wow, look at that tan, my beautiful girl” He still hadn’t had his eyes checked.
I was suddenly that shy, nervous 15-year old again. My voice was weird..
“You look awesome too, baby”
He kissed both of my hands in his. This was getting even better.
“Baby, there’s something I need to take care of tonight in Bricktown (a town about a half hour from his shore house)…I promised Andy (his friend from Part 4, with the nice girlfriend), I can’t get out of it”
A slight chill came over me…all the warmth and happiness draining as I tried to register what he just said. We hadn’t seen each other in a little over two weeks..what the f%^k??
He saw the look in my eyes and pulled me to him..kissing my face all over and squeezing me tight. He pressed his lips against my ear and explained that there were some people giving Andy’s brother trouble, and they needed to take care of it. He didn’t want to bring me, it could be dangerous.
I couldn’t help it, the disappointment was so fierce, and the fear of him getting hurt, so scary – that my eyes started to well up.
Remember how I told you nothing ever rattled him? Well..there was a negative side to that. When I became emotional or feisty, he treated it like it was no big deal and there was no reason for me to get so agitated, almost amused by my reaction when I was angry or upset with him. It had happened a few times during my senior year, but now it was more painful than ever.
For some reason, I couldn’t help thinking that all the girls watching him hug and kiss me were thinking how lucky I was, and probably wished they were in my place, but little did they know..he was blowing me off..or at least that’s how I felt.
I started to pull away from him but he kept pulling me back. The people on the ride were getting a bonus round of upside-down.
He took my face in his hands..looked deep into my eyes, trying to be serious since he knew his nonchalant reactions to my being upset with him, bugged me.
“If I get back early enough, I’ll come by and get you, ok ? It’s no big deal, baby..we have lots of nights together after tonight”
He kissed me a dozen more times, but I didn’t feel any one of them. How could he blow me off for some tough guy shit when we hadn’t seen each other in weeks? Maybe there was a girl there he liked?
On top of soft chocolate ganache
For the first time in our relationship, I opened the vault to my anger, and let it fly..
“Why can’t you stop being such a tough guy? Why do you always have to be a f%^%ing hero? Why do you always have to put your life in danger??”
I pulled away from him and walked away fast. I knew the girls watching us were happy as pigs in shit now that it didn’t look good between us.
When I reached my friend, I grabbed her and pulled her with me. Suddenly I heard a girl in the swarm of Dreamboat lust say to her friend..”Go over and talk to him, I think I saw him look at you!”
I stopped dead in my tracks and turned to see two relatively attractive girls continuing to plot their move on him. I saw nothing but hot, blazing red. I took a step toward them..
“Don’t even think about it!”
They both looked at me with surprise, as did my friend…totally shocked at what came out of my mouth. One of the girls decided to pour fuel into my already raging fire;
“I don’t see a ring on your finger”
That was it..I was in NO MOOD..
“No, but you will see one around your eye!”
OMG, what had come over me? I was going completely Jersey on these girls. This was a first. I think some of Dreamboat’s friend’s girlfriends had rubbed off on me.
My friend yanked me away..as the girls continued to yell obscenities. She had to pull pretty hard to get me to move..I was ready to rumble. I was hurting and seething at the same time.
Once we got off the pier and onto the boardwalk..I started to cry…sob uncontrollably. She consoled me as we walked back to the apartment, reminding me that I was PMSing, so I was probably overreacting. All she ever saw was pure love in his eyes for me, and he would be ok – he was strong and not afraid of anything.
It didn’t matter, I told her..strong and not afraid do not trump a knife or gun.
Coco and his brother were waiting out in front when we got back to the complex..since our other friend’s BF had driven up an hour after we did, and they didn’t want to disturb them.
My friend told them what happened as I rubbed my puffy eyes. His brother hugged me…
“Awww, Sis, (short for sistah-in law), he’s crazy about you, trust me…there is something he needs to do”
Yeah..like his brother, who adored and feared him, would tell me the truth if he was in fact lying to me. But it wasn’t just that..it was the worry I now had to endure. What if he got hurt? What if he was killed??
His brother then announced that their Mom had made her killer lasagna, so why not go back to his house and have some, so we could leave our other friend and her BF alone for a while? Of course my friend, who loved to eat and never gained weight, jumped at the offer. I felt sick, but went anyway. Great..I’ll be at his shore house……without him.
When we got there, his Mom was only too happy to feed us..well, them, since I couldn’t eat, I was too upset. She also tried to soothe my worries…telling me there was no one else he wanted but me,…she’d never seen him so in love.
Her blue eyes, Dreamboat’s eyes, sparkled as she sipped some wine. and enjoyed having a daughter to talk to – she stroked my hair in a motherly fashion….
“I’m tellin’ ya…I’ve seen dozens of girls come and go, yaw the first one he’s evah fell hard faw”
It helped, but I still couldn’t shake that icky feeling. I couldn’t tell her about his ‘taking care of Andy’s brother’ deal, which was scaring me more and more as the clock ticked away. There was no need to make her worry too.
Swirled with raspberry jam
She suggested we stay the night. Since his father only came up for long weekends, due to work, she insisted my friend and I sleep in their bed and she would sleep on the couch. She was in a good mood.. excited because they were going to Atlantic City that coming Saturday night to Sunday night.
After hanging out for a while, watching movies and playing some board games (as I desperately hoped he would suddenly walk through the door, the later it got), we finally went to bed around 2 am.
Surprisingly, sleep came fast. In what seemed like minutes, I was jolted awake from my deep slumber, as if someone had dumped a pitcher of ice-cold water on my head. I heard the backdoor creak open. He was just getting home..it was almost 5 am.
Part 13B coming soon.
Now to the winner of the KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer! I really wish I could give everyone who entered one of these mixers. I promise, there will be more great giveaways coming soon! Thank you all for entering!
The Random Number Generator decided that Candace, who’s comment is #224, is the winner!
Congratulations, Candace! I will be sending you an email so you can choose a color and give me your mailing info. As soon as I get it, it will be sent out to you ASAP. If there is no response from you within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.
One more thing – I’d like to thank Bonnie, of Bonnie Banters, for nominating me for a Food Stories Award! Again, I’m incredibly flattered! Since I was nominated late last month, and have already passed on 5 nominations…I’ll throw in another random fact about me.
When I was a child..having had the luxury of seeing several Broadway shows, and listening to my father’s collection of Broadway soundtracks..I decided I wanted to be a Broadway singer. I used to stand on my front door step and belt out tunes like Tomorrow, Memory, One etc. There was one small problem, I couldn’t sing. My poor neighbors.
Tags: Chicken Breasts, Chicken Fingers, Chile Garlic Sauce, Cilantro, coconut, cooking, Dessicated Coconut, garlic, Ginger, Greek Yogurt, Lime, Panko, Soy Sauce
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog, Edesia’s Notebook (love the name) authored and photographed by Lesa. For the first time since I joined, I didn’t have the urge to grab some gorgeous dessert, which Lesa has plenty of, and play with it. Instead, the same thought kept going through my head.
You don’t often see posts where I just make dinner, nothing fancy, nothing outrageous, nothing you would only make for a special occasion. It’s not that I don’t have a decent amount of simple recipes, but I just felt the need to cook dinner and blog it. I chose her Crunchy Lemon Chicken.
Of course, I ended up futzing with it, because I truly believe it’s nearly impossible for me not to futz with recipes. I cut each breast into strips, used limes instead of lemons, added soy sauce and garlic to the marinade, threw in dessicated coconut with the panko bread crumbs and whole eggs plus coconut water in the breading station, plus a few other minor alterations, like the baking time and temperature.
Otherwise, it’s just dinner, and it was delicious. I think these are the crunchiest, most delicious chicken fingers I’ve ever had. Kids would go nuts over these. Just my completely unbiased opinion.
I also made a dip to go with them – what I call a garbage dip, where you rummage through your fridge and cabinets and just throw something together. It was interesting and tasty, (Looks kind of gross in the photos..like Thousand Island dressing that sat out too long, doesn’t it?), but the chicken fingers had so much flavor, it really wasn’t needed.
Now to Bad Boy First Love Part 9. If you’re reading this for the first time, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, and Part 8 is HERE.
Between the kissing, hugging, talking and staring into each other’s eyes ( I didn’t laugh or look away once, for the first time in my life. His eyes were so blue and clear in the dark, I can still picture it perfectly to this day), for hours, it was absolutely, unequivocally, the best.night.of.my.life.
Soon the sky started to lighten a bit, and I was exhausted. So much raw emotion had been released in less than 24 hours, so many highs and lows.. the wine and beer certainly playing a part too. I couldn’t prevent the constant yawning, no matter how hard I tried – BUT, I wanted this night to last forever. In a way, I wanted to fall asleep in his arms, right there..even if we were awakened to harsh sunlight, screaming kids, the smell of suntan lotion and beach balls landing on us. He held me for a while as I started to enter dream land, then gently kissed me awake, stroking my hair.
“I think we better get you home, sweetheart – you’re starting to crash”
“Huh? No..I’m awake.. just resting my eyes”
The above is my usual line when someone wakes me up, whether in person or by phone. No idea why I always say that, and still do to this day, as if it’s a bad thing to admit I’m falling asleep or that they woke me up from a deep sleep. I’m so weird.
On our drive back to my luxurious penthouse, he suddenly pulled over. I was so busy staring at his beautiful profile that I hadn’t even noticed the scuffle going on between 4 guys, one of them apparently being ganged up on by the other three, in a somewhat dark, out-of-the-way area near the beach. One of the three was holding what looked to be a baseball bat, but he was leaning on it. Maybe they were fighting over a late night to early morning baseball game that just ended? Of course I said that to him, feeling like a total idiot once the words left my lips.
He looked at me calmly, and said, “I’ll be right back”, like he was going to get me a soda or something..not like he was about to play vigilante. I was terrified..I touched his arm..
“No, don’t..please, let’s just go”
He smiled and kissed my cheek, “I’ll be right back”
OK, he meant business.
Nothing rattled this guy. I heard the trunk open and close. I watched in the rearview mirror as he pulled something out of his trunk – it looked like a tire iron. He walked toward this scuffle like it was no big deal – such confidence, no fear at all. Now I was really scared, but in a strange way, it turned me on. West Side Story was about to come to life, minus the singing and dancing, and I was slightly turned on..what the hell was wrong with me?
Oh, I remember, I liked bad boys, and this was most certainly bad boy behavior, but he was a good bad boy, he was going to protect someone. Then the thought of him getting really hurt scared me again. I opened the window and called out to him meekly. He didn’t hear me, but I couldn’t hear me either..my voice was shaking a little, and I think I squeaked.
I watched as he walked up to them and stood in front of the victim, blocking him, looking calm, but so damn tough.
I was excited again.
I couldn’t hear what they were saying outside of my now even sexier guy commanding them to ”‘Keep walking” when the bullies started to back off after trying to get tough with him and apparently not succeeding. Tire iron > baseball bat.
Then they came forward again and I couldn’t take it anymore…he was going to get hurt! I do have to admit I liked how he didn’t back up, not even one inch, when they came toward him.
Just as I was about to open the car door so I could run over and fling myself in front of Dreamboat, he pushed one of them in the chest. I was shocked to see the guy stumble back quite a ways and fall when it seemed like such a light push, with one hand, no less. They took off. Wow, that was too easy. I guess they realized that if he could push that lightly and send the guy back that far and on his ass, one swing of the tire iron could be pretty fierce. Then again, I didn’t hear what was said, so that probably played a part too. It didn’t matter, he was so damn awesome, he wasn’t going to let three guys beat up on one.
He came walking back to the car with the victim. Turns out, after an introduction, the kid, who couldn’t have been more than 16 (well..a little younger than me..shhhh) worked in one of the booths on the pier and he knew him. The kid got into the car and couldn’t stop thanking Dreamboat. I was in awe of how cool, calm and collected Dreamboat remained, as if he simply bought the kid a soda, and there was no need for a thank you.
Apparently, this kid owed a little money to one of the guys, and that guy brought along his three friends and a bat to collect, when this kid couldn’t have weighed more than 120 lbs soaking wet.
“No problem. I don’t care what you owe him, if he can’t collect on his own, he’s weak. Let me know if they ever give you a hard time again, ok?”
The guy was an ‘effin chickensh*t according to Dreamboat..and I couldn’t have agreed more.
We dropped the kid off. Now that we were alone again, I couldn’t keep my hands off of him..I hugged and kissed him as he drove. I was even more crazy about him than before, and frankly, I didn’t think that was possible because I thought I had already reached the apex of love, longing, lust – whatever you want to call it – with him.
When he pulled up to my mini ‘party central’ apartment complex (there were parties still going on and the place was hopping..at 5:30 am), after about a 20 minute goodbye (our goodbyes would become legendary, to us, that is) I reached to pick up a little purse I had brought with me and left on the passenger seat floor.
Cut to 6 months prior..during my sad Junior year of High School. My friend bought me one of those white button pins with an I HEART Dreamboat on it – aka I LOVE plus his real name, when we were at the mall one night. I always kept it in my purse, for no reason other than I did HEART him, and being a little superstitious, felt that maybe it might bring us back together again (like the cup holder!).
I bet you can guess what happened.
I’d forgotten that I had opened the purse before getting out of the car to walk, well, trip over my own feet, to the beach, to grab a few orange tic-tacs. The button came flying out of my open purse and landed right on his lap.
I wanted to die.
He picked it up and looked at it, not saying anything for about a minute. Why, why, why? Now he would think I was some obsessive, stalker child! Why would a supposed 18-year old be carrying something like that around?
Maybe there was a slight chance he was illiterate? I had never wished someone to be illiterate, that desperately, at that moment. I could teach him to read, kissing him every time he read a word correctly!
I braced myself, my face was burning, I wanted to turn back the clock two minutes and do it over again, GENTLY picking up the purse. Maybe I could say it was another Dreamboat! Yeah..I could hear myself now..trying to act all cool..
“Well, during our time apart I just so happened to meet a guy named Dreamboat, what a coincidence, huh? I thought I was never going to see you again, so I thought I loved him, but I didn’t, and I forgot it was still in this purse..I rarely use this purse” *confident flick of my hair*
He interrupted my momentary lapse of reasonable thinking..
“You shouldn’t have one of these unless you mean it”
I DO MEAN IT! I’m madly in love with you!
Instead…I told him the truth, without confessing my love for him.
“I know, D bought it for me, and I kept it in my purse, hoping it would bring me luck and I’d see you again.”
Woah, that was easy, why was I so freaked out about it?
He hugged me tight to him and whispered in my ear..
“I guess it worked then, like the cup holder”
I smiled, a wave of relief washing over me. I decided I’d drop the age bomb the next night.
Part 10 coming soon. I’m sorry I left you all with the same cliffhanger as last time, but I started this post before everything happened, and couldn’t finish it, which would have included that story, due to the current circumstances. I didn’t want to give you all something half-assed. I promise Part 10 soon, and the whole thing will be wrapped up in Part 11.
Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips or Bites
Adapted from and Inspired by Lesa from Edesia’s Notebook
Yields about 4 servings
2 limes, zested and juiced
1/4 cup light olive oil
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped finely
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 chicken breasts (About 1 lb) cut into 1-inch wide strips. Cut each strip in half for ‘bites’.
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
2/3 cup dessicated coconut shreds
3/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to season flour
2 eggs, beaten with 4 tablespoons of coconut water (you can use coconut milk if you can’t find coconut water)
Oil spray, doesn’t matter what kind
1. In a bowl, stir together lime juice, zest, light olive oil, ginger, light soy sauce, garlic and salt. Add the chicken strips and stir until they’re completely coated with the marinade. You can also pour the marinade with the chicken strips, into a ziplock bag, which is what I did. Marinate for 4 to 5 hours at the most..stirring the strips in the bowl of marinade or squeezing around the bag every hour to an hour and a half to insure even marinating.
2. Line a large baking sheet with foil sprayed lightly with oil. Mix the flour, salt and pepper in one bowl, the beaten eggs and coconut water in a second bowl, and the panko and dessicated coconut in a third bowl. Remove the chicken strips from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
3. Lift up each chicken strip and shake off some of the marinade so it isn’t overly-saturated (I just ran two impeccably clean fingers down each strip, sliding off the extra marinade). Coat each chicken strip in flour, knocking off the excess, then dip and coat well in the egg mixture and then dredge it in the panko - dessicated coconut mixture, pressing it onto each strip. Place each chicken strip on the oiled baking sheet and continue until all chicken has been coated.
4. Lightly spray some oil on the breaded chicken strips, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. IMPORTANT – Do not let them sit on the baking sheet once out of the oven. Transfer them to a rack if not eating within a few minutes, or the bottoms will get soggy.
Spicy Yogurt Dip
1 cup greek yogurt
2 to 3 tablespoons Asian chile-garlic sauce
1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. Mix all the ingredients together, then cover and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors blend.
If you get a chance, please click on the blue frog below to see all the amazing dishes recreated by Group A of The Secret Recipe Club. Also, click on over to Edesia’s Notebook for some fantastic sweet and savory recipes!
Tags: baking, Berries, berry swirl cake, blackberries, Cake, Dannon yogurt, Greek Yogurt, pound cake, raspberries, Yogurt
Before we moved to the town I grew up in, from NYC, we spent a few years in another town, in a huge apartment complex surrounded by vast, beautiful meadows, streams filled with tadpoles, froggies, fish and all things cool to a young, curious, nature loving girl. I won’t get into the huge highway overpass that roared above us in the parking lot, nor the main roadway with a constant barrage of passing cars almost 24/7, less than a mile away, I will just keep us in the place where nature loomed and bloomed, with not much time left.
My fondest memory of this Garden apartment complex of Eden nestled within the asphalt, was the wild blackberry and raspberry bushes hidden in one small area behind the pussy willows and tall stalks of wheat-looking something or others that constitute ‘meadows’. We would sit in the middle of this circle of bushes and pick plump, juicy, berries for hours, our lips, fingers and shirts stained purple and red. I took this for granted – surely there’s wild bushes like this everywhere, right? When we moved into our new house, I figured I’d have a whole backyard of them!
Unfortunately, the beautiful meadows and streams were eventually demolished to build a huge, modern, state of the art, high school and more apartment complexes, but fortunately, we were already moving out when this started happening. Once we moved into our new home, I kind of forgot about wild berry bushes. I loved cooking, but basic stuff, I was too young to think about or dabble in preparations calling for berries, outside of fresh berries topped with cream.
Cut to many years later – now I’m baking and cooking on a pretty regular basis, inhaling cookbooks like oxygen, pouring through gourmet magazines, reading a few chapters of Larousse Gastronomique nightly, and watching hours upon hours of Jacques Pepin showing me every cooking technique known to man (at that time), over and over. I watched numerous cooking shows, but Jacques was my mentor.
I was falling madly in love with all things food, all things sweet and savory, all things plated and lovely.
All of this food exploration renewed my intense love of two berries with a deep fervor, two berries that I used to hang with and know very well, raspberries and blackberries. I wanted to bake with them, make sauces with them, jam them, jelly them, you name it. However, no wild and free berry bushes anywhere near me. My berry passion led to many trips to the market, but was diluted with pints of mediocre, somewhat squashed berries in plastic containers with holes, and if I didn’t act quick, they’d morph into plastic containers of Swamp Things doing the creepy-crawly in the back of my fridge.
You never know how good you ‘had’ it until you want to cook and bake with it.
Like snowflakes, no two berry swirl cakes are alike
Cut to present. A friend of mine attended a wedding in Seattle last summer. One morning he called at the end of his daily workout and run. As he was walking through the parking lot of the hotel he was staying in, he let out an audible ‘wow’ type of gasp. He told me there were tons of wild blackberry bushes around the parking lot..filled to the brim with some of the biggest blackberries he’d ever seen. He took a photo with his cell and sent it to me. I let out an audible ‘wow’ type of-gasp as I listened to him eat those gorgeous berries.
“Wow, theesh are the jooshiest blackberriesh I’fe ever tayshted in my life!”
This was one of the photos he sent me. Nice lookin’ Seattle wild blackberries!
The rest of his trip led to occasional phone calls and texts about how wherever he went, there were always blackberry bushes close by.
I contemplated a permanent move to Seattle, but only for a second. I need sun on a more daily basis, although it’s an awesome city in a beautiful and bountiful state. My ‘Seattle Lisa’ image contained tons of buckets in lieu of a purse - picking blackberries from every bush I saw, so much so that I would have to balance an extra bucket on my head, like the Chiquita Banana chick on blackberryroids.
My history with yogurt is a bit different. OK, a bit is understatement. I hated it. To me, yogurt was a bunch of annoying, little plastic containers that dominated our fridge since my mother ate it every.single.day. They would come tumbling out and hit the floor while I was reaching for sandwich fixings or pudding cups, cracking open – white, fruity goo all over the floor. I would actually gag while I was cleaning it up. I hated, Hated, HATED how it smelled.
“How could she eat this crap?”, I would think and mutter faintly under my breath.
Don’t let these skinny swirls of berry fool you, because…..
My freshman year of college, there was a little truck on campus one day that was just giving yogurt away - Dannon yogurt. One late night, craving something sweet, and nothing but our free Dannon haul in our mini-fridge, I had no choice but to confront my yogurt demons. I was so hungry, I didn’t care..I was eating it. One spoonful and BOOM, an explosion of creamy/tangy with sweet strawberries swirled throughout, sort of like pudding or custard, and I love puddings and custards.
Yogurt, why did I hate you so for so long? OK, I admit, I had never tasted you before, but it was all because of those damn containers tumbling to the floor and cracking into cream of fruity ooze – plus, my mother’s obsession with you. My apologies and regrets!
Well..now I’m obsessed, and I eat a container almost every day, and bake with it quite often. As mentioned above, it’s in this cake, the Greek style, which has been my new favorite for quite a while.
When I decided to take advantage of an abundance of gorgeous blackberries and raspberries that came my way, I started with a blackberry swirl pound cake recipe I had bookmarked by Martha Stewart (wow, Martha is making a lot of appearances on my blog as of late). Of course, I wasn’t going to leave raspberries out and of course, I was probably going to change something. That something was my former foe, yogurt, instead of the sour cream called for, and I don’t know why, but I had the urge to mix the berry purees with some of the cake batter prior to swirling them in. Wow, thick, berry ribbons within the cake. Success!
Make this cake..I promise you will love it – even if you don’t like berries and/or yogurt.
….when you mix some of the batter into the berry purees before spooning it on and swirling it into the batter, then cut into a slice vertically, this is what you get. Thick ribbons of berry.
Double Berry Ribbon/Swirl Yogurt Pound ‘like‘ Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart, with my revisions
Makes one 9-inch by 5-inch loaf cake
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan (or 1/2 cup neutral oil, like canola)
3 ounces blackberries (about a scant 3/4 cup)
3 ounces raspberries (about a scant 3/4 cup)
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt, room temperature
NOTE: I split the berry puree-batter mixes in half, using half of each for swirling into both layers of plain batter. I did this to make two cakes. Using all the berry purees in one cake is ideal, but either way is delicious!
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; butter parchment. In a food processor, puree blackberries with 1 tablespoon sugar. Wipe out processor and puree raspberries with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Pour/scrape into separate bowls and set aside (you can strain them into the bowls if you don’t like the light bite of seeds that do not break down). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together butter (or oil) and 1 1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with Greek yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
3. Stir two to three tablespoons of the cake batter into the bowl with the blackberry puree until uniform. Stir two to three tablespoons of the cake batter into the bowl of raspberry puree, until uniform.
4. Pour half the plain batter into the pan and dot with 1/2 of the blackberry puree -batter mix and half the raspberry puree-batter mix - cake batter. It will seem like it takes over all the plain cake batter, but don’t worry, it all works out. Swirl/marble lightly using a skewer or knife. Repeat with remaining batter and remaining puree-batter mixes, then again, swirl batter and puree-batter mixes together, pushing skewer or knife all the way to the bottom for a full marble.
5. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours. Let cool in pan on a wire rack, 30 minutes. Lift cake out of pan and place on a serving plate; let cool completely before slicing.
This cake is entered in the #cakelove bloghop! Come VOTE and/or enter your cake!
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Tags: Cashews, Chiles, Daring Cooks, Fish Sauce, garlic, Ginger, Greek Yogurt, Healthy, Lime, Lobster, Lobster Potato Salad, Mango, Peanuts, Peppers, Potato Salad, Potatoes, Shallots
I’m willing to guess that a good portion of Americans have grown up with potato salad. I’m also willing to guess that the potato salad most of us have grown up with is mayonnaise based – thick, gloppy, slightly sweet, supermarket containers of potato salad, or your Aunt Rose’s or neighbor’s homemade thick, gloppy, slightly sweet, mayonnaise based potato salad, with lots of egg – one that would inevitably sit out in the sun for hours, (though no one ever contracted or died of staphylococcus or salmonella), at every Sunday or summer BBQ.
Once in a while, someone would shock the suburban BBQ system, and show up with a German potato salad, vinegar based..no mayonnaise. We’d all slowly circle this alien bowl of potatoes without the creamy glop we were so used to. You could actually see the potatoes, and they were actually the color of peeled potatoes, not mysterious lumps blanketed beneath a white dressing with bits of eggs, celery, and onions.
“Are you gonna try it?”
“No, you try it first and tell me if it’s good”
Inevitably, someone would try it, usually me, and although it wasn’t bad..my palate was trained on creamy, thick mayonnaise dressing, so after the initial scrunch face from the acidity of the the vinegar…
“Ummm…I don’t know..not really potato salad to me, too vinegary“
Before I go on, this month’s Daring Cooks challenge is pretty cool. it’s partly a contest, with prizes and a chance to get your recipe out there via the US potato board…
Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!
Thankfully, palates break from the traditional and change as we grow, but I knew I was still in the ‘rut’ at 18, when an ex-BF’s mom promised us a BBQ and some homemade potato salad when we returned from the beach. As the day went on and my hunger grew (residual, second hand smoke from his daily uhhh..
toke ..errr, smoke, catapulted that hunger), visions of creamy potato salad swirled through my head, served with a juicy burger, some of the mayonnaise from the side of potato salad smearing on the bun, making each bite a blended delight. I also couldn’t wait to slap some of that creamy potato salad on my burger. Have you ever tried that? If not, I recommend you do.
I think you know where this is going.
When Mama of Ex-Dreamboat appeared through the haze of charcoal smoke, like an angel from heaven – carrying a big, red bowl…undoubtedly filled with loads of creamy, eggy potatoes, just waiting to melt on my tongue – my stomach started rumbling, like a teen’s souped-up vintage car. I ran to her to ‘help’ by taking the bowl from her and placing it on an empty spot on the table, right in front of me..I wanted first dibs.
When the burgers were ready, I pulled off the foil excitedly. Uh oh – it was like hitting a whammy on Press Your Luck, and this sound blared loud and clear in my head. It was German potato salad, in all of it’s vinegary glory.
“Did you know my Mom was of German ancestry?”
“No, Dreamboat, I didn’t..wow”
I almost sneezed when the vinegar hit my nasal cavities, but at least my watery eyes disguised the real tears that could have come at that moment, since the disappointment was so fierce. I smiled and said “Wow, looks great”. I may as well have admitted I was responsible for the breakdown of the ozone layer, because that’s how disingenuous it sounded. I begrudgingly took a whole tablespoon of the potato salad, and pretended to enjoy it immensely.
Fast forward to college and after…I now appreciate a good potato salad without mayonnaise – warm or cold. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good mayo based potato salad, but I was finally able to take some potato forks in the road and appreciate all kinds of preparations – such as a mayo-free blue cheese- apple potato salad that became my go to in my 20′s..even at Sunday BBQ’s – no matter how horrified some traditionalist looked at me when I showed it off, pleading with them to “ …just taste it!”
Well..I’ve taken that route again, but in a much healthier way. I came up with a Mango-Ginger (You can substitue apple for the mango, just as good and crunchier) potato salad with only 2 tabelspoons of low fat mayonnaise, and fat-free greek yogurt, minus the blue cheese. Creamy without all the extra calories and fat, and loaded with flavor and texture. I would have omitted the mayonnaise completely if not for missing it a bit after a few tastes. It needed that creamy egg and oil component so it wouldn’t taste completely like yogurt with fruit, shallots, and potatoes. It was one of those scour the fridge and ‘create’ moments, and I think it worked out quite well, if I may brag a bit. It’s got it all, fruity, savory, soft, creamy, crunchy and a little sweet heat from the ginger. So far, no horrified looks, just thumbs up. Try it..I know you want to at least taste it.
For my warm potato salad, an idea struck at the last minute – like last night last minute. I remembered this amazing spicy, chile, lime, honey lobster noodle salad I had, created by renowned chef and owner of many fabulous restaurants, Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The dressing on the lobster and noodles was to.die.for – sweet, savory, spicy and tart. I decided to adapt this dressing to a potato-lobster salad, eliminating a few ingredients, and changing the measurements to combine well with the amount of potatoes and lobster I was using. WOW, I’m so happy with how this turned out. I couldn’t stop taking forkfuls even hours after I ate. Once again, you’ve got to try it. You can substitute shrimp, crab, scallops or even monkfish, for the lobster. Oh, did I mention this one was also healthy? Yep, it is.
Well…that’s it for my two new potato salads. To see all the unqiue and creative potato salads my fellow Daring Cooks came up with, click on the links to their blogs, HERE. To see and try a variety of recipes for all kinds of healthy potato salads from all over the world, click HERE.
Mango-Ginger Potato Salad
2 pounds Red Bliss potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 to 3/4 cup Greek, plain fat-free yogurt (depending on how much dressing you prefer and the calories – I used 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 mango, OR 1 small to medium, tart apple, peeled and diced
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 red jalapeno chile, seeded and diced (optional)
2-3 teaspoons fresh, grated or finely diced ginger
1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Toasted cashew nuts, chopped
1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook over high heat until tender, about 9 minutes. Drain, gently shaking out the excess water. Spread on a baking sheet,to cool then place in a bowl and drizzle with two tablespoon of cider vinegar, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the coldest part of refrigerator for 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the yogurt with the mayonnaise until smooth. Add the mango, chile, ginger,shallots, and mint. Fold in the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and let chill, covered, for several hours for flavors to marry.
3. Sprinkle with toasted, chopped cashews and serve. Can be refrigerated up to 2 or 3 days.
Warm & Spicy Chile Lime Potato Lobster Salad
Dressing adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, with my revisions
2 lbs red bliss or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lobster tail, cooked, shelled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large shallot, diced
1 red bell pepper
1 fresh long red hot chile (I used a thai bird)
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges, for serving
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Asian chile sauce, such as sambal oelek
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts, toasted
2 tablespoons thinly sliced mint leaves
2 tablespoons thinly sliced cilantro leaves
1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook over high heat until tender, about 9 minutes. Drain, gently shaking out the excess water. Let cool spread on a baking sheet,to cool. Cut up lobster tail and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, shallots and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and shallots are golden, 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
3. Roast the red pepper and chile directly over a gas flame or under a preheated broiler, turning occasionally, until charred all over. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Peel the pepper and chile and discard the stems and seeds; cut into 1/4-inch dice and transfer to the bowl with the shallot mixture. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, honey, sambal oelek and sesame oil. Heat up the dressing so it’s very warm, but not quite hot. Season the dressing with salt.
4. Pour the warm dressing over the cooled potatoes (it’s important that one is hot and one cold, so the potatoes absorb most of the dressing) and lobster chunks. Let sit at room temperature for about an hour so the potatoes can absorb the dressing, tossing occasionally. Top with chopped, toasted peanuts, mint, cilantro and serve warm.