Back to Breakfast

December 16, 2008

Like many Americans, I have a bad habit of not eating breakfast during the week.  I’m usually busy getting both myself and the kids ready for the day, so any morning caloric intake is usually coffee and some milk at work… sometimes augmented with whatever crap I can find around the office.  Not healthy, and I have no real excuse beyond laziness and lack of planning.

With the weather getting colder in a hurry, my stomach has been growling in the morning more often, so I decided it was time to get back into the swing of things and start planning out breakfast again.  I’m one of those folks who can eat the same thing on a regular basis, so my morning diet is usually unvaried during the work week: oatmeal.

I go old-school for the oatmeal, using the plain old Quaker Oats or bulk oats from Trader Joe’s or similar places.   None of this ‘quick oats’ or packaged stuff.   I use the recipe found in Nourishing Traditions for basic porridge:

  • 1 part oats
  • 1 part warm water
  • 1-2 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1 part cold water

I use 3/4 cup for the ‘part’ size… you can vary it depending on how hungry you are, or how many people you’re cooking for.   If you’re cooking a large batch then I’d add a bit more yogurt, but not too much more.

Mix the oats, warm water and yogurt in a bowl or plastic container, cover and let sit at room temperature overnight.   In the morning, bring cold water to a boil, add the oats mixture, and cook until ready, which should only be a few minutes.    I then add some brown sugar or honey to taste and pour the mix into a pre-heated insulated  food jar (like this one) and it stays nice & hot until I make it to work, even when it’s as cold as it is outside today (-5 F this morning) and I have to walk outside a fair distance to the building. Nourishing, simple and cheap.

I don’t have the book in front of me, but the active cultures in the yogurt neutralize some enzymes in the oats that block absorption of nutrients.  That’s why it’s important to use warm (not hot) water with the yogurt and let the mix sit overnight.    It also has the side benefit of reducing cooking time for the oatmeal significantly… it takes me maybe 3-5 minutes tops to cook it in the morning.

I’m a fan of traditional methods of cooking… the Nourishing Traditions book is put out by the folks at the Weston A. Price Foundation.  If you’re interested in eating healthy in a way that doesn’t involve fat-free, heavily-processed or  powdered crap that comes out of a box, check them out.   It’s eye-opening stuff.

Anyone else have some good ideas for basic breakfast foods?

Bisphenol A – Yes, it is Nasty…

September 16, 2008

The first large study of humans exposed to a chemical widely used in everyday plastics has found that people with higher levels of bisphenol A had higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and liver abnormalities.

BPA is ubiquitous in modern life; it is used to give polycarbonate plastic its shatterproof quality and found in everything from water bottles to dental sealants to the linings of canned food and drinks. The chemical can leach into food and liquid; one recent federal study detected BPA in the urine of 93 percent of the population.

Although the human body quickly metabolizes the chemical, it shows up in steady levels in urine and blood, which means humans are constantly exposed to it.


If you still had any questions… there ya go.  For what it’s worth, BPA can be found in some plastic containers with the #7 recycling logo… and sometimes in the #3 apparently.

Welcome to Squanderville

March 26, 2008

Here’s an interesting article from Time Magazine regarding the current financial mess we are in. The end of this story isn’t particularly pretty if you’re an American citizen, but not so bad if you’re Chinese, Korean, etc.

I’ve been watching the financial crisis develop for a number of months now, and while I’d like to believe differently, I am pessimistic about the way the American economy is heading. Gas prices are still relatively stable, but I’m seeing more and more evidence, both concrete and anecdotal, that food prices are rising, and doing so at a fast clip in some cases. My family’s food bills seem to be creeping up… thankfully spring is on it’s way and with it the re-opening of the farmers’ markets and my nascent vegetable garden.

While I think the US economy is slowing down and may truly go into a depression at some point, I don’t think the wheels are about to fall off. I’ve thought that we were in major trouble several times in the past, and the resiliency of the system has continued to amaze me. Some of this is psychological, I think. The US dollar, like other fiat currencies, is worth what people think it’s worth, and a large mass of people fervently wish that it keeps as much of it’s value as possible. Many global fortunes will be destroyed if the dollar becomes more useful as toilet paper or heating fuel rather than as a medium of exchange. The power of positive thinking in action, I guess. Or, it could be that on the deep political level, a number of decision makers around the globe also understand that the “full faith & credit” of the US is also backed up by a large arsenal of weaponry, both conventional and nuclear.

A possible ray of hope: housing prices in my neighborhood have dropped far enough that some houses are starting to sell. A rough estimate so far is that housing prices have taken around a 20% haircut in my immediate neck of the woods. YMMV, of course. My one neighbor a few houses up is doggedly sticking to something close to a 2005 price for their home, and are swinging in the wind as a result.

The rest of this post deals with some personal & health issues. If you’re not interested, then thanks for visiting.

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Michael Pollan – Our Decrepit Food Factories

December 16, 2007

Any time Michael Pollan writes a new story, it’s worth mentioning.   His latest, “Our Decrepit Food Factories,” is here.  (Free registration required, or you can us Bug Me Not).


September 12, 2007

My oldest child started kindergarten on September 5th… I took the day off so that I could be there both when he left and got back. It was a momentous day, but one that had a big gap in it while the young master was at school. So, how did I fill up the time? Let me show you…

Cooking Salsa

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Why I Don’t Focus on Sustainability Much…

August 27, 2007

Miranda over at Simple Living has been taking some brickbats recently from readers from the sounds of it. For those of you who don’t read her blog (and if you don’t you should IMO), she and her family have been taking some massive steps towards reducing their energy usage (see her Riot for Austerity post for details) by 90% or more. It’s a laudable goal, and while she’s not there yet, she’s making good progress, and at any rate she’s doing a hell of a lot more than I am on that front.

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Recent Adventures in Food Prep

August 25, 2007

I’ve been trying some new recipes and whatnot in recent months and have finally uploaded some photos to share.

Photos & notes after the jump.

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