22 August 2011

the most important meal

Lately, I've been on an oatmeal kick. I've eaten it almost everyday for the past four weeks. Twice, I've had it for dinner. Just for the record, I'm not preggo. I tend to find something I love, eat it daily, and then never want to eat it again once I'm burned out. Moderation? Not for me. A couple of summers ago, all I wanted for breakfast was Cascadian Farms Granola with Dannon Fat Free Vanilla Yogurt. I ate it all summer. And I don't eat it anymore. But I'm thinking the oatmeal thing might have better luck.

When I was younger, I thought oatmeal only came in little packets warmed in the microwave, in flavors like Peaches-n-Creme or Apple Cinnamon. I enjoyed it enough, but never attempted real oatmeal until recent years. I have a friend who eats it daily. Since she's much more healthy than me, I decided to give it a go. I bought me a canister of quick cooking oats, followed the directions, and then ate it just as it was cooked: water, oats, a pinch of salt. Ummm...it was awful and pasty. I decided that my Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Instant Oats would be the only oatmeal for me.

But then I ran across a blog or website (I cannot for the life of me remember which one) that heralded peanut butter oatmeal. You should know that my other obsession for the summer is peanut butter. So I decided to give it a go. I put some steel cut oats, water, cinnamon and salt in my tiny slow cooker, and cooked it overnight. The next morning, I added peanut butter and honey. Guess what? LOVE AT FIRST BITE! I was hooked on oatmeal, especially because it sustained me until lunchtime! I expanded the options (from just steel cut oats) to include old fashioned oats and quick cooking oats.

I have three toppings that rotate. In addition to peanut butter with a bit of honey, I also love steel cut oats with blueberries, walnuts and honey. I eat either of these every morning for breakfast. But on the weekends, I have a sugary-cereal version of oatmeal. I stir a spoonful of Nutella into my oats. Oh my goodness! It is heavenly and such a good treat. And hazelnuts and chocolate are healthy, right?

As soon as the weather begins to cool off, I plan to add pumpkin and spices. It sounds like the perfect fall breakfast! Until then, I'm sure I'll be content with my peanut butter oatmeal.

20 August 2011

so it begins

Oh, how I would like to say that summer is over! But that isn't the case (for a few more weeks, at least). However, summer break came to a close on Thursday as students flooded the hallway of our school, and a few brave ones--or maybe just those desiring a schedule change--made their way into our office.

This is always an exciting time for my job. Soon, seniors will spend an hour a day camped out on the computers next to my desk, typing away on college applications and essays. They'll wonder how-in-the-world-should-I-answer-this-question-to-get-into-the-college-of-my-dreams and ask me questions, such as, "What's your favorite (fill in the blank)?" or "Would you rather be raised by robots, aliens or dinosaurs? And why?" I'll try to escape dozens of questions, hoping they'll answer creatively--and well. And really hoping that they'll spell correctly and avoid using UR for "your." But ultimately I'll answer a multitude of questions every hour.

I love the season of college applications. Call me crazy (seriously, you can), but it's such an exciting time for seniors. Last year, I ran the show while my boss was on maternity leave. This year, I'm able to step back and let her take the reins. Although it was a good--and successful--year, I'm happy to be back at my desk, the smaller desk. I'm happy for less stress and not working 11 hour days. I'm excited that I can cook dinner and have people over on school nights (as long as they leave by 9ish, of course!). Technically, my days run from 7:30a-4p. In previous years, when I wasn't in charge, I would stay until 5:30. This year, I've made the commitment to leave no later than 4:30. Of course there will be exceptions, but I really want to do this.

Husby's school year starts next week. That's right, he's going back. He works as a financial analyst and decided to get his CPA. (I really don't know how to reference that. Is it: become a CPA / get a CPA / be an accountant? Whichever, he's doing it.) He took one class over the summer. We hope that he'll have everything wrapped up by the end of next summer! Since he'll have one class each week until 9ish, that gives me a free night to spend with girlfriends, and I already have several activities lined up!

Although the lazy days of summer will be missed, I'm glad to be back to the routine I thrive. Here's to a fabulous school year!