Sunday, June 12, 2011

On Family & SOS KItchen Challenge Events: PB&B Oatmeal Smoothie

Family is important. You may not see them as often as you would like. You may not agree. You may not always be related. But one thing is certain: spending time with the people you love is time well spent.

I consider myself an extremely lucky person. I have a broad spectrum in my definition of family. It not only includes my parents, my stepparents and step-siblings, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and my cousins, but there are people who fit those roles as extended members of my family tree. These branches consist of but not limited to next-door neighbors that I’ve known for over a decade, people I’ve met through my school career past and present, extracurricular activities, the spiritual community, and traveling. Sometimes there is a family member, like a cousin for example, who takes on the role as a sibling. Sometimes there’s an elder who takes on the role as a parent. And sometimes there is a friend who becomes something more.

But as you get older, as the people you cherish go on with their lives, months – maybe years – can pass by without seeing loved ones. And it’s not that you love them less or vice versa, but life happens. You grow up; you walk down a path you made for yourself, your dreams in tow. It is likely, but not required, that you will move away from everything that is comfortable and safe. But this is what’s so gosh darned amazing about family: even after an extended amount of time has been spent out of contact, when you come together it would be like no time was spent apart at all.

I’ve quite a Sunday ahead of me. For almost a decade, a wonderful family from Bangladesh has lived across the street from me. In the years I was considered too young to be home alone in the summertime, the family watched me until Mama Dazz came home from work. I experienced the wonders of Bangladeshi cuisine, soap operas, and culture. Over the years the family provided us with hot peppers from their garden. I’ve attended barbeques on their patio, celebrated their becoming U.S. citizens and the marriage of their eldest son. Today I’m celebrating with family for another grand occasion.

He and his wife are having a baby!

As I checked for the time and address for today’s celebration, I was horrified to learn that I was to have an RSVP sent… last week. I thought the celebration would be at their lovely house across the street as it always was. But it was at a kabob place… in Arlington. Oh dear. In panic I called him this morning, apologizing and stating that I had not RSVP’d, nor had I included Mama Dazz or my food intolerances in the mix. In his love and compassion, he told me not to worry. As being part of the family, all we had to do was show up and enjoy the company.        

Let me just say I have the coolest family in the world.

But my Sunday doesn’t stop there. Since I spend Father’s Day in North Carolina with Mama Dazz’s parents, Dad and I are celebrating it a little earlier. We are going to a concert at Wolf Trap. Guess whom we’re seeing. Go on… guess!

That’s right, The Indigo Girls!!! This fantastic duo has been part of my travels as a kid in many of my adventures. Rites of Passage was the first CD I member rocking out to, and still remains one of my all-time favorites. Rumor has it Dad and I have box seats in the pavilion.

I promise photos and hilarity for the next post. As for this post, I want to talk about a breakfast, and a new monthly challenge. In April 2010, Kim of Affairs of Living and Ricki of Diets, Desserts, and Dogs came up with the SOS (Sweet or Savory) Kitchen Challenge blog event. It’s based on the idea that, similar to the Gluten Free Ratio Rally, you can find ways to eat delicious food despite following a special diet surrounding health conditions or allergies. To quote Kim:

“The SOS Kitchen Challenge invites you to create delicious sweet or savory (or both!) dishes based on a key ingredient that we select. At the end of the month, we post a roundup on both our blogs, giving your recipe double the exposure and offering a one-stop shop for health conscious readers and cooks.”

Last month was carob. The month before that was asparagus. This month’s challenge is blueberries, and my first time taking part.

Let me tell you, it was harder than I thought it’d be. True, I’m no stranger to vegan or vegetarian cooking, and refined sugar is a strict no-no for me, but I didn’t want to make something that’s been made over and over again. I wanted to put a new twist on how this small indigo-ish berry is eaten. I didn’t want to simply add it to my oatmeal or make a smoothie. I wanted to try something different, possibly a savory recipe. I googled ‘blueberry’ and ‘savory’ and ‘vegan’, and the only thing that came up was a blueberry sauce to top pork or salmon.

As I recall, pork and salmon are not vegan foods.

Anyway, from various food blogs I learned about the oatmeal smoothie (Namastegurl and HEAB), about lacto-fermenting grains (Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried), and a thought occurred to me. A blueberry oatmeal smoothie. Sadly, Kim had already done an oatmeal smoothie with blueberries for February’s SOS Kitchen Challenge with stevia. But I really liked the idea, so I decided on making it with my own twist to it. And a tablespoon of peanut butter wouldn’t hurt either.

Peanut Butter & Blueberries Oatmeal Smoothie

1/2 c. Rolled oats
1 1/4 c. Filtered water
1/2 tsp. Unrefined apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp. Sea salt
1/2 tsp. Chia seeds
1 tbsp. Flaxseed meal
1 tbsp. Peanut butter
1/2 c. Blueberries (fresh is preferred)
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
2 pinches Nutmeg

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the rolled oats, filtered water, vinegar, salt, chia seeds, and flaxseed meal.
Cover with saran wrap and let sit overnight in the fridge (between 6 and 24 hours).

Place oat mixture and the remaining ingredients in the blender, and mix until thoroughly combined.
You can serve immediately or wait up to half and hour for ultimate thickness.

Serves 1.

1 comment:

  1. Your neighbors sound wonderful--the best type of family! Congrats to them on their new family member on the way. :)

    And thanks for this smoothie recipe! The combination of blueberries and the spices must abe lovely. . . and of course the PB and oats would add a beautiful creaminess to the mix. Maybe not savory, but certainly creative and delicious. Thanks so much for entering it in the SOS Challenge this month!