Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Decompressing it all

I can’t even begin to describe August, and even if I can there is no way I can give it justice. So many good things came from the whirlwind that blew past: meeting with family and making chosen family, my further understanding of food and fermentation, farmers markets, working with an amazing group of kids, taking a course or two in the fall as a non-degree graduate student, and finally taking charge of my life.

 It’s time I grow up.

After my weekend in Toledo with new-found chosen family and coming home with new ambitions and goals, I finally have someone with an outside view to help me make sense of it all. It’s dizzying, gratifying, and very much necessary that I hold onto my own power and make things happen for me. But since this is the last week of camp, I am focusing on my 9 1/2 hours with the kids, and doing my best to not get wrapped up in the waves but to ride them in style.

In order to do this, I’ve been eating wholesome, tummy-happy foods and experimenting with soaking grains. My house has seen them as porridges and congees, puddings and simply eating from the jar. Besides my Sweet Beet Steel Cut Oatmeal, I made the multi-grain congee I said I’d make last year and a savory oat dish that I was very happy with.

Multi-grain Congee shown on the right
Multi-grain Congee

45 g Brown rice
50 g Teff
42 g Quinoa
45 g Steel cut oats
40 g Rolled oats
48 g Wild rice
45 g Forbidden (Purple) rice  
Filtered water
15 ml Unrefined apple cider vinegar

Soak the ingredients overnight to twenty-four hours (the longer, the better).
To see how I make congee, click here.

Makes 7 servings.

This particular congee was deliciously sweet, and the perfect base for apple chunks, coconut flakes, peanut butter, cacao nibs, and chia seeds. Butter and coconut oil can be interchanged depending on your preference or dietary lifestyle.

For some reason, the United States usually sees oatmeal as a sweet phenomenon. Even the savory ingredients used, such as carrot or pumpkin, only amplify the natural sweetness of the oat grain. I made quite a delicious dinner last week consisting of steel cut oatmeal, stir-fried leafy greens, and egg, and was determined to try and get my beloved rolled oats into the savory category of my palate as well.

Though I was no longer the Art Specialist for camp, I did work with such a wonderful team of staff and kids alike. These kids are thought of having “special needs”, which only means that there are some things they need to work on more in a classroom dynamic. I learned a lot from them, especially how we’re all not so different and the beauty of patience, but it still took a lot out of me.

To keep myself balanced, I made a lovechild of chicken soup and chicken with dumplings. It was one of those lunches I didn’t think much of… until I took a bite. This is definitely something to make for those sick days you need to use up for work.

Savory Chicken Oatmeal

40 g CGF Rolled oats
Filtered water
5 ml Unrefined apple cider vinegar
2 Chicken tender pieces (or whatever chicken you happen to have on hand that equals a serving), cut into bite-sized chunks or left whole
1 Celery rib, finely chopped
1 Small carrot, finely chopped
25 g Petite peas
1 Small white onion, finely chopped
3 Garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Salt and spices, to taste

Soak the oats in the filtered water and cider vinegar for twenty-four hours or more.
Pour the oats into a small saucepan with additional filtered water and cook on low heat until thickened.
In a small cast iron pan (or stainless steel pan if you have it), cook the remaining ingredients with enough water to cover (my chicken was frozen, which gave the stock an amazing depth of flavor and stayed in nice cubes after cutting into pieces).
Allow both pans to bubble (watch it so they don’t burn) and check on the chicken and vegetables to ensure doneness.
Pour the oatmeal in a large bowl and top it with the other ingredients.
Serve hot.

Makes 1 serving.

1 comment:

  1. My name is Cindy and I blog over at I wanted to invite you to link up your recipe at our Gluten Free Fridays Recipe Link up party! It happens every Friday and we'd love to have you join us with some of your awesome recipes! You can find this week's link up here:
    Also be sure to link up your blog on our Gluten Free Bloggers directory. You can reach the directory by clicking the "glutenfree bloggers" tab on our blog! Thanks, Cindy :)