An Open Cookbook

An Open Cookbook


Chocolate Oatmeal

What could be a better way to start the day than with a nice bowl of chocolate-infused oatmeal and peanut butter? Well atop a new kitchen table of course. Pictured above is a small slice of my new kitchen table. Beside it needing chairs, my apartment remodel is nearly complete.

Upgrade 2012 has been going along quite smoothly. I have upgraded my couch, buffet, kitchen table, and wardrobe. Getting rid of large pieces of furniture is quite liberating. I have never sold furniture while still living in the same apartment. When S and A and I moved from our little Smurf house in Colorado, we had a huge yard sale with such items as couches, sombreros, handmade dresses, thrift store dishes, and silver spray-painted tables. It was time to say goodbye to college living, and hello to a new chapter.

M and T and I then lived together in two different houses here in Seattle, where we had huge yards sales at the transition. Our first sale was at our Northgate cottage. This was one of those never ending houses. Room after room of fun. We had one ridiculously large room, called 'The Party Room', that we painted Hulk green. The Party Room hosted a pool table that converted into a ping pong table, along with dozens of dance parties to Ja Rule. We ended up selling the table at our yard sale for more than we bought it for...quite the business women.

Then we moved into another house that we lived in for about a year. This house's specialty was a giant kitchen, unruly rhubarb in the back yard, and a host of many roommates coming and going from the extra bedroom. By the end of our stint, we had a storage unit full of unclaimed items and a yard sale to match. It was one of those sales that lasted Friday through Sunday. Every evening we would put a pile of stuff on the corner of the street, and by morning it would be gone. Brilliant way to get rid of stuff.

Then I moved to my current apartment and have at least one yard sale a year...except this year. I tried my hand at Craigslist for the bigger items, which proved to be quite nice. I have met so many different people in the process and have felt really good about all the new homes my furniture has been adopted into.

So in the spirit of upgrading and making space for newness, I tried this recipe for chocolate oatmeal. It was a morning I didn't have much in the refrigerator, and I had just read a similar recipe on Allrecipes. No time like the present to add a little chocolate to breakfast.

Chocolate Oatmeal
Makes 1 serving
Inspired by

Unsweetened cocoa powder adds a low calorie richness to oatmeal. Stir in your favorite sweetener and peanut butter for a hearty start to your day.

1/2 cup oats
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons peanut butter

Stir oats, cocoa powder, and salt together in a saucepan. Add milk and vanilla extract. Heat oatmeal over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer oatmeal to a bowl. Stir flax seeds and honey into oatmeal; top with small chunks of peanut butter.


Roasted Sesame Broccoli

Some may call me mildly crazy. Others call me nuts. And still a select few say I am downright out of my mind. The topic in reference is heat. Today is one of the hotter days for Seattle, and still I seek more heat. The vegetables in the refrigerator collaborated in my mind as I walked home from the gym tonight, mixing and matching to create a light dinner. I usually eat a light dinner on Monday nights, because I tend to indulge in richer foods on the weekends.

Let me give you a slight introduction to my heat-seeking tendencies. My yoga of choice is hot vinyasa, where in fact, I am the lunatic consistently laying my mat down closest to the heater. I am the person always ordering my water without ice at restaurants, and actually drink from the hot water spigot at work, which has raised a few eye brows. I lay in the sauna until hot as a pancake, needing to be peeled from the griddle. So it only seemed fitting to fire up the oven tonight for some crispy roasted vegetables topped with a fried egg.

You may be sitting here, or even pacing around your living room, wondering why in the world I live in a mostly chilly city? I do ask myself this same question from time to time. Although I have threatened myself to move to Sonoma or Atlanta, I am still drawn back like a snapped rubber band. I have lovely friends, the best job in the world, a perfectly located and redecorated apartment, and tons of food addition to the ability to walk almost everywhere.

So dear readers, if you are averse to roasting vegetables in the middle of July, I do understand. Not everyone wishes for unnecessary heat in the kitchen. But please give the recipe a try the next time there is a chill in the air, and your life needs a warm-up.

Roasted Sesame Broccoli
Yields 2 servings

Roasted broccoli is always a nice appetizer or side dish. Or round it out with a fried egg to make it a meal. It is almost a hands-free experience, with the oven doing most of the work.

8 cups fresh broccoli florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, or more to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Mix broccoli, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl. Using your hands is the most effective way to evenly distribute the oil. Pour broccoli onto baking sheet; roast in the oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; saute onion until a nice caramel color is reached, about 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt.

Remove broccoli from oven; give it a good stir. Return to oven and roast for another 10 minutes. Add caramelized onions to broccoli. Turn on broiler; broil until broccoli begins to char, 1 to 3 minutes depending on oven.

Stir sesame seeds into broccoli and onions.