Archive for March, 2010

Save your belly, your wallet, AND the planet!

I went shopping the other day to refresh my pantry after eating everything prior to disappearing for a month in Thailand; the cupboards were pretty bare.  There are a few things that exist in the grocery store that I don’t understand.

Most of those things are “instant” like: bacon, potatoes, oatmeal (the new entrant and the reason for this posting).

Bacon? Really? You can microwave bacon pretty easily by putting it on paper towels and then covering it with more paper towel. 1 minute or so for the first slice, and 30 seconds for subsequent slices.  Maybe a little less – I’m recalling the instructions from when microwaves first came out and people used to microwave their Thanksgiving turkeys. (how was that EVER a good idea?)

Anyway, 1 minute negates the need for instant bacon. IF your reason for buying instant bacon is such that it’s convenient to pull it out of the freezer, you could do what I do. I go to the butcher shop, buy yummy bacon from pigs that get read to at night and tucked into their little pigsties because a) it’s yummier in my opinion, and b) you buy it by weight, or rasher or whatever you want. If you want 10 slices, you get 10 slices and you don’t need a whole package. THEN I take that yumminess home and lay the slices out on a cookie sheet.  Set the timer for 90 minutes, go play Call of Duty, and come back and put those slices in freezer bag with the date. Then you always have bacon and you pull it out, slice by slice, no problemo. Essentially, it’s instant bacon.  You don’t have to go all the way to a butcher shop, but I’m a single man, I enjoy filling my day with things like butcher shops and yummy bacon.

Instant bacon? PLEASE!

Potatoes? Ummmmm you cut potatoes in half or quarters and throw them in a pot of boiling water and walk away. Come back, they’re done. Squish them. Easy.  (don’t actually walk away – or do – but it ain’t my fault if the pot tips over – it’s your pot in your kitchen).

Now. OATMEAL. (care for an interesting (irrelevant?) fact? Quaker is owned by PepsiCO and I’m going to talk exclusively about Quaker, just  them bc their website is the easiest to access. I couldn’t care less which oats or oat brand you use. Literally, couldn’t care less)

Oatmeal is good for you, filling, full of fiber and easy to prepare. You don’t need to take my word for it though, here’s what Men’s Health has to say on the issue.

But, while I’m in the oatmeal aisle weighing out the options, I’m presented with 2 sort main choices. Instant or Regular. I went for regular. Why? Firstly, packets of 6 individual serving sizes weighing about 250g was about $4.99. A 1.3kg package of regular oatmeal was $4.20. That’s an incredible price difference. Second, flavouring adds all sorts of weirdness to your oatmeal (I know what “honey” is, I don’t know what “a;skd;jfd;s jdf” is), and I’d rather add some frozen berries, some honey, or some brown sugar and milk.  All easy, and all “instant” if you ask me. Thirdly, packaging. 1 package of 1.3kg is WAY less to “throw out” or “recycle” than a box, full of individual packages, weighing 200 grams +/-. Fourthly, cooking instructions. For 1 person, you put 1/3 cup of oatmeal in a microwave safe bowl, you add 2/3 cup water, stir, microwave for 2 minutes stirring once about halfway.

2 minutes? How much more “instant” is “instant”. IT’S A NON PRODUCT!

What’s the PINNACLE of Oatmeal (in my world at least)?

Here’s what I like, and this does take a bit of time, about 30 minutes or so. (I’m not a professional recipe writer – if this doesn’t work, change it, but it’s approximately what I do on a Sunday morning).

First, you need Steel Cut Oats, they’re nuttier and use more of the oat. As such, they take longer to cook. PC makes nice cheap ones you buy them at Superstore. There’s a fancy brand at Whole Foods or Capers. And then other brands at other stores.

  1. Take about 1/4 cup per person and put them in a pan.
  2. Turn the pan to high, and while watching and shaking, toast them until they’re a nice toasty colour
  3. Add about 1 cup water, turn the heat right down, and let it simmer away
  4. Wait 20 or 30 minutes until it looks good.
  5. Right before it looks done, you want to add some frozen berries. You need a bit of that hot/simmering water to defrost the berries (I like a nice mixed berry mix)
  6. At the same time, add some REAL maple syrup.
  7. Just before serving it, add a little milk

Taaa daaaaa, worlds BEST oatmeal. I love it!

Otherwise, the other regular oatmeal work fine, but if I have time in the morning to enjoy my oatmeal this is it. I saw it prepared once on a Food Network show and it was $20 in some fancy restaurant or other. Make it your own, I don’t think this is exactly the one I was shown.

Any good oatmeal recipes? I love the stuff, so I’ll post yours.


Comments (4)

Back from Thailand

I’m back from Thailand. We closed up shop for 1 month for the Olympics and I took a MUCH NEEDED bit of time to myself. Truthfully, after about 3 weeks I was ready to come home, but that last week was by NO MEANS torture! An awful lot of laying in a hammock, beer, and 2nd hand mystery novels. Very peaceful!

But, I’m back, and looking forward to working hard again. Vancouver’s a great city and I think 2010 should prove an interesting year to come.

In lieu of a longer post, and I have several bouncing around in my head, here’s a link to an article about avoiding traffic congestion. Traffic is a leading cause of air pollution, and it’s hard to fault people who go out of their way to avoid idling in traffic.

Here’s the link from:

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