Saturday, September 5, 2009

and the winner is....tropical oatmeal!

I am so excited about today I can barely drink my coffee. It is a gorgeous day in Philadelphia, I am off of work for three whole days, and I already have a plan how I want to spend them. There is a delightful little farmers market down the street (I love the paradox of a farmer's market in the city, especially since there is nothing but bricks and cobblestone where they host it) and it's only open on the weekend and only from 10-2, so the timeframe certainly adds to my sense of urgency. After I hit that I will head down to the Italian Market (but I'll drop off my finds first, since I live halfway in between the two), an open-air market along the sides of 9th street. I've found some pretty incredible deals there and there is one vendor who can unfailingly complete my list after I've made my way up and down the street.

Other things on my list of "fun ways to pamper me" include my inaugural trip to Cafe Fulya which looks so cozy and has some incredible treats on their menu and offer organic soy milk with their coffee/espresso drinks. Also, having heard stories from my husband, I'm dying to try my tastebuds at Turkish coffee. At the moment, I'm thinking Apricot Walnut cake, but I may go for the apple and walnut filled (huge) cookie. I've come to realize that although I love chocolate, I am more inclined towards fruity sweets these days...more on that in a minute.

Finally, the ultimate in pampering - a new salon opened across the street from my house last night. First of all, I think it is beyond cool that a salon had its Grand Opening on a Friday night (and I do mean night - it was 8pm). When I left for work yesterday morning, I took a distant peek through the front windows of the salon and I love the way it's's really hard to describe from that short peek, so I will give a more thorough description if I spend hours in there this afternoon as I intend to.

Now, about that oatmeal.... As I mentioned, I'm trying to be a little more creative with my oatmeal this fall/winter. Yesterday, as pondered, I cooked my oatmeal in soymilk and then stirred in two chocolate caramel truffles until the melted (which, by the way, was about 2-3 stirs). It was good, definitely chocolately, but I lost the darkness of the chocolate by mixing the truffles in with oatmeal cooked in soymilk. I'm considering trying again, this time cooking the oatmeal in plain old water, then stirring in the truffles.

Today, however, I cooked my oatmeal in a half and half mixture of water and pineapple juice, then stirred in about a tablespoon of coconut flakes at the end. It was sublime. It smelled like baked goods...bread or muffins or something that you just want to eat until there's none left. Which is exactly what I did with my oatmeal, and I savored every last bite. I will definitely do this again. I realized yesterday, contemplating why I was less than in love with my truffley oatmeal, that for breakfast at least, I prefer warm fruity sweet, not gooey chocolatey sweet. I also know I prefer baking fruit and vegetable based things. Don't get me wrong, I was completely and utterly infatuated with those chocolate cookies I made from Veganomicon, but my next baking conquest will be a carrot cake (also from Isa) and I'm already getting ready to dig out my pumpkin/zucchini/banana bread recipes and my mouth is watering thinking of my apple cobbler cookies with sweet-tart chunks of fresh apple and dried cranberries competing with smooth pecans. Mmmm...I love baking season.

Anyway, the time to venture out to the markets is drawing near and I haven't showered yet, so let me share with you my Saturday through Friday menu (I've given up on defining weeks - my schedule is too liquid):

1. Minty Moroccan Mishmash (from last week)
2. Red Rice and Beans, part II (also from last week)
3. P.B. Thai
4. Roasted Heirlooms on Orecchiette
5. Hearty Peasant Soup (from
6. Polenta & Vegetable Bake (from Eating Well magazine)
7. Fiesta-dillas, with Spiced Potatoes & Green Beans (from the September issue of Cooking Light magazine)

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