Oatmeal!

While I am sure everyone has their own recipe for oatmeal, this morning I am feeling inspired to share my recipe for the breakfast that I eat nearly everyday. I have been eating oatmeal regularly for about four years and since then I have gotten several people hooked on it.  Since so many people enjoy my oatmeal, I thought I'd share the love.

Julia's Famous(?) Oatmeal

1 cup water

1 cup milk (I like 1%)

1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup oat bran

1 ripe banana, sliced

Cinnamon, to taste

Pure vanilla extract, to taste (~1/4-1/2 teaspoon)

1.  Heat water and milk in a medium-sized sauce pan, until just boiling

2.  Place all ingredients in the saucepan

3.  Lower heat to medium

4.  Stir with a rubber spatula/wooden spoon depending on the amount of attention you have to devote to the oatmeal (the more your stir, the creamier it will become)

5.  Turn off heat when all liquid has been absorbed and oats seem to stick to the spoon (about 7-10 minutes)

6.  Pour into bowl and eat up!

When it's done, I usually stir in a tablespoon of chia seeds to thicken it up (I like my oats THICK) and place a large plop of peanut butter in the center the bowl.

Warms your soul on a cold morning and fills your tummy for hours.

Happy Monday!

Scenes from SF: Part 2.

While many people were stumbling home after yet another New Year's Eve, I was hopping into a rent-a-car.  Destination: Napa.

They say the way you spend the first day of the new year will set the tone for the rest of the year.  Given the wonderful New Year's Day I had, I sure hope "they" are right.

Buzzed.

I have a love-hate relationship with coffee. Love: With the change of seasons comes an excitement of coffee's different forms: a hot, soul-warming cup o' joe in the colder months and an perfectly chilled iced coffee during the dog days of summer.

Hate: If I don't have a cup of coffee within two hours of waking, I will have an annoying, whole-body headache the rest of the day.  And for the mornings when I am simply not craving coffee, this is quite the hassle.

So I decided that rather than curse my addiction, I shall embrace it!  Boston has a plethora of hip coffee shops that appeal to the caffeine zombies in all of us.  I decided to do some research on the city's favorites while fending off that horrid headache.

1.  Hazelnut Latte- Thinking Cup, Tremont Street

Seeing that Thinking Cup is  the number one cafe in Boston (according to Boston Magazine), I had to try it out.  While I have been known to order a hazelnut iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts in the summer, this takes hazelnut to an entirely new level.  The flavor is pure hazelnut; certainly not from a pump bottle.  In fact, I think there are actually ground hazelnuts in this beverage because it has a rather gritty texture.  Don't worry though- it's very subtle and enjoyable.

2.  "Atticus Finch"- Voltage Coffee & Art, Kendall Square

Atticus Finch?  Although I'm not sure how this latte is related to "To Kill a Mockingbird," the vanilla and burnt sugar flavor of this latte was truly delicious.  The one thing that I remember most about this latte was its strength.  I drank this in about 10 minutes and 30 seconds later my legs were bouncing and I was getting lots of work done.  I liked it.  I liked it a lot!

3. Crema Latte- Honey and cinnamon- Crema Cafe, Harvard Square

When I saw this drink on the specials menu and ordered it, the cashier said that it was her favorite beverage on the menu.  Given the dozens of items on the menu, I thought that that was a pretty significant comment.  While I typically only put honey in my tea, this was one of the most unique coffee drinks that I discovered along my caffeinated journey.  I was a little apprehensive that the coffee would overpower the honey, but both flavors were certainly discernible.  They created

It was a chilly, yet beautiful, Sunday morning and I remember sipping on my latte, letting the caffeine settle in, and feeling that all was right with the world.

So if you're in the Boston area and you find yourself with a throbbing caffeine headache or are just normal and want a nice cup of coffee, please check out any of these spots.  They're real gems!

P.S. Stay tuned for Part II

Not food-related at all but...

...I am currently obsessed with this song.  I remember hearing it for the first time the night I returned home from Italy.  I walked into my living room, turned on the T.V. and saw that SNL was on and Ellie Goulding was performing this song.  Random, but a very vivid memory because I remember that I immediately fell in love with it.  I had forgotten about the song until I recently heard it on a playlist on 8tracks.com (great website btw!) Obviously the original Elton John song will always rule- but this is a pretty sweet cover!

Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9AFMVMl9qE]

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Yesterday, I discovered the inspirational Steve Jobs graduation speech given to the Stanford University Class of 2005. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc

This discovery could not have come at a better time.  As a college senior, I find myself going to bed knowing exactly what I want to do with my life only to wake up the next morning with a completely different outlook on my future.  While I know that I am certainly not alone in my uncertainty, it is nevertheless difficult to constantly have this incessant ambivalence following me around.

Since I was born, I have had my life spelled out for me.  And now, for the first time in my life I must make my own decision.   It is both empowering and terrifying.

While I could ramble on about every last droplet of worry coursing through my veins, I will save you the misery.

The most resonant quote of this speech is: "Stay hungry. Stay foolish."  To me, this translates into never settling and always maintaining that insatiable hunger to learn, to love, and to live.  And the "stay foolish" part?  Well I see that as just remembering to never take life too seriously.  And as a girl who has been feeling somewhat stagnant and uptight, these words were the perfect medicine for my racing mind.

What makes this speech even more powerful is that it is coming from the mouth of one of the most successful humans on Earth.

Although this video did not make me go: "AHA! I know exactly what I want to do with my life!" it did provide me with a healthy dose of inspiration just when I needed it most.

So here's a little inspiration for anyone out there who needs it on this Monday morning.  Enjoy!

Edited to Add: RIP Steve Jobs.  You changed my world.