Life in Chelan is simple. I have found a rhythm to my studying that is almost (almost) enjoyable. I dreaded bar-studying for so long that I had pretty low expectations for my level of happiness over these eight weeks. All said, things certainly could be worse. Maybe I will even look back on this time fondly; remembering my morning walks with mom, weekends golfing with dad, and evenings filled with wine and episodes of Newsroom (SO good).
Another lovely silver lining that accompanies life in Chelan is that delicious and healthful meals magically appear before me while I study. Mom loves oatmeal so we eat it most mornings. In addition to being healthy brain food it is also an incredibly versatile meal that we rarely tire of. Our basic canvas always consists of steel-cut thick oats cooked in milk (not water!) with a generous heap of cinnamon. I guarantee it will make your kitchen smell like holiday baking and happiness.
Our options for add-ins shift depending on season and location. In Chelan, we take advantage of summer berries and usually pair them with toasted walnuts or pecans. In Maui we use mangoes- I know, I was skeptical at first too, but it creates a decadent consistency that is reminiscent of a peach crisp with streusel topping. In the winter, when access to fresh and local fruit is more limited, we use things like apples and pears. I came up with this particular combination a few months ago when I was still in Boston, drawing inspiration from the French classic: tarte amandine aux poires. I think it is a delicious way to get the flavors of an almond tart sans calories.
My recipe makes four servings but you mathematic masters can easily cut it in half or quarters to adjust. When I am in real life (read: when mom is not cooking all of my meals), I usually make a big batch of oatmeal at the beginning of the week and keep it in the fridge. The primary benefits of this practice are: (1) you save time on subsequent mornings; and (2) your life is infinitely more pleasant because you only have to scrub the oatmeal off of your pot once a week. This is a nice compromise for those of you who might be tempted to make the instant stuff.
I am hoping that this post will jumpstart my summer blogging. I’m sure things will get crazier as the bar approaches (7/30 and 7/31 for those of you keeping score), but this will provide my life with some balance and I have a backlog of recipes that I have been wanting to share!
PEAR & ALMOND OATMEAL
makes 4 servings
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4 cups nonfat milk
2 cups thick steel-cut oats
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 pear, chopped
Combine milk, oats, cinnamon, and almond extract in a large pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to keep milk from boiling over. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until oatmeal is tender. Remove from heat and stir in pear and almonds. Serve with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.