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Thursday, June 9th, 2022

Recipe: baked oats

Time is doing strange things because of my intense focus on my health, diet, and exercise of late. I feel as if all the moods of spring have been smashed into the past few weeks. As we stare an approaching heat wave in the face, it’s hard not to reminisce about the late May snow just two weeks ago. And then there is the delirium of morel season, getting buzzed by countless hummingbirds, bright green new growth popping up at every turn, and all of the baby animals we catch glimpses of in the woods. It’s dizzyingly wonderful.


emerging sunshine melts snow off our weather station

brilliant crimson columbine in bloom

friends gave us baby asparagus seedlings from feral seeds

never certain if the morels will come up, but always jubilant to see them



As with any first batch of morels, I’m tempted to reserve some for the express purpose of frying and shoving them in my pie hole. But I’ve worked hard to wean myself off of sugary, fried, fatty, and refined carb foods the last three months – so much so that many of these foods have lost some of their once irresistible appeal. I made a morel bourbon cream sauce for Jeremy to enjoy on steak (his reward for finding the first morel of the season!) and reserved a dozen morels to fry. Instead of the usual flour-based breading, I opted for fine cornmeal as a healthier whole-grain alternative. They were good, but I stopped after a few when that initial fried deliciousness gave way to mindless consumption.

cornmeal-coated fried morels



Some folks have asked what I’ve been eating since I learned I am diabetic. That’s a hard question to answer. It was all pretty overwhelming at the start as I had to educate myself on type 2 diabetes, blood sugar levels and how they are affected by different foods and exercise, nutrient requirements, and the best way for *me* to lose weight. I now have a decent set of recipes in my quiver to get me through a good month of meals and have begun to tinker with new recipes that don’t require much effort and are hugely convenient for breakfast or a snack.

baked oats with huckleberries



I came across baked oats in my search for healthier snacks which led me to i am a food blog’s baked oats. Apparently this recipe was all the rage on TikTok a million years ago and I was completely unaware because social media is a garbage hole time suck that I am treating like added sugar: unnecessary and not good for me. The claim is that this is like having cake for breakfast, but “healthy” because it is made from rolled oats (or oat flour). I made it healthier by omitting the sugar, using almond milk, opting for add-ins like fruit instead of cookies or candy or cream cheese, and reducing the serving size. I really like that it is highly customizable.

the base recipe: almond milk, vanilla extract, rolled oats, eggs, bananas, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, oil (for greasing the vessels)



If using rolled oats (don’t use steel cut oats), a high speed blender is needed to get the batter to a smooth consistency. If you don’t have a high speed blender, you can use the equivalent weight (not volume) of oat flour and mix everything together with a food processor or hand mixer. Just be sure to mash the heck out of those bananas. And if you have no issues adding sweetener to your baked oats, you can use sugar, honey, maple syrup or other substitutes in the appropriate amounts, since some are not 1:1 sugar replacements. I don’t have any experience with sugar replacements like Stevia or monkfruit sugar other than unknowingly buying an iced tea that was sweetened with Stevia and pouring it out after one sip. It was disgusting. Not sure if you want to omit the sugar? I think if you can enjoy unflavored oatmeal with just added fruit and no other sweeteners, you will be fine with this. The banana does contribute some sugar to the base recipe.

into the blender it goes

a smooth batter



**Jump for more butter**

i give a fig

Monday, October 7th, 2019

Recipe: fig bread pudding

We waited impatiently for the flip from green to yellow in the aspen stands, but summer seemed to hold on a few weeks longer than usual. The hints dotted trails and shores on our hikes and paddles. Eventually that golden wave appeared and led the way to impressive bursts of color. We refer to this time of year as pure magic. The smell of sweet leafy fermentation lingers in the air when the aspen forests glow gold and red. It’s not rotten… rather a little funky in the way a well-aged red wine can become.


enter autumn

the pups are digging it

glowing

hiking for the views and the fresh air

crested butte mountain dons her fall colors

mountain passes at their finest

yuki and neva loving any season



I did not intend to be absent for this long, but mountain homes require pre-winter maintenance, fall colors demand to be seen, puppy dogs need exercise, and it was time for me to address some nagging injuries before they progressed and negated any chance of winter activities. Don’t think I haven’t been cooking! We finally kicked that awful hot weather to the curb and now have flannel sheets on the bed. The dog blankets are out of summer storage and our heat ran for the first time yesterday morning. It’s lovely baking weather in the mountains and a perfect time for fig bread pudding.

figs, butter, brandy, vanilla extract, cream, milk, eggs, brown sugar, lemon (juice and zest), cinnamon bread



My initial plan was to use challah or brioche for the bread, but I thought I could use up some cinnamon bread that was hanging around the house. You can use pretty much any bread you fancy. Bread pudding is quite forgiving that way. The original recipe includes raisins, but I live with an individual who is adamantly against raisins, so they got the boot (the raisins, not Jeremy). Since I didn’t have enough figs (because I doubled the figs), I halved the recipe, but doubled the brandy because that always sounds like a good idea. Sometimes you just wing it.

chop the figs and soak in brandy

butter the bread (i did both sides, but you don’t have to)

cut the bread into cubes



**Jump for more butter**

no complaints

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

Recipe: morel-stuffed chicken fried steak

I have entered summer mode even though the atmosphere was several steps behind me for the last few weeks. School is out. People are on vacation. No one answers emails (apparently) and I’m letting the blog cool her heels with a reduced posting schedule of twice a month. I encourage you to get off the computer and mobile devices and engage with a carbon-based world.

Can you believe it kept snowing until last week? Snow in May happens all the time in the mountains, but a winter storm warning for the entire state in late May had all the skiers skiing and all the fair-weather folk losing their goddamned minds. That is springtime in the Rockies. We don’t fight the weather in the mountains, we live with it and enjoy it as much as we can. Some don’t have a choice like the moose who are looking for forage or the hummingbirds who arrived and can’t find flowers.


instead of hiking, we were still skiing

a young moose passing through and making the most of our wild currant bushes

aspens waiting to bud as soon as it warms up



These past few days have actually been springlike, just in time for true summer. The prolonged cold gave us a grace period to transition into summer living – installing a new screen door, tidying the garden in Crested Butte, swapping winter and summer tires, more spring cleaning (we should just agree to call it eternal cleaning, because that’s what it is). Windows are open and fresh mountain air circulates the house. Yuki and Neva receive scoldings from local hummingbirds for standing too close to their feeder. And despite being three weeks late, the flowers are coming and so are the mushrooms.

glacier lily

yuki and neva enjoy the last day of flannel sheets

i have been waiting for this (fun) guy to make an entrance



If there is one thing I eagerly await in spring, it is the arrival of our mountain morels. You must understand my anticipation is not solely stoked by the prospect of finding black morels. It is the whole experience of walking ground that hasn’t been uncovered since last October and witnessing the green blades and buds emerge, hearing birds converse through the leafless forest, smelling the earthy odor as mats of dead leaves drenched in snow melt warm under a high sun. Life. Death. And all of the rest. All at ground level and intimately so, because that’s what morels demand. Think like a morel.

I try to strike a balance between consuming the fresh morels now versus processing them and freezing for later. Jeremy’s favorite morel preparation is basically sautéed morels with steak. It’s easy, delicious, and involves a hunk of meat with good wine. I turned that concept on its ear and came up with something a little less easy, but just as delicious. How does morel-stuffed chicken fried steak sound? It’s like regular chicken fried steak but with a surprise! I break it down into three steps. First, we cook the morels.


morels, bourbon, shallots, butter, salt

chop the morels

minced shallots, diced morels

sauté the shallots in butter, then add the morels

pour the bourbon in when the morel liquid has simmered away



**Jump for more butter**