Almost Wordless Wednesday

“All gardening is landscape painting.” Alexander Pope

Unfortunately, my garden would qualify more as a study in beige and brown than a landscape painting. However, I did have the opportunity to be ensconced in a forested landscape of pines and Douglas firs this weekend. A confluence of weather and driving conditions led my girl posse to the Black Canyon Campground.
Black Canyon Campground is about eight miles north of Santa Fe on the Hyde Park Road and has a one mile hiking loop. It took us about 2 hours to snow shoe the loop. We stopped for food and water, photo breaks, and to step aside for cross country skiers. And of course to lavish attention on any dog who happened our way.


Steel Cut Oats

Do you ever wonder why you do some things? A few weeks ago, I searched high and low on the internet for a steel cut oats recipe.  I used to buy it in the frozen food section at Trader Joe's, but thought I would try to save money by making steel cut oats myself.

I had read that making steel cut oats was time consuming and was looking for a shorter alternative. I had tried making steel cut oats in the crockpot a few times and was satisfied with the results. They weren't great. But I uninstalled the browser I was using and I couldn't find the crockpot recipe. I tried different search engines. I found one recipe that looked promising so I tried it that night. Yuck! It was not tasty at all. Every time, I searched for steel cuts oats, one of the first results was a recipe by Alton Brown on the Food Network website. After wasting more time on the internet than it would have taken to make steel cut oats on the stove, I decided to try to the Alton Brown recipe.
The recipe below is inspired by Alton Brown's steel cut oatmeal recipe. I usually buy the oats in the bulk section at the natural grocery store.  I've added a lot more brown sugar, vanilla and omitted the buttermilk in the original recipe.

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups boiling water
2/3 3/4 cup milk ( I use soy)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
pinch of salt (optional)

In a non-stick pan, melt the butter and add the oats. Stir for 2 minutes to toast.
Boil water in saucepan, add brown sugar and vanilla, and stir.
Add the oats to the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer.
Simmer low for 25 minutes. Do not stir.

Add the milk to the oats; stir gently to combine and cook for 10 more minutes.
Stir occasionally to keep oats from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
Makes four servings. I like to serve with toasted almonds and fresh fruit on top.
Steel cuts oats takes about 35 to make, but most of the time is simmering so I can do other things like putting dishes away or cleaning the kitchen counters. I love this recipe. The oats are al dente. I could probably add more water if I wanted them softer since I live in a high altitude. I put the oats in one cup storage containers so they're ready to take to work and I have something nutritious for breakfast.

Lesson learned - sometimes you don't save any time by trying to save time. Oh well! 


I Won, I Won!

I hardly ever win anything. I did win $10 on the first lottery scratcher ticket I purchased and a raffle for a two night stay at a chi-chi hotel in Taos, New Mexico. I gave the Taos trip to some friends who had been very kind to me when I was having some tough times.

This week I won twice. Donna at Garden's Eye View and Bumble Lush Kitchen Garden both awarded me the versatile blogger award.

    The rules are as follows:
    • Post the Versatile Blogger Award to your post/blog.
    • Thank the blogger who nominated you with a link back to his/her blog.
    • Share seven random pieces of information about yourself.
    • Include this set of rules, and
    • Forward this award to fellow bloggers and inform them with a comment on their blogs.

    Random Detritus
    1. My penultimate favorite word is ramekin. It's a foodie word and it's also a bingo in the game Scrabble because it has seven letters. 
    2. I'm a social networking Luddite. I have a Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts, but rarely use them. 
    3. When I first started blogging I had a hard time thinking of comments for other blogger's posts. I've gotten better, but sometimes I still struggle especially when lots of people have already made thoughtful and insightful comments. 
    4. This year I'm trying to learn one new recipe a week. I tired of making the same handful of recipes every few weeks. 
    5. I learned to use an SLR camera when I was 14, when cameras still used film. 
    6. I used to call my previous dog Max, Boo Boos. I call my dog Aster, Baby Boo even though she's got about ten pounds on Max. 
    7. I'm making a concerted effort to eat more fruits and vegetables. 
    I've met so many great bloggers this past year and feel kindred with everyone whom I've met. I've met bloggers who share my interests in gardening, photography and food. And share with me a slice of life that I would not otherwise experience. I tried to nominate bloggers who have not already won this award. 

    Drum roll please! The winners are: 
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