Every now and then you come across a food that you and kinda man handle and… how do I put this… make your bitch, I guess (sorry, this analogy works so well I just had to go with it). For example, you can do what ever the heck you want with a salad. Make it clean and neat with all sorts of well diced veggies, a little oil and vinegar, and vuah-lah… it’s clean, simple, in other words perfect. Or you can sweeten it up with some fresh fruit, candied nuts, and a sweet and tangy vinaigrette. Or you can make it dirty with all the fun things that we know should never be on a salad… like oodles of cheese, fried anything (but chicken seems to be a popular one), and just swimming in ranch. Yeah, have a little lettuce with that ranch? I have been there done that. I mastered the dirty salad. Dirty salads knew me by name and didn’t question my reasoning, they just did as they were told. I will admit it… I was a dirty salad pimp. HAHAHAHA!

Well, back to the topic. There are certain foods like salads that you can “dress up” however you like. Now that I think about it, a lot of foods fall in this category, but none the less what you select to “dress up” your food says a lot about you. Like I said, I was a dirty girl. I could easily be tempted to dress up healthy things so that all my toppings and add on’s would negate the healthy. But, now since my no meat month began and I am avoiding animal products I have found that I am no longer going to “dress up” food the same way I did before. I have found that simple is no only better for you, but easier. It takes a lot less energy. This means that all those people who claim they are too “lazy” to do healthy are full of it. Yes, it takes some planning on your part in regards to groceries… but don’t you do that already? And when it comes to cleaning the fruits and veggies, don’t you do that already with your meats and I know you always check your cheeses for mold. It takes about the same length of time… really, it does. I am not trying to “guilt” people into avoiding the “dirty” side, but I am trying to say that it’s not as hard as it seems, and you will be a better person for it.

I have discovered a new food to dress up. I have discovered oatmeal. Not the stuff from the package or the instant stuff in a tube, but steel cut oats and quinoa. You guessed it, it’s a recipe from my Thug Kitchen cookbook. I have found that I rather enjoy oatmeal if it is dressed up in the right way. I am talking clean, sophisticated, and in other words perfect. Oatmeal can go from bland and tasteless to flavorful and multidimensional. I suppose it is all a matter of optimism and creativity. I am going to show you how I dressed up my oatmeal this week.

Food: Oatmeal (or Steel Cut Oats with Quinoa)

This stuff is so easy and it has the most amazing nutty/woody aroma.

Day 1: It’s soΒ Pretty

This was so yummy I can’t even begin to tell you.

If you want to do something that isn’t too overwhelming and allows some of the flavor from the quinoa and the oats. I just sprinkled on some brown sugar and added pear. It was a very light kind of sweet, but combine that with the nutty goodness of the quinoa, it was a great combination.

Day 2: Feeling Fancy

Oatmeal with apples, cinnamon and maple syrup.

This is all about feeling fancy. I think apples are fancy. They aren’t, “nose in the air,” kind of fancy, but fancy. Here I paired some diced apples and cinnamon. For some added fun I just drizzled the maple syrup so it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet so we didn’t over do it. Now I did this after I heated up the oatmeal, but if you want a special treat and for it to be even more “fancy” you can heat the apples and cinnamon up with the oatmeal. Then it smells fancy too, plus the juices from the apples go into the oatmeal for some added sweetness. If you go that route you do loose the crunch. It’s a catch 22, what are you going to do?

[Side note, when I think of the word “fancy” I think of…

Hahaha… ok, so I think the song is kinda annoying, but now every time I hear the word “fancy” I think of this song and it has officially ruined me.]

Day 3: Sweet and Sassy

A little spunk for your morning is not a bad thing.

This was exactly as it’s labled: sweet and sassy. When you add strawberries it definitely sweetens things up a bit, but it adds a mild tartness to it. I have to admit I didn’t think I would like it, but the sprinkle of powdered sugar helps it out some leaving you with a nice kick off to your morning. It gives you just enough sweet to get out the door and plenty of sassy to remind you to stay on your toes.

Day 4: Comfy and Carefree

This reminds me of mornings with my grandma.

This oatmeal was perfect for my lounge around morning. I was in sweatpants making baby food, and I had no interest in doing anything big… well this was perfect for that. I was able to crumble in some graham crackers and maple syrup. It honestly brought me back to morning breakfast at my grandma’s house. We would all be down in her kitchen in our pj’s waiting for her famous blueberry pancakes (I know way off from graham crackers) but the feeling of comfort and home made this the perfect breakfast. I did liberally “drizzle” the maple syrup, so if you wanted to put a measurement to it, it was probably about 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1 graham cracker sheet. SO GOOD!

Day 5: Going Out With A Bang

This is the “grand finale” in the world of oatmeal. HAHAHA!

This was probably the most “decked out” oatmeal I had all week. We had our “berry medley” (i.e. blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries) and just some plain ol’ sugar (about 2/3 tsp or 1 Tbsp). I loved this because it feels like you are dressing it up big with the berries, but then the “sparkle” of the sugar was what bling’ed out that bad boy. It was so yummy too after you mix it all up. YUM!

The last thing I would like to say about this oatmeal is that no matter how you dress it up, it is really a great way to start the morning. It is warm for the cold days like we have been having and it is filling. So filling that you don’t have to worry that you will be hungry again in an hour. It kept me full for several hours until I was able to manage a late lunch. With my kiddos, we all know lunch never happens on time. Hahahahaha!

How do you dress up your foods? What is your favorite food to dress up? Do you like things clean or dirty? *Wink, wink, wink* Hope your week is filled with other fun innuendos.

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