Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chocolate Crock-Pot Oatmeal, Orchard Cross, and the Vegetarian Food Festival

Today’s a big post! Things have been crazy. Saturday I went for a ride, had a nice brunch (Belgian waffles with pie-style apples and pumpkin syrup), did some work in lab, and went to the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. Sunday, we woke up early and headed to Applecrest Farm in southern NH for my first cross race and some general fall fun! After racing, picking and flinging apples, and heckling some of our other friends who were racing, we headed back south, where I went back into lab to pack some things up so that we could head out to visit at collaborator at UConn medical, which just happens to be in my fiance’s home town. So Monday, he got to spend the day relaxing with his family while my collaborator and I collected some (interesting) data.  Right now, I’m on a train on my way back up to Boston, cells in tow.

Back to the beginning... the Vegetarian Food Festival. I loved the idea of this food festival and was very excited for it. Well, the number of vendors and free samples did not disappoint, but I really like talking to people and exchanging ideas and felt that the festival had outgrown its venue. The gym was too crowded to really allow stimulating discussion, which was very disappointing. Perhaps if we paid the $5 to come early, I would have been able to talk to the vendors more, which would have been nice. Our favorite booth was one that was selling these delicious flavored pumpkin seeds: they even had pickle-flavored pumpkin seeds! Unfortunately, they weren’t giving anything away to help us remember their brand, so I have no idea where I can find the delicious pickle flavored seeds.

Orchard Cross at Applecrest Farm.... my first cross race. It was wild! I made my roommate and fiancé wake up early to come with me for moral support. My borrowed steel cross bike may weigh twice as much as the feather-light carbon bike I use on the road and since my arms are not nearly as strong as when I was rowing, I decided that I would only carry it over barriers if I had to. Through the other barriers, I pushed the bike while I ran which apparently seemed to help my speed. I was passing people while running for the first time in my life (I am a very slow runner).  Apparently, I should use a walker for speed the next time I run a half marathon! Among all of this rolling in the dirt, braking when I should be accelerating, and using my bike as a walker, I did something right... I was shocked to learn that I had finished 12th out of a large field! After the race, we picked apples (I’m going to try to think of something amazing besides crisp to make.) Applecrest still had a huge variety, which was great for this time of the year! Perhaps the best part of the day was cheering for the Men’s 3/4 race, in which one of our friends who made the US rowing national team this year, was racing. We chose to only cheer in rowing terms, making a very confusing experience for all of his competitors, I’m sure.

The final fun of the weekend came in a trip out to Farmington. We had been busy all day at the apple orchard (followed by lab and cell transporting, which was boring), so had not had time for a real meal. I always look forward to my fiance’s mom’s cooking. She is a truly fantastic cook! Upon arrival at my future parents-in-law’s house, we were not disappointed. For dinner we had a wonderful hearty white bean soup. Perhaps my favorite thing that she makes though are chocolate steel cut oats in the crock pot. I tried these on my first visit and I hate to say that I think she keeps making them (perhaps only) when I come because she knows I like them so much! The best thing about this oatmeal is that it is so hearty, it can be reheated in the microwave. So without further adieu, here’s the recipe. No picture today, you’ll just have to trust me that they are amazing.

Chocolate Crock-Pot Oatmeal
(This one’s not my recipe! It’s borrowed from my fiance’s mother)

1c steel cut oats
3c water
1.5c vanilla almond milk
1/4c cocoa powder
3T maple syrup

Grease the sides of your crock pot. Add all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Let cook on low overnight. Wake up to an amazing warm breakfast and serve with dried cherries, dried cranberries and walnut. Any leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated for another day.

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