Archive for August, 2010

Outrageous Oats!

August 26, 2010

Okay, so my oats obsession is still going strong.  Came up with a couple new combos.  Get ready for raspberry peanut-butter & cacao oats and blueberry-banana vanilla-mint overnight oats!

Raspberry Peanut-butter & Cacao Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • Handful of raspberries, smashed
  • 1 container Activa light vanilla yogurt
  • Splash of soy milk
  • 2 tsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp cacoa nibs

Mix the first three ingredients together, then top with almond butter and sprinkle cacoa bits on top.  Refrigerate overnight.  Part of my inspiration for this one came from a recent recipe for Almond Butter & Raspberry Panini on Chocolate Bread.  Go ahead, drool.  I did.

Also, if you don’t know already, cacao nibs are sweet raw chocolate bits.  They come from the cacao plant, the same plants whose beans used to produce chocolate and cocoa products.  The raw cacao beans can also be used in this form, where they are sweeten in 100% pure cane juice and organic cacao liquor to bring out the chocolate flavor.

Blueberry-Banana Vanilla-Mint Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • Handful of blueberries, smashed
  • 1/2 banana, mushed
  • 1/2 container of Trader Joe’s Vanilla-Mint Greek Style Yogurt
  • Splash of soy milk

Mix all ingredients together, then garnish with 3 blueberries on top.  Refrigerate overnight.

So, I have to tell you, these oats were a totally random creation of items I had on-hand.  As a side note, blueberries don’t smash as well as raspberries.  I was a little bit worried about the taste because they also weren’t as sweet as the raspberries, so I added half a banana to the mix.  Also, the mint was a strange combo in my greek yogurt, but it didn’t make the oats any less enjoyable!

In a taste-test comparison, raspberry peanut-butter cacao oats were way more indulgent!  Pretty much like eating dessert for breakfast, but healthy!

Did I convince anyone yet to try their own version of overnight oats? 🙂  If so, what did you come up with?

Ode to Overnight Oats!

August 23, 2010

Recently I’ve seen a lot of posts about overnight oats and decided I had to do one of my own.  I have a slight obsession with overnight oats.  I can’t even remember when this obsession started.  What I do remember, however, is my friend Jazz mentioning overnight oats to me.  I asked how she made them, did a little research online on the blogs, and I’ve been having overnight oats for breakfast pretty much every day since!

My obsession with oatmeal in general has been going strong for about a year and a half now.  I’ve always enjoyed those instant packets of Quaker oatmeal, but it wasn’t until I visited Jasmine last June, before moving to San Diego, that I discovered the delicousness that is old-fashioned oatmeal.  It blows instant oatmeal out the water!  Seriously.  Real, fresh ingredients taste so much better than that packaged stuff, not to mention it’s way more filling and better for you, too!

Anyway, back then I’d cook my old-fashioned oatmeal on the stove and substitute half of the water it calls for with milk instead.

In fact, here’s a picture of me enjoying some of my very first old-fashioned oatmeal.

Caught in the act... my love affair with old-fashioned oatmeal.

I would top it off with a spoonful of peanut butter and I’d suddenly end up in bliss-ville.  Yes, bliss-ville is actually a place… those Mickey D’s commercials weren’t lying.  Just don’t count on a “Frappe” as your ticket!

However, the days of stove-cooked oats are no more.  Overnight oats are where it’s at.  Now, some people prefer their overnight oats warm (Jazz).  Others, like myself, enjoy them cold.  The best thing about overnight oats is that you can “have it your way.”  (Must… stop… McDonalds… references!)

Last week I concocted the best overnight oats recipe to date!

Pumpkin oats!

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 canned organic pumpkin
  • 1/2 container Light Vanilla Activia
  • Splash of soy milk
  • 1/2 mashed overripe banana
  • Dash of cinnamon on top

Directions: Mix ingredients together in container and let sit overnight.  Then in the morning, wal-lah!  You’re oats are done.  An overripe banana is the key ingredient because it makes the oats sweet without adding any unnatural sweeteners.

Tonight I am trying out a new recipe for overnight oats.  I went grocery shopping today and noticed my bananas were way too ripe to make the usual. I almost always include bananas in my overnight oats.  But, variety is the spice of life, no?

Here’s what I came up with…

Raspberry oats!

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 container Light Vanilla Activia
  • Handful of raspberries, mashed
  • Splash of soy milk

Gotta love the 99 Cent Store—raspberries for a dollar are virtually unheard of!  My oats got picture-perfect, thus the single raspberry on top.  Tomorrow I’m thinking of adding some sliced almonds or a teaspoon of almond butter to my oats… NOMS!

So, that only leaves one question…  What’s your favorite breakfast?

Cheers,

Jess

Day Trip to Sunset Cliffs!

August 19, 2010

If you live in San Diego, chances are you’ve heard of Sunset Cliffs.  The national park takes up an amazing stretch of beach that extends 1.5 miles from the pier at Ocean Beach, and is well-known for producing the most picturesque sunsets San Diego has to offer.  With it’s steep cliffs, strange-crater looking rocks, and breathtaking ocean views, it really is something worth marveling over.  This past weekend, my friend Jazz and I decided to check out Sunset Cliffs for the first time, and left with some magazine-worthy photographs!  Sadly, you won’t see any sunsets captured in these photos because the day we chose was a particularly cloudy one; however the pictures turned out beautiful none-the-less!

A name carved inside a heart lies directly next to a smooth piece of the rock that also happens to resemble a heart.

The craters make me feel as if I am standing at the edge of the moon!

Jazz captures a moment just before the wave crashes and sends me reeling away from the rock's edge!

A close-up of the rock reveals a collection of nearly microscopic seashells hidden within the confines of the deep crater-like holes.

A long pathway of stairs leads us down into the abyss, where interesting surprises await.

Jasmine pauses in front of a rather stunning view of the cliffs.

Jasmine tells me to jump, but what she doesn't warn me about is the slippery moss! Thankfully I land on my feet instead of my behind.

An astounding view from the bottom of the cliffs looking up.

Surprise! We cross paths with a true-to-life Californian surfer -- a first for both of us!

A collection of flowers and seashells are gracefully strung together to create a heart-shaped alter -- all in preparation for the evening wedding that is about to take place overlooking the magnificent ocean.

My 27th Birthday at Splash Wine Bar!

August 7, 2010

Last Saturday, I finally got the opportunity to visit Splash Wine Bar in Northpark, a trendy little neighborhood in San Diego with several bars and restaurants to satisfy a range of different tastes.  I had been dying to visit this local spot for awhile now and finally used my birthday as the perfect excuse!

Learn by drinking doing is Splash’s philosophy!  At Splash Wine Bar, they believe that the best way to learn about wine is to drink the wine, which is why when you walk through their doors you’re greeted by a collection of self-serve wine machines.  From the wine novice to the beginner, this is the perfect place for anyone looking to expand their palate and find a few new favorites by giving you the option to taste from a selection of 72 bottles of wine that are produced all around the world!

Splash’s unique self-serve machines are organized by price and color, with red wines in the round serving stations as you walk in and white wines located towards the back.  It’s a fairly easy system once you get the hang of it.

  1. Head to the bar and load up a card (think of it as your wine passport) with any dollar amount
  2. Grab a glass from the drinking station
  3. Insert your card into the self-serve machine
  4. Select your wine!  (Don’t forget to put your glass under the spout!  It’s okay, rookie mistake…)

Not only does this system allow you to try many different varietals from all over the world, but it also gives you the opportunity to try wines that you might not be able to afford by the bottle.  Each taste of wine equals out to a one ounce pour.  I tried an amazing oaky and buttery Chardonnay from Carneros, California that would have cost me a whopping $40 a bottle, however a “splash” only cost me $4.50.

If wine machines aren’t your thing, they also serve house wine and a revolving selection of wines by the glass, including sparkling wines such as the must-try sparkling Shiraz (has one ever heard of such a thing?!).  I enjoyed a glass of their house Chardonnay, made by Fallbrook Winery just north of San Diego.

Aside from wine, Splash offers a nice selection of “small bites” ranging from meat and cheese platters to flatbread pizzas.  I’m pretty sure I saw a server come out with a tray of sushi too—but maybe that was just the wine taking effect!   Words cannot describe how fantastic their goat cheese and spinach pizza was, so instead I will sum it up with a picture. I also tried their baked brie wedge smothered in raspberry chipotle sauce and served with slices of French bread.  It was the perfect combination of salty meets sweet.  On a side note, I must say that I love the perks of being a wino because it means getting to experience all the great food that goes along with it!

I enjoyed my experience at Splash so much that I am already dreaming up my next “girl’s night out”.  It’s the perfect place to grab drinks after work with a girlfriend or have a first date!  The low lighting, decor, and couch seating helps create a very comfortable and intimate environment.  While it may be a small venue, it can definitely accommodate a party of ten or less, but I would not suggest going over.  If you do decide to bring a large group, call to reserve your space ahead of time in order to avoid wait-time.  The owner of Splash, Tracy, was very helpful and willing to work with me on seating, despite my lack of planning!

For more information on Splash, visit their website at asplashofwine.com or visit them in person at 3043 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104.

More pictures from the night: