fifteen down, fifteen to go!

(Click here for an explanation of the project.)

Here’s what we ate for $4.30 yesterday, January 16, 2011.


overnight steel cut oats with raw apple and toasted pecans $0.59


2 large organic carrots $0.16
4 butternut stuffed shells with tomato porcini sauce $1.28


chickpea of the sea sandwich on day-old whole grain bread $0.92
blueberry pineapple smoothies $0.86


banana $0.25
1 tablespoon organic peanut butter $0.11
½ cup almond milk (Levi) $0.13

total $4.30

It’s vegan week over at the kitchn, so tonight’s dinner (linked above) and tomorrow’s will both feature recipes from some of the wonderful things they are posting. The chickpea of the sea sandwiches* were simple and everyone agreed it’s a dinner we’d eat again. We added a little kombu seaweed to give it a fishier flavor.

Last time we ate steel cut oats, Caitlin mentioned in the comments that she prepares them the night before by just bringing them to a boil and then covering and letting the oats soak overnight. That reminded me that my friend Emma had posted about her soaked oatmeal, although that version involves adding a bit of yogurt (or other acid medium like kefir, lemon juice, etc.). Apparently people have been soaking oatmeal as long as they’ve been eating it, and the fermentation breaks down the phytic acid that can prevent the absorption of nutrients.

This time we tried the overnight soak where you bring it to a boil the night before, and it was so much easier than the last time we cooked them. I also preferred the texture. I think we’ll try the lemon juice method next time.

*Somehow I misread the recipe and used half as much filling per sandwich, which tasted great as it was! But the price was based on half a serving per sandwich.



Filed under food

14 responses to “fifteen down, fifteen to go!

  1. Patrice Helmar

    I think next week we’ll have to budget in some steel cut oats! I’m totally intrugued.

    • My dad made steel cut oats (or “Irish Oatmeal”) when I was growing up, so I have been resistant to it in my adulthood. However, that was a mistake, and I am in love with them now. They take either more time or more planning than rolled oats, but I think it is really worth it. Unless the rolled oats are baked into a fruit breakfast casserole, I would prefer steel cut oats after all this oatmeal experimentation.

  2. caitlin

    im so glad you tried the “easy” steel cut oats over night! it has changed my perspective on oatmeal, and i now don’t like rolled oats at all.

  3. honeyandlocusts

    I feel most confused about the all the oatmeal in this project. Eating oatmeal is like eating something someone else digested and threw up. It’s like the food the mama bird regurgitates to the baby bird. I had to down bowl after horrible bowl of it when I was a kid because it was so economical. I get that gagging feeling in the back of my throat about it even typing the word.

    But you’re eating so much of it and are so excited about it. Can it really be delicious? Is there a way to make it so it resists the teeth a little? Is there depth of flavor? I’m trying to keep an open mind.

    • misterkrista

      Oh my god! Haha.

      I think we are eating a lot of oatmeal even more for time restraints than budget. It is cheap, but we’ve found quick ways to make it and have it ready for people grabbing breakfast on the go at all hours of the day.

      I am actually not a person who is super excited about oatmeal in general. I’d rather be eating the barley breakfast we had with a poached egg everyday. But we are trying different types of oatmeal prepared in different ways. Baked oatmeal is a totally different texture than mushy oatmeal.

      Also, it sounds like you ate too much of badly prepared oatmeal as a child and maybe you should focus on other grains. We tried quinoa for breakfast and it was a big flop, and I haven’t found a lot of recipes for other grains that would be quick to make the night before.

    • I am excited about oatmeal! I ate a ton of gross mushy oatmeal in my childhood, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Also, there are a lot of different forms that oatmeal comes in. In order of firmness (and tooth resistance), there are:

      instant oats < quick cook oats < old fashioned rolled oats < steel cut oats < oat groats (which are whole oats, and we have not gotten the nerve to go there yet.)

      Also, the method of cooking affects it a lot. Baked oatmeal is not that different (texture-wise) from, say, oatmeal cookies. It's not a mushy porridge at all. The steel cut oats are more like porridge, but they retain their individual "oat-ness," rather than melting into a mushy slurry.

      Anyway, I hear you and validate your gagging, but also encourage you to revisit it as an adult because it's so dang cheap and healthy. They actually remove cholesterol from your body! It's like magic!

  4. honeyandlocusts

    I think the subtle message here is that it’s actually necessary for my health to buy some adorable little ramekins so I can make baked oatmeal. This is obviously the message of this blog and the universe right now.

    That flow sentence of oatmeal teeth resistance is really helpful. And I’m excited to try the barley recipe. I basically like everything that has an egg on top of it.

    Thinking about breakfasty things, have you seen this slideshow of savory pancakes? Some of these recipes would probably not be good to make the night before, but I know that when I make the sweet potato pancake recipe from the moosewood cookbook (basically shredded sweet potato, egg, lemon juice, delicious with homemade applesauce on top = healthy, cheap) the batter keeps really well in the fridge.

  5. misterkrista

    Uh, the universe DOES want you to buy ramekins because even if you don’t like oatmeal you can still get plenty of use outta some ramekins.

    I’m excited about pancakes. I think we are going to make pancakes or waffles or both happen this weekend. For work/school day purposes I’m thinking we can keep a bunch in the freezer.

    Those sweet potato pancakes sound amazing.

  6. honeyandlocusts

    I know, I kept telling Aaron that ramekins are just, like, NECESSARY, and she just gave me face about it, asking me what, exactly, we would use them for, and I would look at her blankly, knowing that we were just supposed to use them for SOME-thing. Now: a reason! I think I’m going to start cruising the Ross for some clearance ones.

    Sweet Potato Pancakes

    4 C (packed) grated sweet potatoes or yams
    1/2 C grated or finely minced onion
    3 – 4 Tbs lemon juice
    1 tsp salt
    black pepper, to taste
    4 beaten eggs
    1/3 C flour
    oil for frying
    optional: 1/4 C minced parsley
    toppings: applesauce or something delicious and creamy like sour cream or yogurt, preferably herbed

    1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
    2. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet until it is very hot (it should sizzle a bit of batter on contact).
    3. Use a non-slotted spoon to form thin pancakes, patting the batter down. Fry on both sides until brown, adding small amounts of additional oil, if/as needed.
    4. Serve hot, with toppings.

    They work for any meal, and the batter can keep for a few days in the fridge kept in a tightly sealed container.

    • Do you need a list of ramekin foods to justify the purchase? My suggestions include baked eggs, creme brulee, baked oatmeal, pioneer woman’s baked fudge recipe (omg), pumpkin creme brulee, personalized berry crisps, personal size’d version of anything you would make in a casserole dish and, uhm, did i mention creme brulee?

      Those pancakes look delicious! I love potato pancakes a ridiculous amount, so I bet these would steal my heart! Where is your recipe from?

  7. honeyandlocusts

    That is a perfect and helpful list! Very convincing!

    Among the things I forgot to register for was a creme brulee torch. Good thing we still have a couple gift cards left.

    The recipe is straight from the homeland of hippie vegetarianism: the Moosewood cookbook. It is really easy and delicious. The only labor-intensive part is grating the sweet potatoes, but then you kind of feel like you really earned them.

    • i think our creme brulee torch was like $20 at bed bath & beyond? it was really affordable in the world of single-use kitchen accoutrements. but even without a torch, you can brulee things under a broiler! we brulee’d oatmeal under the broiler a couple weeks ago (in ramekins, no less).

      that peanut kale pineapple african stew we posted also comes from a moosewood cookbook. i am always amazed when i LIKE a moosewood recipe because the stuff i have made directly from the books is not “to my taste.” but when the recipes are filtered through pals, they are always awesome. i guess i should give more cookbooks away and wait for the recipes to filter back.

  8. honeyandlocusts

    Yeah, Moosewood is mostly misses. I started learning to cook out of those cookbooks, because they were canon, but only have a few recipes I return to again and again from them now. There’s a highly spiced peanut soup recipe from Enchanted Broccoli Forest (that’s finished with buttermilk omg yum) that I love, and I always make it with her cornbread recipe from Moosewood, because that uses up the rest of the buttermilk, and it’s a perfect dinner. Recommended.

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