Monthly Archives: October 2011

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The comforts of Fall

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It’s been a week since I’ve been feeling under the weather but after getting much needed rest, I’m starting to feel better.  After describing my symptoms to my sister, Marie, she tells me I caught the cold/flu that her family suffered from a few weeks back and that it should last another week.  Great.  During Janet’s birthday party, I found it difficult to resist greeting her two adorable sons with big hugs and kisses.  They are terribly cute and cuddly, a thousand times more snugly than the Snuggles fabric softener bear.  Anyway, I have to say the hugs and kisses were worth getting sick because who doesn’t love to be loved? And, some good things actually came from getting sick.

It’s amazing how different every cold is, with their different symptom combinations.  Usually I get a combination of sore throat, post nasal drip, mucus… this cold is like no other cold I’ve had!

It’s unfortunate that if I get sick, since Peyman and I live in such close quarters, he’ll most likely get sick too.  This time around Peyman and I experienced the same symptoms at the same time.  I feel like it’s God’s way of getting us to spend more time with one another, taking care of each other.  On Tuesday, Peyman felt so terrible he had to take a day off from work.  This is unusual – we don’t normally take sick days.  I swear we had the flu this passed Tuesday.  And, we slept in, making it a total of 12 hours of sleep.   I didn’t work offsite this week, and I always have a schedule, and after breakfast I was set and ready to start my day… As I was about to walk out the door, Peyman told me to wait for him – he wanted to come with me and to integrate his schedule into mine.  As a result, we spent quality time together and ran a ton of errands together.  Mind you, we are very considerate and clean- always wash our hands…so I can’t say we were socially irresponsible to those we came in contact with that day.  Anyway, one great thing about us is we work very well together- we get things done, we have similar beliefs and values and interests which make for good conversation, and we are extremely productive and can entertain one another with our goofy antics.  All the joy, love, patience, and goodness that we shared on that fine day sucked the feeling of being sick out of our minds, and by the end of the day, we physically felt much better.  I realized how important it is to spend quality time with my dear, sweet love.  We both live very busy lives with our businesses, hobbies, and creative outlets, that we don’t get to spend much time nurturing our relationship.  That full day we spent together warmed me up and mind you, it was a very chilly Fall day… It was actually a blessing that we both got sick – we both felt refreshed and invigorated- mind, body, and soul.

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Unfortunately, the next day, I continued to experience symptoms of dizziness, sore throat, headaches, and body aches.  Although being sick has been painful, I still find it a blessing as I must slow down.  I guess in order to get better, I should maybe slow down.  When I slow down, I take my time to stretch, meditate, and to be thankful for all my blessings.

This morning, I tried to live in the moment.  After watching MSNBC and reading the top news stories online, I played my Beethoven station on Pandora.  I stepped out for a hot second to take the trash out and walked back in to enjoy the fragrance of wholesome goodness cooking on the stove.  It smelled a little sweet, very clean, and I could almost taste the nuttiness of the steel cut oatmeal.  The air made me excited with anticipation of being warmed up by a hot bowl of whole grains.  As I waited for my breakfast to cook, I was greeted by the Fall chill, then blanketed myself with the warmth of the clothes that I pulled from the dryer.  There’s nothing better than the comforts of home on a cold day, especially when you’re sick.

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This morning my coffee was perfect- steaming hot, a bit sweet and creamy.  Even better was my warm bowl of steel cut oatmeal – also steaming hot, a little sweet, a little nutty, and naturally creamy.  I prepare a bowl with a touch of brown sugar, toasted pecans, and a medley of dried cherries, currants, blueberries, golden raisins, cranberries…Mmm. delish.  I was too hungry to take a picture, but here’s a picture of all the ingredients.  The final product looked much better… I’ll be sure to add a picture in the future..

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It was only until this weekend that I took the time to make a large batch of steel cut oatmeal with a touch of brown sugar.  I had purchased the frozen, heat and serve variety from Trader Joe’s prior to making it myself on the stove-top, but I had the dry stuff in my pantry so I thought, since I had more time at home, I’d might as well make it myself.  It does take some time, about 30 minutes, but it is so worth it.

Steel cut oatmeal is less processed and actually tastes better than rolled oats.  It’s the way oatmeal should be.  My steel cut oatmeal has more texture so it’s not mushy, and I don’t need milk with my oatmeal because it’s naturally creamy.  It’s perfect with a good cup of coffee.  It’s low in calories, good for my heart, good for energy, warms me up, and sticks to my stomach, leaving me full for a couple of hours.

Prior to eating steel cut oatmeal, I would boil water and frozen berries together, add oatmeal, brown sugar, vanilla, stir till cooked, then topped off with toasted pecans.  I  made this for my very critical sister, Marie, and she said it was “Delicious!”.  I got my nephews and niece into eating oatmeal when they’re around me during breakfast and they seem to agree.   Oatmeal is simply delicious and satisfying.

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I then grew busier and started microwaving oatmeal in 3 minutes time.  Before work, in a deep bowl, I’d add water, oats, frozen blueberries, brown sugar or agave, throw it in the microwave for 3 minutes, stir, top with nuts, scarf it down, then head out the door.  I used to even eat it on my way to work, or right before I stepped into work.  I much prefer the stove-top version.  It is emotionally more pleasurable and personal, thus more satisfying.

After this week, I’m going to make a large batch in advance, and in the morning, I’ll microwave the goodness in a bowl, top with my dried berries for sweetness and also with toasted pecans for flavor, some protein, and for an added crunch.

As in cooking or accounting, there must always be balance, I will make it a point to be more balanced in life and to take more time to enjoy the simple pleasures.

Have a wonderful weekend! And, before I forget to ever mention, if you haven’t tried Mendocino Farms for lunch, Peyman introduced me to it on Tuesday, and I now highly recommend trying it out.  They have the most delicious salads and sandwiches I’ve tasted in LA lately.  It’s very casual.  My style.  Delish!

Till next time. Bon Appetite!

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