Strawberries & Cream Overnight Oats

Growing up, there was a time where breakfast almost every morning consisted of instant oatmeal and cinnamon-sugar toast, usually prepared with love and care by my dear dad. I didn’t hate it, but I think the 7 year-old-me would have just wanted cinnamon toast or, even better, a sugary toaster pastry—the furthest thing from wholesome and, even as an adult with the “freedom” to make and eat anything for breakfast that I please, I wouldn’t opt to eat to start the morning.

I rediscovered and started to enjoy oatmeal again when I started working after college. It was cheap, easy to make at the office, and filling enough to tide me over until lunchtime. By that time, there were also plenty of options beyond the tiny paper packages with the same old fruit-and-cream, apple cinnamon, and brown sugar flavors that I grew up eating on a daily basis.

Enter overnight oats, which I have wanted to try for a while. A few things along my 12-hour journey from making to eating told me it would be a success:

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Smoky Eggplant Dip

I made this dip recently out of both necessity and a need for something healthy to snack on. I had a Japanese eggplant in the fridge that I bought with the intention to make stir-fry as a quick weeknight dinner. Plans changed one night and by the time I revisited Mr. Eggplant, several days later, he was starting to look a little wrinkled and my taste for stir-fry had also dissipated.

I didn’t have tahini to make baba ghanouj and I was tired of hummus, so I decided to try something a little different. Roasting the eggplant and a few leftover baby carrots, then processing them with some spices (whole cumin seeds and smoked paprika included), harissa and light sour cream—one of my fridge staples—yielded a tasty, vegetarian-friendly dip.

If you’ve never tried it, harissa is a hot and garlicky red pepper condiment with origins from Libya and Tunisia. For this recipe, I used prepared Mina brand harissa that I had in my refrigerator; the “mild” variety was the only option in the store at the time, but they have a spicy variety that you might be able to find, too. There are plenty of recipes out there that outline how to make it, like this one from Epicurious, and look easy enough. Making your own allows you to tailor the heat level to make it spicier, if you so choose, by adding extra chiles—it’s something I’ll be trying at some point, but suffice to say today wasn’t the day.

Tasting like a cross between hummus and baba ghanouj, the dip ended up having a lovely reddish color from the smoked paprika, carrots, and harissa. As a bonus, it can easily be made vegan-friendly by omitting the sour cream—try it and let me know how it comes out.

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Happy 1 Year (Belated) Birthday to From Anna’s Kitchen!

During the course of my 7 month (eh, give-or-take…) hiatus, June actually marked the 1 year anniversary of the launch of From Anna’s Kitchen (FAK)! 

I would be remiss if I didn’t do something to highlight the 1 year “blogiversary”, even if belated. So by the numbers, I put together a quick recap of the year in review, from the first post published to today:

Go back and read the very first post from June 8, 2016, or check out the new Recipe Index page, which will be updated over time with any and all recipes posted on the blog.

Foodie Resolutions for 2017 (Yes, Really…)

Well. It’s been an interesting year, to say the least—part of the reason why I effectively took the better part of this year off from posting—but I won’t get into that now. Instead, it’s time for foodie goals! 

I went back and forth on what to do for 2017, and whether to do them at all. Ultimately, I decided that, yes, I needed to keep with my tradition and set some. Even though we’re 3/4 of the way through the year now (I had good intentions to post this about a month or two ago but, you know, life and all…), I’m determined to make them happen in the months remaining—and have strategically picked some that I think are pretty doable.

My final foodie goals verdict for 2016 was 2 for 5 completed, including making homemade kombucha and aioli. Both were sort-of successful—as in, there were no catastrophes or other things that got in the way of making them—but there was definitely room for improvement on both:

  • I got too busy and, as such, my kombucha fermented too long before I bottled it. I tried it and let’s just say that it was drinkable, but not pleasant (womp, womp). I have since gotten off a kombucha kick, probably because I drank too much of it for a while there, but recently had some delicious homemade strawberry-basil kombucha from Greenmouth, which might just change my mind about it again.
  • My aioli had an off taste to it, likely from the oil that I chose; if I remember correctly, it was canola or vegetable oil for general cooking purposes, but I think it had been opened for some time. It definitely was not a fresh bottle, whatever it was. For my next attempt, I’ll definitely buy fresh oil; more specifically, I’ll make the small investment in safflower or grapeseed oil for a lighter, more neutral taste.

In the interest of time, I’m narrowing down my list to three manageable goals for the rest of this year. Here’s what they are.

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Foodie Resolutions 2016: The Outcome

Happy new year everyone! I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season.

Once again, now is about the time of year to do some reflecting. And for the second year in a row, I am reflecting back on partially-completed foodie goals. Womp, womp. Life got in the way.

The bright side: I posted a foodie resolutions mid-year update back in June, at which point nothing was accomplished. I’m happy to report that something, even if it wasn’t all of my goals, was accomplished in the remaining 6 months of the year.

My final verdict for 2016 is 2 for 5 goals completed. Here’s what they were.

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