Contrary to what the proliferation of butter-‘n’-sugar-filled cakes and cookies on this blog may lead you to believe, I don’t spend my days feasting upon buttercream and carby carbs. Much as I would like to. In fact, I do try a little bit to eat healthily. A little. For example, as I write this I am filled with salad. What was in that salad is between me, myself, and I.
But healthy eating and using moderation is only one part of the equation. You have to exercise, too. Fucking evolution, you know?
Thankfully, there are some enjoyable exercises that one can partake in, particularly during the lovely weather of the warmer seasons. Just the other day we went for a leisurely bike ride at the local rail trail—a flat, shaded path filled with beautiful views and photo ops. So obviously, being the slacker I am, I gladly took the opportunity to stop every few miles and take pictures.
|Such shade. So refresh.|
Along the way, we happened upon a relatively new covered bridge, which was interesting, in the way unexpected architectural features are.
|See that? Fascinating.|
|The endless tunnel that is the rail trail.|
There were hardly any people around, which was probably because most normal folks have better things to do than pedal down a straight, flat path through the suburbs. As in, going downtown and partying it up. Not that there are any clubs around here.
|Oh my god, trees!|
As you can see, there were some of those electrical thingys on the side of the trail. Sort of like the Blair Witch Project. Or not.
|This is as close to the Grand Canyon as I've ever gotten.|
One particularly unique section of the trail was shortly after one of those precarious viaducts, where the land suddenly rose up and created a sort of canyon, with high walls of rock on either side of the path. It was several degrees cooler inside—a blessing, since it was rather hot even in the shade.
|Almost like a desktop background, no?|
Near the bike path was an old farm—no longer in use, I think, but picturesque just the same.
|I call this "Still life with silo".|
|Old farmhouse. I hope nobody lives there because that would mean I was a creeper.|
So that was a lovely outing. Yes, it required going out of the house, but I’d say it was worth it.
After biking all of those hard, hard miles, I treated myself to—wait for it—a slice of cake. Actually, it was a piece of those rhubarb custard bars I had made. Same thing.
But was I wrong to do that? It’s not “clean”, isn’t it? I’m a teenage girl, just like many members of the superfood community of Instagram, which I quickly became aware of after signing up a few days ago. I should be eating pretty bowls of oatmeal with a zillion different ornately arranged toppings and infinite quantities of banana ice cream. Also fruit. Lots of fruit. Enough fruit to make a grown man cry.
(Side note: If you have no idea what I am talking about, I suggest reading this Buzzfeed article. It provides a quick summary as well as some pictures.)
As someone who is around the same age as many of these girls, I find their dedication to making millions of different pancake and oatmeal variations simultaneously baffling and fascinating. On one hand, some of the food photograph is quick impressive. I mean, look at this.
What you see there is “matcha pancakes layered with chocolate Greek yogurt, loads of heavenly tahini, strawberries + banana + blueberries + apricot, crushed almonds and cacao nibs”. And it is gorgeous. Obviously. I love pancakes, as you probably can tell from all of the recipes I’ve posted, and I’ve never put that much work into a single plate of breakfast.
On the other hand, I’m sort of jealous. Mostly because my parents would never buy me matcha or cocoa nibs, or any of the other health foods found on these accounts, like goji berries, coconut flour, fancy protein and superfood powders, and three thousand kinds of nut butters. My family must be a bunch of poor fatty fat schmucks.
Also the community has been accused of being a modern type of pro-anorexia called pro-orthorexia. Which really isn’t that hard to believe, IMHO, but you can totally disagree with me (after all I am a fatty fat with no taste).
Basically, I think it’s cool to look at pretty bowls of oatmeal and stacks of pancakes and "nanaicecream", but I can’t really get behind the concept of super-healthy, "clean" bowls of decorated mush. So why not make my own interpretation, complete with fatty-fat ingredients and non-superfoods galore?
|Okay sure. But WTF is that anyway?|
I apologize for my presentation. I foolishly attempted to pipe some peanut butter onto my overnight vanilla oats in a striped pattern. It was not a very successful attempt.
Yes. This might shock you, but…
It still tasted good.
Don’t tell anyone I said that.
Vanilla overnight oats with strawberry rhubarb chia jam and peanut butter quinoa granola
Inspired by @tumblinbumblincrumblincookie
Granola (adapted from my chocolate peanut butter granola)
64 grams • creamy peanut butter • ¼ cup
100 grams • maple syrup • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon
9 grams • vanilla extract • 2 teaspoons
312 grams • old-fashioned oats • 2 cups
85 grams • quinoa, rinsed • ½ cup
152 grams • strawberries, halved • 1 cup
50 grams • rhubarb, diced • 1 medium stalk
40 grams • maple syrup • 2 tablespoons
30 grams • chia seeds • 2 tablespoons
40 grams • quick oats • ½ cup
244 grams • nondairy milk (I used soy) • 1 cup
15 grams • chia seeds • 1 tablespoon
20 grams • maple syrup • 1 tablespoon
2 grams • vanilla extract • ½ teaspoon
To make granola, start by preheating oven to 325 degrees F. Microwave peanut butter and maple syrup in a bowl until melted and mix-able, about 30 to 60 seconds. Stir thoroughly, then add vanilla.
Toss with oats and quinoa with peanut butter mixture, then spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on baking pan until crunchy and amazing.
To make chia jam, add strawberries, rhubarb, and maple syrup to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Mash gently with a fork or potato masher. Add chia seeds and simmer for a minute. Let sit for about half an hour in the fridge until thickened and cooled.
To make vanilla overnight oats, simply combine all ingredients in a bowl and let sit in the fridge…overnight. How easy was that?
The next morning, take out your oatmeal and smother it with granola, jam, sliced banana, peanut butter. It doesn’t have to be purty to be delicious.
Now, I know there a lot of flavors in here, almost too many. But all mushed together, Instagram style, it tastes sort of like a PB&J, but with a little more complexity. Sort of.
|Ah. I see.|
Also, there will be a lot of granola and chia jam leftover, but that is no tragedy. That strawberry rhubarb chia jam is a miracle—so incredibly easy, yet so delicious and sophisticated-tasting. You could almost dump it into a graham cracker shell and call it pie. The quinoa granola also makes an excellent snack.
Is this #cleaneating enough? I don’t know, but I know it’s good enough for your average teenage girl.