Steel Cut Oats with Strawberries, Bananas and Peanut Butter

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I made a daring getaway. I only just got out of there with my life and dignity.

It was at the bargain basement of Urban Outfitters. There were sales. There were $5 t-shirts. The clothing racks were spaced about six inches apart and it was the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday. Lines to the registers were 10 deep.

I lasted five minutes. No amount of printed tights, patterned pants or polka dot shirts could keep me there.

I scurried up the stairs and didn’t look back, for fear of being turned into stone.

And to calm my nerves, I ran straight into the hardware store next door and made purchases that either make me out to be a dude or, at the very least, someone who is obsessed with coffee. 200 filters. A pour-over brewer. Batteries. I almost bought that pooping pig keychain. Remember those?

Shopping is stressful and I don’t recommend it to anyone.

But I do recommend a full serving of steel cut oats every morning.

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Steel cut oats are my jam. And so much better than plain old rolled oats. They’re dense and slightly crunchy and, best of all, are re-microwavable. You can make a big vat of them on Sunday and have it last you for the rest of the week.

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Bananarama! Strawberrypalooza! Fruits! Vitamins!

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Guys I just put a tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter in that bowl. It might even be two tablespoons. A dollop. A lot.

Steel cut oats with strawberries, bananas and peanut butter.

1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water
3 tablespoons ground flax
1 banana
3 strawberries
dollop of peanut butter

In a large pot, bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the oats and stir continuously to make sure none of the grains get stuck to the bottom. Reduce the heat to a simmer and keep on stirring every minute or so to prevent a skin from forming. Continue to do this for about 30 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed and the oats have a porridge-like consistency.

Turn off the heat and quickly incorporate the ground flax.

Add sliced bananas, strawberries and peanut butter dollop. You can also add any other fruit or topping your heart desires. Make it a breakfast dessert with chocolate chips. Throw in some mango. Get some jam in there.

Makes enough for an apartment of 4 people or just enough to last you until Wednesday.

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Strawberry Basil Martini

Growing up, I always had phases.  Not just the normal phases that go along with getting older, like weaning, teething, getting a sports bra because you really don’t have any boobies at all, cooties, shaving, not shaving, bell bottoms to skinny jeans, and of course John Mayer (whoever says they didn’t have a John Mayer phase is a liar and a thief).

I mean handwriting phases.  I mean sew-all-of-my-clothes phases.  Short hair phases.  You know, life-defining phases that only I can control (John Mayer was irresistible!).

Now let me tell you about alcohol and I.

It started with Rum.  Then a downward spiral into the Vodka Dark Ages, thanks to my freshman year of college.  Then came the Gin Enlightenment.  And after watching four seasons of Mad Men in the span of maybe two weeks, I drank nothing but an Old Fashioned (Scotch) for a good six months.

Friends, I have to say that I’ve seen the light again.

Ever notice that my food color pallet still screams for summer?

I’m serious about muddling.  The mortar and pestle might be over-the-top, but it produces the thickest strawberry-basil syrup and thus delicious beverage.

Drink out of mason jars.  It’s good for you.

Strawberry Basil Martini.

5 ripe strawberries, chopped
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1oz simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
3oz Gin

Muddle the basil and strawberry with the simple syrup either with a mortar and pestle or just with the back of an ice cream scoop in a cocktail shaker.

Add all other ingredients and shake with ice.

Pour into a mason jar.

Drink merrily.