Peanut butter apple pie for breakfast.

So awhile back, lovely Maggie did a post on rice cooker oats.

It could not have come at a better time! Around the same time, on the other side of the world, I was coming back from a trip to Osaka and Kobe. When I arrived home, I needed a quick meal. I looked in my cupboard, and had some oats left (**thank you online food stores, for allowing me to purchase oats in Japan!). I saw my rice cooker, and decided, what the hell, yes i'm lazy and don't feel like watching the pot on the stove. So I went for it, and haven't looked back since.

Rice cooker oats are absolutely the creamiest most delicious thing ever. And they are even more wonderful if you thinly slice an apple and throw it in while cooking. My favourite way to enjoy this delicious breakfast (or lunch...or dinner...) is to mix oats, a pinch of sea salt, cinnamon,water and one apple, thinly sliced. I then turn my rice cooker on to quick cook, and 25 minutes later, hassle free, I have apple pie oatmeal.

Add some peanut butter into the bottom of your bowl (trust me, when you get down to the last few bites, you'll be thanking me).

And then add some to the top as well.

Eat, and enjoy your peanut butter apple pie.

If you haven't tried it!!

Thanks to some online health food stores, I have been able to order oats, peanut butter (oh my gosh! 2 months without peanut butter, and you learn to appreciate it so much), and flax oil! I am definitely loving the Japanese diet, but there are a few things I miss. And I eat brown rice for lunch, and usually dinner, so sometimes it is nice to mix it up with oats in the morning. One sad thing, is that quinoa here is ridiculously expensive. It is over $2 / 100g.

Some eats that I am definitely missing:
~flax seeds (great if you want to do some baking and need an egg replacer)
~rice milk
~chia seeds
~dulse (I cannot get this seaweed here!)

Some new eats here that I am loving:
~lovely miso
~sesame everything (black sesame seeds especially...mmm...)

So I guess it's a fair trade. And my family is sending me a care package for it okay if I ask for all food? Haha...

Have a great week you guys!
I am about to finally try PBU with my newly delivered peanut butter! Can't wait!


P.S. I'll leave you with a random act of kindness: I called in sick to work on friday, because I had a bad cold, and did not feel like infecting the elementary school I was supposed to work at. On friday evening a cute english assistant lady from my elementary school paid me a visit. She brought me piping hot Japanese soup, brown rice with ginger, carrots, chestnuts and daikon that she made herself, and a kimono she brought me as a present. She showed me how to wear kimonos, and how to fold them up properly. And then she left me and T with some fresh mikans (japanese oranges) from her tree. Apparently she has a farm about 5 minutes away from me, and has a "mountain of orange trees," a huge rice field, and almost every vegetable you can think of. She invited us to go to her farm some weekend, and help her make her own umeboshi plums. She said she wanted to be my Japanese mom, and hoped that she had cheered me up....ummm...yes please! What a sweet thing to do.

Some more food!

I have also been eating lots of oatbran with blended veggies combos. I usually steam some carrot, daikon, kale or collards, and if i'm lucky, kabocha! Then, with the remaining liquid I blend it up!

It is really good on its own (even though it looks like digested baby food ;) )

Then I add it into the grains, and it makes me really happy (any type of grain!):

I also went on a nut butter spree awhile back, and bought four types: sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, sesame butter (made with brown sesame seeds, and MUCH thicker than tahini!), and mine and T's absolute most favourite peanut butter ever.

I tried all but the p.b. (cause I know it is so good) with a bit of rice syrup, on top of oatbran! So wonderful.

My favourite, rather surprisingly, was the....

It has a great texture, is really filling but not overbearing, and is wonderful even added to stir frys:

I found the pumpkin seed butter really tasty, but WAY too salty. I had to mix it into the oatbran to make it edible. The sunflower seed butter was yummy, and super crunchy (almost whole seeds, so good!), but also a bit on the salty side. And for all you p.b. lovers out there, the SUNLAND organic valencia peanut butter, crunchy with no salt, is hands down the best thing ever. Try it!

Does anyone else love chestnuts as much as me? I bought some roasted peeled ones at the japanese market, and ate them with some cinnamon. Delicious!

Oh food. I do love you.

Great Eats This Past Week instead of spending my time blogging this past week, I spent my time preparing, cooking, and enjoying delicious food.

Starting out with last weekend, here are some photos:

Unfortunately (fortunately...hehe) I enjoyed a delicious latte, made with unsweetened almond milk, dark italian espresso, and flavoured with a bit of honey and cinnamon.

I then moved onto what looks like a typical macrobiotic breakfast: greens, squash, veggies, and rice with seaweed and seeds! Macrobiotic breakfasts are definitely wonderful at re-balancing the body (especially after indulging in a massively wonderful latte).

Posting the photo reminds me of how much I enjoyed that latte, but also how CRAZY I felt after drinking it! I drank that bad boy down, and then did a quite intensive yoga practice at home. My body was definitely not used to such a large amount of caffeine, and while in some ways I felt that it made me more open in my practice (easier to bind in some poses), I was sweating like crazy, and actually felt quite light headed. I tried to just move through the coffee-party going on in my nervous system, but I actually got so light headed and jittery that in the middle of the seated postures I had to get up and eat a bit of brown rice I had in the fridge, just to calm my body down. So...lesson learned: coffee tastes wonderful, but should be enjoyed in SMALL quantities, or perhaps not very often at all, or at least eaten with something hearty to balance it out. are a few snacks I enjoyed:

Yes. That's right. When I get desperate I snack on frozen veggies. And you know what? They are DELICIOUS! Frozen corn and peas taste wonderfully sweet, and are crunchy enough to trick my mind into thinking that i'm eating something bad for me. You should try it!

Looks like I also made some cocoa-oats, with some pear cooked in with it.
Step 1: Mix up cocoa powder, spices (i'm guessing my usual: loads of cinnamon, and a sprinkle of cayenne). Add a bit of water or cold liquid, sometimes I used almond milk or amasake until it can be stirred into a paste.

Step 2: Then boil pears/apples on the stove, after ~5 mins add in oats and oatbran and cook until desired thickness. Then stir into cocoa-liquid-delicious-paste in bowl, and top with whatever your heart desires:

Looks like this one had some COCOA BLISS thrown on top. I can't keep my paws off of that stuff (see previous post). It is SOOOO good. It melts into the oatmeal and blends perfectly. And it also tastes great off the spoon, for a morning kick before yoga!

Looks like the next day I also had a macro-oriented breakfast (I really do need to branch out):

Ooooh!! Then I had a China Town Adventure and came home with some great goods:

Check out the monstrous bag of Dried Mushrooms (Witches' Butter or Snow Fungus): mushrooms have great healing properties in Chinese Medicine, and are known to balance blood sugar, detox the liver, and stimulate T-cells (relating to our immune system).

I also picked up some longan berries which are great for calming nerves and helping sleep problems. And how could I resist the best priced, and FRESHEST, softest, reddest goji berries in town!?? Goji berries are wonderful for the liver, eyes, and digestion!

The next morning was ABSOLUTELY perfect:
While I was doing yoga, some beautiful bunnies (correct term: hares) decided to spend some time outside my balcony eating grass and playing. As if yoga couldn't get any better!? Yoga plus bunny-watching!? A match made in heaven.

Then I decided to cook up one of those weird dried mushrooms I bought the day before>. You just soak them in some luke-warm water for 5-10 minutes, then steam or boil for a few minutes. If I remember correctly, I added them ontop of my usual quick-boiled breakfast veggies. Although it wasn't displayed, i'm sure my usual rice bowl was lurking there somewhere.

Looks like I also had to have some COCOA-BLISS oats with COCONUT BUTTER on top. As if Artisana Cocoa Bliss wasn't the best thing ever!?? Well, it was so good that I went back to the store and bought the coconut butter. I'll post a picture later of it. It is 100% coconut. Not just the oil. All it is is blended coconut, and it tastes FABULOUS!

Later on, sometime in the week? Can't remember when exactly, I made a green smoothie Even though it doesn't look green, it was filled with delicious ingredients.

"Green Smoothie"
Blend up the following, and enjoy out of a fun-shaped glass:
Large handful of spinach
1 banana
1 pear
handful of frozen berries
squeeze of lemon
a bit of water
1/4 of an avocado

SATURDAY MORNING markets are my favourite!
I woke up and looked in my fridge. Although my brain was telling me otherwise, what I really and truly wanted was something simple, and satisfying, to take me through the yoga class I had to teach. So I ate some brown rice with flax oil. Nothing fancy, but truly great.

I was just about to leave, but my HORRIBLE chocolate addiction won out, and I tasted some great chocolate I picked up the night before.

I am a chocolate snob---I can only enjoy dark chocolate. I usually don't even like 70% too much because I find it too sweet. But I was at an earth-friendly store the other day, and I had never seen this brand of chocolate before, so I thought i'd give it a whirl. It was truly delicious, and the cocoa nibs on the bottom were DIVINE.

This little beauty gave me some glorious yoga-teaching energy, and I can't wait to try another one soon!
Before my class, I had time to run to the Saturday Farmer's Market.

I forgot to take a photo of my stash right away, so the photo is from now, with half the stuff gone. I left with:

* a GIANT buttercup squash, which I am so excited to try
* 2 beautiful blue bowls handmade by this cute couple
* some THAI basil (which will show up in the stir-fry photos next)
* some new green called tat soi, which is kinda like bok choy
* a big ass bag of carrots
* some beets
* and a bag of baby red potatoes for my boy-wonder

I came home from class, and for lunch me and my guy made another "green smoothie" and decided to use my glorious new bowls for a light lunch of organic blue corn tortilla chips, homemade guacamole, and salsa. The lovely glass of milk in this photo was for my guy. It looks so good---sometimes I do miss that creamy consistency that milk provides. Nothing can really replace dairy and get that same texture.

We went for a LOVELY walk through the river valley, and camped out on a blanket in the sun for hours. After spending 5 hours outside, we were ravenous, and came home to make a thai-inspired stir fry:

In the mix was:
- ginger
- lemon grass
- cayenne
- canned straw mushrooms
- canned baby corn
- canned bamboo strings (they were out of the shoots)
- LOTS of fresh thai basil from the market
- a can of light coconut milk

We enjoyed this served over lots of brown rice! mmmmm sooo good! nom.nom.nom.
so much good food...

I know I eat macrobiotically...

BUT: I firmly believe in breaking the rules sometimes.
Okay, lots of times. At least for my one long-time love: Cocoa.
I will admit it. I also have a new love. It goes by the name coconut. And it comes in many forms: deliciously rich milk, sweet wonderful icecream, metabolism boosting oil, and of course, classic shredded goodness.

Now--unfortunately for me, neither of these things come first (*cough*anywhere*cough*) on any "to eat" list of macrobiotic foods. Also unfortunately for me, I have fallen off the amazingly great macrobiotic eating train lately, and instead have been enjoying a love affair with cocoa and chocolate. I have this bad habit of being REALLY good that I won't have anything non-macrobiotic for weeks...even months (such as last summer), and then one little taste, usually of sugar, and I'm totally on a mad chocolate guzzling rampage. This time around though, I am trying to let myself enjoy treats more often, in an attempt to stop these awful bad eating sprees. A bit of sweetness in life is needed sometimes.

Anyways, enough rambling--onto the good stuff!
I have already paired my delicious cocoa and coconut in previous snack sensations:

Cocoa Nibs and Coconut Milk as a topping for fruit

After tasting this combination, I began craving it on everything (see my post below about oatbran with cocoa nibs and coconut milk).
I recalled seeing this delightful creation at the health foods store I used to work at--packaged nicely in a jar.
Today when I was there, I decided to use my gift certificate for a little splurge, and ended up bringing home the most delightful treat ever:

Artisana Cacao Bliss. Truly blissful for sure. And made with great ingredients:
all organic everything: coconut butter, extra virgin coconut oil, agave syrup, cacao, and cacao butter. Holy Mama!! (i'm not too sure how i feel about ingesting taste buds like it, and i've read some good things about it...but as I try to stick to macrobiotics when possible, i usually just use brown rice syrup...and if i'm being bad, honey or maple syrup...but seeing as how i'm on the whole cocoa and coconut train, a little agave never hurt anyone...right?)

Once I was home, I opened up the jar to make sure it was safe:

Unfortunately...or maybe fortunately? it was. It was frickin' DELICIOUS. So I was inspired to make a post lunch dessert:

Cacao Bliss Banana Oatbran

A true splurge for me, seeing as how I rarely even eat bananas, as most tropical fruit should be avoided on a macrobiotic diet.

Here's how it played out:

I threw some water in a pan (~1.5 cups) and brought it to boil.
Added in about 1/3 c. oat bran, and 1/3 c. rolled oats.
Threw in some sliced bananas.
Let it cool a few minutes.
Topped with some cacao bliss.

**it is quite possible that a second serving of cacao bliss may have snuck its way in halfway through...and the chef may have also tasted a few spoonfuls just to make sure it really was amazing**