Sunday, May 10, 2020

PERFECT PORTABLE BREAKFAST PART 3: ENTER THE OATMEAL



When I was a kid, oatmeal was boring. I only started to appreciate it as an adult because instant oatmeal is fast and filling to eat before work when you're not a morning person. Then Quaker came out with the "Real Medleys", which are better, but still have that chalky instant aftertaste, and are a bit pricy for what they offer.

Then my friend SR posted this recipe on Facebook, and I saw how much better homemade oatmeal mixes could be. It's so much more flavorful, but has to be refrigerated and tastes best when eaten right away. So, not the way to make a big batch of fruit, nuts and fiber that can be stored in my cubicle and eaten before work.  Back to the Internets for more research!

I lucked out and found this recipe right away. Now, I have to confess that I can't really care about quick oats vs steel-cut oats, so I just used whole quick oats instead of grinding the oats in a food processor. I tried toasting the oats and not toasting them, but didn't see much of a difference. Your milage may vary. The amount of brown sugar wasn't sufficient for my tastes, so you might want to experiment with that.

 I started out with coconut flakes, walnuts, craisins, freeze-dried blueberries, and banana chips. The banana chips didn't get soft enough even after soaking first, so I took them off my list. Luckily, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and even Target have lots of options for freeze-dried fruit.

DIY instant oatmeal. Clockwise from top: blueberry, strawberry, mango and raspberry.


After some trial and error, I found the easiest way to make a batch is to mix the oatmeal, flaxseed, chia seed and brown sugar in a big bowl, add 1/2 cup to each serving container, then sprinkle a handful of toppings into each and mix. That saves a lot of measuring. 

When cooking, I add just enough water to go a tiny bit above the oatmeal, then cook in the microwave 90 seconds. Finally, I top it off with a splash of vanilla almond milk creamer. This came to me by accident when a coworker had some in the break-room fridge with a note offering to share it. Half and half is great, but non-dairy creamer lasts for months and doesn't smell up the fridge. If it's close to going bad, you can offer some to the office coffee drinkers.

Give it a try, and let me know what you think!


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

ANIME DETOUR: STAY-AT-HOME EDITION





A couple of weeks ago, it would have been Anime Detour 2020. I've only missed 3 Anime Detours ever, and 2 of those were because I didn't know it existed. I've also been planning for and working at the Manga Reading Lounge since 2010, so it was weird not to be doing that. Also, my sweetie was out of town, so I had the entertain myself as best I could.

So I did my best to get my geek on. I had ordered a Totoro kigurumi to wear at con and wore it all weekend, including working at my home office on Friday and taking a walk around the river (hope it cheered somebody up to see a little ridiculousness). 
Click here for large pics.

A colleague of mine who is an amazing cartoonist was doing the six character fanart challenge, so I suggested he do Makoto Kusanagi, and asked friends to suggest some characters for me to do. It took me a week or so, but it was a fun challenge. 

Anime Detour decided to have their anime music video contest, virtually, so I watched the livestream on Twitch. Luckily, there is a Twitch app on Apple TV, because I don't watch videos that are more than a minute on my phone. The streamer didn't save the stream for copyright reasons, but you can watch most of them here

Of course, I had to watch some anime too, so I fired up the old Crunchyroll. The lineup:

  • The Golden Kamuy (Crunchyroll)- Historical adventure about a Russo-Japanese War veteran looking for treasure in Northern Japan with assistance from an Ainu girl. Lots of intrigue, some lesser-known history and a rare depiction of Ainu culture. Check it out.
  • Rising of the Shield Hero (Crunchyroll)-loserish teen falls into a medieval-RPG-video-game world, has to form a party and win battles to get out. Kind of a serious Legend of Neil meets WoW reskin of Gantz, and definitely no Order of the Stick. I found the hero insufferable, so I couldn't feel any angst about his problems. When he bought a slave to assist him, it was time to nope right out of there.
  • Death Parade (Hulu)-After death, 2 souls find themselves alone in a creepy bar, forced to play a game that determines their fate in the afterlife. Kind of a Twilight Zone-type anthology series, except we learn more about the bar's "employees" than you might expect, as a new hire learns the ropes. Intriguing, will definitely keep watching. 
Also, because my fandom is nothing if not diverse, I also watched the First Avenue 50th Anniversary livestream, the Werq the World livestream of contestants from RuPaul's Drag Race, and the series finale of The Magicians (sob!). The first two were web-only, but AirPlay from my phone to the Apple TV worked smoothly. 

If you guys have any other streaming suggestions, let me know. My friend K. turned me on to Letterkenny, that should keep me busy for a while. For pure relaxation, check out the livestream from Cafe Meow.