|This is a Weekly Coffee Share Essay.
I’m part of a small group of bloggers who stay in touch and chat about blogging, writing, or just about anything else that might be of interest.
|Link to This week’s full list|
|Link to my Story Blog: Table of Contents.|
Today, I’m celebrating and hope you’ll join me. “Okay,” you’d most like reply, “What are we celebrating?” It’s a fair question. Here’s my answer;
- Several days of smoke-free air.
- A passed test for work
- A surprise holiday
- Rings, a date and progress on our son’s wedding
- A decision has been made regarding Ayem & Havilah
All together, these way-points have left me happy and peaceful and thankful and I wanted to share my joy with someone. And there you are.
A few words of explanation seem to be in order.
You recall that our county has been again subjected to forest fires that threatened the lives and homes of my family and many of my neighbors. Some very brave souls put out a great effort and most of the nearest fires are under control AND downwind where we live our air has been so much cleaner. For the moment, it’s great, but can change in less than an hour if the wind changes.
Many of you have been through this weird dance at work where some senior manager decides that everyone needs to be trained and certified on some discipline. In many cases, this is a waste of money, because many of the the line managers would have told that Sr. manager if asked that the training does not apply to her team because… or these individual persons because… But the edict just arrives as from Mount Sinai, and we’re all expected to just do it. Our organization got one of these edicts and thanks to the inept certification organization and their poorly designed application it proved to be very stressful and a huge waste of lots of time. But I did the time and yesterday, passed the needed exam. It was fortunate that our air quality has been so good because I immediately sat back and initiated a deep breath followed by a deep sigh of relief.
Earlier Friday morning, I was in a customer meeting and as we dismissed, everyone started wishing others a great long holiday weekend. What? I thought. What holiday? Yep, I was so stressed and focused on getting that exam off of my back that I managed to not even look at my calendar for next week and missed that (here in the US) we have a national holiday on Monday. And oh the joy that filled my soul. . . But wisely, I kept my mouth shut about being so clueless. Doh!
Then there is the status of our son and (almost) daughter-in-law’s marriage. Here, the good news seems to never stop. Their rings arrived. Connor escaped today before I could wake up enough to recall getting a photo of his, but here’s his bride’s ring. I’m going to have to get a shot in better light as this yellowed mood light version fully washed out the blue sapphire surrounded by 6 diamonds. Their date has been set for the first weekend of next month. Mr. Corona D’Covid has been resoundingly kicked off of this stage.
And then there’s the success around my new fictional story (linked at) Ayem Notthymn. This was my first big effort to pour a lot of what I’ve learned about story writing over the past 2 years, mostly from my blogging friends, and I really like the result. Several have pressed the point that it could and should be a longer story and I’ve decided to pursue this because I too like it enough to want to share more of what I threw away in the interest of keeping it short. It started life at 3000 words. It grew to 4000 words, but I’m going to put on my authorial stole and take this story to 6-7000 words. I’m going to keep the current story as is but the longer version will just be that, a longer version with a different title. I’m so looking forward to producing this expanded version.
So – I’m celebrating today.
But how are we celebrating? I have a special breakfast I’ve come to love. I know we can only meet virtually, so I’ll share the recipe so you can enjoy the taste of one of my favorite breakfast treats.
It’s essentially oatmeal cereal but I’ve had grown men who hate oatmeal, but hated cooking more, and thus allowed me to be the chef for various camping trips and thus were subjected to various experiments, because what are friends for — right? Anyway, they loved my oatmeal and lately I’ve made it even better. Here’s what you need and what you need to do to take the humble bowl of oatmeal to the next level of excellence.
- regular non-quick oatmeal cereal
- multi-grain oat and almost any other grain cereal
- chia seeds
- real maple syrup (regular pancake syrup is okay if you’re just too far away from the maple groves of Vermont and New Hampshire).
- milk to taste (Non-fat, 1%, 2%, Whole, Goat, Almond or Soy (in a pinch) Buttermilk or Half & Half) I’m a 2% kind of guy and might gag on those last two but some folks are very hard core on this point.
- Fresh berries if you love and have them
From the recipe on the cereal container, get your water on the stove to boil. Add the chia seeds (~1 tbsp / person) and the raisins. Stir them enough to keep them in motion as the water boils for about 5 minutes, until the raisins get plump and juicy.
Next, you want to add whichever cereal takes the longest to cook. Normal oatmeal takes 3-5 minutes. Quick oats, take about half that time. You want to start which ever takes the longest and both if they both take about 5 minutes — BUT — start with only 1/2 – 2/3rd of the cereal. For this recipe, you want some of the cereal to be a tad under-cooked.
Start a timer, say for the full 5 minutes, but don’t forget to turn down the heat to cook the cereal. If you don’t you’ll burn the cereal at the bottom of the pot and ruin the batch. Keep it moving by gentle stirring. At this point, your cereal should look like it has too much water – because it does. You still have cereal to add.
For 5 minute cereal, you should be ready at 3 minutes to add the rest of the cereal and the butter (~1 tbsp for each person) to the pot and keep stirring.
Now your cereal should start to look like it’s thickening up as normal. You might want to lower the heat even more to slow things down.
Before you get to that final minute of cooking, decide if the cereal is going to be thick enough for your preference and add just a bit more cereal if you need to sop up some of the water. If you only have a bit too much water, just stir it more and encourage it to steam off, but have the pot off of the heat by the time you get to 5 minutes.
Stir in 2-3 tbsp of maple syrup per person (if you have picky kids, use 4 tbsp to tickle their tongues).
Serve with fresh berries and your milk of choice and settle back with your hot morning drink of preference and enjoy a miniature gourmet breakfast celebration with me.
Would an image of pure joy add to your enjoyment?
I offer this one of my son, Connor, singing to his bride a song he wrote just for her. . .
alone on their favorite beach. . .
falling even deeper in love.
. . . and then the smiles for the photographer
Thanks for stopping by.
Did you post your coffee share yet? I’ll be around to read it real soon.