This week has been rather busy with work, school, mindfulness, and making art happen! I slept in this morning, took my time waking up and started my American Government class at 9 a.m. I didn’t finish work on that class until 4 p.m.! Then I still had to work on my Personal Computing class, which took just a few hours. Then my mindfulness meditation reflection had to be completed and before I knew it, it was 8 p.m.

“The meal plan must continue,” I said to myself, “no matter if I lose some sleep, I will be on track with my goals and can easily take a nap after work tomorrow without feeling regret.” I can be rather dramatic, but it’s true. My mindfulness and meal plans are part of my top priorities, and I cannot afford to let them go in order to get a full night’s sleep.

Pardon the messy look of the paper. I think it adds character. I printed this list out at the beginning of the month and so I’ve been keeping an eye on ingredients I can get for free from the culls where I work. Yes, I’m very lucky in that many of the produce I use for my recipes, I do not buy. #blessed #makingitworkforme

Let’s start with what came out crazy. The recipe for the portobello mushrooms, I realized after making the first two dishes, was meant to marinated for at least an hour and grilled on an actual grill. I didn’t catch that important detail in my planning. I did this weird steaming thing where I used the marinade and steamed the caps for 5 – 7 minutes each. The pot got too hot by the third cap and the balsamic reduction started to burn a little. I shut everything off, sliced the caps and portioned them out into 8 meals. One or two more caps would have been good in terms of portions, but I’m honestly not sure how they are gonna’ taste. There wasn’t enough for me to taste tonight. I’m sure they are fine, but probably nothing to get excited about. Still worth a try.

The braised greens were easy peasy. I was able to watch for the culls throughout the week and grab some leafy varieties: rainbow chard, lacinato kale, frisée, collards, and spinach, and just sauteed them in sesame oil, liquid aminos, fresh garlic and ginger. You saute them down until they are pleasant to eat. Yes, you want to eat them and make sure they aren’t too salty. If they are, add more sesame oil and back off from the aminos. It’s like 1.5 cups of aminos to 1 cup of sesame oil. That’s how I like it. It came out delicious. I chopped up all the greens pretty small because I have braces and it’s easier that way.

Finally, the winner!! The Oat, Kale, and Butternut squash risotto! Oh my got, I loved how this came out! Oats are really opening this year up with a bang. Here’s the thing. I don’t even really like the butternut squash. I mostly can’t stand sweet potatoes and all that unless it is prepared right. Well, let me tell you, this one is tasty and makes me appreciate butternut squash better than just about anything else I’ve tasted in 39 years.

This is mostly all the ingredients I ended up using for the risotto. That is white wine in that red measuring cup. I ended up putting about a teaspoon of cumin at the end and I thought it worked quite well. I didn’t use all that garlic for this recipe, that’s the garlic I used for all three recipes. Hahaha!

You cook down the chopped onion with the butternut squash for about 10 minutes on med high heat. You want to keep an eye on the bottom of the pan through most of this and not scorch. Add in the oats once the squash has gotten soft and thick. Let them cook together for a few minutes and then add the white wine and let that cook in. Then add in the water and let it boil, then simmer for 30 minutes while the oats cook and hold it all together. The recipe listed above suggests adding salt at two stages, once with the squash, and then once at the very end. I added a little more salt right before the simmer. As mentioned before, the cumin seemed to enhance the lemon juice and squash. As with the Columbian soup and the meatloaf from previous weeks, the oats provide a pleasing texture to the dish. Oats are a terrific alternative to rice for a risotto like this.

So far this month, I have three really solid dishes: the meatloaf, the oat soup, and the risotto. The oat bars I made were garbage and dry as hell. It’s the kind of oat taste you wish you could wipe away from your childhood. We won’t be making those again. The honey oat bread I would like to try again one more time before the end of the month to see if I can do it better.

Next week, I’m doing oat cutlets with indian spices and palak paneer! And it will be right after my concert, so I should be relaxed for it and not completely out of time like I am at this very moment! I love you all. Please try the risotto yourself and let me know how it goes for you.