Over the weekend I finished Rachel Cosgrove’s The Female Body Breakthrough and was so excited to pick back up the heavy weights yesterday! I felt super energized after my workout and as the day grew to night I began to feel DOMS set in. I still don’t have a foam roller, but ordered this one this morning. It cannot get here soon enough.
Matthew and I also made a quick run to Target this morning to pick up a couple other essentials that our home gym was lacking: a 10lb medicine ball (for ab work) and an adjustable band (for warm-ups and assisted chin ups!). I was also looking for a light bar to hold above my head during squats, but after further consideration I decided that I could use the Iron Gym instead. 😉
Lately I have been reading a lot of Christian frugal homemaking blogs, like Passionate Homemaking, looking for inspiration for cutting our spending by upping my DIY. The other day while perusing I read this post about soaking grains, especially oats, prior to cooking them. I was very moved by the post and my ensuing research and decided to give it a try.
Here is an exert from Passionate Homemaking on why you should soak your grains…
Unfortunately, whole grains contain phytic acid in the bran of the grain which combines with key minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc and prevents their absorption in the intestinal tract. This makes it more difficult to digest properly. Soaking, fermenting, or sprouting the grain before cooking or baking will neutralize the phytic acid, releasing these nutrients for absorption.
This process allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to not only neutralize the phytic acid, but also to break down complex starches, irritating tannins and difficult-to-digest proteins, including gluten. For many, this may lessen their sensitivity or allergic reactions to particular grains. Everyone will benefit, nevertheless, from the release of nutrients and greater ease of digestion.
For detailed instructions on soaking grains for various applications, please read this Passionate Homemaking post. The following is the process that I used to make 3 servings of soaked steel cut oats.
After supper I combined 3/4 c steel cut oats (3 servings) + 1 1/4 c warm filtered water + 1 tbsp kefir in a glass measuring cup and covered it with plastic wrap.
In the morning, I poured the soaked oat mixture into a large saucepan on medium-low heat and placed 1 cup of water into my tea kettle on high heat.
When the water in the tea kettle was boiling, I stirred the boiling water into the saucepan with the soaked oats along with 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
I increased the heat to medium-high to bring the oats to a boil and then decreased the heat to medium-low. I them simmered the oats until they were cooked through. This whole process took about 8 minutes, which is much less than the usual 20 minutes that it takes to cook steel cut oats.
The flavor, texture and aroma of these oats was like nothing else! They were soft, pillowy and voluminous.
We topped our oats with peaches, raspberries and vanilla scented ricotta that were leftover from this weekend’s shortcakes. Amazing! I think that ricotta cheese is like the Cinderella of dairy. Everyone always overlooks it until they pick up a package for a recipe, like lasagna, and have extras that they don’t know what to do with. Don’t let your ricotta waste away in the back of your fridge!
Ricotta cheese makes an amazing lower-fat substitute for heavy cream in recipes, as the part-skim variety is low in fat and sodium while being fairly high in protein. Plus, I find the texture + taste superior to part-skim cottage cheese, which is high in sodium and can have added preservatives including carbon dioxide.
Vanilla Scented Ricotta
Combine all ingredients in blender and process until well combined. Refrigerate to allow flavors to combine and texture to improve, 8 hours or overnight. Use to top biscuits, fruit or oatmeal.