i changed my breakfast

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I am a creature of habit.  I don’t easily tire of routines, and when I find a recipe or food I like, I will often eat it every day until the season’s agricultural tide urges change.  That being said, every now and again a friend will recommend something (the breakfast bowl that inspired the image above has become one of my favorites) and it will scramble up my whole pattern in the most refreshing way.

Recently, two of my best friends have been raving about steel cut oats.  Their promise of a fuller, nuttier flavor and more robust consistency (as opposed to traditional rolled oats) finally wore me down; it was time for this creature of habit to break the mold.img_9564

Though they take quite a bit longer to prepare (about 20 minutes versus the 5 minute cook time for old fashioned rolled oats), those little steel cut morsels really are a game changer.  My mornings have me feeling stronger and more energized throughout the rehearsal day.  I’ve been mixing in some flax seeds as my oats cool, to give them even more substance, and a secret ingredient for an added boost…img_9563

DanceFoods is the first superfood blend made specifically with dancers in mind.  It contains a mix of maca root, raw cocoa, goji berries and plant protein, all sourced from small farmers growing chemical/hormone free plants.  That’s all of the organic antioxidants and energizing goodness, and none of the extra junk!

The blend was conceptualized by a former professional dancer who felt the stress of long rehearsal days weighing on him.  With little time to prepare an adequate lunch, he could feel himself growing weaker.  His solution was to create this blend, providing dancers with a quick way to digest the essential vitamins we so often miss out on.

A dancer’s body is her instrument, and taking care of that instrument begins on the inside.  To get the best fuel possible, I’ve been cooking up some oats every morning and mixing the superfood blend right in.  I top the whole shebang with some berries and cinnamon et voila!  My routine has transformed.  img_9557

DanceFoods is offering Setting The Barre readers a 10% discount on their first purchase!  Use the code ‘settingthebarre’ at checkout.img_9561

a recipe

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Confession: I have what M likes to refer to as a “ballerina fridge”.  In my defense, there are several factors that contribute to the sad state of my fridge on a Friday night.  I blame this mostly on the fact that I live alone.  I’m not a big-meal-prep-on-a-Sunday-night kinda gal. I like my meals fresh and tend to visit the grocery store several times a week as a result.  The shelves of my refrigerator are a constant rotation of items best consumed within 24-48 hours.  It’s just how I roll.

Enter the long weekend.  It’s Monday morning, you’ve slept in considerably.  You are hungry.  There’s a slight autumn chill in the air.  You want pancakes.  You need pancakes.  You fall back on a few freezer/pantry staples, throw in the last of the blueberries, and you are extremely proud of the thick, fluffy results.  You decide to share the “recipe” on yer blog…

Whole Wheat Cornmeal Blueberry Ballerina Pancakes

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tblsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 1/4 cups coconut milk

Sift first 4 ingredients together.  Yes, sift!  This is the secret to fluffy pancakes, promise.  Stir in cornmeal and cinnamon.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until light and frothy.  Elbow grease. Stir in vanilla and maple syrup.  Combine the wet ingredients into the dry and stir.  Heat a griddle, throw down a slab of butter and ladle out 1/4 cup (ish) piles of batter.  Sprinkle blueberries in, flip after batter has settled and brown the other side.

Note: This recipe makes very thick, cakey pancakes (hehe), so a low-and-slow cooking method is recommended.

Enjoy with maple syrup, cherry preserves, and Wes Anderson.

breakfast à la beauverie

IMG_2617.JPGg7 1913c Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) Garden MirrorIMG_3425 2.JPGg9 1911c Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939)  Lilies.jpgIMG_2335 2.JPGg11 1912c Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The Blue Garden.jpgIMG_2594.JPGg8 1911c Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) Breakfast in the Garden.jpgIMG_3424 3.JPGg1a Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939) The Garden Pool oil on canvas 64.8 x 81.3 cmIMG_2329.JPG

“Here, in these gardens, my grandfather had painted in his Panama hat, and sometimes his suit, under an umbrella to keep the glare of sun from burning out all color in his work, while Stellita Steapleton or Mahdah Reddin or his daughter (my mother), Frances, or my grandmother took the sun.  Here had been formal gardens, trimmed hedges, and, the next terrace up, the cutting garden- all well fenced by hawthorn hedges to keep out animals.  Here the gardeners had worked under my grandmother’s supervision.  The yew tree, all asprawl now on the first terrace, had been trimmed in those days, and kept clipped in the shape of a basket.  Out of these gardens had come primulas; roses for the house; nasturtiums, whose cool leaves lined baskets of peaches and whose peppery blossoms made their way into salads; lavender for the linen closet; colombine; margeurites…”

A Place in Normandy, Nicholas Kilmer

Each day in Normandy, as we road tripped from one town to the next, whoever rode in the passenger’s seat that day (usually me) read aloud from this book.  Written by the current owner’s father, the sharp novel tells the story of La Beauverie, twisting through time from pre-war roots to present-day glory.  We’ve only made it halfway through so far (though we plan to finish!), but were pleasantly surprised to learn of its colorful history, including a longtime stint as the home and studio of impressionist painter Frederick Frieseke (the owner’s great great grandfather) and an incident with an interloping owl in its dreary ’80s phase.

Among my favorite things to read about were the flourishing gardens.  One evening, after a French Little House On The Prairie moment* walking back with a basket full of laundry from the Atelier, I decided to explore the gardens on my own.  The sentiment “Everything grows in Normandy!” we’d heard again and again since our arrival proved undeniably true in the pastures facing the house, but these gardens were quite contrarily an exercise in discipline.  Each stepped layer and pruned hedge was a cultivation of constraint, a controlled crop.

I’d been planning all week to make 2 ingredient pancakes (just bananas, eggs, and spices- have you tried them?), and suddenly felt no other place would be appropriate for their consumption.  That Saturday morning, we whipped up our ‘nana-egg-pancakes (M made apple compote for topping), grabbed some Nutella (my French travel essential), and nestled into les jardins.  No other description is necessary, it was every bit as wonderful as it sounds.

 

*These happened often.  I took a certain pleasure that week in strolling by the cows, calling them Lucy or Mindy or Grace, and pretending this was actually my life.

paintings of the garden by Frederick Frieseke.

ladies who l u n c h

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On Saturday M gave me my first taste of Olga’s Cup and Saucer.  I was blown away by the extensive menu and peaceful garden outside, but a warm May morning and a secret spot by the river beckoned (as they do).  So we ordered brown bag breakfasts and went dockside.  Of course this meant returning to experience the outdoor dining area as soon as possible was nonnegotiable…

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It was quite serendipitous, then, when Duck & Bunny‘s Monday hours (or rather, lack thereof) called for a quick change of location for the tea/bridal party duty date my mother and I had planned.  We scooted from Fox Point to Point Street in search of fresh salads and a quiet patio.  From one bunny to another!

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I’m happy to report that our food completely lived up to the expectations set by my wandering eyes a few days prior (I had the teriyaki salmon salad, my mom had the chicken caesar), and the sun drenched patio was every bit as serene as I had hoped it would be.  With vibrant basil and scallion plants thriving from banks all around us, I had to keep reminding myself we were still in downtown Providence.

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Bravo, Olga.  I raise my English breakfast-filled cup (+ saucer) to you.

breaking f a s t

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Breakfast is the best, don’t you think?  I mean, according to Ron Swanson, there’s no sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food.

Much like Mr. Swanson, I too am one of those who wakes ready to break the fast.  There’s something so refreshing about a good night’s sleep and the kinetic energy of an intact day that just makes me…hungry.  Usually I’m a savory breakfast kinda lady, but in the spirit of traveling meals*, pre-Paris research, and new-to-me bakeries, a slice of walnut raisin toast with peanut butter by the river seemed sweetly appropriate.**

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*if you have the option to take your bakery breakfast to a dock by a river, always do it.  then go back to said bakery for lunch 2 days later to enjoy the lovely little garden area…update to follow…

**also, sidenote: shout out to the beehive in bristol for hooking it up with the BEST coconut black tea there ever was. extra shout to M for gifting me that magnificent tea diffuser and making all of my looseleaf dreams come true- you da bomb.

sunday funday

Yesterday looked like this…

There was much admiring of our “Anthropologie dining room” at an all-girls Sunday breakfast (loaded eggs, turkey bacon and cinnamon raison toast anyone?), a trip to the real Anthropologie (bought the cutest tank top/teeny candle on sale!), a stroll down Thayer Street to admire the blue sky and fall colors, and quite a bit of excitement over our new “Pinteresty bathroom” set up (that adorable toothbrush holder was about $5 at Anthro!).  Sometimes I think Sunday should be called Relax, Eat, and Pretend you live inside Pinterest- Day.  On that note, I’ll leave you with this…

what i wish i were eating.

what i wish i were wearing.

what i wish i were making.

Weekend Getaway

Happy Saturday!  Just thought I’d leave you with some shots from my week- I spent a few days at my parent’s beach house in York, Maine with some amazing friends.  The summer vacation destination is a bit of a ghost town right now, so we claimed it as our own.  We woke up each morning and made an elaborate breakfast, played board games, went on walks, sipped cosmos, (read: we were in heaven).  There’s something about the ocean that relaxes me no matter the season…