If there is anything this summer has taught me so far, it is to put my expectations aside and embrace the reality of the summer for what it is. This is, like most things, easier said than done. I am (and forever will be) a planner, picturing how an event will play out in my mind, making sure I know all of the details beforehand. I get so caught up in these designs and visions that when change surfaces unexpectedly, it becomes jarring. Taken off guard and scrambling, I find myself needing a moment to compose myself—needing a moment to allow my well laid plans to fade away.
This summer seems to deal me a new set of expectations at the end of each week. It is growing exhausting to keep up with the changes, watching my summer slip so far from the vision I longingly dreamed of in the middle of winter. Right now I am in the middle of taking a deep breath, of composing myself, of preserving a hopeful outlook.
Earlier this week, my boyfriend abruptly had his own summer expectations wiped clean. After a bike accident and a trip to the emergency room, he left with a broken arm, immobilized with a tight-fitting sling. Though I happily took on the role of nurse, we realized the summer plans we made together were going to need quite a bit of editing. For dinner that evening, I cooked up a pot of oatmeal for two by request. Over the stove, as the oats bubbled and boiled, we started a new list of summer plans.
Oatmeal has its own unique curing powers—for body, for soul.
Nutty Rhubarb Oatmeal combines almonds, vanilla, and the tart flavor of rhubarb. Rhubarb is roasted in the oven with a bit of sugar until tender. A traditional brown sugar oatmeal is mixed up, topped with the roasted vanilla rhubarb, a sprinkling of chopped almonds, and a spoonful of ground flaxseed. The oatmeal has a range of textures, spanning crunchy to smooth. This breakfast is lovely on cool summer mornings or when you need a bowl of comfort, served hot.
Nutty Rhubarb Oatmeal
Yields 2 servings
2 cups (240 grams) rhubarb, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups ( ml) almond milk (regular milk will also suffice)
3/4 cup (60 grams) old fashioned oats
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
In a baking dish, stir together the diced rhubarb, granulated sugar, and water. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, bring the milk to a boil over medium-high heat. Add in the oats and stir continually until they thicken and absorb all of the liquid, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar.
Divide the oatmeal evenly between two serving bowls. Spoon the roasted rhubarb and juices over the oatmeal, dividing it equally between the two servings. Top each bowl with a tablespoon of chopped almonds and flaxseed. Serve hot.