Recipe: Rice Cooker Oatmeal

At my blogger meetup on Sunday I had one of the best bowls of oatmeal ever. I knew I had to figure out how to make such a voluminous, creamy, textured bowl of oats. Well, I did it yesterday. This method rocks. I’m thinking it would probably work in a crockpot as well – have you ever tried that?

Anyway, this is my method for rice cooker oats. They come out so creamy and delicious. They were actually better than the oats I had on Sunday.

Rice Cooker Oatmeal

32 rice cooker oatmeal

Ingredients (serves 1-2)

  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 and 1/3 cups water
  • 2 dashes of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon stevia (optional)
  • toppings: chopped dates, granola, crushed raw cashews


  1. Dump the water, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and stevia in the rice cooker. Press “cook”.
  2. Come back about 10 minutes before it’s done (according to the timer – this will probably be about 10 or 15 minutes after you started it) and open up the cooker. Stir around the oatmeal (it will probably be more liquidy on top) and mix it up well. Let it cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  3. Scoop out your serving and top with your favorites. Mine are dried fruit (dates), granola, and nuts (cashews this time, but almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds are also great).

31 rice cooker oatmeal

I had half for breakfast (so a 1/2 cup serving) but then I ended up eating the other half plain as a snack a few hours later. It was so good plain. I love adding cinnamon and vanilla to my oats. The stevia added a little bit of sweetness too – perfectly delicious.

If you’re short on time, this is a great method for cooking oats. You can toss them in the cooker and hop in the shower. While you’re getting ready, the rice cooker does all the work. And it’s way better at making creamy oatmeal than I am. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you should definitely consider getting one… it’s not just for rice!

Recipe: Indian Curry (Delicata my love…)

I actually made this dish last week, but hadn’t gotten around to posting it until now. Clare sent me a fresh delicata squash from her garden (!) for my birthday and this is how I used it up. I made rice for Bobby and I roasted a delicata with some olive oil, dill, and cinnamon for me. Then I poured in the curry. I also added parmesan… because who doesn’t love parm?

As usual, feel free to switch up the veggies. I think the cauliflower is pretty essential for all curries, but do what you like. This recipe is particularly simple because you can get curry paste at any local Asian market. This was my first time using it. Depending on what protein you use, this can be vegetarian or vegan.

I’m submitting this to the Blogger Secret Ingredient contest, hosted this week by Coco! She picked cauliflower.

Indian Curry

22 chicken curry delicata


  • 1/4 cup curry paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cubed white potato
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 ounces protein (tofu, chicken, etc… we used frozen chicken thighs from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/3 cup milk/coconut milk/kefir/yogurt (optional)
  • parmesan, yogurt, sour cream, or other cheese for topping (optional)
  • base – rice, squash, or other carby-carb.


  1. Boil the water in a soup pan. Add the curry paste and mix well. Add the potato and protein. Cook for about 5 minutes
  2. Add the rest of the veggies and cook for another 3-4 minutes until they’re tender. If they aren’t covered by the broth, don’t worry – they shrink down. You can also add the milk at this point. I added a little bit of kefir and it came out well.
  3. Ladle the veggies, meat, and a whole lot of broth over rice or squash. Top with parmesan.

21 chicken curry rice

This meal was very satisfying on a chilly fall night. I had both halves of my delicata filled with curry. Bobby has been obsessed with the rice I’ve been making lately… want to know the secret? I add some salt and pepper while cooking, and then when it’s done I drop in a tablespoon of butter and mix it up while it melts.

If you missed my post yesterday, you should check it out now. I got a lot of really great responses. I talked about whether or not a raw food diet is actually “natural” or not, based on a primatologist’s research. The question was, Does cooking make us human?

I also wrote this post: Does language make us human?

I have a question for you, readers – what do you want to see more of? Daily meals? Cooking tips? Recipes? Crazy cool foods like kabocha? Scientific research like the cooking/human post? Beauty information? Product reviews? Book reviews? More workouts? Giveaways? Leave me a comment to let me know 🙂

Does cooking make us human?

A few weeks ago, raw food was abuzz in blogland. I gave it a try to help my digestion, but that way of eating didn’t work for me. Now that it’s fall I’ve noticed less and less talk about raw food, and more and more posts about oatmeal, baked squash, and delicious apples. It’s propitious that Bobby alerted me to this article yesterday… Did Cooking Give Humans An Evolutionary Edge? – a transcript of an NPR talk from Science Friday. It has to do with the differences between humans and other primates (like this gorilla that lives in the San Francisco zoo)…


I thought the transcript was incredibly interesting. You can also listen to the program (it’s just under 30 minutes). If you don’t have time to read or listen though, I’ll summarize here…

  • It’s an interview with Dr. Richard Wrangham, a primatologist (someone who studies primates = humans, apes, monkeys, and prosimians) who wrote Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human.
  • Dr. Wrangham proposes that cooking has actually been a key aspect of evolution and our bodies have changed over the years due to the fact that we can cook our food. It’s given us a huge evolutionary advantage because we have more time to use our brains instead of foraging and chewing all day long. (This is called biocultural evolution, when you evolve along with the tools/methods of your culture.)
  • Apes show either a preference for cooked food over raw food, or they are neutral… they never prefer raw to cooked food.
  • A human’s digestive system is 2/3rds the size of an ape’s (if you adjust for the size of the ape versus the size of the human) and we have small teeth and small mouths – not ideal for lots of chewing.
  • We’ve adapted to a “high quality” diet. (High quality meaning mostly cooked and easy to digest… not talking about the processed, industrial “food” crap that most people live on.) Cooking is what increased the “quality” of our diet.
  • We don’t have to eat large amounts of food and we don’t have to retain and ferment food for many many hours to digest it.
  • The changes to our digestive system happened about 1.8 million years ago.
  • Cooking our food increases the proportion of nutrients and energy that we’re able to digest. While a cooked carrot may technically have the same number of calories as a raw one, we are able to access more of the calories from the cooked one. Another example – when you cook an egg and eat it, you can digest about 94% of the protein. A raw egg? You digest about 60%. That’s a big discrepancy.
  • Why does cooking make things easier to digest? For protein, the process is called denaturation. The protein cells are kind of like a big ball of yarn; cooking unwinds the yarn so it’s easier to digest. One way to denature something is to put it in acid. So our stomach acid can do some of this, but cooking makes it that much easier for our bodies to digest protein. A similar process happens with starch – chains of sugars open up during cooking so that they are more readily available to absorb.
  • Humans are one of the only species that typically does not thrive on a raw diet… about half of women following a raw diet stop menstruating and most people lose weight (due to an energy shortage = significant calorie/nutrient deficiency).
  • Now this doesn’t mean that a raw diet can’t be beneficial – a lot of people are eating too much currently, so a raw diet may help them reduce the amount of food they eat (because it’s so limiting) so they can maintain their weight and feel better. A lot of the benefits that come from a raw diet are due to cutting out processed foods and chemicals. Many people have undiagnosed food allergies (gluten, wheat, dairy, etc…) and since those foods aren’t common in a high raw diet, people will feel better since they’re not eating them anymore.
  • Again, eating more raw food is not necessarily bad or unhealthy, but you should not follow a high raw diet. If you live in a place where food is scarce, you should especially *not* follow a raw diet… if you live in the US or another developed country, incorporating more raw foods into your diet is a fabulous idea if it will help you eat less and eat fewer processed, industrial foods.
  • Many people think that following a raw food diet is the most “natural” way to live… not true. We have evolved away from eating raw food. And one of the major reasons that we’ve been able to advance so far in terms of knowledge and technology is due to the fact that we are NOT like other primates – we don’t have to eat all day to get enough food, giving us time to use our gargantuan brains.

I’m learning about some similar concepts in my anthropology class. There is the idea of biocultural evolution, which basically says that our culture (using tools, cooking food, etc…) has a large influence on our evolution. The invention of tools allowed us to evolve away from huge teeth. The cultural idea of wearing clothes might be the reason that we aren’t covered in hair. And maybe cooking is responsible for changing our digestive system, our mouths, and our teeth.

What works best for me is a fairly natural diet (no processed foods) with a little bit of raw food. I am influenced by macrobiotics (completely cooked, nearly vegan but with fish, and very Japanese). I’m also influenced by the paleo diet (limited grains and carbs, lots of animal fat and protein, lots of veggies – mostly all cooked). When I eat fruit it’s usually raw I do snack on raw veggies sometimes. I love salad (obviously, again) but I don’t eat salad every day unless it’s the summer. I love my oatmeal, oat bran, baked and steamed squash, and many other cooked foods, especially in the cooler months.

What works for you? What do you think of the ideas that this guy is proposing?

San Francisco Eats

On Sunday’s blogger meetup we went to a cozy little cafe called Bread & Cocoa on Sutter Street in San Francisco. How could I resist the $2.99 oatmeal?

28 oatmeal

It was a humongous bowl, so I went pretty easy on the toppings. I had raisins, almonds, and in-house granola. I also added a little bit of skim milk. I actually managed to finish all but 1 bite of this gigantic bowl of oats. I brought the bloggies some homemade tea bags…

27 tea presents

For lunch we went to the Ferry Building to get our favorite – Delica rf-1. It’s a Japanese delicatessen with the most amazing salads. I got the 3-salad combo; Bobby got the 2-salad + a main item combo. Bobby got Wasabi Garlic Potato Salad (Garlic potato salad with wasabi mayonnaise, edamame, snap peas, and romaine hearts), Spicy Burdock Root Salad (A spicy mix of braised burdock and konnyaku (mountain potato) tossed with thin slices of white onion, celery, julienne carrots, and wild mizuna), and for the main item he got Tofu & Chicken Patty with Hijiki (Free-range chicken and organic tofu patty with hijiki seaweed and carrot; served in a sweet soy sauce).

29 bobby delica

I got the Spicy Burdock Root Salad, and a double serving of Hijiki and Soybean Salad (Hijiki (seaweed rich in calcium, iron, and fiber) mixed with dried soybeans, edamame, konnyaku (mountain potato), daikon, wild mizuna, fried tofu, and kuko (wolfberry)).

30 maggie delica

I think we go to Delica almost every time we head up to San Francisco. It is probably the best food I have ever eaten. I’m not kidding. It’s that good. We’re heading up to SF tomorrow so I’m sure we’ll be back.

What is your favorite restaurant, and where is it? What do you get?

Recipe: Brancakes (Pancakes)

This recipe is based off of my dad’s buttermilk pancakes recipe. (Dad, you should try these! They might be too bran-ey for you though.) I loved taking these pictures with my new camera.

Brancakes (Healthy Pancakes)

24 brancakes

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1/2 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup mix: oat bran & wheat germ (I did half and half)
  • dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon stevia
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • wet: 2 egg whites, 1/3 cup kefir, 1/3 cup water (more or less water as needed)
  • toppings: butter, real maple syrup

25 brancakes


  1. Sift together (or just mix well) all the dry ingredients (wheat bran, oat bran, wheat germ, salt, stevia, baking powder, baking soda).
  2. Add the egg whites, kefir, and water. Add the water gradually until the batter is thin enough. It should be about the same consistency as kefir, but obviously more bran-ey. Sometimes I have to add a lot of water, other times I don’t. Experiment.
  3. Heat a pan to high heat and spray with cooking oil or butter. Scoop portions of the batter (I divided mine into 3 cakes total). Reduce heat to medium. Cook on the first side until bubbles start to come through and they stay open (about 5-6 minutes).
  4. Flip the cakes. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  5. Serve topped with real maple syrup and butter.

26 brancakes

These were fantastic. They are filling, fairly low calorie, and delicious. I like to add a fair amount of butter and syrup which is why I like my base to be lower in calories. You could use 1 whole egg instead of 2 egg whites and it would come out just as well.

Yesterday’s blogger meetup was so fun! Check out Kath’s post for the details. Kath and Jenna (who I met once before) are so down-to-earth and fun. I hope I can see them both again. I also met some readers and another local blogger that I hope to meet up with again soon. When I get my pictures uploaded I’ll post about the day more.

Bobby and I ended up skipping out on the free concert (Train, Howie Day, Dashboard Confessional, Colbie Caillat) because we started walking there – and after almost 2 hours of walking (okay, very slow walking with shopping stops) we were still almost 4 miles away. We ditched it, took BART back to the Ferry Building, picked up lunch, and met up with some of Bobby’s high school friends. The we came home, exhausted, and totally zoned out all night.

What did you do this weekend?