Cheesecake Oatmeal, two ways

I hate how Murphy's Law tends to hold true, especially when it matters most. Falling sick sucks, but falling sick on the most important day of the week sucks at least ten times more. Maybe it was just my luck that the most important day had to fall on the end of the week. Admittedly, the past week had been rather exhausting - Monday was a full day of rag practice (although I did manage to find time to visit Curious Palette, the new cafe at Prinsep Street!) and Tuesday to Thursday was filled with Matriculation Week activities, followed by rag practice at night. 

Matriculation Week largely involved everyone sitting in the LT listening to talks, talks and more talks. Especially for the first two days. I would have done rounds and rounds of dance cleaning if it meant not having to sit there for hours on end. Both may be boring, but at least I would burn some calories during cleaning. Which I did; having to stay back until about 9pm every night for full runs and more cleaning. So I guess that messed with my immune system, resulting in me waking up on Friday morning with a 38 degree fever. 

Of all days! I really didn't want to miss Friday, as there was the CCA fair in the morning and PUTS (picnic under the stars) at night, which I was supposed to perform in. I thought that by sleeping in would help me recover faster, but it resulted in me waking up shivering in my bed, and discovering a 39.9 degree fever. I spent the day drifting in and out of consciousness, but I managed to drag myself out of bed and off to school in time for PUTS. It was lots of fun, despite the splitting headache, and definitely worth the sore throat. Performing is one of those things that I've always wanted to do, and one of my biggest regrets in high school was not having the courage to audition for any of the music events despite our school having a vibrant music scene. So I'm really glad that I got to perform for this, and also very thankful to have an amazing group of people to perform with! 

July 30th happened to be National Cheesecake Day, but unfortunately I didn't have the time to bake a cheesecake on the day itself - so I celebrated it by making stove-top cheesecake oatmeal for breakfast before heading off to school that morning! Hopefully I'll find the time to bake a proper cheesecake soon, once I recover from this awful flu I'm having. I still have my A-Z list of cheesecakes that I have yet to test out! 

On fever day morning, I was still feeling the cheesecake bug, but my stomach didn't feel quite ready to eat yet. SO, I decided to make cheesecake baked oatmeal - after all, oatmeal is a sick person's food - and to give my stomach a little more time to wake up. Also, I've been wanting to make baked oatmeal for the longest time ever, but never had the patience to - the thought of waiting 15 minutes for my oatmeal to bake in the morning just puts me off. But damn, baked oatmeal is good stuff. Possibly worth the wait. I see more baked oatmeal mornings in the days to come. 

This cheesecake oatmeal is basically your typical creamy oatmeal goodness embedded with chunks of cream cheese that has been mixed with berry jam, topped with digestive biscuits for a more authentic crunch or granola, for a somewhat healthier crunch. Though all granola isn't as healthy as one may think, but that's a post for another time. I topped mine with some sliced bananas and peanut/almond butter, because bananas and nut butters literally go with anything. Breakfast for champions. A cheesecakey breakfast for champions. So simple. So much yumz.

Cheesecake Oatmeal

Ingredients:
✦ 45g rolled oats
✦ 50ml water + 50ml whole milk (or 100g of water/100g milk)
✦ half a banana, mashed
✦ 20g cream cheese, softened 
✦ 1 tsp jam of your choice (i used a mixed berry & lavender jam!) 
✦ 0.5 tsp vanilla extract 
✦ toppings of your choice (blueberries/sliced bananas/digestive biscuits (!!! highly recommend)/more berry jam/nut butters/maple syrup (!!))

Steps:
Stove-top: 
1. In a small bowl, mix your cream cheese, berry jam and vanilla extract together. 
2. Throw your oats, mashed banana and your water+/milk into a saucepan atop a medium heat and cook until the mixture begins to boil. 
3. Take the saucepan off the stove and mix in the cream cheese mixture. Top with desired toppings and enjoy while hot! 
Baked: 
1. Preheat your oven to 176 degrees celsius. In a small bowl, mix your cream cheese, berry jam and vanilla extract together. 
2. Add your oats to the ramekin and fill it with your water+/milk. Add more liquids if they don't fully submerge the oats. Mix in the mashed banana. 
3. Dollop the cream cheese mixture atop the oats and mix/swirl it in. 
4. Bake in your pre-heated oven for about 15-17 minutes! The mixture should have dried up and puffed a little. Top with your desired toppings and enjoy while hot! 

Bircher Muesli, featuring Ojo

One of my favourite things to do when baking is just eyeballing ingredients and hoping that everything turns out all right. Of course, I can't quite do this too much with the main four - butter, flour, sugar and eggs - baking still has its fundamentals in science. But with everything else, well, life's a playground. 

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Eyeballing ingredients is a major part of cooking, too. Add a dash of salt to your soup. It's not enough? Just add another dash of salt. Life's too short to go about calculating every detail, and sometimes, the best results arise from a combination of love and luck. 

I first tried bircher muesli at a cafe in Bangkok called Rocket Coffeebar (review on that will be up soon)! It was one of the best things I've had in a long time, and I loved how the oats, despite being soaked in milk and orange juice, weren't all disintegrated mush and clump.  It was also (pretty) healthy, so that was nice to know. Apparently, Bircher Muesli is named after a doctor who created this bowl of "little mush" to inject more fruits into his patient's diets. 

This bowl literally took me ten minutes to throw together, and I see this becoming a regular breakfast of choice for me as July approaches and life starts to pick up again. I feel like July's going to be a very exciting month. For starters, I joined rag - it stands for receiving and giving, and it's an annual charity event held by NUS, and involves every faculty (and hall, I think) creating a float and putting up performances. I joined the dance component, and I'm still pretty surprised at myself to be honest. I have absolutely no dance background at all, unless you count a few lessons of ballet which I took when I was four. But I'm liking practices so far - dance is actually hella fun. The conditioning is a bit of a pain though; it also leaves me in pain. I woke up aching this morning, but I guess that's not quite a bad thing. #roadtofitness2k15 

This week it's mostly been learning and fine-tuning, and just getting to know people (for me I guess). I feel as though I missed out a lot not going for law camp LOL but I don't quite like how I feel as though I need to justify why I didn't go. Everyone's pretty nice though, and generally quite accepting and inclusive. I'm thankful that I haven't encountered any judgmental people when I say that I'm from an International school (Lesha and Manisha say it's because I'm Chinese...) haha not that it really matters anyway, I have nothing to be ashamed about. 

And TOKYO! I'm so excited, because the last time I went to Tokyo I was fourteen years old and I didn't like sushi and sashimi so all the good stuff was wasted on me back then. Now, however, I'm going to eat it all. ALL. I also can't wait to try the coffee there, I already have a list of places I want to go to. And I might be meeting Joanelle, a friend I made from EYW, there as we recently discovered that our trips overlap by a significant amount hehe. :-))))) 

Back to the bircher; I didn't know that dogs were into bircher muesli as well. There's lots of Ojo (my toy poodle) in this post as she followed me into my room this morning where I was trying to eat my breakfast, and she kept trying to steal bits of it. She's such an adorable ball of fur, and one of my favourite things in this world. 

The recipe, if you could call it that, is simple enough: fill your bowl (or mason jar!) with oats and milk up to the surface of the oats, add a teaspoon of chia seeds and a dash of vanilla, and stir it all together. Add toppings and mix-ins as you wish. Like a mashed banana, or berries, or cocoa powder, maybe even matcha powder. Anything goes, really. Leave it in the freezer for ten minutes before devouring it. 

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Banana Buttermilk Pancakes

Life is full of hits and misses and sometimes, you have to take a shot in the dark.

And you never really know how those turn out. It's a lot of risk-taking and finger-crossing and internal prayer-saying - and if you're lucky, you get a hit. Hopefully in your life you have more hits than misses, but if anything, I'd hope the hits are always worth the misses.

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I had a hit today!!

Oh, happy day. I had initially planned to go for a run at 730 and then come home, make some pancakes and do some work. But how often do plans turn out the way you want them to, anyway. I woke up at 10 and went out for coffee with my mommy instead, at Dutch Colony - a favourite haunt of ours. I love our morning coffee runs, and a jolt of caffeine is one of my favourite ways to kickstart the day. Gets my mind going, brain cells working. A buzz of energy. Also, time spent with mommy is always time well-spent. Good mornings, indeed.

By the time I got back, it was time for brunch... Lunch... Whatever. I'm sitting at the dining table typing this out as my parents are eating their lunch (traditional "popiah") and eating... Pancakes. Pancakes all day, everyday, no?

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Gonna blog the recipe down, so I know where to find it in the future. I hope it hits you as well as it did me. The original recipe calls for low-fat milk, but I substituted this for buttermilk so that I would have fluffier pancakes, pancakes with a little more rise. Also, a shoutout to my friend who bought me a lovely bottle of maple syrup from Canada - thanks to him, I've got the real deal. (It's amazing, by the way!)

Banana Buttermilk Pancakes

recipe adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 95g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp buttermilk
  • a dash of vanilla extract
  • 20g melted butter

Steps:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and baking powder.
  2. Mash the banana in a small bowl. In a measuring cup, measure out your buttermilk, pour in the egg, vanilla extract and banana. Whisk it all together.
  3. Add the buttermilk mixture and the melted butter to the dry ingredients, fold in until just combined. The batter will be thick, lumpy and slightly wet. It's ok.
  4. Heat your griddle over a low-medium heat, and melt a pad of butter over it. Ladle your pancake batter onto the griddle, and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Depending on the size of your griddle, you can cook more than one at a time. Efficiency!
  5. Top with sliced bananas, maple syrup, whatever else your heart desires. I added some granola for a bit of crunch.

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P.S. I got a Townske account, and I'm currently working on a few guides for Singapore - most of which have to do with food and cafes, do check it out sometime! You can check it out here:

http://townske.com/trufflebeth

P.P.S I just watched Taylor Swift's Bad Blood music video, and I am in LOVE.