Breakfast hasn’t been the same since I spotted a bag of muesli in aisle 5. Or, I should clarify, it has been exactly the same since a recipe on the back of that bag encouraged me to soak the oats overnight with some yogurt and apple. I tweaked the measurements, added cinnamon, and Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats came to be the only thing I’ve eaten for breakfast in the past two weeks.
There’s nothing new about overnight oats, but I had never tried them with muesli- essentially a better version of rolled oats, jazzed up with dried fruit and seeds. I mix 1/2 cup muesli with 1/4 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup almond milk and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, I mix in a shit ton of cinnamon, 1/2 chopped apple (save the other half for tomorrow’s oats), and a dollop of crunchy peanut butter. I drizzle on some honey if I’m feeling extra sweet (or still trying to recover from this damn cold). Sometimes I microwave it, sometimes I eat it cold. It’s sweet, creamy, satisfying, and takes a shocking 5 minutes to prepare. Breakfast has been solved.
As my cold progressed into its second week, I needed a solution for lunch too. One night, after abandoning an empty fridge and diving into my pantry, I found a can of soup. Lazy, sleepy, and sickly, I threw it in my purse for lunch the next day. And the next, and the day after that.
I discovered that I would happily eat a can of soup in sickness and in health. It’s just so easy- pour the contents of the can into a bowl and heat it, shower it with freshly cracked black pepper, good olive oil, maybe a dollop of thick yogurt, and blissfully enjoy a lunch that someone else basically made for you. What’s lacking in flavor is more than compensated in the ease of a complete meal wrapped in a perfect aluminum cylinder- with a flip-top that you can open with your thumb.
Dinner, on the other hand, won’t ever be that easy. But it’s finally cold enough that an hour in the kitchen feels less like a punishment and more like an opportunity to warm up while getting a meal on the table. I roasted my first chicken of the season, paired with a carrot and farro salad from Joshua McFadden’s inspiring Six Seasons cookbook. Large, bright carrots are doused in olive oil, salt, chili flakes and black pepper, then roasted until their exteriors ripple with soft, burnt orange edges. The sweet, tender vegetables combined with chewy, nutty farro and salty whipped feta is an excellent dinner on its own, but a few pieces of chicken on the side turn this into a fall feast. As you roast the two together, the savory scent of melted chicken fat and caramelized vegetables perfumes the entire kitchen. It’s the kind of aroma that silently invites your family to the dinner table, warms any cold feelings about the passing of summer, and signals the delicious beginning of fall.