Today’s recipe is for overnight oats – but a new combo! Peanut butter (3 syns for two level tsp of lighter variety), raspberry jelly (1 syn I think, but it’s probably less, but let’s err on the side of caution before someone hurls a brick through the window) and oats, all mixed together for a sweet and crunchy breakfast! If you’re a little squeamish, I’d probably skip the next two paragraphs…
I know what you’re thinking – I’ve lost my mind. Well yes, probably, but it’ll have fuck all to do with the flavours of the recipe and everything to do with the hatched-faced harridan we’ve got over the road. Remember I alluded a few days ago to someone random visiting our street? She’s clearly a loon. I’m not one to cast aspersions but it’s quite clear she doesn’t have both oars in the water. She stares at us, rants to herself and GOOD LORD her parking. She struggles to get her Renault Shitbox into one of the many giant spaces on our road. You’d think she was trying to turn a grand piano around in a lift. Anyway, she overstepped the mark something chronic the other day by, instead of parking in the designated bay like a normal person, she parked on our lawn, with our front path passing underneath her car.
I mean honestly. It’s bad enough she can’t park in a double bay, but to ruin our lovely clover-filled lawn? The other half took immediate offence and wheeled our dustbin right down the path and about 10 atoms away from her bumper. Sounds simple, but see our gardener had thoughtfully chucked in the carcass of a bird the cats had killed a few days previous, and sadly, we had a maggot infestation. I know, gross, but we’re normally so hygienic and he knows not what he does. We propped open the lid just a fragment and went to work. When we came back, the car had gone and our bin was clear as a whistle. I do hope she didn’t need to move it or that a couple of the maggots hadn’t fallen on her car. That would have just been terrible.
Anyway, today’s American entry from our book (which I genuinely can’t believe you lot are buying – thank you!) deals with our day at Harry Potter land! If you want the full story, chuck me a couple of quid and buy our book by clicking here! If you have bought it, leave us a review! The recipe is below this, get ready to scroll!
Day 23 – Harry Potter and the Sobbing Child
Harry Potter day! Let’s get one thing straight right from the off. For YEARS I poo-pooed Harry Potter as being only for kids and stupid and that I was far too cool for it. Until one night, when I was stranded at London Stansted waiting for a flight home and someone had left a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sitting on one of the bum-crushing plastic waiting seats. A mere two hours later, I was so engrossed in the story that I almost missed my flight. I was lucky in the sense that I had five books to wade through, and many years later, I’m still a fan, and I’m unapologetic of that fact to the point where I can’t BEAR those people who get all snotty about it, saying it’s a kids book. Perhaps so. But Disney is meant for kids too. So shut yer face.
THAT SAID. If you’re one of those über–gimps who dress up as people from the book and thinks magic is real, then you should be shot.
What a cheery start eh! With that out of my system, we were power-mincing our way to the early opening breakfast offered to everyone who booked with Virgin Holidays. They opened the gates to the early-people at 7.30am prompt (I think) and despite there only being about 50 of us, we were all jostling into Hogwarts like our lives depended on it. I sacrificed a small child to the lake just to ensure I didn’t have to wait a moment more for the magic. And well, blow me – it was magnificent. They’ve done a terrific job of Hogsmeade, with the snow-capped houses, shop displays and even the talking toilets. It was immense.
Our breakfast at The Three Broomsticks on the other hand? Dire. I appreciate the gesture, but giving us cold toast that tasted like we were eating the ceiling tiles wasn’t exactly fantastic, and given the porridge looked like what I imagine Katie Price’s cervix to be lined with, I politely declined. The castle opened at 8am, and we were straight in, greeted with characters from JK Smiler’s little known eighth book, Harry Potter and the Impossibly Bad English Accent. It’s a poor job when your accent makes Mary Poppins’ Dick van Dyke look like Stephen Fry. Who I loathe, incidentally – he’s a thick person’s idea of a genius. Paul countered them with an ‘Awight guv’nor’ and I died a little inside.
There was NO time to look at the castle, as we hurried past all the delights we would later see in the haste to ride what has been hyped up as an amazing experience. Oh – one thing – both of us managed to get a green light (not even a fattychops amber) on the ride, so they definitely cater for the more Hagrid-esque amongst us now. The ride took off, we screamed at the scary bits, we screamed at the quick bits, and we screamed when it finished and we didn’t have to wait two years to go back on – they let us stay in the bench and go around again! It is AMAZING. No exaggeration, no hyperbole – it’s genuine class. They’ve realised it so well, from the timing of the movement to even the voice acting. Well, save for Draco Malfoy, but he can’t act for toffee. I even managed to go the whole ride without cringing at Emma Watson’s Hermione, who always delivers her lines like she’s just been punched square in her wizard’s sleeve. It’s brilliant, and perhaps the best ride at Universal now.
After the Forbidden Journey, we had a quick go on whatever-they-have-renamed-the-Flying-Unicorn as (still good fun, and fact fans, the first rollercoaster I went on in Florida) and then onto Dragon Challenge. Remember I got smashed with an egg a few days ago? Well, I think that was karma paying me back in advance for laughing at some poor bloke who, in his haste to get onto the ride first, went running up past the Ford Anglia, tried to stop to take a photo, and went completely arse-over-tea-kettle. He could NOT have fallen over more comically, it was like he hit a wall. Being ever sympathetic, I had to go sit in the toilets for five minutes before I came close to stopping laughing. I actually thought I was going to pass out and it was only after I took two gasps on my inhaler that I managed to settle myself down. The park was getting busy now, but we still managed to do Dragon Challenge a fair few times before we decided to nose around the shops. For the record, the front of the coaster is fine for this ride because it never seems to slow down and you get a scarier view, but the real money is at the back, where you’re whipped around like crazy. I ALMOST lost my glasses – the first and only time that has ever happened on a rollercoaster, and it was only by sheer fluke that I grabbed them as they shot off my face. Otherwise, we’d be screwed – I need my glasses to actually see, for I am proper blind without them. Still one better than poor Paul, who has to wear a prism lens sticker on his glasses which refract the light so much it’s like living in a permanent gay club nightmare. I call him Biggles. He hates it.
I’m going to save my write-up of the rest of Islands of Adventure for later in the week and combine the two days together, as there’s no point in writing the same things twice. I might have a nice way with words but there be limits to my creative talents!
At the end of the day (argh!) we made our way back to the hotel to freshen up and relax by the pool. It’s a fantastic pool, shaped like a guitar and with a cheeky little waterslide (clearly meant for kids, but didn’t stop us barrelling down it in a blur of fat and giggles). The pool started filling up with kids ready to watch the in-pool movie, which is SUCH a good idea, so we retired back to the room to ‘get ready’. That done, we changed into smart clothes, and decided to sniff out some food. The Club 7 room didn’t disappoint with its tasty chicken skewers and free booze, but we needed something more substantial.
As we were making our way out for our evening walk and to try and find somewhere to eat, we happened upon the Happiest Kid in the World in the lobby of Club 7. He was bouncing a ‘squishy eyeball’ toy from Harry Potter World all over the place. His face was lit up with joy and wonder. It DID look great fun and I smiled my least-child-threatening smile at him as we passed. Being precocious and American, he handed the toy to me (remember, it was a goo-filled bouncing ball) and asked me if I wanted a go. Well, being a big kid, I did. And I swear to God, I didn’t chuck it that hard, but the very second it hit the floor it burst wide open, showering the lobby with goo.
I was mortified. You know how Puss in Boots in the Shrek movies pulls that face with his sad eyes to win people over? This kid did exactly that – big wide eyes, full of tears, and then he exploded too. In sound. Wailing. Immediately worried that I was about to be done for being mean to a child, I started telling him not to cry, that I’d buy him some sweets or get him a new one, but then Paul pointed out how THAT looked. Jesus. THIS is why I don’t have children. Well, that and the whole dropping anchor in poo-bay lifestyle I lead. His father came rushing out and to his credit, laughed the whole thing off, but I could see the distress in that child’s eyes and knew then I’d ruined his holiday forever. I did try and give the dad some money for a new toy but he said it was fine. To cap that off, we later saw him acting up in the same restaurant we were at, and I couldn’t finish my dessert for the guilt.
Well, not strictly true, I was just full, but I like to make myself sound more sympathetic than a holiday-wrecking child-hater really should.
We wandered around the grounds of Hard Rock, then meandered down to look at the Royal Pacific, which looks lovely but a bit too…not classy as such, but well, a bit SAGA. We definitely had the coolest hotel. It was charming though, just walking along by the side of the canal hand-in-hand, and not one person made a comment about it. America’s a lot more laid-back then I thought, or perhaps Universal just attracts a cooler sort of person, who knows? We actually ended up back in the Hard Rock and went down to the Kitchen for dinner.
I heartily recommend! Paul had a burger, I had a steak – I know, we sparkle with originality, but both came highly recommended by our very-gay-very-hipster waiter. Normally ‘hipsters’ make my skin crawl (you know the type, all Hot Topic and stupid glasses) (watching T4 on a Sunday actually gives me a stomach ulcer) but he was lovely, actually – he even had a Mario tattoo which, to us Nintendo geeks, was AMAZING. When Paul and I lose some weight and don’t have such colossal arm-hams, we’re going to get a Mario tattoo (for me) and a Luigi tattoo (for Paul). Because we’re just so cool. I’d love to get a Piranha Plant all the way up my back coming from a green pipe above my bumcrack but I don’t want the old people laughing at it when I’m in a home, so perhaps not. After dinner, and an excellent tip, we had a quick drink in the Velvet bar and spent the rest of the evening watching yet more American Office on the Pay-TV.
One final thought – DON’T even take things out of the minibar unless you plan to pay for it. I took out a jar of jelly-bears and the $14 charge appeared on the TV-Bill system. That’s the most I’ve ever paid for some coloured cow-hoof! Nevermind. It was time to snuggle up with my very own mass of jelly and await day 24. Four days to go. Sad face!
And you’re back in the room, and onto the main event:
I appreciate it looks like I’ve already had a bash at eating it, but it was tasty! Jelly in America is actually jam, but well, jam is sugar and fruit and that would send Margaret herself into a fit of the vapours, so I’ve replaced it with sugar-free jelly. Delicious! So…
for peanut butter and jelly overnight oats, you’re gonna need:
- 40g of Quaker or store-brand oats – we use Quaker because we like them
- 2 tsp of peanut butter (crunchy, lighter – 1.5 syns per tsp, so 3 syns)
- some sugar free raspberry jelly made up to instructions (use any leftovers for dessert!)
- a vanilla yoghurt (or, in my case, I used around 60ml of almond milk, and didn’t syn it…what a slut, but it’s about 0.4 syns)
then you’ll need to:
- decant the milk or the yoghurt into a bowl, and add the peanut butter – mix it together as best you can, but don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be smooth, just try to blend it a little – if you’ve having difficulty, microwave for the briefest of moments
- add the oats and stir
- add the jelly on top
- when it comes to the time you want to eat your oats, give everything a right good stir!
You can drop the syns by lowering the amount of peanut butter, but haway, life is too short to shit your pants over 1.5 syns.
If you want more overnight oats, you’ll find them here:
- rocky road overnight oats
- carrot cake overnight oats
- cafe mocha overnight oats
- rhubarb and custard overnight oats