Tag Archives: easy

Overnight Oatmeal

 

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Getting out the door in the morning shouldn’t be such a challenge for me. I don’t have kids, I don’t have pets and Rem helps me make my lunch for work. But the pull of just one more page of a book, or all too often Facebook, means I’m usually short on time.

Putting together no-cook oatmeal in the evening means breakfast is ready and waiting in the morning. For people who like grab-and-go recipes, you can assemble it in a mason jar to eat it at work. As the weather warms up, hot oatmeal is less appealing to me. I like the cool, creaminess of this version, but if you like a hot breakfast, this can be warmed in the microwave.

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The basics for the dish are rolled oats, Greek yogurt, fruit and milk. I like to include something sweet in it too, usually honey. Recently I’ve started adding ground flaxseed and some Trader Joe’s Super Seed & Ancient Grain Blend to boost the nutrition content. I’ve seen chia seeds in some recipes and I’m planning on trying a version which replaces half of the oats with quinoa.  Toasted nuts and coconut are both welcome toppings to add  just before eating.

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I saw the recipe on several sites and in magazine articles, but I think it was after reading The Yummy Life post with different flavors that I finally tried it myself, and I love it. Going back to get the link I realized I need to try some of Monica’s suggested recipes: Cocoa Banana sounds delicious. She also writes about the many variations she and her readers have tried, such as gluten free oats, almond milk, coconut milk, agave syrup, and maple syrup, as well as yummy additions like peanut butter, vanilla, cinnamon and coconut or toasted nuts, which are easy to sprinkle on just before eating.

When I make it, I don’t usually measure the ingredients, just grabbing handfuls and eyeballing as I go and each time it comes out a little different. But I took a few more minutes to measure it out so I could share it with you.  I will also include some notes at the end for making it using steel cut oats.

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Overnight Oat
Adapted from The Yummy Life and Real Simple Magazine

Ingredients (1 serving)

1/3 cup rolled or quick cook oats

1 tablespoon Ancient Grains Cereal Blend or Chia seeds (optional)

1 teaspoon ground flax seeds (optional)

1/3 cup Greek yogurt (I love Fage brand and the whole milk yogurt is delicious in this dish)
(I use 1/2 of a single serving tub. Different brands of yogurt are different sizes, so don’t sweat it if you have a little less or a little more than 1/3 cup. It should be fine.)

drizzle of honey (optional)

1/2 to 3/4 cup fruit, such as frozen blueberries

1/3 cup milk (I use 2%, but use what you like)

2-3 tablespoons toasted pecans or almonds, or shredded coconut (optional, added just before eating)

Directions:
In a bowl or pint-sized jar, layer the ingredients in order: oats on the bottom, any other grains or seeds you are using, yogurt, honey if using, fruit and milk. Some recipes direct you to stir or shake all the ingredients into a homogenized mixture, but I prefer having the variation of ingredients in each bite. I do poke a spoon or chopstick down through the frozen fruit, yogurt and into the oatmeal a few times to make sure the milk finds it’s way to the oats.

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I use the frozen fruit right from the freezer without defrosting it first. It hasn’t make a difference.

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Cover dish or jar and put in the fridge overnight.

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The next morning, the oatmeal is ready to eat!

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The first two times I tried this with steel cut oats, it was much too chewy for me to enjoy. A little online research and two trail runs later and I’m happy with it.

Overnight Oatmeal with Steel Cut Oats

Ingredients:

Same as in first version with these changes:

1/3 cup steel cut oats to replace rolled oats

1/2 cup of milk to replace 1/3 cup milk

Directions:

Combine oats and 1/3 cup of the milk in a microwave safe bowl or jar and heat in microwave for 1 minute. (If you use the full amount of milk, it may spill over in microwave.)

Remove bowl or jar from microwave and stir, than let cool on counter for 30 to 60 minutes. Add yogurt, honey if desired, fruit and remaining milk. Cover and refrigerate as in original recipe.

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I tried this with both a bowl and a jar and found the mixture in the jar soaked up all the liquid and even after a second night in the fridge, the one in the bowl was still a little milky.  They are quite similar and I found both to be quite tasty; I would be happy with either. But I admit I prefer the more tender texture of the rolled oats to the steel cut oats.

Thanks for stopping by.

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May 1, 2016 · 9:11 pm

Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?

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Here are two cute projects that you can still put together before Christmas.  I had one of these little button snowmen for years and have made and given away quite a few. They are cheerful on a lapel or collar and super easy to make.

I’ve been cooking and crafting and taking pictures but I haven’t been very good about getting blogs written and published. It is always a challenge during the holidays for me to 1.) Find the time to blog and 2.) Not post anything that is a gift for someone until I’ve given it to them.

For these little snowmen pins, you need two white buttons with one slightly larger than the other, a pin-back, hot glue, scissors, felt, and maybe some pipe cleaner.

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The pin-back needs to be long enough to back part of two buttons without showing above or below them. The silver ones in this picture, with the three holes, is 1 inch long and it works well for most snowmen.

Align the buttons, face down, on your work surface so the two holes on the top are horizontal for eyes and the two holes on the bottom button are vertical for buttons. Apply a small stripe of hot glue and quickly press the back of the pin-back into the glue. Remember that hot glue is very, very hot, so use care when adhering the pin-back. I glue the pin-back on so it is vertical with the clasp at the top.

The glue will likely squish out a bit, but the scarf will probably cover it up. Let the glue cool.  If you need to, remove any glue threads or blobs. Cut a thin strip of felt for the scarf, or use a length of pipe cleaner. Keeping the pin face down, open the clasp of the pin-back and  dot a drop of hot glue onto it, then quickly put the scarf down, a bit off-center.  Wrap it around to the front and use a little tiny bit of glue to keep it in place.

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For a top hat, cut out a rectangle, making it a bit wider than the head. Once you have a good size, trim off two corners to make the hat shape, and glue to button head. A red triangle and white pom-pom make a cute hat with the point of the triangle glued forward.

If your buttons have four holes, you can align the button for the head so one hole is covered by the hat and the other holes make two eyes and a nose, like the one in the top photo with the lighter green scarf. A four-hole button body looks like your snowman has a double-breasted jacket.

With an extensive button collection or somewhere to buy a nice variety of buttons, here are ornaments you can make from them.

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These are simply buttons stacked with a sturdy thread looped through them. For the snowman stack, I added a scarf made from felt and for the Christmas tree, a little star trims the top.

I hope your Christmas to-do list is nearly buttoned up.

Thanks for stopping  by.

 

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Rosemary Gruyere Crackers with Sea Salt

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While Rem and I were on vacation, we enjoyed trying out some new recipes. These tasty little nibbles are from The Smitten Kitchen cookbook and they’re delicious. Deb Perelman calls these crisps but I think cracker is more clear.  They’re really a grown up Cheez-It.

I made a second batch earlier this week to take to a party and they were a big hit. When I made them at Sea Ranch I only had a plain pizza cutter  to cut the dough but I used a fluted pastry wheel to cut them at home which makes for a prettier, more decorative edge.  Sadly, I didn’t get any pictures of those ones.

Rosemary Gruyere and Sea Salt Crackers (or Crisps)

From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Deb Perelman

1.5 cups coarsely grated Gruyere cheese (6 oz.)
4 tablespoons (or 1/2 stick) butter
3/4 cup all purpose flour plus more for rolling out
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary (I think I used closer to 2 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt plus more for sprinkling (I didn’t add any salt to the dough, just sprinkled it on top)
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine ingredients in food processor pulse and until mixtures becomes coarse, craggy crumbs (I thought it looked kind of like cooked cous-cous).

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Dump it onto a big piece of plastic wrap, press it together into a ball, then flatten into loose, thick square.
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Chill for 15 to 20 minutes so it is slightly firmed up.
On floured surface roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick.  The shape doesn’t matter.
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Cut into about a 1 inch by 1 inch grid using a fluted pastry wheel.  You can also cut with a pizza cutter a knife.
Dock each cracker in the center with a skewer or knife point.
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Dab with water and sprinkle with sea salt. When I baked my second batch I used flaky Maldon sea salt which worked beautifully.
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Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until light brown on ends (I put parchment paper on baking sheets)
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Put baking sheets on rack to cool.
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These keep well in a cookie tin.
Thanks for stopping by.

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Bad Day/Good Cookies

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Tuesday, January 20th, was the first day of the spring semester at College of Marin, where I work.  It is usually a very busy, stressful time with classes getting changed, students getting lost, and a good amount of panic, misunderstanding and poor communication.  By Friday, all I wanted to do was eat peanut butter and chocolate. For dinner.

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I know I ate something more sensible than that, though I don’t remember now what it was.  What I do remember is the cookies I baked after dinner. I’d enjoyed them at my friend Maria’s house on the Monday Martin Luther King holiday when we were crafting Valentine’s with her daughters and remembered their rich, crumbly peanut buttery goodness, loaded with chocolate chips.  Happily, Maria had the recipe on her phone and sent it promptly.

Maybe it’s just me, but I found it a little strange that Maria’s recipe came from King Arthur Flour and it is a no-flour recipe. It doesn’t matter though, because this recipe makes a wonderful cookie and I certainly didn’t miss the flour.

No-Flour Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

From King Arthur Flour (and Maria)

Ingredients:

1 cup smooth peanut butter (I didn’t have enough smooth peanut butter so used part creamy and part crunchy and they were delicious)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips (when I made them, I used a generous hand with the chocolate chips and felt it was a little too much chocolate for the peanut butter, so next time I’ll stick with the recipe as written)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine the peanut butter, sugar, baking soda and salt in a bowl and beat together with a mixer at medium speed, until well-blended.

Add the egg and vanilla, and blend on low-medium speed until incorporated.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

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Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop dough by rounded tablespoons (use a tablespoon cookie scoop if you have one – I don’t and just used a soup spoon), making them about the size of a walnut.

NOTE: I used natural peanut butter which the King Arthur site warned against as it makes a more dry, crumbly cookie.  The dough was very crumbly but I could scoop it with a spoon, gathering the crumbly dough and roll it in my hands to make balls.

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Press the top of the dough to flatten just slightly.  I forgot to take a picture until they were already in the oven but I didn’t press them down much.

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Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pan. The tops should be slightly crinkled. Pull them out before they begin to brown on the edges.

Yield: 20 cookies.

Less than a minute until the cookies are done.!

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I know that eating cookies isn’t the answer to stressful situations. I was also walking my 10,000 steps every day and I’m not going to get worked up about baking a batch of 20 or so cookies.

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Thanks for your visit. Here’s to good cookies AND good days.

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O Henry Bars (Two Ways)

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I saw these bars mentioned on a friend’s Facebook status.  Andy had baked a batch using her friend Leanne’s recipe which turned out to be the recipe of Leanne’s cousin, Megan! It is an oatmeal bar topped with a combination of peanut butter and chocolate. They are pretty easy to make and they are delicious.  The recipe looked like the best one of many I saw online and once I made a batch I didn’t need to try any others.

They would make a wonderful, sweet Valentine for someone special.  The first time I cut them into average brownie-sized bars and when I made them again, I cut them smaller, more like a piece of fudge.  They’re very rich and the small size makes them less guilt-inducing.  I also put them in candy papers for giving.

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Rem and I make holiday treats for our neighbors after Christmas and one family is vegan. I read a few articles and blog posts about replacing butter with an equal measure of extra virgin coconut oil. By subbing coconut oil for the butter, this recipe worked beautifully.  The oil adds a mild coconut flavor that works well with the other ingredients.  I found organic, extra virgin coconut oil at Trader Joe’s.

Here is my slightly adapted recipe:

O Henry Bars

Ingredients

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Bars:

2/3 cup softened butter * (1 stick + 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons)

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup (I had light corn syrup in the cupboard and used it, but I think dark corn syrup would work fine too)

1 tablespoon vanilla

4 cups rolled oats (I’ve made it successfully with quick oats)

Topping:

6 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

pinch of salt, optional (I use unsalted peanut butter and thought the salt helped balance the sweetness in the bar)

* You can substitute 2/3 cup of extra virgin coconut oil for the butter.

Directions:

Set oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Beat together butter and sugar until well-combined and creamy.  Beat in corn syrup and vanilla.

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Stir in oats.

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Press mixture into a well-buttered (or sprayed with non-stick spray) baking dish.  I used a glass 9 x 13 inch Pyrex dish but it could be a little larger and still work, just watch the baking time because it will be thinner.

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Bake 12 to 15 minutes – err on the side of underdone rather than overdone.  I found that I slightly over-baked the pan with the coconut oil and they were a real challenge to get out of the pan.  Delicious but I learned that I should have taken them from the oven sooner.

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This picture is the butter version and it looks a little gooey and soft still.  The coconut oil version was more toasty and dry looking.

Let bars cool in baking dish.

Once they’re cooled, make the topping: in a medium/small, microwave-safe bowl combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter, and salt, if using.

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Heat on high in microwave for 1 minute, remove from microwave and stir.

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Continue to heat for 15 second intervals, stirring after each, until chocolate and peanut butter are melted and you can stir them together into a smooth mixture.

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Spread chocolate-peanut butter mixture on oat bars.

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Chill until set before cutting.

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Store in a airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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12 Ideas for Christmas

Clothespin Doll Elves

Here are links to 12 past posts I’ve written with some of my favorite (Christmas) things. No girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, but recipes, gift ideas, ornaments, a card and wrapping paper you can make.

These Glass Tile Pendants use beautiful scraps of paper.  A link to an Etsy site has beautiful tiles, jewelry bails (the little loop), glaze and chains.

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Another necklace idea are these Hand Stamped Washer Pendants.  I gave them out last year and still love and wear the one I made for myself.

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Ornaments are some of my favorite gifts to make and these are some of my favorite ornaments.

Vellum Ornaments are like miniature works of stained glass made with vellum paper, stickers, colored markers and stick on jewels.

Since I said I was going to share 12 things, I’m not going to give you the link, but if you click on the link for the Vellum Ornaments, you can go to the next post and find Easy Paper Heart Ornaments for a simpler project.

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Last year I made a whole bunch of these Little Clothespin Doll Ornaments.  They are really fun to make and I really enjoyed the details that gave each little doll her character.

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If you like to make your wrapping extra special, here are two ideas.

First is Vegetable Printed Wrapping Paper.  It is really easy and looks great.

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This is a way of scrunching tissue paper while wrapping for a ruched effect.  Take a look at  Scrunched Tissue Paper Wrapping to see how to do it yourself and also how to make the tissue paper roses.

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I used to make and send LOADS of Christmas cards.  It started to feel like a chore that I no longer enjoyed.  After a few years of sending no cards, I make a handful and I’m happier.

This is the card I made two years ago.  The Half Circle Christmas Tree (or Angel) Card is made using two-sided paper and embellishments.  It’s a fairly easy technique and the results are really cute.  Do the same fold and make it into an angel.

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Always popular are food gifts.  I made this easy and delicious Infused Oil after receiving some as a gift myself and I decided to reuse the bottle.

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How about a gift of fudge or truffles?  This Chocolate Nutella Fudge & Truffles recipe makes creamy and delicious treats.

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Christmas Crunch is a sweet salty combination of cereal, M&M’s, pretzels, nuts and melted white and peanut butter morsels.  Make a batch for a party or potluck.

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These Cheese Wafers are a big hit.  My niece, Caitlin, often requests I bring them to our family Christmas Eve party.  They’re made just like drop cookies but are loaded with sharp cheddar cheese, butter, Rice Krispies and a little flour.

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My twelfth and final Christmas idea is the ever-popular and oh-so-delicious Cracker Toffee made with Saltines, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, chocolate chips and pecans or almonds.  I LOVE this stuff.

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I would be delighted to hear if you use any of these crafts or recipes this Christmas.

Thank you for your visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Halloween, 2014!

Two Pumpkins

Here are two of our carved pumpkins this year – I was doing the last one after work today, a bit last minute.  Buy I got it done before the first trick-or-treaters arrived.

Boosted Color Pumpkin

Earlier in the week I worked on this batch of pumpkins.  Rem picked up a package of glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth and I decided to use them in each one.  The pumpkins are on either side of the stairs coming up from the carport.  I used the plant holders from our patio as  way to display them.

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Because these pumpkins were right by the stairs, I decided not to put candles in them.  Instead I just carved out the mouth to insert the fangs and used black Sharpie and white correction pen for the faces.

Big Eyes

Snarl

Skull

Soul Patch

Crazed Smile

I also did a few embellished pumpkins after seeing this link to A Beautiful Mess on Pine & Plum.  This is a fun way to decorate pumpkins without carving.

Embellished Pumpkins

The spider web was done with black Sharpie. The white pumpkin had a pretty stumpy stem that became part of the spider with the application of some black acrylic craft paint.

Spider Web

Nailheads

Decorative upholstery nail heads worked well with this green and yellow pumpkin and they are easy to push in.

Glitter Pumpkin

I think the shape and color of this dusty-orange Cinderella pumpkin looks great with a topping of Mod Podge and copper glitter.  Mod Podge was used for the decoupage stem and also on the small orange mini pumpkin with the black and white checkered ribbon shown in the group picture of embellished pumpkins.

Green Rhinestones

I looked into my craft stash and found these green stick-on jewels. I used pins at the top to hold down the end of each strip, but the adhesive was strong enough to hold them on the rest of the way.  Some clear gems and a large-stick on pearl decorate the stem.

Next year I think I’ll come back to the embellished pumpkin idea.

Hope your Halloween was both happy and safe.  Thanks for stopping by.

Bloodshot Eye

 

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