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Fruity Nutty Baked Oatmeal

12 Oct

My original intent had been to make this for yesterday’s breakfast, since Michael was off work and there was no need to rise early to bake it – but, he was out of steel cut oats so we couldn’t do it.  Last night, when he headed out for some hummus and veggies for our lazy night’s dinner, he also picked up some oats… rolled, as the nearest steel cut oats would require a longish drive to a Whole Foods.

I was planning to use this recipe as a guideline, but halving the recipe and using chopped mixed fruit and Craisins in place of their apricots (which I will definitely try another time), and so this is what I did:

The night before, I combined 3 cups of rolled oats with 1/2 cup chopped walnuts in a glass bowl, then added water just to cover and a couple tablespoons of buttermilk Michael had on hand, and a dash of sea salt.

(odds are higher that I’ll usually have plain yogurt or whey I’ve saved from draining the yogurt to make yogurt cheese.  The idea here is that you want to add an acid to your grains to make them more digestible.  I didn’t notice any impact in the flavor.)

The covered bowl of soaking nuts and grains was left on the counter overnight.  Now the hard part (ha!) – to have this ready to eat before Michael had to head off to work, I had to get up before 7am to finish this off.  That meant actually functioning in a kitchen that isn’t mine before I’ve had any time to wake up -I am so proud!  And this recipe is so easy that it was possible!

In the morning you want to combine 3 eggs, 1 cup of milk, and about 1/4 cup maple syrup, and whisk well to combine – it should be frothy when correctly mixed.   Add the eggs to the oats (which I did not need to drain – the oats soaked it up completely), then fold in a tablespoon of cinnamon, a tablespoon of oil (we used walnut oil because that’s what we had other than olive oil) and a couple handfuls of dried fruit.

Turn the oat mixture into a greased 9×9 baking dish and bake at 375F for 40 minutes.

We didn’t eat it with anything – it takes a lot like bread pudding – but I thought a dollop of Greek yogurt and some banana slices would be a nice addition, along with another little drizzle of maple syrup.  I also think this would make a nice homey dessert, maybe with some sauteed apples and whipped cream.

I am definitely doing this again – probably next week when I’m back home and can use steel cut oats -but the rolled oats work very well!

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What’s Cookin’ This Week – Oct 11 – 17

11 Oct

Headed out to Maryland on Friday and have been on the go almost non-stop ever since, so there will be no real update probably until tomorrow, when Michael goes back to work.  But we did do our menu planning yesterday so we could deal with grocery shopping, so I’ve got that.

And you know what? It already went off track – I’d planned to make some baked oatmeal for breakfast this morning, and it turned out he only had a tiny bit of steel cut oatmeal left.  So maybe that will happen later in the week, since we bought all the other stuff for it.

The Plan:

Mon – Oct 11

Out running all day.  Dinner will be whatever looks good wherever we are.

Tue – Oct 12

Lemon Garlic Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, Salad

Wed – Oct 13

Salmon, Brown Rice Pilaf, Acorn Squash, Broccoli

Thu – Oct 14

Italian Vegetable Strata, Salad

Fri – Oct 15

Going to catch a play – dinner out after the performance

Sat – Oct 16

Neighborhood Pot Luck – we’ll be bringing Pepperoni and Sausage Lasagna

Sun – Oct 17

Haven’t decided on dinner yet, but it’s Soup Sunday at the UU congregation we attend.  We’re bringing some Apple Curry Soup.

Dinner will likely be something simple with no leftovers since we’ll be heading back to my home on Monday.

(linked to Menu Plan Monday – land of a million great ideas for dinner!)

L is for… Lollipop… and Lentils

6 Oct

A picture to make you say ‘awwww’ and then a lovely lentil stew to pop into your mouth, how’s that?


L is for… LOLLIPOP:


And L is also for…

Lentil Stew with Smoked Sausage and Cabbage

(once again, I failed to take a picture)

2 T. olive oil

1 bag lentils

1 onion, diced

1/2 head cabbage, shredded

1 cup shredded carrots

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 smoked sausages, sliced

1 can Rotel (heat level as you prefer)

4 cups beef or chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 t. thyme

1 t. chipotle Cholula

1/2 t. red pepper flakes (if you want more heat)


Heat oil over medium heat.  Saute onion, garlic, carrots and cabbage until tender.  Add lentils, smoked sausage and tomatoes and cook for a few minutes.  Add broth, bay leaves, thyme, Cholula and red pepper flakes and bring to boil.   Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about a half hour, or until lentils are tender (watch as the time gets close – depending on the type of lentil being used, this can quickly turn to mush before you know it.)

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt if desired and sop up with flat bread or tortillas.

Gooood food on a cold rainy night.

Serves 4-6 depending on appetite.


This is good over grains the next day.


(this entry for ABC Wednesday)

Samhain Recipes

5 Oct

This is too good not to share – Cattra of Cattra’s Magickal World has posted a whole bunch of Samhain friendly recipes.  I started noting which ones I wanted to try..and then realized I need to just keep track of the entire post.   I think I’m going to make some of those shortbread cookies today.

What’s Cookin’ This Week: Oct 4-10

4 Oct

I updated last week’s list to note what actually happened vs. what I planned to do.  Looking at this – and my non-posted menu plans from the past month – I think a couple things are confirmed:

1.  I plan for too much food – I leave myself one non-cooking day a week, but the reality is that there are at least 2 days I needn’t cook.. and often, that’s more like 3 days.

2. Schedules shift often enough that it’s becoming silly to plan which day I’ll be making which meal.  Sometimes it’s obvious, but not always, so I think I’m going to list what I plan to make and not necessarily when during the week I’m going to make it.

That seems like a step back and I don’t know if it will work for me, or if I’ll decide I want the most specific plan even if I do wind up needing to mod it a lot.  But that’s what I’m going to try this month.

I spent most of my life cooking for a crowd – for a long while, mealtime mean a husband, four kids and whoever else showed up at the table.  Until five weeks ago, it included for adult-sized appetites, regular houseguests, and the youngest’s boyfriend of the moment – so I never knew if i was cooking for 2, 4, or 6 and just got used to making a whole lot ‘just in case’.

So, cooking for two is a new thing and it’s not easy!  For the rest of this year, though, it will be my daughter and me and then when she heads to college, I’m moving back to the DC area where I think of as home and in with my extremely patient fiance, Michael. I haven’t mentioned him… he is a saint putting up with long distance so that Deanna can finish high school here.

He comes out here as often as he can, and I go out there as often as I can, and that’s how we deal with that.  When Deanna’s out of school, she comes along – when she’s in school, she goes to stay with a friend while I’m away.

And in fact, this next weekend, I’ll be heading out there for a week – to what I am already regarding as my other home.  We’ve got a busy week planned that includes a lot of socializing with friends, a day at the Ren Faire, and other good fun.

So… dinner planning this week only involves a few days worth – and it turns out that this week, I DO know which days will be which, so I’ll go list that too:

Monday Oct 4 (Meatless Monday)

Corn and Potato Chowder and Homemade Rolls

(UPDATE – Ooorr.. nothing.  Deanna had a last minute offer to go out with friends, and I kind of just forgot to eat)

Tuesday Oct 5

Chicken and Vegetable Crepes and Tossed Salad

(nope… low energy day and we both wanted easy comfort food….wound up making Cheeseburger Turnovers (roll out croissant dough filed with a mixture of cooked ground beef, onion, cheese, a bit of catsup and mustard and pickle relish.  Those were really good by the way.)

Wednesday Oct 6

Enchilada Casserole

(Flipping Wednesday and Thursday)

Thursday Oct 7

Smoked Sausage and Lentils Stew with Acorn Squash


Clean out the fridge and use leftovers before leaving.

Friday Oct 8

Travel Day – Michael plans to cook something simple

Saturday Oct 9

Renaissance Faire!  We’ll be eating out.  Possible turkey legs will be involved.

Sunday Oct 10

Not sure yet – we’ll be menu planning and grocery shopping for the week today.

(this post is for Menu Plan Monday.)

Speaking of tea…

3 Oct

I want one of these. A lot – look how beautiful the tea is floating freely in the cylinder… and then there is a filter so you don’t wind up with tea leaves in your teeth.

The thing is, you want the tea to have lots of room to float in the water when it’s steeping, or you don’t get full flavor out of it.. and if you’re going to drink good quality loose tea, what is the point of treating it like it’s Lipton?

So how cool is it that Mommy Told Me is currently giving one away for free?  I sure do want on, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed… there is something that just makes the heart feel good when I see a functional and beautiful tea accessory.  It even does the blooming flower teas… sweet!

What’s Cookin’ This Week

27 Sep

Here’s my planned menu for this week – I’m making good use of my Angel Food Ministries order this month (link on the side) so I’m putting *s where I’m using part of my bounty.  Two *s mean it’s something from last month’s AFM box, still tucked away in the freezer:

MON 9/27: Scrambled eggs*, Blueberry Pancakes*, Sausage, Cantaloupe slices*

UPDATE: D is having a very bad day today – the sort that involved no appetite and a desire to pull the covers over her head and go to bed at 4:30 pm.  So yes we did have Breakfast For Dinner after I coaxed her to come out of her room for a little while, but modified from this relatively wholesome version to something less nutritious but more comfort foodish – fried potatoes, sausage, and a cheese omelet.  The blueberries and cantaloupe will wait for another day, when life isn’t being so difficult. (No, she likes fruit just fine – she just wanted those fried potatoes and cheese a lot more)

TUE 9/28: Pork Chops*, Cole Slaw*, Green Beans*, Applesauce (homemade from Farmer’s Market apples and put up in the freezer)

(UPDATE – Gloomy weather and a hectic morning and… general ho hum laziness.. has Tuesday and Wednesday’s menu being flipped.  Dinner is whatever you can find tonight…pork chops tomorrow.)

WED 9/29: Cook’s Night Off – fend for self

(UPDATE – rain, rain, rain and gloom – the cole slaw turned into smothered cabbage and onions to go with the chops.  Swapped out green beans for fresh pineapple chunks just because.  Honestly would have happily added a couple more veggies and done away with the pork chops – they were tough and disappointing.)

THU 9/30: Bean and Cheese Burritos*Spanish Rice, Hominy Casserole

(UPDATE – done, but minus the spanish rice… the hominy was very filling and seriously did not need more grains)

FRI 10/1: Tuna Melts, Sweet Potato Fries*, Salad

(UPDATE – never happened… D was out with friends, and I added thinsliced leftover pork and cabbage to some ramen – which was actually really good)

SAT 10/2: Broiled Steak**, Baked Potatoes*, Broccoli** and Cauliflower** with Cheese

(UPDATE – we both ate late lunches and decided to just have a grab-what-you-can dinner.)

SUN 10/3: Corn* and Potato Chowder, Rolls

(UPDATE – Had the steak tonight instead, with sweet potato fries and cheesy cauliflower.  The chowder will roll over til tomorrow.)

(posted on Menu Planning Monday at I’m an Organizing Junkie)