Winter’s Coming: Two Yum Deluxe Oatmeals

Yes indeed.  Snow is coming down all over the map – and before Thanksgiving!  Oatmeal, plain, is good for you.  Oatmeal fancied up and fixed in a slow cooker or overnight in the fridge is….wonderful and good for you.  This is comfort food that stays with you and sustains you.

Depending on the ingredients you choose, both of these can be vegan, dairy free, and sugar free.  The slow cooker oatmeal had the whole house smelling of apple pie the next morning and had my cat trolling for breakfast.  The cinnamon on top of the oatmeal was crusty and the apples just fell apart in my mouth.  If slow cooker oatmeal be the music of life, then play on!   Or so says my paraphrasing of Mr. Shakespeare.

The overnight oats are what I need in the morning  – something nourishing, tasty and idiot proof.  Yeah, idiot proof.  I’m not the brightest bulb in the pack before I’ve had a gallon of coffee.  This oatmeal is prepared the night before and “cooked” in the refrigerator.  I like it cold, room temp, or nuked until hot.  I carry the container with me to work and while my puter is revving up, I’m scarfing down this oatmeal.  When in Switzerland, I fell in love with muesli and this dish comes close.

Enjoy.  You will be so glad you fixed these and even more glad you ate!

public domain clipart

public domain clipart

Slow Cooker Irish Oatmeal
◾1 cup steel cut oats (or Irish oats) Not: quick, instant, etc.
◾4 cups liquids (I used 2 cups water, 1 c. natural apple juice & 1 cup regular flavor almond milk)
◾2 tsp cinnamon (I use a good cinnamon, usually Saigon)
◾1 apple, skinned and chopped
◾1/4 cup raisins, or craisins, or dried plums (chopped into raisin size pieces)
◾Stevia, honey, raw sugar or other sweetener of your choice to taste, or no sweetener
◾Optional: ¼ c. chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds….I love nuts. You don’t have to.

Add apples, dried fruit, and cinnamon to slow cooker, next oats. Stir in four cups of liquid. Stir in rest of ingredients. Set slow cooker to low setting for 7 hours. The cinnamon on top will be crusty, and the apples should just fall apart in your mouth. You can also add the chopped nuts afterwards in case someone has nut allergies.

Overnight Oats
1 part liquid (apple juice, soy mild, almond milk, milk)
1 part rolled oats (non-instant or quick cooking. I like Irish oats)
fruit: apples, peaches, bananas, mangos, strawberries, blueberries, raisins, prunes, etc.
sweetening: sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, stevia, honey, maple syrup, none.
Seasoning: cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, orange zest
Extra: nuts, crumbled muffins, fruit preserves

Method: Mix together and place into a container and cover. Put in fridge. Eat the next morning.

 

Green Tea Smoothie 抹茶スムージー

photo from Public Domain Images

photo from Public Domain Images

It is still summer and still hotter than a load of jalapeno peppers and fireworks.  This is an easy peasy smoothie that is so good, cooling, and good for you too.  An excellent breakfast, a lunchtime pickup, or just to sit and sip in the shade while listening to summer winding down.

You can use almond, soy, coconut, or other milk.  Also if you use the other “milks”, using the ones with vanilla added is good as well. I like to play with this recipe. You can use an equivalent amount or mix of avocado and/or pineapple instead of or in addition to the banana. I like some pineapple along banana along with ginger. Make this smoothie your smoothieI like recipes with interchangeable parts to make something unique that tastes like just what I want.
 
You will need a blender, one of those bullet blenders, whatever that is similar in function. Matcha powder can be found in many specialty groceries such as Trader Joe’s or Asian market. It can also be ordered from an online source. You want pure matcha powder. Ceremonial grade is not necessary but be aware of what you are ordering. There are some sweetened or “smoothie” types available. You want the unsweetened, non-additive powder. You can also use the powder for baking or making ice cream. I have posted several recipes: Green Tea Cookies and Green Tea Ice Cream.

Green tea not only is good for you, it tastes good and is a lovely, happy green in color. You cannot grind green tea leaves to make matcha powder as the matcha is made by a different process.

Recipe
1 Banana (or assorted fruit, add a bit of fresh ginger if you use pineapple)
5 ice cubes
¾ to 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or cow’s milk, coconut milk, etc)
1 tsp. matcha green tea powder

Put ice cubes and banana/fruit into blender. Add the “milk” of your choice. Add matcha powder. Blend until all ingredients are blended and smooth. Pour and enjoy!

 

Overnight Oats

English: Bowl of fresh muesli, made from rolle...

English: Bowl of fresh muesli, made from rolled oats, orange juice, blended apple and banana, redcurrants, raisins, cottage cheese, topped with raspberries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In keeping with the weekend, no elaborate recipes. This recipe is so easy, my cat could fix it. The difference between Overnight Oats and regular oatmeal or slow cooker oats is this:  No Cooking.   It takes me awhile to wake up. I am a morning zombie: moving, going about the routine but brainless until being jolted with caffeine. Idiot proof is the word for breakfasts for me. Overnight Oats is an imminently portable food as well. Fix in a container that has a secure top for taking with you.

When visiting in Switzerland years ago, I fell in love with müesli. Raw oats, other grains, fruits, nuts, liquids – I’ve not been a fan of cold cereal but this stuff made me happy. One night, I was getting ready to have a bowl for my supper when an emergency occurred. I had to leave suddenly to see to a friend and I put the bowl of müesli into the fridge for safe keeping. Next morning, I remembered it and pulled it out. Hello gorgeous! All the grains had softened and the flavors blended. I was not the creator of Overnight Oats, but rather, a discoverer of something easy and good. Others have also discovered this wonderful food.

Overnight Oats do not have to be eaten cold. I’ve taken my container with me to work and nuked for a bit to get warm. Equally good, especially if the morning was cold or rainy and cold. The aroma of cinnamon, apples, maple, bananas, peaches wafting into others’ work areas has caused them to wander in and obtain a printed note from me with the recipe for Overnight Oats.

So enjoy. This is food truly your way and it is good for you. I use whole grains, almond milk, nuts, organic fruits. You don’t have to. It is your way!  Oh, it is good gamer food as well.

I posted a recipe for Slow Cooker Oats in November 2012 and have updated it. I hope you do a search for it and try it. It is truly comfort food.

Overnight Oats

1 part liquid (apple juice, soy mild, almond milk, milk)
1 part rolled oats (non-instant or quick cooking. I like Irish oats)
fruit: apples, peaches, bananas, mangos, strawberries, blueberries, raisins, prunes, etc.
sweetening: sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, stevia, honey, maple syrup,none.
Seasoning: cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, orange zest
Extra: nuts, crumbled muffins, fruit preserves

Method: Mix together and place into a container and cover. Put in fridge. Eat the next morning.

I hate football but love to cook….

Last Saturday was the saga of how the pantry saved me from my husband’s last minute football extravaganza. This Saturday, I had plenty of notice, since the game is at 1:30 and he told me yesterday afternoon.  As we speak, the house is filled with the aroma of slow cooker “Asian” chicken for pulled chicken sammies.  Slaw was made last night. A punch bowl of mixed snack food and M&M’s are centered on the coffee table in front of the couch. On the kitchen counter are a plate with hand sized watermelon wedges and chocolate chip cookies.  A plate of assorted pickles are also good. Kosher dill slices, hot pickled okra (I’m Southern, remember?), bread and butter chips, assorted olives –  It’s up to you and what you have on hand.  If they’re still hungry, they’ll have to go out in the backyard and bag some squirrels during halftime.

When folks visit, I send them home sober.  Soft drinks, sweet tea and lemonade are in the fridge.  Strong paper plates, heavy duty plastic cutlery, and a couple of rolls of paper towels for wiping mouths and hands stand at the ready.  Are you ready for some football??? Heck no. I’m ready for a nap.

どうぞめしあがれ douzo meshiagare y’all!

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Asian Pulled Chicken Sammies
6 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup lite soy sauce
1 – 2 tsp. fresh minced ginger
1 – 2 tsp. minced garlic
1 – 2 sriracha sauce (optional)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 can (16 oz.) tomato sauce

Preparation:
Wash chicken; pat dry. Place chicken pieces in a crockpot. In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and tomato sauce. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or until chicken is tender and juices run clear. Take chicken from sauce and use two forks to shred. Return meat to sauce and mix well. Have buns and slaw ready for them to assemble. Serves 6.

Easy Vinegar Coleslaw
14-oz bag store-bought cole slaw mix, rinse in cold water and drained
several scallions, sliced, to taste
1/4 cup chopped red or green pepper
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1 – 3 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger root
Juice of 1/2 lime
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, combine last five ingredients and whisk together.  Stir in the veggies, and toss well to combine.  Let the slaw sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then toss again.  Refrigerate for at least one hour, and up to two days.  Use a slotted spoon to serve the cole slaw, as quite a bit of liquid will collect in the bowl as the slaw sits in the refrigerator.  Or to make it easy for guys, drain and place slaw in a bowl for them.

Punchbowl Munchie Mix
The ingredients are up to you. This mix will be: Cheetos, bbq corn chips, cocktail peanuts, pretzels, wavy potato chips, large bag of peanut M%Ms. The object is to fill the bowl. Mine belonged to my great-grandmother and is large enough to use to bathe a toddler – just the right size for four guys.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
I make the standard Tollhouse cookie recipe. During holidays or bake sale times, I quadruple the recipe. I make rolls of the cookies from one recipe, wrap well and freeze. On occasions like this or just because, I bring out a couple of rolls, thaw, slice, and bake. You can also purchase the rolls or tubs of cookie dough. Quick and easy.

CAPONATA

Caponata 

¼ c light olive oil
2 cups onions, large diced
2 cups celery, large diced
3 sprigs thyme
1 whole eggplant, cut into ½ – 1 inch squares  (or two medium)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup green olives, sliced (or mix of kalamata and green)
1 cup pine nuts  (optional)
1/2 c. capers
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup red wine vinegar
10 basil leaves, chopped
½ cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. tomato paste
 
Heat light olive oil in a sauté pan, over medium heat.  Add onion, celery and thyme and cook until caramelized.   Turn heat to high, and add eggplant, salt and pepper, and let it wilt.
Turn the heat back to medium, and add olives, optional pine nuts and extra virgin olive oil.
Let everything caramelize, stirring occasionally. Add brown sugar and one cup of vinegar.
Add basil to the pan, and let the vinegar reduce.  Mix the half-cup of vinegar with tomato paste.
Add the tomato paste and vinegar mixture, and let cook an additional 3-5 minutes.
 
****Enjoy this warm as a side dish or cold/room temperature as a salad or dip with baguettes, crackers, etc.
 

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