Archive | September, 2013

For The Love Of OATS

27 Sep

I eat plain oatmeal for breakfast pretty much every day – and people always ask me “don’t you get tired of it?” and I really don’t – it is nice and warm, and filling, and can be changed to suit your mood with different toppings and mix ins (craisins, maple syrup, apples, applesauce, pumpkin puree, cinnamon – to name just a few of my faves!). Oats are great – they are good for you, and they can be used in lots of different ways

I like to use this breakfast food when I bake, and there are TONS of amazing recipes out there, so to help you narrow down what you can use delicious, heart healthy oats for, here are my faves:

My Top 3 Oat Recipes

Oats ChocCookies 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – These are my husband’s favorite, and what’s funny about that is that he HATES oatmeal raisin cookies, and will only eat an oatmeal cookie if he is sure there are chocolate chips in them! I like them because you can pretend you are being healthy by eating a chocolate chip cookie with oats in it

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose or unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz)
1 cup chopped nuts, if desired

Directions
1 Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir brown sugar and butter until blended. Stir in vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Stir in oats, flour, baking soda and salt; stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
2 2 Onto ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.
3 3 Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

OatsCrisp

Apple Crisp – This is a fall favorite, I like to eat it warm, with or without ice cream, and sometimes with a drizzle of caramel on it too if I’m feeling naughty!

INGREDIENTS:

10 cups all-purpose apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup quick-cooking oats

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degree C).
2. Place the sliced apples in a 9×13 inch pan. Mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples. Pour water evenly over all.
3. Combine the oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter together. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 45 minutes

Oats CraisinCookie

Oatmeal White Chocolate Craisin Cookies – I made a ton of these two years ago for Christmas – and they were a hit! Packed full of fruit, chocolate, and oats to give them a great texture – these are a winner for sure

Ingredients:
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 5-ounce package Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

 

If you aren’t sure about oatmeal, or oats in general, then I suggest you try one of the above recipes to ease yourself into it, and hopefully you will discover just how delicious and versatile oats really are!

Applesauce – Easy To Make, Delicious To Eat, Fun To Give!

26 Sep

Confession: I have already gone apple picking three times this season, and will be going at least once more. Maybe twice. Or three times….but anyway, who’s counting? And besides, I need a lot of apples because this year I decided to make and jar applesauce to give as gifts at Christmas time. It’s been my first attempt at jarring, and honestly, it is so easy, I don’t know why I haven’t been doing it for years

A Apples

 Thankfully I have a VERY tall husband who can reach up to the very tops of the trees to pick me those perfect apples!

 

But first, I must make the applesauce – which is probably the easiest thing to make ever. I just peel and core the apples, cut them up into chunks and toss them in a big pot with a little water, and let them bubble away on the stove for a good 20-30 minutes. Once they are soft, I will mash them with my handy potato masher, and add some cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar to taste. Give it another 5-10 minutes or so on low, and voila – you have delicious homemade applesauce!

Homemade applesauce is so delicious that I figured I HAD to share it with the world – and by the world, I mean my family and friends – and that meant it was time to roll up my sleeves and get canning!

There is a TON of fancy equipment out there for canning/jarring, but I decided to forego that since I was new to the whole thing, and I went with this Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit, which came with instructions, 3 pint jars, and this cool basket/rack that fits right into a stock pot and holds 3 pint or 4 half pint jars. Not only does it work perfectly, but it was only $10 – what a deal, right?

Jarring

Here’s me – all ready to seal up some jars!

 

Here’s how easy it is:
-Fill the jars (leaving a little space at the top)
-screw on the lids (not too tight – you want air to be able to escape)
-Set the jars and basket into a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes (covered)
-Remove the lid and let the pot go for 5 more minutes
-Remove the basket from the water, and leave the jars in an undisturbed place overnight (you might be able to hear them “pop” – which means they have sealed!)

Check out the official instructions on the Ball website

I’ll wrap these up with cellophane and ribbon and cute little tags, and they will make perfect Christmas gifts! What better to give than something from the heart and homemade!

If you aren’t an applesauce fan, then maybe you could try a classic Apple Pie, or even these adorable Mini apple pies perhaps? Or there’s one of my other faves – Apple Crisp…yum. So many apple possibilities, so little time!