Tag Archives: budget bytes

“Eat Your Oatmeal – It’s Good For You!”

1 Mar

When I was a kid, I used to hear adults say “Oatmeal will stick to your ribs” – and it always creeped me out, as I had this mental image of the oatmeal literally coating my insides and why would I want that? Gross! Honestly, I am not even sure why this saying exists – it is confusing to impressionable young minds! But seriously – it was for that reason that I stayed away from oatmeal all through my youth and teen years. It is only recently that I have come to acknowledge the many virtues of the oat – it’s healthy, cheap, versatile, and who doesn’t love a hot breakfast? I know I do. I eat it every day at work, and even sometimes on the weekends. Like this weekend for example…

photo 1 (2)I was browsing through my new favorite recipe book – “Budget Bytes – Over 100 easy, delicious recipes to slash your grocery bill in half”, and I have to admit – I could not WAIT for this cookbook to come out – I have been a HUGE fan of the Budget Bytes Website for a long time – and when I saw they were gonna have a cookbook I pre-ordered it through Amazon, and spent hours poring over it. This recipe for Autumn Delight Baked Oatmeal caught my attention right away – combining oats, pumpkin, and apple plus craisins and walnuts in a delicious warm oat bake? Sign me up!

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It was SUPER easy to make, only one bowl and one whisk needed (the fewer dishes the better in my book!). The wet mix definitely resembled and smelled like pumpkin pie – yum! Once I had the wet stuff combined, it was time to add the oats, walnuts, craisins, and apple

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Then it was time to get in into the pan and then the oven! It smelled great baking – reminded me of my favorite season – FALL!

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I loved the way this came out – we enjoyed it hot right from the oven, and the texture was great – oats and the craisins/apples and the nuts – you never knew what you were going to get in each bite! And it tasted sort of like pumpkin pie – only a more breakfast-y version!

You can check out this and other great wallet-friendly recipes in the cookbook, available through Amazon – I highly recommend you order your copy ASAP!

This recipe and the others in the book are NOT currently available on their website, but they have TONS of others to choose from online – here are some other amazing recipes that I have gotten from Budget Bytes:
Chunky Vegetable Lentil Soup
Garden Tomato Soup
Slow Cooker White Bean Soup
Vegetable Polenta Casserole
Chicken and Pumpkin Soup
Cranberry Apple Baked Oatmeal (which I blogged about too – check out the post here)

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Battle Of The Oatmeals – Crock Pot Vs Oven

16 Nov

It’s no secret to my friends and family that I LOVE OATS – especially oatmeal, but put them in bread, cookies, meatballs, a shoe – doesn’t matter where they are, I will eat them. And like it.

So naturally, I am always on the lookout for more oat recipes – and I found two different ones I could not WAIT to try. Cranberry Apple baked oatmeal seemed right up my alley – using ingredients I already had at home, and it would be perfect to share with company. Pumpkin Pie Slow Cooker Overnight Oatmeal appealed right away to my “crockpot obsessed pumpkin loving” side, plus the chance to work with a new ingredient (steel cut oats) is always fun

So up first, the baked version:

Cranberry Apple Baked Oatmeal (Recipe Courtesy Of Budget Bytes)
Serves: 6

Ingredients
1½ cups unsweetened apple sauce
2 large eggs
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp baking powder
1 cup milk (dairy or soy)
6 oz. (about 1¼ cups) fresh cranberries
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the apple sauce, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder until smooth. Add the milk and whisk until smooth again.
2. Rinse the cranberries in a colander. Slice or roughly chop the cranberries in half (they don’t have to be perfect). Stir the cranberries and oats into the applesauce mixture.
3. Pour the oatmeal mixture into an 8×8 or 9×9 casserole dish (coated with non-stick spray). Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the surface is a light golden brown and it is no longer sticky in the center. Serve hot or refrigerate until ready to eat.

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I whipped up a double batch of this – and I am glad I did! The leftovers were great! The only thing I changed about the recipe is that I didn’t cut the cranberries in half – I tried, but they are slippery and kept rolling around – so that was really just a personal preference (and a time saver!), and I don’t think it really affected the finished product.

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It was nice and thick, almost a bread pudding consistency, it tasted great – just a hint of apple, tartness of the cranberries, and slight sweetness of the warm middle. I added a bit of brown sugar to the top of mine and it was the perfect addition!

Ok. One down, one to go. My Crock Pot Is Ready, so let’s do this…

Pumpkin Pie Slow Cooker Overnight Oatmeal (Recipe courtesy of Sweet Anna’s)
Yield: 6+ large servings

Ingredients
6 cups water
1 cup half & half or milk
1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2-1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (my family likes things sweet, so we use one cup)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions
Stir all the ingredients together in the slow cooker, cook on LOW overnight, about 8 hours.
When it is done, it will still look liquidy. Give it a good stir and it will all come together.
Serve immediately. Save any leftovers in the fridge or freezer… this stuff reheats beautifully!

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So like I said, I had never worked with steel cut oats before, they are definitely different than any oat I had ever seen! They are much more “grain-y” looking, and need to be cooked much longer than traditional oats

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One SUPER IMPORTANT CHANGE I will be making to this recipe for next time – I will be heavily spraying the inside of the crock pot with non-stick cooking spray before adding the ingredients to it. It stuck to the sides without the spray, which wasn’t a huge issue, but it can be avoided next time for sure!

Also, when I woke up (to the gorgeous smell of pumpkin wafting through the house!), I turned the crock pot to “warm” and left the lid off for about an hour – it let the oatmeal cool off a little and thicken up a LOT – made all the difference in the world!

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The taste of this is great – it definitely has the essence of pumpkin pie, but a much healthier version (I used skim milk in mine, and you can control the amount of sugar you add too!), and I love the texture of the steel cut oats. This was a winner – even my husband (who is not a big pumpkin fan) had two helpings!

If you don’t have time or want to mess around with the oven or crock pot to make your oatmeal, you can always stick with a delicious breakfast of plain old oatmeal. The great thing about it is that it’s like a blank canvas – you can add TONS of different toppings/mix-ins to it and create some delicious custom flavors. Here are some ideas for Oatmeal Mix-ins: Raisins (or any fried fruit!), cinnamon, maple syrup, brown sugar, applesauce, pumpkin puree, apples (or peaches, or bananas, or any other fresh fruit!), milk, butter, fruit jelly/jam…really the list is endless!

These two recipes are great because they allow me to take a cherished pantry item (oats!) and use it in new, different ways. These flavors are perfect for fall, so you can whip these up before you go out to rake leaves, or on Thanksgiving morning! Plus, the leftovers from both are delicious, and I love leftovers, so I will definitely be making both of these again

So In the battle of “oven oatmeal” vs “crock pot oatmeal” I would say it’s a draw – they are both great for different reasons, and will both warm you and fill you up on a chilly fall day!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies Get A (Pumpkin-Y) Twist!

26 Oct

Who doesn’t love sitting down with a classic snack of Cookies and milk? There’s something comforting about a freshly baked cookie paired with a tall glass of cool milk.

I am always on the lookout for new cookie recipes – it’s probably one of my favorite desserts – you can change them up and add tons of different mix-ins, they generally freeze well, and everyone loves them!

So when I came across these Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies, I thought – what a great way to get to enjoy a new spin on the classic oatmeal cookie!

 

Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies (Courtesy of Budget Bytes)

Ingredients

• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• ½ tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• 2 Tbsp butter (room temp.)
• ½ cup pumpkin purée
• ⅓ cup brown sugar
• ⅓ cup white sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1½ cup rolled oats
• ⅓ cup dried cranberries

 

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Various stages of batter

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Prepping the cookies for the oven (with a little Walter help)

 

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until very well combined.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter (room temperature), pumpkin, brown sugar, and white sugar on low speed. Once they’re well combined, add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined again.
3. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed just until a thick, creamy batter forms. Add the dry oats and dried cranberries and stir them into the batter with a spoon.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon the batter onto the baking sheet in 2 Tbsp portions, leaving about 1.5 inches between each cookie. The cookies will not spread much during baking, so gently pat them down into flattened circles.
5. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes, or until slightly browned on the surface. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack before eating.

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I did make one change to the recipe – I used raisins instead of dried cranberries – it was really just a personal preference, I don’t much care for dried cranberries

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What I liked about the taste is that it’s not a super dense cookie, it’s more of a light almost pumpkin bread-like texture, with a nice contrast between the dough/oats/fruit. My husband does NOT like raisins, especially in his cookies, but he agreed to try these, saying “My love for you outweighs my hatred of raisins” and he liked them too – so I guess they are a winner!

By the way – I highly suggest you head over to the Budget Bytes Website – they have tons of great recipes – and they have a cookbook coming out soon too (which I can’t wait to pick up!)