Category Archives: Oatmeal

3 new recipes

Today did not start out so great. Titan woke me up at 2am to go out and I had a hard time falling back asleep. Then, he didn’t want to sleep this morning once my honey left, which meant I couldn’t sleep either. It was rainy and really dreary out and I was worried the rain wouldn’t end!

Alas, it did and this is what it looks like outside now:

Even though it started out a little rough, I have gotten a lot accomplished so far!

The main thing I have done is work on my recipe page. I actually went back through about 45 posts and have updated recipes (I still have a lot to go!). I have also been adding categories to each post which I didn’t do as I was posting them…word to the wise….don’t be like me!

I have also worked out, done my video for next Tuesday’s Tuesday Trainer, and baked two new recipes!! I’ve also gone for a run and walked the dog around the yard. I still have to make a dish for the Apple Butter Festival tomorrow and make dinner for tonight, plus clean up around the house and get a few other things done. I doubt I’ll get to it all today, but here’s hoping!

I am excited to have three new recipes to share today! A smoothie and then two pumpkin baked goods 🙂

Mango-Peach-Squash Green Smoothie (Makes about 6 cups)

I rarely make the same smoothie twice, but the addition of butternut squash puree was something I had to share because I’ve been doing it lately! I made a big batch so I could have it all weekend long. 

  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 mango (I cut up and froze a few last week)
  • 1 peach (again, cut up and frozen)
  • 1 cup butternut squash puree

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

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Like I mentioned yesterday, I planned to make a new cookie recipe today. It turned out great, but it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. Here’s why: I’ve never used pumpkin puree before. (I know…oh the horror, right? Nah, I couldn’t care less!)

Anyway. I am making cookies for the RA class I teach on Monday and I wanted to do something different. For one thing, they wanted chocolate chip and sugar cookies, so I obliged and bought Pilsbury all purpose flour and regular white sugar for them. But I wanted to have something I could eat. I saw the can of pumpkin as soon as I walked in the store and got this idea in my head to make a pumpkin cookie. With pecans. Thus, my Pecan Pumpkin Cookie was born.

By the way, for this recipe you have to pronounce it pee-can, not peh-cahn.

Pecan Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies (Makes 3 dozen)

  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground up flax seed + 2 1/2 tbsp warm water)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin
  • 2 tsp cinnamon spice blend/pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cup GF flour
  • 1 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

1. First make your flax egg and set aside.

2. With a hand mixer, beat the butter until fluffy.

3. Add the flax egg, maple syrup, vanilla and pumpkin. Mix well.

4. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time. Mix well before adding the next batch.

6. Fold in the chopped pecans.

7. Spoon mixture onto baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

It is best to undercook these a little as my first batch was a little dry. I thought the pee-can flavor would come out more, but it really didn’t. I might roast them first if I make these cookies again. The pumpkin flavor is definitely there, which is something I’ll have to get used to. I really haven’t eaten a lot of pumpkin foods in my day.

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I had a few bananas lying around the kitchen, so I decided I needed another banana muffin. I had already opened the can of pumpkin, so I figured why not?

Pumpkin Banana Muffins (Makes 12 muffins)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup GF flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. First make your flax egg and set aside.

2. Next, mash up the bananas with the pumpkin in a large bowl.

3. Then add in the flax egg, maple syrup, and melted butter.

3. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.

4. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients until just combined.

5. Fold in the chopped pecans gently.

6. Divide evenly into 12 muffin cups.

7. Bake at 350 until the tops are slightly brown.

I think I like the muffins better than the cookies because of the banana. It adds a different type of sweetness and an extra punch of flavor.

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Off to clean the floor and finally shower! And then make dinner 🙂

What is your favorite pumpkin recipe? Or are you like me and have never really used it?


Buying in bulk

In thinking about my food purchases lately, I realized that I have been spending more than I originally had planned to spend on groceries for my honey and me. I attribute this to a lot of things, but the main one is that I buy healthy, whole, real foods, and a lot of organic ones at that. It can really add up!

In an effort to reduce my spending, I’ve done quite a bit of bulk shopping for foods lately. It’s amazing how much money you can save by doing this! Plus, there is an abundance of healthy food you can buy in bulk if you know where to look.

Here’s a list of items I’ve bought in the past month, where I bought them, and any savings I’ve had by doing it. If you’re not already buying in bulk, I highly recommend it!!

Local grocery store purchases

  • Organic Golden Flax Seed from the bulk bins– $2.29 per pound. Compare to Bob’s Red Mill- $3.99 per pound. The bulk bin is directly across from Bob’s Red Mill products, so it took me awhile to actually find out that I could buy them in bulk. I use flax seed in some way every day, so I definitely need to save on it in any way I can!
  • Organic Brown Rice from the bulk bins– $0.59 per pound! I love having brown rice on hand when I need to bulk up a meal, so this is a cheap way for me to buy it.
  • Fruit to freeze- last week at my store, Mangoes and Kiwi were on sale. I loaded up on them and chopped and froze them for smoothies.
  • Organic Baby Spinach- $5.99 for 16oz. If I’m eating a lot of salads this will only last me a week or so, but I have been using it mostly for smoothies lately so it has lasted maybe two weeks. I plan to stock up next time they have a sale and freeze the spinach in cubes like Amy suggested for kale.
Online purchases
  • Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil 32oz– buy one get one free- $40. This is top of the line coconut oil, that’s why it is so expensive. I probably would never spend that much on this stuff without this deal. However, the two times I’ve bought a 16oz jar at the grocery store, it has been nearly $1 per ounce…so this is actually much cheaper and a better deal since I’m getting 64oz for $40! Plus, coconut oil has so many excellent health benefits, to me it is worth it to buy.
  • Pamela’s Baking Mix– 12lbs (three 4lb bags) for $32.51 on Amazon with Subscribe and Save (Thanks Mindy for recommending it!). I bought one 4lb bag at Whole Foods this summer for $16, so this was a HUGE savings!

Costco: I love Costco. I am always surprised to find such healthy foods in bulk there. Especially when they are organic! My most recent finds are:

  • Organic Peanut Butter two-pack: $8.75 for 56oz. I was paying $3.99 or $4.99 for 16oz at my regular grocery store…never again! The great thing is, it tastes really good too!!!
  • Grass-fed ground beef: $4.66/lb. I can find organic ground beef at my grocery store for $4.99 and maybe sometimes $4.79, but it is not grass-fed. Plus, at Costco you have to buy 3 pounds at a time, so I can plan ahead with meals or just always keep one on hand for quick marinara sauce or chili.
  • Organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs: $3.99/lb. I can find these much cheaper in my grocery store, but they have the skin and bones. I don’t mind the skin and bones, so I might only pick them up at Costco if I want to use the meat for something other than just eating it straight off the plate (like for chili or chicken salad).
  • Organic quinoa: Under $10 for 4lbs! This bag probably lasted me nearly a year. A little bit of quinoa goes a long way!
  • Quaker Oats: $6.99 for 10lbs. TEN POUNDS! That is quite a steal. And to answer your question, no I do not buy gluten-free oats. I have found that I do not have any side effects or issues from eating regular Quaker oats, so I’m going to stick with them since they are so cheap.
  • Walnuts: $13 for 3lbs. I eat walnuts pretty much every day in some form or fashion, so I only buy them at Costco. They are $8.99/lb at my grocery store, so it is a huge savings. I’m excited for the fall though….our walnut tree in our yard produced this year!!
  • Kirkland brand Nut & Seed and Nut & Fruit Granola bars– even though I make my own granola bars a lot of the time, I find that my honey needs more than that each day, so I read all of the labels of the granola bars Costco offered and these were the healthiest. No weird oils, no high-fructose corn syrup, lower sugar, no soy, wheat-free, and seriously delicious. I plan on making my own version of the Nut & Seed one soon!
As you can probably tell, I shop at lots of different places in order to get the best deals on the healthy foods I like to buy. I’m glad that I have that option, but I also buy online when I know I can get things for cheaper that way.

I also plan to stock up at the Farmer’s Market tomorrow on certain items. One thing I will definitely be buying in bulk tomorrow is butternut squash! I made another batch of my Butternut Squash Pancakes yesterday and I know I will be making them more and more as the fall comes into full swing because they are just that good 🙂 I’m also going to look for sweet potatoes, white potatoes and carrots too!

Do you buy in bulk? What do you buy? Have you gotten a good deal on healthy food recently? From where?

Butternut Squash Pancakes

Last week, Jenna over at Eat, Live, Run posted her favorite fall recipes. One of them stood out to me: Butternut Squash Pancakes.

At first, I was a little taken aback. Butternut squash in pancakes? But remembering that I had leftover roasted butternut squash (which I picked up from the farmer’s market last week) from making my cheesy rice casserole, I decided I’d give it a try.

I pureed up the roasted butternut squash and just went for it. I halved my pancake recipe (omitting the nuts because I forgot!) and added about 1/4 cup squash. The final product was excellent! However, I just made them even better 🙂

Butternut Squash Pancakes (inspired by Jenna)

This fall recipe will warm your heart and soothe the soul after a long day (trust me!!!!). The added squash gives the pancakes a boost flavor-wise, but also nutrient-wise with loads of fiber and vitamin A. Enjoy for either breakfast or dinner (like me!). 

1 cup GF baking mix/flour

1 tsp cinnamon/nutmeg blend or pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup oats

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seed plus 2 1/2 tbsp water, then set aside)

1 cup raw milk, plus a few tablespoons to thin it out to desired consistency

1 cup butternut squash puree

1-2 tbsp coconut oil

pure maple syrup

Make your flax egg and set aside. Mix together the dry ingredients. Add the flax egg, 1 cup of milk and the butternut squash. Mix well. Use a few tablespoons of milk to thin it out if necessary. Heat your skillet or frying pan over low heat. Wait until it is heated to pour on your first pancake. You want the batter to sizzle as you pour it on. After it is heated, drop a tablespoon of coconut oil in and let it melt and coat the pan with it. Pour the batter into the skillet and thin out with a spatula if too thick. Let cook until bubbles form around the edges. Make sure the coconut oil touches the edges of the pancake as it cooks. This will allow it to almost fry in the oil giving it a crispy edge. Trust me, the coconut oil is totally worth it and takes these pancakes to a whole new level!! Serve with a generous drizzle of maple syrup 🙂

I will be working on editing my pictures from the weekend, but I can’t help but share this one I took Saturday morning when I first got to see Ally again. That face will warm the heart and soothe the soul too 🙂 Enjoy!

Vanilla Maple Oatmeal Walnut Butter Cookies

This morning on my way into work, I heard an interview with Dr. Oz on Elvis Duran and the Morning Show (a really funny radio show that is highly inappropriate most of the time!). I’ve never really had an opinion on Dr. Oz because I haven’t followed his career really. However, I can now confidently say that he is awesome!

He said two things that literally made me cheer out loud in the car.

1) America is not fat because we eat fat, America is overweight because we eat white flour, white sugar, and white rice.

2) Between skim and whole milk, which one makes you fat? The skim milk!!! Once you take out the fat from it, all that is left is sugar- which makes us fat (see number 1).

Can I get an AMEN?!? I just had to share this! These are things I have learned over the past year or so and I wish I had known them years ago! I’m just so glad someone as popular as Dr. Oz preaches this kind of stuff. Hopefully people are out there listening 🙂

Okay, onto what you’re really here for: cookies!

I’m sure you’ve figured out what you might need for this recipe and hopefully by now you’ve done the mental checklist to see if you have the ingredients on hand (or in your cupboard…you know, wherever you keep the stuff!) to make these cookies tonight (or right this second if you can!).

A few weeks ago, I got an idea in my head for some cookies. I often have these thoughts as I’m driving home from work (see my Raspberry Banana Muffin recipe from Monday for more proof!), and I just can’t stop thinking about it until I’ve made the recipe. This was one of those recipes.

I wasn’t quite sure what to call these, so I figured I’d just name the ingredients and see how that sounds.

Vanilla Maple Oatmeal Walnut Butter Cookies

This light and fluffy butter cookie packs tons of protein and lots of flavor! Super easy to throw together in a matter of minutes. They are super delicious and will disappear quickly!

1 stick butter, salted

2 flax eggs

2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup maple syrup

2 3/4 cups Pamela’s GF flour

1 cup old fashion oats

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Beat the butter until fluffy. Add the flax eggs, vanilla and maple syrup and beat for a minute or so until well combined. Add the oatmeal and 1 cup of the flour. Mix until combined. Add the other cup of flour and combine again. Finish with the last 3/4 cup flour, then add the walnuts and mix with a spatula. Once it is all combined, use a cookie scoop to make balls of dough and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for  12-15 minutes, or until very lightly browned on top. Enjoy with a big glass of cold milk!

These were beyond belief! They were light and buttery with a chewiness from the oatmeal that made them last a while in your mouth. I told my honey they were little puffy balls of buttery heaven! Maybe that’s what I should name them??

Do you keep up with Dr. Oz? Have you read any of his books or watched his show? Thoughts on his comments are welcome!

Berrylicious

I am so very fortunate to live near A LOT of wild blackberry and black raspberry bushes (yes, they are different!). I have now gone picking three times this week and plan to go again tomorrow evening and maybe Saturday morning. I absolutely LOVE berries, especially since they are so good for you. What’s even better is that these ones are FREE!!!

Blackberry nutrition facts

  • These little fruits are super antioxidant-packed! Especially with Vitamins C, E and K.
  • The seeds contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • They are loaded with fiber. Just one cup has 7 grams!!!
  • They have some protein in them too- 1 cup has 2 grams

Now that I fancy myself a berry-picking connoisseur :), I want to give you all a few tips to help you be successful the next time you find yourself with berries to pick!

Things I’ve learned about berry picking

These babies will be ready in just a few days!

1. Always wear pants! Seriously. Especially when you have to attend a wedding in two days and are planning on wearing a cute summer dress! Don’t be like me and wear shorts…

2. It’s not a bad idea to wear gloves.

3. When you think you’ve found all of the berries, twist around three times, and put your head between your legs, then look again! There are always ones you miss until you look at the patch from another angle. Also, I always find the plumpest, juiciest berries underneath the leaves.

You can barely see the berries here, but when I lifted up some of the leaves, I found a bunch more!

4. Don’t go in the middle of the hottest part of the day (especially when following #1). Unless you like to sweat, I don’t recommend going at 3 in the afternoon!

5. Wear a bee keeper’s hat if you live where I do. Our town mascot is the gnat! Seriously though, if I could find one of those hats I would totally rock it every time I went outside. The darn gnats get in your eyes, your ears and sometimes up your nose!

6. Check yourself for ticks when you get back. I found about 10 on me the other day when I went picking. Luckily I found them in time and was not bitten by any of them.

So, what’s a girl to do with all these berries? Make cobbler of course 🙂 And, most likely some homemade blackberry ice cream tonight to go with it!

I also whipped up these for breakfast this morning:

Berry Berry Berry Good Oatmeal serves two

Look at the pools of honey!! YUM!

  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • handful of blackberries
  • handful of black raspberries
  • handful of blueberries
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flax seed
  • splash of raw cream

1. Bring the water to a boil and pour in the oats.

2. Cook the oats for a few minutes, stirring every once in awhile.

3. Add in the walnuts when the oats have absorbed most of the liquid.

4. Then add in the berries and cook until they start to break down.

5. Add the flax seed and mix well.

6. Turn off the burner and splash in some cream just to give it that extra little kick.

7. Drizzle with some raw honey, preferably local!

More berry recipes to come!

What is your favorite berry? Do you have a place to pick your own berries?

Two recipe Tuesday

Today’s two recipes couldn’t be more different! The first is pretty much a staple in our house and the second is a yummy breakfast or snack that I made up to use up some of my blueberries.

Super Simple Salsa

Seriously, salsa is one of the easiest things you can make at home. I will NEVER buy a jar of salsa again! After scouring the internet for easy salsa recipes, I found one that required an entire head of garlic to be roasted for 45 minutes. I tried it once and it was great, but way too time consuming. So I figured I would make up my own recipe that can be whipped up in less than 5 minutes.

  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 wedge of a medium onion
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (I use Del Monte)
  • splash of apple cider vinegar
  • sprinkle of parsley (or cilantro)

1. Begin by placing the garlic clove and the onion wedge in a food processor.

2. Pulse a few times until they are both diced finely.

3. Next, add in the tomatoes. Splash with apple cider vinegar to taste. Sprinkle parsley to your heart’s content!

4. Pulse this mixture to desired consistency. Serve with your favorite chips!

Blueberry Muffins

I fed one of these to my honey (along with a granola bar and a banana) for breakfast last week. He came home at lunch and told me the breakfast “was the cat’s meow!” Haha! I have NEVER heard him say anything like that before, so it must have been that good 🙂 Seriously, these are very filling muffins that are a great breakfast, or just a sweet treat during the day.

  • 1 1/2 cups GF flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 3 tbsp butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 flax egg (or regular egg)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup water (might need a little more to thin to desired consistency)
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • Olive oil spray

1. Begin by making your flax egg: combine 1 tbsp ground flax seed with 2 1/2 tbsp warm water, then set aside for about 5 minutes.

2. Mix the GF flour, oats, walnuts, baking powder, and salt together in a mixing bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the softened butter, vanilla, flax egg, syrup and honey.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.

5. Add the water to thin out the batter and continue stirring.

6. Pour in the blueberries and mix gently.

7. Spray a muffin pan with olive oil spray and fill each cup with batter. I filled mine almost completely full and it made 12 perfect muffins 🙂

I need more blueberry recipes!!! Leave me your suggestions so I can find new ways to use the millions of berries I have 🙂

Sweet Summer Saturday

Yesterday was one of those nice, relaxing summer days. One of the first things I did was a little happy dance because I’m officially on vacation 🙂 This is the third year in a row that I’ve taken off the last week in June through the 4th of July. It’s a much needed break before my job gets really insane through July, August and the beginning of the school year.

I’m so excited to have this week to get a whole bunch of stuff done around the house. The first thing I tackled was our fridge! I threw out so much food, it was depressing! I’m making a new resolution to not waste anymore food!!! The good news is, my fridge is sparkling like new and has lots of room in it for lots of fresh food.

I have been doing a little less with my workouts lately, so I was excited to have the morning to fit in a great one. I’ll outline my workout and a few others on Workout Wednesday this week.  My workout was followed by the biggest bowl of oats I’ve ever consumed!

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • LOTS of blueberries
  • 5 strawberries, diced
  • 1 tbsp flax seed
  • drizzle of honey
  • crumbled Blueberry Muffin (recipe to come!!!)
I kept seeing other bloggers put a crumbled muffin of sorts on their oats, so I decided to try it today and it was excellent! However, I think it was a little too much food for me at one time. I spent the rest of the day feeling very full. That did not deter me from enjoying a wonderful salad, both of these, this smoothie, and this later on in the day.

Once I showered and got the kitchen cleaned up , I headed to my honey’s aunt and uncle’s farm about 10 miles down the road. They have a small chicken house with lots of different types of hens that lay eggs. I went to gather a dozen since I was out of eggs. It’s quite an adventure going in there.

This was the best close up I could get of one of the birds. Some of them have funny looking feathers that cover their feet! They are pretty exotic and lay different colored and sized eggs.

After I got back from egg collecting, my honey and I had lunch together, which is rare in the summertime since he is out on the farm all the time. Once he headed back out, I decided it was too nice of a day to be inside, so I relaxed in my hammock with a new book 🙂

We’ve had that hammock for over two years now. My in-laws got it for us as an early wedding present, and wouldn’t you know we had the two most perfect trees for it?! We honestly didn’t even think of where we would put it when we registered for it, so I’m glad it worked out so well! If you look really closely in the background to the left, you can see a blue tractor. That’s my honey! He was out baling hay while I was relaxing in the hammock.

This little guy joined me by the hammock. Okay, so he’s not that little anymore!

After an hour or so, it was time to leave. We had another tractor pull to go to. Since it was closer to our house than the one on Friday night, I went to support my honey.

He started out really great!

Unfortunately, it didn’t end well…at least the rest of the day was great!

What’s your favorite way to relax during the summer?