Archives for category: Recipes

Because, yes. Chocolate and coffee, and I will need some. From where I sit, it’s raining.

Burning bush

It’s chilly. It’s totally fall.

Barberry turning red

And I thought, we spirits need this recipe this morning. However, a last-minute interview for a story meant I was on the road rather than at my desk.

But it wasn’t a total waste. I got to visit a fifth grade class and a second grade class. I cannot even.

“WOW!!! I LOVE your scarf!” said one fifth grader. Thanks, I got it at Bass Pro Shops last year, along with this cardigan. Livin’ high right here.

Same student, “I LOVE your purse.” Bought it off TV. Only the best for me.

I loved that kid. She made my day. But then it got me thinking, this girl gets it. The power of accessories. One can never go wrong. Kim K.’s gonna be calling me soon all, “Love that cardi! Do you feel more confident when you wear a cardi?” Is that even a question? And then she’ll say, “You know, some day, I am going to do, like, a really big interview, maybe, like 20/20, and do you think I should wear a cardigan?” And I don’t know if that’s actually how Kim K. sounds because I have never witnessed her show, except for the one time I saw a clip of it on another show where they were talking about vocal fry, but I think that’s what she would say. And then I would say, “Yes, Babs, will fully expect you to be wearing a cardigan. Do not disappoint. Although, is Barbara Walters even doing that show anymore? I can’t keep up.

Yet another student asked if I would come back tomorrow. You know what? I can’t. But, how about I just leave my heart right here. Seriously, you can just have it.

Okay, but the beverage. Chocolate and coffee, and it doesn’t require 45 ingredients. Because, no, I will not.

Chocolate coffee

Chocolate Coffee

Prepare 8 oz. coffee according to package instructions.

Add 1/2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa

Add 2 tbsp. creamer

Stir together and enjoy.

I think you could definitely use unsweetened chocolate, breaking off a square or two. I wanted to try that to see how well the chocolate would melt, but, alas, we were out. Okay, someone try it, and then let me know.

In the meantime, I am going to sit back, relax, and drink this bad boy because it is morning somewhere.

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So many carrots cried in the making of this photo. Also, the strawberries are in therapy.

IS THIS NOT ONE OF THE UGLIEST FOOD PHOTOS YOU’VE EVER SEEN? And, sadly, this was something like the 3rd or 4th try. This is an upgrade from where I started. Orange food is not in my color wheel. If I were in high school and my photography instructor said, “Morgan, go take a picture of an orange soup,” I would cry so many tears. Alas, I am graduated. So the only ones crying were the strawberries and the carrots whose reputations were maligned in the making of this sad little photo.

But the two finickiest eaters on the face of this earth, that would be me and Toodle, ate it. We even went back for seconds. K-Hubs and Twinkle also went back for seconds, and Twinkle just ended up carrying it around in a thermos because soup is not easy for a two-year-old. “Uh-oh!!! Wha happin?” You just spilled soup everywhere. But, you’re two and you’re cute, so that makes it okay.

K-Hubs was secretly unsure of this combination. But he said later that it was quite delicious. Then there was a battle for leftovers. Twinkle won.

This soup is like the ugly duckling. It doesn’t start out looking all that great. Actually, it never looks great. But it tastes wonderful. I guess that means it isn’t like the ugly duckling after all. But it does have a good personality. So give it a try.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 cups strawberries
  • 2 cups chopped carrots, steamed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-4 tbsp coconut oil (optional)

Directions

  1. If using fresh strawberries, wash and slice. If using frozen, thaw to room temperature. I typically use frozen because we buy in bulk. With the frozen strawberries, I fill my measuring cup to about 7-8 cups. As the strawberries thaw, they shrink down to about 5 cups.
  2. Steam sliced carrots until soft.
  3. Add two cups water to a high speed blender.
  4. Add strawberries and carrots. Blend until smooth.
  5. Transfer to deep saucepan.
  6. Add coconut oil, if using.
  7. Heat until desired temperature.
  8. Serve warm. (We have also eaten this cold, more like a smoothie.)

This is a nice starchy soup, which makes it filling and perfect for those times when you are out of all the things. It is also great for long car rides. Or long days at work. Or long days at school. I use this recipe as a base and then add in whatever strikes my fancy. I rely on the coconut oil as a fat source to keep everyone in our family full. It works like a charm.

Also, I went back for another photo shoot with morning light. Not nearly as terrible as the previous 3-4 photo shoots. But not totally what I was going for.

Strawberry Carrot Soup 2015

Photographers may be in tears, but at least the spoons are still smiling.

And always with the add-ons. I cannot even with the add ons. They make this soup versatile.

*Cream – whipped, half & half, whole, from a can, does it really matter? Cream. Just add it. (I have not added these so I cannot attest to their awesomeness. But I suspect they make the soup, especially if you want to make a dessert soup. Dessert soup. Yum.)
*Cinnamon and sugar
*Stevia
*Almond or rice milk

These are typically “ors” rather than “ands,” as in, probably don’t dump all of these into one soup. Cream OR cinnamon. Maybe. Because now I think that sounds good. To be fair, I have seen some recipes call for chicken broth and cream. Or sweet cream and then a bunch of savory spices like thyme, parsley, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Hey, it’s your party. Host it how you like.

As for those other ugly photos, I want you to feel good about your Monday. Like, your Monday isn’t as bad as these photos are. Maybe.

So here they are.

Grab your goggles and prepare for awfulness. It’s like the 1970s got sick in my kitchen. Food photographers all over the world are losing their will to live. And seriously about the goggles. Grab them. Your eyes won’t ever be the same.

No goggles close by?

Grab your sunglasses.

Because orange food. There are no words.

 

It's Like the 1970s came to my kitchen and got sick So Hideous Still Pretty Bad

Summer Strawberry Smoothie 2015

I don’t care what happens for the rest of the evening. Today WAS BEAUTIFUL. Never mind that I had deadlines. I met them. Never mind that we went to Lowe’s looking for new appliances. Squeeeee! We may even buy some.

I know, can you believe it? It has only taken us three years to do anything major in our kitchen remodel (other than painting walls and cabinets); a kitchen remodel that isn’t really a remodel since we aren’t tearing up floors, cabinets, walls, or the ceiling. It’s maybe more of a kitchen not-remodel. Nonetheless, while Twinkle licked floor model dishwashers and washing machines (front loaders, of course), Jim, our wonderful team member, answered all my questions about appliances.

THEN, after Jim gave me all the information I wanted – Whirlpool is the way to go based on price and performance – another couple sidled up to us and started asking ME about appliances. I thought they had the wrong person, but, no, they wanted to ask other consumers what they were purchasing, and yours truly was the closest in proximity.

I actually started answering their questions LIKE I KNEW WHAT I WAS SAYING. What in Sam Hill is wrong with me? But then K-Hubs came over and started answering their questions, too. We’re idiots. Except, get this, the other couple dislikes ice makers built into fridge doors just as much as we do. We all agreed we’re stuck in 1985 and PROUD OF IT. Ice cube trays for the win.

What does this have to do with Summer Strawberry Smoothies? Nothing. I was going to come up with a segue like, “Nothing. But, like new appliances, it makes me happy.” Lame. Or, “But, then I came home all jazzed up for the kitchen not-remodel and decided on this recipe.” Equally lame.

Also, I’m back now. You never knew I was gone, but as I was typing, the 5-year-old started pulling out baby wipes from the package like a clown with handkerchiefs up his sleeve. Just. No. Pull one out and close the deal.

Also, this happened. When did he turn 25 again?

K-Hubs Jumping Rope 2015

Anyway, I have no segue. But we do love this Summer Strawberry Smoothie recipe. Oh, and I’m playing around with lemon and lime versions for summer that taste like mixed drinks without the alcohol. Why? Because this mama wants a refreshing drink at 10:00 in the morning that keeps her legal when she picks Toodle up from whatever she is doing that day. Because taxi cab driver. My new summer job.

Here, let me show you the photo again since you’ve probably forgotten already what you came here for. Super yum.

Summer Strawberry Smoothie 2015

Ingredients

  • 3 cups filtered water*
  • 3 1/2 cups frozen strawberries, mostly thawed
  • 2 cups green grapes
  • 1-2 drops liquid stevia

Summer Strawberry Smoothie Strawberries - 2015

Summer Strawberry Smoothie Grapes - 2015

Directions

  1. In a high speed blender, combine water, strawberries, grapes, and stevia.
  2. Blend until desired consistency.
  3. Store in refrigerator.

*For more of a smoothie texture, err on the side of less water. For strawberry juice, add at least 3 cups of water, perhaps more.

Happy porch sitting or kid watching or homework doing or laundry washing or dishwasher loading. With this beverage in hand, whatever you’re doing will be at least three trillion times better. Or as K-Hubs likes to say, “5 out of 4 doctors approve.” Isn’t he just cute ‘n clever?

OMIGOD! When Stan and Jan Berenstain wrote The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat, and the moral of the story was looks can be deceiving, they were most definitely writing about my kale chips. So, just ignore the ugliest picture of kale chips in the history of ever and give these bad boys a try! Making kale chips feels like the ultimate crossover into paleo living, and I’ve got to tell you, there are worse things a cavewoman in the 21st century could be eating because these are TO DIE FOR. Kale, I’m sorry I ever talked ugly about you. You will always be hidden in my smoothies, but you will be front and center when it comes to sautéing and chips.

Ugliest Picture of Kale Chips in the History of Ever 2015

I can’t take a picture to save my life. But I did make three batches of these, so I figured out quickly (aside from presentation) what works and what doesn’t. If you don’t like salty, strong-flavored foods, reduce seasonings to nothing more than a pinch each. Also, tear the kale into larger pieces if you want the final product to be relatively large, too. I tore mine too small (see below) so they were almost shriveled when they came out of the oven, but the taste was still wonderful.

Kale Pieces 2015

What did the girls think of these? Well, Toodle ate about 4 pieces (holy cow, for real!) and then decided they were no longer cool. Twinkle, on the other hand, had to be rationed. I finally cut her off because, and this is a true story, she refused to eat anything else for dinner.

I finally decided to make these because we are going the whole hog on healthy, immune-system-friendly eating. Toodle’s hair is trying so hard to grow and K-Hubs is feeling better than he has felt in a long time. So it’s paleo all the way. The last holds have been a few gluten-free, low-sugar cereals and organic corn chips. I laugh about this last one. Organic corn chips. It just feels like an oxymoron. Kale chips to the rescue.

Because after getting another autoimmune disease book, The Autoimmune Solution by Amy Myers, M.D., I finally had to have a little chat with myself. I said, “Here’s the deal, self, you know if you want this diet to work you have to go all the way. You can’t half-ass it. That’s why it doesn’t work for so many people. The chronic illnesses in your family may not take to half-ass diets. It’s the whole hog or it’s nothing.”

Whole hog it is. Two notes about these kale chips. One, a handful goes a long way. And, two, I may even give up Doritos for these. True as toast.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp garlic
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder

Directions

  1. Cut kale into pieces, removing stems.
  2. Rinse kale, pat with paper towel to dry.
  3. Melt coconut oil in 9×13 pan.*
  4. Add seasonings to melted coconut oil.
  5. Toss kale pieces into pan and stir to evenly coat with coconut mixture.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for up to 15 minutes, checking and stirring every 5 minutes.**

*I melt the oil by putting the pan in the oven as it is heating up to the desired temperature.

**If your finished kale is still too oily for your liking, pat it with another paper towel to remove excess oil.

Toodle and Twinkle and Goopy Goodness 2015

Toodle and Twinkle yukking it up at the center.

 

Because cheesy, goopy goodness makes the world go round. Seriously, make this once and be prepared to make it again because you will want it in a bad way. My dear friend, Jane, first made this for K-Hubs and me when Toodle was born. We loved it so much she brought ANOTHER batch of it, and I’m pretty sure I cried. This was after I dreamed about it. The cheese was pure heaven in the midst of sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, a crying newborn, and maternity pants (best. invention. ever.). Is it healthy? I don’t know. Do you consider calcium and happiness to be healthy?

Toodle, Twinkle, and I decided to pass along the love and took this lovely cheesy, goopy goodness to a women’s center tonight. The class? A parenting course for new and expectant mothers. I just kind of got weepy there looking at all the women with their new littles and the mamas-to-be. Omigosh.

Toodle couldn’t contain herself either. She asked the volunteer director if the apples had gluten in them. Bless. And when we confirmed for her that they did not, she proceeded to get a tour of the center with an apple in hand. Then she pronounced to the attendees, “WOMENS!!!! Don’t forget to eat your food! There are milk and rolls!”

She wasn’t quite sure how to rattle off cheesy, goopy goodness, but it is the best recipe when making something for other people. It makes a lot. It’s comforting. It can be frozen. It can be made immediately. The directions call for you to “plop gently” into a 9 x 13 pan. Any recipe that calls for plopping gently is a recipe I want in my cookbook.

And if you are wondering whether this is a hard recipe to conquer, allow me to say, I descend from my mother and inherited her cooking skills. Which is to say, I was born with none. You cannot mess this up. This delicious recipe WILL NOT ALLOW IT. The cheesy, goopy goodness is stronger than your ability to ruin it. Speaking of Mom, she always said a good recipe had “goop.” The good, runny, often cheesy, stuff. This has it. Omigosh.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 2-lb package frozen hash browns
  • 1 package diced ham

Cheesy Goopy Goodness In Progress 2015

Directions

  1. Combine cheddar cheese, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, onions, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add hash browns and ham.
  3. Stir until mixed evenly.
  4. Plop gently into a 9 x 13 pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-90 minutes.

Cheesy Goopy Goodness Finished Product 2015

NOTE: If you first freeze it and then want to serve it later, pull the frozen dish out the morning of the evening you want to eat it and let it thaw in the fridge during the day. Still bake 60-90 minutes in the evening.

Really, I should tie up this article with something clever. But now all I can think about is making this again. So, well, um, happy gooping!

Kiwi Apple Cider 2015

It’s below zero. School might be cancelled tomorrow. I need to eat my fruits and vegetables. And I’m thinking, what fresh hell is winter going to give us this year? Christmas is over so winter can be, too. But the weather forecast says otherwise.

And then I discovered this tart treat by accident. It doesn’t bring warmer temps or have an impact on schools. It isn’t the prettiest of colors. But it’s a great excuse to get your fruits for the day. And it’s comforting, which addresses the its-so-cold-we-can’t-play-outside dilemma. You won’t care that it’s dangerous to be outdoors. You’ll be staying in with this and a good book. Or you’ll be chasing littles around the living room. But who cares? Because you have this drink to keep you company.

K-Hubs to me: Why are you even cleaning the Vitamix? We’re just going to make another batch, like right now.

So true.

My one disclaimer is that I literally discovered this today. No time to perfect, people. Done is the new perfect. Disclaimer 1.5: I’m not lying when I say it’s tart. My kiwis weren’t ripe, but I was losing the will to wait. So in they went with the apples. I included cinnamon because how can you not love cinnamon? If you don’t or, in the words of my 5-year-old, “can’t like it,” try nutmeg, ginger, or allspice. I sort of inadvertently dumped A LOT of cinnamon in my mixture. Best. Mistake. Ever.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 gala apples (or any apple of your choosing)
  • 3 kiwis
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Agave, to taste

Directions

  1. Add kiwis and apples to water and blend on high until dissolved.
  2. Add cinnamon and agave. Blend again for a few seconds.
  3. Serve heated or over ice.

Seriously, sneak a glass of this to another room. Lock yourself in with a good book. Tell the kids you’re balancing the checkbook or preparing tax documents. What? You could be. I mean, you’re probably not. But you could be. So it’s not a total lie.

 

 

 

Almond Coconut Cookies 3 2014

So, first you should probably sit down and catch your breath because this recipe is going to BLOW YOUR MIND. How have I lived my entire life without knowing the awesomeness that is the almond/coconut combination? No, really, please tell me how. Because I cannot get enough.

You are going to make these cookies and then take them to your child’s school and give them to the teacher. And the teacher is going to give your child all As this year because of the almond/coconut combination you just introduced. Any child of a parent who has discovered this combo is worth the grade. You’re welcome.

Wait, you can’t bring foods with nuts in them to school? Dagnavit. All those allergy-prone kids with their 14 food allergies across 7 of the 8 major allergy food groups. Oh, wait….

Well, mail them to the teacher because SOMEONE NEEDS TO KNOW HOW AWESOME YOU ARE AT BAKING THE HELL OUT OF…STUFF.

Okay, so because my child has 14 food allergies, wait, did I already write that? I did? Well, anyway, she has 14 food allergies, so we get creative with our ingredients. And my favorite new ingredient is Earth Balance soy-free buttery spread. OH MY GOD I LOVE IT FOR ALL THE THINGS. I do. I bake with it. I top with it. I sauté with it. I have been known to lick the knife – a table knife, not a sharp one. I’m not that deranged…yet.

You don’t have to bake with this because it costs about $20 for a 15 oz. tub. I might be lying there, but the stuff isn’t cheap. I have used coconut oil before, and for this recipe I just don’t love it. The final product is too dry for me. My cookies need to be just on this side of not containing bacteria. Just baked enough to kill the bad stuff. Dry cookies make me angry. I mean, if they are dry, then why even bother?

Okay, so a buttery spread instead of coconut oil. And then I use a combination of regular sugar and organic sugar, like that is such a major health milestone, bless my heart. But I like to think organic guilty pleasures are not really guilty pleasures because they’re organic. And the teacher thought I wasn’t paying attention in philosophy class. Heh heh heh.

I attempted to make brown sugar one time. Just once. And that was the end of it. So I use regular brown sugar now.

The almond extract or fake almond liquid or whatever it is called makes this cookie come alive. Should you be doing “baker’s quality control testing” throughout this recipe, you might be a little alarmed at this point when you sneak a bite. It gets pretty almond-y. But I assure you, keep going, culinary warrior. You can do this. You will. You must. You will thank yourself later.

Once you start adding in the coconut flour (a little goes a long way) and the gluten-free flour, the recipe will get thicker but should still be soft. Once you add the ground almonds and oatmeal, it will look more like cookie batter.

Bake only as long as absolutely necessary. Dry cookies are the worst. Maybe about 8 minutes. And then I let mine sit out on the baking sheet on top of the stove a while longer to let them set.

Step back to admire them. THEY ARE GORGEOUS. And they’ll become even more gorgeous as they continue to set. YOU ARE AMAZING. You created this all by yourself.

Almond Coconut Cookies 4 2014

What does this recipe yield? Honestly, I have no idea because I just eat the batter as I go. It is the most scientific way to prove along the way that the recipe is working. So, yields? I have no idea. Math is hard.

But that doesn’t matter because you just made this cookie.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (plus a little extra if you want really soft cookies)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic raw sugar (or just 1/2 cup granulated sugar if you don’t have this)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon artificial almond flavor
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats

Directions

  1. Blend butter to soften.
  2. Add sugars, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. Add egg and almond flavor.
  4. Gradually add flours and mix until blended.
  5. Add ground almonds and oats.
  6. Drop dough onto baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.
  8. Let set a few minutes after pulling out of the oven.

 

 

Pico De Gallo 2014

Vegetables should be hidden, not taste like vegetables, or be slathered in goop. But let’s face it, sometimes we just need to eat them as they are. Since Toodle has a tomato allergy I lamented we’d never get to eat salsa again, which was, in my world, a vegetable. Even though its base is a fruit. I like my science better. Math is hard.

I scoured traditional salsa recipes to see if I could exchange ingredients for those that are Toodle-friendly, and this is what I finally put together.

The great news is you’ll eat about a week’s worth of vegetables in one sitting. So if you want to indulge in some slathery goopy goodness, you will have probably earned it. And even though you can see the vegetables, the lime and salt hide the vegetables’ nefarious purpose of trying to corrupt us into healthy eating. The chips are a nice touch, too.

Pico Ingredients 2

Ingredients

  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 orange pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, cored and diced
  • 1 bushel of cilantro, finely sliced
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 lime, sliced in half
  • Salt, to taste
  • Corn chips

Directions

  1. Combine peppers, jalapenos, cilantro, and red onion in large mixing bowl.
  2. Squeeze lime juice from each half into mixture and stir.
  3. Add salt and stir.

Pico Ingredients 1

NOTES

I have made this often enough to learn that finely slicing and dicing the ingredients makes for a better recipe. If the ingredients are cut too large or too thick, it’s difficult to get a blended taste. I won’t lie, this one is a commitment. If you decide to make it often, for sanity’s sake, you might want to invest in a small food chopper.

Pico de Gallo 2 - 2014

 

 

 

 

Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothie Ingredients Close-Up 2014

If I had just one word to describe this smoothie, I’d pick two and say “comfort food.” Not the sweetest smoothie I’ve ever had, the blend of oatmeal, berries, milk, and juice is a balanced breakfast wrapped up in one comforting drink. For those times I don’t want a sugar high from a fruity beverage, this is a nice alternative. K-Hubs really likes blueberry/orange combinations, but many of the smoothie recipes we’ve enjoyed in the past contain ingredients we no longer keep in the house.

So I set out to find a blend we could all enjoy, allergies be damned.

Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothie Finished Product 2 2014

This one has been a hit in our house. Toodle curiously sips it when she thinks I’m not looking. Twinkle gets excited whenever I offer it. And K-Hubs thought it was so good the first time he tried it, he was convinced it wasn’t my recipe.

The conversation went a little like this:

ME: I just made a new smoothie concoction. What do you think?

K-HUBS: Wow, it’s really good.

ME [Grinning from ear to ear]: Yeah?

K-HUBS: Yeah. Whose recipe is it?

ME: Mine.

K-HUBS: No, I mean, where did you get the recipe?

ME [Grin fading a little]: From myself.

K-HUBS: You? You made this? You came up with this?

ME: Yeeeessss. Is that hard to believe?

K-HUBS: I just…it’s just…you were grinning so I thought you were hiding something…I just…

ME: No, I played around with the ingredients and this is what I came up with. Some people grin when they are excited.

K-HUBS: Ah, yes, well…it tastes soooooo delicious. It really is a masterpiece. You knocked this one out of the ballpark. Yep, you’ve outdone yourself. [Taking another sip] Complete masterpiece.

Nice save. Nice save, indeed.

Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothie Liquid Ingredients Close-Up 2014

It is a thick smoothie, so I played around with how much of each liquid to add. A little orange juice goes a long way. If you decide you want more liquid, I’d increase the amount of milk. Too much juice and it just turns bitter…trust me. And if it’s still too thick for your liking, the next time you make it reduce the oatmeal by a 1/4 cup or so.

Speaking of which, this recipe is great for getting in a daily dose of fiber. That’s why I keep the amount of oatmeal at one cup. This recipe makes enough for two people, so each person gets a daily serving of oatmeal in their smoothie. Success.

I try to eat high-fiber foods, but sometimes it’s just work. How much more broccoli can I stand to eat in one sitting? I’ve eaten three pieces and hit my max for the day. Someone, please hand me a slice of cheese or at least slather the broccoli in butter or dip or something.

I come by this attitude honestly. Mom and I tried to eat celery once during movie night at home. And then what, you ask? That’s it. That’s the end of the story. We tried to eat it once. But Doris Day and Rock Hudson aren’t as funny if you’re eating celery. Mom went in search of peanut butter, but then we had more peanut butter on the celery than actual celery. Finally we gave up and ate the peanut butter by itself. We patted ourselves on the back for the initial effort.

With this recipe, I get my flavor and my fiber. Since I can’t knowingly subsist on Ruffles potato chips alone (although there are days I’d love to try), food combos like this are a godsend.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 1/2 cup Rice Dream vanilla-flavored rice milk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (I just prepare frozen orange juice from concentrate according to package instructions, nothing fancy)
  • 1 cup gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill brand)
  • 2–2 1/2 cups blueberries, just slightly thawed

Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothie Ingredients Outdoors 2014

Directions

  1. Combine 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup orange juice, and oats in blender on high speed for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add blueberries and blend another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add remaining milk and blend until smooth.

Blueberry oatmeal Smoothie Finished Product 1 2014

And there you have it. A healthy comfort food perfect for rainy days or breakfast on the deck.

NOTES

This isn’t a sweet-tooth recipe. If you’re inclined to make your smoothie sweeter, consider adding a little agave nectar. The blending warms the smoothie, too. If you like a cooler smoothie, add a few ice cubes to your serving glass and stir. This can also help thin it a little because it is a thick blend to begin with, courtesy of the oats.

There are just moments as a parent when you think, if I achieve nothing else today, I’m calling it a win. Small successes that maybe only you can appreciate. Figuring out a recipe for homemade maple and brown sugar oatmeal has recently been mine.

Even our resident “discerning” eater, Toodlebug, likes it. Boom. I had to share it with you.

And she asked for seconds, so that’s a win. Now whenever she wants homemade oatmeal she excitedly shouts, “Mama! Please get the sweet! I would like some sweet oatmeal!” Sweet, indeed.

Homemade Oatmeal 2014

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats*
  • 1/2 cup hot water (I don’t microwave ours, so I let the tap water run until it’s hot to the touch)
  • Pinch of salt, if desired (I don’t always remember this step, and Toodle doesn’t seem to notice the difference)
  • 2 tsp 100% maple syrup**
  • 2 tsp brown sugar**

Directions

  1. Pour oats into breakfast bowl and pour hot water over oats.
  2. Let sit for a few minutes to thicken.
  3. Add salt, if desired.
  4. Add syrup and sugar to oatmeal and stir evenly.

Homemade Oatmeal Overcast 2014

*I use Gluten-free Bob’s Red Mill Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats. I made a few adjustments to the original recipe linked above since Toodle doesn’t like the texture of microwaved oatmeal.

** If, like me, you aren’t as much of a sweet tooth, consider starting with just 1 tsp each and add from there.

NOTE: If you want to microwave your oatmeal, increase water to 1 cup and add the syrup and sugar after microwaving. You may want to pop it back in the microwave for a few more seconds.