Saturday, February 27, 2010

We've Only Just Begun: How to Wake Up Your Garden

Yes, that title should be sung. You can sing it a la Karen Carpenter, though I usually just remember the version from Happy GilmoreJust another attempt to make my life more like a musical....

Okay, on to the reason for the aforementioned title: For the last couple weeks ago, I've been sort of arguing with myself on whether or not it's too early to start doing posts on here about gardening. On one hand, a good part of the country is still buried under lots of snow (though, not so much here, oddly enough, where we boast about having 'the greatest snow on Earth'.  Go figure.)Then again, there's this weekly gardening call-in show on the radio every Saturday and they still talk about gardening during the winter months.  Anyway, I've finally come to the conclusion that it is, indeed, time for the gardening posts.  Being the enthusiastic gardening aficionada that I am, I'm pretty excited to get started. We've only just begun...

A few things brought me to this conclusion. One thing is that the first of my tulips are peeking out from my flower bed. Everyone should plant bulbs - whether in flowerbeds or in containers - purely for the psychological benefit.  It's a well-known fact that more people are depressed during the winter months; bulbs are good for the mind because they're a physical reassurance that winter will, in fact, end and that warm weather is in the near future.  I've given this much thought, as you can tell.

The second thing: my pussywillow. It's so close to blooming with those soft, white buds. Again, if you have a yard, you should plant these purely for the same reasons I suggest planting bulbs.  It just does something to your soul to see life emerge from the cold, dingy brownness that is Februrary.

And finally, the thing that really got me to start posting gardening stuff again was that the gardening workshops in my area have started again.  Hey, if they're ready to go, why not me and this blog?  It just so happens that I attended the first workshop of 2010, so I'm going to share the handout from the class I attended called,

"Wake Up Your Garden!"

First of all, I don't want anyone feeling left out if you don't have a yard or garden area. That goes for people that profess to have a 'black thumb', too.  I promise, I will help you the best I can through your gardening endeavors as the season progresses and give you ideas on how to adapt to your situations. It's a tall order, I know, but I will do that for you (are you feeling the love?). This post is just a quick overview - a sort of check-list - of how to get ready for the season ahead; more in-depth info, how-to, and details to come in the weeks ahead.

Step #1: Planning and Preparation
  • Make a plan of your garden site, including space and sun exposure. Graph paper is great for planning your garden area.  If you already have a garden, start planning what you want to grow over the course of the year. Consider what worked for you last year and what didn't.  If you don't have a yard or have a very small one, start thinking about alternative ways to garden: is there room somewhere on a patio or balcony for some containers? If so, think about what you would like to grow (peas? tomatoes? herbs?) - I had a lot of success with container gardening last year. 
  • Select plants that grow well in your locality and planting zone. Your planting zone is an excellent guide in knowing what will grow (and what won't) in your part of the country.  If you don't know what zone you live in, go to this link to the National Gardening Association and enter your zip code. It will not only tell you what zone you live in, but the site has lots of great information and resources.
  • Order from seed catalogs if local nurseries don't carry what you need.  Here's a site I found about some of the best seed catalogs out there. Just about every company I know of will send you a free catalog.
  • Clean and sharpen your garden tools. If you don't have any, go get the basics. You can find a good list of what to get here.
 Step #2: Clean Up
  • Rake up leaves and dead grass. Clear out annual and perennial tops.
  • Inspect non-plant items like pots, grow boxes, trellises, fences, sprinklers; repair or replace as needed.
Step #3: Improve Soil
  • Organic matter should be added every year, dug in or as mulch on top. 
  • Don't work the soil until it is dry enough. One way to tell:  grab a handful of soil and make a ball. If it breaks apart when it hits the ground, it is dry enough; if it falls to the ground with a thud, it's still too wet. You don't want to use too-wet soil because it will be too compact for the air and nutrients to get to your plants, plus it will make your seeds rot.
  • Aerate lawn (if applicable).  Core aeration is most effective. Do it in the spring OR fall. 
  • Fertilize.  Lawns need high nitrogen (N); pre-emergent is useful in early spring.  Fertilize bulbs after they bloom; fertilize perennials when 2-3 inches tall.
Step #4: Bug and Weed Control
  • Clean up of dead material (i.e. leaves, perennial and annual tops, etc.) will help keep pests under control.
  • Annual weeds - hoe when small. Pre-emergent herbicides are effective.
  • Perennial weed - pull the entire root! Most susceptible to herbicides when young.
Step #5: Pruning
  • Pruning stimulates growth and determines the shape of the plant. Prune after coldest part of winter is past. 
  • Prune shade and ornamental trees very little - only diseased and broken branches.
  • Prune fruit trees according to type, leaving strongest branch angles. (Pruning fruit trees is important, but tricky. Do your research or take a class first. I'm taking a class next month - I'll share the info with you.)
  • Roses should be shaped and thinned, with all dead material removed. Leave 3-5 sturdy canes.
  • Cut off tops of perennial ornamental grasses.
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs (like lilac and forsythia) after they're done blooming.
Step #6: Planting
  • Start seeds for transplant, counting back from outside planting time. (More on seed starting in posts to come)
  • Plant cool season vegetables mid-March to early April:  broccoli, peas, onions, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, potatoes
  • Plant cool season annuals in early April: pansies, primrose, stock
  • Plant bare-root trees, shrubs, roses, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries in mid-March or early April.
  • You can get an early start on lots of vegetables and fruit by warming the soil with plastic mulch, wall-o-water, and/or cold frame.
    Okay, so that's a lot of information. It can seem a little overwhelming, I know. I keep looking at my yard and I can't help but think of all the work ahead of me. Everything, like my grouchy flowerbed toad, seems to be buried in leaves or dead flowers. But it's so rewarding to grow your own food (not to mention a frugal thing to do!) and it's a lot of fun to beautify your home with various plants and flowers.

     One other thing:  I would LOVE any feedback, at any time, with gardening questions - general or specific. You can leave your question or concern in a comment or email me (my address is on my profile). I'm no expert, but I feel like I'm a pretty competent gardener. And if I can't answer a question, my mom is a certified Master Gardener and knows even more than I do. Plus, I go to lots of classes and workshops, so there are plenty of super-smart people I can ask.  So, send me your concerns and questions. I'll do the best I can.  One stipulation: don't ask me anything about lawn care. My lawn is the bane of my existence (well, that and shopping for pants). No matter what I do, it always gets brown and weedy in patches. But anything else, I'm all ears...

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    Your Salad Will Thank Me: How to Make Homemade Croutons

    Back at the tender age of 15, I worked at a local restaurant. It was a small place, owned by a married couple, where the husband was the cook (a fabulous cook, I might add) and the wife managed everything else. I mostly did odd jobs there. Washed dishes sometimes, did food prep other times, all while helping the waitresses with their orders. It was a great job - not only did I make a little extra money, but the owners always fed me an amazing dinner when I worked and let me do my homework when it was slow.

    Part of the reason that place's food was so great was that just about everything was made from scratch. I remember looking through the recipe books and mixing up huge batches of salad dressings, scooping butter into what must have been at least fifty little serving dishes, cutting up tons of lettuce for an entire dinner shift's worth of salad, and a myriad of other things.  But one thing in particular that I learned to do while working at this place was how to make homemade croutons.

    Making croutons is a ridiculously easy thing to do and it takes hardly any time to make them.  I remember making all the croutons for the shift I was working in less than a half hour.  Seriously, it's that easy.  And best of all - it's a great money-saver. Not only do you save money by making your own (buying a box at the store that can cost anywhere from $2-4), but it's a great way to use up stale or dried out bread.  AND, like I always say, making things yourself is a great way to go because you control what goes into your food. Sure, white bread coated with butter and garlic salt isn't necessarily health food, but it is better than the store-bought kind that contain delicious ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil, and MSG.  

    So, to make croutons, you need some kind of bread. Obviously. Now, the very best kind for croutons (what I used at the restaurant) was French bread. But you can use any other kind of bread - my mom uses hamburger and hot dog buns that have gone stale.  Cut up the bread into squares - whatever size you want your croutons to be.  Spread them out on a baking sheet, either coated with cooking spray or lined with parchment (or better yet, a Silpat. Seriously, if you bake a lot, you really should invest in one of these. I love mine.).  Next, melt some butter and pour it all over the squares - I used a little over a stick of it.  Ahhhh....butter.  Makes just about anything better, don't you think?

    Quick sidenote:  as you're cutting up your bread for the croutons, don't forget to save the crumbs. Great for breading just about anything you could ever want to bread. No sense in buying crumbs at the store when you've got all of these, right?

    Next, sprinkle the buttered bread squares with garlic salt and any other seasonings you'd like.  My mom likes the Mrs. Dash Italian Medley; I just used plain ol' generic Italian seasoning.  They taste good even at this step - we all kept snacking on them, as you can see.  But they get even better once they've been toasted in the oven. Oh, I probably should have mentioned this earlier, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
    Bake the croutons for about 10-15 minutes, checking regularly so they don't burn (been there, done that).  You want them to be crunchy and golden-brown. Once they've cooled, store them in a bag and you're set.  Delicious, homemade croutons for hardly any money.  This batch cost me under $2 to make - and it made a lot.  Plus, did I mention that they taste waaaaay better than the ones at the store? Oh yeah, I did.
     It just so happens that my son loves salad, particularly Caesar salad.  So, I threw together some romaine lettuce, shredded Parmesan cheese, Caesar dressing, and, of course, lots of croutons. And for the record, he ate the entire bowl of it.

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    In Honor of National Pancake Day...Again

    I'm sure you've marked your calendars already and you know that tomorrow, February 23, just so happens to be National Pancake Day (even though we also had one of these days in September).  What?! You don't have it on your calendar?! Shocking.

     To be honest, I only remember because it is around - and sometimes on - my birthday (which is this Wednesday, in case you were wondering). Really, I think the guy in charge of dedicating days to different foods must have purposefully put pancake day around my birthday because someone told him how much I love them.  Anyway, you can either go to IHOP on National Pancake Day and get a free stack of them (really, you can! Google it. I'll wait.) OR you could make your own stack of them.  I prefer the latter.  IHOP pancakes have nothing on homemade ones.

    A few months ago, I shared the recipe I use for traditional, white flour pancakes.  Seriously delicious.  I also love the spelt flour pancakes in the cookbook, Whole Grain Baking.  I'd highly recommend trying either of those recipes.  And then there's the recipe I'm going to share with you for whole wheat pancakes...

    When my husband was growing up, his mom had a go-to homemade mix for whole wheat pancakes that she used almost every day (can you believe that, as a kid, my husband and his siblings got tired of having pancakes every morning and envied kids who got cereal?) and a few months ago, I finally got my hands on the recipe. I love homemade mixes - they're inexpensive to make, taste better than the storebought mixes, and are just as convenient.  As you can see in the picture above, we only have a little bit of the latest batch left - we use it a lot here!

    Wheat Pancake Mix

    8 cups whole wheat flour
    4 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. baking powder
    1/4 cup sugar
    4 tsp. salt
    2 1/2 cups powdered milk
    1 1/2 to 2 cups of vegetable or canola oil

    Mix all ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.  Note: Depending on your needs and how much you'll use it, you can adjust the recipe. For example, in the margin of the copy of the recipe, my mother-in-law wrote the measurements doubled since she used this mix all the time; I usually halve it when I make a batch (so it fits in the container I use). 

    To make pancakes:  Mix 1 1/2 cups of wheat mix with 1 egg and enough water to make the right pancake consistency (this is all about preference - whether you like them thick or thin.  I usually add about 1/2 cup of water).  Cook on lightly oiled, hot griddle.

    Yield:  12-24 pancakes per recipe. (This is what the recipe says, but I always question whether to include the yield amount on recipes since mine never matches. When I make this recipe, I don't get 12 pancakes, let alone close to 24. But I don't use a lot of water, so that could affect the amount yielded. I just realized that maybe 'per recipe' means the yield from the whole batch of mix.  I don't know. Just experiment for yourself.)

    For the last couple weeks, all my son has wanted for breakfast are 'animal pancakes'.  And who could blame him - these are some pretty yummy wheat pancakes!

    Friday, February 19, 2010

    Lovely Links: Neglected Blog Edition

    Errrrrr....uhhhhhh.....yeah, I slacked off a little this week when it comes to this blog.  I could rattle off the other things I've been doing to make you feel a little less neglected. My living room table says it all: attempting yet another sewing project, working on my novel, reading various books - all while enjoying the dark chocolate my husband gave me for Valentine's Day and drinking chamomile tea (love the stuff).  All this while doing the regular routine around the house (though that's been a little neglected this week, too), playing with my little guy, doing a Cub Scout den meeting, plus squeezing in a trip to the aquarium and a visit to my grandpa for his 85th birthday. AND there's the Winter Olympics to distract me nightly (did you watch the men's figure skating last night when Evan Lysacek won? Awesome.). As I've typed this paragraph, I can almost hear my dad telling me one of his classic adages, "Excuses are like armpits: everyone's got them and they all stink."  Now that's a saying worth cross-stitching on a pillow...

    In any case, I promise to post regularly next week.  Until then, check out some of the links I've read and bookmarked over the last couple weeks.  Good stuff.

    Menu Planning 1010 and 9 Tips to Successful Meal Planning- Simple Bites
    I love the Simple Living network of blogs.  In addition to Simple Mom and Simple Kids, there's now Simple Bites (devoted entirely to cooking) and Simple Organic (about living a more eco-friendly lifestyle).  The new ones have only been up for a week or so, but I can tell they're going to be great.  Anyway, I thought these posts were good reads for anyone because effective meal planning can save a family a lot of money.  I have to confess: I haven't been so great about doing this lately, especially with my husband's recent work schedule.

    When you have a plan, you buy less at the grocery store (no impulse buys) and even plan meals around store sales.  Having a plan also makes the whole dinner prep experience more enjoyable - I enjoy dinnertime much more when I have a plan, as opposed to letting 6:00 roll around and wonder what I'm going to make while husband and son are telling me they're hungry.  This leads to another benefit of meal planning:  it's so easy in those moments, when you have no idea what to make, to just give up and go buy dinner somewhere.  So, if you don't plan your meals now, these articles have some great info and ideas. And if you're like me and haven't been as good in this area as you could be, these articles will get you motivated to get back at it again (and offer some helpful tips, too).

    Chicken Parmigiana - The Pioneer Woman
    Speaking of meals and menus, I've just discovered The Pioneer Woman.  I guess she's pretty popular, so I don't know why I haven't heard of her until just lately. I've only looked at and read the cooking section, so I can't vouch for the entire site. In any case, I'm glad I found her blog because her recipes 1) look awesome and 2) look really practical.  I been looking through her recipe archives and can't wait to try this recipe for Chicken Parmigiana.  Now, I've made other recipes of Chicken Parmesan, but they didn't look nearly as good as these ones do.  And the recipe is really simple and inexpensive (unless you splurge on the wine she includes in the recipe.  I'll probably just omit that or use some kind of subsitution).  How could you go wrong with this one?

    Green Goal-Setting, Part 1 - Simple Organic
    I'm not a rabid environmentalist. I'm skeptical of the concept of 'man-made' climate change. I find it annoying when 'going green' is a trendy thing and especially annoying when celebrities preach about it. That said, I'm totally for living green - I believe everyone should be conscious of the way we use our resources and what condition we leave the planet in.  I believe that natural products and solutions are often a smart choice.  But the main reason I mention it on here because, in many cases, living green is a good way to live frugally. Even if you apply just a few 'green' ideas to you life, you can save money.  Check out this link for an introduction and some suggestions on how an eco-friendly lifestyle can affect your frugal goals and budget.

    Managing Resources Wisely and Staying Out of Debt
    In my church, we have a program called Visiting Teaching where two women are assigned as a companionship and go and visit certain women of the congregation that are assigned to them. It's a great way to make sure every woman is taken care of and each woman's needs are recognized and met - plus, it's a great way to make friends. Anyway, each month the women of my church present a message to the women they visit and I thought this month's message was worth sharing with everyone, no matter your religious views.  It's good advice for everyone!

    "Thrift is not an affair of the pocket, but an affair of character."   - S.W. Straus

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Random Reuses: We Eat a Lot of Yogurt

    When I was a kid, my mom always washed our empty yogurt containers and used them for all sorts of odds and ends.  This practice must have been ingrained in my brain from a young age because I can't seem to help doing the same - I always wash and save our empty yogurt containers. We happen to eat a lot of yogurt here, so we never have a shortage of them. 

    Like this morning.  It was my turn to teach our neighborhood preschool group (nothing super structured, just a once-a-week thing where we practice ABC's and numbers, etc.). I was feeling particularly brave this morning and thought it would be fun to decorate Valentine's Day themed sugar cookies.  So once the cookies were done and ready to be frosted and sprinkled, I pulled out my handy-dandy yogurt cups.

    The four 3-year-olds set out on their decorating adventure, going between frosting the cookies and eating the frosting off their fingers. It was a fairly sticky event, as you can imagine.  But the true success was that it wasn't really messy at all (I was surprised too) and there were no arguments over frosting or any of the other decorating supplies. Each kid had his or her own little yogurt cup full of frosting and various toppings in other cups, enough that each kid stayed occupied with their own and didn't fight over anything. 

    And since each child had his or her own little cup of frosting, a lot less germs got shared (I think my son ate more frosting than the three other kids). Love those little cups...

    Saturday, February 6, 2010

    As Promised....A Giveaway!

    Years ago, in my pre-motherhood days, I used to go to the local thrift store somewhat often and peruse the book section. Most days, I found nothing.  Old textbooks.  Past issues of church magazines and National Geographic. Shelves full of What to Expect When You're Expecting (I'm sure those same women donated all their maternity clothes from the 80s and 90s there, too). Reader's Digest collections. Meh. But on rare occasions, I would come across a few great finds. One of my favorite finds was an old hardcover copy of a novel I loved as a kid; it was a library copy, complete with the little card pocket and due dates from the 1960s stamped in it. Awesome.

    Then I found two books that had me giggling in the book aisle of the DI - they were old homemaking books from the late fifties and early sixties.  I couldn't help laughing at how it said that as a homemaker "Beauty is a duty" and how (in regard to wearing make-up) "even a barn looks better with some paint."  Yes, that's an actual line from one of the books. And the pictures - how I love the pictures! (I'm sure this comes as no surprise - look at my header! Clearly, one of the inspirational factors for it).  Despite feeling slightly annoyed by some aspects of book, I took them in good humor and bought both of them.

    The only thing that would have made this picture better was if it is said "No" or "Don't" next to the top picture and "Yes" or "Do" by the bottom.

    Whenever I returned to the thrift store, I'd always look for funny retro homemaking books first.  And on one of my visits, I happened to come across another copy of one of the books I'd previously gotten - The Art of Homemaking by Daryl Hoole.  Since, it only cost a dollar, I picked it up so I could give it to my mom for a good laugh.  My thrift store visits became more spread out (not that I went a lot before - not a huge fan of what my husband and I call "the DI itch" from being around all those used things. Makes my skin feel weird - in a purely psychosomatic way), but as luck would have it, I found yet another copy of The Art of Homemaking.  My best friend from high school was getting married, so I thought it would be funny to give it to her for her bridal shower.  Since then, I've casually looked for a copy whenever we go to the thrift store (usually just around Halloween for costumes, though more often since I got Handmade Home), but never saw another copy.

    That is, until a couple weeks ago.

    I've never even read The Art of Homemaking until a couple days ago. I just had in my kitchen on my cookbook shelf as kitschy joke. And yes, there are parts that are kind of ridiculous, like cleaning the house in a skirt and heels, with a fresh application of lipstick.  If you can get past the first few chapters about appearance (even those have a sort of merit), there is some good information how to run a household cheerfully and efficiently. But mostly, I just think retro stuff like this is funny.

    So, that's what I'm giving away for my latest giveaway: your very own vintage copy of The Art of Homemaking. And to sweeten the deal even more, I'm going throw in a jar of my pluot jam (seriously, I made way too much of it this past fall). A guide to homemaking and the fruits of said homemaking - what more could you ask for?

    If you want to win, simply:
    1. Leave a comment. Maybe mention how you feel about thrift stores or tell me about anything cool or an awesome deal you've found at one (by the way, the Rockband guitar I mentioned in an earlier post, the one I picked up at the DI for two bucks totally works! They usually cost around $50-60. Cha-ching!).
    2. For an extra entry, become a follower of my blog OR put my button on your blog (see the sidebar) OR do a blog post about the giveaway OR mention the giveaway (with a link included) on your Facebook page. For each thing you do, you get an extra entry (so, really, you could have up to five entries!). Leave a comment when you've done one of these, so I can keep track easily!
    3. The giveaway ends on Wednesday, February 10 at midnight. I'll choose the winner randomly (via and announce the winner on Thursday, February 11.  
    Good luck!

    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    Ugggggghhhhh....; or, How to Make Homemade Pedialyte

    It must have been something I ate.  I woke up this morning feeling really terrible. Like, REALLY terrible.

    Anyway, I'm starting to feel better. I think I got it all out of my system. Still, it's left me feeling a little depleted and my stomach isn't totally settled. I'm eating yogurt right now - got to get those probiotics to work. But if I've learned anything from all my reading and from motherhood, it is that avoiding dehydration is the most important thing when you're having....issues.

    In the past, I've always just gotten a Gatorade for myself or my husband when one of us gets a bout of this stuff. For my son, I run out and buy some Pedialyte. Pedialyte is expensive, though. A bottle of the stuff can run anywhere from three to six bucks. What's even in Pedialyte?  I've tasted it. It's like watered down, salty Kool-Aid.  How can it cost so much?  Part of me wonders if the high price isn't a form of extortion: a desperate parent of a child that's vomiting or dealing with bout of diarrhea will just hurry and buy the stuff, no matter the cost. Even the generic, store brand Pedialyte replicas are around two to four dollars.  Not cool. But, the stuff is good for a reason - it rehydrates and replenishes little bodies better than plain water. So what's a frugal mama to do?

    Not too long ago, I came across a recipe (from a pediatrician, no less) on how to make your own Pedialyte.  I guarantee you have all the essential ingredients at home.  To make your own Pedialyte, just mix 4 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. You can also add 1/2 tsp. of Jell-O powder to give it a little flavor.  I don't think it makes much of a difference, but it might make it a bit more appealing to a kid (colored water is always more interesting, right?).  That's it - your own Pedialyte for pennies.

    So I whipped up a batch of this stuff for myself this morning (like I'd want to go to the store and buy some Gatorade anyway).  And you should know, all the while I thought groggily, "I should share this on the Parsimonious blog".  I even took a picture of the concoction (with the "just-in-case" bowl behind it).  Do you feel the love? It is February, after all.

    Tuesday, February 2, 2010

    Oatmeal Snobbery: Why I Prefer Steel Cut Oats

    I've always liked oatmeal.  I know, I know - it's kind of an obvious thing to say. Like the guy my husband worked with who said, "Maybe it's just me, but I really like sunsets."  Just like everyone else. Or like when people say that they think clowns can be kind of scary.  Not out of the ordinary. Or when people say they're afraid of needles. Who isn't a little?

    But I digress...

    I really like oatmeal.  Especially this time of year.  And just when I didn't think a regular old bowl of oatmeal could get any better, I tried steel-cut oats. According to good ol' Wikipedia, steel-cut oats are basically the inner part of the oat grain and is cut into pieces by steel (hence the name) instead of being rolled flat like the ones we've come to love.  Steel-cut oats are hard, similar to grains of rice or wheat.  They take longer to cook than rolled oats, but they're so worth the wait. I can't even explain completely why they're better, but they just are.  They have this chewy texture and a nutty taste.  Almost like oatmeal crossed with a bowl of brown rice. And they just so happen to be healthier for you than the more processed rolled oats. Simply put, once I had steel-cut oats, I became an oatmeal snob. The rolled ones are just well...sub-par.

    So why mention this?  Steel-cut oats are a great frugal breakfast. I buy them in bulk at my local health food store for around 70 cents a pound.  A pound of steel-cut oats will make a lot of breakfasts.  Plus, the amazing thing about steel-cut oats is that you can make a big pot of oatmeal at the beginning of the week and enjoy the leftovers for days.  Unlike regular rolled oats, cooked steel-cut oats actually store well. Rolled oats, when refrigerated, will get this weird film and develop a rubbery texture.  Steel-cut oats, after a minute or so in the microwave, taste just as good as when you first made them. This makes them just as convenient as those flavored instant oatmeal packets - and the steel-cut oats are cheaper, healthier, and tastier, too.  What's not to love?

    Making a pot steel-cut oatmeal is really easy.  I make a good-sized batch (about three or so servings) with only a cup of oats. In a large saucepan, mix the cup of oats with 4 1/4 cups of water Heat over medium-high until it boils.  Once it's boiling, reduce heat to low and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  That's it.  You mix in a little salt and vanilla, if you like.  Once the water is evaporated and the oatmeal is the consistency you like, serve it up. I like mine with honey, cinnamon, flaxmeal, almonds, and some kind of fruit (last summer, I used raspberries from my garden. Heavenly.).  Put whatever you don't use in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator up to three or four days.  This is the kind breakfast that sticks with you for a while since it's so hearty and delicious.  I'm willing to bet you'll become an oatmeal snob like me in no time.

    Note:  I'm planning on doing my giveaway this Friday! Details to come...
    Related Posts with Thumbnails