Mi Familia!!

Mi Familia!!
Roscoe, Sophia, & Emily(across top) and then I think you can figure out the rest!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Copy Cat Oats and a little less of the Crazy

This morning we woke up to the 8th straight day of snow and COLD weather. It hasn't laid buckets of snow down on us, but it has snowed some every day since New Year's Eve here in the Burgh.

It is also really COLD! Right now we are resting at around 11 degrees outside... brr! We live in an old drafty house and actually don't have any kind of heating vents in almost half of our house. The kitchen, the kids' room, and the bathroom (which are above the kitchen on the second floor) are all devoid of any kind of heat other than being attached to the rest of the house. It makes for a chilly house! I'm not sure why there aren't vents in those rooms, I guess it has something to do with the age of the home. We use space heaters to supplement, but it gets expensive and a little squirrelly with little people running around the house.
Sooo, this morning was the perfect opportunity for a new kind of warm, yummy breakfast that I have been wanting to try. A bloggy friend of mine Christine from Marvelously Mundane posted a variety of oatmeal that intrigued me recently, so I thought I would try it with my own spin. I didn't change much about the recipe, but I used steel cut oats instead of rolled, and fresh cranberries instead of dried, plus a wiggle here and there for spices and sweetness. I made a large amount because there are 3 of us, AND I'm a hungry, pregnant Mama! It reheats well and I make it knowing I get two breakfasts out of it pretty easily! Now we have breakfast for tomorrow and none of us have to wait that long.

In fact, if you are more organized making it in advance works well, because the Steel Cut Oats do take awhile to cook, and I don't know about you, but the kids and I come downstairs ready to eat the second we hit the kitchen! : ) All you have to do to reheat is add a little Almond Milk, Water, or Orange Juice(in the case of this recipe) to loosen it up a bit and heat it on low for a few minutes and you have a tasty, healthy breakfast!

Here's what I came up with.

Cranberry Orange Steel Cut Oats

3 Cups Water
1 1/2 Cups Orange Juice
1 Cup Fresh Cranberries

1 Cup Applesauce
1 1/2 Cups Steel Cut Oats
1 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 Tsp Tumeric (don't be scared of this... it adds a great complexity and was one of the things that intrigued me so much about the original recipe... you can add less if you want to though! )
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt

1 Tsp Vanilla (optional)
3 Tbsp Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar (if needed, I tried to just use Maple Syrup, but found I needed a little more sweetness for me and the kiddos, especially with those tart cranberries in the mix!)
Almond Milk (optional, we like it to cool it down and make it a little creamy)

1. Using a good thick bottomed pan put 3 cups of water, 1 1/2 cups of orange juice, and a cup or so of fresh cranberries to boil. Steel cut oats take awhile to soften and cook, so using a good pan will help avoid too much sticking!

2. While waiting for your pot to come up to boil add your spices to the oats and stir them around, this helps avoid spice clumps when you add them in later.

3. When your water starts to bubble, add the applesauce and the spiced oats. Stir for a little while to make sure that everything is combined well. The cranberries will start to pop and open up a bit during this time, my kids love listening to them pop... it's the little things in life right? : )

4. When the liquids begin to bubble again, turn the heat down to a simmer. Add your necessary sweeteners and vanilla at this point as well. I tried to just use just Maple Syrup, but needed the extra hit of brown sugar for our tastes. The oats have a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan, but I don't stand there stirring like crazy. My trick is to turn them down to a low simmer and set the timer for 10 minutes. When I go back to check them they will be stuck but I have a good pan so they don't burn. If I am having a hard time getting them off the bottom I just turn off the heat for a minute or two and cover them with the lid. After a minute or two when I lift the lid they will lift right off the bottom from the steam. I don't usually have to do that but sometimes I will lose my focus without a timer and leave them longer... that's when my little trick comes in handy! : )

How long the oats need to cook is very subjective. I cook mine for anywhere between 30-40 minutes depending on the day. When you go to check on them you might want to add more liquid if they are getting too dry, that is also subjective. I start checking them after 20 minutes or so... they are never done, but I am always ready to EAT them!! : ) I also adjust the seasoning throughout the process(that's why I added the brown sugar).
When they are all finished, I serve them with a little bit of unsweetened Almond Milk on top, you could also add a touch of honey as well, because I bet that would be tasty too!

Mmmm... so good I want some more!! : )

As for the second part of the title of this post... I am feeling better. There are quite a few reasons for this. I think the most important one is that I have been forcing myself to use my treadmill every single day. With the holiday craziness I had fallen off of my exercise routine. I just felt too overwhelmed to fit everything into my days. And as usual for me the first thing to go was taking the best care of myself. I am tired and clumsy, but I do a slow walk and feel better for it every time!

Roscoe has officially moved out of our room and into his sister's. We are in the process of turning into "their" room, which has been a long time coming! Roscoe is getting used to sleeping without walls on his mattress on the floor and that gives us the crib for when the baby gets here. I do cosleep with my little ones, so we had time, but I am glad that he did it on his own and not because he felt forced out by the baby. I'm sure that it feels much different to him that he asked and we didn't MAKE him do it. It is nice to have our room just for the two of us again. Not that much other than sleeping goes on in there at this point... but it is still nice to not have to whisper when we go to bed at night and feel like we have our own small bit of space again... for a few months anyway! : )

I also finally got my husband to sit down with me and look at my THREE page crazy nesting list. He added a few things to the list and then helped me to achieve several things that were the most important to me. He has started on a few of the things that are important to him as well. I cannot describe to you the relief that I feel from feeling like we are more on the same page than we were before. Plus, one of the big things I needed his help with was getting me all the old clothes from the attic. We had given away several boxes of things when we thought that we were done... but I found a box that I thought I had given away (even was labeled "to be given away") was still up there. I was happy to see it because it had all the long sleeved undershirts that I thought we were going to need to replace. In fact after looking through most of the boxes I now feel like I am WAY more prepared than I was. I have taken out all the gender neutral clothes to be washed and relabeled the other boxes with sizes and whether it is girl or boy stuff. It feels good just knowing what we do and don't have on our small baby needs list.

Another thing that has made me feel more hopeful is that my husband has agreed to go see our therapist on his own. I will still see my new one, and we will go every once in awhile together still, but for now he will go and try to work through some of his own stuff... and that feels really good. It shows me that he is willing to put forth some effort to help be the best that he can be... and that is all anyone can ask for really!

So all in all, I got back to remembering that it really is better for me AND the rest of my family when I make time for myself. The first thing to go for me is anything that I do for myself... when I start to feel overwhelmed it feels selfish, but the truth is that when I put my needs on the important "To Do" list everyone benefits. It's one of the many things I am working on. I am a work in progress, as we all are!

Today I am thankful that I am feeling a little less of the CRAZY!

I am grateful that my husband and I were able to sit down and re-connect.

I am also thankful that I have a yummy breakfast ready for tomorrow morning!!


Lissaloo said...

That looks really really good, I would love to try it sometime. My kiddos are all oatmeal fans so I bet this would be a hit here :)

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

The breakfast looks really good, unfortunately no one in our house likes oatmeal, can you believe it?

I also want to say YAY for the fact that your husband is getting on board with counseling and that you guys are working everything out.