Easy-as-Pie Slow Cooker Pumpkin Oatmeal

photo 1Happy first day of fall, readers!! Today is officially the autumnal equinox, and thus begins my absolute favorite season of the year.

Though we slowly lose our precious sunlight as the end of Daylight Savings Times approaches in November, the crisp, cool, “just-right” air still makes autumn a comforting time for many. And did you know that without the increasing darkness in the Northern Hemisphere during this time of the year, we wouldn’t be able to witness the beautiful golds, yellows, reds and oranges that are the defining features of fall foliage?!

photo 3According to National Geographic, plants can sense the waning daylight and deduce that winter is coming, so they begin to retrieve materials from their leaves before they drop off. Evergreen trees have ways to protect their needles from freezing, but leafy plants do not; therefore, they shed their leaves, typically after the first frost. Beforehand, trees such as the gorgeous Aspen that are characteristic of my beloved Colorado attempt to store up nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, much like bears packing in food before they hibernate for the winter. This natural process is what causes the springy green leaves to transform into dazzling displays of autumn color.

2014-03-02 10.43.28Enough of my rambling about changing leaves (although I do enjoy them so!). As many of you may have read last year around this time, I also absolutely adore fall because of the unique and comforting ingredients: pumpkin, apples, cranberries, I love it all! So I wanted to start the season right with a hearty recipe that is sure to keep you warm on the chilly fall days to come: pumpkin oatmeal! Simply throw a handful of ingredients into your slow cooker and let it whip up overnight. In the morning you’ll wake up to a thick, creamy and deliciously flavorful dish to rev you up for the day to come.

Easy-as-Pie Slow Cooker Pumpkin Oatmeal

Adapted from Around My Family Table

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 4 1/2 cups water (you can adjust this depending on if you like thicker or thinner oatmeal)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (about half a can)
  • 2 tsps pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsps pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup brown sugar

2014-03-02 10.33.18Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stirring occasionally if you can.

Season to taste with brown sugar and top with a few dried cranberries for an extra pop of fall color!

Namas-tasty!

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(Bikini-Ready) Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

2014-05-26 21.03.32Howdy readers! I have to tell y’all, I am so so sOoOoO excited to share this recipe with you. Now that summer weather is FINALLY here, I’ve really been trying to maintain healthy eating and exercise habits and cutting out fatty foods. Key word here: trying. But let’s face it, the better we eat, the better we feel when it’s time to shed those clothes and bear our bikini bods… and that’s worth giving up the potato chips for, am I right?!

So, this is why I am unbelievably happy to have found this recipe for some seriously delicious cookies that are 100% guilt-free! Believe it or not, this recipe calls for no flour, sugar, oil, or flour. Zero, zilch, NADA. How is this even possible?!

These cookies use ripe bananas, peanut butter, unsweetened applesauce, and oats to create an awesomely moist and soft texture with a flavor that is to die for. Just add some spices to jazz them up and extra goodies like dried coconut and chocolate chips — as few or as many as suites your fancy!

Feel free to hit the beach or the pool and bring a couple of these waist-conscious snacks along with you. Just be prepared for the jealous stares 🙂

(Bikini-Ready) Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 C. reduced-fat peanut butter
  • 2/3 C. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (sometimes if I’m feeling a little crazy I substitute dark rum… sounds weird but adds a whole other layer of flavor!)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 C. quick or old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 C. semisweet chocolate chips
  • If desired, you can also add 1/4 C. of nuts, dried fruit or unsweetened shredded coconut!

2014-05-26 20.25.43Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the peanut butter, applesauce, vanilla, and spices into the bananas.  Add in the oats, nuts, chocolate chips, and coconut; stir until well combined. Batter will seem a little wet, but this is OK!Spoon a rounded 2 tbsp. of the cookie mixture onto the lined baking sheet, leaving an inch or two between each and flatten slightly. Place a few more chocolate chips on top of each cookie, if desired. Bake for 20-30 minutes and allow to cool slightly.

Namas-tasty!

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

2014-02-01 09.17.49WOW, I don’t know about you but I’ve had about as much as snow as I need for a lifetime this winter! If I have to dig out my car from a mountain of snow one more time…. I don’t even want to see the movie Frozen, which everybody (well, mostly those of the age 3-11 demographic, as that’s pretty much the majority of the folks that I hang out with these days) claims is the movie of the decade!

Pretty much the ONLY advantage of cold, snowy, drizzly, wet, slushy weather is that I get to bake to my hearts content. Not only does it warm my kitchen (AKA my entire apartment, since it’s basically just one big room), but, as I like to think, it gives me a little extra insulation 🙂

I decided during the last storm to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I wanted to make them a little more hearty (and healthy) by adding some oats and, again, substituting the vegetable oil for applesauce (yes, I know, there is still butter in the recipe. Sometimes you just have to indulge!). These turned out super yummy and were a major mood boost/substitute for sunshine; I hope you try them out at home as well!

2014-01-27 17.24.43Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups oats (I typically use quick cook oats but only had old fashioned on hand this time; you can use either. With old fashioned the cookies still turned out fine, they just have a slightly crunchier consistency)
  • 6 ounces (half a bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease cookie sheets.

2014-01-27 17.18.33Melt butter in the microwave and cool slightly to avoid cooking the eggs. Add the applesauce, sugar, brown sugar and eggs and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Add the oats and chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

Drop onto cookie sheets in heaping teaspoon size dollops, about 1 1/2 inches apart.

2014-01-27 17.54.25Bake on the top oven rack until the edges just start to turn brown and the center is barely set–about 12 minutes or so. Time will vary slightly by oven.

Keep an eye on them, and rotate the pan halfway through if they look like they are browning unevenly.

Namas-tasty!

Oatmeal Buttermilk Sandwich Bread

DSC02033Another buttermilk recipe, yay! I decided to make this one, first, because I still have A TON of buttermilk left, and this one uses one and a half whole cups…super exciting. I also love making sandwiches for lunches during the week, and homemade bread puts them over the top. I love that this recipe uses whole wheat flour, honey, and oats; it also doesn’t require a bread maker. The end result if absolutely delicious, moist and dense. Be sure to store the bread in an airtight container of some kind, otherwise it will mold easily.

DSC02032This bread can be used for all kinds of sandwiches and paninis; here is one of my delicious concoctions: a Pesto, Avocado and Spinach Turkey Sandwich, which blended perfectly with the flavors of the honey and oatmeal. I used swiss cheese on this sandwich so I elected not to grill it as a panini. I also highly recommend trying this bread out topped with some roast beef, provolone, brown mustard, arugala and balsamic vinegar for a spicy treat. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread
barely adapted from Pink Parsley
makes 1 10-inch loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp + 2 Tbs honey
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt

Set aside 1/4 cup of the rolled oats, and stir the remaining 1 1/4 cups into the boiling water.   Allow to soak for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Whisk 2 teaspoons of the honey into the warm water in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Stir in the yeast, then add the soaked oats, buttermilk, and olive oil.  Stir to combine.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flours, 1 cup at a time, until a soft and shaggy dough forms.  Add the salt, mix to combine, and switch to the dough hook attachment.

Increase the speed to medium, and knead for about 10 minutes.  Add more flour or water as necessary, but I don’t think I added any extra of either.

Transfer the dough to a large, lightly-oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise in a warm place 60-90 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, flatten it with your hands, and press into a 12×6 inch rectangle, positioned so the long side is facing you.  Fold the 2 short halves to meet in the center. Starting with the end closest to you, roll the dough into a tight log, and allow it to sit on its seam for about 5 minutes.

DSC02023Transfer the log to a well-oiled 10-inch loaf pan, and press the dough into all the corners.  Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey with 1/2 teaspoon of very hot water.  Brush the top of the dough with the mixture, then sprinkle the top with the remaining oatmeal.  cover lightly with plastic wrap or a lint-free kitchen towel, and allow to rise 35-45 minutes, or until it clears the top of the loaf pan.

Bake at 385 degrees for 1 hour, or until the top is well-browned and the center is cooked through.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Namas-tasty!