Monthly Archives: February 2014

Oatmeal Tollhouse Cookies

 

Oatmeal Toll House Cookies
Oatmeal Toll House Cookies

Oatmeal Toll House Cookies

Who doesn’t love Nestle Toll House cookies?  We all do, but wouldn’t it be nice if they were a little healthier.  Well – Grandmother has done it!  She adds 2 cups of toasted oatmeal and a cup of toasted walnuts to the tollhouse cookie recipe.  The result is a dense delicious chocolate chip cookie with a hearty sweet goodness and a guilt-free feeling.  Ok – maybe not totally guilt-free. The addition of 2 cups of oatmeal adds 16 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein.  The walnuts contribute 5 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein.  Sounds like some good additions to me!

Toasting Oatmeal

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter a cookie sheet and evenly distribute 2 cups of oatmeal.  Bake for 10 minutes, stir the oatmeal and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Let cool before adding to your Tollhouse cookie dough.  I add the nuts and oatmeal right before the chocolate chips.

Enjoy!

Muesli – It’s not just Oatmeal!

Bowl of Muesli
Bowl of Muesli

Swiss Muesli is one of my all time favorite breakfasts and one my family requests regularly!  Recently, I picked up my daughter from college and she asked if I would make her muesli because she had been craving it! I love that she appreciates my cooking!

It was on a family vacation to Banff, Canada that I discovered Swiss muesli.  At the time, my husband was in his “Swiss” phase of life.  He had just returned home from an extended business trip to Switzerland and was undergoing a bit of an identity crisis.  Ok, I’ll just say it – he thought he was Swiss.  All he talked about was staying in his flat… eating cheese and bread…. drinking wine each night…. eating raclette…. Yeah – well, while you were gone I was eating macaroni and cheese with the kids and I have no idea what raclette is?

Luckily, this crisis of his wasn’t overly concerning.  He was still speaking English and if anything, I felt bad.  If I found his “Swissness” annoying think of what it must have been like for the Swiss! I knew in a week his selfhood would be restored and the benefit of his crisis was that he did introduce me to a wonderful dish called Muesli!

The muesli I was served that day in Banff was cool, sweet and satisfying.  The creamy milk soaked oatmeal was mixed with fresh fruit, dried fruit, and nuts and had just a touch of sweetness.  It was hearty, with a wonderful texture and very filling.  After scraping every bit of it out of my bowl, I asked the server how the muesli was prepared.  She eagerly explained to me the effortless process of soaking the oatmeal in milk/cream, sweetening with maple syrup and adding whatever fruits and nuts you desired.  The muesli they served that day had freshly cut apples, raisins and nuts.  It was wonderful.

Below you will find my recipe.  It’s not much of a recipe, because you make it however you want.  Read on and you will see what I mean! The muesli I was served in the restaurant was prepared with rolled oats.  I have used quick cook or old fashioned, depending on what I have in the cupboard and the amount of time I have to allow the oatmeal to soak. Yes – you guessed it – quick cook oatmeal softens faster!

On the mornings I wish to make muesli, I deposit a cup of oatmeal in a medium sized bowl and cover with milk.  I then place it in the refrigerator to soak for 30-60 minutes.  This gives me plenty of time to make myself presentable and allows the oatmeal to soften and cool.  After the soaking time, add additional milk, some cream (it’s worth the calories – just a little bit provides a creaminess that makes everything better), and whatever fruits and nuts you like.

 Basic Muesli Recipe:

Cover 1 cup of rolled oats with milk and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes to soften. Once softened add: Milk or cream to thin. Maple syrup or honey to sweeten Chopped nuts Dried fruit Shredded coconut Cut up apples, bananas, berries…. The sky is the limit – add whatever combination you would like. My favorite is:  cut up apples, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, shredded coconut, maple syrup, milk and a little cream.

Muesli using Steel Cut Oatmeal

A little more time, but well worth it! Recently I read an article about the merits of steel cut oatmeal at eatdrinkbemellow.com.  After reading it I thought, what the heck, let’s try it in Muesli! The muesli with steel cut oats was absolutely fabulous and well worth the extra time!  It’s definitely my new favorite!

Preparing the Oats – Over medium high heat melt one tablespoon of butter in a pan and add 1 cup of steel cut oats.  Toast the oatmeal for a few minutes then add two cups of water.  Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let it sit for an additional 10 minutes to soften.  Transfer the oatmeal to a medium sized bowl and refrigerate.  You may notice the oatmeal is almost dry.  I make it that way because I want it to retain it’s nuttiness and because there will be plenty of liquid added later on with the milk, cream, and sweetener.  Once it is chilled, we are ready to make Muesli.  Usually, I will prepare the steel cut oatmeal the night before so it’s ready to go first thing in the morning. Now the fun part – add any of the above ingredients to personalize it to your tastes!

Enjoy!

We love Muesli!
We love Muesli!

Want to know where Muesli began? – Wikipedia/muesli 

40th Birthday Party

 

Welcome to a house of mourning, where the last of our clan is turning 40!
Welcome to a house of mourning, where the last of our clan is turning 40!

 

40th Birthday Party        

A few weeks ago, we surprised, astounded and stunned my brother on a chilly Saturday evening.  I lured him to my home with promises of expertly prepared tenderloin and all the fixings.  Foolishly, he accepted my invitation thus falling prey to the devious efforts of his family.  Later he said, as he turned on to my street he wondered why there were so many cars.   As he pulled into the driveway, he knew we had him.  Staggered throughout the snow banks along my sidewalk were obnoxious 40+ sayings printed on cards.  On my porch, my nephew was playing taps.  Black ribbons adorned the left over Christmas decorations.  Oh, we had him good!

 

Playing taps for the Birthday Boy!
Playing taps for the Birthday Boy!

Whenever I have a party, my wish is to greet my guests before they enter my home with some sort of welcome as if to say – we are so glad you came!  In this case, the guests all appreciated my efforts at decorating, with the exception of the birthday boy!  My deed was done!

 

Birthday Signs for the 40 year old!
Birthday Signs for the 40 year old!

40 plus Birthday Signs

The signs I had printed at a copy center on card stock. My home printer is an ink jet and I knew the ink would run if it snowed so I wanted the signs laser printed.  My cost was only $2.15 for a dozen signs and it is super easy to do.  Just send a PDF to your local copy center with directions for printing.  Then, go pick them up! Using different fonts on multiple colors of card stock, made the signs fun, easy and inexpensive!  My three favorite things!

Birthday Signs
Celebrate the 19th Anniversary of my 21st Birthday!
40 Happens
Halfway to 80
40 Years,  Est. 1974
Lordy, Lordy look who’s 40
Holy #%*@  You are 40!
Cleverly Disguised as a Responsible 40 year old!
It took me 40 years to look this good!
I’m not 40, I’m 18 with 22 years of experience!
Looks 18
Feels 14
Acts 8
That makes 40

Click here for a PDF file:  Birthday Signs for the 40 year old

 

Mourning Veils
Mourning Veils

Mourning Veils

As you can see in the very solemn picture, the ladies are all sporting black veils!  This was super easy to accomplish.  I purchased black netting and black curling ribbon.  Netting usually runs around 1-2 dollars per yard – so – very cheap!  We cut the netting in 24-inch lengths and 8-inch widths then tied a black curling ribbon a third of the way down the long length.  This provided a great spot to use a bobby pin and pin the veil in place on the top of our heads.  The veils made my brother laugh so we met our goal – to humiliate and have fun!

Party Food     

Luckily for me, my guests contributed to the menu for the evening and my only duty, besides providing the venue, was to have beer and wine available for all the guests.  I did have my husband prepare a favorite appetizer.  Bacon-Apple-Jalapeno Pop ‘Ems

These are very yummy.  Even my niece, who is only 8, declared she had 4 of them so don’t let the Jalapeno portion of the recipe sway you.   The recipe calls for the jalapeños to be seeded, but my “spicy-loving” husband, likes to leave the seeds in a few of the appetizers.  He indicates the HOT ones my leaving on the stem of the Jalapeno. I personally know better and will never eat the stemmed Jalapeno appetizers, but not all my guests have my sense.  One time my brave/foolish sister tried a HOT one and ended up drinking cream to wash the fire away.  It was very funny!  Yes, I can be a bit sadistic!

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