Overnight Crockpot Steel Cut Oats

Overnight Crockpot Steel Cut Oats

January’s in full swing now! I’m loving the quietness now that the bustle of the holidays are over. The temperatures outside dropped drastically, and we’ve been snuggled up indoors with pajamas and blankets, good books, hot coffee and one of my favorite winter breakfasts – steel cut oats.

I started making overnight crockpot steel cut oats in my some years back because I loved waking up to a hot and hearty breakfast on cold winter mornings. But I had to experiment a lot to get them to the point where I was either scrubbing the crockpot for a good half hour in the mornings or waking up every half hour or so to see that the oats hadn’t gotten too hard on top; double-checking them over and over.

Overnight Crockpot Steel Cut Oats

Little by little, though, I changed a little bit here and there until I got a method set up for perfect overnight crockpot steel cut oats – where you can sleep in an extra few hours if you want to, and where cleanup is a breeze. And perfectly made steel cut oats awaits you for breakfast every morning.

The first change I made was to stop putting the steel cut oats directly in the crockpot. Even when I’d spray the sides of the pot with cooking spray, I would still be stuck with a baked-on mess pretty regularly. Instead, I started using a long and narrow bowl that I would spray with non-stick spray, and put the steel cut oats and water in there then. After that, I put the bowl in the crockpot and then add enough water to the crockpot so that it comes to about level with the oats and water inside the bowl. This saves a huge mess and actually doubles by cleaning the crockpot while still cooking breakfast.
The second major issue that I changed was the way it cooked overnight. Sure, if I knew I was waking up in 5 or 6 hours, I could set it on low without too much trouble; but after 8 or 9 hours, even on low, there was a good chance that the top of the oats would be hard as a rock.

  Overnight Crockpot Steel Cut Oats

So after a few changes, I found the best, and most flexible way to cook crockpot steel cut oats. Here it is:

 

Overnight Crockpot Steel Cut Oats
perfectly cooked overnight steel cut oats
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Ingredients
  1. cooking spray
  2. a narrow bowl that will fit inside the crockpot when the lid is closed
  3. 1 part steel cut oats (e.g 1/4 cup)
  4. 4 parts water or other liquid (e.g. 1 cup)
  5. seasonings, such as salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, etc
Instructions
  1. Take a narrow bowl that will fit in your crockpot with the lid closed.
  2. Spray or grease it lightly.
  3. Place steel cut oats in with a 1:4 ration of liquid
  4. Add salt, if desired, or any other seasoning (brown sugar, cinnamon, dried apples, raisins, etc)
  5. Place the bowl in the crockpot and fill the crockpot with enough water that it is level (or close enough to level) with the level of the water in the bowl.
  6. Cover and let cook on high for 1 hour.
  7. Turn the crockpot to the “warm” setting, and go to sleep.
  8. In the morning, the steel cut oats should be perfectly cooked.
  9. Add any extras as desired (I usually top my oats with sesame seeds or slivered almonds) and enjoy your healthy, minimum-effort breakfast!
mellie blossom http://www.mellieblossom.com/

All that’s left to do is enjoy!  Have you had success with steel cut oats in the crockpot?  I’d love to hear about your methods as well!

Overnight Crockpot Steel Cut Oats

 

~Mellie ★

Delicious Crochet Cupcakes

Crochet Cupcakes

First off, I want to apologize to anyone who’s had trouble accessing this site lately.  I upgraded my servers yesterday, so there shouldn’t be any more loading problems.  If there are, please let me know!  And a big thank you to all of you who keep coming back, I’m so appreciative of all your emails and comments and views!

Crochet Cupcakes

And now on to… cupcakes!  What better way to start the year than to crochet cupcakes – and a bunch of them at that!  These aren’t actually for me, a friend of mine wanted some for her daughter, but I was happy to oblige.  After all of the hard work I put into these long-term Christmas projects that took months to finish up, it was a nice break to start and finish a project within a day or so.    Plus they are so cute! 

Crochet Cupcakes

I actually tried a few patterns out before finding one that I liked, and I had a trail of what looked like half eaten cupcakes with the ones that didn’t.  The pattern that I ened up liking and utilizing is this Quick Cupcake pattern, which is free and turned out perfect. 

Crochet Cupcakes

They’ll be going out in the mail today and I hope they provide as much fun as I had making them!

~Mellie ★

January Crochet Along Squares

January Crochet Along Squares

 So the first squares of January are made!  Hooray!  I can’t tell you what a nice feeling it is to take a break from the bright colors of last year’s crochet along and get back into some colors that are more… me.  The yarn colors I chose for this year are soft and pretty, and I’m having a lot of fun with them.  These yarns are from Caron’s Simply Soft brand, and the colors are persimmon, light country peach, off-white, and the light green is pistachio.  The darker green color is similar to dark sage, but it’s a little more olive-ish.  I picked it up in a bin at one of my local craft-stores for “factory yarn ends”.  

January Crochet Along Squares -

 Anyway, the way the 2015 Block-a-Month crochet along works is that there are three squares picked for each month: the main, 12-inch square, a 6-inch square, and then everyone votes on a filler square.  The photo at the top of the page is the filler choice for January.  it’s called “Prince Protea Square” and it can be found for free here.  I made it previously just a few months ago as an extra square for my bright 2014 blanket, so it wasn’t too hard to whip up another one.  My Ravelry project page for this is here. 

January Crochet Along Squares

 The 6-inch squares were a nice break from the intricacy of the 12-inch squares.  These were called simply “Granny Square #4.  These were really fun to make.  I hand planned to make each of them using all the colors but in reverse order, but as I was making them (I made both at the same time: round 1 on both, round 2 on both, etc) the colors just seemed to flow better.  Anyway, I’m happy with how they turned out.  In the past, I’ve usually made four of the 6-inch squares, but this year, I’m just going to make two.  If I make another blanket resembling last year’s, then there will be enough variety as it is.  Here’s my Ravelry project page for Granny Square #4. For some reason, I’m having trouble pulling up the link to share the pattern, but as soon as I am able to, I’ll update here. 

January Crochet Along Squares

This is the square that was chosen as the main square for this year.  It was designed for the crochet along by Melinda Miller, and it’s called Pizzazz.  This was a super fun square to make!  I admit that I got lost a little bit on the overlay round, but maybe that was more because I made this right after midnight on New Year’s and may have had a couple of glasses of wine!  Anyway, I just love how it turned out.  The pattern is a free Ravelry download; and  my project page is here

Usually by the time the first month’s crochet along squares are done, I’m all gung-ho to start on the next month’s.  If you’re interested in joining in the crochet along, just click on the link above – there’s still plenty of time in January to jump in!

~Mellie ★

 

WIP: Crochet Birthday Blanket

Crochet Birthday Blanket

It wasn’t more than a day or two after I had taken the Christmas decorations down when my youngest started planning for his birthday this spring.  Even though we’re still a few months away, he’s already decided on the theme of his party (dinosaurs), who will come, where he wants it, and most importantly, the presents that he wants.

Fortunately for me, he’s more than happy to have all of his gifts crocheted, and that gives me opportunities to make things that I otherwise wouldn’t have.  For example: a brachiosaurs that is taller than he is.  We’ll see how that goes!  The other gift that he wants is a crochet birthday blanket, and he already had the colors and the pattern planned out.  All that’s left is for his mama to get to work!

Crochet Birthday Blanket

This pattern is called Scrumptious Scraps.  It’s been a really fun and easy blanket to make so far, and the results are just lovely.  There are some really great projects over on Ravelry using this pattern.    While he did choose the colors that he wants (the blend of yellows and oranges with white) I got a chance to put them together in a nice format.  We make a great team, I think!

Crochet Birthday Blanket

I’ve only gotten a little ways through the blanket, maybe 6″, so I still have a ways to go, but I have several months with which to finish it.  And in the meantime, I’m keeping my eye out for an oversized brachiosaurus pattern!

Have a great Saturday!

~Mellie ★

How to Eat Raw Kale

How to eat raw kale

Since it’s the start of a new year, something that’s on my list of resolutions (and probably a few more out there as well) is to start eating healthier. One of the healthiest foods out there is kale. The problem with kale, especially if you’re not too familiar with it, is the question of what to do with it. Obviously it can be cooked in any way, but raw kale is a different story.

When I first starting buying kale, I expected to throw it into my salads like any other green. I’d seen and tried the “baby kale greens” at the grocery store which are tender and young, and naturally just figured that mature kale would be just as easy to work with. But if you’ve tried kale greens, you’ll know that if you eat one raw, you need to chew… and chew… and chew…

  How to eat raw kale

I wanted to find a way to get the texture and nutrition from kale without always having to cook with though. I tried adding lightly steamed and cooled kale at times, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. It wasn’t until one day, by accident; I came across the best way to eat kale! It takes very little prep work, and the kale lasts for well over a week. And it’s so easy!

Here’s how to eat raw kale:

Buy a head of kale. Bring it home, wash it, remove the stems and let it dry somewhat (it doesn’t need to be completely dried). Tear the head up into pieces (large, small – whatever you like) and put the kale into a bowl.

Grab a bottle of extra-virgin olive oil and drizzle a little bit over the kale, depending on how much kale you have. It doesn’t need to be saturated, so start light! With clean hands, mix the olive oil into the kale, coating all the leaves lightly. Again, you don’t have to be precise about it, just a basic mixing will do.

Take the bowl of kale, cover it, and put it in the refrigerator for several hours. I usually let it sit for a good day, sometimes two. When you unwrap the kale, it will be crispy and chewable – perfect for salads or eating raw.

  How to eat raw kale

One of the best things about this technique is that it livens up wilted kale pieces, too. And I’ve noticed that for me, at least, the kale lasts for up to two weeks without any noticeable change in texture.

I’ve been eating kale like crazy since I started doing this, and even my kids have been enjoying it. It will definitely be a part of our menu this new year!

~Mellie ★