Saturday, March 31, 2012

Slow Cooker Oatmeal Leftover Makeover!

Here's a guest recipe from my friend, Trisha.  She's a married mom with an adorable 3 year old boy - and she also happens to love cooking from scratch as well.  Last year she went off dairy for the most part due to a sensitivity and has had a lot of fun finding new recipes along the way.

Isn't she gorgeous?  Trisha is so full of life!
She knows I love to hear new ways to repurpose, so she sent along two scrumptious recipes - Slow Cooker Oatmeal, and Leftover Oatmeal Granola Bars.  I can't wait to try these out!  Only one of my girls enjoys eating oatmeal in the morning, so I didn't relish the thought of making a big slow cooker pot of oatmeal, only to have it go to waste.  This recipe is the perfect solution!

Slow Cooker Oatmeal
2 cups steel cut oats
6 cups water
3 cups almond milk (or soy, or dairy)
Cinnamon to taste
Raisins, almonds, dried cranberries or whatever else you think would be yummy in your breakfast oatmeal.
Slow cooker for 8 hours on low. If you can stir it - great, but who does that at night?

Now here's how you turn your leftover oatmeal into a delicious and nutritious snack!

Leftover Oatmeal Granola Bars

1.  Take whatever oatmeal is leftover from breakfast and add coconut flakes, more cranberries, nuts if you like, more cinnamon, a bit of sugar if you like (I don't think it needs it but some may), and as much quick oats or other dried grains as it needs to become sticky but hold together texture and use your hands to combine everything.
2.  Then line a baking pan with parchment paper (I used a 9 by 13 pan but obviously it depends how much substance you have an how thick you want them to be.)
3. And bake at 350. Here's the part that really has to specialize because the baking time depends on the thickness. They'll always seem a bit soft until they cool off but I bake them until they're quite dry on the top and don't squish too much when pressed with your finger or a spoon. It can sometimes take up to an hour.
4.  Let them cool completely in the pan and lift out the parchment and you're done. It takes some experimenting to get the texture the way you like. Some people prefer crunchy bars and others like chewy so it's up to you.

I love how my friend bakes these....just throw what you like in, squish it all together, and bake until done.   If you try this out, I'd love to hear how you made it work!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Felted Wool Sweater Slippers

One of the best ways to keep your heating bill down is simply by wearing slippers.  I mean think about it....when your feet are cold you just feel cold all over.  I've been pretty blessed with a mother-in-law who knits these kind for our whole family.  It's a mark of being in our family if you get a pair of these slipped in with a Christmas or birthday present!  And you might even find some money tucked inside.  :-)

However, I tend to wear mine out pretty quickly with washing them frequently and snagging them on those little doorway dividers.

I had been hanging onto one of my husband's old wool sweaters for a while with the idea that I would make something from it.  Thanks to this awesome tutorial, on how to upcycle a sweater into slippers, I decided to make my own.  Thank you to Vanessa, the blogger behind Homemade Holiday Gifts.

I ran the sweater through a hot water wash several times to get it felted nice and tight.  The kids thought it was pretty hilarious seeing a sweater that once fit daddy now in their size.  I traced the outline of my feet just the way the tutorial suggested and created the pattern.  Since I wanted my slippers to be extra warm I cut out two layers of fabric for each of the soles and sewed them together for that extra layer of insulation and comfort.  It seems like I had one sick kid after another this winter in my house, so there were lots of "in days" to work on something like this.

Anyway, I won't give you every last detail, since it's described so nicely in the tutorial.  I used the neck band of the sweater to make a nice, tight cuff and then added a couple of felt flowers with a button just for the girly factor!


They are soooo warm and fuzzy.....and way cheaper than buying a designer pair.
Free and upcycled!  Two of my favourite words!

I also made a pair of felted wool slipper socks for my 13 yr old out of the arms.  Stay tuned for that post another time...