Friday, February 11, 2011

Toasty Oatmeal, Homemade Instant Oatmeal Mix, Oatmeal Raisin Scones

Sow Your Own Oats
02/11/2011 - by Mary Hunt - Used by permission

Having oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to start your day—any day—but it’s especially nice when it’s really cold outside. Aside from providing you with tons of nutritional benefits, oatmeal is way cheap—at about $.15 or less per serving. And if you put your mind to it, a humble bowl of oats can be dressed up in so many tasty ways.

Oatmeal contains tons of nutrients like vitamin E, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc, all excellent protein sources. So, not only is oatmeal a popular household food, it also eliminates the requirement for multi-vitamins.
Well-known chains that offer breakfast-on-the-go, Starbucks and Jamba Juice, have now gotten into the act—selling a dime’s worth of oats for $3 a cup. And McDonald’s has just announced the addition of jazzed up fruit and maple oatmeal to its menu, starting with 14,000 of its restaurants.
The following recipes for yummy ways to fix inexpensive oats are from The Frugal Foodie Cookbook, by Lara Starr (Viva Editions, 2009).

Toasty Oatmeal
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups steel-cut oats (not instant or quick-cooking oats)
7 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the oats and toast them, stirring often, until they smell nutty, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the boiling water and cover the pot. Stir frequently, about every 5 minutes. After about 15 minutes, if the oatmeal is too thick, add water 1/4 cup at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. Continue cooking and stirring for another 10-15 minutes.
To make ahead, let the oatmeal cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Servings: 7.
Homemade Instant Oatmeal Mix
2 1/2 cups instant oats
5 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 cup raisins or other dried fruit
3 tablespoons dry milk powder
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and portion into 5 servings in reusable containers. To serve, add 3/4 cup very hot water to 1 serving of the mix. Let stand until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add more water, a tablespoon at a time, if the oatmeal is too thick. Servings: 5.
Oatmeal Raisin Freezer Scones
Not only does Starbucks serve up hot oatmeal in the mornings, it also boasts the best oatmeal raisin scones. And they’re about as pricey as their oatmeal, too. You can save a lot of money, and calories, too, by making nutritious scones yourself. Home-baked scones freeze like a dream and taste so much better than the ones you buy. Pop one out of the freezer and into the oven while you’re getting ready in the morning and you’ll have a hot, fragrant treat waiting to ride with you to work.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk, divided
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of food processor. Pulse 10 to 12 times. Cut the butter into 1 tablespoon pieces and distribute over the dry ingredients. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the raisins.
Add 1 cup milk and mix until blended. Gather into a ball with floured hands and divide in half. On a floured surface, pat half of the dough into an 8-inch round. Cut into wedges. Repeat with the remaining dough. Transfer the wedges to a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until scones are firm to the touch and golden.
While the scones are baking, mix 1 tablespoon milk with the granulated sugar and the cinnamon to make a glaze. Remove the scones from the oven and brush them with the glaze while still hot.
Serve warm or at room temperature. To freeze, cool completely and store in a heavy-duty freezer bag or wrap in plastic wrap and foil. Yield: 16 scones.
©Copyright 2011 Mary Hunt

Thursday, February 3, 2011

No Bake Snowballs


With snow in the forecast for many in the U.S., here's a perfect project to do with your children!  If you lose power, I suppose you could do a lot of chopping with a chef's knife or food chopper, and still make these snowballs!

2 cups pecans or almonds, chopped
1 ½ cups dried apricot, finely chopped
1 ½ cups coconut, shredded and unsweetened
honey or maple syrup - just enough to hold together

Place an “S” blade in food processor.  With the machine running, alternately add the nuts, dried apricots and sweetener until well mixed.  It will form a ball when done.  Roll into small balls; set aside.  Place coconut in a shallow bowl and roll the fruit and nut balls in the coconut, coating them well, before arranging them on a serving dish.  These freeze well. 

Yield: 25 Snowballs