Weekend Recipe: Baked Apple Steel Cut Oats

Every time I get sick, I get this weird burst of energy right before it takes me down.  It’s almost like my body knows that its hours are numbered and I better get all my chores in before it’s too late.  Weird, right?

Go figure I got a flu shot for the first time in, oh, a decade, and I think I still got the flu.  What gives??  But fortunately, in the window of time before I became the completely useless, sniveling, fever-ridden mess that I am right now, I had the foresight to cook up some really yummy comfort food.

I think this would be a great recipe to make on the weekend, and then you’d have plenty of leftovers to reheat during your work week.  It’s a warm, yummy, healthy, stick-to-your ribs kind of breakfast – enjoy!

Baked Apple Steel Cut Oats

1 cup uncooked steel cut oats
2 tablespoons of butter, divided
2 cups of boiling hot water
1 large apple, cubed (I used a Pink Lady)
1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or regular milk would be fine)
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus some for sprinkling
1 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of salt
Optional:  brown sugar, nuts, granola, raisins, etc.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place your steel cut oats in a heatproof bowl along with 1 tablespoon of the butter:

Oatmeal1Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the oats, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes:


Meanwhile, melt the other tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, add the apple pieces, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Let this cook down on medium heat until the apples are softened (this smells heavenly!!):


Mix together the almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, and salt:


Now mix the almond milk mixture, apples, and oatmeal together and spoon into either a 8×8″ baking dish, or 4 smaller crocks.  Bake for 40 minutes (please excuse my dirty oven):


Et voila!  I sprinkled 1/4 cup of granola cereal over the top of the crocks in the last 5 minutes just to add some crunch:Oatmeal7Please let me know if you try this recipe!  And stay healthy, friends.  xo

My Planner

Don’t you just love January?  The year is all shiny and new and full of possibilities.  And you know what else a new year means…a new calendar!

I don’t know about you, but I find it incredibly satisfying to cross my “to do’s” off of a written list.  Even though I use my smartphone to keep track of work meetings and other tasks, I really like to have a paper planner for day-to-day use.  I’ve been working on creating the perfect planner for 2013 – and I think I’m almost there!

First of all, I purchased this notebook from the M by Staples line (from…duh…Staples):

My PlannerI really like these notebooks!  Not only is this one a beautiful pink leather, but it is totally customizable, as the pages pop in and out easily and can be moved around as you like.  And, as you’ll see, I discovered that this notebook is compatible with the Martha Stewart line of planner products, also sold at Staples!  (Note: I changed out the 1/2″ discs on the original notebook, and purchased the 1″ size instead so that my notebook could hold more pages)

I added a zipper pocket to the front, which holds sticky notes and tabs from the Martha Stewart line:

Sticky Notes

Now for the calendar:  I purchased Martha Stewart’s discbound notebook calendar insert for 2013, which includes both a weekly and monthly format.

I use the monthly pages to keep track of appointments and things that I want to get done during the month:

Monthly Calendar

And I use the weekly pages to keep track of my meetings and appointments in more detail:

Weekly Pages

Here are a couple of things I really like about my weekly calendar pages:

  • Each day is broken up into morning, afternoon, and evening
  • There are also two empty boxes at the bottom of each day.  One row is where I write down our meal plan for the week.  On the second row, I use these removable stickers to keep track of what things I want to get done around the house each day.  I dunno, I feel like if it’s on a colorful sticker, I’m more likely to complete the task 😉
  • I’m not sure if you can see this, but I use a sheet from this task pad daily to write down any “to do’s” and my meal plan for the day.  The task pad sheets also act as a page marker.

And finally, I use my tabs to separate the section of the notebook pages that I inserted behind the calendar.  I have reference pages, home-related pages, lists, blog ideas, health-related pages, and my to do list for work.  The Martha Stewart calendar does not have anything to separate each month, so I also added a couple of tabs to the monthly calendar pages.


I love how everything is conveniently in one small notebook that I can easily throw in my bag every morning!  I hope this post gives you a few good ideas, in case you want to create one of these notebooks for yourself.

Do you use a paper daily planner system?  Or do you prefer a digital calendar?

13 in ’13: Winemaking!

My friend Joanne had a brilliant idea for 2013: a group of us are going to do 13 new things together in 2013; fun things that maybe we’ve wanted to try for the first time or learn more about.  Examples of these “13 things” could be running a 5k, taking a self defense class, learning about macro photography, or learning how to cook something interesting.

So, for January, we decided to get together to make wine!  Specifically, Pinot Grigio, which happens to be my faaavorite white wine 🙂

Below are some pics from Saturday night – thanks, Sara and Joanne, I had a blast! (And we missed you, Julie!)

First, we read the directions 😉


Here’s the Pinot Grigio grape juice in a huge box!


Next, we added warm water to the bottom of the big bucket:


Then, added a packet of some mystery substance to the water:


Next came the juice!


More stirring…


And then we rinsed out the juice bag with more water, which was added to the bucket:


Final step was to sprinkle yeast over the top of the liquid:


…It may look a little creepy now, but in a short time we’ll each have oodles and oodles of delicious vino!


Can you tell I’m excited?!?


In about a week, we’ll check the alcohol level and if it’s ready, we’ll syphon the wine into another container called a “carboy.”  Then, I think there are a few more steps before it’s ready to be bottled.

What a fun evening with some great ladies!  I love the idea of setting a group goal to try new things and learn from each other this year.  If you were to pick 13 new things to try in 2013, what would some of those things be?  I think we could use some inspiration for extra goals to add to our list 🙂

oh and p.s. I forgot to mention I CHOPPED a ton of my hair off!!  what do you think?

January Hiatus

Well, hey there!  Hard to believe that my last post was right around Thanksgiving and now it’s 2013.  I’ve been thinking about this little blog of mine, but just haven’t had too many interesting things to blog about!

But here we are – 2013 is all shiny and fresh and new and, of course, I’ve set a bunch of new goals for the year!  Which inspires me to update this little blog again, yay!

One of my goals, at least for the short term, is a little “hiatus.”

My hubby and I completely overindulged in everything during the holidays: spending, eating, drinking, partying, you name it.  I don’t regret it one bit, but we both felt like we needed a little “reset” after all the holiday madness.  We decided to chill out for the month of January.  No booze, no crazy unhealthy foods, and a full month of laying low on the social scene.  We’re a couple of weeks into the month, and so far, so good!  My waistline is loving it, too (bonus!). 😉

For me personally, I’ve also imposed a spending hiatus for the month of January.  I thought this was a really novel idea until I googled it and it seems that a lot of people decide to do this as a resolution in January.  Well, whatever – I’m on board!

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much I really “need” in my life.  Do I really “need” that gorgeous shade of lip gloss to survive?  Have I worn holes in the bottom of my shoes and I “need” a cute new pair of boots?  Am I so dehydrated that I “need” that Starbucks grande no-whip skinny vanilla latte, or I will just perish?  I think not, friends.

So for this month, any time I think of spending money on a non-essential item, I write the item down on a wishlist.  At the end of the month, I’ll review the wishlist and decide if anything on there is really worth purchasing.  If so, I may buy it in February.  If not, I’ll probably forget about it because I didn’t really need it anyway.

Have you ever gone on a personal spending hiatus?  How did it work for you?  What tips do you have for me?

…oh, and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!