Steel Cut Oats

Winter is in full force here in Minnesota...we've just finished cleaning up from a snowstorm and it feels like time to hibernate! Lately, breakfast has been a big bowl of steel cut or Irish style oats- I have fallen in love with these! You know the difference immediately when you look at them- they have taken the whole oat and milled it on a steel buhr grinder- making little oat chunks. There are lots of brands- Quaker, Irish, right now I'm using Bob's Red Mill organic. If you haven't tried these before, they are wonderful... They take much longer than regular oatmeal to cook- so the technique I like to use is the slow cooker. You can assemble the ingredients in minutes, let it cook on low overnight, and it is ready in the morning. Its great at our house as everyone is eating at different times and its ready to go! I like to top it with brown sugar, cinnamon and a splash of half and half- but also love it with some pure maple syrup! This recipe makes a large batch- about 8 servings- so I refrigerate the leftovers. I reheat in the microwave for about 1-1/2 minutes then add milk or cream to thin down- I actually like it better the next day! Here's the recipe, originally from Eating Well magazine via the St Paul Pioneer Press, if you'd like to try it!

Steel Cut Oats- or a little piece of heaven...

8 cups water
2 cups steel cut oats (regular oats won't work)
1/2 cup craisins- chop them up if you like- or you can also use any of your favorite dried fruits
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Combine and cook in a 5-6 quart crock pot on low for 7-8 hours until tender, stir to blend well. I put it on warm while everyone is eating, then refrigerate the leftovers.

That's it- so simple-its a good basic recipe, you can add whatever you like!

More Christmas Decorating...

I'm pretty much finished with my indoor Christmas decorating as I decided to go a little simpler this year- of course, having said that, I tend to be adding to it everyday with something else I decide to do- so it is always evolving. I never even unpacked my collection of vintage bottle brush trees! At least the boxes are mostly put away, so we can actually enjoy it! Here's more pics! Our pugs enjoy it, too!

Getting Ready For Christmas...

This week I am starting to do the indoor decorating! Its always fun to open the boxes and rediscover all the goodies collected over many years! I really love the colors and charm of vintage ornaments and decorations. Some years I decorate everything- this year I am sticking to trees, garlands, and wreathes and just decorating out a few smaller areas- a mantle top, and a few decorations set out here and there. I especially love the lighting at this time of year and love to just use the white lights to light up the living room- no lamps needed. It has a such a dreamy, romantic feel. We do our tree in vintage- we have a Christmas girl porcelain bell that was on my husband's grandmother's tree, a 50's ornament from my parent's tree, ornaments from our first tree 37 years ago, along with a tree full of ornaments from the 1930's- 1950's that I have collected. There are also very special creations my children made in kindergarten- a macaroni tree and clothespin soldiers, and a set of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves ornaments from a trip to Disneyland 20 years ago. Every ornament has a story or memory!