Saturday, October 19, 2013

Irish Steel-Cut Oatmeal

During the week, busy mornings mean that I usually make myself a smoothie and coffee for breakfast. But when the weekend rolls around and things are much more relaxed, my favorite breakfast is......oatmeal. Not the stuff most of us were force-fed as kids, but steel cut oatmeal. Steel cut oats are unrefined whole grain groats that have been dried and cut into two or three pieces with steel rather than being rolled like the oats most of us are used to. They are chock full of calcium, fiber, B-vitamins and protein. You can find them in most grocery stores, but I get mine in the bulk-foods section of a local health food store.
Steel cut oats have a nutty flavor and are a little chewier than regular oatmeal. It takes about 35 minutes to cook a pot, but they are worth the wait. Sometimes I make a big batch and then put portions into containers. Add a little milk and reheat and they taste just as good the second time around!
You will need:
1 cup steel cut oats
1 Tbs butter
3 1/2 cups water
Pinch of salt
1/2 - 3/4 cup milk (depending on consistency you like). Any milk you like will work.
1 tsp vanilla extract
Here's what you do: Melt the butter in a skillet and add the oats. Toast for about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently so they don't burn. Toasting the oats really brings out the nutty flavor. (See first picture). Place the toasted oats into a pot of the boiling water and add the salt. (See second picture). Stir well to mix. Reduce the heat to somewhere between low and medium and cover. Let them cook for 25 minutes. Don't open and stir them while they are simmering. After the 25 minutes, remove the lid and stir in the milk and vanilla extract. Stir well and let cook for about 8-10 more minutes. This last step is what gives the oatmeal a creamy texture. (See third picture).
Once it's ready, add whatever toppings you like. Some suggestions are cinnamon, brown sugar, bananas, syrup, raisins...pretty much anything you want. On mine, I love to add some blueberries that I grew and managed to get picked before the birds beat me to them. Every time I pull some of them out of the freezer, it's like a little reminder of summer! I like to add chopped walnuts, too. To sweeten my oatmeal, I like to drizzle a little honey on it. (Since I'm a beekeeper, I'm a little partial to honey!)
Hope you enjoy this recipe.

Silver Sands

Last year, on a post you can find somewhere down the page, I told you about a wonderful vacation spot in NC called Silver Sands Motel.  It is located on White Lake, near Elizabethtown.  It is a small, quaint motel right on the lake and if you have a chance to get away for a few days this summer, I can highly recommend a visit here.  Since I posted last year, I can't begin to tell you about the renovations that have been done this year.  For a little background, this motel was owned by a man for years and years.  Several years ago, he sold the motel to an outside party.  Partly due to the age of the motel, and partly due to some neglect on the new owner's part, the motel fell into some disrepair.  A couple of years ago, the man's family was able to get the motel back.  Since then, they have worked tirelessly to make repairs, update, landscape and generally bring the motel back to life.
               Are they finished?  Nope.  Everything isn't as perfect yet as they would like for it to be, but if you make it there this summer, you will still enjoy your stay.  The rooms are clean, the beds are comfortable, and the relaxing atmosphere and beautiful view can't be beat.  In addition to central heat and air-conditioning, the rooms each boast a full kitchen.  Or, if you would prefer, grills are available for outdoor cooking.  The sandy beach is very clean, and there are plenty of comfy chairs to park yourself  in!  The management staff is friendly and before you leave, you will know you have made some new friends. They will do everything possible to make sure your stay is a good one. The best part is that the rates are really, really reasonable. 

As an added bonus, they do allow you to bring your small dogs (there is a weight/size limit), so if your pooch is used to being a part of the family vacation, no problem!  Daisy (motel guard dog/lifeguard pictured above), will be there to greet them! 

There are certain rooms and buildings that can accomodate large families and groups, and if you have golfers in your group, Myrtle Beach isn't too far away!  If you want more information, go to their page on Facebook (Silver Sands Motel) and read more.  If you go once, I am betting that you will go again.  It's just that kind of place!


We're all thinking college football these days, and of course I'm thinking of all the cute little outfits that can be made for your littlest football fans! I have particularly making a lot of "house divided" shirts for those kids who have parents on opposite sides of the 50 yard lines!  What surprised me when I started making these was how many people were ordering them for daddy's...some wrapped them and gave them to the new daddy-to-be as an announcement of great things to come.

I can make just about any college team logo, and if there are other sayings associated with the logo, I can add those, too. For example, although not pictured, the back of these onesies say "Welcome to the Swamp"! I can customize them pretty much any way you want.

It's Sweatshirt Weather!

...and I couldn't think of a better way to kick it off than with an appliqued FL Gators one! If you want a sweatshirt with your favorite team, get in touch with me and I'll see what I can do. Prices vary depending on sweatshirt size (infant, youth, adult), size of available designs, the caption you want and if you want to add a name. The one pictured here is an adult size and is $22. A name can be added for $4. Hoodies will cost you a little more.

Embroidery is a great rainy day project!

I've been working on a lot of embroidery this past couple of weeks, mostly for Halloween and some golf things for Justin and his dad for their yearly trip to Myrtle Beach in November.