October 23, 2012

Crock Pot Pumpkin Coffeecake Oatmeal

Crock Pot Pumpkin Coffeecake Oatmeal

I know steel cut oats are the way to go, health wise, but I don’t buy them.  They’re more expensive for a smaller container and we love our oatmeal.  We eat too much of it to justify buying the steel cut.  Don’t hate. 

When I found this recipe on Healthy Slow Cooking I was bummed that it specifically called for steel cut, and a quick Google search confirmed that they are the ideal choice.  I knew I couldn’t leave this to cook in the crock pot all night but with my morning running schedule, it worked out perfectly to use regular oats (not the quick-cook).  Since I’m up a solid hour before my daughters, this gives me time to get everything in the crock pot and it has time to cook while they shower.  An hour and a half later, we have oatmeal!

I used one, plus one half serving-size amount of oatmeal from the side of the can.  I changed the amount of water because, I’m assuming, the elevation here in Texas always leaves my oatmeal runny so I decreased the liquid by quite a bit.


  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 1/4 cups water or milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • brown sugar to taste
  • ground nutmeg to taste
  • chopped pecans or almonds (optional)


  1. Put oats, water (or milk), pumpkin, cinnamon and vanilla in the crockpot and cook on high for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
  2. Stir in extra milk to make it the consistency that you like.
  3. Sprinkle brown sugar, nutmeg and nuts on top!

October 6, 2012

Southwestern Chicken Barley Chili

Southwest Chicken Barley Chili

A friend of mine is recovering from major surgery and I promised to bring a meal over to her the other night.  The universe, however, had different plans and I was stuck in appointments for the better portion of the afternoon and into the evening.  Competing with traffic is always an issue and I knew I wouldn’t get home in time to prepare the meal.  I called home and my nearly-fourteen year old daughter came to the rescue!  I gave her a few basic instruction to get her started on the recipe from Mel’s Kitchen CafĂ©, told her to read the instructions carefully and crossed my fingers. 

Huge success!  It came out as well as I’d hoped.  Flavorful, hearty and a LOT of leftovers.


  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, un-drained
  • 16 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup medium barley (not quick cooking)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • dash cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels

Garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, tortilla chips


  1. In a large pot (about 6-quarts), combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, barley, water, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano and cayenne (if using). Stir well.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and add the chicken. Stir to combine.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer the chili for 40 minutes, until the barley is tender and chewy and the chicken is no longer pink.
  4. Stir occasionally, while it simmers to prevent sticking and to make sure it stays at a steady simmer.
  5. After 40 minutes, add the beans and corn. Stir to combine and simmer for five more minutes. Serve the chili with optional garnishes, if desired.