Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats: July 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How to Freeze Fresh Sweet Corn

Use my fool proof method to freeze fresh sweet corn and enjoy it all year long!

how to freeze fresh sweet corn (

I've been on a corn kick lately.  I mean, we do live in the middle of corn country so you see it being sold on every corner.  Often for $5 or less you can get a dozen ears that has been picked locally, most often than not that same day.

When I was getting my haircut and highlighted last week {hello....gray!} I was chatting with my hairdresser. Her husband happens to farm on the side of his regular day job and she told me their corn was ready.  They were selling it for $4/dozen {best price I've heard}.  Did I want some?  Well, of course I did!

So two days later I headed to their farm and picked it up.  And just to tell you how nice people in the Midwest are, he threw in a freshly picked bouquet of flowers for me as well.  I kept it in the fridge for two more days since we were headed out of town, but as soon as I got back and the kids were tucked in bed, I got to work on freezing most of it.

how to freeze fresh sweet corn (

After searching a few websites and consulting with friends and family I decided to go this route {listed below}.  It was super simple and for two dozen only took me an hour to complete, start to finish.  And that was with many interruptions.

I swear kids know when you are busy.  Can I have a drink?  I need to go pee.  What are you doing? Where did you get that corn?  

And all I kept thinking was.....why aren't you in bed?

How to Freeze Fresh Sweet Corn

1.  Husk and clean corn, removing all silk hairs.
2.  Get out a large stockpot and fill over half full with water, bring to a rolling boil.
3.  Get out another large bowl, fill with cold water and ice.
4.  Get out one last large bowl, set a smaller bowl upside down in that bowl, and if you have it an electric knife {makes cutting off the cob so easy, but a regular large knife will work too.}
5.  Get out plastic Ziploc bags or if you have it use Foodsaver storage bags {that is what I used.}
6.  Place 5-6 ears of corn into the boiling water.  Water should come back up to a boil within a minute {if not, you've added too much corn}.
7.  Boil for 6 minutes.
8.  Remove corn and immediately put into the large bowl of ice water.  Leave in there for 6 minutes.
9.  Remove from the ice water and place on a clean try or towel.
10.  Holding the corn cob on the small over-turned bowl, inside the bigger bowl, use electric knife to cut off the corn.
11.  Place 2 c. of corn into each baggie {can do more or less, but this is what I did.}  Push down to let air escape and seal bag or place into your Foodsaver system, suck out the air and seal.
12.  Mark baggie with the date and freeze.

how to freeze fresh sweet corn (

I did see many recipes that added sugar and salt to their corn, but I opted out of that.  I just wanted to keep it fresh.  When I tasted the corn it seemed super sweet, so I just kept it in its natural state. I also recommend having plenty of ice on hand, as you will need to replace it after each batch.  That hot corn tends to melt it!

We ate some fresh the other night and it was fabulous.  Our kids LOVE it.  And when I say love, I mean, they aren't interested in anything else on their plate.

Now.....go get some corn!

how to freeze fresh sweet corn (

Before you run out to that farm stand, I highly recommend you get the electric knife I use, a Cuisinart CEK-40.  It's fabulous!  We got it as a wedding gift and honestly I use it for two things each year. Cutting big loafs of bread and cutting corn of the cob in the summer.  It is truly the best!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Pita Chips

Let me say this outright.

I cannot take any credit for this fruit salsa, other than taking the photos.  My sister made it this past weekend and she made sure to tell me more than once that she needs the credit.

My sister made this.

My sister made this.

Does everyone know who made this?

This salsa gets better the longer it sits, the fruit softens and really it tastes like a fruit pie when you take a bit with a cinnamon pita chip.  You can make your own cinnamon pita chips or you can take the easy route and buy them {we used Stacy's}.

If there was any of this left, it would also be good on ice cream or over pound cake.  Or you can be my brother and avoid this dip all day like it were the plague.....he hates fruit.  I know, we don't understand either.

Fruit Salsa
1 lb. strawberries
2 apples
2 kiwis
1/2 lb. raspberries
2 T. sugar
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. fruit preserves or jam

Cut/chop all fruit {except berries} into small chunks and place into a large bowl.  Combine sugars and jam and toss with the fruit.  Serve with cinnamon pita chips.

This weekend we also {finally} got my children's hand prints into their little cement slab in my parent's backyard.  All of the other grandchildren have theirs, but since my kids are the youngest we just hadn't gotten around to it yet.  My parents have a beautiful backyard, so their two stones seem to complete it!

They both had fun putting their hand print in the wet cement, spelling their name and embellishing each of their stones with a little flare {buttons, rocks, pennies, etc.}

Something they will remember forever!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Baked Caprese Garlic Bread

You are looking at a homegrown tomato people.

There is nothing better than this glorious fruit.  Yes, it's a fruit.

Other than kids that don't whine, husbands that pick up their belongings without being told and dishes that automatically make it from the dishwasher to the cupboard.

{For the record, none of those things happen at my house}.

I've picked about 10 tomatoes so far, but this is the first one I've tasted.  It melted in my mouth like butta.  I think I'm next going to make a tomato tart.  Does anyone have a good recipe?

Above is a little 'before' and 'after' shot of this garlic bread.  I'm not ashamed to say I'd eat it either way. Soft, crispy, melty, firm.....I'd be happy with it all.

After its all toasted up and gooey, cut this up into pieces and it can be enjoyed by quite a few.  It makes a lot.  I baked mine in the oven, but I'm also seeing it being toasted up on the grill as well.  Then enjoyed by friends with a glass of wine or a cold beer.

Or maybe I'm just imagining what sounds like a good time.

Baked Caprese Garlic Bread
*makes two loaves when cut in half
1 large French bread loaf
2 large tomatoes
16 oz. buffalo mozzarella cheese
1 c. balsamic vinegar
1 stick of butter, melted
4 cloves of garlic, minced
fresh basil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the French bread loaf into half, horizontally.  Place both halves onto a large baking sheet.  In a small saucepan pour in balsamic vinegar and turn onto medium heat.  Let this mixture come to a slow boil and let cook until it reduces by 3/4's and becomes thick and syrupy.  Set aside.

Meanwhile combine the melted butter and minced garlic.  With a pastry brush, generously spread melted butter mixture on all areas of the bread.  Place slices of buffalo mozzarella onto of the bread, followed by the sliced tomatoes.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Turn the oven to broil and cook for just a minute or two, until bubbly and starting to brown.  Don't walk away!  It will melt quickly.

Remove from the oven, drizzle with the reduced balsamic and sprinkle with freshly chopped basil.  Serve warm.

Who out there has a garden?

And if so, what is the first thing you make with your produce?

I'm seeing a TON of cucumber/refrigerator pickles out there, zucchini cakes and breads and lots of jams and other desserts with berries.  Plus different salads with homegrown lettuces and dishes made with corn, especially around these parts where corn is king.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thursday Things....and Do You Want to Work With Me?

I'm picking up fresh Iowa sweet corn today from a local farmer and friend.  I cannot wait! We'll eat some, but most will be frozen using this method.  If you've never had fresh sweet corn from the Midwest you are missing out.  It is one of our little treasures here in the Heartland.

I plan on using it later for just plain eating, in dips, in soups come this fall and probably some casseroles. Biting into those sweet kernels later this year will through me back to summer almost immediately.  I cannot wait.

The kids and I are headed to my parent's house this weekend for our annual big summer family get-together. Its a lot of fun!  Since 4 out of the 5 members of my immediate family have summer birthdays we are also celebrating with this cake.  I think.  My brother texted me asking what I wanted and I told him our family's Classic Coconut Cake.

I hope my mom delivers.

If you haven't made this - or heard about it - its due time that you get with it!  It looks tricky but it isn't.  The only requirement is that it HAS to be refrigerated for 3 days prior to eating. 

That is the hard part.

My tomatoes are coming in!  I get nervous and excited all at the same time when this happens.  Excited because I get to make a ton of delicious things with them - salsa, spaghetti sauce, etc.  But nervous because I have to make a ton of things with them - salsa, spaghetti sauce, etc.  Get my drift?  My kitchen gets a little busy.

But tonight, I'm creating a French Bread Garlic Caprese Bread.  I cannot wait to show you tomorrow!

Don't these Strawberry Lemonade Cookies look fabulous?  I might have to make some for vacation later next week.  I'm pretty sure they would be a hit.

By the way, after asking you all on Facebook yesterday about what to prep and  make ahead for vacation, I've got some great ideas!  Everything from pancakes and muffins for breakfast to walking tacos for lunch and even sloppy joes in the crock pot for easy dinners.  I'm making my list!


And lastly, I just want to throw this out there.

Over the years I've had various companies contact me either wanting me to help promote their product or working with them in various ways.  And yes, I love doing this!  As long as I believe in your product or think I may believe in your product I'm willing to try it out.

Other ideas of how I can work with you: recipe development, taste tester, contest judge, freelance writer, the list goes on and on.  So if you are reading and want your product or brand to reach thousands a day, I'm the girl for you!

Alright, business is done!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Double Chocolate Browned Butter Cookies

Have I got a cookie for you today!

I'm sure you've heard me go on and on and on about how I've perfected my cookie recipes. I have finally found a basic dough recipe, that along with chilling the dough, they turn out perfect every single time.

So this time I added a chocolate pudding mix and browned half of the butter.....and well, they should be entered into some kind of cookie contest as I'm sure they'd win.  Yes, I am bragging and it's probably annoying, but I cannot praise these enough.

As with anything dangerous, I promptly gave most of them to a friend as a parting gift for watching my kids one afternoon.  She texted me before I barely got out of her driveway saying she couldn't resist trying one and that they were delicious.

A sign of a good cookie.

Double Chocolate Browned Butter Cookies
2 sticks softened unsalted butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla
3 1/2 c. flour

1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding mix
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 10 oz. baking semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a stand-up mixer or large bowl combine one of the sticks of butter and sugars, beating well until light and fluffy.  In a small saucepan heat the other stick of butter, melting, continuing to stir until butter has browned and smells "nutty".  Do not allow to burn.  Pour this browned butter into the already fluffy butter/sugar mixture and combine.  Add the eggs, vanilla and pudding mix beating until combined.  Add in flour, salt and baking soda mixing to combine.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Cover and place this dough in the fridge for at least one hour or up to overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place parchment paper on a large baking sheet or simply spray with cooking spray.  Using a large cookie scoop, scoop out a good amount of dough, roll and press down a bit to flatten.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly golden. 


So, we leave for vacation in two weeks-ish.  It is a long, 4-5 hour drive to our destination. Along with the long drive, we are staying on a resort on a lake {I can hear the angels singing now} and with that means I need to bring food.  

Yes, we'll grab bites to eat here and there as well as a nice dinner at least one night, but for the most part we'll be eating out of our room.  I want to come PREPARED.  I want healthy, fun and filling snacks and meals ideas that I can prepare ahead of time and take with us.  I'm not really interested in arriving and finding a local grocery store to stock up and spending most of the first day just getting organized.

For breakfasts I'm thinking loaves of banana/zucchini bread, cereal and yogurt.  For lunches I'm thinking fresh fruit, cheeses, simple sandwiches and the like.  For snacks most likely crackers, snack mixes, string cheese, fruit and veggies and dip.  Dinners?  I have no idea.


Give me your suggestions in the comments.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dill Pickle Dip

There are 5 of us friends that grew up together and have known each other since early elementary school. We've done it all together.  And today, even at the ages of 31 and 32 respectively, we still make a point to get together often.  Luckily we all live within a couple of hours of each other and its relatively easy.

The initial email usually starts out like this.

"Hey girls!  It's been a few months and we need to get together, whose up for it?  How about sometime in July?  Jenelle's house?  Jess' house?  Mine?  Just bring food and hang out?"

Then the big question comes.

"Kids or no kids?"

The reason I'm telling you this is that today everyone came to my house and about 1 hour in, we all looked at each other and quickly decided that NEXT time it will just be us.  No kids.

We all love our kids {between the five of us we have 9....and more are on the way} so please don't take this the wrong way, but it's like running a preschool when we all get together.  We don't get the chance to really catch up since we are too busy tending to the cherubs.

Besides the kid issues we had a great time.  And this included food.  We each have our own dishes and each person brings them each and every time.  A few things change from time to time but some things are certain.

Buffalo chicken dip, dill pickle dip, a dessert {today was peanut butter mocha brownies} and a fun drink. We pretty much have these same things every time.

So I'm sharing one of those staples today!

It's easy, simple and tasty.

Dill Pickle Dip

{Print this Recipe!}
2 8oz. blocks of softened cream cheese
2 c. finely chopped dill pickles
1/2 lb. chopped corned beef
pickle juice

Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl.  Pour in enough pickle juice to help thin out the dip a bit.  Chill for at least 1 hour.  Serve with crackers.

This is a great summer dip and everyone loves it {as long as you like pickles} need to try it!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Refreshing, Simple & Homemade Lemonade

I'm not sure about where you live, but it's been ball-bustin' hot as heck here in the Midwest. The humidity is a bit unbearable at times.

Our 3 year old even made a point today to only try and walk in "the shade".  He's a smart guy!  We have been hitting the little pool in our backyard, but even that is hot at times and I've been taking my walks at an early morning hour I'd rather not see {5 a.m.} just to avoid sweating to death.

So, you probably get it by now.  It's hot.

Other than ice cold water {which is my drink of choice},  my second favorite is fresh lemonade.  I don't drink it often, for obvious reasons, but as a treat for the family I made a batch last night.  This recipe reminds me of my days when I often got stuck helping out with a lemonade stand each summer at a festival for my college job.  It was a sticky, hot mess. Simple syrup and lemon juice attract everything.  Just sayin'.

And can I just say.....why don't we have lemon trees in Iowa?  What kind of climate do they need to grow in?  Can someone from California please answer this question for me?  Or maybe a lemon company can just ship me a box.

It pains me to pay 79 cents a lemon.  I know that may sound cheap, but when you need quite a few.....well, maybe I'm just cheap.  Yeah, that's probably it.

Refreshing, Simple & Homemade Lemonade
6-8 lemons {enough to make 1 c. lemon juice}
1 c. water
1 c. sugar
4-5 cups ice water

In a saucepan, combine 1 c. water and the sugar.  Over medium heat, cook, stirring occasionally until all the sugar dissolves.

Meanwhile, cut lemons in half {make sure they are at room temperature}and juice, removing the seeds.  In a large pitcher combine the sugar/water combo, freshly squeezed lemon juice and an additional 4-5 cups of cold ice water.  I recommend starting with 4 cups and if it is still too sweet, add another cup.

Chill for at least one hour before serving.

I might make another big batch of this for Saturday when my high school girlfriends are coming to visit with their is going to be a very FULL house.  Maybe an adult version and a kiddie version {clearly labeled of course}.

Oh and before I check out for the weekend - I did not win the Saucy Mama Sliced Contest. Bummer, huh? But honestly looking at all of those delicious entries I'm pretty sure they had a hard time deciding, they all looked fabulous.

Regardless, it was fun!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

5 Reasons I Keep Food Blogging

Be patient with me.  I have a super refreshing homemade lemonade being featured on the blog tomorrow. And after that a totally decadent chocolate cookie.  And we can't forget a bloody and boozy take on flank steak coming soon {intrigued or grossed out?}.

See?  A lot to be excited about.

But today I'm going to tell you the 5 reasons why I continue to post recipes and share tidbits of my life for you all to read.  I'm pretty sure most of you {unless you are a blogger} do not realize what it takes to keep this little engine running.

Here we go.

1.  I like you guys.  I have melded relationships with some unique people the past {almost} 4 years.  Many I have never met and probably will never met, but I feel like I know you.  And I feel like you know me.  I thoroughly enjoy reading your comments and receiving your emails.  Even if it says "I didn't like this recipe" or "mine didn't turn out".  I especially love getting texts from friends all over who are in the heat of the moment cooking in their kitchen and need help right NOW.  It humbles me to know you turn to me for advice.  

2.  I really enjoy creating new dishes.  The husband often jokes that we never {minus the staples of burgers, spaghetti, etc.} have the same meal twice.  All because I cannot leave well enough alone.  My brain is literally always thinking about creating a new dish, a new drink or a new baked goodie.  This often makes things difficult when asked about something I've made and I stare at them blankly racking my brain what they are referring too.  When you make a TON of food, you have a tendency to forget what you've made!

3.  I have hopes and dreams to make this blog a reality.  Meaning someday, I hope to expand this little 'ol blog.  Whether that be a published cookbook, a partnership with a food company or a side business.  I have high hopes and I've set high standards for myself to make that happen.  Little by little things are coming my way.  I've learned {the hard way} not to compare myself with other food bloggers who are traveling all over the country, all expenses paid, on great adventures.  My time will come.  I'm ubber-excited about planning the first Iowa Food Blogger Meet-Up.  It's a gigantic task, but I'm determined to make it awesome.

4.  It's my outlet.  Let's face it.  I have two little kids, a husband, a dog, a house and a part-time job.  Add all of that together and I'm busy.  My days are filled with hills and valleys.  This blog gives me something that is separate from all of that - it lets me breathe for a second.  You know how some women love to scrapbook? Or jog?  Or volunteer?  Well, I love to cook and blog to the world about it.  It's my hobby of choice.  Are there times when I don't have TIME for my blog?  Absolutely.  Times when I should be playing with my kids, yet instead I'm photographing my food?  For sure.  But I'm hoping I balance it all out in the end.

5.  I don't like to quit things.  I have this little thing called "guilt".  In all aspects of my life, it's there following me around.  I would feel tremendously guilty if I ever stopped blogging.  Heck, I feel guilty when I forget to email back a friend if its been more than a day.  Saying all of this, I just would never quit on this blog, my third baby, it'd be like quitting a job {which I've also never done}.


I put it all out there.  Now you know why I've continued on this little venture for a few years now.  Do I always get rewarded for it?  Not really.  But do I enjoy it?  Yes.

Enough said.

{Oh wait.  I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for loving my recipes, commenting on my blog and social media pages and well, just being YOU.}

There, now I'm done.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

German Kraut Burgers

This is hands down one of my new favorite recipes.  Katie over at Yes, I Want Cake gave me the idea.  She is a genius!

They are the perfect little snack, yet filling enough for a meal.  Not to mention they re-heat perfectly.  I ate the last one yesterday, almost 4 days after they were made fresh.  

Is anyone watching Big Brother?  Each summer I become obsessed with this show.  While watching the other night I got to thinking.....I wonder how they eat on this show?  You see their fully stocked pantry and occasionally someone making something in the kitchen, but never all sitting down for a meal.

I mean they are STUCK in this house for weeks on end.  I wonder if one of the contestants becomes the "mom" of the group and starts making all the meals, or if everyone just fends for themselves.  Let me tell you, if I was in the house I'd be doing the cooking.

Maybe that way they'd never vote me out.  For fear they would go hungry.

These kraut burgers?

Just a few simple ingredients.  They are so easy!

You need to make them stat.

German Kraut Burgers
1 batch of my world's best bread dough OR this mix {if you want a shortcut}
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, finely diced
1 small head of cabbage, finely shredded
yellow mustard
salt and pepper
melted butter

Prepare your dough {either my homemade version or the boxed mixed version}.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large pot saute the ground beef and onion.  Drain off any excess grease.  Add in the shredded cabbage, a generous amount of salt and pepper and a squirt of yellow mustard.  Stir, put the lid on and allow to cook/steam for 20 minutes over medium heat.

Roll out the dough {about 1/4 in. thick}.  Cut into squares.  Place 2 T. of meat mixture onto the square and fold up the sides, securing by placing seam side down in an 8x8 baking dish or regular pie plate.  Brush with melted butter.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm and with additional mustard.

Now, I did have extra filling left over, but I simply placed it in a Ziploc baggie, labeled it and threw it in the freezer.  I'll make another half batch on another day!

These are so soft, buttery and flavorful.  They remind me on something the lunch ladies at school growing up used to make.  The same concept, ground beef inside a homemade roll, but yet I don't remember the cabbage.  

Does anyone remember what they were called?  In my head I think they started with a "k".

Who wants one?

Tomorrow I find out who won the Saucy Mama Sliced Contest!  I have a 10% chance of winning and after looking at all the dessert recipes......I think that 10% is pretty accurate:(

But, you never, ever know.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Grilled Pesto Potatoes

I am sitting here enjoying the quiet.  In fact, two nights of quiet.  It's been fabulous.  The kids have spent the weekend with their grandparent's, the husband has been working.

Now don't get me wrong, I love my family but I also love a quiet house.  Being able to do what I want, when I want has been the ultimate stress reliever the last couple of days.  Both of our families do not live in the same town as us so when given the chance for the kids to spend time with them we take it.  I am not ashamed.  For those of you with family next door or down the street, consider yourself very blessed!

Other than relishing the quiet, I have been catching up on some T.V. shows, soaking up some rays, spending time with friends, taking the dog for long walks and of course, cooking.


One thing we did try new this weekend were these potatoes.  Yum!  Since brats were on the menu and I had a bag of potatoes that needed to be eaten before they died, we tried these pesto potatoes.  I originally saw a recipe similar to this on Greens and Chocolate, mine is a bit different, but same concept!

Usually, almost always, I quickly grab a jar of basil pesto at the grocery store.  Well of course I forgot it.  So enter in homemade pesto.  With kale.  Yes, I said kale!  It was the only 'green' I had on hand.  I think some people don't realize that pesto can be made with ANY greenery - not just basil {although basil is my favorite}.

Grilled Pesto Potatoes
8 good sized red potatoes
1 jar pesto or homemade
generous amounts of salt and pepper

My homemade kale pesto:
1 large bunch fresh kale {stems removed}
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
4 cloves garlic
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
good amount of olive oil

Wash and scrub potatoes.  Slice potatoes into 1/8 in. slices.  Place in a bowl and cover with cold water.  To make the pesto, place all ingredients minus the olive oil into a food processor and combine.  Slowly drizzle in olive oil until it reaches a smooth consistency.

Drain water off the potatoes and pat dry with a clean towel.  Cut foil into large sheets, spray with non-stick spray.  Add the pesto to the potatoes, along with generous amounts of salt and pepper, toss to combine. Place the potatoes onto the foil and fold up the sides to secure.

Place potatoes on to the top rack of a hot grill {this will help to prevent burning}.  Cook for 20 minutes. Open the foil and check to see if the potatoes are soft.  Once the potatoes are soft, open up the foil packets and let cook for another 20 minutes, exposed more to the heat, to help them crisp up.  Serve hot.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal

I know.  It's July and the last thing on your mind is a hot, creamy, steamy bowl of oatmeal. But please, give this a chance.

You see I had a big container of steel cut oats sitting in our pantry cupboard for longer than I care to admit. It stared at me every time I moved the tortilla chips {which is often}.  I'm sure it thought it'd die a miserable death in the back of the dark cupboard.

But then one day I came across some recipes for slow cooker oatmeal.  And well, that just fascinated me.  It would allow me to make a big batch, then divide it up and have my breakfasts prepped and ready to go for the week.  It seems like since having kids my breakfasts have been less than stellar.  Down right pitiful actually.  I either forget to eat and then suddenly it's 10 a.m. or I'm catching a bite of something here and there, never really eating a proper breakfast.

So enter in this dish.

Now steel cut oats are different than your regular old-fashioned oats.  They take longer to cook due to very minimal processing {i.e. much healthier!}.

When I took the first bite of this I was SO happy.  I had no idea if they would turn out.  Oh, but they did. They turned out fabulous.  I even made my co-worker take a bit out of my bowl this morning and she also gave it 5 stars.

So, here's the thing.  Make this on Sunday so it's all ready to go Monday morning.  Or let it cook overnight while you are snoozing.  Each way works!

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal
8 1/2 c. water
2 c. steel cut oats
1 c. milk {any kind - whole, evaporated, almond, etc.}
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
unsalted butter

In a slow cooker take a stick of unsalted butter and rub down the insides of the slow cooker. Pour in all of the ingredients and stir.  Set to low and cook for 7-8 hours.

This will make 7-8 good sized servings.  Divide out the oatmeal in heat safe bowls, allow to cool and store in the fridge.  When ready to reheat microwave for 1 minute, stir, heating for another minute until heated through.  Add toppings for taste.

My favorite is sliced banana, honey and walnuts.  Other options could be dried fruit, peanut butter, brown sugar, agave nectar or homemade jam.

The next few weekends are going to be a bit of a whirlwind.  This weekend the kids are with their grandparents, which equals free time for me.  Whoo-hoo!  Then I have my high school girls coming to visit, then our annual Koch Olympics {long story}, then a family wedding, then.......wait for it.......a VACATION!

We have not taken a vacation since 2006.  Our honeymoon.  I know, it's bad.  Now granted our kids will be with us, but so will lots of other family, so I'm hoping I at least get one long afternoon to sit on the dock with a good book and a drink.

I can hope.