My Favorite Breakfast – Oat Bran!

I am addicted to oat bran. I know, crazy. It is fast, easy and yummy and I’ll let you in on my secrets. Get a big bowl. Put it away and get a bigger bowl. This way you can cook it in the microwave. If you want raisins, put them in now. Other additions are better after it’s cooked (say, nuts, fresh fruit or maple syrup). Place 1/2 c. uncooked oat bran in the bowl with 1 c. water. I usually go shy on the water so my oat bran is fairly lumpy and soaks up the milk I like to put on top (no porridge or gruel for me – it should have some substance to it!). Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Use a saucer for a lid. Stir and microwave in additional 20 second increments until it is the consistency that you like. Add 1 tsp. butter, cinnamon (if desired) and about 2 oz milk on top. I sweeten mine with Stevia (2 packets) but you can use real sugar if you like. There’s so many carbs in the oat bran, though, that real sugar makes it too sweet for me. A couple of variations you might like: mix in a hot cocoa packet (regular or no sugar) – yummy! I also occasionally like mixing in 2 heaping tsp. Green & Black’s Organic Unsweetened Cocoa. When I do this, though, I usually add a little Splenda to taste. Very nice chocolate fix. Maple syrup is also a good addition with bananas and yogurt…there are so many variations that I could eat this every day!

Apple Treats for Kids


Yummy “candy” centered apple circles!

I have a bushel of apples so I’m getting good at thinking up treats for my kids. We exhausted the caramel apple dip recipe over the weekend and here is another.


Mix 2 T. peanut butter with 1/4 c. uncooked rolled oats and about 1T. honey (or to taste).


Core your apples and stuff ’em with the mixture.


Slice into desired thickness and eat – it’s like having a “candy” center! My kids love this. I used my Pampered Chef Crinkle Cutter today but it’s absolutely not necessary – but cute.

The Applejack Festival in Nebraska City


Picking up the parents!


The boys taking a ride.


Adorable – I love this witch!


Yummy steak dinner afterwards – Jack looks afraid, no?!

This was one of the best years yet! Everyone was in a good mood and feeling good. We bought a bushel of apples and had the best time (hooray for homemade caramel dip). Homemade Caramel Dip recipe: 1 brick softened cream cheese (best at room temp), 1/2 c. or more to taste of brown sugar, squirt vanilla and OPTIONAL item a) half bag of toffee chips or b) broken up skor bars. Even my kids will down a bunch of apples with this dip – but it’s great for all types of fruit. Enjoy! It really does taste like caramel, I promise. It’s amazing!

Mary Engelbreit’s Recipe Contest


Pull out your best recipes, girls (and I know you have ’em). Link to the ME site and cook away! I’m sure it will be a great cookbook but it would be even better with a recipe in there from someone I know.

Cheap & Easy Chicken Thighs

Fabulous recipe. Must share. My kids loved it, too.


1/4 c dry bread crumbs (we used panko)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp pepper
8 chicken thighs, skin removed (we didn’t remove the skin and it was really, really good!)

Place all ingredients in a large resealable bag and shake it all up thoroughly. Place on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Turn chicken pieces and bake 20 to 25 minutes longer.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!