Recipe for Frozen Burritos

A lot of the time I’ll have a few leftover items and not enough to go around for the whole family. If I can I try to find a way to make it go farther and Friday night I did just that! I had about five homemade beef and cheese burritos that no one had touched in a month. My nephew was jonesing for Mexican food and in a pinch I had an idea of how to incorporate those frozen burritos.

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I’m calling it a burrito casserole with five minute Spanish rice on the side(which by the way was the easiest rice I have ever made).

Burrito Casserole

5-6 frozen burritos, homemade or store bought, thawed

1 jar salsa

4 cups cheese

1 pound ground beef, cooked

1/2 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 can refried beans

1 packet taco seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

3 large flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a 9×13 glass pan or aluminum disposable pan, add just enough salsa to cover the bottom of the pan. Lay burritos on the salsa and top with two cups of cheese, more salsa and two large tortillas.

In a medium pan cook ground beef with onion and garlic. Drain if necessary and season with salt, pepper and taco seasoning. Stir in refried beans. If mixture is too thick add about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of water. Less is best since you don’t want it too soupy. Spread the meat mixture over the tortillas, top with one cup of cheese and salsa. With the remaining tortilla, cut it into 8 wedges and place over the casserole in a pattern. (See picture below) Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top, cover with foil and bake for 4o–45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15-20 until cheese is melted and the sides are bubbling.

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This was the absolute best casserole yet, the burritos were cooked through, everything was cheesy and saucy! Perfectly seasoned! The family really enjoyed it 🙂 Leftovers? Just enough for two people to have half of a corner, no joke! It was THAT good!! Be prepared to have little to no leftovers, however you can make an extra casserole to keep in the freezer for a future meal. Just be sure to use it within a month and to thaw completely before baking.

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5 Minute Spanish Rice   

3 cups water

1 can Rotel (tomatoes with chiles and onions)

3 cups 5 minute rice

1 Tblsp chili powder

1 tsp Spanish paprika

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Salt to taste

Bring water and Rotel to a boil. Add in rice, give a stir, cover and remove from heat. Let the rice sit for 5 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. With a fork, fluff the rice and chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt.

      

I’m not good at cooking rice, it usually comes out under done and gummy, or occasionally over cooked and mushy. This came out absolutely perfect! I wasn’t too generous with the salt but that’s a personal preference. The spices were perfect, not too heavy or hot. It was paired perfectly with the casserole with a little guacamole on the side. You can certainly top this off a dollop of sour cream and tortilla chips if you like.

The amounts given in each recipe are based on a family of five, which can be easily reduced or doubled to suit your needs. Ground turkey or chicken can be substituted for the beef if you prefer. The salsa I used was the Pace Restaurant Style, I had a jar with about 1/4 cup of salsa and a brand new jar to use. I like to have extra salsa for meals like this it’s better for a casserole to be extra moist than overly dry. Hope you enjoy 🙂

Happy Eating!!

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Springing Around…

Today is the first day of spring and I know many of you have been waiting for this day to arrive. I’ve been working on getting my son’s birthday stuff pulled together since he’s hitting double digits this year, very exciting and sad. And I’ve been gathering ideas for our Easter menu, being of German descent I like to incorporate that into our celebration as much as possible. What has made that easy this year was finding a neat website called Quick German Recipes. There you’ll find traditions and yummy recipes!

But I’ve also been collecting great website links for spring/Easter crafts and recipes. Have fun perusing and trying new things! G–Man is looking forward to trying some of those recipes out himself 🙂

Spring Crafts

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Spring Recipes

St. Patrick’s Day Recipes

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Dublin Coddle

 

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Sweet Irish Soda Bread

 

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Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Cake

(that’s what it’s called, no joke)

I did take a few liberties in my baked goods. There were two changes I made to the Dublin Coddle, 1) I slow cooked in the crock pot and 2) I added a flour and water roux to help thicken the liquid. That helped make it more stew like and my Dad wants me to make it more often hehe! For the Sweet Irish Soda Bread I chopped up the raisins and soaked them in a honey whiskey for an hour to help plump them back up, I’m not a fan of whiskey myself but I don’t mind baking with it. The alcohol cooks out and you’re left with a delicious flavor. The bread was my favorite, right after I removed it from the oven I turned it out onto a cooling rack over another pan and began basting the top of the loaf with the leftover honey whiskey that I had soaked the raisins in. The steaming bread helped to make a shiny glaze over the top and to evaporate the alcohol.

For our dessert, please don’t give me any flack about the name. I didn’t come up with it and when I saw it I knew it was the perfect recipe to make for St. Patrick’s Day since the family love chocolate cake and cream cheese anything! The cake is based off of a cocktail called Irish Car Bomb. What that is, is you take about a pint of Guinness, half a shot of both Irish cream liqueur and Irish whiskey and drop that down into the Guinness and drink. I’ve never had one before and don’t intend to either, but I have read about it. I’m not a fan of Guinness, it tastes burnt to me, very strong and unpleasant. However, in the cake it wasn’t too bad and I’m not a chocolate fan as most of you know. I told the family I was going to add chocolate chips to this which isn’t part of the recipe, but it’s simple enough to do. Just a warning: this cake is super rich, drink lots of milk while eating it! I put 1/3 of the batter into my greased and cocoa powdered baking dish. Sprinkled a handful of chocolate chips next, carefully spread the cream cheese mixture over it, then add more chocolate chips over the cream cheese mixture and finally spoon on the remaining cake batter. Smooth it out gently and evenly before baking.

Even the glaze that goes on the cake was phenomenal! The recipe made more than what was needed and it was better than any caramel sauce I’ve ever had.

This chocolate cake is such a recipe where you will either enjoy it and it’s many flavors from the Guinness, St. Brenden’s Irish Cream liqueur and whiskey or you won’t. I think the chocolate cake itself helped to temper those flavors and the added chocolate chips enhanced the richness of the cake. It was nice to be able to buy the Guinness by the bottle instead of in a pack of four or six. Not having to waste money on any more than what was needed was an added bonus!

That’s about as gourmet as I like to get with my cooking and baking. I prefer to keep things as simple as possible but on those special occasions when I have the time I will go the extra mile to make a meal or dish that is fun, festive(my Dad hates that word) and exceptional!

“So fill to me the parting glass,
And drink a health whate’er befalls,
Then gently rise and softly call,
Goodnight and joy be to you all.”

~Celtic Woman “The Parting Glass”~

Éirinn go Brách!

 

~Kid Friendly Frozen Treat~

{Today’s guest post is coming from none other than the sweet little 9 yr old in my life, G–Man! Saturday night he made a frozen fruit treat that is super easy for all ages with some light adult supervision for younger ages. He’s been going through a handbook called Young Man’s Handbook which offers lots of neat projects, recipes, and fun boy oriented crafts. For now he’s been learning about the kitchen, utensils, terms, and how read recipes. Every other Friday he gets to pick one recipe from a section to make and over the following weeks he’s going to share what he has made 🙂 }

 

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Fruit Freezies

1 small can lemonade concetrate

1 small can orange juice concentrate

1 large can pineapple pieces, juice included

3 bananas (optional)

2 1/2 cups semi–frozen strawberries

1/8 cups water(optional)

3 Tblsp sugar(optional)

15–5 ounce paper cups

1 sheet of foil cut into squares with a slit cut in the center

15 plastic spoons

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Lightly thaw strawberries in the microwave for 1 minute and add pineapple pieces with their juice. Using a pastry blender, rough chop the fruit or put into a blender if you want it completely smooth. (Especially if you are using bananas. Which I forgot to put on the grocery list, Momma dropped the ball on that one lol!)

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Stir in the lemonade and orange juice concentrates. We left out the extra sugar and water since it was juicy and sweet enough.

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Here’s where my Mom helped me a little bit…she showed me where to fill the cups up to and how to place the foil over each spoon. The foil will help keep the spoon centered in the frozen fruit pops. This looks really good! Nom nom nom!!!

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Here’s me with all the 15 cups finished. It was a really easy recipe and were ready to eat the next day! I love the bigger chunks of fruit in these pops 🙂 To eat just remove the foil top and peel away the paper cup. The spoon acts like a Popsicle stick. Be sure to share them with your friends, brothers and sisters! Peace out 😀 ~G–Man~

{He really did enjoy making these and the fruit freezies would make a wonderful project during the hot summer months. We tend to like things a little on the tart side, it just made sense to leave out the extra sugar when making this. But I did have him taste the mixture before he doled it out to the cups for freezing just to make sure if he thought it was sweet enough. Plus it worked out that I forgot about the bananas, our blender died a painful tragic death last December. It’s shattered remains are resting in a landfill no doubt. However, the next time we make these, and we will, I hope to have a blender to make a smoother mixture. It all eats the same, as I tell G–Man quite often 😉 }

Happy Eating!!

TBT: Cold Creams

Afternoon all, this weather sure has been wacky the last few days. Starting the week off with spring weather and yesterday we dipped down into the 30’s. This morning it was 32 degrees(F) before we went up to attack our school day. My skin has certainly suffered this year and it didn’t occur to me to start using my C.O. Bigelow Rose Wonder Cold Cream as a dry skin moisturizer and eczema treatment.

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For months now I have suffered from what could only be described as an aggressive form of eczema(which stems from a leaky gut syndrome…but that’s whole different) around my neck and down to my upper chest. It first came on as this little horizontal itchy rash on the right side of my neck. As Christmas came and went the “rash” moved and spread. It went from a solid itchy mass to having a clear center where it was healed and itch free. At one point my Mom thought I had Lyme disease, but I didn’t have the typical bulls eye pattern nor had I been infected by a tick. So after much research, Mom found something that looked similar to what I had and the only treatment was to keep it hydrated and to use anti–itch creams.

Even with all the water I drink and the store purchased lotions and creams nothing was working. Feeling like I should just let it run its course, after all I figured it was stress induced, the itchy mass started moving around to the left side of my neck and spreading across my chest. It was very uncomfortable at night, I’d get warm and wake up clawing at myself, the need to itch was that intense.

In straightening up my room I found my cold cream that I had misplaced(the one pictured above). I’ve been missing this stuff, I only use it to remove my Sunday make up which is the only time I ever wear make up these days. So, I placed it back in my bathroom and used it Sunday evening as always. Oh it was so nice to have that clean and fresh smooth feeling back! Monday night I was laying in bed, couldn’t sleep, and I got curious if there were other uses for cold creams. I know, like DUH Amanda…trust me I was smacking my forehead after I did my Bing search. I found a neat explanation of why cold creams help with eczema.

A cold cream helps flush toxins from the skin, relieve inflammation, soothe itching, and relieve pain. It’s a nearly instant relief for many kids, and the cool feeling is a welcome relief from the heat and itch of inflamed skin tissues.–from the Scratch Me Not Blog

Like I said, I was smacking my forehead. Last night as I was getting ready for church I decided to go ahead and use my cold cream all over my face since it had been a windy dry day. Instantly the coolness of the cream was a welcome relief to the eczema in my eyebrows, as well as to the dryness of my nose and cheeks. Oh and my hands have been suffering for a few years now. It’s worse than dishpan hands, without a working dishwasher I have to wash dishes nearly every night by hand and no amount of store bought lotion was doing the trick. Now, before you think that I’m some Alabama gator dressed as a human being, just note that all this dryness is linked back to my having an under active thyroid. So if you too suffer from an under active thyroid as I do, get yourself a good cold cream and you’ll be set! (For more reading about hypothyroidism and dry skin visit this LINK.)

After applying a generous amount to the itchy spots remaining on my chest I spent the rest of the night itch free. I was amazed! I applied more before bedtime and I did not wake up for the first time in months needing to scratch. I also applied a quarter size amount of cold cream to my nose, since I also suffer from blackheads (have for years). I slept with it on as the wikihow site instructed to do. 

If your skin has a lot of blackheads and clogged pores or is very dry, apply a quarter-sized dollop of cold cream to your face at night. Leave on until morning and then wipe off as usual. Be sure to use an old (but clean) pillow case. The mask can leave an oily residue on bed linens.

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All in all, I have been impressed with the many uses of the cold cream. I’m done smacking my forehead and have since moved on to kicking my own buttocks for not having realized its many other uses. The company brand I use has been around since 1838, rather trustworthy and a lot of their products are made here in the USA. To me, that means more and is worthy of the extra bucks. I’m not certain how the other modern brands pan out, I’m kind of leery in trying those out since I have extremely sensitive skin. But I will in the mean time keep an eye out for anyone who has and be sure to share their links, reviews, and results with you as I find them!

I have joined the PCOS FLAGO (fight like a girl organization). What can you do to help?

I just had to share this! If you’re in or near Atlanta, GA you don’t want to miss out on this event!

mary....keeping it real!

GET THE WORD OUT!!!

PCOS affects 1 in 10 women.  These numbers have risen over the years.  Yet there is very little in the way of research and treatment for PCOS.

What exactly is PCOS?

Polycystic (pah-lee-SIS-tik) ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that can affect a woman’s:

  • Menstrual cycle
  • Ability to have children
  • Hormones
  • Heart
  • Blood vessels
  • Appearance

With PCOS, women typically have:

  • High levels of androgens (AN-druh-junz). These are sometimes called male hormones, though females also make them.
  • Missed or irregular periods (monthly bleeding)
  • Many small cysts (sists) (fluid-filled sacs) in their ovaries

PCOS often leads to type II diabetes, and can lead to heart failure, kidney failure, liver failure as well as many other very serious health complications.   It severely affects the self esteem of women.

What causes PCOS?

The cause of PCOS is unknown. But most experts think that several factors, including genetics, could play…

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Book Nook Freebies(yes more than one!)

Got four free ebooks here filled with yummy smoothie and juice recipes! If you’ve been wanting to try some green smoothies and weren’t too sure if you wanted to spend money on a cookbook then look no further! Click each image to get your free ebook copy!

All 31 unique smoothie recipes were designed for:

* Increased energy
* Increasing fruits and veggie intake
* Faster recovery from being worn out
* Faster than cooking
* And to taste great

“The book 40 Green Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss is ideal for those who want to start on a juice diet and even for those who are already juicing for weight loss and want to keep it healthy all the way.”

“40 Juicing Recipes for Weight Loss is a collection of fresh juice recipes for those who want to lose weight effectively without compromising their health. It is a perfect companion for dieters who want to lose a few inches and pounds while keeping their body nourished, strong and healthy.”

 

“Hi, my name is Troy Adashun.

I’m a fitness model, health freak, and long time Smoothie Enthusiast. I am passionate to share some of my favorite smoothie recipes of all time in this book.

Smoothies are one of the easiest and most convenient ways to get an abundance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that will help you become the healthiest and most energetic you possible! The great thing about these smoothie recipes is that many contain both fruits and vegetables. This should not scare you, as the recipes are all tried and tested and blend deliciously – even for the person who doesn’t enjoy vegetables by themselves.

Enjoying one of these smoothies daily is a giant leap forward to fat loss and optimal health. In today’s day and age, many of us are consuming to many calories but are actually nutrient deficient. Enjoying one of the delicious smoothies every day in this recipe book will not only help you lose weight, but increase your overall health and energy levels. Once you feel the amazing health benefits of smoothies, you will not want to go one day without one.

Happy Blending and Good Luck to you all!”

 

I’m in love with each book, they offer delicious recipes, helpful tips and I’m learning how to customize the recipes to fit my dietary needs.

Feel free to share your favorite smoothie/juice recipes below in the comments. Always enjoy trying something new 🙂

CHEERS!

TBT: What Happened in My Birth Year?

Yello! Sometimes I get curious about certain things and spend waste time surfing the web till I find what I’m looking for. I was feeling a tad nostalgic and decided to Bing search what happened the year I was born. Gnarly man!

Alright, for those older than me, you already know what happened in 1982. You were the hippest of that year, the coolest…you were rad! Before my memory starting kicking in at the age of two, you all got to see E.T. in theaters, Star Wars was still the best film rocking most geeks worlds, and you were probably sweatin’ to Physical by Olivia Newton John. Michael Jordan had burst on the scene that year and Super Mario Bros were gaining popularity. It was a great year to be alive! To be a teen and spend your time at the mall, drinking Tab, and showing off your snazzy 80’s fashion(tight stonewashed jeans and scrunch socks) 😉 Those were the days! And yes I do know the words to Ebony and Ivory…being the youngest of three kids I was exposed to a lot of the songs from the 80’s and still remember the words to most of them 🙂

At all curious about what happened in your birth year? Want to show your kids what happened the year they were born? I got ya covered! Click the picture below, enter your birth year or theirs, sit back and enjoy!

Sometimes it’s just nice to sit back and remember when..

And, want to see what your Mom, Grandma, Great–Grandma, Aunt, or Great–Aunt were making when you were younger? Here’s a fun website, Hey, my Mom used to make that, that offers a few recipes per decade of some outrageous delights. After looking through the 60’s–90’s Mom and I could say with certainty what was made at home or something like it was made instead or not at all. We have family recipes that have been made for decades and continue to be favorites for the grandkids in our family. Have fun exploring!

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Amanda Gayle circa 1984

Later!

BPA: A Big Concern for PCOS Women

 

Insulite Laboratories sent out an insightful newsletter about why BPA in plastics could be more harmful for PCOS women. I personally go out of my way to avoid that stuff like the plague, thankfully there are many options today of BPA free products. But it’s the WHY that so many folks don’t understand what makes BPA a hazard to ones health. Here’s what the newsletter said:

The hormone disrupter BPA (bisphenol A), which is everywhere in the environment, could present an even bigger danger for women with PCOS than previously thought.

 

BPA levels are higher in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome than other females and can be transferred from mother to fetus. But that’s not all.

 

The Federico II University in Italy has just published a study of 20 overweight women with PCOS, who were compared to 20 overweight women without PCOS. As expected, the PCOS women had higher levels of BPA. However, they also had a higher incidence of insulin resistance, fatty liver degeneration, male hormones, inflammation … and larger spleens.

 

The spleen is an organ in the upper left of the abdomen and is part of the body’s management and immune system. An enlarged spleen can be caused by many things, including some cancers, mononucleosis and liver disease. PCOS is closely linked to liver problems. So BPA may be hampering your spleen’s efforts to maintain normal liver function for overall good health.

 

You can’t smell, see or taste BPA so it’s difficult to avoid. But you can lower your exposure. Try to reduce the quantity of plastic in your life as well as the number of cans, as in canned food. If possible, keep food and water away from any plastic. Ideally, use glass or ceramic instead.

 

Help your liver to detoxify your intestines to get healthier so they can do a better job of getting rid of BPA and other environmental chemicals. A healthier diet that is high in fiber will greatly aid this process.

 

You can be tested to see if you have high levels of BPA. If your levels are elevated, consult with an “environmental medicine” doctor for a program to get rid of BPA from your system.”

Amazon has graciously listed items on their website that are BPA free(click HERE to see products). Over 1,000 products that are BPA free! I know that many have heard over the years, BPA is bad, yeah yeah yeah…but as a woman who owns her PCOS symptoms and someone who is fighting to bring awareness to all please don’t turn a deaf ear to this. If you or someone you know has PCOS please share this article with them. You don’t have to have PCOS in order to be concerned about BPA, everyone should avoid it at all cost. Since it is affecting PCOS women in this manner, can you imagine what it is doing to our children, spouses, parents, pets?!

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An excellent graph that shows the levels of BPA exposure found in humans. It’s scary when you can actually see it this way.

I love the following image of canned foods to avoid!

We have a responsibility for our own health and well being. If we’re not willing to take care of it ourselves, how can we expect someone to care enough to do it for us? We have to stop relying on the government to look out for us, our doctors do not know every nuance in our bodies, they only know textbook information. We have to be willing to take back our own health and use preventative measures to make sure we stay healthy. We are a sickly nation and getting worse by the second. Let’s all do what we can to be more proactive with our own health!

An Unlikely Pairing

Oh it feels like forever since I’ve written on here. Finally figured out what the deal was with the laptop. The business end of the adapter cable is slightly bent(how it happened is anyone’s guess). But I have found a way to keep it charged while working…it’s all in how I lay the cord. So hopefully I’ll be able to write more without worrying the computer is going to die on me. I miss sharing yummy things with you all 🙂

Last week I announced on Facebook that I’ve got recipes and crafts lined up for spring. I asked G–Man if he wanted to do a guest post, a craft for kids perhaps. We’ll see what he comes up with 🙂 This morning I decided to get started on the first of many recipes that I wanted to share before spring arrives(March 20th). With all this freezing rain that’s come through our neck of the woods and more snow up north it only seems fitting to serve up a hearty meal that will not only stick to the ribs(thighs, buttocks, and bye–bye arms…jk) but will help keep the kiddos satisfied till lunch!

Now before I set out posting a recipe I like to see what the competition is 😉 Especially when I “think” I’m creating something new–ish. After looking at what’s out there I didn’t find anything quite like what I did this morning. For some of my readers this recipe might be a bit out there for you, like I said it’s an unlikely pair! Buckle up and get ready!!

 

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Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Stuffed French Toast

Yields: 4 servings

8 slices of Chicago Italian Bread

1 packet apple oatmeal + 1 packet cinnamon oatmeal

4 eggs, whisked

1/4 cup Milk

Oil for frying

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Make oatmeal a little thicker but still spreadable. Two packets will give enough to spread as much as you like. Slice the bread somewhat thick, I had to lightly toast it since it came unsliced. Typically you’d use day old bread for French toast, toasting it helped firm it up slightly. Spread the oatmeal over one half of the bread making sure to get it toward the edges.

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Top with other slice and you’re ready to go!

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The leaning tower of stuffed French Toast

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Coat the stuffed bread quickly in the whisked eggs and milk mixture.

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Fry in oil over medium high heat till it’s nicely browned. Be careful when flipping, use a wide spatula and turn it over slowly. Each side took a few minutes to brown. 

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How you decide to serve this is up to you! Top it off with a dusting of powdered sugar, your favorite syrup, apple butter, brown butter, doughnut glaze or enjoy it plain. Here I drizzled on my favorite doughnut glaze (butter, powdered sugar and french vanilla coffee creamer).

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For me, this dish is the marrying of my two favorite things: oatmeal and toast. When I was a kid I loved having buttered toast with my oatmeal. I would make the oatmeal thick enough to spread, and I loved how it would begin to melt the butter as I ate it! It was the best breakfast on those wintery mornings before heading out to school. So it’s no wonder I would put these two together, again I understand if some of you out there might find this an odd pairing. Even my son wasn’t too sure about it at first, but he came around and said it was pretty good! This can be easy doubled or reduced to fit the size of your family.

Happy Eating!!