Category Archives: Slow Cooker

Blueberry Banana Broiler Brûlée for Breakfast

[[More oatmeal ideas at the end!]]


I’m cold.


When I’m cold I cocoon. No blanket or sweatshirt of dear Daniel’s is safe from my icy grasp.  I drink gallons (seriously…)  of hot tea of various types, plus the occasional cup of coffee…for variety.


For nourishment I rely almost entirely on bowls of mushy warm things.

Sounds appealing, right?  Are you beginning to understand my long silence?

Enter:  Blueberry Banana Broiler Brûlée.


With this alliterative adventure I haven’t strayed from my warm, mushy winter comfort, I’ve only given it eye appeal.

Plus, it couldn’t be more simple.

Healthful and satisfying steel cut oats,


sweetened with banana,


cinnamon spiced and speckled with blueberries.

(Thank goodness for frozen fruit).


This effortless breakfast brought to you by tall, dark and handsome.


Now, luckily, this works a lot of ways.  You could wake up to freshly cooked oats in your slow cooker, immediately scoop them into a broiler-safe container and just







3 minutes later…


The same process works just as well with leftover oats recovered from the fridge.  I have even made the whole thing including the broiled topping, put that in the fridge and microwaved for 2 minutes the next day.  It was still amazing.


Perfect for my weekly Mommy & Me oatmeal breakfast.

(She loooved it, by the way.  She said it was like a blueberry muffin!)

One day I’ll stop being such a baby about the cold but until then…I’ll broil bananas and call it brûlée.  It brightens my day =)



❤ Ellen

Pssst..Shake up your oatmeal!

It’s easy to get in an oatmeal rut.  I, personally, could eat peanut butter and banana oatmeal every single day, but sometimes it’s fun to get a little creative.  Options (outside the typical, though hard to beat, pumpkin, cinnamon apple, blueberry or PBJ route) include:

  • Coconut banana cream pie:

Cook oats as instructed below, substitute coconut milk for some (or all!) of the water, to taste.  Top with toasted coconut flakes

  • Mocha Morning

Cook oats as instructed below, substitute substitute brewed coffee for some of the water, to taste.  (Try it with the cinnamon…I love coffee with cinnamon).  Top with toasted pecans or chocolate covered coffee beans for an extra kick!

  • Chocoholics Anonymous

Cook oats as instructed below, minus the cinnamon.  Stir in 1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder and top with mini chocolate chips.  Stir in a spoonful of peanut butter for a peanut butter cup experience!

  • Raspberry Pistachio

Simple but I love this combination of flavors.  Cook oats as instructed below.  Stir in  a spoonful of raspberry preserved and/or fresh raspberries.  Top with chopped salted pistachios.  Delicious.

  • Chai Tea and Spice

Cook oats as instructed below, substituting brewed Chai tea for the water (or some of the water).  Leave the cinnamon and add nutmeg, cloves to taste.  Add a dash of milk for a creamy Chai tea latte in a bowl.

  • Go savory!  I’m not really into this but add any combination of savory spices and delicious add ins like cheese, bacon, green onions and more!


  • Polenta (most delicious to me with simple cinnamon and honey but this looks amazing, too)
  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Bulgar
  • Buckwheat
  • Wheat berries
  • Rice (think rice pudding!)
  • Cream of wheat
  • Etc…this list goes on and on

For my overnight crock pot oats:

1 cups steel cut oats4 cups water2 ripe bananas, chopped (Just so you know…this doesn’t make it taste like banana.  It just makes it sweet..without sugar!)


1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)

Throw all ingredients except the berries in the pot (oats through cinnamon), cook on low 7-8 hours.  Stir blueberries in when ready to serve

For banana “Brulee”:

Turn the broiler on to preheat.  Spoon cooked oats into a broiler-safe container.  Slice a banana as thin as you can, (no more than 1/4 inch thick but ideally much thinner).  Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on top of the oats.  Sprinkle with a thin layer of either white granulated or turbinado sugar.  Try to get the layer as even as possible so that it browns evenly.  Shake or brush off an excess.  Place the container as close to the broiler as possible.  Watch closely!  The sugar will start to bubble.  Rotate to get the browning as even as possible.  The only way to get perfect browning is with a torch but we’re not going there.  Take it out when it reaches your desired level of browning.



Filed under Breakfast, Slow Cooker, Uncategorized

Homemade Ketchup

Oh hey, remember me?

I’m back!

Thank you thank you all for your congratulations.  He’s definitely a keeper 😉 I guess this means I have a wedding to plan, now, so….yikes.  For now, let’s stick to cooking.

If you recall, before “the great distraction” I promised you homemade ketchup.

So I did that.  Like a crazy person.

I made some ketchup. From scratch.

Well..kinda.  I cheated a little and started with tomato paste.  I guess for this to be really legitimate I should have started with whole tomatoes that I plucked fresh from my garden this morning, still warm from the sun…

Baby steps.

Before we go further and before you write me off I need to acknowledge that Heinz is ketchup and ketchup is Heinz forever and ever amen.

I went into this knowing that whatever I produced, (if it didn’t completely flop), might be good.  It might even be really super delicious.  But it wasn’t going to be Heinz.

That said…this came surprisingly close.

The flavor is totally there.  The difference is the texture.

Heinz is super smooth and glossy.  Mine was pretty tomato paste….y.

I’m ok with it.  It was delicious.  Also homemade so what’s wrong with a bit of a rustic feel?

So maybe you’re (definitely) not going to make this every day but it’s a fun thing to try!  What’s more gourmet than homemade condiments?

It’s also really ridiculously easy if you happen to be the proud owner of a slow cooker (there I go again…these things are GREAT!).  I promise there’s nothing scary about this.

Toss the necessary ingredients in there, let it go until it looks like ketchup, tell people you made their ketchup, watch the bewildered looks of horror/awe/respect.

((Clarification: Looks of horror result from thoughts of “who DOES that!?” not “this is gross” because it’s not gross it’s delicious.  Don’t worry))

See that ketchup oozing out of that beany burger?

I made that.  No big deal.

Don’t be jealous. You, too, can have homemade ketchup ooze.  It is a beautiful thing.


❤ Ellen

Homemade Ketchup

Recipe adapted from This Ketchup Recipe

2 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 c cup white vinegar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder or Adobo seasoning (seriously)
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon honey
2 1/2 cups water

1. Measure all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on high for about 2 hours or low for 4. The longer you let it go the more it cooks down-just stop it when it looks like ketchup to you.

Note: Half of this recipe is plenty for me.  The whole recipe makes about 16 oz


Filed under Dips, Slow Cooker, Uncategorized

Taco (or whatever) Seasoning-Make your own!

Seriously, friends, those little taco/fajita/whatever seasoning packets are such a waste of money.

Also they kind of taste like…I don’t know…preservatives?

I get it.  They’re easy and convenient. Fine.

But pretend you want a taco.


((It happens. Don’t act like it doesn’t.))

Now pretend you have everything you need EXCEPT the darn packet that makes it a taco.

(Because the vast majority of foods could become a taco when placed in a tortilla, ((which you can make at home anyway)) this happens often)

Should you run to the store, pay more in gas than the packet costs, wait in line, wait in traffic wait wait wait wait wait


Make your own and have tacos now.

I choose the second one. Always.  Because those little packets are gross. Also, I’m impatient when I’m hungry.

The same rule applies, maybe even more, for sudden fajita cravings.

Plus I have all the seasonings that go in taco seasoning in my pantry right now.  They don’t have to be mystery ingredients. They aren’t difficult to find.  They’re spices for delicious real life. Get with me here.

All you need is: [love] and…

Now, I’m calling this taco seasoning because that was its original purpose but let’s get real here…

it goes on anything.

Sprinkle it on things you’re gonna roast, toast, saute, scramble, slow cook, soup or sandwich and anything else you can think of.  It tastes just as delicious on vegetables or beans as it would on meat.

Maybe keep it away from ice cream, though.

If you throw together a bunch of it and keep it in a little jar/tupperware container/plastic baggie (I don’t care) you’ll save a step and some brain power when dinner time sneaks up on you.

Seasoning dinner doesn’t take long but this way you don’t have to think about it and that’s just one delicious container you need to reach for.

I know they already did this “blend of spices in one container” thing.  But do it yourself and it’s cheaper, tastier and gives things a vague Mexican flavor.  What’s not to love?

This isn’t really a recipe.  More like an idea. You’re allowed to change the spices and proportions to suit your needs and tastes.

In fact, please do.

I would be lying if I told you I followed the measurements I listed in the recipe every time…they’re close enough, though.  Basically it’s just nice to have a favorite blend of spices on hand.

  So uh…try it and stuff.  Bet you’ll like it better than a foil envelope.


❤ Ellen

p.s. homemade ketchup coming up next. DIY FTW!

Seasoning Blend for Tacos…and so much more!

I’m giving you the guide I used…it’s a great base to adjust to taste!

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika1 1/2 HEAPING teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix it all together (and you feel better).

….lime and coconut? anyone

((3 tablespoons to a packet))

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Filed under Appetizer, Dips, Hodge Podge, Main Dish, Sides, Slow Cooker, Snacks, Soup, Uncategorized