Budget Meal: Cinnamon Roll Slow Cooker Oats

I recently came across a really great oatmeal recipe that was too good not to share. I’ve been eating it all this week and I can tell you, I will be making it again when I can.

Oatmeal is probably my favorite fall and winter breakfast simply because it fills me up and tastes good. Nothing beats a cold run followed by a warm breakfast.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and immediately it drew my attention because it combines oatmeal and cinnamon rolls. It’s not simply oatmeal with some cinnamon in it, it has other ingredients that up the calorie and nutrient profile.

I was also attracted to it because I could make it in my slow cooker and it only took 2 hours. The problem I have with slow cooker meals sometimes is that I am not home to turn them off. Then they over-cook the food or in the case of oatmeal, I would need to get up at like 3AM to shut it off.

No thanks, not even for oatmeal.

I thought I would do the cost and calorie breakdown per serving for this recipe. I must confess that, as with most of my breakfasts, I added peanut butter on top when I ate it, so add 300 calories if you do that.

[picture from Moms With Crockpots]

2 Cups Oats (Aldi’s Rolled Oats: $1.13)
2 eggs, beaten (free from my family farm)
3 Cups Milk (Aldi’s Vanilla Silk Soy Milk: $1.19)
1/2 cup sugar (Aldi’s Brown Sugar: $0.14)
2 tbsp Baking Mix (Gluten free or regular) or All purpose flour (Aldi’s All-Purpose: $0.01)
1 tsp cinnamon (spice rack)**
1 tsp vanilla (spice rack)**

Total Cost: $2.47

Total Calorie (3-4 Servings): 1,489

**I consider these “freebies” because I do not buy spices often and buy them in bulk to have them on hand.

Have you ever made oatmeal in a crock-pot?

Cinnamon Almond Meal Cookies

This year for the holidays, my sister, mom and I are having a cookie baking party. I remember fondly the parties my mom had when I was a kid and the delicious dozens of cookies we would get each year. Each lady my mom invited made something I now associate them with.

Mrs. Poulsen made butterscotch chow mien cookies.

Mrs. Seymour cheated and bought sugar cookies and then frosted them.

Mrs. Eastman made white chocolate raspberry cookies.

My mom usually went with cherry mocha balls.

Each year I looked forward to it, so this year I took matters into my own hands and so the Pell girls are having one of their own.


Of course I need to start testing recipes now. What cookie do I want to be known for? Peanut butter automatically comes to my mind, but honestly, the holidays are a time when I expand my dessert preference. I don’t want to make peanut butter cookies (at least I think I don’t).

I am a big texture person when I comes to food, and almond meal has a more course consistency that works for these cookies. It’s heartier, more filling and a great option for my holiday baking.

The cinnamon and brown sugar though, they make these cookies. They add to the rustic, down home goodness that a cookie should have. And to be honest, my house smells amazing right now.

Cookie party test cookie number one, complete.


Cinnamon Almond Meal Cookies

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: 20Total:

You'll Need...

  • 2.5 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3 T oil
  • 1 t cinnamon

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  3. The result will be a course, moist texture.
  4. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Using a wet fork, push the center of the balls in to form grooves.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. The edges will start to turn golden brown.

Weekly Breakfast Staple #1: Cereal with peanut butter and nuts

In addition to oatmeal, which I tabulated in a recent post, I frequently eat cereal in the mornings. It sounds boring and almost immature to me when people over the age of 19 used to say they still eat cereal, but I have come around.

Cereal is not just Lucky Charms and Cocoa Krispies anymore. There are so many great and nutrient dense choices these days and the best part, they are generic brand. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think spending over $3 for a box of cereal that lasts me three bowls is worth it.

Let’s talk nutrition first. Whole grain cereal with nuts is perfect for me when I get done with my morning run. It is hearty, goes down easily and quick to make. Whole grains have fiber, vitamins and minerals that are important for recovery but also because after breakfast I am onto the next activity, which requires energy. I add peanut butter first because I love it and second because I found it keeps me fuller longer. Combining carbohydrates with a fat helps them digest slower and provides sustained energy. I began adding walnuts on top after finding them in my pantry and remembering how much I love them. Walnuts are both delicious, and also stay crunchy after the milk has made the cereal soggy. Oh yea, they also have something called Omega-3s for your brain or whatever. Regardless, they take the cereal up a level in flavor town.

Now, let’s talk budget. Cereal is more pricey per calorie than oats or another slow cooking grain. It is not however more pricey than bread. The bread I’m talking about is not the dollar per loaf cheap bread. If I’ve learned anything from my time at CTB, it’s that higher quality bread, even full of gluten and carbohydrates, is better for your body. Ingredients matter even if you’re on a budget.

Back to cereal, my local grocer sells most of its generic brand at $1.69-$1.99 per box. Because I combine two cereals usually when I eat it, and I add nuts and peanut butter, I get more bowls per box. I will be honest, if I just ate the cereal with milk and that’s it, I would get at the most three breakfasts. By adding in healthy, higher calorie foods, I can justify spending $2 on a box of cereal when that $2 might go further in terms of oats or rice.

This is my favorite bowl of cereal, broken down cost and calories.


Whole Grain Cereal with Peanut Butter and Nuts

1 c Fiber Cereal (Wegmans Brand): $0.62

1/2 c Wheat Berries Cereal (Wegmans Brand): $0.31

2 T peanut butter (Skippy Super Chunk): $0.19

1/2 c walnuts (Aldi’s brand): $1.08

1/2 c almond milk (Almond Breeze brand): $0.21

Total Cost: $2.41

Total Calorie: 860 (my fitness pal)

On a different note, I’m starting to send out my newsletter again. Links and films I’ve consumed and also I want to give more budget tips. Should I do those in the newsletter and more what I eat in a day on the blog? Should I do the money part on the blog and then the calorie part in the newsletter?

Help me organize!

Recent Eats August 2017

I really love to cook. Honestly I don’t even care if what comes out is particularly spectacular, it just makes me feel so relaxed to get in the kitchen. Since moving back to Ithaca and having a larger space to work with, it has been a great joy to actually bust out the Pinterest recipe boards and get my hands messy.

I’ve attempted a few new things over the past month, and thought I’d share them, along with some other sandwich porn from my lunches at CTB.

First and foremost, I made seitan!!! This was a the biggest accomplishment for the summer. It seemed like such a daunting task, but once I got the ingredients and started, it was quite like baking bread. I used this recipe, but cooked it for 90 minutes, wrapped in in foil and added some liquid smoke.


I made Mac and Cheese from The Skeptical Vegan cookbook after finally getting my hands on my friend Eric’s book. I was also fortunate to go to his first book signing at Buffalo Street Books here in Ithaca, where I tried some more Miyoko’s vegan cheese and met the Susie of Susie’s Seitan, a local Ithaca company. The cheese sauce is based from milk, Daiya cheddar and Toffuti cream cheese. It was tasty, but I can see why, after purchasing these ingredients, people think going vegan is expensive. Certainly a treat for my parent’s and me.


I finally started making waffles again after a few month lay-off. My mom bought me a mix a while back (the name of the mix escapes me) but all you do it add water and cook it. It’s actually a pancake mix, so I adjusted the amount of liquid to mix a bit, and used milk instead of water.


The other night I got a craving for baked beans. I really love them (my mom has the best recipe!) and actually will eat Bush’s baked beans out of the can. I was of course on Pinterest that morning, so I made some of my own. Pretty simple and although not exactly like my mom’s, but good enough for me.


For a long while now, on my baking bucket list was Pop-tarts. I don’t know why, but I just wanted to make them. I didn’t even like them overly when I was a kid, they were good, but nothing I looked forward to. Well, I had this great idea to use my mom’s pie crust recipe (only 4 ingredients, but the best thing ever!) for the pastry part of the tarts. So I borrowed that, and made the dough alright…but struggled with the rolling out part. We don’t have a rolling pin, so I tried to use a wine bottle and it just didn’t work.


I ended up with three ugly Pop-tarts filled with strawberry jam. Not one to waste the rest of the dough, I made mini-tarts using cupcake tins. I filled half of those with s’mores peanut butter and the other half with almond butter and jelly. Lesley loved the s’mores ones. I enjoyed the almond butter and jelly, they just needed more jelly, which I added after the fact.


I’ve been having fun making my own sauces after I remembered to buy dressing bottles. It’s so much easier to use them! I made cheese sauce using carrots and nutritional yeast, which paired lovely with my spiral pasta. I think I like my homemade cheese sauce more than making it out of Daiya and Toffuti.


Alright and now for some CTB sandwich porn. I tried Foccacia bread for the first time last week and OH MY STARS, what a treat! It’s basically a lighter bread made with rosemary and saturated with olive oil. It was very tasty even if my hands were a mess afterwards. On this sandwich I had avocado, veggies and one of the sauces I had made (I call it Moo-Shoo sauce…but that doesn’t really tell you much about it haha)


When the Ciabatta bread is perfectly baked in the morning, I usually have my lunch on that. This sandwich is Ciabatta, chive Toffuti, hummus, lettuce, tomato and sprouts.


Pumpernickel bread smells so good to me, yet I forget about it a lot because when I am looking at the bread, it is kind of hidden underneath one of the bagel bins. This sandwich definitely has a great hummus to bread ratio wouldn’t you say?


Then I must end this food filled post with a simple lemon-blueberry scone. Extra butter, and a coffee. A perfect breakfast watching the sun rise.


In September, I have a few things I plan to make:

Salted Caramel Brownies

A different kind of Seitan

Sausage Biscuits and Gravy

Pretzel Granola Bars

Looks like a great start to fall!

Easy Almond Banana Bread [vegan, gluten-free]

I receive products from Barney Butter in which to make recipes and enjoy. I think you will love their products as well, so feel free to head over and check them out!

I missed having an oven at my old apartment. Sure, I learned how to make many traditionally baked items in my toaster oven and microwave, but it simply was not the same.

I remember when I visited my current apartment for the first time to discuss the leasing agreement, my [now] roommate Lesley was baking banana bread.

It smelled HEAVENLY.

She pulled out the loaves just as I was leaving to go to a bridal shower, but seeing and smelling that bread solidified what I was going to bake first thing once I moved in.

Last week, I moved into this apartment and I cannot believe it has taken me this long to bake! Actually, I sort of can because I’ve been a bit busy at my jobs, running and getting my bearings back in Ithaca [reading the Outlander book series obsessively].

It seems all I needed to do was get a little push from Lesley “Please use up all the frozen bananas in the freezer” and a bit of extra time [between book chapters] to put my apron back on.

This recipe uses bananas, almond flour and almond meal conveniently making it gluten free as well as completely vegan. There is an oil free option which I have used previously and it tastes good but well…oil is just my jam so I use it.

I used Barney Butter almond flour and almond meal for this recipe as I find the quality just enhances the taste.

Even though I work at a bread and bagel shop, there is nothing quite like banana bread for breakfast in the morning. My co-workers quite agree and you will too! Make this bread and send me a shout out on Instagram!


Easy Almond Banana Bread

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: 8Total:

You'll Need...

  • 2 mashed ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
  • 1 T flax meal
  • 3 T water
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup oil (or applesauce)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, plus more for topping
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 cups of almond slivers, divided

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch load pan.
  2. Combine flax meal and water and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine bananas, almond and vanilla extracts, oil and sugar, stirring until evenly, but not overly mixed.
  4. Add flax meal and water mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.
  5. Add the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the same bowl.
  6. Stir so there are no flour lumps, but still lumpy.
  7. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of almond slivers.
  8. Pour into a greased 8 inch loaf pan.
  9. Top with the rest of the almond and extra brown sugar if desired.
  10. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.