Saturday, November 16, 2013

Refrigerator Oatmeal Recipes

By now most of you have probably heard of the Refrigerator Oatmeal craze. If you are like me, at first you kind of wrinkled your nose at the weird idea of oatmeal being cold and moved on. If you are more open-minded, you thought, "Great idea! I should try that!"

It took a little while, but eventually I joined those of you in the latter group. Now I eat refrigerator oatmeal nearly every morning, because:

  • It's incredibly easy
  • It's super quick
  • It's full of healthy ingredients
  • It helps my stubborn stomach to digest things throughout the day
  • It happens to be delicious, not weird

So without any nose wrinkling and no more ado, let's make some Refrigerator Oatmeals!

My Supplies

What I use and why:

Jar - I prefer the "Elite® Half Pint (8-oz.) Wide Mouth Jars by Ball®" as they are the perfect portion for me, and they look so squat and adorable
Yogurt - Greek yogurt has the best texture, in my opinion, plus it is healthiest. I like Zoi Honey Greek Yogurt because (in my area) it has the most live and active cultures, and it doesn't have a bunch of junk added to it
Oats - just some regular rolled oats from the bulk section - no instant or anything like that
Seeds - Chia seeds happen to be the most popular in Refrigerator Oatmeal, and I'm just fine with that; I love those pretty little things
Milk - My stomach would complain if I used cow's milk, so I opt for a non-dairy alternative - oat milk is my favourite
Fruit/Misc. - Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, apples, bananas, nut butter, cinnamon... I could go on and on. I'll give you my absolute favourite recipes below.

The Basics

So with that all being said, feel free to use whatever types of milk, fruit, etc. you would like to fit those ingredient categories, and make them whatever size you want. But for ease of communication, let's just assume for now that you are making them as I do.

When that is the case, here is what you need:

  • Half-Pint Jar
  • 1/4 cup Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Milk
  • 1/3 cup Rolled Oats
  • 2-3 tsp (or 1 tbsp) Seeds
  • Other to fill

- Dump the oats and milk into your jar.
- Plop in the yogurt and sprinkle in the seeds. Stir. (it isn't strictly necessary to stir until the end, but stirring now will make your life a lot easier)
- The jar will be most of the way full at this point, so now just top it off with anything you would like and stir it well. Three averagely sized strawberries seem to be perfect most of the time, a handful of blueberries will do... and don't be afraid to mix and match! No reason not to have a strawberry/blueberry/raspberry/banana oatmeal.
- Refrigerate for a few hours until it thickens (I just do overnight).

I've done lots of experimenting with these over the past month or so; some attempts that sounded delicious turned out to be strange, some boring ones turned out to be just perfect the way they were, and a lot were decent enough to enjoy once or twice. The only ones I didn't like were those with wheat germ in them; it just tasted bitter. Oh well. Next I'm going to try adding Matcha!

One more thing before we get to the recipes: you can make these in giant batches for the week. I have eight jars at the moment, so four days of breakfast for me and the boyfriend. I just stir all the basic ingredients x8 in a mixing bowl (plus some extra milk - it seems to disappear somewhat in bulk), divide the mixture up between jars, and then flavour them all individually. I'm also going to chalkboard the inside of the circle on tops of those lids, so I can label each flavour as needed.

My Favourite Recipes

As always, I love meals that you really can't go wrong with unless you try. This is one of those recipes, so feel free to use my instructions as loose guidelines until you figure out what works best for your taste.
Raspberry Refrigerator Oatmeal
  • Half-Pint Jar
  • 1/4 cup Honey Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Oat Milk
  • 1/3 cup Rolled Oats
  • 2 tsp Chia Seeds
  • Raspberries to fill
Add everything but the raspberries and stir. Add the fruit, and as you stir, smoosh the raspberries just a bit to colour and flavour the whole oatmeal. Refrigerate.

Blueberry Maple Refrigerator Oatmeal
  • Half-Pint Jar
  • 1/4 cup Honey Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Oat Milk
  • 1/3 cup Rolled Oats
  • 2 tsp Chia Seeds
  • 2 tsp Maple Syrup
  • Blueberries to fill
Add everything but the blueberries and stir. Top it off with the blueberries and stir a final time. Refrigerate.

Pomegranate Refrigerator Oatmeal
  • Half-Pint Jar
  • 1/4 cup Honey Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Oat Milk
  • 1/3 cup Rolled Oats
  • 2 tsp Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Pomegranate Arils
Add everything but the pomegranate and stir. Top it off with the arils and stir a final time. Refrigerate.
Strawberry Cacao Refrigerator Oatmeal
  • Half-Pint Jar
  • 1/4 cup Honey Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Oat Milk
  • 1/3 cup Rolled Oats
  • 2 tsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cacao Powder
  • 1 tsp Cacao Nibs
  • 3 Strawberries
Add the yogurt, milk, oats, seeds, and powder and stir. Add the nibs, slice and add the strawberries, and stir. Refrigerate.

Your Turn!

Now time to make your own! Try banana-nut with cinnamon. Or an applesauce one. Definitely mix berries - I love huckleberry/strawberry/raspberry. Add honey or jam for sweetness, if need be. Try the Matcha before I do and tell me how it is because I'm slightly scared. Just be creative, and follow your tastebuds!

(Hmm I made a delicious smoothie with pumpkin butter the other day... I'll bet oatmeals would be great with that!)

Anyway, have you got any of your own scrumptious recipes that deserve a shout out? Let me know!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

DIY Fix for your Vehicle's Ignition Coil

I am very proud to be writing this post. You know that stereotype that women know nothing about vehicles? Well unfortunately, that is me. I can spot vehicle colours; I can tell the body difference between a little car and a pickup truck; I know what a camper shell is. Done - that is the extent of my vehicle knowledge.

But that's been changing since I recently purchased my very first vehicle - a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer.

The Problem

If I haven't mentioned this before, I am a fantastic destroyer of electronics. All I have to do is touch a phone, computer, tablet, etc. and its performance immediately plummets; on my unlucky days, it just breaks altogether (I apologize to one roommate in particular).

This is a real phenomenon, I'm not alone! Any of you cursed with this destruction?

Anyway, I say this because at the time of the incident, my boyfriend and I had owned this vehicle for nearly two months, with him as the primary driver. The one day when I drove it for, I don't know, about the fourth time, I was not at all surprised by the fact that it decided to suddenly act out against me.

As soon as I started the car, I could feel it shuddering abnormally. The shuddering was worse when idling or braking, and the poor thing hardly had enough power to make it up to 30 mph. Sorry, Trailblazer.

I did some research that day and decided my problem sounded like a bad ignition coil. I don't know if that counts as an electronic (poor vehicle knowledge, remember?), thus making it subject to my destructive touch, but nonetheless it still managed to break the moment I turned the key.

Anyway, more research brought up the fact that this would cost me over $600 to have fixed. Um, no! Luckily, being the savvy chick that I am, I was determined to figure out how to surmount this issue ourselves.

Sure enough, another search brought up several helpful videos for my needs.

The Solution

Now, I won't offer up a thorough tutorial here; I suggest watching videos if you need to take on this project, because they do a really amazing job walking through the process and I won't pretend I can do better. My post will serve more as a refresher once you already know what you are doing - I'm sure I'll be using it myself in the future.

Step 1. Gather a ratchet, a screwdriver, and your code reader if you have it - we have one that works with an app on our phone to tell us the exact meaning behind that pesky "check engine" light.

Step 2. Remove everything that is holding in this big plastic thingy.

Step 3. Hello there, ignition coils! To remove one of these guys, you need to unplug it and take off one bolt. Here are a few pictures to prepare you:

Step 4. If you have a code reader, then you can easily test the coils before replacing them. To test the coil you think is broken, simply switch it out with another one and get a new code reading. Our first reading said there was a misfire in #5. So, we switched that coil with #1 and went for a drive until the engine light came back on. Our new reading brought up a misfire in #1 instead, affirming that it was indeed the coil that was bad, not something else in slot #5.

Step 5. Just plop in the new ignition coil and put everything back together. Done!

30 Minutes and $600 Worth of Labour Later...

This was such an easy fix. Anybody who is capable of using simple tools can do this themselves, whether or not they have any prior vehicle experience. But the best part? It only costs one trip to the auto store (or a shipping cost) and a $70 ignition coil. That's a savings of $530!

It's been a couple months now and even though I've driven it several more times since, our Trailblazer is still running smoothly! Wish me luck for that to continue.

Now, is there anyone willing to pay us that $600 for our labour?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Stash Update #7: Star Hot Pad

Hello blog world - long time, no see!

I've learned something about myself this year: evidently I don't do much much blogging in the summer. This is the first week I've really even booted up my computer; I've been busy with outdoor summer activities instead. I'm not saying that is a bad way to be, but it does mean I don't post anything here!

I have been busy taking pictures of things for posts I plan on offering up to you, though, so don't think I've been completely lazy.

Now here, just to get the ball rolling, is a quick Stash-Buster update.

Star Hot Pad

I made this for my Mom this month, using my Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn (coloured Sonoma, I believe) and following the pattern from FreeCraft Unlimited on Ravelry.

I added in a little loop at a tip though, so it could be hung.

I made it in about two hours, and it was a really simple yet unique project. It ended up weighing just 43 grams. I think I need to start using a larger hook than recommended, because my projects always turn out smaller than expected.

Enjoy the Summer!

So that's all for now! I'm going to get back to the offline world. Hope everyone is having a great summer so far!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

DIY Stock Paper Envelopes

Hello everyone! I've got a simple project to share with you today; you may already have the things you need lying around the house.

But if you don't? I suggest going to Michael's! But then, I always do that.

Wait for it...

Michael's always has such pretty stock paper in their store, and it seems to go on sale every month. I always wished I had a reason to buy some.

I also wished I had better envelopes to send my friends' letters in...


Eventually, I realized that the two wishes were connected. So I loaded up on about 150 12x12 open stock papers of all different designs and colours!

Cutting the Envelope

As it turns out, these papers are just the right size to produce one of the typical square envelopes. If you have a steady hand and some patience, you can just unfold an existing envelope and follow the cuts you have to make yourself.

I despise using scissors, so I turned instead to my Cricut. Now, I don't have an envelope template for that machine, and I was very against spending $30-$50 to get one. Luckily I figured I could just build what I needed, with some finesse and expertly placed rectangles and triangles.

A few failures and lots of math later, I had forced my Cricut to create the perfect envelope. I would show you exactly how, but I'm not sure if that's against some kind of law - showing off ways to make envelopes without buying the proper cartridge. If anyone knows, feel free to quote rules at me (common sense informs me that it's fine, but that can never be trusted).

However you make your envelope, the process is still simple. Cut out the shape like so:

And then fold it up!

After that you just need to glue it down. I use my amazing glue pen from - where else - Michael's! The glue is blue while wet and permanent, and fades to clear as it dries to become tacky and reusable. I glue three sides with blue, and leave the top flap open to dry clear, pushing it closed when the envelope is ready to be sent.

Here are some completed pictures!

I also use my Cricut to cut out fancy address labels, but I keep writing on them before I remember to take pictures. That part can be done however you want though, so I gave up on label pictures.

Do You Still Write Letters?

There you have it! Simple project... for a fading method of communication. But I still love writing letters to people, and some of my friends enjoy writing back. Plus, I like to think fun envelopes make the mail carrier smile.

What about you? Do you enjoy taking time to write the people you care about?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Tom Kha, Base Soup Recipe

I never used to consider myself a big fan of soup. And if I went out to an Asian restaurant, there was just no way I would have ever sacrificed my delicious stir-fried medley of vegetables, meat, and rice for some silly glop of soup!

Until one day....

My friend wanted to drive out for lunch at a Thai Restaurant nearby. I wasn't feeling that well, so solid food didn't exactly sound great, but I acquiesced anyway. Longer-than-you-care-to-read story short, I ended up ordering some soup. Little did I realize I was about to meet the love of my food life; Tom Kha!

Tom Kha Recipe

Naturally I had to learn to make this myself. I've heard that the full name is Tom Kha Gai, "Gai" meaning chicken. Since I don't like chicken, I have not included that in my recipe, and thus am just leaving it at Tom Kha. Although I do use chicken broth...

Whatever you call it, there's really no need to follow any recipe for this soup too specifically; the coconut milk, kaffir, and galangal are the really important ingredients. Then you have the more Thai traditional ingredients such as mushrooms and chicken, but I left those out and replaced them with a few of my favourite veggies instead. Just cook what you like!

Nonetheless, here is my own recipe. This personally provided 5 servings to my household:

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 serrancho pepper
  • 4 oz. can of bamboo shoots
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves (pronounced like 'cat fur', but without the 't':  ca-fur)
  • 11 galangal root pieces (pronounced like 'gal', the word for a female:  gal-in-gal)
  • 3 stalks of lemon grass (pronounced like... just kidding)
  • 2-3 scallions
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 13.66 oz. can of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 small lime's worth of juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 40 cloves
  • 2 cups of dried rice

Rice Instructions:

I cooked two cups of dried white jasmine rice in my rice cooker, as normal. However, I also added 40 cloves and the juice from 1 half of the lime. I just love infusing otherwise bland rice with exciting flavours, and the cloves go so well with this soup. Just be sure to pick them out before serving.

Soup Instructions:

1. Chop up everything beforehand, if you like.


Lemongrass - crush with the flat of your blade to release the flavour, but make it easy to remove after cooking.

Kaffir Leaves - either leave whole to remove after cooking, or tear up into tiny pieces for easy chewing. You can eat them, they are just sometimes difficult to bite through.

Galangal - Depending on how you buy this, it will be ready to toss in as is. You may leave them in the soup if you wish, but don't try to eat them; if you like, just suck on them a bit and spit them back out (classy and delicious!).

2. Place the chicken broth, garlic, carrots, serrancho pepper, and black pepper into a large pot. Bring to a boil.

3. Turn down the heat to medium-low and add the bamboo, kaffir leaves, galangal, and lemongrass, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Time for the delicious coconut milk! Add the whole can in, plus the lime juice from the other half of your lime, scallions, brown sugar, and fish sauce.

Let simmer for another 10 minutes.

5. It's ready! Serve over the rice, or just eat by itself.

A Couple Things...

First of all, as I said in the title of this post, this is a great base for this soup with which you can build your own creation upon. I would have preferred it to have more of a bite, but my boyfriend doesn't like very spicy food, so I catered this more to his tastes.


My mother went and tried it two days later, and said it had become deliciously spicy. Unfortunately, I wasn't there and can't say personally how much it changed, but do consider letting your soup marinate itself for a while before serving. Then just gently reheat back on the stove top.

Next, some of these ingredients may be hard to find. Luckily for me, my local health food store carries the Thai Kitchen brand, which provides Kaffir Lime Leaves, Fish Sauce, and Galangal Root! (I also bought their coconut milk, which for some reason comes in a randomnly sized 13.66 can)

Now my recipe is still very white, whereas the restaurant's was very orange. I will play with a few more ingredients over time and see what I like that adds colour; the first thing I'll try will be some Thai Chili Paste, also made by Thai Kitchen!

Lastly, my Thai restaurant served this soup in a huge flaming metal bowl that kept it warm. I can't really describe it well.... but if it were a stronghold, the flames would have been the castle and the soup would be the moat around the structure. Then you just ladled the soup out of there and into your bowl. It was really very exciting, but sadly I have nothing like that at home. This doesn't really apply to the recipe, I just thought it was something everyone should know.

Until next time!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Stash Update #6: Bow Earwarmer

I don't feel I should be having cold ears in May. Unfortunately, it's been happening nonetheless. And when I'm being good and out running, I'm already miserable enough without adding frozen, aching ears to the mix. Thus, I decided to crochet myself some ear protection!

This was a really simple project to do, and I finished it in just a few (distracted) hours. Here's what I did!

  • Grabbed some Sugar 'n Cream Yarn in an energizing colour! (I used what was leftover from one of my starfish washclothes, and had just the perfect amount)
  • Chain 73
  • Hook rows of half double crochet, stitching into the extra loop that hdc makes, until it reached my desired width. (thanks Jenn; check out her scarf post for stitch details if you wish)
  • Marvel at how big my head must be to need all this yarn.
  • Joined the two ends with a tapestry needle, weaving in the strands of course.
  • Looped a string of yarn around and around the join to hide it, as well as create a cute little bow effect (would have been more prominent if I wanted the band to be wider). Weaved in those ends as well!

That's all there is too it. Very simple, and works up fast. Plus, it used up 33g of my stashed yarn - as well as getting rid of a mostly-used-up ball. Hooray!

I now fully expect the weather to warm up, out of spite. Little does it know that I don't want to use an ear warmer in May.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Delivery from MountainRoseHerbs!

Ooh I'm so very excited. I just recently got in a nice big order of MountainRoseHerbs products to start incorporating into my natural care routines. There was so much on that site I wanted, I could probably have spent a thousand dollars... but I kept myself under $200. Here's what I got for my money!

  • Meadowfoam Seed Oil
  • Rosehip Seed Oil
  • Bentonite Clay
  • Tamanu Oil
  • Vitamin E Oil
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Sea Buckthorn Oil
  • Lemongrass Essential Oil
  • Carrot Seed Oil

I'm experimenting with these products now, and I'll be posting what I do with them as I stumble across successes!

For this post at least, I can tell you that my guy and I have used Tamanu oil before. I find that it is very mousturizing, and I like incorporating a small amount of it into my OCM. He prefers to spread it, undiluted, all over his face after shaving, and then let it soak in a couple minutes before wiping it off. He says it really keeps his skin from getting irritated, helps combat stray pimples, and just keeps his face happy overall.

Now, I always hear explicit warnings about the smell of Tamanu oil. Really though, I don't see what the big fuss is about. It does have a distinct smell, but it isn't anything bad in my opinion. It's the smell of natural beauty!

See how beautiful it really is? I just love looking at the plants whose oil we use to better our lives. They could easily be just ornamental, but instead are functional as well. Amazing!

So wish me luck on my new oil journey! Do any of you have a favourite, less-common oil similar to these? I'd love to hear about them!

Gallery containing Tamanu plant photo... because I can't get it to work properly up there
Tamanu plant image by Tatiana Gerus