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empty the pantry granola


empty the pantry granola

If you’ve been following along with this new little adventure of a blog, you might have noticed that I have a thing for breakfast foods. and cookies. and most things pumpkin. I say most because honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the pie version. Anyways, I really do love breakfast food. I would likely eat it for multiple meals a day, if my husband and children wouldn’t revolt at that kind of madness. So we’ve already talked about the overnight crock pot steel cut oatmeal. And then there are the overnight oats, both chocolate-peanut butter and pumpkin pie. And how could I forget about the breakfast cookies?!?! Where two of my favorite food groups collide into one! Today, I’d like to introduce you to homemade granola.


One thing you might have picked up on with me, is that I love getting to make things that are most often bought off the shelf at your local market (like the homemade marshmallows).  Until a few years ago, granola was something I always bought. It hadn’t even crossed my mind to make it myself. Well, leave it to Tyler Florence to change all of that with this recipe. I’ve tried a couple different recipes since this one, but I keep coming back to this starting point. The great thing about making your own granola, is that you can really make it your own. It’s so simple, and you can make it custom for anyone with different preferences in your house. If you looked at Tyler’s recipe, you’ll notice he uses dried fruit, of which I am not a fan, at least not in granola. So, no dried fruit in my version. Allergic to almonds? Skip them for something else. Any nuts and seeds are fair game. If you do want the dried fruit, you can mix it in after you’ve baked the oats. You could also mix up the spices if you want a different flavor. Let’s get to the recipe.

Homemade Granola

6 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup Sliced Almonds
1 cup Pecans (I often buy pecan halves, but break them up into smaller pieces for this.)
1/2 cup Pistachios (I use roasted, unsalted ones from Trader Joe’s)
1/2 cup Slivered Almonds
1/2 cup Raw Pepitas
1/3 cup Flax Seeds
1/3 cup Chia Seeds
1/2 cup Uncooked Quinoa (Make sure it’s the pre-rinsed kind. I get a big bag of an organic, pre-rinsed quinoa at Costco)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with foil, for easier cleanup. You’ll want to make sure to use cookie sheets with an edge, if you have them. That way you won’t lose any granola to the bottom of your oven.

2. In a small saucepan, warm the honey, maple syrup, and olive oil on low heat.

3. In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients, except the vanilla extract. (oh and if you’re one of those strange lovely people that likes dried fruit in their granola, keep that out still, too. It goes in at the very, very end.)


4. Once the sryup, honey, and oil are warm, whisk in the vanilla extract, and pour mixture over the bowl of oats, nuts, seeds, etc.

5. Gently mix everything together, just until it’s all coated.


6. Spread onto the 2 cookie sheets, and bake for 40 minutes, stirring the mixture once, about 20 minutes in.


7. Allow to cool, break up any big clumps, and store in an airtight container. Dried fruit can be mixed in anytime after it has cooled.


This is so simple to whip up and so easy to make just how you like your granola. I hope you’ll give it a try. Oh and if you know anyone that’s had a baby recently, this & a container of yogurt would be a great option to drop off for easy breakfast options for the new mama.

love and butter,



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pumpkin pie overnight oats


Just the other day, I shared a recipe for chocolate peanut butter overnight oats. They’re super yummy, but ever since the weather has hinted at fall, I’ve been itching to try a version with pumpkin. Well, here it is, and it’s good, really good. They’re less rich than the chocolate version, which is nice if you want something that feels a little lighter in the morning.

With my chocolate version, I didn’t lay out a super exact recipe, and the same goes for these. I apologize if that makes you twitchy, but I promise, these don’t have to be precise. And who wants to complicate an easy, quick breakfast prep, with something silly like measuring spoons?

I’ll give you the run-down below, but if you don’t want to read any further, the only differences from the chocolate peanut butter oats are cutting the cocoa powder & peanut butter and then adding in canned pumpkin (NOT THE PIE FILLING) & a little pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

Rolled Oats
Chia Seeds
Greek Yogurt (or any non-dairy yogurt you like)
Maple Syrup (the REAL stuff)
Canned Pumpkin Puree (if you’re super ambitious, you can make your own, it’s actually quite simple)
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Milk (I use whole milk, any non-dairy milk would work also)

Grab a pint-sized mason jar and add rolled oats to about 1/4 to 1/3 full.

Add a spoonful of chia seeds.

Next is a big spoonful of greek yogurt.

To sweeten it a bit, I add a splash of maple syrup.

When it comes to the pumpkin, I added a couple of good spoonfuls, around a 1/2 cup probably. I wanted it to actually taste like pumpkin.

I added a big pinch of pumpkin pie spice, initially, but ended up added more once it was all shaken up, at the end. I think I used around a 1/4 teaspoon, but you could definitely use more/less depending on your preferences.

Then, just fill it up with milk, put the lid on, shake up really well, and stick it in the fridge until morning.

pumpkin oats

So that’s that. Just another fulfillment of my pumpkin obsession.

love and butter,

posted under breakfast | 2 Comments »

chocolate peanut butter overnight oats


When I started this blog, I didn’t set any serious expectations for myself, but I did have some hopes of getting something posted once a week, if not more. Obviously, I’ve been nowhere near that, but I’m still here, and still hoping to keep sharing what’s coming out of my kitchen with all 5 of you that follow along.

There are some women out there that work full time jobs, cook every night, have impossibly clean houses, home school their children, grow all their own fruits & vegetables, raise chickens for eggs, volunteer at the local pet shelter, AND blog everyday. I mean, jeez. I am so not one of those women. I’ve loved this blog, but some things will take priority over it, like showering.

Now, to get to business, let’s talk breakfast. If you remember the recipe I shared for slow cooker overnight steel cut oatmeal, you’ll remember that I’m all about fast & easy in the mornings. I’ve seen recipes for overnight oats all over pinterest for awhile now, but was usually pretty skeptical. The whole concept of cold, not actually cooked oatmeal? I know, believe me, I know. But you guys, this is pretty great, and so easy, which counts for bonus points. Also, if you follow me on instagram, facebook, or twitter, you might recall that I just broke my crock pot the other morning. So, until I get that replaced, these are the only overnight oats we’ll be eating. I’ll be taking donations for the crock pot replacement fund.

Now here’s the thing. There are lots of very specific recipes around the internet for overnight oats. This is not one of those. Remember? These are supposed to be easy. I’m going to tell you what I put in them, about how much I use, and how I make them happen. That’s it. There are lots of ways to customize, and it’s definitely hard to mess them up. So, give them a chance.

Chocolate Peanut Butter
Overnight Oats

Rolled Oats
Chia Seeds (yes, like a chia pet)
Greek Yogurt (or any non-dairy yogurt you like)
Maple Syrup (the REAL stuff)
Cocoa Powder (I used dutch process, it’s a darker/richer flavor, and just what I keep on hand)
Peanut Butter (or any other nut butter)
Milk (I use whole milk, Tim likes his with almond milk)

I always make mine in a pint sized mason jar, and use the one-piece lids, to make it easier. I love those lids for making salad dressing too. Sometimes liquids are a pain in mason jars if you’re using the two-piece lid with the ring.

Overnight Oats_empty jar

So I start by dumping in rolled oats, about 1/4 to maybe 1/3 of the jar.

In goes a spoonful of chia seeds.

Next is a couple big spoonfuls of yogurt.

Then I add cocoa powder, a spoonful for Liam, a couple spoonfuls for Tim, just depends on how chocolatey you want it.

I usually add about 1 spoonful of peanut or almond butter. A note on this, it will likely stay in a clump or a few clumps, so rather than being a super evenly disbursed flavor, every once in awhile you’ll get a bite of nut butter, which I love. Anytime I’ve just about emptied a jar of nut butter, I like to make my oats in that jar. Then I can scrape up the little bits of what’s left of the nut butter as I eat.

Then, to sweeten it a bit, I add a splash of maple syrup, maybe a tablespoon, at most. Start with just a little and you can always add more once you shake it all up.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

Then I fill the jar with milk, about to the top, screw the lid on tight, shake everything up, and stick it in the fridge until morning.

Overnight Oats

I’m usually in a hurry on the mornings we have this for breakfast, but if I had the time, some sliced banana or even some raw nuts would be a yummy addition. You also might find that you prefer a thicker mixture and decide to add more oats, but you’ll never know until you try.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats

I keep thinking that these would be great in a pumpkin variety, because it is October, of course. So, when I get around to trying that out, I’ll share, if they’re any good. In the meantime, give these a try, and if you come up with any great combinations, I want to hear about them.

love and butter,

posted under breakfast | 3 Comments »

shauna, breakfast cookies, and stories


Breakfast Cookies

Has anyone introduced you to Shauna Niequist? If not, I am THRILLED to be able to do so. I was first introduced to Shauna at a creative arts conference a handful of years back. It was right around the time that she had come out with her first book, Cold Tangerines, which she talked about at the conference. I was hooked right away. I bought the book while we were there and had probably finished it by the time we got home. Shauna has a way of writing that speaks right to me. She’s honest, vulnerable, and willing to admit to spending entire days in yoga pants and a comfy t-shirt. I can’t really relate to that last part though. I’m always dressed to the nines, especially when I’m at home all day, with the boys. Shauna also loves cooking and food and feeding people. And I am right there with her. One of my most favorite ways to spend a day is tinkering in the kitchen all day, in preparation of having friends or family over for a meal. I dream of having a house big enough for a dining table that can fit 20. For now, our 700 sq ft back house doesn’t even come close, but we’ve dragged our expandable Ikea table into the backyard, added a card table, and managed to squeeze quite a few people around it.

Dinner in the yard

Since Cold Tangerines, Shauna has written Bittersweet and most recently Bread & Wine. I love Bittersweet and I have loved browsing Bread & Wine, but I hate to admit, I’ve had trouble finding the time to read it from cover to cover. Finding time to sit & read with a 7 month old & 2 1/2 year old has been a good challenge. I probably need to break down and buy the audio version so I can listen on my commutes to and from work.

Now, just because I haven’t read it all yet, doesn’t mean I haven’t loved flipping through all the yummy recipes that Shauna included in this latest book. I’ve tried a couple already, most recently the breakfast cookies. How on earth could I pass up an opportunity to make cookies for breakfast without feeling guilty about them? These were so yummy, not too sweet, and even gluten free & vegan. I did leave out the shredded coconut and swapped the coconut oil for olive oil, though. Not everyone in our house is a fan of coconut. I thought about posting the recipe here for all to try, but I really want to encourage you to buy this book or borrow it from a friend. I think we can all learn from it and be spending more time around the table, with the people we love.


One more order of business, for anyone still reading this. The other night, when I was getting ready to make these cookies, I started listening to a podcast from Willow Creek Community Church’s midweek service. Would you believe it if I told you it was Shauna speaking on the one I started??? Well, it was, and it was really good too. Her message was called “What it means to change the story” and she was talking about how we all live stories that we’ve been told about ourselves, but they aren’t always true stories or good stories. Some of the work that we have to do, as we become adults, is working to tell new stories that God wants to tell in and through us. I would highly recommend listening to it. You can find it to watch or listen to on Willow’s website here, or you can get it through iTunes in the podcast section. Here’s a link to the iTunes version here or you can search for the Willow Creek Midweek Service, and it’s from 8/14/13.

I hope you check out some of Shauna’s work, even if it’s just on her blog. I hope you listen to the podcast, and I hope it inspires you to think about the stories you’re living. And most of all, I hope you make some cookies for breakfast, because of course.

love and butter,

slow cooker, overnight, steel cut oatmeal…the easiest breakfast ever


thanks for the pic, Emily!

I don’t know about you, but around our house, weekday breakfasts need to be fast, and they need to be easy. I want to be able to stay in bed as long as my children will allow and then be able to get breakfast on the table as quickly as I can. Enter, this recipe. Less than 5 minutes of prep the night before, and we can wake up with breakfast ready to eat as soon as we want it. This is a super basic recipe that you can customize to the many different preferences in your house too.

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats

Adapted from this recipe

2 cups Steel Cut Oats (I buy mine from the bulk bins at my market, and don’t even think about using regular rolled oats. You’ll end up with something you can use for paste in a preschool classroom.)
4 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk (we usually have the plain kind in our house)
4 cups Water
2 tspn Vanilla Extract (I don’t measure, just add a couple splashes)
Pinch of Kosher Salt

  • Add everything to the slow cooker, stir just to be sure the oats are all mixed into the liquid.

oatmeal-night before

  • Set to cook for 4 hours on low. I start mine around 10-11pm the night before, and it automatically goes to a “warm” setting until morning.
  • In the morning, there’s usually a little right around the edge that’s gotten too dry, just toss that part.

I know it’s not the prettiest, but it’s sure yummy.

Top with any number of things like fresh or dried fruit, nuts, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, and peanut butter even! You can also add sweeteners, spices, or fruit before cooking for a different variety. The options are really endless. I like to keep it simple so that everyone can eat it the way they like it.

A word of caution…this is how I make mine, but every slow cooker is different, and you may have to tweak the method or proportions of liquid to oats to get it just right for you. The recipe I started from was basically half the quantity of oats & liquid, but cooked for twice as long. It just got way to dried out in my slow cooker. I tried again with more liquid, still not great. I’ve landed on the same proportions, but double the amount. That seems to work best for me.

Is this the most exciting breakfast ever? Nope. But, it’s easy, and being able to pop (ok, slump) out of bed and be eating breakfast in minutes, makes it taste that much better. Also, after this oatmeal, you’ll never want to eat that 1 minute in the microwave stuff again.

love and butter,

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