Crock-Pot Oatmeal, Because It’s Breakfast That Cooks Itself

Crock-Pot Oatmeal

January is National Oatmeal Month. Okay, that really means nothing to me but it’s a great excuse to share our favorite oatmeal recipe. One of the reasons it’s a fav is because it cooks itself. With just a couple steps we wake up to a hot and healthy breakfast.

First, let me say that all crock-pots are not created equal. You may have to tweak the amount of liquid until you get your desired oatmeal consistency. I have found that our older and smaller crock-pot has worked the best. There is a theory that the fuller the pot the better it cooks (much like a full refrigerator stays colder).

The Recipe

Notice there isn’t much for measurements. That’s because this is a very forgiving recipe once you figure out YOUR crock-pot. This is the most basic version, you can change it a million ways.

  • 1 part steel cut oats
  • 5 parts water or liquid
  • 1 apple
  • 1 banana
  • splash of vanilla (a heavy handed teaspoon)
  • dollop of molasses (great way to sneak in a little extra iron – a heavy handed tablespoon)
  • palm full of cinnamon (if using, that’s about a teaspoon)
  • pinch of salt (1/4 teaspoon – use a quality salt, nothing processed)

The oats to water ratio is 1 to 5. So if you use 1 cup of oats, use 5 cups of water.

1 1/2 cups of oats (and 7 1/2 cups water) feeds my 6 eaters.

I use some of that water in my vitamix with an apple and a banana. Puree it and add to sweeten the oatmeal. Put everything in the crock-pot and set it on low for about 8 hours. The basic idea is oats, water, something to sweeten it, something to flavor it and hopefully you add something to increase the nutritional value.

*Yeah know how wasteful toddlers and young children can be with food? Totally sounds gross but if someone only eats half a banana or apple I just toss it in the fridge until I make the oatmeal and it gets used as the sweetener. (I wouldn’t serve that to guests). Makes me feel a little better about toddler food waste.

In the morning, top with your favorite fruit, berries, nuts and/or dried fruit. Kind of like an oatmeal bar! (My kids like nut butter in oatmeal).

Liquid Ideas

  • water
  • almond milk
  • coconut milk
  • hemp seed milk (boost the nutrition)
  • my paleo friends like raw milk
  • fresh juice

Sweetener Ideas

  • pureed apple
  • pureed banana
  • steamed and pureed winter squash
  • steamed and pureed sweet potatoes
  • maple
  • raw honey
  • stevia
  • agave if you must

Recipe Variations

  • Chocolate Banana: omit the cinnamon and apple, double the pureed banana, add cocoa powder, top with fresh bananas
  • Cranberry Walnut (pictured): to the basic recipe add 1/2 teaspoon each of cloves and nutmeg, top with dried cranberries, walnuts and flax seeds (my fav)
  • Sweet Potato Pecan Pie: trade the banana & apple puree for a couple of steamed and pureed sweet potatoes, top with chopped pecans and almond milk
  • Tropical Delight: trade half the water for coconut milk, omit the apple and cinnamon, add crushed pineapple (or chunks), top with shredded coconut, slice bananas and macadamias
  • Honey Vanilla Butternut Squash: trade the banana and apple for about a cup of steamed and pureed butternut squash, double the vanilla, add a once-around-the-pot of honey, top with sliced almonds

This list goes on and on. We also like to cook the oatmeal with coconut milk and add fresh strawberries and blueberries. The possibilities are endless. What is your favorite oatmeal recipe?








~ Regina

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Tex Mex Rice Bowls

Tex Mex Rice Bowls

If it’s Tex Mex or just in the neighborhood of taco flavored – I’m in! These rice bowl combine a lot of kid friendly family favorites.


taco flavored rice

lazy black beans


black olives

green onions

30 second salsa


nacho cheeze sauce

tortilla chips


There is no wrong way to build a rice bowl. This is the order I use to prepare the ingredients.

Cook the rice first because it takes the longest. I’m using brown rice – 1 part rice, 2 parts water, bring to a boil, reduce to low for 50 minutes keeping the lid on the entire time, once done add taco seasoning.

Next soak the raw cashews and take out all the ingredients for the nacho cheeze sauce. I just group them on the counter (in hopes of delegating this task).

Start the lazy black beans.

Chop the tomatoes, black olives and green onion. Make the guacamole.

Since I use the Vitamix to make both the 30 second salsa and the nacho cheeze sauce, I make the salsa first, containerize it and then the cheeze sauce (I generally pour it straight from the Vitamix -lazy). The cheese sauce is always made last so it’s hot.

Now that the rice is done, season it and start layering your rice bowl.

You can make this Nacho style be starting with a layer of chips on your plate too. I like the chips on the side – I use them like a fork! You may also like to include onions, lime or cilantro. Like I said, you can’t do it wrong. What’s your favorite ingredient for Tex Mex Rice Bowls?

~ Regina

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Ridiculously Easy Guacamole, Because You Like It Fresh

Ridiculously Easy Guacamole

I seriously need a 12 step program for my guacamole addiction (and there isn’t even onion powder in it – onion powder makes everything good).


1 medium tomato

2 ripe haas Avocados

lime juice to taste

salt to taste


On a flexible cutting board , dice the tomato small.

diced tomato for guacamole


Using a potato masher, mash the avocados to desired consistency.

mashing avocados for guacamole


Top with juice from about half a small lime (or to taste) and a generous sprinkling of salt. Stir it right on the cutting board.

making guacamole on your cutting board


The flexible cutting board allows you to fold or funnel it into a serving container (although I’ll happily stand at the counter and eat guac right from the cutting board). Do you share my addiction?



~ Regina

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Homemade Granola 3 Recipes In 1

Homemade Granola 3 Recipes In 1 motherhood university


1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 pure maple syrup

1 dollop organic black strap molasses

1 heaping tablespoon raw honey (or agave)

1 teaspoon vanilla

a pinch of salt

2 heaping Tablespoons flax seeds

3/4 cup sliced almonds

3/4 shredded coconut

1 cup copped pecans

4 cups rolled oats

You can stop right here and have excellent granola (skip to directions below). Its great topped with bananas or fresh berries. OR you can try one of the following 2 variations.

Cranberry Cookie Granola

all of the above ingredients plus

1 teaspoon cinnamon

a pinch of nutmeg

a pinch of cloves

2 large handfuls dried cranberries

*now skip to Directions below

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Granola

all ingredients from first section plus

2 tablespoon cocoa powder

mini chocolate chips to taste (I like the Enjoy Life brand, it’s dairy free and gluten free) *do not add until after cooled


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
  • In a large bowl whisk together all the wet ingredients
  • Whisk in spices from which ever recipe you are using
  • Continue stirring in ingredients in the order listed
  • Spread mixture out on 2 baking sheets sprayed lightly with cooking spray
  • Bake for 15 minutes
  • Let cool on the pan, then gently break with a spatula to containerize (can be stored at room temp)
  • If making the Chocolate Granola now is when you add the chocolate chips


~ Regina

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Super Fast Black Beans

black beans Motherhood University

Very easy and delicious. Generally I prefer to cook all beans from dried, you know soaked over night and slow cooked in the crock pot. But on those nights when you say “why do they have to eat every.single.night?” This is what you do:


2 cans of black beans

a few tablespoons of 30 second salsa

a generous sprinkling of adobe (spanish garlic salt)


Seriously, you don’t need directions. Drain and rinse one can of beans, keep a wee bit of liquid from the second can. Stir in the salsa and adobe. Heat it up (that’s it). You can top it with green onions as shown or serve over rice. We like it with guacamole and chips.

What is your favorite thing to eat with black beans?


~ Regina

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30 Second Salsa

30 Second Salsa Motherhood University

Are you a super freak for fresh salsa – I am (must be genetic because so are the kids). I always made it with fresh tomatoes – it took forever and never tasted like the salsa in restaurants. Now that I’ve figured it out, I want to share. Here’s a quick way to get your fix.


1/2 large sweet onion

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro

a splash of red wine vinegar

a sprinkle of salt

a dash of your favorite sweetener (I’m using agave)

2, 15 oz cans organic diced tomatoes

If you can’t see the video, watch it here: 30 Second Salsa


  • Get all the ingredients out and ready
  • Turn the Vitamix on at a “1”
  • Add all the ingredients in the order listed
  • Pulse by turning the dial up to 5 and back down quickly a few times (less for chunky, more for “restaurant style” I do 10)

Now taste test and see if you need to add anything. If you need to turn up the heat, add your favorite peppers. This goes great with our dairy free nacho cheese sauce and chips.


~ Regina

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Lasagna So Good You’ll…well, you know.

Lasagna So Good You'll...well, you know. motherhood university

Can dairy free lasagna be so good that you’ll,  ahem – let’s keep it G rated (but it really IS that good). This is the lasagna you make when your omnivore friends come over all terrified about what they’ll be served by a dairy free vegetarian.


9 oz package of your favorite lasagna noodles, uncooked

1 large onion

1 pound of mushrooms


1 recipe of dairy free pesto

1 recipe of dairy free ricotta

1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce

10 oz block of  vegan mozzarella (I’m using Follow Your Heart)


First dice the onion and start sautéing it. Chop the mushrooms into small pieces about the same size as the diced onion. Add them to the pan and give the mixture a “twice around the pan” of tamari (soy sauce will also work). Reduce the heat and stir occasionally, letting this cook down until the onions are completely translucent and mushrooms are nearly black. This is the lasagna secret weapon! (I could make a meal out just this).

once around the pan

Preheat the oven to 375

While the onions and mushrooms are cooking and the oven is heating, get everything else ready. Prepare the dairy free ricotta and the dairy free pesto. Also shred the “mozzarella”.

Now you’re ready to layer vegan lasagna so good you'll, well you know! motherhood university

Divide the sauce, noodles and ricotta into thirds, divide the pesto in half. In a 9″x13″ baking dish create 3 layers bottom to top as follows:

Bottom Layer

  • sauce
  • noodles
  • ricotta
  • pesto


Middle Layer

  • sauce 
  • noodles
  • ricotta
  • mushroom and onion mixture (aka the secret weapon)


Top Layer

  • sauce
  • noodles
  • ricotta
  • pesto
  • shredded cheese


Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes (you can increase the heat or broil to brown the cheese if necessary – all ovens are different). Let stand a few minutes before cutting (if you can, I have no self control). Please report back on how you liked this, it’s a family favorite. Oh and don’t tell my omnivore brother there is tofu in it, he’ll give me some lecture about how I should have told him before he fell in love with it!




~ Regina

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You Can Eat Chips…..Kale Chips

Kale Chips Motherhood University


So you *need* a salty, crunchy snack? Before you reach for the cellophane housed, chemically laden junk, consider a healthy alternative. Kale Chips are nutritionally dense and super easy to make.


1 bunch of kale

either 1 Tbsp olive oil OR 1/4 veggie stock

your favorite spices……

I’m rockin: onion powder (I need a 12 step program), sea salt and nutritional yeast


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Thoroughly wash and dry the kale
  • De-stem by holding the stem with one hand and dragging the other hand down the stem, raking off the leafy part

how to de-stem kale motherhood university

  • Break into bite size pieces (keep in mind it will shrink significantly) 
  • Either massage with oil (a tablespoon goes a long way) or toss in veggie stock (try both and see which you prefer)

Kale progression

  • Spread out on a cookie sheet and season generously
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how crispy you like it – some pieces will be less or more cooked than others and if you’re seeking more consistency, stir midway through the baking time

And there you have it – a healthy salty snack. What is your favorite salty snack?


~ Regina

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Dairy Free Nacho Cheeze Sauce

Dairy Free Nacho Cheeze Sauce motherhood university

This dairy free gem is cashew based and very much like our Mac and Trees recipe. Simply modify the liquid and spices and ta-da!


1 cup raw cashews soaked

1 cup water (less of you want it a little thicker)

1 whole pimento

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp chili powder


  • soak the cashews (the better your blender the less time you need to soak) at least 10-15 minutes although the Hubby has skipped this step many a time
  • drain the cashews then place all the ingredients in the blender (I’m using a Vitamix) and blend until smooth
  • if you want to add some heat (I’m a wimp) feel free to add you favorite peppers

Nach Cheeze Sauce motherhood university

You can add a can of rotel, add sautéed Gimme Lean “sausage”, diced peppers or pour it over ships as it. My family is addicted to this “cheese” sauce, I hope yours will be too.


~ Regina

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Dairy Free Ricotta

Dairy Free Ricotta Motherhood University

All of the yummy creamy goodness without the dairy. Great for stuffed shells, manicotti and lasagna (I should have been born in Italy).


3, 12 oz packages extra firm organic tofu (drained)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

twice around the bowl of EVOO

1/4 cup-ish lemon juice

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper to taste


  • first drain the tofu, I cut in half lengthwise and press it between 2 clean kitchen towels with a heavy cast iron skillet on top
  • crumple the tofu by squeezing it with your hands – a great job for kids
  • add all remaining ingredients and stir
  • it really is that easy

Dairy Free Ricotta Regina Knabe

What’s your favorite ricotta dish?



~ Regina

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