Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Walk in the Woods

It’s been a while since we’ve walked down by the Wakarusa.  As we poked around through the woods, we tried to remember when the last time we passed by some of the familiar landmarks.  I know it wasn’t in the summer, too much and too many—undergrowth and ticks.

The river was down a little.


I’m amazed at how  trees seem to reach up forever with plenty of river moisture.

IMG_3421 (Medium)

But, because of the abundance of moisture, might not grow down deep enough roots to withstand a Kansas wind storm.

IMG_3431 (Medium)There were several fishing.  Wonder if the crappie are moving up the river yet.  It would seem early. Might have to dig up a few worms and wet a hook this week.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Steel cut oatmeal

Everyone knows oatmeal is a wonder food.  It’s certainly made clear on the Quaker boxes with “heart healthy” right on the front.  According to research, though, it does lower  cholesterol and blood pressure and may help prevent Type 2 diabetes.  Steel cut oatmeal is the most healthy because it is cut in pieces and that’s it.  No processing.

We enjoy  cut whole grain oatmeal when we visit our Colorado family  and our Phoenix friends. Drue actually makes her own in her blender.   Up until this winter, I hardly ever fixed oatmeal at home and never steel cut.  I decided this winter, I would get on the band wagon. 

Lynn had a crock pot of steel cut oatmeal ready for us while we were visiting several years ago.  Thinking that way of cooking worked great,  I purchased a small crock pot for around $10.  It does work perfectly.  I use the recipe on the back of the box. 

Tonight, though, I am taking it to a new level by adding apples and cinnamon.  I’ll post the recipe I found on the internet below.  I’ve tweaked my blog layout to include Twitter posts.  I’ll let you know there as to the deliciousness of this combination.

Slow Cooker, Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal
             Servings: 7 (3/4-cup) servings
2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped)
1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, additional milk or butter
Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours. Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Great Back Yard Bird Count

is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon and Bird Studies Bird Studies Canada.  Actually, this is the last day of the count so we missed it.  I wish we would have known, because it would have been fun to count the vast number of birds hanging around here this winter.

On the home page, it tells us that so far there have been 69,182 check lists entered with 591 species observed and with a bird count of 9,075, 711.  This information was updated February 20, 2012, 11:25 PM EST.

Then a click here allows checking into totals by area and species.  In Kansas the most birds counted were Red-Winged Blackbird at 70,243 with the Snow Goose at 48,085 second.  I notice that there were 12 Trumpeter Swans.  I hope our four were part of that count.  It doesn’t surprise me that there were 424 Red-tailed Hawks sited, it seems they are all over.  There were 1,387 Robins.  I counted 50 or so in our back yard last week. 

Other top ten lists show that Northern Cardinal appeared on the most lists,  the Snow Goose was the most numerous bird counted and Missouri reported the most birds.

All very interesting.  Next year we’ll for sure have our count in there.  I’ve already marked my calendar.