It’s almost February, and you know what that means…Heart Health Awareness Month! Many of the women in my family have had problems with heart health (although it was when they were in their 80’s, so there’s that), but I definitely try to be aware of my choices and make them heart healthy as a habit. And if you’re thinking, “What about all those sweets and treats she makes?” I send those into work with my favorite GI Joe, of course!
Most of the things I make are really not unhealthy, though. I try to use “real food” ingredients and rarely even buy processed foods. But I’m not here to preach today. I’m trying to lead by example!
We really enjoy oatmeal at our house, especially on Saturday mornings and with a toppings bar, and we only like steel-cut oats. The others are just too mushy for us. The steel-cut oats do take about half an hour to cook, so I often cook them overnight in the crockpot, instead. Then I can just cut up some fresh fruit and enjoy my coffee in the morning.
The recipe, when layered into a jar, makes a lovely and heartfelt gift for Valentine’s Day or anytime during Heart Health month! It’s also really yummy to make for your family some Saturday morning…just throw everything in the crockpot with 8 cups of water before you go to bed. Oh, and turn the crockpot on low.
To make a jar for someone you love, layer the following in a quart jar, packing each layer down firmly before adding the next:
- 2 cups steel-cut oats (I split them between the top and bottom layer, to make it prettier)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup nonfat dried milk
- 1/2 cup snipped dried apricots
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
To prepare the oatmeal, simply put all the ingredients into a 4-quart crockpot along with 8 cups of water. Cook on low for 8 hours or overnight.
I wanted the labels to be printed on kraft paper and a bit rustic looking, but kraft cardstock was much too thick. So, I cut a piece of brown paper bag to 8-1/2” x 11” and ran it through the printer, then cut the labels and rounded the corners. I stuck it to the jar with double-stick tape and wrapped a bit of bakers’ twine around it. And you can even click here to print your own labels! They’ll print four to a page, by the way.
Hope you’ll warm someone’s heart with this thoughtful gift, or treat yourself to a yummy bowlful!