{Day 17} Holiday Baking with Oats: Warm Oatmeal Bread, Brown Sugar Oat Bread and Oaty Pecan Rounds

Yesterday we woke to rain pounding on our roof.  It poured like it hasn’t in I can’t even remember when.  The sky was gray, the house was cozy.  It was a day made to be spent in the kitchen.  For my birthday, I was given a hand-me-down vegetarian cookbook and I have quickly fallen in love with it.  Unlike many cookbooks now-a-days, it gives homemade, old-fashioned bread making a significant role in nutrition and in the rhythm of daily life.  This is where I got the recipe for oatmeal bread, best warm from the oven.  While I’m not going to duplicate the recipe here, what you can do is find a good, simple whole grain basic bread recipe and begin substituting part of the whole grain flour for whole grain rolled oats and wheat germ.  The coarse whole grain rolled oats (old fashioned, not quick cooking) magically disappear into the flour and adding honey lends a perfect touch of sweetness; it is not unlike a “honey wheat” variety you would purchase at the supermarket, but superbly and incomparably healthier, tastier and fresher.

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Lately, my absolute favorite thing to eat is baked beans on toast.  Maybe this is due to our time spent in the UK, where this dish shows up pretty much everywhere, but it truly is something worth trying if you haven’t.  I know most of here think of baked beans along with Summer days and barbecues, but hot baked beans on warm whole grain bread (with butter of course) is wonderfully filling, especially for breakfast.  Instead of leaving Santa another tired plate of frosted sugar cookies, perhaps you could leave him this hearty dish (I know he won’t be disappointed!)

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I made these Oaty Pecan Rounds a little while ago, but they went fast.  They are essentially a homemade granola bar recipe sprinkled with dried cranberries, pepitas (soaked and dried pumpkin seeds) and pecans.  After they are firm and cooled you can use a cookie cutter or mouth of a mason jar to cut  them into rounds.

IMGP1668Even my husband got into the spirit of baking with me as we had to make bread for his work’s holiday potluck.  We thought we’d try something new and found a recipe for Brown Sugar Bread.  It begins as a basic quick bread- flour, eggs, oil, water, baking soda and powder, and salt with the addition of 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 cup quick cooking oats (I ground up old fashioned rolled oats into a flour). The result was so good, my husband declared Brown Sugar Bread our new Christmas bread tradition (with the stipulation that we could also have it every other week of the year!)

IMGP1681No Christmas season could possibly be complete without a day of baking with the family.  When I think of baking for the holidays, like you, I almost immediately think of white sugar cookie cut outs, smiling gingerbread men, artificially dyed frosting and sprinkles likely finding their way in all the nooks, crannies and corners of my kitchen.  But “holiday baking” can be something worth sinking your teeth into; something warm and nourishing.  Something filling and memorable.  Try it and you’ll see.

 

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time…

It’s finally that time of year!  You know, the time when putting on a jacket is actually exciting (well for Texans anyway) and when all those dusty boxes come down out of the attic and the smell of pine scented candles is just about everywhere…

And I have a new little helper this year…loving all the sparkly balls, wreaths and garland to play with.

She met (and loved) Santa Claus.

There are so many new friends to play with!

…This is what makes me feel like a little kid.  Twinkle lights all aglow, filling the dark streets with magical light.  They warm me inside and out, despite the stormy winds blowing outside and the very cold air settling in.

The fun of twinkle lights beginning to capture her heart too…

 

As the magic of this new holiday season approaches, what makes you feel like a kid again?

mama’s day

“I have nourished and brought up children…”

Isaiah 1:2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       My sweet baby girl has made me a Mama, and I am so grateful for her and to My Heavenly Father who fashioned her especially to live with our family!  Happy Mother’s Day to all new and seasoned Mamas!

mama’s herb roasted chicken

Mother’s Day is coming up and I think this would be a great recipe to make for a beautiful and delicious entrée for mom.  (Dads can give mom a break in the cooking area that day!)

I have never roasted meat in my life.  Nor have I ever bought a chicken that actually resembled a chicken in my life.  I think that is a testament to how easy this recipe is!  Not only that, but my husband, upon seeing the beautiful golden brown bird started searching the kitchen for evidence that I had actually bought this chicken from the store, already cooked!  

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken

2 Tb melted butter

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried thyme

black pepper

lemon slices (optional) 

1. Twist wing tips under back. Tie legs together. Place breast side up in a roasting pan or glass baking dish. (I set the bird on top of cut up carrots so it wouldn’t end up sitting in its own juices).

2. Brush with butter. Rub garlic over chicken. Leave cloves in pan.

3. Stir all herbs and salt and pepper together.  Rub over chicken.  Place lemon slices over breasts.

4. Roast, uncovered at 375 degrees. A 5 lb bird roasts at least 1 hour and 50 minutes.  Needs to be 180 degrees on a meat thermometer when done.

The fact that I do not have a picture of the final product shows how excited we were about eating it!  But it should be golden brown and smell delicious.  The lemon slices turn black in color, so I removed those before eating.

Enjoy!

favorite moment

One simple favorite moment from this hectic holiday month.  My Grandma, my sister and her sweet baby boy Ryan.

What was your favorite moment this month?

old greeting cards are new again

A pile of old greeting cards- made new!

I started doing something earlier this year after I surveyed the mound of birthday, Christmas, and thank-you cards piled in my study.  Actually, they were sitting in this open wooden box, where my husband and I pile papers and mail that really aren’t important at the moment, and we need to do something with them, but we’d rather not.  So, as I’m finally sifting through that pile and looking at all those pretty, shiny, thoughtful greeting cards, I realized I didn’t want to simply throw them in the trash.  I decided to re-purpose them.  This is a great little (easy) craft that you can do- and just in time for the holiday season!  With some greeting cards as much as $3, $4, or $5 why not give it a try!  Here’s what you need:

1) An assortment of old greeting cards.

First I separated out the greeting cards that I really didn’t want to touch- the ones that really mean a lot, and left the ones I could part with.

2) Scissors.  A variety of scissors is great, but just one will do.

And that’s it! Here are my tips for re-purposing your cards:

– Did you get a card casually signed by your distant cousin?  Just cut off the entire back (inside) of he card so you’re left with just the front. Write your own greeting on the back of that, or use it as a gift tag on a present.

Cut around a pretty design or image and use that as a decoration for a present or gift tag.

– Does your card have an inside flap of paper that the greeting is printed on? Just pull out that inside paper and re-use the card!

Store your all new re-purposed greeting cards together in a bag or box.  I have a box I keep just for stationary.

a decorative edge

As I was looking for a little card to send my friend the other day, I realized what a nice little trick this was.  I didn’t have to run out and buy anything and I found just what I needed.  I’m sure there are many more crafts you could make using old greeting cards.  Feel free to leave a comment and share them!

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