Posted in appetizers/snacks, Baked goods, breakfast, Brunch, Food, lunch box

Honey and Oats Bread

Several years ago, on one of my weekly visits to Goodwill, I found a brand new Williams-Sonoma Bread Machine on one of the shelves. I was delighted because I had given my old (smaller) bread machine to my brother-in-law when my kids were little.
The William Sonoma machine makes a really large loaf , has some attractive settings, and is a quality machine. I make my share of breads and scones by hand, but there is nothing like throwing all of the ingredients into the pan before going to bed and waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread.
This recipe is one of our favorites. You can use white bread flour or wheat flour…I was low on wheat flour this week so I mixed white and wheat. My kids load it up with crunchy peanut butter and homemade jam. This makes a hefty loaf that is sure to please.

Honey and Oats Bread

1 cup water, mild temp.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon active dry yeast

Place ingredients in the bread pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the basic or light crust setting, press start.


Posted in Baked goods, breakfast, Brunch, Food

Old Fashioned Baked Oatmeal

As the weather turns from hot and humid to cloudy and cool, this recipe for Old Fashioned Baked Oatmeal really hits the spot. I bake a tray of it so that it is ready to eat for a quick fall breakfast before leaving for work or school. M often puts it in a bowl with a little warm milk to eat like a breakfast cereal, while others take a scoop or cut a square to eat it with a side of yogurt or a cup of coffee. Which ever way you may prefer to eat this breakfast staple, it surely won’t disappoint. This is a tasty mixture of cinnamon, oats, cranberries, and vanilla…yummy!

Old Fashioned Baked Oatmeal

3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Beat in milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Stir in dried cranberries and pecans. Spread into a 9×13″ baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. While cooling, Cover with aluminum foil to lock in moisture.

Posted in appetizers/snacks, Baked goods, breakfast, Brunch, Desserts, Food, Gardening, Kids in the Kitchen, lunch box

Chewy Oat and Jam Cookie Bars

What to do with all of this delicious homemade jam? …Make Oat and Jam cookie bars!
Last week, we canned loads of Concord grapes and tucked the jars away for a year’s worth of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Thumbprint Cookies, and Chewy Oat and Jam Cookie Bars. Yesterday, I made a small pan of the delicious bars and they were gone in a flash. As we start the new school week, I am going to double the recipe, individually wrap the bars, and tuck them in the fridge so they can easily be packed in the lunchbox.
Starting this week, my children will be adding a morning swim practice to their already long school day so they will leave before 5:30 am and won’t return until after 6:00 pm. This means packing breakfast, lunch, and after-school swim snack into the lunchbox. I usually stock the fridge and pantry with homemade peanut butter, lots of fruits and veggies, eggs, cheese, milk, whole grain bread, yogurt, snacks, and oat cereal so there is plenty to choose from. This recipe is quick and easy to assemble. Use any flavor jam to suit your family’s taste. M has suggested we make a peanut butter glaze to spread over the warm bars…haven’t tried it yet but sounds like a scrumptious idea!

Chewy Oat and Jam Cookie Bars

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 stick of butter, softened
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1/4teaspoon salt
1 cup Concord grape jam. (other flavors will work just as well)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 8×8″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar, set aside. In a medium bowl, mix oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix dry ingredients in to the creamed mixture. Press 1 1/2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the jam over this layer. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top, and lightly press it into the jam. Lightly sprinkle chopped pecans over the bars. Bake for 25-30 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

Posted in appetizers/snacks, breakfast, Brunch, Desserts, Food, Kids in the Kitchen, lunch box, No-Bake

Easy No-Bake Granola Bites

Making your own granola bars at home can certainly be more nutritious for your family and is definitely a money saving idea. A box of granola bars can range in price from a moderate $2 up to as much as $7, which is really quite expensive. Often, one can only guess at the ingredients that are included in the nutrition facts label. Ingredient names that I can’t recognize or pronounce are always a red flag for me.
While this recipe isn’t the most nutritious of the bunch in my recipe box, it certainly is easy to make and I like the fact that it’s a no-bake recipe that can be made during the late summer months when the air conditioner shouldn’t have to compete with a hot oven. I often add nuts, seeds and dried berries for added texture, nutrition, and flavor. I wrap the cooled and cut bars in plastic wrap so that they stay fresh and are easily packed for travel. This is a great “kids in the kitchen” recipe.

Easy No- Bake Granola Bites

2 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light (reduced sugar) corn syrup or honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Spray a 13×9″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; set aside. Bring the brown sugar and syrup (or honey) to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla until blended. Pour peanut butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until coated; let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly. Stir in the chocolate chips. Press mixture into prepared pan; cool completely. Cut into bars. Wrap individually in plastic wrap to preserve freshness.

Posted in appetizers/snacks, Baked goods, Desserts, Food, lunch box

Chocolatey Oat and Peanut Butter Cookies

So, tomorrow my oldest will be leaving for college…I am surely going to miss her smiling face on a daily basis. It will be hard for me to let her go….
I have spent a good part of the morning baking goodies to pack in containers and load into boxes. Cooling on the counter top, there is a loaf of Irish soda bread, a tray of granola bars, and some Chocolatey Oat and Peanut Butter Cookies (recipe below).
I will wait for them to cool completely and then arrange them in containers for the long drive down to Purdue University. My hope is to continue to send her “care packages” on a weekly basis so that she knows that we miss her and that she is in our thoughts…sending a little “home-baked love” her way as she begins her journey through college life on campus. We love you, K!

Chocolatey Oat and Peanut Butter Cookies

2 cups peanut butter
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Extra oats for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray cookie sheets with non-stick spray. In a medium bowl, stir peanut butter, oats, and sugar together until smooth. Beat in the eggs. Mix in the baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll dough into 1 inch balls (or scoop out dough with a small ice cream scoop) and place 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Press down with slightly damp fingers. Lightly sprinkle with extra oats.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Posted in breakfast, Brunch, Food, Kids in the Kitchen, lunch box, slow cooking

Slow Cooker Breakfast Granola

My kids seem to be addicted to granola. If I had to buy it pre-packaged every week, I’d be bankrupt. Thankfully, I have several recipes for this crunchy, delicious and versatile treat. We use it to top yogurt or ice cream, add milk (cold or hot) to eat it as a breakfast cereal, and mix it with sweet and salty treats to make a trail mix. What I like about this recipe is that you can set it in the crockpot and let it cook for a few hours without heating up the house with the conventional oven during the summer months. The key is to slightly prop the crockpot open with a wooden skewer. This tiny opening lets the moisture out but keeps the heat inside the liner. Stirring the mixture every 30-35 minutes is also the key to success.

Slow Cooker Breakfast Granola

4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)

Spray the liner of the slow cooker with cooking spray. In a separate bowl, mix oats, vanilla, honey, syrup, and canola oil. Pour into prepared slow cooker.
Cook the granola on low for 2 1/2-3 hours, venting the lid slightly. ( I use a wooden skewer.) Stir mixture well every 30-35 minutes. Cook until golden brown and quite dry.
Pour the finished granola onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and allow to cool completely. Add pecans, cranberries, or raisins if desired. Store in an airtight container.


Posted in Baked goods, Desserts, Food, lunch box

Jumbo Oatmeal Cowboy Cookies

Jumbo Oatmeal Cowboy Cookies

Crunchy on the outside, chewy in the middle…that’s how I would describe these awesome oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
Years ago, when I was a Daisy Girl Scout Leader, one of the Daisy parents gave me a sweet gift in a jar. She had stacked all of the dry ingredients for this cowboy cookie in a Mason jar and attached the recipe so that I could add a few ingredients to bake up a batch of these tasty delightful treats. I have tweaked the recipe a bit so that the cookie comes out flat with a crispy exterior and a chewy interior. This week, as the school year draws to a close, I made a huge double batch of these cookies to stuff into decorative gift bags and send off as teacher gifts to be passed out to all of our favorite teachers. I’ve attached a small gift card from Starbuck’s to complete the gift pack.
Nuts are delicious in this recipe but I often leave them out when I’m not sure about the food allergies of those that will be consuming the cookies. I, myself, especially love them with chopped pecans. Give them a try, you won’t be disappointed!

Jumbo Oatmeal Cowboy Cookies

2 cups flour
2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cups chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, cream the margarine, oil, sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. ( I use an ice cream scoop for evenly shaped cookies.) Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Transfer to wire rack after just a few minutes of cooling.

Posted in Baked goods, Food, lunch box

Quick Mix Oatmeal Crunchies


A couple of months ago, I bought several boxes of instant oatmeal because I had about 10 Quaker Oatmeal coupons that I was able to stack with a great sale price, making the oatmeal nearly free! However, after using a few of the flavored oatmeal packets, my family agreed that we prefer my Hearty Crock Pot Oatmeal much better than the instant packets. Knowing that I would have to figure out a way to use up all the leftover boxes, I scoured the Internet for some recipe ideas. After experimenting with various ingredients and playing with quantities, I came up with my own recipe for Quick Mix Oatmeal Crunchies. These flavorful cookies are a snap to throw together and we absolutely love them for lunchbox treats and afternoon snacks.

Quick Mix Oatmeal Crunchies

6 packets of flavored instant oatmeal, any variety you prefer (I use a mixture of cinnamon, raisin and apple packets.)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 tsp milk
1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the flour and oatmeal packets; set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add in the flour and oatmeal mixture; combine thoroughly.
Roll dough into 1 1/2″ balls and drop on to lightly greased cookie sheets, about 2″ apart. Pat the dough ball to flatten.
Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool briefly on cookie sheet, then finish cooling on wire rack.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Posted in Baked goods, Food

Curley Power Bars

curley power bar

As I have mentioned in past posts, my children are swimmers and they are constantly eating! After buying my share of expensive power bars at the grocery store over the years, I decided to try to come up with a recipe that would replace the expensive bars found at the local market. This is the recipe that worked out best. These bars are quite delicious and surprisingly satisfying. If I had a nickle for every time I have shared this recipe with fellow swimmer parents, I’d be rich! 🙂

Curley Power Bars

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey or reduced sugar (1/3) corn syrup
1/3 cup margarine
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)
1/2 cup raisins or dates(optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix first 5 ingredients until smooth and well blended.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Press into a greased 13×9″ baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. After taking the pan out of the oven, cover with aluminum foil until completely cooled. This helps to keep the bars chewy.
Note: I often sprinkle a little non-fat dry milk powder or protein powder into the peanut butter mixture to add nutrients and protein. Cut into bars when cool and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Pop one into a lunch box or a sports bag to give the kids a burst of nutritious energy.

Posted in breakfast, Brunch, Food, slow cooking

Hearty Crock Pot Oatmeal

photo (61)

I have three swimmers in the household so I am constantly replenishing the food supply. Swimmers are a dedicated breed. They are out of the house every weekday morning at 5:00 am and they stroll in the door around 6:00 pm every evening. This means I need to provide them with plenty of food during the school day so that they have enough energy to make it through until dinner. I send breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack with my children every day. Packing three meals for three kids everyday can be a trying task.
This recipe is nutritious, hearty, and packed with lots of whole grains and plenty of protein. Throw all of the ingredients in the crock pot before heading to bed. Wake up to the irresistible smell of cinnamon, apples, vanilla, and raisins. Pack warm oatmeal in individual plastic freezer jars and pop them into the fridge or freezer. During the week, pull a jar out of the fridge and pop it into the microwave for a delicious, hearty, breakfast that packs a powerful punch and is sure to get you through the morning.

Hearty Crock Pot Oatmeal

1 cup STEEL CUT oats
2 cups milk
1½ cups water
1 apple, peeled and chopped
½ cup raisins
2 Tbls. butter
1 Tbls. gound cinnamon
3 Tbls. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients thoroughly. Pour into crock pot sprayed well with cooking spray. Cover pot, set to LOW and let cook for 6 hours or until smooth and creamy. YUM!