Recipe Review: Oatmeal Sandwich Bread (5 stars)

Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

Take One

On my sixth day of self-exile in my own home, and several sourdough loaves later, I wanted to try something different. My lazy self, before the world turned upside-down, would buy a loaf of Pepperidge Farm Oatmeal bread once or twice a month. Baking bread, especially sourdough, isn’t onerous (Thank you Lord for my bread machine!) but does require you set aside the time necessary to manage the process. It doesn’t require a lot of brain cycles, but in my previously ‘normal’ routine, starting bread after six o’clock at night meant being up past my bedtime before it was done and cool enough to bag. Weekends were usually spent running errands, volunteering, shopping, visiting friends and relatives or attending events. For the foreseeable future, my bread machine and I are going to be BFFs!

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Puppy Treat Love

Dog Treats

When my daughter came to visit over the Christmas and New Year holidays, I made several trips to Trader Joe’s to purchase food she could eat without having an adverse reaction (she’s allergic to corn). While I was there I bought a box of peanut butter dog treats for Lexy. By the middle of January, we’d given Lexy all the treats from that box. I decided that since I’ve been making her dog food for a couple of months now, I might as well make her treats. That way, I control the ingredients and it’s also fun.

I searched for a peanut butter dog biscuit recipe and found several but one in particular caught my eye – a peanut butter pumpkin recipe. I was intrigued because our vet had us give Porthos pumpkin with his food whenever he had diarrhea. Apparently, pumpkin and chicken are easy for them to digest so that’s what Porthos ate for a couple of weeks last year until his tummy settled down.

I reviewed a half dozen recipes, most of which were just three simple ingredients – oats, pumpkin and peanut butter. Among the other items purchased at Trader Joe’s, I found myself with a couple of cans of organic pumpkin. So I added oats and peanut butter to my grocery list and came home with enough to make a large batch of this recipe I found among my dog treat search results:

Click on image for album.

Please be VERY CAREFUL which peanut butter you give your dog – it must NOT contain the artificial sweetener xylitol. Most Natural peanut butters are xylitol free but double-check the ingredients to be safe.
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Recipe Review: Cranberry Spinach Salad ~ 5 Stars

Cranberry Spinach Salad


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
  • 1 pound spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil


  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. Toss with spinach just before serving.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.

My Thoughts

My husband and I have made this salad several times for ourselves and family members.  I discovered spinach later in life and now it’s my favorite leafy indulgence.  The dressing perfectly compliments spinach and the cranberries and almonds add tartness and texture.

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Recipe Review: Alton Brown’s Lentil Soup (4 stars)

Traditionally, people tend to eat black eyed peas for good luck on New Year’s Day.  I bucked that trend (and to be honest I don’t actually remember ever having eaten black eyed peas) and decided to make, for the very first time, lentil soup.

I’ve had great luck with recipes from Alton Brown’s kitchen so when I found this Lentil Soup one, I decided to give it a try.

All of the ingredients I used were organic, which the exception of the spices.  And speaking of spices, I had to skip the ground Grains of Paradise as I could not find that spice at my local grocers.   I will have to special order that spice for the next time I make this recipe.  And there will be a next time.

This was super (or should I say ‘souper’) easy to make.  And it didn’t take me as long as his recipe stated to prep.  Probably just 15-20 minutes instead of thirty minutes.  I sweated the vegetables a little longer than his recipe stated because I used my new crockpot and not a dutch oven.

Terry and I both had two bowls of the lentil soup for supper.  Very good.  We have enough left over to freeze and/or eat again later this week.

Happy New Year!

Recipe Review: Vermont Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread (via King Arthur Flour)

Vermont Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread

by P.J. Hamel at King Arthur Flour

Rating:  TBD

Converting the original recipe (click on recipe name above) to fit in my bread machine:

In a the bread pan for your bread machine, combine the water, oats, maple or brown sugar, honey, butter, salt, and cinnamon. Let cool to lukewarm, about 10 to 15 minutes

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Recipe Review: “The Easiest Pizza You’ll Ever Make by King Arthur Flour” (5 stars)

Recipe: The Easiest Pizza You’ll Ever Make: King Arthur Flour.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Baked: January 27, 2014

Home Made PizzaMy most recent order from King Arthur Flour (taking advantage of one of their frequent free shipping promotions) included their Pizza Dough Flavor.  Since I wanted to take advantage of this new seasoning, I didn’t use my standard pizza crust mix found in King Arthur’s 200th Anniversary cookbook.  Instead, I searched through the recipes available at King Arthur’s website and decided to try the one listed above.

I cut the recipe in half, just like I do the one from the cookbook, because my husband and I don’t need to make two or three large pizzas.  One large one is plenty for a couple of meals.  I also don’t let the dough rise but for a few minutes, long enough for me to heat the oven up to 450 degrees.  Terry and I prefer thin, crispy crusts so rising is never a necessity.

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Recipe Review: Caramel Corn a Keeper

caramel popcorn (home-made)The only thing I would suggest when you try this Caramel Corn recipe for yourself, is that you have a second set of hands to help.  It was all I could do to juggle a very hot saucepan of caramel and stir the popcorn in the bowl at the same time.

Terry, who spurred me on to making this recipe a few days ago, swears it’s the best caramel corn he’s ever had.  I can’t wait to try again, with him standing by to help stir the popcorn as I pour the hot caramel.

Very easy to make and quite tasty.

Caramel Corn

On the last day of August, my husband found an interesting recipe article via his Flipboard app on his smartphone.  He handed me his phone and wanted me to write down the recipe.  I rolled my eyes.  Instead, I used the share feature of either the Flipboard or Firefox for Android app to e-mail a link to him (and me, since it would be preserved forever in my email sent items).

Since that time, I purchased an air popper to pop popcorn, with the express intention of trying out the aforementioned recipe.  While I’ve popped popcorn several times with the air popper, I have yet to actually make caramel corn.  So I can’t vouch for the veracity of the recipe, nor for its claim to lack of difficulty in execution.

All of this is neither here nor there.  A couple of comments and reminders from my husband this past week, with him nudging me to e-mail this recipe to our daughter because she was interested in trying it, prompted me to go digging through my sent items to locate the lost and forgotten caramel corn recipe article link.  Instead of forwarding the e-mail to my daughter, I thought I’d preserve the link here at my blog where I (and anyone else) can easily search for it in the future.

Click on image to read Caramel Corn recipe article.

Now everyone can find it, not just me and my email out box.


Recipe Test and Review: Chef Meg’s Loaded Potato Soup

I needed to use the rest of my organic russet potatoes purchased while Rachelle visited us.  Terry suggested potato soup, so I went searching for a new potato soup recipe, one with fewer calories (for me … Terry needs to put on weight so he can really load it down with cheese and bacon).  I found one at SparkPeople, created by their Chef Meg Galvin called her Loaded Potato Soup.

Her prep time of fifteen minutes turned into my prep time of forty-five minutes, but I don’t have the benefit of years of knife skills honed to perfection on the culinary cutting board of her career.  I did learn the proper way to cut an onion, thanks to several online knife skills videos.

I got my large saucepan out to heat up and began following her instructions.  I did great until I reached the part where I was to add the spices.  I had not laid out my non-vegetable ingredients before I started cooking, so I looked up at a partial list of ingredients on the recipe web page (partial because I had scrolled down to read the directions and the first half of the ingredients rolled out of sight off the top of the page).  The pepper listed last was cayenne (a quarter teaspoon) which I immediately added to my saucepan.  Then I needed to add the thyme, and I had to scroll back up to find out how much.  When I found it, I realized the ingredient immediately preceding the thyme was black pepper.  So, I had just mistakenly added the cayenne pepper where I should have added a half teaspoon of black pepper.  Argh!.

I quickly read further through the directions and realized the cayenne was added, almost like a garnish, after you remove the bay leaf.  I shrugged and added the black pepper, thyme and bay leaf, since there was nothing I could do about the cayenne pepper at this point.  The rest of the process went without further mishap.

I simmered the soup for more than the suggested thirty minutes (probably more like forty-five minutes).  I did not opt to add the corn nor the lettuce.  And, rather than getting my blender dirty just to puree the soup, I used a mashed potato masher utensil instead.

I filled two bowls with the soup and crumbled turkey bacon over both of them.  I added a handful of colby jack cheese to Terry’s bowl, but left my dairy-free.  The soup had a bit of a kick, both from the yellow bell pepper and, I suspect, the too early application of the cayenne.  But, both Terry and I cleaned our bowls.

I will probably try this recipe again, now that I am familiar with the process and can refine it for our palettes.

Recipe Test: Stromboli (via King Arthur Flour)

Stromboli: King Arthur Flour Recipe

My daughter continues providing meals to her father (and I benefit as well).  One of her suggested menu items happened to be stromboli.  She called her boyfriend last night for the recipe, but he had a bad day at work so supper at the Moss Home quickly became leftovers.  Rachelle called me later while I was out at the grocery store picking up items for today’s return of the chicken pot pie.  She needed French bread to make her stromboli.  I told her I needed a minimum of three to four hours to make that type of bread.  I asked her if I could make some French bread on Sunday afternoon so she could make the stromboli on Monday.  She agreed and eventually left to spend the evening (and night) with friends.

Monday morning, I reviewed the stromboli recipe via the King Arthur Flour web site.  I placed the ingredients for the dough in my bread machine and added time to the dough cycle so that the dough would be ready for Rachelle around 4:30 p.m.  I went merrily off to work and called her at 3:00 p.m. to make sure the bread machine started on time and that the dough looked like it should.  She told me it looked great and smelled wonderful.

Our Stromboli looked very much like this one (sorry, I forgot to take a photo of ours)

I got home at my regular time and the stromboli was already baking in the oven on parchment paper on the pizza stone.  The house smelled glorious.  Within a half hour, we took the baked stromboli out of the oven and let it rest and cool for ten to fifteen minutes.  I sliced it while Rachelle heated up some marinara sauce.  We each enjoyed at least two slices, if not three.

Later, after we’d stuffed ourselves, Rachelle realized she should have let the stromboli rise before baking it.  Neither of us had thought about that and had not allowed for that second rise time in our evening dinner planning.  Next time, we’ll definitely let the stromboli rise for at least a half hour or longer.  This recipe is a keeper!