Oatmeal Bread - Recipe

Oatmeal Bread | Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers

About 15 years ago we started using a bread machine, and it gets used in cycles. My husband actually uses it way more than I do and has gotten several loaves tweaked to perfection. We'll go through a period of making bread in it quite often, and then we'll have a period where we tend to consume little to no bread. I'm not sure why, but we're going through one of the upswings in the cycle right now. Sometimes we'll let the bread machine do everything, and sometimes I'll just use it to make the dough and finish the rest of the process myself in pans, crocks or stones. I love the process of knowing what is going into the foods we eat and minimizing the processed foods. I really don't want my daughter used to eating the substance-less "pillow" bread like the white bread loaves in the grocery store. So we experiment a bit with varying flours and flavors, but one we always keep in rotation is this Oatmeal Bread. It has a denser texture and slight chewiness, than typical white or wheat store-bought bread.

Oatmeal Bread with Homemade Apple Butter | Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers
Apple Butter Recipe

I have several sets of directions below for making without a machine, partially with a machine, or letting it do all the work.

Oatmeal Bread

1 cup + 2 Tbsp water
1/4 cup molasses
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 cup bread flour or other high protein flour
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp oatmeal
2 Tbsp dry buttermilk
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp active dry yeast

Bread Machine Directions
Add wet ingredients to the bread pan
Add dry ingredients and form a well in the top of the dry ingredients
Pour yeast into well of dry ingredients
Use the Sweet Cycle with a Light Crust option, I don't recommend the Rapid Cycle for this bread.

Oatmeal Bread After 2nd Rise | Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers
Sprinkle with oatmeal before baking, you can't beat the appearance of a manual 2nd rise.
This is before baking, the molasses gives it a rich brown color.

Manual Rise Directions
Add wet ingredients to the bread pan
Add dry ingredients and form a well in the top of the dry ingredients
Pour yeast into well of dry ingredients
Use the Sweet Cycle Dough option, I don't recommend the Rapid Cycle for this bread.

Turn dough out into an oiled bowl, and flip to coat.
Place into either 2 loaf pans, or a large oven safe bowl or stoneware or pan.
Either slash top in crosshatch pattern or sprinkle with oatmeal.
Let rise approx 45-50 minutes in warm place, or heat the oven for 1 minute and turn it off and let it rise in the oven.
Preheat oven to 400, bake for 35-40 minutes depending on how you like your crust.

Manual Directions
Add wet ingredients to the bowl of a mixer
Add dry ingredients and form a well in the top of the dry ingredients
Pour yeast into well of dry ingredients
Using the dough hook, turn it on medium to incorporate, then turn it down to low and let knead for 8 minutes.
Turn the mixer off and cover the bowl with a warm damp dish towel and let rise until double in size (approximately 45-50 minutes)
Turn mixer on low for 5 seconds to punch down.

Turn dough out into an oiled bowl, and flip to coat.
Place into either 2 oiled loaf pans, or a large oven safe bowl or stoneware or pan.
Either slash top in crosshatch pattern or sprinkle with oatmeal.
Let rise approx 45-50 minutes in warm place, or heat the oven for 1 minute and turn it off and let it rise in the oven.
Preheat oven to 400, bake for 35-40 minutes depending on how you like your crust.

Oatmeal Bread | Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers
This cooked for 40 minutes and has a slightly darker, harder, crunchy crust with a
lovely soft, chewy interior.  Much of the darker color of this bread is due to the molasses.

For a perfectly formed "loaf" of bread in a loaf pan, roll out dough after punch down to a rectangle or somewhat even thickness with one width being the length of your loaf pan. Roll up into a log the length of your pan and place it in the oiled loaf pan to rise seam side down. You will end up with a "perfect" loaf of bread.

Deep Cleaning

Since I'm a little behind I haven't been sticking to a room a day. Decluttering and purging first really makes the deep cleaning go faster. I don't exactly see decluttering and purging as the same thing. Purging to me means simply getting rid of the unnecessary and unwanted excess, where as decluttering would include purging, but also include moving things to their proper homes and/or into storage areas to lessen the stifling overload of too much visual clutter.

Forgive me while I daydream of spring a bit, it's still snowing here.

Spring cleaning clothesline | Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers

A few posts for reference.
My Top 7 Spring Cleaning Tips
My Spring Cleaning Checklist
How Do I Clean?
Bathroom Cleaning Tips - makes the deep cleaning much easier!

These posts include both a deep clean list and quick clean list for each room:
Cleaning the Kitchen
Cleaning the Dining Room and Entry
Cleaning the Living Areas
Cleaning the Bedrooms
Cleaning the Extra Rooms
Clean the Bathrooms and Laundry

What I've been working on:
Picking up the aftermath of a toddler party with 10 3-4 year olds, tiny toys are surfacing in all sorts of odd locations
I've been wiping down shelves and knickknacks, curios and ephemera with wood cleaner and/or damp rags
Wiping down baseboards, walls, light fixtures, outlet plates, switch plates, door handles
Making note of repairs that need to be done, filters, light bulbs or batteries to replace
Emptying and vacuuming or wiping out drawers and shelves
Washing windows (inside at least, I'll do the outside once the snow is gone... in July?)

This weekend we'll be vacuuming and shampooing all the carpets, and vacuuming all the upholstered furniture and mattresses. Normally, I'd do that with the rest of the room, but I need some assistance moving furniture and with a toddler one of use has to keep her occupied. Plus, the vacuum is a bit noisy after she crashes and the house is a very open floor plan.

Spring Cleaning Derailed

Despite my best efforts, Spring Cleaning is going to be completely delayed a week. My daughter came down with a stomach bug and has been out of school for 3.5 days. While I tried to clean, because I was home, realistically I was just picking up after her and cleaning what she had messed up earlier that day.  The house is clean, but it's not deep cleaned, which is the point of spring cleaning for me.  Getting all the nooks and crannies that normally get glossed over.

She's almost 3, so I looked forward to nap time to clean and catch up on work a bit remotely. She decided it was a good week to declare a moratorium on naptime. Seriously?

So, keeping it real here, I have done no spring cleaning this week, well unless you count the spice shelf... the 1 spice shelf, not both of them, just 1. Yeah, I got a whole lot of nothing done. On the plus side, I did take some cute pictures of her yesterday. I'll update this post with a few tonight.

How's your spring cleaning going?

Spring Cleaning - Purge Week

By the time I was done with work, dinner, purging and bedtime, I struggled to find time to post last week. To catch up a bit:

How to Decluter Bedrooms
How to Declutter Extra Rooms
How to Declutter the Kitchen
Go here for the complete guide.

In the bedroom, I went through my nightstand and cleared it out, I had been storing a few tank tops in the bottom drawer, but they are now in a purge bin instead. When we bought our bedroom set several years ago, I did not buy a dresser. I purposefully chose to eliminate dressers from our bedroom and our kids bedroom, "stuff" can't get piled on top over time, and we have a few drawers in the closet for the items which can not be hung. So the master bedroom wasn't too bad to go through.

I also went through my daughter's bedroom, removed the last bits of 2T clothing and resorted her clothing baskets. She has a lot of books that I keep thinking of moving out, but once again I chose to leave them. She's too old for several of them, however when she starts reading and identifying words they'll be perfect to have around for a while. She's sort of on the cusp of being able to read, so they made the cut one more time. I did have to relegate a few of her toys back to the basement yet again. The baby toys, which she stopped playing with 2 years ago and were put in the basement then, are suddenly so interesting and fun when she finds the bins. So she'll drag them upstairs one at a time, until I go through and sort again, and have to send them all back downstairs again.

I tried to tackle the back hall closet, but I pulled most of my stuff out of there 2 years ago and it's mostly my hubby's now, so I gave up on that. I learned early on in our marriage to never throw away something of his, even if it seems broken or holey or worn out or trashed.

I also did not get to the kitchen on Saturday, so I'll have to catch up on that during cleaning and organizing, or the last week.

I love this bedroom, and have it pinned as my inspiration for a master bedroom redo, some day!

How did your week go?

Monday Musing - Morris

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. - William Morris | Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers

Pita Pockets - Recipe

Craving a chicken salad sandwich last night, I made up a quick batch of pita pockets. These are delicious and taste amazing freshly made, like most everything else. This makes approximately 8 6-8" pitas depending on how thick you roll them out. A stand mixer makes this recipe a cinch, however it can be made by hand.

Pita Pockets
1 1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp yeast
3 cups flour, divided + flour for dusting
1 tsp salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough attachment, dissolve sugar in the warm water and sprinkle yeast over the top.  Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add 1 cup of flour and let mix into a batter consistency.
Add remaining flour and salt and turn the mixer on medium-low and leave to knead for 8-10 minutes.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface, divide dough into 8-10 pieces depending on how big you want your pitas. (I make a few 4" ones for my toddler, and the rest approx 6")
Roll into 1/4" thick circles, try to maintain an even thickness, that's what causes the pocket action instead of lots of bubbles.
Place on a baking stone, or a parchment paper or silpat covered baking pan. Leave to rise 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425.
Gently flip the pitas over and cook for 12-15 minutes at 425.

For storing, let cool when they come out of the oven completely before putting away.  Wrap tightly and use within 2-3 days, or store in the freezer if you want to make several batches. To thaw quickly wrap lightly in a damp towel (paper towel) and stick in the microwave for 15-30 seconds (depends on your microwave).

Family Room Purge

My family room has a wall of shelves, the bottom of which are full of toys which desperately need a good sorting through, which I will do this weekend. They aren't getting purged, just put away for the next little one. Everything else I sorted through. Here is the how-to declutter post for the living room.

More candles, I seriously have too many candles since I never burn them anymore with a toddler around.
A few decorations that I'll relocate or purge
A bunch of magazines, I used to keep a lot of magazines, now I get rid of them pretty much right away, since I get most of my inspiration online
A few extra vases that have come with supermarket flowers

I recently went through all my craft stuff and gave away all the crafting things that I knew I'd realistically never use. I had acquired a bit of scrapbooking items, but realistically, I do digital scrapbooking and don't take the time to do anything with the paper and supporting bits, so I passed them all off to a friend of mine, so I didn't have much there to purge.

What did you purge or declutter?

Love this room, well with about half the pillows and throws and candles.
Living Room Purge | Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers

Dining Room Purge

Thankfully, my dining room and dinette haven't gotten too bad. Here is the how-to declutter post for the dining room.

I had a few old birthday banners that I decided to purge
I set aside a few candles to give away that I really don't care for the scent
The buffet drawer had a few odds and ends that I've been hanging on to for quite a while, which I purged (if I haven't figured out what they belong to by now, I likely never will)
And two placemat and napkin sets that were given to me, but aren't my style and have never been used

Did you manage to find anything to purge or declutter?

I repinned this dining room twice several months apart, I guess I really like it!


Bathroom Purge

Since I've done the how-to on purge and declutter steps before I thought I'd just link them up. I started with my bathrooms since I knew they'd be pretty easy, I threw away a few things past their prime and made note of a few things I'd like to "containerize" in week 3.

My guest bathroom has 3 tall built-in cabinets, similar to medicine cabinets, but rather tall. That is the only storage in that room and one of those cabinets is our toilet paper storage (they are exactly 1 roll deep), so I only had 2 cabinets to sort through. I relocated a few things that had collected in there, but there wasn't much purging to be done.

The master bathroom has four under sink cabinets and 1 tall linen closet, so I found a bunch of things to clear out:
A bunch of hair product from the days when I used to flatiron my hair and two flatirons to give one of my nieces
A bunch of perfume samplers that I'll never use, which my nieces can have or pitch
A few towels were relocated to the dog towel bin, for bedding, dirty paws, baths, etc
A few items past their prime were pitched from the medicine basket
The far 2 cabinets hold puppy items and kid bath items, I need to get a couple plastic bin to corral the things in those cabinets better and to keep them from getting lost to the back recesses of the cabinets

I'll keep a running list of things I need to either relocate from other areas of the house or purchase for my organizing week, as I go through the rooms purging I'll make note of anything that can be relocated.

Week 3 scavenger/shopping list:
3 rectangle plastic vented bins : 1 for the puppy stuff, 1 for bath toys, 1 for kid bath products
1 new bath mat for the master bathroom

How did your bathroom purge go?

Just a little eye candy, my inspiration photograph for my master bath.

Spring Cleaning

I'm so over winter and ready for spring. It's still quite cold here, and we're still bundling up in wool and snow suits with plenty of snow on the ground. Yet, we're opening the windows a bit during the day to air out the house. I'm tired of the stuffiness of a house shut up for winter. I'm ready to do a declutter, purge, and thorough spring cleaning! Care to join me?

Spring Cleaning at Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers

I usually spend a week purging, a week deep cleaning, a week organizing and a week on the miscellaneous repairs or special projects. I divide the house up into zones to tackle on each day, and always give myself a day off each week to take a break and enjoy. This month I am also planning a birthday party for my daughter on the 13th, so I need to leave myself enough time to get that done.

I'll be deep cleaning the entire house, however these are the areas that I plan on concentrating on this year that I know need a little extra help.

For purging: closets, linens, my drawers, and the kitchen.
For cleaning: electronics, the stove, doors & windows, soft furnishings & textiles, registers & grates
For organizing: miscellaneous drawer, pantry, bathroom closets, front hall closet, garage (tall order)
Special project: create a guest room/craft room out the bedroom in the basement and finish the bathroom in the basement

My zones this spring (I'm going from least amount of work to be done to most):
Monday: Bathrooms
Tuesday: Dining Room(s) (formal/casual/kitchen dining rooms)
Wednesday: Living Room(s) (living/family/game/rec rooms)
Thursday: Bedrooms
Friday: Other Room(s) (hall closets, foyers, mud room, laundry room)
Saturday: Kitchen
Sunday: Family Fun Day!

If you'd like to jump around and do your own thing, but are looking for some sort of guide, check out the September ShapeUp Guide from a few years ago. I do a bit of a mini "spring cleaning" in the fall as well to get ready for the holidays and get all the summer bits put away and pull out all the cozier things we need for fall and winter here. Otherwise, join along here and on Facebook.

Monday Musings - Rilke

It is spring again.  The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart. - Rainer Maria Rilke | Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers