Saturday, March 8, 2014

Oatmeal Bread

(Disclaimer: Dearest Amy, If you are reading this, please do not pummel the life out of me. I write this in good fun, knowing you are the sweetest girl around, and therefore I have {hopefully} decreased my chances of being pummeled.)

Once upon a time...

In a land semi-far away, where the cows were many and the people were few...

There was a tiny town called Carey. (Population 600... if you count the cows.)

In Carey, a beautiful girl named Amy lived with her parents, three sisters, and three brothers.

And Amy was in love. With her whole heart, and mind, and soul... and stomach.

She was absolutely head over heels in love with...


TOAST waited for her at home every single day, faithful as can be. TOAST always smelled good. TOAST always made her feel wonderful inside. TOAST was easy... low-maintenance... and ready to be with Amy any time of the day or night. Amy loved to butter up TOAST, and TOAST loved being buttered up by Amy. They literally fed off each other... er... I supposed that part was one-sided.

TOAST and Amy were meant to be together forever, and to this day, Amy's love for TOAST lives on...


Okay, so that was a bit ridiculous, but it's also basically true.

Amy is my sister. And she really does love toast more than anyone I've ever met. 

Maybe I exaggerated, but that exaggeration is minimal. 

Seriously. I'll give you an example:

One year for Amy's birthday (16?... 17?... I don't remember), her "birthday cake" was composed entirely of toast. 

I'll give you another example:

Amy is an awesome basketball player, and started on the varsity team in high school. Her coach created a play with Amy in mind and dubbed that play, "Toast." 

I kid you not. 

And I just so happen to have one of the best bread recipes for making toast. (Amy will love me for this one....hopefully enough to make up for the silliness above.)

This Oatmeal Bread is rustic, chewy, and so, so, good! When toasted, and buttered, you've got the makings of the perfect toast. 

I made a loaf of it at 10:00 AM today.

Three hours have passed.

It's gone.

Take a look:

 Here's the dough all mixed together.

 Here's the dough after rising for and hour and a half.

 Here's the dough in the pan, all ready to rise again.

 Here's the dough ready for the oven.

The end result.

If you've never made bread, don't be intimidated. This loaf is not meant to be perfect, and isn't necessarily supposed to be "pretty" sandwich bread, which makes it great for beginner bakers. It's great plain, buttered, or with your favorite spread... and it's EASY.  So, so SOOOO easy.  

This one's for you, Amy.

Oatmeal Bread
Printable Version

(Note: If you want step-by-step instructions, you can use my tutorial here.)

*Makes one 9x5 loaf

1 1/3 C. lukewarm water
2 Tbsp. dry active yeast
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. oil
3 cups flour (I use 2 cups all-purpose, 1 cup whole wheat)
1 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp. salt

In a large mixing bowl (or standing mixer), combine the water, yeast, sugar, and oil. Allow to rest 10 minutes. Add the flour, oats, and salt. Mix thoroughly, then knead by hand (about 10 minutes) or with the standing mixer (about 5 minutes.)

Cover the bowl with a dish towel or plastic wrap. Let rise 90 minutes. Punch down the dough, and kneed by hand, turning the dough over on itself several times.

Coat a 9x5 bread pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Shape the dough into a loaf, and place it in the pan. Cover with a dishtowel, and let rise.

While the dough is rising in the pan, pre-heat an oven to 375 degrees.

When the dough has risen 1-2 inches above the pan, place the pan in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove loaf from oven, and pan. Let the bread cool on a cooling rack or dishtowel. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve as desired.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Frugality Tip #12: File your Taxes Online FREE!

It's official... Pennies and Pancakes is on Twitter!

This has been a long time coming, and I seriously have no clue what I'm doing over there... which you can plainly see when you read my first "tweet," and my high quality, "taken-by-my-computer" mugshot.

I'll work on it.

So, if Facebook, or Pinterest, or RSS feeds aren't your cup of tea, you can follow me by clicking on the cute little white song bird in the upper-left corner of the screen.

Also, tax season is upon us.

For some (me) that's a good thing. For others... not so much.

I've filed my own taxes since I turned 18.

I've done the paper version, and I've used Turbo Tax... then I discovered Tax Hawk. (Actually... my mother discovered Tax Hawk, and she very generously let me in on it.)

Tax Hawk is super easy to use. It asks you easy questions, and guides you every step of the way through the filing process. To sweeten the deal, filing your federal return with Tax Hawk is 100% FREE! Every. Single. Time. And your state return will cost a whopping $12.95. As if that weren't good enough... you will receive your return (if you have a return) directly deposited to you bank account. Mine federal return has never taken longer than 10 days to show up in my account. This year, it was 8 days.

It's quick. It's easy. It's dirt cheap.... all things I love.

I'm sure you'll love it too! Happy filing.

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