About Laura

Baked Vanilla Berry Oatmeal

Nothing is more comforting on a crisp autumn morning that a bowl of warm, homemade oatmeal. Driscoll’s Berries asked me to participate in their Berries & Oats celebration this month, and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share this recipe that has been a favorite in our home for a couple years now!

It’s filling and delicious, not to mention super easy to throw together. The warm flavors of vanilla, brown sugar, and cinnamon are combined with oats, milk and cream to form the base of this breakfast – then the additions are pretty much left to your creativity…

I like to add some nuts for a little crunch, and usually I’ll throw some fresh berries into the mix. I love the burst of freshness and color that they lend. But, other additions like apples or peaches are great too. I think it’s fun to create seasonal twists, and this recipe makes it so easy!

I hope everyone has a great weekend. After our trip to the mountains last weekend, I’ve got some work in the kitchen with apples on my agenda for the weekend. Boiled cider and apple cider caramels are on the to-do list.

It’s also Homecoming in our small town tonight, our football team is undefeated this year! So, we’re walking down the street to the parade, then heading to the game tonight to cheer the team on. I think the boys will really enjoy themselves. Go Chincoteague Ponies! We’re so lucky to call this little island home. 

Source: adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson via Annie’s Eats

pantry1

Living on a remote island that lies on the also remote Eastern Shore, a well stocked pantry is essential to me. Sadly, it’s usually in a state of utter chaos and dissaray. And that’s a super bad thing, because half the time I forget what I have in there in the first place – and by the time I find it again, it’s gone and expired.

So, when the good folks at OXO and The Container Store asked me to be a part of their POPtober Campaign, I couldn’t say no. Since moving to the island, I’ve had a really hard time keeping things fresh. I’ll open a bag of tortilla chips, and by the next day they’ll be stale (pretty sure that it has something to do with all the moisture we have in the air here), and I knew that OXO’s air-tight seals would be an answered prayer! And as I’d mentioned above, my pantry was in desperate need of a makeover to begin with.

oxo

They were kind enough to send me a 10-Piece POP Container Set, as well as several sizes of their POP Cereal Dispensers. The square and rectangular shapes fit together so snugly and are so pleasing to the eye. They’re stackable as well, which makes them super space efficient. I also love that they’re able to be opened with one hand, something that I have to do so often these days with baby boy #3 in tow!

I couldn’t believe how many bunched up little baggies I was able to toss out, and instead have the contents up front and visible. Where they can be seen, and used – instead of forgotten about. It’s been a week since the revamp, and I’ve not had any issues with cereals or crackers that have been opened being stale – they’re just as fresh as the day that I opened them. So of course I’ve added quite a few more of the OXO items to my wishlist on Pinterest. Are you paying attention, Santa?

Follow Laura (Tide and Thyme)’s board POPtober on Pinterest.

I thought I’d also give you guys a run-down of what I think are essential pantry items. With cold and inclement weather sneaking up on us – it’s good to have basics like these safely stashed away. With all these items on hand, you could whip out a delicious meal in no time at all!

Basics:
Kosher salt
Fine salt
Black peppercorns
Oils (olive, vegetable, extra-virgin olive)
Vinegar (apple cider, red and white wine, balsamic, and rice vinegar)
Coffee
Tea
Long-grain white rice
Brown rice
Quinoa
Couscous
Dried pasta (standard, whole grain, rice noodles)
Grits or polenta
Panko
Oats (Old-fashioned rolled, and instant)
Dried beans (black, pinto, chickpeas, navy)
Tortillas (corn and flour)
Country ham (a post on this is coming soon!)

Baking:
Flour (all-purpose, whole wheat, and cake flour)
Baking soda
Baking powder
Cream of tartar
Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
Bittersweet chocolate: chips and bars
Evaporated milk
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Vanilla extract
Granulated sugar
Confectioners’ sugar
Brown sugar
Maple syrup
Honey
Agave syrup

Snacks:
Crackers
Tortillas
Pretzels
Marshmallows
Popcorn kernels
Dried fruit (raisins, apricots, cranberries, cherries)
Peanut butter or almond butter
Applesauce
Granola

Canned Goods:
Broths (chicken, beef, and vegetable – I like the powdered varieties found in the Hispanic aisle)
Beans (cannellini, navy, chickpeas, pinto, and black)
Vegetables (artichoke hearts, corn, green beans)
Olives (black, green, Kalamata)
Chiles (chipotles in adobo, pickled jalapenos, pepperocinis, sliced banana peppers)
Salsa
Tomatoes (whole, diced, crushed, fire-roasted)
Tomato paste
Roasted red peppers
Tuna
Anchovy fillets or paste

Now,  are you ready to go and tackle the organization monster in your pantry? OXO wants to help!

Starting today, OXO is hosting a Facebook Giveaway that runs through Friday, October 31st! Enter to win a prize pack worth $500, including your choice of OXO Storage & Organization tools (up to $250), as well as a $250 elfa gift card. Make sure you scoot on over today for your chance to enter!

Disclaimer: I received a set of canisters from OXO for review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Posted in DIY

Apple Pie Bars

So, there’s this apple tree in the front yard of the new house. Well, it’s really more like it’s in the backyard of the commercial property in front of us that a dog groomer rents…but no one else wants them, so they’re as good as mine!  It’s a huge Granny Smith tree, and it produced a hefty harvest of baseball-sized apples this Fall. The boys have been having such fun plucking apples off the tree to enjoy.

They’ve got unbeatable flavor too – tart and fruity, but much sweeter than the traditional Granny Smith you pick up in the supermarket. Almost pear-like qualities in the flavor. They are out of this world good, just simply enjoyed alone. But you know I couldn’t resist wrapping them up in some form of dough and baking!

So without further adieu, I give you these apple pie bars. It’s pretty much an apple pie, in a much more portable format. Basic pie dough is rolled out into a rectangle, filled with peeled apples that have been flavored with brown sugar and cinnamon, then topped with another rectangle of pie dough and baked. After cooling they’re sliced into perfect squares and drizzled with a simple vanilla glaze. Perfect for a tailgating treat!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! My BFF and I are heading to the mountains (we’re 6-inches above sea level here, my ears are already popping!) this afternoon to visit Thurmont, MD and the Catoctin Colorfest tomorrow. I used to go all the time as a little girl, and we went last year – so it’s kind of a reinstated tradition for me. Tons of craft vendors, local churches with their kitchens set up selling various regional foods, apple orchards and fresh pressed cider. It’s alot of fun, and it’s going to be great to have some girl time. Although, I’m worried about missing my boys! Isn’t it funny how we look forward to getting away – then when we do, we can’t wait to get back? Heh. Wish me luck, guys!

Apple Pie Bars

2 9-inch pie dough rounds (click for recipe)
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 lbs Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium)
1 lb Honeycrisp apples (about 2 medium)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 egg white
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp half and half or milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Peel, core and dice apples into thin and small pieces. Place diced apples in a large mixing bowl. Add vanilla and toss apples to evenly coat. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup flour, granulated sugar, light-brown sugar, 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour flour mixture over apple mixture and toss to evenly coat, set aside.

To assemble, roll one portion of your dough into a 13×9 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Lift rolled dough into an ungreased 13×9 inch baking dish. Toss apple mixture once more and pour into baking dish over pie crust. Roll remaining dough into another 13×9-inch rectangle and place rolled dough over apples, pinching the seam together with the bottom piece of dough.

In a small mixing bowl whisk egg white, and brush over top pie crust evenly. In a separate small mixing bowl whisk together 1 Tbsp sugar with 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over top pie crust.

Bake in preheated oven around 50-60 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 1 hour before cutting.

To make the glaze combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the bars with a spoon.

Bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Source: adapted from Cooking Classy

threecheesemacaroniandcheese

Is there anything more comforting than a tray of homemade macaroni & cheese? I can’t believe that up to a few years ago, I was still cracking open one of those blue boxes for my mac & cheese fix. But once I learned how easy it was to make at home, I haven’t looked back.

A quick sauce is made up of butter, flour, and milk. Then once it’s thickened, I’ll add close to a metric ton of shredded cheese. I like to shred my own – the stuff that’s pre-shredded from the store has anti-clumping agents, which doesn’t lead to the same melty, gooey consistency that the blocked cheese will give you.

I used yellow sharp cheddar (for a nice bite), Gruyere (for a mellow sweetness), and Parmesan (for a salty kick). They all blend together so beautifully in the sauce to create a symphony of cheesiness. But, feel free to experiment with whatever you like! This sauce is just a blank canvas for whatever cheesy goodness you can dream up. Enjoy!