Honey Oatmeal Bread


This recipe came from a favorite source in the 1980s – The Blue Ribbon Gazette, a newsletter with recipes from blue ribbon winners from all over the country.  I won a blue ribbon with this bread at the large Harvest Home Festival (Cincinnati) in 1989.

This is a hearty bread that stays soft for several days and is wonderful toasted or used for a grilled sandwich.


  • Servings: Three 7-1/2 inch loaves or two 9-inch loaves
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1-½ cups milk
1 cup oats, quick
1 Tblsp. salt
2 Tblsp. canola oil
One 13 oz. can evaporated milk, undiluted
¼ cup honey
2 Tblsp. fast acting yeast*
2 cups whole wheat flour
3-4 cups all-purpose flour

**I use Fleischmann’s Instant Dry Yeast. I buy it in bulk (454 g) and the package says that it is made in Canada. I understand it is packaged under the name “Instant Dry” for distribution through stores like Sam’s, “Rapid Rise” in the U.S. and “Quick Rise” in Canada. The “Instant Dry”, “Rapid Rise” or “Quick Rise” yeast is especially formulated to be used mixed with the dry ingredients and can withstand the hot liquid.

Grease three 7-½ inch or two 9-inch loaf pans

Place 1-½ cups of milk in a pan, bring to a boil.  Add oats and salt and cook for 2 minutes.  Add oil, evaporated milk, honey and salt.  Cool to 130 degrees F. (cooling will take 10-15 minutes).

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, place yeast and 2 cups whole wheat flour.  Beat to blend flour and yeast.  Add 130 degree F milk/honey mixture and beat with paddle beater for 3 minutes on medium speed.

Remove paddle beater and insert dough hook.  Continue to beat for 6-1/2 minutes, adding all-purpose flour a little at a time.   You may not have to use all of the flour – the dough should be smooth and elastic after 6-1/2 minutes. Although a little sticky because of the honey.

Place dough in an oiled bowl, turn dough over once and cover with a napkin or tea towel.  Let rise for 45 minutes in a warm place that is free of drafts (I put mine on top of my microwave which sets under a cabinet).

After 45 minutes, punch down dough (press your knuckles into the dough to deflate it). Remove dough to a lightly floured board and divide into three portions for 7-½ inch loaves or into two portions for 9 inch loaves.  Roll each portion into a loaf, pinch seams to seal and place seam-side-down in a greased 7-½ inch or 9-inch loaf pan.  Cover and let rise for another 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to  350 degrees F.

Bake 7-½ inch loaves for approximately 30-35 minutes and the 9 inch loaves for about 50-60 minutes or until bread is golden brown and has a hollow sound when tapped (200 degrees on a bread thermometer*).

Cover with a piece of foil if top is browning too fast.  Remove bread from pans immediately, cover with a napkin or a tea towel and let cool on a wire rack.

Yield:  Three 7-½ inch loaves or two 9 inch loaves



Collectibles from the Butler County (Ohio) Fair


I  have so many wonderful collectibles acquired over the last 80+ years.  Some were gifts, some were part of my life growing up, some are inherited, some were purchased at antique malls and thrift stores  – all are precious to me.  Some items are kept up year-around while others are brought out seasonally and on holidays.  Unfortunately, many priceless-to-me objects go undisplayed and unseen for years.  Each week, I’m going to pull out an item and post a COLLECTIBLE OF THE WEEK.

My collectibles this week are from the Butler County (Hamilton, Ohio) Fair.  This has remained one of our favorite fairs for over 50 years because it has never changed from being an oldtime county fair.  My only complaint about the present-day fair is they no longer have harness racing.

One of my favorite collectibles from 14 years ago is a coverlet with all of the things I love about a fair – horses, farm animals, displays, the midway, fruit and vegetable exhibits.  It comes out every year to display on the couch and usually winds up wrapped around one of the grandchildren.

Another favorite which I’ve had for about 20 years is an original photograph from the year they built a new grandstand – 1913.  Click on pictures to enlarge.


In later years I received a gift of a copy of the complete panoramic photo of that glorious day in Hamilton.


I love the old touring car and all of the dressed-up clothes the people were wearing.



From about the same era, I have a Ruby Glass tiny cup with the inscription – Butler County Fair – 1915.


My older daughter and I visited the fair yesterday to check out the exhibits by her and the younger daughter.  They accumulated a pile of ribbons including a blue ribbon for the younger daughter’s knitted shawl and a Best of Show for the older daughter’s crocheted doily.  It’s the 164th year for the Butler County Fair and it’s still the best fair in our area.

The First County Fair of the Season


My older daughter and I went to our first fair of the season – our Warren County Fair in Lebanon, Ohio.  The day was beautiful with bright, sunny skies and an 80 degree temperature.

I’ve exhibited many times in the past, but this year I left it all to my daughter who entered several needlework, jewelry and crocheted items.  As always, she did well with 7 blue ribbons and 3 second place awards.


I looked at all of the displays in the large building that housed the needlework, quilting, knitting, sewing, cooking, crafts, etc., exhibits and then found a seat near the racetrack while my daughter went to visit all the animal barns.

I’ve loved harness horses for as long as I can remember and always feel a sense of contentment watching them on the track.


I was able to watch three exciting races, close enough to the track to hear the hoof beats, and we started back home, both of us happy with our first fair of the season.

Collectibles of the Week – It’s Fair Time


I  have so many wonderful collectibles acquired over the last 80+ years.  Some were gifts, some were part of my life growing up, some were inherited, some were purchased at antique malls, gift shops or thrift stores  – all are precious to me.  Some items are kept up year-around while others are brought out seasonally and on holidays.  Unfortunately, many priceless-to-me objects go undisplayed and unseen for years, so each week, I’m going to pull out an item and post a COLLECTIBLE OF THE WEEK.

The first county fair of the year in our area is happening this week (Warren County – Lebanon, Ohio) and it’s time to bring out my fair collectibles.  I have quite a few since I’ve been a fair enthusiast all my life.  The top two vintage banners are for our local Cincinnati (Hamilton County) fair and the Ohio State fair, hanging on an old cane won many years ago.

Since my father trained and drove harness horses, fair time is synonymous with trotters and pacers in our family.  I have a nice assortment of commemorative glasses and mugs on my kitchen shelf (along with a doll that won a prize for her pretty dress about 30 years ago and some small spoons).


Although they are not fair activities, I display my items from the Little Brown Jug (the World Series of pacers) ….


…and the Hambletonian (the World Series of trotters) along with a 1976 commemorative bottle from the Fairfield County (Lancaster, Ohio) fair.


I’ve exhibited many times at fairs in the past but this year have left it to my older daughter who took a few of her antiques to Lebanon.  Can’t wait until tomorrow night to see how she did – and to watch a couple of harness races.


Lemon Coconut Bars


I don’t know where I first found this recipe, but I made these delicious bars in 1987 for the Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Fair.  They didn’t win a prize but my youngest daughter loves coconut and they are a favorite of hers.



  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾  cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut in small cubes

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and brown sugar.   Add the butter and mix together until mixture is blended.

Pat mixture into buttered 9×9 pan, using water-dampened fingertips to even out the dough.

Bake at 275 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Remove pan to wire rack.



  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¼ tsp. lemon extract
  • 1 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup coconut
  • ½ cup chopped nuts

In a large bowl, whisk the egg; add the brown sugar and lemon extract and whisk until smooth.

Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt, mixing well.  Add coconut and nuts.

Spread filling mixture on the baked crust.

Bake for approximately 17 minutes at 350 degrees F until top is golden brown.  Remove pan to a wire rack.

While cookies are baking, make the frosting.


  • ½ Tblsp. melted butter
  • ½ tsp. lemon extract
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • About 2 tsp. water

In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter and lemon extract.  Stir in the confectioners’ sugar and add water a little at a time to make a thin glaze consistency.
Let the baked cookies cool for about 10 minutes, then drizzle the glaze over the top. Allow to continue to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Cut into 12 bars. 

These bars are moist and chewy with a sharp lemon tang.


Health Bread

I first made this bread in 1988 when it won a ribbon at our county fair.  The recipe came from an old publication called Blue Ribbon Gazette, a collection of blue ribbon winning recipes from around the country.  It’s a nice, sturdy loaf that’s delicious fresh from the oven or toasted.  It’s good to have a loaf tucked away in the freezer to make grilled sandwiches or to serve with soup on a chilly, windy day.


  • Servings: Two 9-inch or four 7-1/2-inch loaves
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  • 4-½  cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 2 Tblsp. fast acting yeast*
  • 1 Tblsp. salt
  • ¼ cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 Tblsp. oat bran
  • 2-¼ cups buttermilk heated to 130 degrees F
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup sorghum molasses (or any strong flavored molasses such as Grandma’s)
  • 2-¼ cups whole wheat flour

*The “Instant“ or “Quick Rise” yeast is especially formulated to be used mixed with the dry ingredients and can withstand the hot water.  Rising time is cut in half.

Grease two 9-inch or four 7-½ inch loaf pans

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour, yeast, salt, buckwheat flour and oat bran. Add 130 degree F buttermilk, oil and molasses.  Beat with a paddle beater at medium speed for 3 minutes.

Remove paddle beater and insert dough hook.  Add 2-¼ cups of whole wheat flour.  Beat a medium speed for 6-½ minutes, gradually adding remaining all-purpose flour until dough is smooth and elastic.  Don’t use more all-purpose flour than you need.  Dough will be a little sticky from the molasses.

Place dough in a greased bowl, turn, cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Use your knuckles to punch down and deflate the dough.  Form into two 9-inch loaves or four 7-½-inch loaves and place in prepared pans.


Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Bake 9-inch loaves for approximately 45 minutes; 7-½-inch loaves for approximately 25 minutes or until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Cool on a wire rack. 

Yield:  Two 9-inch or four 7-½ inch loaves


Garden Flag Made from Canvas Duck Fabric

I have a small garden flag stand beside my front walk and have a lot of nice seasonal flags for it, but I was never able to find a flag with a harness horse on it.  This past week, I bought some canvas duck fabric at JoAnn’s to make a floor cloth and thought I would try making a small banner out of this material, using the same general procedure I have used for floor cloths.

The duck canvas gets several coats of Gesso to provide a good surface for painting.  The design is painted with acrylic paint and inked with a Sharpie fine or ultra-fine pen on the canvas and then several coats of clear satin acrylic varnish are applied.

I cut a piece of fabric for the back from an old county fair panel I’ve had for years.  This was also coated with the varnish.

This piece is something of an experiment for me since I know the process works well for indoor floor mats and the acrylic works well for outdoor wood items, but I’ve never combined the two processes before.

I like the banner very much.  The barn is from a photograph of the horse barn my father had for his harness horses for many years.

It was a gathering place for the family in the 1950s and 60s, especially during county fair time when everyone congregated.

I’ll see how this banner works out in all kinds of weather and I may be making a few more throughout the year.

Pie Contest Table Topper–Mini-Quilt

In the 1990s, I did a large painting of our county fair pie contest.

I took a picture of this painting and printed it on June Tailor Colorfast Fabric for Inkjet Printers.  I left the backing paper on while I touched up the acrylic paint and re-inked the picture.  Then, I removed the backing paper and sewed on strips of fabric plus rick-rack to complete the top.

I used all scraps for the backing and completed a memory piece for my table topper rack.

The little pie was hand carved from wood by a good friend and I borrowed one of my daughter’s miniature blue ribbons for this display.

In 1995, I had used a version of this painting to make a floor cloth for my daughter.  It has been in constant use since that time and I’m going to freshen the paint and apply another couple coats of clear acrylic so it will be bright for a few more years.

In 1993, the original design was on a sweatshirt which won a blue ribbon at our county fair and at the Ohio State Fair.

My inspiration for the sketch was my first pie contest in 1983.  The story is posted here.


As hectic, hot and tiring as the experience was, it stands out in my memory as one of the highlights of my life.

My oldest daughter, who was there at the time and has entered contests herself, has a delightful poem about pie contests on her blog.


County Fair Table Topper

In a previous post, I wrote about resurrecting some old decorative art sketches to make pen and ink panels for a tri-stand quilt rack.  That post is here:


I thought I’d give another favorite sketch a try and made a panel for my larger mini-quilt rack using a design from 1996.  I thought it would be nice to do a crazy-quilt border using actual fair award ribbons.  Although I have a box full of county and state fair ribbons I‘ve won through the years, I didn’t want to cut those up.  Luckily, my daughter found a box of Montgomery County award ribbons (Dayton, Ohio) in an antique mall and I used some of those.

It’s rather ironic that I’m using ribbons from this fair because it was a major event that we attended all the time I was growing up in the 1930s-40s.  I even posted about their big Labor Day Fair here:


I added strip borders and quilted in gold thread to match the lettering on the ribbons…

…and a sleeve, label and binding.

Back in 1996, I had made several wood projects with this design to sell in our craft mall booth.  It was like meeting an old friend again after all these years.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

It’s County Fair Time in my July Kitchen.

County fairs were the major source of summer entertainment throughout my childhood in the 1930-40s era and we went to as many fairs as we could manage on my father’s salary and his gas ration points during World War II.  My favorite part of the fair was sitting around the barn before and after the afternoon’s races, listening to all of the “horse talk” going on around me and just sniffing – a horse barn is still my favorite scent in the world.  Of course, a barn is always full of flies.  My mother used to say that my little sister, who was so anxious to get to the midway and rides, would sit on a folding chair in the barn area and constantly wriggle, scratch, complain, and whine, while every fly in the county landed on her.  Meanwhile, I sat very quietly, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells with not one fly near me.

In my childhood, the horses made up 90% of my interest in the fair, so all through my life, I’ve collected anything with a harness horse on it.  I have quite a few items in my kitchen:

Although I always loved the horses the most, I was also anxious to see the baking and canning displays, the animals, and the quilts.

My kitchen shelf has a large silver tray on top that was won by my father for a race in 1969, and there are two silver bowls plus a brass tray that I won in pie contests in the 1980s.

All of the family competed and won awards in our county fairs and the Ohio State Fair.

It’s fair time again and although we don’t compete any more, I have a small county fair to enjoy right here in my own kitchen.

Click on pictures to enlarge.