Hi, I'm Torrey. Welcome to Left Field, where creativity runs amok and imagination is ALWAYS more important than knowledge. Shoes are not allowed but ties are optional. This is a repository of snippets from my life out here in Left Field. One never knows what shiny bits of creativity will be found here... cards, scrapbook layouts, photography, poetry, recipes, ponderings, rantings and musings. It could be anything! Life in Left Field is always changing, always real, always ...interesting.

December 22, 2018

Triple B...Boston Brown Bread

Hidy ho, crafty peeps!

I've given up dusting off this place. I have been gone so long from my blog that the dust bunnies in here all moved to the country. I guess they decided that Left Field was not the type of "field" they were looking for.

So, I have put the redesign of my blog on hold. It's taking longer than I had planned. Turns out, I have TOO MANY ideas for what the new look will be. I keep vacillating between 3 ideas. We'll see which one finally wins out. But, for now, the "old" design will remain.

Now, for the matter at hand, BOSTON BROWN BREAD.

Related image
How many of you know what this is?

I grew up on this stuff. It was always a treat around this time of year to see the cans of this delicacy show up on the grocery store shelves again.

Brown bread is a New England tradition. It's an early-American classic that dates back to Colonial times. It's a moist, dense, dark brown quick bread that is steamed in cylindrical cans. Though, you can find recipes that call for baking it in the oven in a loaf pan. It MIGHT taste similar, but I guarantee the texture (and experience) wouldn't be the same.

Historically, it's served with baked beans. And maybe hot dogs.

Being that it's a steamed bread, its texture is...well...rubbery. It's SO unique. I've decided it must be akin to the steamed puddings they serve in the U.K. (like Figgy pudding). It's VERY moist. The flavor is like rich dark caramel, almost smoky, and not that sweet. It's flavor comes from all that molasses and raisins. It's very low fat (if you use fat-free buttermilk), high in fiber, has no refined sugar, and is packed full of B vitamins and minerals (thanks to the molasses).

My mom told me how much she'd love to have some, so I made it my mission to find it. I started out at the local big grocery stores. None to be found. I even asked the managers if they could order it.


So then I traveled to the gourmet grocery stores.


I finally found it online...but GEEZ...it's like $6- $10 a can (plush S&H).

That's when I decided I'd teach myself how to make it.

How hard can it be?

Turns out...not hard at all. In fact, it's super easy.

The only difficult thing was finding fine-ground cornmeal and rye flour. But, I finally did at our local gourmet grocery store.

Oh! and for the cans I used, I just saved some empty veggie/chili cans, washed 'em out, removed their labels. BUT...I did use a special "smooth edge" can opener to completely cut off the tops of the can. I think I found mine on Amazon. Here is a link to the one I have
smooth edge can opener 

it looks like this

So...here is my recipe! I compiled it (Frankensteined it) from several recipes. I took what made sense from several and came up with my own version. And, truth be told, my homemade brown bread tastes BETTER than the commercial canned variety.


Torrey's Better Boston Brown Bread

Ingredients: for 4 "loaves"

  • 1 cup molasses
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • 3/4 cup (rounded) fine-ground cornmeal/corn flour- do NOT use regular cornmeal.
  • 3/4 cup (rounded) rye flour
  • 3/4  cup (rounded) whole wheat flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 2/3 cup raisins (optional)
 You will also need:
  • Softened butter for greasing cans
  • 4 (14 oz) cans (I use empty veggie cans) 
  • parchment paper
  • aluminum foil
  • rubber bands (or kitchen string)

  1. Grease four 14-ounce cans, WELL, with butter and place a round piece of parchment paper in the bottom of each can.
  2. Whisk all ingredients dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
  4. Add raisins (if desired). Stir them in well.
  5. Divide batter between the cans. Batter will NOT fill cans completely. Leave about 1-1/2 inches head space to allow bread to rise.
  6. Place a piece of foil tightly over the top of each can and secure with a string or rubber band. Set cans in a pot on a steamer rack (I just use my big pasta pot with lift out strainer liner inside)… and fill with hot water to halfway up sides of cans. 
  7. Set lid on pot and bring to simmer over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer until breads are set and gently pulling away from sides of can, about 1 hour. A skewer inserted into the center should come out with moist crumbs.
  8. Remove cans from pot, set cans on cooling rack, and remove foil. Let bread cool in can for 1 hour. 
  9. If necessary, run knife along inside of can to loosen (mine just come right out on their own)… then remove bread by turning can upside down and knocking it gently onto work surface. 
  10. Serve with cream cheese, or sliced into ½ inch slices and browned in skillet with butter (the way I like it). 
  11. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap (ok if it’s still a bit warm), and store in refrigerator.

September 8, 2017


Hidy ho, crafty peeps!

Firstly, YES...my blog is still "officially" closed for remodeling. So I guess that makes this an "unofficial" post.

My birthday was yesterday. It came and went, unceremoniously, save the HORRIBLE singing bestowed upon me by my family (that's you--Mom, Richard, Jonathan, Eric and Autumn). In all honesty and fairness, my mother and father-in-law sang beautifully in full harmony, my sister sang a light and bright version of Happy Birthday, Jodi sang a snappy version, and my dad sang Happy Birthday to me in Klingon (yes, you read that right. He sang to me in Klingon)...so I guess that sort of counts as "ceremonius".

I got a wonderful new die from Lawn Fawn from my hubby (I dropped HUGE hints). It's their new shadowbox die. I can't wait to use it! I did make a card for my sister's birthday (hers is 3 days before mine). I used another Lawn Fawn set I have that I love--"Upon a Star".

I tried the "galaxy background" technique that is so popular these days. It was my first attempt at a galaxy. They're really fun! Half way through the process, however, it looked like a HOT MESS. I had my doubts that it would turn out...but whatayaknow. It TOTALLY turned out. There are many different media one can use to create a galaxy background. I used Distress Inks and a dauber for my galaxy. Next time I make one, I think I'll try watercolors. I got a little heavy-handed with the shimmer spray...so it looks almost golden. Next time, I'm gonna leave it off altogether.

So, here is my sister's birthday card. The photo does not do that galaxy justice.

Wanna know the BEST part about this card? It glows in the dark....I know what you're thinking...."SHUT UP!!!" Yep, it totally does. Anyone who knows me, knows about my fascination/obsession with glow-in-the-dark stuff.

Although the sentiment on the outside does NOT glow...the one on the inside does. To make it glow, I used a combo of glow-in-the-dark embossing powder (yeah, there really is such a thing) and glow-in-the-dark paint.

I also decided to forego my usual "Angel Food cake with pink frosting" as a birthday cake (you're shocked, aren't you?). Instead, I made my own birthday cake. I didn't want someone to get me a store-bought cake.


I used a new-to-me recipe (which I totally tweaked out). Let me tell you right now, it was DELICIOUS. The cake is super moist and has such a nice fine crumb. It's velvety smooth. And, my addition of toasted pecans to the frosting was inspired. I snagged the original recipe from my Aunt Susie's FB page (thank you for posting it Susie!)

It looked so yummy, I knew I had to try it. I know my version is better than the original...because...it's MY version. And anyone who has tasted my cooking knows that my version is ALWAYS better (unless it's a recipe from my bestee, Jodi).

(and I'm modest)

Anywho, here is my cake! And yes, the recipe follows.

Pumpkin Dream Cake a la Torrey

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼  teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼  teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (15 oz) can solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 12 oz (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 4 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup toasted pecan pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease 3, 8-inch (or 9-inch) round cake pans and place parchment paper in bottom of each (optional). Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, dry spices, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla, pumpkin, and vegetable oil. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk.
  4. Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and completely cool on rack.
  6. To toast pecans: Spread on cookie sheet and place under broiler in oven (only takes a minute or less). Toast until fragrant and browned. Watch them like a hawk, they burn easily.
  7. For the frosting: In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon. Add powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) and beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth. Mix in nuts.
  8. Assemble the 3 layers with a thick layer of frosting in between each layer.  Frost the outside and top with remaining frosting. Store in the fridge.

Thanks for stopping by Left Field! I promise I'll have the redesign finished someday. LOL. Until then,

Stay creative, y'all!

July 30, 2017

Temporarily Closed for Remodeling

Due to recent changes in policy at the company that hosts photos for my blog, I am TEMPORARILY closing my Left Field Studio blog for upgrades and redesigning. I will host a grand reopening in the near(ish) future.

May 14, 2017

Lemony Snicketty Yellowies


You may be asking, "Gee, Torrey, what HAVE you been up to?"

My reply: "Stuff".

Nothing really exciting. Just...stuff. Oh, and something happened with my mom, but that is another post (she's fine, btw).

Today, I'm here to share the recipe I just discovered and made for my mom for Mother's Day.

It's...well, if sunshine and a brownie fell in love and had an albino baby, it would taste like this recipe.

This confection is called Lemon Brownies.

I know, I know...it sounds like an oxymoron...as there is NO chocolate in these babies, and they aren't even REMOTELY brown. Even without chocolate, they have earned status as one of my all-time favorite desserts. Ever.

Yep, they're that good.

But, I was seriously not happy with their name...like when someone is named "Gertrude" and they actually look like someone who should be named "Periwinkle".

So, I renamed them to YELLOWIES. I suppose, technically, I could call them Lemon Blondies...but Yellowies is so much more...fun.

Their texture is like velvet--dense, moist, with a VERY fine crumb. They're VERY reminiscent of pound cake, only moister. They are soooooooo smooth. Barry White has nothing on these gems.

So, here is my version of the recipe I found (yeah, I tweaked it...sue me...even though mine is better).

Torrey's Lemony Snicketty Yellowies
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-3 TBS lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-4 TBS lemon juice (maybe a bit more)
  • 1-2 TBS lemon zest 
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C)
1. In mixing bowl, cream together sugar and butter ...for 3-5 minutes. Beat, beat, beat.
2. Add eggs (one at a time) and stir until incorporated, then add vanilla.
3. Using hand mixer (or stand mixer), beat until light and sort of fluffy.
4. Add lemon juice and zest. Stir well.
5. In separate bowl, mix flour and salt together.
6. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until thoroughly blended.
7. Prepare 2qt baking dish (8x8 or 7x11)--buttered and floured.
8. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. This will be VERY pale when done. Only the VERY outside of the edges will be golden brown (see photo above)...the rest will be pale yellow. Do NOT overbake this...it will turn out dry if you do. Yuck.
9. For GLAZE: combine powdered sugar and lemon zest in a bowl...Add lemon juice one tsp at a time until consistency is a little runny...but not TOO runny. 
10. Let cool COMPLETELY before spreading glaze on.
11. Spread glaze over top of brownies, and let sit in room air UNCOVERED to allow glaze to solidify. After glaze is set, cut into pieces.
12. Store in airtight container at room temperature...if they last that long. Just sayin'.

HIGH ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENTS: Click on the following link for instructions on high altitude baking: High Altitude Baking

VARIATIONS: You could switch out the lemon juice/zest for any other citrus...orange, lime, grapefruit. Though, if you use orange, you may want to cut back on the sugar a bit.

 Thanks for swinging by!

February 25, 2017

Bircher Muesli

Hidy ho, crafty peeps!

I bet y'all thought I had fallen off the face of the earth.

I did.

I'm fighting a serious case of the "uncreative blahs". A veritable Sahara desert, without a drop of creativity in sight.


I basically have stepped away from creating. I stepped down from all my design teams, and have pretty much turned my beautiful studio into a storage room. I'm trying to get my mojo back. Actually, I'm going to go visit my mojo in a couple of weeks...perhaps Jodi will be able to recharge my creative batteries. She always does.

My in-laws are visiting this week. They eat SO MUCH more healthfully than my husband and I do...so I'm striving to fix healthier things (though what I REALLY want is chocolate and junk food).

For breakfast today I fixed Bircher Muesli.

What is Bircher Muesli, you ask?

Well...let me put on my Alton Brown hat and tell ya.

Bircher Muesli (aka the original "Overnight Oats") was developed around 1900 by a Swiss physician named...you guessed it...Dr. Bircher-Brenner. He developed it for his patients. It's still very popular in Europe especially Germany and Switzerland...but is found all over Europe really.

My mom and I had some on our trip last summer down the Rhine River in Europe. I ate it every morning on the boat...not because I had to...but because it was so darn yummy.

So I thought I might try my hand at it since it's A) delicious, and B) good for you...like insanely good for you. It's low-cal, low-glycemic, low-fat, gluten-free, high-protein, high-fiber, lots of antioxidants, loaded with heart healthy omega fats, the list goes on and on.

Here is the recipe I came up with. The measurements are mostly suggestions, as y'all know I don't measure stuff. The important thing is that you completely cover your oats with whatever liquid you choose. I use a mix of rolled oats and steel cut--because the steel cut oats are nice and chewy. The rest is to taste. So have at it!

Torrey's Bircher Muesli
Yield: 5-6 servings

• 2 cups dry Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
• 1 cup dry steel cut oats (can omit these and just use regular rolled oats)
• ~3-5 cups milk (or almond/rice/soy milk)…enough to cover oats in bowl. If you want it more liquidy...add more milk.
• 1 TBS cinnamon
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 apple (whatever type you like)
• 1 cup Greek yogurt (I use vanilla, but plain would be ok)
• 2 TBS honey or agave nectar

MIX-INS/TOPPINGS: All are OPTIONAL...do whatever sounds good to you.
• Berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries…whatever you like)
• Fresh fruit (bananas, peaches, grapes, kiwi, plums, figs…whatever you like)
• Dried fruit- cut into small pieces (apricots, peaches, cherries, raisins, pineapple, figs, dates…whatever you like)
• ½ cup nut pieces (almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts)- TOASTED
• ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes - TOASTED
• ¼ cup seeds (flax, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame…whatever you like) – TOASTED
• Additional cinnamon, lecithin, wheat germ, oat bran
• 1 TBS nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower…whatever you like)

1. In large bowl, combine oats, cinnamon, salt and mix well.
2. Pour milk over oat mixture to cover. Stir once to combine. The more milk you add, the more liquidy it will be.
3. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator overnight (at least 8 hours).
4. In morning, grate/chop up 1 apple and stir into oat mixture
5. Stir in yogurt and honey.
6. TO TOAST NUTS/COCONUT/SEEDS: place in single layer on a cookie sheet under broiler until toasted. NOTE: they toast FAST and can burn even FASTER. So watch them like a hawk.
7. Serve buffet style...put mix-ins/toppings in individual serving bowls on counter or table.
8. Serve muesli COLD in bowls and add whatever mix-ins/toppings you like.
9. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon, lecithin, wheat germ, oat bran…if desired
10. Muesli base will keep in refrigerator for several days. Store in covered container.
11. Can even make up individual portions in Mason jars and store them in your fridge for quick, grab-and-go breakfasts!