Saturday, January 22, 2011

One Recipe Three Ways . . . So Far

One day, I decided to make pizza for the kids for lunch. But I needed a quick pizza dough recipe. Is there such a thing? Why, yes, there is. The recipe can be found here. I was amazed by how this recipe turned out. However, far be it from me to leave a recipe alone. I mean, I cannot simply allow myself to make recipe after recipe only using white flour. So I have made this recipe substituting all the flour with white wheat, I have also cheated from time to time and only substituted a portion with white wheat flour. (NOTE: I do add an additional 1/4 tsp. of yeast when I use the white wheat flour.)

Imagine my absolute joy the morning I decided I wanted cinnamon rolls, but did not want to wait the 2 to 3 hours it would have taken to make them. I added more sugar to the recipe (and used the aforementioned white wheat flour), rolled the dough out, sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar. Viola, cinnamon rolls!

Tonight, I made pigs-in-a-blanket, but I didn't start early enough to make the usual recipe. What to do? Turn to the miracle recipe. This time I had to make a few more changes:

Quick and Easy Crescent Rolls

1/4 cup warm water (110º-115º)
1 tsp. sugar
2-1/2 tsp. yeast
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup warm milk (110º-115º)
1 Tbs. sugar
2 cups white wheat flour
2 Tbs. oil (I used olive oil)
1 tsp. salt
Unbleached white flour as needed.

Combine water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Sprinkle yeast over water and allow to sit until frothy (5 to 10 minutes).

In mixer bowl, combine beaten egg and warmed milk. Do this slowly so you do not have any curdling. Add sugar, yeast mixture, white wheat flour, oil and salt. Using dough hook, start to mix. Add unbleached white flour as needed until dough forms a ball and cleans the bowl. Allow to knead for 8 minutes.

Let rise for 15 minutes (I have even let this go for an hour before with no problems).

Preheat oven to 400º. Divide dough in half. Roll one half into a circle. Cut into eight wedges and roll up from wide end. Repeat with other half of dough. Place rolls on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
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If you are using this for pigs-in-a-blanket, roll your hot dog up into the crescent roll when you are forming them.

Hip, hip, hooray for recipes that work!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fairy Tale Life

"Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life,
Love gives us a fairy tale!"

For some very odd reason, I am nostalgic and weepy. It is not hormone induced--of this I am sure.

Last night, I was at church talking to a friend. Her very cute little boy was looking up at his mommy with such wide eyes, innocence and trust. It is obvious he loves her so much. That was when I got weepy, and it hasn't stopped.

Today I was looking through pictures of my little ones from when they were babies, preparing to make a photo book, and the weepiness continued.

My advice to all moms out there--take LOTS of pictures OFTEN. Your little ones grow up too quickly, and those pictures will remind you of wonderful days past.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Convenient, Made-From-Scratch Pumpkin Muffins

Did anyone else just feel the earth just shake? O.K., O.K. so I had an "aha" moment. For years I could never figure out why anyone would want to buy convenience mixes in the store. It really doesn't take that much extra work to make stuff from scratch. And, besides, homemade tastes WAAAAY better. Also, I couldn't figure out why anyone would make up their own mixes. See extra work reasoning above. However, when we went away in December, I did make up some of my own mixes, because, face it, who wants to get a divorce over something like, "But, honey, I NEED to take the canisters of flour and sugar." I did not, however, use all my mixes on that trip.

But tonight. TONIGHT! I made from scratch pumpkin muffins after I got home at 8:45, and in less than an hour after arriving home, I was pulling those muffins from the oven. I am now a convenient, made-from-scratch mix believer.

Here's my recipe:

Measure into a quart-size ziploc bag:
1 cup oatmeal, ground
1 cup white wheat flour (this is a milder whole wheat flour)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder

When ready to bake--
Combine in a small bowl, mixing well:
3 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 small can pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350º. Pour dry mixture into a medium sized bowl and mix well. Stir in pumpkin mixture with a light hand--just to moisten dry ingredients. Scoop into greased muffin tins (or muffin liners). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Enjoy! (BTW, we love pumpkin muffins no matter the time of year.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Repurposed Jeans Apron & Potholders Set

I made this set for my mom for Christmas. I was so giddy about how it turned out.

For the potholders, I followed Cheryl's tutorial at It's A Pretty Cool Life. She did a great job explaining the process. The one thing I did differently was use a different material for the back of the potholders--in this case jean. It also gave the potholders extra insulation.

I will try to explain how I made the apron.

I used a pair of jeans my son had outgrown. I seam ripped the inside and outside leg seams. Once the two pieces were separate, I laid the front out as flat as possible. Then I used my quilter's ruler to cut straight across both legs at the crotch. I seam ripped the curved area and tucked one side under the other and resewed it so there wouldn't be the pucker caused by the crotch.

After removing the rivets from the pockets and re-tacking the pockets down (I also had to trim the inside pockets off) I turned the seam allowance back in on the outside and tacked that down with a straight stitch. At the waistband, I simply cut straight up the waistband, then used fray check instead of hemming it.

For the skirt, I cut the fish material about 1-1/2 times the width of the jeans edge. I hemmed the bottom and sides, then gathered the top and sewed it to the jeans.

For the tie, I decided how long I wanted the ties to be, then cut my material that length and twice as wide as I wanted it to be. I used a cup as a pattern for the curve at the end of the ties. I folded it in half, right sides together and sewed it with a straight stitch, leaving an opening for turning. After turning, I top-stitched. I threaded this through the belt loops on the jeans and tacked it down under the loops so the stitches wouldn't show. My tie was wider than the belt loops and I gave it a little gather when I tacked it down.

This isn't the best tutorial, but I am posting this as an afterthought. I did not document my steps with pictures.


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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Finding My Crafty Gal Self

Once upon a time BC (before children), I was a crafty gal. From a young age I liked to make gifts and create. When I got older, I entered craft shows. I spent my lunch hour walking the aisles of Michaels. Then my children came along, and my crafty gal self went away. However, my baby (my BABY) is now 8 and my wonderful, wonderful, WONDERFUL husband has been very good to me. Last year, he had a new room created in our house. We took a third of our living room, enclosed it and put a door on it. It is now referred to as THE SANITY ROOM. In the sanity room, I can set up my sewing machine and ironing board. I can put my cutting mat on the floor which can be scattered with pin cushions and scraps of material. This year, dear, wonderful husband installed cabinets. My glorious (albeit small) stash of fabric has been liberated from the containers that kept wonderful treasures of material hidden. I can simply open the door to a cabinet and SEE what material I have available to me. So glorious! I no longer have to use the excuse of having to pull all my supplies out of hiding (er, storage), lug thm in to the kitchen table and set up only to need to stop and make dinner then clear off said table so we can eat. I can step into my sanity room and sew or craft for a few minutes here and there and step out leaving everything where it was to resume my life as a wife and mother.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Thank You to Our Vets!

For Christmas this year, one of my husband's presents was a DVD set of The Pacific.

*Disclaimer: This series is FULL of terrible language (Marines during WWII), and too many (by my standards, 1 is too many) er "intimate" scenes. Consider yourself forewarned should you choose to view this series.

This series is based on several real WWII vets. I sat dumbfounded at the absolute horror. I do not know how any of these men came home alive, and as we know, many, way too many, of them didn't.

These men gave of themselves for our freedom. That is something that we all hear over and over, but I think we are desensitized to the truth of it. Our news media makes over everything so much, that we tend to turn it out. But this series brought it home to me.

I wish that the language was not so terribly awful and that there were no bedroom scenes (honestly, those scenes are never necessary to a story line). I would like to allow my children to watch this. I want them to know what our troops did for us. What my grandfather experienced during WWII. What their grandfather experienced during Vietnam. Unfortunately, as it is, they will probably be adults like me before they get the opportunity to really get a feel of what these brave men went through for our freedom.

I would like to say a personal, "Thank you," to those who fought. Those who gave of their lives and their mental freedom so we can live free.