Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fabulous Homemade Bread

This recipe for homemade bread is fabulous! It is very easy to make (considering it IS homemade bread), has good texture and flavor and wasn't too crumbly at all. It will leave your house smelling DIVINE! I wonder if anyone makes an air freshener that smells like homemade bread. Well...they do freshly baked cookies! Why not bread? :-) Anyway...

You need:
2 envelopes of dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1/4 c granulated sugar or honey
3 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp salt
9-10 cups of flour (I used half whole wheat and half all-purpose)
1 cup oats

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a bowl. Add the honey, butter, and salt. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add oats and then flour, 2 cups at a time, until the dough is only slightly sticky and you can easily work with it. Remove from bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes. You may need to keep adding a little flour at a time. Spray the original bowl with nonstick cooking spray and return the dough to the bowl. Allow to rise 45 minutes to an hour or until doubled. Spray two loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Punch dough down and knead until smooth. Divide dough in half and form two loaves, tucking seams underneath. Let dough rise until it reaches the tops of the pans. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake until golden brown and hollow sounding when you tap on the bottom, about 35-45 minutes. Cool and serve.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gotta Love Those Links: February 19th

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm ready for this week to be over and for the weekend to arrive. Maybe these sites will get your creative juices flowing for some fun this weekend. I know my to-do list is full!

Apartment Therapy Unplugged: Home Office in a Closet: I thought this was a really neat idea for hiding the "mess" of a home office in a closet if you don't have room for an official office. I asked John if he thought he could work from a closet and he said he to find an empty closet.

Boden: How to make friends from old socks: Such a cute idea for sewing sock dolls. Something to keep in mind for Kaelan's next birthday.

Sew, Mama, Sew: Napkins from Fat Quarters: Using cloth napkins seems to make the dining experience so much more "fancy." Now to find some fabric and the time. I guess while I'm at it, I could make my own chair covers, too. :-)

Cicada Daydream: Fat Quarter Tote Bag Tutorial: This must be the month for fat quarter ideas, but I really think this tote looks easy enough to make and functional enough for everyday use.

CSS Drive: Color Palette Generator: If you have a picture you love and you're looking for coordinating colors, either for a website or as inspiration for a room, this is the site for you. It will pull a color palette from any picture that you upload. Looks like fun!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Banana Muffins

This recipe came from Lindsay @Passionate Homemaking, modified a bit (of course). I love it that these muffins are wonderful every time I make them. I actually bought bananas that were on special and froze them just so I'd have them for this recipe (and the occasional smoothie). We eat A LOT of muffins at my house. It is really easy to double the recipe and freeze them for fast breakfasts. Pull a few out, microwave them for about a minute and you have a healthy, filling breakfast for all. Kaelan loves them. But then, she loves all things bready. I'm not sure where she gets that from. *grin*

You need:
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 mashed bananas
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 c. melted butter

2 tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 and grease 12 muffin cups. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat bananas, sugar, eggs, and melted butter. Stir banana mix with flour mix until moistened. Do not over mix! Spoon batter into muffin cups. Mix topping and sprinkle on top. Bake 18-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Apple Barn, Anyone?

Have you ever been to the Apple Barn in Pigeon Forge, TN? If you have, you, no doubt, remember their apple fritters. I went to the Apple Barn for the first time about 7 or 8 years ago and picked up one of their newsletters on the way out. Little did I know that the newsletter in my hand contained gold. OK, not real gold, but a recipe worth its weight in gold. Inside was the recipe for their famous apple fritters. I recently ran across said newsletter and tried it out again. My results were a bit disappointing because of my lack of "frying skills" but I'll share it with the hopes that someone else might have better luck. The taste will not disappoint. Mine tasted fabulous (even if I had to bake them after I fried them because the insides weren't done). Maybe next time I'll try to turn them into a muffin so I can skip the frying step. I'll let you know how it turns out.

You need:
1 cup milk
3 cups cake flour
1 orange, rind and juice
4 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup apples, chopped, but not too fine

In a mixing bowl, combine the milk, egg, sugar, and melted butter. Add the orange juice, rind, chopped apples (skins may be left on), and vanilla. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir into milk mixture with a spoon until blended. Do not overmix! Preheat oil in a skillet to 350 degrees. Drop off end of tablespoon into hot oil. Fry to a golden brown. Turn so they brown evenly. Allow to cool.

Let me know how yours turn out.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Homemade Tortillas

Even though it sounds like a daunting task, making homemade tortillas isn't that hard or time consuming and the results are well worth the effort. You know exactly what is going into what you're eating, and they are WAY cheaper than buying them in the store.

You need:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 c. warm water

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add oil and stir. Add water 1 tbsp. at a time until dough can be gathered into a ball. Kneed 15-20 times. Let dough rest 15 min. Divide into 12 equal balls. Roll each ball out from center to make a circle. Cook on ungreased skillet on medium-high heat about 30 seconds on each side or until puffy.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Friday!!

I was reminded by a friend that we should cherish every day we have with those we love. Make sure you give a hug and kiss to those close to you, and tell them how much you appreciate them.

Thanks so much for reading my blog! I was beginning to think I should just give up, but I've received encouragement from several of you, and I'm so glad that you're enjoying it. I appreciate all of you and hope you have a fabulous weekend!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gotta Love Those Links: February 5th

Can you believe that Valentine's Day is rapidly approaching?? It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating a new year. As I am writing this post, I am listening to my daughter scream in different tones from her room (where she is supposed to be napping). She's not upset at all, just exploring the noises her voice box can produce. Anyway, onto the links.

Wonder Time: Bottle Cap t-shirts-- What a fun way to spend a spring afternoon--outdoors, doing something crafty with your kids. OK, so it isn't quite spring yet, but this project gives me the bug. There are so many different things you could do with this shirt. For a boy, a tractor or car with bottle cap wheels might be appropriate. You could do ice cream cones, lollipops, fruit, whatever your imagination can concoct.

The Farm Chicks: Happy Little Spice Drawer
-- I do A LOT of cooking at home, and I'm constantly sorting through my spices in a cabinet trying to find the right one. I LOVE the idea of putting the spices in a drawer so you can just look down and see which one you need. I also really like the idea of using empty baking powder tins for those things you use most often. I just threw one away, too! Oh well. I'm sure they'll be more.

Blissfully Domestic: Shower Curtain Play mat-- I think this would be a great way to encourage creative play at home (or in a classroom). It seems easy (and cheap) to make, and you could definitely involve your kids in the process.

The Smith Family: Canvas Wall Hanging
-- If you've ever been to IKEA and looked at the fabric they have to offer, you will know where the inspiration for this piece came from. I have stood drooling over the fabric, not knowing which one to pick or what I would do with it after I got it home. I love what Tanya's done with just a little fabric and a simple wooden frame. It totally changes the dynamic of the wall!

Maple Creek Blog: Tote Giveaway
--These totes are too cute to choose between. Leave a comment on her blog. Get a chance to win.

I hope you've had an inspiring week so far. Tomorrow is Friday! The weekend is in view. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Overkill? I think not.

I found another interesting opportunity today, thanks to my wonderful husband. NavPress also has a Blogger Review Program, and I have been accepted into their community of bloggers. I emailed them my info today and received the confirmation about an hour later. Very fast! I've requested my first book, The Summer the Wind Whispered My Name by Don Locke. I'm hoping to eliminate downtime between the two programs. If you are interested in the program, email them from this page and you, too, can carry the title of Review Blogger. By the way, I'm still waiting for my set to arrive from Thomas Nelson. It will be two weeks tomorrow. Not as speedy as I would have hoped. Hopefully this will help. If anyone knows of any other book review blogging programs, feel free to share them in the comments.