Easy Homemade Bread



Have failed at many bread recipes lately, so I'm so happy now to share this easy recipe from DIY Home Sweet Home.  I divided their recipe in half to make one loaf of bread. Here's my adaptation below.

Mix together:
2.5 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tbs salt

Heat:
1 1/2 cups milk
Add to milk:
1/8 cup sugar
1 tbs yeast
Mix and let set for 5 minutes to dissolve yeast.

Add milk mixture to flour then add 1 egg and 1/8 cup oil.
Add more flour (3 cups) one by one and mix along the way.
Knead, adding a bit of flour to hands a few times to keep things un-sticky.
Let rise 1 1/2 hrs then punch down.
Place in an oiled loaf pans. 
Let dough rise for another 1 1/2 hrs.
Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.
Butter top.
Cool slightly then remove from pans.

Fitting a Large Shirt to Fit Me

Yesterday, I walked in our local Hospice 5k in memory of my grandmother who passed away a few years ago (comfortably, as she was in Hospice care). I currently volunteer with our local Hospice so I was really happy to walk in the race, remember my grandmother, and support a wonderful organization.

I received a 5k shirt for remembering the event, and I really want to wear it through the summer; but, like many t-shirts I have had in the past, they are too long or too wide to feel fashionable (as fashionable as a basic t-shirt can be).

I found and love this tutorial about how to make a large t-shirt into a smaller t-shirt. I always enjoy learning something so simple and will be so useful in the future. I tried it with my Hospice 5k shirt and I think it turned out well. Check out the tutorial for step by step directions (all you need is a shirt that fits you perfectly, a pencil, and a sewing machine).


Shirt before
Trace a fitted shirt onto the larger shirt
Larger shirt after sewing the new seams
Shirt after :) I like it much better!

Quick Onesie Dresses with Hearts from Toilet Paper Rolls


Prudent Baby taught me how to make a quick onesie dress and Singing Three Little Birds showed me how to use an empty roll of toilet paper to make a heart stamp. Joann's Fabric had fabric paint on sale, so I was able to finish three onesie dresses for a sweet baby girl that will arrive soon.



It took a minute to form the roll into the heart I wanted, and with the dress (below) I had hearts too-wide the first time, so I put a new and improved heart over top in red. I did like stacking two different colors of hearts.





I put a squirt of each color, one by one as I used each, and spread it around a bit - wide enough to fit the toilet paper roll heart. I moved the heart around so all sides had paint on them, and then firmly placed the heart on the onesie. I repeated each step when I wanted to make a new heart. Since I was using so many different colors, I started with the lighter hearts first and then finished with the color black.



I like how these turned out, and I'm sure I'll get more creative in time. I also think that these will be fun doll dresses once the baby has grown out of the 0-3 month size of these onesies.

Quick Onesie Dress



I have two nieces on the way this year, so I searched through my Pinterest baby board for some gift ideas. (I do not have babies of my own but I love making gifts for my friends and family who do.) I really wanted to try the onesie dress, and I was very intrigued that Prudent Baby called it the 10 Minute Onesie Dress, as I love crafts that are cute and quick to complete.

I had a Target coupon for onesies so I picked up a pack of five, short-sleeved and sized for 0-3 months. For the dress piece, I used some fat quarters that I had stored up since before Christmas. Once the fabric and onesies were washed, I began sewing.


Prudent Baby's directions were very simple to follow and I think the dress turned out nicely. I found that the dress piece best fit with a vertical length of 8 inches. For each dress, I figured individually where I wanted to sew the dress piece on but all ended up with a bit of fabric lower than the snap underneath.


Very cute as is, but I will head to Joann's this week to get some fabric paint so I can dress up the top of the onesie dress. I like the two following ideas, and maybe I'll do both. Regardless, this turned out nicely and I'm excited to finish them and ship them off to baby Elena in California. And then, I'll get started on more for my second niece, to arrive in early summer.

I like this heart idea from Singing Three Little Birds. It's a toilet paper roll (in a heart shape) dipped in to fabric paint, making hearts on the onesie.


I also like the idea of an initial, like how The Creative Mama has done hers.

Charger Clip

Oh, how I love Pinterest. Let me count the ways - 41 boards, 599 pins, 133 likes. I held off of joining Pinterest, but I'm so happy that I finally did. There are so many great ideas, recipes, crafts, and organization tricks. Like this one from DIY Home Sweet Home.  Use a big clip (I don't know what they are called...) to hold the end of a phone charger, and clip it to the place where the cell phone can lay.


Remember to unplug your charger when finished or the charger will continue to pull energy - this is a bit of savings on your power bill.

Lasagna Cups

I'm traveling for work this week, and it happens to be the week that my dad is visiting from Michigan. He's staying until the end of February, but this week it will be him and my husband alone w/out a cook. So, I decided to use up my mega carton of Ricotta cheese and make some lasagna for freezing - to feed my men lunches and dinner. With half of the ricotta cheese I had enough to make 12 lasagna cups and two 9 x 9 lasagnas for freezing.


The recipe for Lasagna Cups is from Lauren's Latest, and I consider it a success. I did some things differently from Lauren's recipe, and all worked out fine. So, that means that this recipe is tested and approved - even for someone like me who is a clumsy cook!

From Lauren's Latest - mine looked the same :)

I did not use Lauren's recommendation of cooking creme cheese, again, because I had TONS of ricotta.  I also sauteed a whole carton of white mushrooms (cleaned and chopped up) in butter until the mushrooms cooked down. Then I added some onion seasoning. I like to put the sauteed mushrooms in my ricotta cheese mixture. It's really good.

I cooked the lasagna noodles, and per Lauren's advice, let them cool on a greased baking sheet. This is a great idea because I hadn't figured out how to get the cooked noodles to not stick to a surface. Thanks, Lauren :) Then, I folded each in half and followed her instructions to put each noodle in and around the muffin tin. She had a jumbo tin, and I had a regular sized so that's why I folded my noodles in half - they would have been too tall to fit. Squares of parchment paper go in first, under the noodle. Next time, I'll remember to also spray the muffin tin with oil spray...


I also cooked up 1 lb. of ground venison (in the winter we always use venison instead of beef). Then I added one full jar of spaghetti sauce and let it simmer together for a while. Also I added basil and oregano. I think about 1 tb. Lauren has a great recipe for a sauce but I used what I had on hand. A little extra sauce is put on the bottom of the cups, then a square of lasagna noodle (I cut from the remnants I had), and then I layered with a scoop of ricotta mixture, then meat sauce, and then another noodle. My ice cream scooper portioned the scoops out perfectly ;)



From the remnants of noodles, I cut squares to top the cups. Then, I topped with more sauce and then a large pinch of Parmesan cheese.


They cooked at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. My dad tried them and said they were good. I had one as well, and really liked them. I think these are good for portioning. With a nice salad and two cups, that would be a good sized meal.

My cups now wait in the freezer to be lunches for my husband this week :)

Dollar Store Dishtowel Apron

I really liked the idea of picking up a $1 dishtowel from the Dollar Store and making an apron. I am a very messy cook (I try not to be, to no avail) so the thought of having an apron made of towel was appealing. Throw it in the wash with towels and be done. The inspiration for this project is from Simple Simon & Company .  Below is the model apron they made. Very cute -
I see now that I made my apon to be longer horizontally (above, seems to be longer vertically). I'm short and "hippy" so my end product will work fine for me.


The red fabric for the sashing is from a pajama shirt I bought this week from Marshall's. I really liked the dog fabric that made the pj pants, but didn't necessarily like the heavy pajama top - so I cut it up.  I think the pooches are cute. 

I will definitely make this again. I agree with the original poster that this is a quick, easy, and great gift. I like that the apron can get used and dirty and be thrown in with the wash. I also like this other idea from Then She Made, and I'll try it, too.

Easy Microwave Cleaning

Opened my microwave the other day and - yuck! Here's a trick from Pinterest that I learned and used successfully (without using chemicals).

Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1 cup water in a microwaveable bowl (without top). Cook on high for about 10 minutes and then immediately wipe down interior of microwave with a cloth or paper towel.

Amazing and easy.

What NOT to wear on Christmas

Really?

This post cracked me up and I have to post the best (or worst?) picture of what NOT to wear at Christmas.

Juicing

I have a Jack LaLanne juicer and it's been resting in a lower kitchen cabinet for a few months. I've been feeling sluggish lately, not feeling like I'm looking my best, so I pulled it out this morning and made a fresh fruit juice.

Fresh juice is packed with nutrients that one's body instantly absorbs. As juice sits, it loses it's nutrients, which is partly why store-bought juice is usually just liquid sugar minus the healthy stuff. Andrew Weil, M.D. has a really quick explanation about whether or not juicing is good. I know that after a juice, I feel energized and more alive.

Today's juice consisted of:
1 peeled lime
1 peeled tangering
1 peeled orange (all citrus fruits need to be peeled)
3 apples



Juicing at home is recognized as a very healthy habit; however, there are some things to remember. 100% fruit juice (like I made this morning because it's all that I had in the fridge) contains A LOT of sugar.  A fruit and veggie mix is a good choice, and they taste really good. Amazon.com sells many good juicing recipe books, many of which list the specific health benefits each juice provides (energy, detox, skin health, etc.). Certain juices also combat illness.

I'm going to try one juice a day. And add in more veggies!