Saturday, December 29, 2012

I'm back and Happy!

There's a three letter word that has become a 'four-letter' word in our house.

It's F.L.U.

Ugh!  I pretty much missed all of Christmas week, including Christmas day because of that little word.

Merlin Poster
I did make it through almost 2 seasons of Merlin.

And nearly finished reading this book.  It's fabulous and exactly what I needed when I was feeling sorry for myself being so sick in bed and my kids having to fend for themselves.  You can pick a copy of it here at Amazon.

Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy

I'm still not 100% yet, but at least I made it to the computer.

I also desperately needed to make bread.  I've been kind of scared to do it, minus the fact that I couldn't stand up for more than 5 minutes at time.  The reason is that lately my bread has turned out looking like this.

It still tastes fine, and when it first starting doing this my husband asked if I was trying to make some kind of fancy bread.  :( 
No I wasn't.  Just sandwich bread for the kids. 
 I have to make 5 sandwiches every school day so we go through a ton of bread.

I tried everything I could think of.

I changed the recipe.
I varied the ingredients.
More whole grain.
Less whole grain.
More vital gluten.
More dough enhancer.
Nothing worked.

I even texted pictures to my mother-in-law who is the all time Queen of Breadmaking.  I learned everything from her.  She was stumped too.  She thought it might be the oven temperature.  The problem was that it looked like this before it went into the oven, so I knew that wasn't it.

So my last resort was to take my Bosch to Shar's Kitchen Center and see what they thought.  The owner is my friend, we used to be neighbors a few years ago.  She was stumped too.  They not only sell the Bosch, they are also an authorized location for service.  We decided to give my Bosch a tune-up and then see what happens.  I got it back just in time to make Bread for Christmas breakfast, then that cursed FLU struck and I've been in bed ever since.

Well, today I crossed my fingers and tried our favorite bread recipe.

Apparently my best friend in the kitchen has been sick too.
Now we are both feeling much better.
I'm so Happy!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Health-i-fy your Chex Mix!

I know we all have all these Holiday parties to go to over the next few weeks and Chex Mix is a main staple.  I decided to add a little super Whole Grain to mine.  It's easy and they will never know you are packing in some extra nutrition.  
I did a search for a Savory Oat Crunch and only found one.  ONE!  I couldn't believe it.  And that recipe came from the Lakeland Ledger August 1986.  I don't even know where Lakeland is, but I'm glad that we can search newspapers online now.  SO handy.  
I still remember doing research papers at the library looking through all the micro-fische.  
I'm really aging myself I know.

Any-who, lets get poppin'!  Literally!

This first picture is of Amaranth.  It's a super whole grain and is the funnest to use in my opinion.
When you heat it, it pops just like popcorn, but it's tiny.  We call it Barbie Popcorn.  I could try to explain how to pop it, it is super easy, but just watch this youtube video.  Much easier.  No oil, just a large hot stockpot and a spoon to keep things stirring.  Just be careful not to burn it.  
It stinks when it's burned.  Much like regular popcorn. 
Only cook 2 Tbsp at a time and stop when the popping slows down.  
It only takes about 30 seconds. 

The next picture is the Amaranth popped.  This is about 6 Tbsp of amaranth popped to become about 1 1/2 cups.
 I didn't use all that I popped but I'm saving it to throw on to salads, and I'll probably sneak some into some cookies soon. Shhh don't tell my family.

Once that is done assemble your ingredients:

2 cups Rolled oats (I'm using Honeyville's rolled 6 grain cereal)
1/2 cup popped amaranth
1/2 cup melted margarine or butter
1/3 cup grated Parmesean Cheese
1/4 tsp onion or garlic salt.  (I used Parsleyed Garlic from Costco)

Combine all ingredients and mix well.
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Stir slightly and bake for another 2 minutes.

Let cool on parchment paper.

Make up a batch of Chex Mix acording to manufacturers directions.  
I left out the pretzels because my Husband detests pretzels. 
 I love them, but since he will probably eat more of this than me, this time, he gets his way.

 Pour the Savory Oat Crunch into the prepared Chex Mix and stir well.



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Behold Him Blocks

I've seen these blocks all over Pinterest and some neighbors got together last week to make some. 
 I'm kind of non- traditional in that I like to take someone elses idea, then tweak it to make it mine.  
Maybe you call it Craft-lift?  I know there is Scrap-lift.  
Not sure about Crafting, but I definitely do it.  Of course I always give credit to where it's due.  
That's just un-cool!  So here's my version of the Behold Him Blocks.

I used Burlap to go on the boards.  
Below are the measurements for the wood. 
 In the original, the bottom "HIM" block is out of a 2x6.  
I chose to use a 2x4 piece.

 I looked all over Google to find this image.  It took me a long time to find just the right nativity image I liked.  I reshaped it in photoshop to fit on my 2x6 board.

Get your wood and cut to size. You can even have Home Depot or Lowes do the cutting for you to save time.
Sand everything.
I painted each piece of wood all black.
Then measured and cut the burlap to fit each piece.
Next I used a sharpie to make the letters.
I drew a simple letter, then filled it in to the shape and font I liked with a thicker sharpie.

For the Nativity image, I layed my printed copy under the burlap.  It's surprisingly easy to see under the burlap.  I traced it, then filled it in with a sharpie.  It's really easy, even though it might not look like it.  I referred back to the original print as I filled in the shading etc.

Then I used mod-podge to stick the burlap to the wood.  
After they had dried, I used carpet tack nails to nail into each corner.  

It's a really big set so I put it on my pot shelf in the kitchen.  Perfect!

 Be sure to come back when I flip the boards over and turn them into a Valentines Display piece!

Here's to remembering Him this Christmas Season!
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A 10 minute Scarf & some Fabric Love

On Saturday my sister and I visited a fabric store called SAS Fabrics Superstore that I haven't frequented in years.  For the life of me, I can't figure out why.  I fell in love with fabric all over again... and again... and again.  Luckily, or unluckily depending on you point of view it is about 45 minutes from me.  But for what I got, versus what I could have spent at my local fabric store for the same thing... Totally worth the drive!  Somewhere around 80% to 95% off the normal price for most things.  I had to take pictures of my favorites, then I'll share what I made with some of what I bought.  There will definitely be more posts of what I'm making over the next week in time for Christmas.

In the mean time, let me help you fall in love with fabric all over again like I did.

 Ribbon sewn in flower patterns all over satin.  Gorgeous.  Can you imagine this as a wedding dress?

Next was ribbon sewn in waves over tule.  Love it!

There was a wedding dress in the window with this white circle fabric.  But it comes in all colors.  I think I need a  few yards of the red.  Just because!

More gorgeous fabrics!

This ruffled sheer was to die for!

The intricate dtail on this fabric was stunning!  Can you see the price?  Unbelieveable!

This was a super fun pink  tule with ribbon and sequins.

Sequin-ed camoflage anyone!  To funny!

Gorgeous.  Simply Gorgeous!

More ribbon swirls.  Notice a theme here?  I love the swirls!

I took this picture so you can see how fabulous the prices were for some amazing fabric!

A few more fabulous fabrics.

My mom loves giraffes and we took this pic for her.  I'm not sure what I'd make with it but it is super cute and Super Cheap!

This last one is just stunning.  Enough said.

So what did I buy?  Here's a preview.

I got these three to make a dress for my girl.  The sheer floral was only $1.50 a yard!  The satin was only $2.00, as was the crushed velvet.  Super-uper-de-duper Score!

Lastly was this sheer I picked up.  It was by the pound so I only paid about $5 for all of it.  I think I should get at least 6 scarves out of it.

I had to have a scarf out of the polka-dot for church and since my life is super crazy busy, I only had about 10 minutes to make it.  Plenty of time!

First cut out the strip of fabric to the width and length you want.

Get out a little votive candle and light it.
You can see the frayed edges of the fabric on the plate.  Yucky.
So all I did was hold the fabric about 1 inch above the candle at the edge of the fabric.
Steadily move the fabric to the left over the candle.
It will melt the fabric slightly and finish the edge.

Here's a close up of the fabric after going over the candle.  Simple and neat.  It won't be a straight edge and you have to keep the fabric moving so it doesn't catch on fire.  Not good.
But it's a quick and easy process and you have an instant scarf that's ready to wear!

 And done! Fabulous!

I wore it with my jean's skirt that I upcycled a little while ago and a canvas jacket.

Of course black boots and argyle tights.

 Simple.  Quick.  Fabulous!

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