Monday, November 25, 2013

Amish White Bread

We all know my husband loves bread of any kind, so I am always on the hunt for a new homemade bread recipe.  I came across this one a few weeks ago and made it a few days later.  Ahhhh, the smell of fresh baked bread in the kitchen, so lovely, and it pairs so nicely with beef stew on a cold fall evening that is quickly turning to winter.  This recipe was a huge hit in my house, I hope you like it!  

Amish White Bread
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (or 1 packet)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 3 cups flour

Amish White Bread
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com
Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (or 1 packet)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 3 cups flour
Directions
In a glass measuring cup, dissolve the sugar in the warm water, then stir in yeast.  Let the mixture sit for about five minutes to proof until it gets foamy.
In a stand mixer, mix together the oil, salt, and  1 cup of flour.  Add in the yeast/water/sugar mixture.  Slowly add in the remaining two cups of flour.  Mix well until a cohesive dough mixture forms.  It should not be sticky and should clump together in a ball. 
Place in an oiled bowl and turn once to coat.  Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rise for one hour until double in bulk.  Punch the dough down and knead briefly.  Shape into a loaf and place in a greased 9x5 loaf pan.  Allow to rise for 30 more minutes (dough should be about 1 inch above the top of the loaf pan).  
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Let cool before slicing.
Enjoy!


The original recipe makes a double batch, if you don't need two loaves of bread, make the recipe according to the directions, let it rise the first time, then divide in half.  Place half in a loaf pan and let rise and bake that loaf.  For the other half of the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap, and place in a freezer ziploc bag.  You can save the dough for another time!  Take the dough out of the freezer in the morning and place in the fridge, when you are ready to bake, unwrap the dough and place it in a loaf pan, let rise for 30-45 minutes in a warm place, and then bake as directed.  
The measurements for two loaves of bread are listed below. 

  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
  • 1/3-2/3 cup white sugar (1/3 cup makes it sweet enough)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups flour. 

<--- Click on the magic button for nutrition info and a printer friendly version
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Placemats

Last year was my dear friend's 30th birthday, the first of my friends to celebrate such a milestone.  I really wanted to do something special with her to celebrate, unfortunately, I was a wee bit distracted as I was getting married the day before her wedding.  Since I couldn't celebrate with her last year, I wanted to do something special for her this year for her birthday.  
I chose to make her placemats for two reasons.  1) I know she loves owls and I was trying to think of something I could make that would use owl fabric that would be useful and 2) She received a set of beautiful placements at one of her bridal showers that I was at, so I knew she was a placement person :)
Then I was off on the hunt for some owl fabric.  My fabric store options are fairly limited where I live, but I was able to find a fun owl print.  I know the back side doesn't really match, but I wanted something a little more toned down that her husband would also enjoy.
These placements were fun and simple to make.  Now that I've made a set for a friend, I just might have to make some for me with some fun holiday prints to add to my collection!

What you need:
  • 3/4 yard of two coordinating fabrics
  • 3/4 yard Pellon (or something stiffer to put in the middle)
  • Matching tread
What you do:
Decide what size you want your placemats to be.  I wanted mine to be fairly standard size/on the larger side. 
Cut your fabric one inch larger than you want your finished placemat to be.  I wanted to use my entire 3/4 of a yard of fabric, so I cut 4 pieces 19x13 (for finished placemats 18 inches by 12 inches)
Place your two fabrics right sides facing in.  Lay the Pellon on top.  Pin around the edges.
Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew around all four edges of your placemat.  Leave a 4 inch opening on one short side for turning.  (I know this seems like a big seam allowance, but you really do want it this big!)

Clip your corners (to give you crisp edges when your turn your placemats right side out).  Turn placemats right side out.
 Iron along your opening, pressing the edges in.
Top stitch, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance around all four edges.  This is why it was important to have a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Top stitching will hold all of your layers in place, even with washing and will close the hole you used for turning. 

 You can also use a fancy or decorative stitch to topstich your edges, or stitch in a contrasting color.  If you want to try your hand at quilting, this would be a nice small project to work with.  Quilting the layers would help hold them in place through many washings, but is not necessary.

I hope you enjoy making your own placemats!  Either for yourself or as a gift.  If you have any questions, let me know.
Have a great day!

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Monday

Monday, November 4, 2013

Twice baked Squash

I can't believe we are already into November!  Where is this fall going?  Actually, I'm glad we are having fall weather.  The trees along the river have been beautiful and the weather has been pretty decent, if a little cloudy.  I'm just glad we have had some true fall weather and didn't go straight from summer to winter like we sometimes do.
Today I've got another great fall recipe for you to take advantage of seasonal produce.  Last week I shared with you a simple apple crisp recipe and today I have this great side dish of twice baked squash.  Enjoy!

Ingredients
  • 1 lb acorn squash
  • 1 tablesppon butter or margaine
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspponn cinnaomon
Directions
Wash the squash and cut it in half.  Scoup out the innards and seeds.  Place the squash on a baking sheet or in a baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. 
Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.
Scoup out the flesh of the squash and add the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Mash with a potato masher. 
Place into a baking dish, and return to oven for 15 minutes.

*Note - The squash I used in this recipe was very small and only provided a big enough serviing for one.  This is the first time I have made this recipe, next time I will get a larger squash and adjust the butter/brown sugar/cinnamon accordingly.



 <-- Click on the Magic button for nutrition information and a printer friendly version


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Friday, November 1, 2013

October Update


So... I set some lofty goals at the beginning of the year (I still don't really want to call them resolutions... resolutions too often get broken. So... I set goals. I just happened to set them on Jan. 1st)
How am I doing?
Let's take a look.


1. Be active everyday - at least do something! I'm good about being active during the week and hitting the gym - the weekends, not so much. I'd like to change that.
Finally Finally FINALLY!  I met this goal this month!  YAY!!!!!   Take a look.

2. Run 400 miles. I'm worried this might be too much of a stretch for me, considering I don't go much more than 3 miles ever (three times a week), but I can give it a try! I ran about 250 in 2012, so maybe I can be a little more consistent and up my mileage in 2013.
Running was a bit up and down this month, but I kept trucking.  This month I ran 32.25 Miles.  This brings my total 2013 mileage to 343.13/400 miles.

3. Run my first 5K since high school cross country.
I'm registered for a race in September!  I was registered, but then had to cancel because of a family obligation, so still no 5K.  Better find me one soon!  If you have a suggestion in the LaCrosse area, let me know!

4. Finish my prayer shawl for St. Mary's Hospital
Finished in April during my spring break - it's huge!

5. Knit 5 Chemo caps   
Total is now 3/5.
Soooo close to being done with number 4!  Just have 10 rows left!

6. Finish one of my other UFO knitting projects
Not yet.  Another one I need to work on, better get moving as the year is ticking away (and I'm crazy busy now that I'm back to work!) 

7. Take two masters classes - I am very unmotivated about working towards my master's but I know I should be taking advantage of the tuition reimbursement at Connections Academy
This one may not happen. I still haven't taken one class yet. I'm not motivated to take the class and worried about overbooking myself. I value the little free time that I do have!

8. Visit one new city or state
Done in Feb. during my honeymoon. I was in Ft. Lauderdale, San Juan Puerto Rico, St. Thomas USVI, and Half Moon Cay.
Also went to Thunder Bay Ontario this month!  Whoot!  Added another new country :)  But sadly no new passport stamps :(

9. Be a better wife (I know, it's vague), but somedays I don't feel like I do that well in this area. Maybe I'm still getting the hang of it since I've only been married 2 1/2 months.
Matt and I celebrated our 1st anniversary in October.  I can't believe we've been married for a whole year already.  I am one lucky lady (and working deserving such a wonderful guy!)  We got to spend a wonderful few days together and it was so nice to have some quality time together. 

10. Be kinder to myself. M keeps telling me that I'm too hard on myself and need to relax some and be nicer to myself and everything will be ok. We both know that being kind to yourself can be tough, but I want to try to make some improvements in this area.
I keep working on this one.  
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