Monday, March 30, 2009

What a Wonderful Giveaway at

There is a wonderful give away over at The prize is a Marie Osmond Quilter’s Companion sewing machine from Janome! Hop on over there and get your entry in!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Prayer and advice

My poor hubby.....last night I went to my friends to sew and hang out. Hubby and Josh stayed home. Well he bought a trailer frame from his uncle. So he was welding and such. A few weeks ago he bought a varmit/pellet/.22 gun from an antique store. Well he had a bad bolt so he replaced it. Well last night him and Josh were target shooting. His gun froze up. The gun has a barrel and a pipe that runs down the bottom side of the barrel that you cock. Well it froze up with the cocking pipe down. He went to set it down next to the house to go get his screw drivers. The pipe flung back up around his hand. He didn't think he did anything too bad but when he moved it it hurt. So we went to the er this morning. He broke it :(
Well his job has been talking lay offs. Which means no insurance. I am praying we get to keep the insurance for at least 6-8 more weeks. But with him be injured they might not have to lay him off and I think they have disability insurance at work. So we may be ok till the work picks up again.
I need some ideas on where to sell some stuff at to pay these bills. I have books, fabric, clothing, and some other odds and ends of my parents stuff my mom no longer wants/needs. I really don't want to do ebay but I am thinking it has the biggest audience.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We Went Treasure Hunting :D

Our Treasures

1920's-1930's embroidered apron

A child's apron for Chelsea

A reversible apron/clothes pin apron

1950-1960's silk fabric

Mexican vintage transfers

Apron patterns

A variety of transfers :D

Our Weekend Happenings

Off to visit Great-Grandma Francis (who just turned 90.5 years young) :)

Aunt Anna, Uncle Tub and Wyatt

Helping Becky tiller and plant her garden

And inside to have a wonderful lunch! :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Please Pray for Stellan

Stellan is a very sick little baby. Please pray for a complete recovery. I have been following his story since he was in his mommy's womb.

Bread Baking Basics

By Jill Cooper
We get so many questions about how to make homemade bread, so I thought I would try to answer just a few of them today. Don't let all this information make it seem too involved and scare you away from making bread. Once you get used to it, it really isn't a whole lot harder than baking a cake. Just read the information and then follow the recipe step by step.

I once read a book by an older woman on how to bake a pie. She said bake one everyday for 2 weeks and at the end of that time you will know how to bake a pie. That rule applies for many things, including bread baking. Things may seem a little awkward or difficult at first, but after you have made it 14 times you will have learned what not to do and will get comfortable with it. There really was a lot of wisdom in what that older woman said.

We didn't put my favorite recipe for homemade bread in Dining on a Dime because it isn't quite as frugal as others, but I thought some of you might like it now. Also, I will give you my grandmother-in-law's very frugal recipe.

Before I share the recipe, here are some useful tips on baking bread:

Unless the recipe states otherwise in the recipe, heat about 1/4-1/2 cup of the water to 120-130° or until it is hot when you put your finger in it. It can't be too hot or too cold. This is one of the most important parts of making the bread. With practice and time, you will start being able to tell when you have the correct temperature.

When the water is hot enough, add part of the sugar (about 2 Tbsp.) to the water and then the yeast. You add sugar because yeast feeds on sugar. This process is called proofing. The yeast should start foaming, which tells you it's good and also that you haven't gotten the water too hot. If nothing happens, your yeast is dead for one reason or another so you need to get some new yeast or try it again with a different water temperature.

It is also good to do this because proofing the yeast gives the bread a better start. So you don't get confused, there are some recipes where you add the yeast with the flour and other ingredients and can't proof. That's OK because those recipes make up for it by calling for you to mix the ingredients with a mixer.

When you can, add a 1/2-1 cup of mashed potatoes to your bread recipe or, in place of regular water, use water you have used to cook your potatoes. Yeast loves potatoes and the more it eats, the bigger it grows, making the bread lighter and fluffier.

Never add salt with your yeast and water because the salt will kill it.

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Don't forget to take the eggs out and let them warm up.

If the recipe says to add enough flour to make a stiff dough, just add the flour until it is slightly sticky, taking that last 1/2 cup or so of flour and putting it on your kneading surface. Then knead the last of the flour into the bread. If you get to much flour in the recipe, it makes the bread tough. Beginners sometimes put in all the flour that the recipe calls for and then add more flour on the board to knead, it causing the dough to get too stiff.

You can't knead bread too much. Knead until it is very smooth and elastic, usually about 10-15 minutes. I know that is a long time. That is why I don't make bread as often since I have had CFS. I made my best bread on the days my husband would come into the kitchen, spy my dough and start pounding on it. He had more strength than I and always did a better job of kneading.

I always roll my dough into a 14x9 rectangle then roll it jelly roll style and put it in the pan. This helps to get rid of any large air bubbles you might have in the dough that can leave large pockets and holes in your bread.

I have tried many methods to raise bread, from putting it in a covered bowl on the stove to putting it in the car on a warm day. What I found works best for me is to heat my oven on the lowest temperature while I am mixing my dough. After about 5 minutes of heating, I turn the oven off, turn my oven light on and place the dough in my oven (not covering). It works great every time. The heat from the light seems to give it the right amount of warmth.

I also do this when I put the bread in the pans to rise. I place the dough in the oven to rise using the method I described above (reheating the oven and turning it off). Then, when it is almost double in size, I leave it where it is and turn the oven on to the temperature that the bread is supposed to bake and bake it.

Most recipes say to let bread double in size and, to see if it is ready, press your finger into it. If the dent stays, it is ready. After you have made several loaves, you can pretty much tell when it is ready. When I use the method for raising dough I describe above, I skip this test because my bread finishes rising the last little bit while the oven is preheating.

Most bread doughs can be frozen. Mix and knead. Shape into loaves, mini loaves or rolls, not letting it rise. Wrap very well and freeze. When you want to use it, thaw and let it rise. It will keep in the freezer about 4 weeks, but after that the yeast starts going bad.

When you freeze or in store home baked breads, be sure to wrap them well. Bread can lose its moisture. If you don't think you will use it quickly, freeze part of the already baked bread, because it can dry out and get moldy faster than store bought bread. This is the reason our great-grandmothers came up with recipes like bread pudding and French toast.

If your bread isn't quite done but is getting too brown, you can tent with foil. To test whether or not it is done, thump it with your fingers and it should sound hollow.

Here's my favorite bread recipe. It is a cinnamon bread but when I want to make regular bread, I just make it into loaves without spreading the cinnamon and sugar on it. This makes 2 loaves of bread.

Jill's Favorite (Cinnamon) Bread

6 1/2 - 7 cups unsifted flour
6 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 pkg. yeast
1 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup margarine
3 eggs (room temp.)


Margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix 2 cups flour with sugar, salt and yeast. Put the milk, water and margarine in a large mixing cup and heat in the microwave to 120° or until it feels really hot when you put your finger in it. (The margarine doesn't need to be melted.) Gradually add to the dry ingredients. Add the eggs and 1/2 cup more of flour. Stir in enough additional flour to make a stiff dough. Turn on to a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic (or you can knead it in the bowl). Place in a greased bowl (It sounds strange, but I use bacon grease), turning to grease the top. Put in warm place (like I mentioned above) and let rise until double; about 35 minutes.

Punch down and divide into 2 halves. Roll into a 14x9 rectangle. If you are making regular bread then, beginning at the 9 inch end, roll as you would a jelly roll, gently making it into a loaf. Divide and place in 2 greased 9x5 bread pans. Let rise again for about 35 minutes until double. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. To see if it's done, thump with your fingers. If it sounds hollow, it is done.

For Cinnamon Bread:

After you have rolled the dough out, spread it with a thick layer of margarine. Then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and roll as above. Be sure to tuck the ends under so the goodies won't ooze out.

Grandma Suhler's White Bread

This is a great frugal recipe or one to use when you are short on ingredients because it doesn't call for things like milk or eggs.

This recipe was written the way we did it years ago, with just the ingredients and minimal instructions, so I hope you can figure it out OK. As you will see this, recipe breaks most of the rules I explained above, but her bread was always great.

You might also notice she did most of her kneading and working the bread in her bowl instead of dirtying a counter. One of our readers mentioned doing the same thing on the blog a few days ago.

1 pkg. yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. shortening or margarine
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups water, very warm
Flour (about 6-7 cups)

Shift flour into the above mixture, stirring until it is too thick to stir. Then work with hands, adding flour as needed until it becomes a very stiff dough and won't stick to your hands. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat top and set in a warm, draft free place about 1 1/2 hours. (This is why I like my oven method for rising.)

Punch down and let rise 1/2 hour more. Make into loaves or rolls. Makes 2 loaves. Bake at 325° for 1 hour for loaves and 35 minutes for rolls. (I found 375° for 25 minutes also works for the rolls.)

Last Note:

You don't always have to use as much yeast as the recipe calls for. For example, my original bread recipe called for 2 packages of yeast and it made 2 loaves. I have used just one package for years and it works fine. Grandma's original recipe was doubled and made 4 loaves but still only used 1 package of yeast.

If a recipe calls for 2 packages of yeast and it makes 2 loaves of regular bread, you can usually just use 1 package to save a little. If you plan on making bread on a regular basis, you might want to buy yeast in bulk or in the jars because it is much less expensive. You can find bulk yeast in warehouse stores or larger grocery stores. Just take some out and freeze the rest. The yeast will stay fresh for up to 3 years this way.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Alcohol Cooking Substitutions

If you arrived here via a search engine, don't miss my full article on Cooking With Alcohol, which includes important information about how much alcohol remains in cooked foods and caution when using alcohol in frozen foods along with tips and hints to help you make the right substitution choice. The chart below gives suggestions for substitutes for various alcoholic ingredients in your recipes. Remember, if you substitute, you will not get the intended result, but it should be close enough to perhaps entice you to try the real thing.
Alcoholic Ingredient Description Substitution
Amaretto Italian almond-flavored liqueur Almond extract.
Beer or ale Various types. For light beers, substitute chicken broth, ginger ale or white grape juice. For heavier beers, use a stronger beef, chicken or mushroom broth or stock. Non-alcoholic beers may also be substituted.
Brandy Liquor made of distilled wine or fruit juice. Scotch or bourbon. If a particular flavor is specified, use the corresponding fruit juice, such as apple, apricot, cherry, peach, raspberry etc. or grape juice. Corresponding flavored extracts can be used for small amounts.
Calvados Apple brandy Apple juice concentrate or juice.
Chambord Black raspberry liqueur Raspberry juice, syrup or extract.
Champagne Sparkling white wine. Sparkling white grape juice, ginger ale, white wine.
Claret Light red wine or Bordeaux. Non-alcoholic wine, diluted currant or grape juice, cherry cider syrup.
Cognac Aged, double-distilled wine or fermented fruit juice. Cognac is considered the finest brandy. Other less expensive brandies may be substituted, as well as Scotch or whiskey, or use peach, apricot or pear juice.
Cointreau French, orange-flavored liqueur. Orange juice concentrate or regular orange juice that has been reduced to a thicker consistency.
Curacao Liqueur made from bitter Seville oranges. Orange juice frozen concentrate or reduced fresh orange juice.
Creme de menthe Thick and syrupy, sweetened mint liqueur. Comes both clear and green. Mix spearmint extract or oil with a little water or grapefruit juice. Use a drop of food coloring if you need the green color.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Make a Raised Garden Bed~

Raised Garden Beds are nice! Easy to work within, less weeding (gotta love THAT!) and produce great results–what more could you ask for? How about some SIMPLE plans to make your own Raised Beds? Check out this link over at Pioneer Woman, for simple instructions, with pictures to create your own raised beds–Spring IS coming….at least thats what the calendar SAYS. :)

Enjoy–this truly is an easy project! LOVE IT!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Automatic Seed Planting Chart

for the Lazy Gardener. How cool is that???

I just found this wonderful automatic seed planting chart at You Grow Girl! You just input your last frost date and it calculates it all for you! Such as 20-MAR-09 - if you don't use that format then it won't work. I figured that out the hard way. I hope you have as much fun with this as I did!


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