Archive for September, 2010

A delicious bread with Italian dishes or just served up warm with butter for a snack.

Onion-Garlic-Cheese Bread

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened  (reserve 2 tbsps)

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped.  (or 2 tbsp pre-chopped)

Salt and pepper

1 cup coarsely shredded  cheese (3 ounces), can be cheddar, colby,  Gouda.  You just want a cheese with a stronger taste that is not to overwhelming.

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp dry active yeast

Paprika, garlic powder, onion salt, parsley

Place yeast in 2 tbsp lukewarm water to begin culture. Mix baking soda, powder, flour and salt together in mixing bowl.  Heat buttermilk to lukewarm, melt butter in pan with garlic and onion, saute onion until slightly translucent and add to butter, onion and garlic to buttermilk retaining the lukewarm temperature of the milk.  Merge wet ingredients into dry and add yeast.   Mix until bread pulls away from sides of mixer bowl to form a ball shape.  Add more flour if needed.

Place dough on floured surface and knead.  Place in bowl and cover letting sit in warm location to double in size.  Once doubled punch down and knead again before placing in a greased round cake pan. (You can use regular bread pans if you wish).  Using a sharp knife or kitchen sheers cut mostly of way through dough forming a “flower pedal” shape.  This will create the groves as the dough rises.  Let rise again.

Heat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 25 minutes.   Brush top with melted butter and sprinkle liberally with paprika, garlic powder, onion salt and parsley…bake another 10 minutes or until golden brown.

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Remember a few posts ago I mentioned I’m a very big believer in “Make Do With What You Got.”?  This is another prime example of that concept.  My daughter was needing a Harvest Festival skirt made as she had well outgrown last years.  I had purchased several “Pumpkin Festival”  Kitchen Towels on sale and stashed them away for that rainy day.  Tonight I decided one would make a suitable skirt for my daughter to wear, with lining it would be comfortable, and the material would keep her warm.  It is really quite simple to make these or shorts from kitchen towels, here is how I did it.

1.) Select your towel and lining.

2.) Cut towel into two pieces at center fold. (This would be the location you would hang it from a towel rack).

3.) Trim off the pre-sewn side hems, if needed you can remove the original bottom hem as well and restitch it.

4.) Pin together one side of the skirt body, stitch together by hand or using sewing machine to form a hem.

5.) Measure and cut your lining material to the size of your new material and pin in place.  Stitch along the edges to hold both pieces in place.

6.) Measure length of elastic required to go around your child’s waist, leave a 2 inch allowance on either side for grasping purpose when you pull elastic through new waistband.

7.) Fold top of your new skirt over to form a 1-inch hem, stitch along bottom side of the fold to allow gap which will have elastic thread through for new waistband.

8.) Insert a safety pin into end of your elastic, this makes pulling and feeding it through material far easier.  Push the pin through while gathering the material around it, then feed the material back across the elastic “tail” you drag through.  Be sure to hold the other end of the elastic while doing this so you don’t pull it into the fabric.

9.) Once elastic is  pulled through, stitch the ends of elastic together at location needed for a snug fit on your child’s waist.  Don’t worry about extra elastic, you can either tuck it in for later enlargement of garment as child grows, or cut it off.

10.) Turning your skirt inside out, complete sewing on the last side hem to create the full circle.

That’s it, quick, simple project that can be done in under a hour.

*If your child needs more “room” two towels can be used to form the skirt.*

**If you prefer, ribbon can be used around waist rather then elastic using the same feeding process, at end simply do not stitch ribbon but rather tie knots in end to keep it from re-feeding back into material**

***This same process can be used to make adult skirts also, just rather then hand towels use bath towels.***

This is -not- the top she will be wearing, this was a catch me while you can photo moment to show final product.

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The Stash

Deciding to clean my kitchen cabinet tonight in which my big pots and crock pots are stored. I happened upon this.  I had lost a bag of dum dum suckers I purchased for Halloween, and had after asking the children what happened to them, become assured I had just not remembered to grab the bag containing them at store.  It seems I was wrong as each of these has a few licks taken, and stored for later in a old and worn out crock pot, she even put the lid securely back over her stash.

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Autumn Quilt Square

Fall is in the air, and thankfully the cooler temperatures have finally reached this far south.  While enjoying open windows and cool breezes today rather then humidity and scalding hot, I whipped up the first of four quilt squares.  I honestly can’t wait to get this project finished as it will be auctioned off for Autism at a festival next month.

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Anyone who has been to Olive Garden knows how addictive their Toasted Ravioli is, and honestly it’s extremely simple to make from home, however, as easy as making pasta dough is, it is not for everyone to try to do from scratch.  I’ve used two versions of Toasted Ravioli for our family and for work and both work wonderfully.  I’ll post them both here for you to use and enjoy for you and yours, but today focus is on the “Cheaters” version.  As you will see I don’t bother to do the fancy edge crimping, while it’s tradition for out eyes to see that shape, it’s not required and like I said, this post is about keeping it simple.

“Cheaters” Toasted Ravioli

1 pkg Wonton wraps


1 lb hamburger

1 carton Ricotta cheese

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp dried oregeno

2 tbsp dried basil

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp ground cumin


2 cups water (separated into 2 bowls)

2 cups flour

2 cups bread crumbs

Set out your wonton wrappers on piece of wax paper, have a small bowl of water nearby for finger tip dipping.

Place your meat in a bowl and add the rest of the filler ingredients, using your hands mix together until evenly distributed.

Set out the Water, Flour, Water, Crumbs in separate dishes in the order given.

Get your pan of hot oil on stove and heat to 350 degrees.

Using your hands pinch off marble size pieces and roll into “logs” , place in center of wrapper so they sit corner to corner, using finger tips press down to flatten slightly while keeping them still in middle.

Using finger tips, dip in water and wet edges of wrapper.

Fold up and in two edges of the wrapper, then bring up the bottom of wrapper and finally down the top flap until you have made what looks like a little envelope.  Using fingers assure the edges are sealed properly around the filling.  ( I showed two ways to do this, I prefer the “envelope” but a quicker way is just to make the triangle wedge style)

Coat by dipping first in water, then flour, then water, and finally bread crumbs.

Place in hot oil and fry until golden, set to side on paper towel to cool and drain.

Eat immediately with marinara or pizza sauce, or freeze.  Frozen they can be re-deep fried or you can place them on cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

That’s it….simple.

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Why waste money on expensive cleaning products that barely do the jobs asked of them, and do more harm to your body then not?  There are three essential natural ingredients that clean just as well if not better and cost far less.

Baking Soda – $1.00

Deodorize carpets: Sprinkle carpets with baking soda, leave overnight and vacuum in morning.

Remove grime: Put on sponge and wipe down bathroom tub, sink, shower.

Freshen Laundry: Add 1/4 cup to your rinse cycle.

White Vinegar – $1.00

Prevent Mildew:  Wipe inside of fridge, shower with a solution of 50/50 vinegar to water.

Brighten Whites: Add 1/2 cup to your rinse cycle.

Clean Windows, Mirrors, Glass: Use a 50/59 solution of vinegar to water.

Disinfect:  Spray fixtures, floors, toilets, counter tops, and other surfaces with a mixture of 50/50 vinegar to water and wiping them clean.

Clean wood surfaces:  Mix with linseed oil and wipe down wooden surfaces.

Lemons – $1.00

Purify microwave: Warm heat resistant bowl with water and slices of lemon for 30 minutes.

Remove Stains: Apply lemon juice to white and colorfast garments, let dry in sun to remove stains.

**I will post far more uses for vinegar in the near future, it truly is an amazing product and definitely something to have plenty of around the house.**

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Velvet Bedspread

Last year I lucked upon a very large sheet of maroon velvet cloth with a beautiful floral pattern pressed into it on a closeout rack at discount price.  For a year it sat packed away in my material box and was forgotten about.  I happened upon it while digging for a remnant for another project and figured it was time to finish the project I had begun.  The cloth is so heavy it didn’t need a quilting batting so I merely added a nice silk back in the same maroon color. These pictures do not do it justice, of course my daughters inability to stay off  it for one wrinkle free picture didn’t help.  I’ll try to get a better shot another day, in meantime I will be enjoying curling under it’s plush soft luxury on my bed tonight.

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Today was spent cutting out flannel receiving blankets for a local shelter.  I cut a total of 20 today and hope to have completed 50 by Thanksgiving. I would love to supply 100 this year but materials and time may become a factor as there are so many other projects also demanding my time.

Many of the expecting mothers who arrive at shelters start with nothing for themselves much less their soon to be little ones.  A gift as simple as a receiving blanket to bring their little ones home from hospital with mean a great deal to them, and are often cherished.

Tomorrow I will do the cuts for the Preemie blankets, they are so tiny they look like they should be made for dolls.  Ranging form 12″ for smallest upwards to 18″ in size.  Hospitals struggle to find such tiny wrappings for these special little joys.

I also will whip up a few extra to sell to aid in supply costs to allow me to create more items for those who need them most.  Everyone deserves a bright start to life and perhaps, just perhaps, one of these special blankets will offer that to a special little someone.

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Mustard and Onion Rye Rolls

4-5  cups white flour

2 tsp salt

2 tbsp quick rise yeast (or 2 pkgs)

2 cups warm water

1/2 cup Dijon mustard (grainy style)

3 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp butter

2 1/2 cups rye flour

2 eggs beaten

1/2 cup dried minced onions

1/2 cup buttermilk

1. Add yeast to little bit of warm water to begin it working.  In meantime mix together wet ingredients in mixer bowl or large bowl.  Add yeast and begin to add the flours one cup at a time while stirring.

2. Add rye flour and additional flour until dough pulls from sides of bowl. On a well floured surface knead dough until smooth and elastic adding a bit of flour as needed, about 5 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl cover loosely and let rise in the oven with the light on until double in bulk…….or let it rest for 15 minutes.

3. Kneed dough down once more and pinching off small sections rolls into extra-large egg size balls.  Lay out on greased cookie sheet until all the dough is used up, leaving 1 inch expanding room between the dough balls.

4.) Set to side and let rise in warm place again until double.

5.)  Bake 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

**Delicious served with honey mustard butter:  1/2 cup butter, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp dijon mustard.  Whip until well mixed. **

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I’ll admit, I cheated on this one and took the simple route.  I still ended up with a dozen cans, plus 1/2 a margarine container for immediate use, from this batch. First my grapes have not struck the first frost to be ready to harvest for their delicate sweetness.  Second we were out of grape jelly from last years batch and with all the canning I have done lately, I wanted to whip some up quickly.  I’ve used this recipe and the fresh grapes style alternatively, both work wonderful and honestly there isn’t much difference in taste.  I know numerous people are unable to harvest their own Concord Grapes, and honestly they are not easy to grow in Texas, having lost many plants in the beginning years before finally getting a decent established soil and location they seemed to accept.

With this recipe anyone, anywhere can make their own homemade Concord Grape Jelly, or White Grape Jelly.

Grape Jelly – Canned

6 cups bottled grape juice (be sure its 100% juice)

6 1/2 cups sugar

2 boxes sure-gel

Mix pectin into 1/4 cup sugar.  Add to grape juice and stir to dissolve.  Over medium-high heat bring to full boil.  Add sugar and bring back to boil and hard boil for 1 minute.  Test “Stiffness” by dipping a metal table spoon into ice water, then into the jelly.  Let cool slightly and see if it balls up upon spoon like a thin jelly should.  (It will thicken more as it cools).  Fill jars and HWB for 5 minutes for 1/2 pints and pints.

**Please note, this is for making grape jam using store bought grape juice.  You can also use other juices.**

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