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Archive for October 4th, 2010

Like Christmas!

A neighbor cleaning out her home donated these fabrics…to me…to see what I could do with them.  So many plans, ideas, dreams…now just to find the time.   And this is only 1/2 of the bed that is now buried in them.

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My missing brownies.

This is the aftermath of a lost pan of brownies that had not yet found its way into the oven.  To think , when I asked her if she ate the brownies, she dared to look at me like this and said. “No!”.

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I admit it, I am addicted to steamy, creamy bowls of oatmeal on cold mornings.  Something about it just starts the day off right.  With the kids and I, buying it at the stores in pre-packaged bags can get costly and it doesn’t need to be.  Making individual single-serving baggies of instant oatmeal is amazingly easy and the cost savings adds up over time.

To make your own Instant Oatmeal Packets you need:

Instant Oatmeal Packets

1 box snack baggies – Ziploc style

1/4 cup oatmeal – Quick fix.

1/2 tsp sugar

1/8 tsp salt (optional, I do not use it)

to the above starter mix, add the following based on your flavor preferences.

Cinnamon Raisin – 1/4 tsp cinnamon + 2 doz raisins

Blueberries & Cream – 1 tbsp creamer + 2 dozen dried blueberries

Brown Sugar Raisin – 1 tbsp brown sugar + 1 tbsp raisins

Brown Sugar Cinnamon – 1 tbsp brown sugar + 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Apple Cinnamon – 1 tbsp sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 2 tbsp dried apples.

To make simply pour the baggy contents into a microwave safe bowl, add 1/2 cup water and microwave for 1-1 1/2 minutes.

*If you like thicker oatmeal, powder some of the oats first in blender and add 1-2 tbsp of powder to each bag.

**Excellent “take along” meal for work.

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They say that nature provides, and this is very true, yet in the modern day we forget of the glorious colors which nature also provides for us.  With the fairies of fall touching upon the lands around us, folding and weaving their magic in hue’s of green, yellow, oranges, reds and browns it seemed a perfect time to reflect on the generous array of colors offered throughout the year for our use and enjoyment.

Oranges

Bloodroot – (orange – reddish orange)

Sassafras – leaves

Onion Skin – (yellows)

Lichen – gold

Carrots – roots (orange)

Lilac – twigs (yellow/orange)

Barberry – (Yellow Orange)

Turmeric – (Orange, Red if dipped in lye)

Butternut – Husks/Seeds (Orange)

Pomegranate – (Yellow to Khaki if treated with alum)

Browns

Oak Bark – (Tan to Oak Color)

Sumac – Leaves

Dandelion – Roots (Brown)

Walnut – husks (Deep Brown)

Tea bags – (Light Brown)

White Birch – Inner bark (Brown)

Juniper Berries

Coffee Grounds

Acorns – boiled

Hollyhock – petals

Beet Root – (Dark Brown)

Pink’s

Strawberries

Cherries

Roses

Lavender

Purple

Red Cabbage

Mulberries – (Royal Purple)

Elderberries –  (Lavender)

Grapes

Blueberries

Cherry – (roots)

Blackberries – Fruits (Dark Purple)

Hyacinth – flower (blue)

Raspberry – (Purple/Blue)

Red Maple – Inner Bark (Purple)

Red

Beets – roots

Crab Apple – bark

Rose – hips

Chokecherries

Black

Iris – roots

Sumac – leaves

Green

Artichokes

Tea leaves

Spinach

Sorrel – roots (dark green)

Foxglove – Flowers (apple green)

Lilac – Flowers

Snapdragon – Flowers

Black-eyed Susan

Grass – (yellow/green)

Red Onion – Skin (forest green)

Yellow

Red Clover – (gold)

Onions – skin

Alfalfa – seeds

Marigold – blossoms

Willow – leaves

Queen Anne’s Lace

Celery – leaves

Golden Rod – Flowers

Dandelion – flower

Daffodil – flower

Sunflowers  – flower

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I know, it’s round.  I actually prefer to make round shaped bread rather then loaf when using for “casual” eating.  Casual being alongside soups, stews, spread with preserves or butters….pretty much everything that doesn’t involve a sandwich, though I have and do make sandwiches from the round bread loaves as well.  Round breads are the traditional way in which bread was made before the more familiar shape of loafs became the norm in every household and grocery store isle.

Bread making need not be difficult,  it is actually quite easy and the kneading process can be therapeutic.  Perhaps it has something to do with the kneading and pounding of the dough.

I usually make several loaves at a time and freeze the extras, it’s quite easy to pull out and de-thaw the night before.

Whole Wheat Bread

3 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 cup milk or buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
1 cup warm water
1 tsp teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp dry yeast

Combine yeast into a little lukewarm water to activate the yeast.  Mix your butter, honey, rest of water, oil and salt in mixing bowl.  Add 1 cup flour, yeast and begin mixing.  Slowly add the remaining flour until the bread pulls from side of bowl into a clump.  Add more flour or water if needed.  Once it pulls from sides, remove yeast from mixer and put on floured surface.

Knead well (15-20 times) and return to bowl.  Spray with cooking oil or rub outside with butter to keep from drying out.  Cover and let rest to raise to double in warm place.

Once raised, return to floured surface and knead once more.  You will know the bread is ready when you feel a “squeak” to the dough under your palm.  Form into a ball and place on a cookie sheet, a pyrex bowl, cake pan or in a traditional loaf pan.  Let rise once more in warm heat until double in size. Be sure to once more treat the “skin” or outside of the bread with oil or butter to keep drying during raising process.

Place in oven at 375 degrees and bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown and offering a dull hallow “thump” sound when rapped with knuckles.

Remove from pans and let cool on cookie drying racks or upside down bowl.

Simple and delicious.

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MYO Febreze

I love Febreze,  but the cost of it really digs into the pocket book.  It is quite simple to make your own version of Febreze from home and at a fraction of the cost.

1 clean 32 oz spray bottle.

4 tbsp fabric softener  (Downy with “Febreze” , other Downy,  or any other brand you might like scent of.)

Water

Place 4 tbsp fabric softener in spray bottle and fill rest with water leaving small space at top.  To use give a few shakes and use as you would fabreze.

One container of fabric softener will last you a long time, even if you use the spray habitually.  It can be used on furniture, rugs, clothing or any fabric or merely sprayed into air.

**Save more money by using a coupon plus a sale when purchasing your  fabric softener.**

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