Sunday, November 14, 2010

Morning Stroll

It was the perfect morning to go out for a walk! Still nice with a slight bit of chill in the air. I loved it:)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Latest knitting project

Fall Scarf

You can find the pattern here...

Plus a look at my knitting bag :p

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Grandma's Homemade French Dressing

This is my ABSOLUTE favorite salad dressing. Thank you Grandma! And thank you mom for sticking it in the cookbook you made me. I go crazy for this stuf!!

Grandma's Homemade French Dressing
1 c. veg. oil
1 c. ketchup
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. vinegar

1/4 tsp each of:
garlic powder
celery seed
minced onion

I put all these ingredients in a quart jar and shake it. Then it's ready to enjoy! So super yummy.

Helpful Kitchen Tip

Here's a quick kitchen tip I found online that has really helped speed things along while I'm baking.

Take the recipe you use the most, for me it's pizza dough because every Friday night is pizza night at our house, and tape it to the inside of your cupboard closest to where you do the most of your baking. When it's time to whip up that favorite recipe all you have to do is open your cupboard.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wrist Warmers

It's always cold at work, which means I'm always decked out in a sweater and sporting a pair of fingerless gloves. The last time I visited my family in Iowa my Aunt Terri came up with a great idea - why not knit a pair of wrist warmers? I'm always looking for a knitting project and a chance to learn a new pattern/new technique. This project gave me both. I've never used double pointed needles before and I've never made something circular like this. Needless to say, I was uber scared. But with Aunt Terri's expert help and tips from my mom via the phone when I returned to Alabama, I can safely say I'm no longer afraid and am eager for the next project that requires double pointed needles.

Wrist Warmers

Size 6 Needles (4 double pointed needles)
Cast on 48 stitches, move 16 stitches onto each needle
K3 P1 throughout entire pattern
Knit until it measures 7 inches (or desired length)
Bound off 5 - 8 stitches for thumb slot, finish that row
Cast on 5 - 8 stiches in the next row to pick back up again

*for 8" around the arm (you can make them thinner if you'd like)

Helpful Knitting Tip:
Go to Walmart or Staples and buy a cheap pack of squishy gel pencil/pen grips. Cut them up into little rings. You can twist them around the ends of your needle. Perfect stitch holders! (Thanks mom for the tip - it saved my projects countless times)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Apple Sauce Sweet Bread

This is a recipe from The Machine Shed Restaurant. I bought the recipe on a postcard they sell in the "Gift Shop" portion of their store. You can also find it on their website.

With 3 sticks of margarine and 5 eggs, it isn't the healthiest thing to eat. Another downside is that it takes forever to bake (1 1/2 hours). So if you're feeling like Suzy Homemaker and you have a hankering for some moist sweet bread, whip this up and give it a try!

Apple Sauce Sweet Bread

3 C. sugar
1 1/2 C. + 1 Tbsp. margarine
1/3 C. + 2 Tbsp. evaporated milk
5 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking soda
3 1/2 C. applesauce
5 1/3 C. flour

1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

-With mixer, cream sugar and margarine 3 minutes on medium speed. (FYI you're going to need a BIG bowl for all the ingredients)
-Add evaporated milk, eggs and vanilla.
-Add salt & baking soda. Mix for 3 additional minutes.
-Add applesauce and mix for additional 2 minutes.
-Add flour until fully blended (do not overmix)
-Place batter into greased 9x13 pan. Top with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake at 300° until toothpick inserted into center comes out dry. (Approx. 1 1/2 hours)

Unfortunately my oven doesn't really bake evenly, so mine came out a bit doughy in the middle and overcooked on the edges. The whole experiment ended with me tossing the thing out and cursing at my oven. A helpful tip for an oven that bakes funky: buy an oven thermometer - if you're oven is running hotter or colder you can adjust the temp accordingly ($2 or $3 at Walmart). Another tip: Tinfoil - fold a sheet of Tinfoil into the shape of an A-tent and place it over your pan (shiny side up). I've done this most every time I've baked bread and it works great. A friend gave me another suggestion - a pizza stone. Placing the pizza stone in your oven keeps the temperature steady and constant. I haven't tried this yet but I think that will be my next venture. (Thanks Brian!)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies For My Valentine

This weekend, in honor of the holiday, I made sweets for my sweetie. These cookies are my hubby's absolute favorites. The recipe comes from a cookbook my mom made for me from her own favorite recipes. Thanks mom!! :)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup margarine (or butter - I like margarine, make sure it's softened)
1/2 + 1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
(nuts optional - hubby and I hate nuts, so I always omit them!)

In a medium to large sized mixing bowl: combine margarine, shortening, sugar & brown sugar then stir/cream together with a mixer.

Add eggs and vanilla to mixture, cream together.

Stir in flour, baking soda, salt. Mix all that together and then add chocolate chips (and nuts if you want)

Bake at 350° till golden (12-13 minutes depending on how crunchy you want them)

Let them cool on a cooling rack and enjoy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Make Your Own Croutons

Do you have a loaf of bread that's going dry? Make homemade croutons. They're easy to make and taste great! This recipe is from an awesome book called "The Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczyn (it's chocked full of great money saving tips, so check it out).


4 slices of homemade bread (you can also use french bread or regular white bread from the store, but I think homemade is the best)
2 Tbs. Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
2 Tbs. salad oil (I used olive oil, but you can also use veg. oil)

Slice bread into 3/8" cubes and place in bowl.

Add seasonings and oil. Toss to mix or stir gently with a spoon. Place on cookie sheet. Bake at 300 degrees until crisp.

Let cool on the cookie sheet then store in a glass jar or a container with a secure lid. (I always sneak a few warm croutons, they taste DELICIOUS). My mom also says they taste great in soup, such as tomato. YUM.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My hometown

I grew up in Iowa but moved to Alabama where my hubby is from. Recently we made a trip back to Iowa to see my family and enjoy a bit of snow! We don't get this kind of snow down south so it was a real treat for my guy since he's never seen anything quite like it before.

My parents' house with a nice big snow drift out front.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I love Fridays

Like every Friday, tonight is homemade pizza night for me and the hubby. My mom found this recipe from We absolutely love this dough! Plus it's super easy to make. The recipe page explains in depth how to do the shaping of the dough and making your own sauce, I never pay attention to all that stuff - I'm only there for the dough :p

Makes 4 10-inch pizzas (I've never been able to get four pizzas out of this, only 3, probably because I tend to make ours bigger)
5 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
2 teaspoons salt (or 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 to 2 cups room-temperature water

The dough is usually slightly wetter and stickier than a normal dough but don't be afraid! When I'm done mixing it (no need to knead) I spray a little bit of nonstick spray on the dough then I cover the bowl with saran wrap and let it sit for an hour. After that I divide it into three balls, I cook one that night. The other two I place in individual freezer bags sprayed on the inside two or three times with nonstick spray.

Tonight's pizza is the last one from the freezer. I took it out this afternoon, placed it in a bowl, covered it with saran wrap, and will shape it with my pastry roller on a pizza pan when I get home from work. I preheat the oven to 450° and cook the dough by itself for 4-5 minutes, you kinda just have to watch it. My husband puts on the toppings because he says he's better at it :p Then I let the pizza cook again for 7-10 minutes, carefully watching it.

I don't make my own sauce, instead I use canned Contadina Pizza sauce. My mother used it when she made homemade pizza for us when we were kids and I love it. It makes the pizza much less greaser than when you use pizza sauce from a jar. Apparently it's crazy hard to find here in the south and the only place I've been able to get it is Kroger.

Lastly, I top it with Turkey pepperoni since we are trying to be healthier. In my opinion it tastes the same as regular pepperoni when cooked and the hubby loves it!