Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread

This is for dinner tonight. I just took it out of the oven and it smells amazing!!! Thank you to Sarah for the recipe. It was so easy.
I made mine half whole wheat and half bread flour. I definitely recommend bread flour; it has a higher glutton mixture and thus, produces a more crewy texture.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Kitchen Chair Mats

My goal is to someday make my own braided wool rugs (or several) from recycled wool sweaters.  However, since I don't have a thrift store that sells wool sweaters for cheap, I will have to wait on that goal. Instead, I have made cotton braided chair covers for my kitchen chairs. I made one the first year I was married and then the scraps just sat in my closet. I pulled them out shortly after Martin was horned and made two more.  And finally, in January, I finished the fourth one. Yay.  I now have a semi-matching set. They make the seats more comfortable and I like the way they brighten up my kitchen.  

Do you know of anywhere that sells cheap wool sweaters (as in here is a bag of old wool sweaters that have holes in them and we were going to throw them away but you can have this whole garbage bag for a dollar)? 
Have you ever made braided rugs before? I thought it was relaxing, but it took much longer than i expected.  A lot more braided cloth goes into one mat than I thought.  

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Guess who we saw last night!?! Ivy and Hazel! Martin was so excited to see little people his size. They crawled around he Taylor's porch last night (before they had to leave to go to the rehearsal). Martin was laughing the whole time. They were both so sweet to him. He was very excited. 

We got them to sit still long enough for one picture. Ha ha. Then they were off and running and crawling and laughing again. We wish we could spend more time with these cuties and their parents. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Short Repair

I have had these shorts forever, they were hand-me-downs from Greg to Luke. I stole them from Luke a few times and he graciously gave them to me. The elastic in the waistband was completely deteriorated and they looked like this: 
I took out the drawstring, seam ripped the waistband, added new elastic, sewed it all back in place, and replaced the drawstring. So now for less than an hours work, I have almost new shorts. I watched the first half of Amazing Grace while I seam ripped so the time passed quickly. 

Hopefully, they will last me another ten years. Ha. I am surprised that the fabric has held up so well. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

German Potato Soup

If you make yourself some tasty homemade chicken stock and don't know what to do with all of it, here is a recipe. It is based on a recipe from a cookbook called, More With Less.  The original recipe calls for water instead of stock. That would be an even more frugal recipe. 

The cookbook was given to me by one of my favorite people and possibly the sweetest person I know, Lindy Hall. She taught a writing club for home schoolers for many years. She forced me to write at least one paper a week for many years. It did wonders for my writing. I almost went into journalism because of how much I enjoyed writing, near the end of my time in her class. However, math had the strong pull and an advisor at SU told me that I would never be an engineer or a physisist  because my SAT scores weren't high enough... That pretty much settled my path. Ha ha. I double majored and went on to get my masters in one year. I thank my parents for telling me that I could achieve anything that I put my mind to. :) 

German Potato Soup
(Serves 4)
I usually make a hearty whole wheat and oatmeal bread, also from the same cookbook, to go with this, but any hearty bread would be awesome. 

1 T. Butter
2 T. Flour
4 c. Stock or water
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash pepper

1. Melt butter in pan with flour over medium heat.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes until flour loses its flour smell. 
2. Whisk in liquid slowly until smooth. 
3. Add potatoes, onions, salt, and pepper. Cook 2-4 hours. The longer you cook it, the more the potatoes will fall apart and the soup will become thicker. 
4. Serve plain or with green onions and cheese. You could add ham or bacon if you wanted it to have more protein.  

I haven't posted pictured if Martin in a while. We went to the zoo today, dressed as a fox. Aren't you jealous that you don't have a fox suit? My sister gave it to me for Christmas. 

Do you have any ways you use up chicken stock? 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Krispie Kremes

My Dad and brother were traveling near a Krispie Kreme shop today. On their way home tonight, they stopped by and dropped off a half dozen plus one (which you might notice is already missing).

Krispie Kremes are a tradition in my family. My sister used to have to go up to AI DuPont's children's hospital in Willmington several times a year. My parents would always bring us back doughnuts. On the rare occasion that we tagged along for the appointment, we would hope that the sign was turned on so that we could get a hot free doughnut.  My parents would also bring them back from vacations in Richmond and we have stopped on the way back from several concerts to pick up several dozen. 

There is nothing like a fresh doughnut. Do yourself a favor and stop into a Krispie Kreme next time you pass one and the sign is on. I love watching the machine that makes all the doughnuts. It reminds me of Willy Wonka (the old movie). 

Do you have any fun childhood memories that involve food? I have many more because we took so many tours of food plants when I was little. They were all very interesting and I still think of them when I see their products. 

Homemade chicken stock

I am a big fan of homemade chicken stock (because it tastes better, is easy to make, and is free - free stuff always makes me happy). I started buying the bone in chicken breasts and thighs. If I need them boneless for a recipe, I debone them myself and throw the bones and skin in a pot to make stock. Most of the time though I simply boil my chicken and then pull the meat off.  

Stock recipe: Just throw in some onion, celery, pepper, salt, garlic, and carrots (or some combination of those - I throw in the tops of my celery bunch and onion skins that I have saved sometimes).  Boil all of that for one to three hours depending on how much chicken you are cooking. Sometimes I throw a whole chicken in the pot. Pour the stock into containers (I use mason jars) and refrigerate. Once they have cooled completely the fat will gather at the top. You can scrape this off and throw it away or use it for dumplings or biscuits or chicken pot pie crust. Yum!! 

I included a picture of some homemade stock, yogurt, and granola that I made last week. Mr. B. loves yogurt. It costs less than half the price to make your own yogurt. Homemade granola is also less than half the cost of store bought granola and so much healthier without the extra oils and sugar and additives.  

So there are some frugal tips for the week. :) Do you have any simple ways you cut costs in your grocery bill? Does anyone use vinegar and baking soda to clean? I am thinking about starting and would love some tips. 

P.s. Happy birthday to my mother!! We love you and are so blessed to have you as a mom and grandma. Thanks for loving us so much. 

Monday, February 17, 2014


As I also mention, i helped with a baby shower and a wedding. The baby shower (a tea party which allowed me the chance to make French macaroons and petits fours) was for a dear friend who is having a girl. I can't wait to have a girl some day. I want to sew dresses and doll clothes and hair bows ... I found my American doll dress patterns the other day (for felicity and Kirsten) and almost started making a dress, which is funny since I never had one of their dolls, but my sister did and I made her doll clothes.  That is an aside. Anyhow, I look forward to having a daughter someday, yet in the meantime I will have to enjoy my friends' daughters. 

All of that to say that I made little flags for the baby shower. They were pink and purple and I failed to take a picture of them. I also made another set for another friend out of seersucker. I was asked to make some more for the wedding. So I went out and bought eight different blue fabrics and set about to making eight different little flag banners. I really like the way they turned out. The "theme" of the wedding was vintage and the bride loves shades of blue. 

She picked cornflower blue, which is the blue of my KitchenAid mixer and makes me extraordinarily happy. It brightens up my already cheery kitchen. I use it almost daily. I even have an extra mixing bowl which i use during times of heavy baking and cooking.  I highly suggest it if you plan on making a cake while your bread rises or don't feel like washing out the bowl and need to make icing for your cake. Oh, and I love that the bowls can go in the dishwasher. 

Do you have a KitchAid mixer? What color is it? Is there any kitchen tool you use or value more? Dishwasher and ovens don't count. :) 

P.S. Have you seen the glass bowls that they now sell for the stand KitchenAid? If I didn't already have two bowls, I would have to save for one of those. Also, if you have see the mixing paddle with the spatula attached, skip it. I have it and it spreads a thin coat of the wet ingredients along the bowl and you end up having to scrape down the sides. 

I am back.

I am back to blogging for a while. I have even set up posts for the next few weeks. They are of my crafting and cooking adventures of late. This year, since I have the semester off, I challenged myself to finish a bunch of unfinished projects and also to try some new recipes. As you will soon see, I have made a dent in my projects list, tried a few new recipes, have played with Mr. Baby tons, and have even helped with a baby shower and wedding. The wedding planning and projects distracted me from some deep cleaning projects, but I have managed to clean out under the bathroom sink and organize Mr. Baby's clothing. So, all is not lost and plus, making things for weddings is more fun than organizing your linen closet or rotating your pantry shelves. 

Happy readings. I hope to be more consistent in the future.  

And because my sister tells me that everything is better with a photo, here is a picture of a puppet that I made for my nephew'a birthday.

P.s. Any requests for recipes?