Archive | August, 2012

Putting my sewing machine to work

22 Aug

Well the kids started school again and this year our youngest started kindergarten. I’m sad because there are no more babies in this house. Well I’ve been trying to keep myself busy while they are all away filling there heads with knowledge. I can only stand cleaning this house once a week and with the other days I am filling my time at the sewing machine. Travis will be leaving again soon and while he is gone and the kids are at school I will be sewing and crafting my little heart out and posting new things in my etsy store. It’s been 3 years since I last put anything up in there but I am ready to open again. Now with me not working out of the home I can focus on putting lovely handmade things up for sale. This time around I will post all kinds of goodies not just punky pouches but you might see some pop in and out of there too. Plus I am open to suggestions on what people might be looking for in an etsy shop. I will post here and let you all know when things are up and running but for now I will post pictures of the things that I’ve made this last week for my daughter and niece.

as you can see my daughter loves hello kitty, but then again who doesn’t? For the pillow case dress I used this tutorial. So easy to follow and fun to make. I see more of these in the future for sure!

And now pictures of my kids on the first day of school. I can’t believe how fast they grow!

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Yummy Buns

6 Aug

While on vacation, my sister and I made a lot of yummy food. One of the things that she made for the 4th of July was hamburgers on homemade burger buns. I decided to make them again last night and we used them to make hamburger for dinner and Honey BBQ chicken sandwiches tonight for dinner. Last night we had baked zucchini as a side dish using some zucchini from my friends garden.

 Burger Buns: source Roxana GreenGirl, via Baker Street

Ingredients

4 cups (480 grams) bread flour
2 1/4 tsp (7 grams) dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 whole egg
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
4 tbsp butter diced
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp water (optional)

Directions:
  1. In a mixing bowl sift the flour. Make a well in the middle and pour 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Sprinkle the yeast and leave at room temperature until the yeast is dissolved and it foams, like a sponge.
  2. When the yeast is proofed, add the egg, mashed potatoes, butter and salt.
  3. If you’re using a stand up mixing, with the dough hook on, start mixing slowly adding 1/2 cup water and keep mixing until the dough comes clean from the sides of the bowl.
  4. If you’re mixing by hand, use a Danish whisk or a wooden spoon and slowly add water in the middle of the flour mixture until the dough is formed.
  5. Take the dough out of the bowl (no mater if you’re using a stand-up mixer or a Danish whisk) and place it on a floured working surface.
  6. Knead by hand until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Place the dough into a floured or oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until doubled in volume.
  8. Take the dough out of the bowl, place it on a floured surface and divide it into 8-12 buns, depending on how small/big you want the buns.
  9. Place the buns on a baking sheet, cover and leave at room temperature until almost doubled in size.
  10. Meanwhile heat oven to 375°F.
  11. Just before putting the buns in the oven, brush them with egg wash (egg yolk mixed with water)
  12. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Leave to cool slightly before removing them from the baking sheet.
  13. You can store the buns in the fridge or in the freezer. When ready to use again, just heat the oven to 350°F and place the buns in the oven for few minutes until warm. Or you can microwave them for few seconds.

Happy Birthday to our Little Diva

4 Aug

Well we celebrated Cierra’s 5th birthday this week. She had a sleepover last night and a little get together today. Her real birthday was this past Wednesday and when it’s your special day in this house you get to choose whatever you want to eat that day and your choice of cake flavors.  Cierra’s choices for her special day was powdered donuts for breakfast. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches for lunch and Chicken Avocado Soup with flour tortillas. It’s 112° here in Oklahoma. Who wants to eat soup? My crazy kid does. Well I had to make the birthday girl what she wanted but rest assured I had the fan pointing right at the dinner table and the air conditioner on for sure.

 15 Minute Donuts makes about 30 Donut Holes
Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 Tbsp melted butter

2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Granulated sugar, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar, for coating

Directions:

Preheat oil over medium heat in a 10 inch non-stick fry-pan (keeping an eye on it as it is heating).  In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, buttermilk, sugar and melted butter.  Using a fork stir in dry ingredients and mix just until combine (think of making biscuit dough, you just want to incorporate the ingredients).

Once the oil has reached 350 degrees, measure out 1/2 tablespoonfuls dough and using your hands gently roll into a ball (gently rolling to keep them fluffy, think of rolling something really fragile.  Again this is like a biscuit dough you don’t want to overwork it).  Gently place dough ball into oil and fry until golden brown on bottom then flip and cook reverse side until golden brown.  Carefully remove with metal tongs or a fork and drain onto a paper towel lined plate.  Roll in sugar. Repeat this process with remaining dough (you can fit about 8 donuts in the pan at once if you can work that fast =).  Note: these are best enjoyed the day they are made.

 Source: Cooking Classy

Honey Oatmeal Sandwich Bread makes 2 9×5 inch loaves

Ingredients:

2 cups boiling water

1 cup rolled oats

½ cup honey

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons salt

1 package of active dry yeast(2 1/4 tsp)

½ cup warm water (110 degrees F)

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour*

3 ½ to 4 cups bread flour**

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons honey

handful of rolled oats

  1. In large mixing bowl (stand mixer bowl if you have one), combine boiling water to oats, honey, butter and salt. Let stand 1 hour.
  2. In small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Pour the yeast mixture into the oats mixture. Combine wheat flour and bread flour in separate bowl. Add 2 cups of flour mixture to oats mixture and combine well. Continue adding flour mixture to mixing bowl by ½ cup increments until dough pulls together. This will happen when between 5 ½ & 6 cups of flour has been added. You may not need the last ½ cup of flour.
  4. When the dough has pulled together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Or add your bread hook to your mixer and knead for a few minutes.
  5. Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hr. (I preheat the oven for about 5 minutes then turn it off, make sure it’s warm but not hot and put the bowl in there to rise, this seemed to work best because for this recipe is there is much more flour than yeast).
  6. Deflate the dough and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into two equal pieces and form into loaves. Place in 9 x 5 greased loaf pans and cover with damp cloth & let rise again until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. (I return the pans to the oven for this step too.)
  7. Preheat oven to 375. While oven is preheating mix milk and honey together in mug and microwave for about 20 seconds. Brush warm milk mixture over loaves and generously sprinkle with rolled oats.
  8. Bake loaves at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool before removing from pans.

** I use half bread flour and half All purpose flour, a total of up to 6 cups. Only because I don’t have wheat flour in my pantry yet.

Chicken Avocado Soup source: My friend Christina

1 1/2 TBS olive oil

1 white onion, diced fairly big

8 cloves garlic, minced

2-4 jalapeno, sliced

1 Qt. chicken stock

chicken breast, diced; or I use leftover chicken and shred it

1/4 c fresh lime juice

1 tomato, diced

1 avocado, diced

salt and pepper to taste

cilantro for garnish

Directions:

Saute jalapeno and onion for 3-4 minutes and garlic and saute another minute or so. Stir in chicken stock, chicken, lime juice, salt and pepper. Gently simmer until chicken is done. In the last few minutes of cooking add avocado and cilantro. Add more salt and pepper if desired. Serve with flour tortillas.

Flour Tortillas:

Ingredients:

1 3/4 c All purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 c Hot water

1/4 c shortening, butter, or lard (using butter tastes better than shortening but tortillas get hard quick)

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients into a bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry cutter until flour mix resembles a coarse mill. Add hot water mix until just combined.Knead for 3 minutes. Dough should be fairly stiff but easy to work with. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Divide dough into 12 equal balls. Roll each ball out super thin. Cook on a dry nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When cooking tortillas bubbles should form on top, once top starts to form bubbles flip tortilla and allow to cook until light brown circles form on the 2nd side. Place cooked tortillas in a tortilla warmer or in a clean kitchen towel wrapped in foil. Serve immediately while they are warm.

For her party I made 4 different types of pizza, cheese, pepperoni, sausage and buffalo chicken along with a side salad. She wanted a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting and roses on her cake. This is what I came up with. I am pretty proud but let me tell you buttercream frosting is not my friend in August. It was so soft that I had to put it in the freezer to cool it down enough just so I could frost the darn thing. It was good and oh so pretty if I do say so myself. Cierra loved it too, that’s all that really matters anyway right?!

Strawberry Layer Cake
Yield: 3 x 8″ round layers

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups (12 oz/350 g) granulated sugar

1 (3 oz/85 g) package strawberry flavored gelatin (such as Jell-O)

1 cup (8 oz/227 g) butter, softened

4 eggs (room temperature)

3 cups (10.5 oz/300 g) sifted cake & pastry flour

1 tablespoon (15 mL/17 g) baking powder

3/4 teaspoon (3.75 mL/5 g) salt

1 cup (236 ml/8 liquid oz) whole milk, room temperature

1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup (2 liquid oz/4.5 oz/130 g) strawberry puree made from frozen strawberries (puree itself should be closer to room temp, not frozen or icy)

Method:

1. 1. If you’re making your own strawberry puree, remove frozen strawberries (about 2 handfuls) from freezer and place in a single layer in a flat dish to thaw slightly. Place into food processor and puree the strawberries until smooth. Stir to ensure it is nice and smooth and not icy. Measure out 1/4 cup for cake and 3 tablespoons for frosting, and freeze the remaining puree for another use.
2.Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter, line with parchment, and flour three round 8-inch pans, tapping out the excess. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the milk, strawberry puree, and the vanilla. Set aside.

4. Sift and whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, and set aside.

5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar, gelatin, and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy–about 5 minutes.

6. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with spatula.

7. Add the wet & dry ingredients to the creamed mixture by alternating–beginning and ending with dry ingredients and mixing just enough after each addition to incorporate, but not overmix.

8. Divide the batter in three, spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh each pan filled with batter, to ensure 3 even layers.

9. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Be so careful to not overbake. Check cakes at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it’s almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.

10. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best eaten day one.

Whipped Strawberry Frosting (or, shall we call it Strawberry Ice Cream Frosting?)

Ingredients:

3 sticks + 2 tablespoons (13 oz/375 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

4 cups sifted (18 oz/500 g) confectioners’ sugar (icing, powdered)

1 tablespoon (15 mL) milk

1 1/2 teaspoon (7.5 mL) pure vanilla extract

pinch of salt

3 tablespoons strawberry puree made from frozen strawberries (if you want the frosting seed-free, you can put the puree through a sieve before adding to frosting)

Method

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4” on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.

2. Add remaining ingredients, except strawberry puree, and mix on low-speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.

3. Add strawberry puree (can be cool, but not frozen or icy) and mix until incorporated.

4. Best used right away, but can be covered in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.

*I colored my frosting with Winton gel dye. A mix of red and pink.

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