Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dinner Rolls Tutorial

My sister has been asking me to make a video tutorial on how to make a yeast bread from scratch with no special equipment. In this video I walk you through how to make dinner rolls that would be perfect for your Thanksgiving dinner. The recipe is actually for hamburger buns, but I think they make delicious dinner rolls as well. I found the recipe for hamburger buns on Allrecipes website.

You start off by adding your liquids and yeast. Let that set for 5 minutes while you gather the rest of the ingredients. Then mix the dry ingredients in with a wooden spoon.

Once well mixed, turn the dough on a floured surface.

Knead the dough by stretching the dough length wise, folding it in half, and then pressing down in the center with your hands. Next rotate the dough, fold in half, and press down again. Continue this process for about 10 minutes.

Once the dough is kneaded enough, the dough will have a bit of a stretch to it. At this point you will form a dough ball by tucking the edges of the dough on the bottom side of the dough ball.

Place the dough ball in a greased mixing bowl and cover.

Let rise for an hour and a half, or until it has doubled in size. Next you will take your fist and punch in a downwards direction in the center of the dough.

Divide the dough up into small balls to create the number of servings you wish to create. For hamburger buns, you will probably make about 8 larger balls. I made 16 dinner rolls with this recipe. Once the balls are formed, cover and let rise for an hour.

Bake the rolls at 350ยบ for about 30 minutes. At this point you can add 
some sesame seeds if you are making hamburger buns

You can top the finished rolls with butter.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

3 Shirts from Hot Patterns 3 Graces

I have been wanting to try a Hot Patterns pattern for awhile. I really liked the fact the pattern comes with three shirts since it was a bit of a pricey pattern. However, I liked the trendy look of the shirts and I am trying to update my wardrobe.

This is the pattern I used from Hot Patterns #1089 and the website has videos on construction techniques and pattern variations that you can do to alter the shirts to make different looks.

The cowl neck variation was the easiest to make. 
I made all the shirts as long sleeves because it gets very cold here. 

This cross-front version was very challenging. I had to take it apart a few times to master this shirt, but in the end I figured it out. I think it would have been much easier if I had my dress form with me. However, the Hot Patterns website provides a very good video on how to assemble this shirt. I had to watch it in sections and pause it while I sewed. I consider myself quite the advanced seamstress, but I had never tried a cross-front shirt before and as I mentioned it was harder than I thought.

Finally we have the loop front which was a little difficult, but after watching the videos I was able to get it right. All of these shirts I made with fabric I ordered from

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Knitted Shawl

I spent about a month knitting this shawl. I don't often pick patterns with an intricate design, but I really liked the look of it in the picture. I found the pattern at our local farmers market, and I was curious how different a British knitting pattern differed from an American pattern. While there were a few words phrases that were different, it wasn't very difficult to figure out what they meant.

I must admit that it turned out very nice. The pattern shows through nicely and it looks great on. This will help keep me warm in the winter when we walk down to the tube station.

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Treats of the Day for Week Ending Nov 18

Brownie Bites dipped in Mint Chocoalte
I used a basic brownie mix and a brownie pop mold. When they cooled down I melted some Hershey's Mint Chocolate Chips and dipped the tops of it in the melted chocolate. I then topped it some green sprinkles for a minty appearance. 

Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Toffee Chips
I had made some toffee chip cookies earlier and they stuck to my cookie sheet. I was brave and decided to try Chocolate Toffee Chips, which I had much better results. These cookies are delicious and they didn't stick to my cookie sheet!

White Cupcakes with Vanilla Creme Filling and Caramel Icing
I made these cupcakes that I filled with a homemade vanilla custard. I tried to add some whoppers to the custard, but I don't think it really got much of that flavor. I then iced it with caramel icing and drizzled chocolate on top. These were super yummy!

Hot Buttery Yumm Chex Mix
I decided to make a chex mix this week because my family likes to snack on chex cereal every once in awhile. I tried the Hot Buttered Yum Chex Mix recipe on the Chex website. Personally I thought this was great, but for whatever reason nobody else has been eating this. Perhaps because there is still yummy cupcakes left.

Since it is Friday, I thought I'd make something easy. So I tried a recipe from the cookbook that came with my bread maker. This gingerbread recipe is a quick bread recipe that worked out nicely in my bread maker. I think next time I might double the recipe because the loaf of bread it made was very small.
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Healthy Casseroles Challenge

Last month my sister and I did a challenge of making healthy soups and salads. We had so much fun doing it, that we decided to do a challenge every month. This month we decided to do a casserole challenge. Keep a look out for our Healthy Food Challenges each month.

Monday: Egg and Veggie
For the egg casserole, I chopped up bell peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini and filled the casserole dish two thirds full of veggies. Then I mixed in enough eggs to cover it all. Then I added just a small handful of cheese.

Tuesday Mexican
The Mexican casserole has tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, and beans. I mixed in some sour cream to blend it all together and some cheese to hold it together. Then I topped it with crushed tortilla chips. 

Wednesday: Spinach and Rice
The spinach casserole has carrots, celery, onions, and of course spinach. I put in some cooked rice and cheese. A spoonful of cream cheese helped bind all of this together to make one yummy casserole.

To be honest, Thursday was a broccoli and cheese casserole, but it didn't turn out. I thought I'd spare you the sad picture of my burnt casserole. 

Friday: Tikka Masala
For the grand finale I made a tikka masala casserole. This has egg plants, kidney beans, cannellini beans, tomato, a small can of chicken, and paneer cheese. Then I mixed that all together with a jar of tikka masala sauce.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

New Life for Old Sweater

I had this sweater sitting in my closet for awhile. It fit me last winter, but I've lost a lot of weight over the summer. Everyone wants to go shopping to buy a new wardrobe when they've lost a significant amount of weight, but I hate shopping and well Angie's New Wardrobe is not a line in our budget.  So to show off the return of my pre-baby weight I thought I'd take some of my old bigger clothes and make them new cuter clothes. 

All I did was turn this 3/4 sleeve V-neck sweater into a cardigan. I cut the sweater down the center in the front. Then I took strips muslin and used that to sew a facing on it to it has a nice hemed look that is more stable than just folding the sweater over on itself.

Then I put some button holes on one side and buttons on the other.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Christmas 2012 Family Gift Giving Plan

We save a bit of money every month throughout the year so we have have a nice Christmas. Normally I'd have my checklist of things I felt I had to buy my kids to make sure the gifts were perfect. 

I got myself in a rut of this is how to make a good Christmas. The kids usually enjoyed the gifts I picked out, and most of them where on their wish lists. It was a bit stressful for me to make sure that everything was balanced between the kids, but I got pretty good at it.

Then last year something changed....we moved during Christmas. This wasn't just a local move, or one of our standard moves to a place a few states over. We are talking major overseas move! Everything had to change as I tried to plan our Christmas in London. We had to make our own ornaments because we weren't sure our stuff would get to us in time. The funny thing is that what I pictured to be a disaster of a Christmas ended up being one of the best we had. Ok, we all missed going to a tree farm to cut down our own tree, but we managed.

So how did I manage to buy all my Christmas gifts in time while planning a large move? I recruited help! I made my kids help me with the shopping. Crazy idea huh? It turned out great though. I took our family Christmas shopping budget and divided by five. That gives everyone enough money to buy something for the four other people in the family. The money is to buy gift(s) and stocking stuffers for everyone. We told them to take that money and divide it again by four so that they spend the same amount on everyone. If you wanted to buy a gift that cost more than you have allotted for that person, then you need to convince someone else to spend their money on that gift and go in on it together.

The results were fantastic. First when the kids saw commercials for the lastest AWESOME toy, instead of saying "I want...I want..." they would say "Don't you think _____ would like that for Christmas?" Then when it came time to open the presents the kids were almost as excited to see how well people liked the gifts they picked out as they were to open their own gifts. Finally, the kids took pride in knowing they gave someone a gift they enjoyed. I thought I had taken away the joy of Christmas by passing the buck on the stressful Christmas shopping, but instead I really think the kids enjoyed it more. So this year they begged me to do it again :) They learned that is truly is better to give than receive.

PS For those of you who follow my blog(s), you know I have a little 2 year old. We are still doing the fun Santa thing for her until she figures it out. In the mean time Mom and Dad get to decide how she spends her money. 
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Friday, November 04, 2011

Treats of the Week Ending Nov 4th

Please leave a comment below to tell me if you prefer this format of showing a week's worth of treats of the day, or do you prefer to see them individually with a break down of how I made them.

Millionaires Shortbread
This should be called the diet killer. It is a layer of shortbread cookie with a thick gooey caramel layer which is topped with milk chocolate. 

Toffee Chip Cookie
This cookie is very good, but I am not sure I'd make it again. The recipe came on the back of the Toffee Bits bag of chips I bought at the commissary. My problem with these cookies is it was hard to get off the cookie sheet. Once the toffee warmed up it stuck to the pan. I tried parchment paper, but it didn't help. I guess maybe a silpat would have done the trick.

Cinnamon and Chocolate Dunkers
My friend told me that the Pizza Hut in the states has these chocolate dunkers and challenged me to make them. After looking it up I figured out how to duplicate them, but having never tried them I can't say I got it for sure. My son recommended that I make one cinnamon, which would be good dunked in a white glaze icing.

Popcorn Balls
I make these around Halloween time every year. I don't know why, its a lot like Christmas cookies. They have nothing to do with Halloween, except that I make them this time of year.

Strawberry Angel Food Cake
I saw on Pinterest a good recipe for Lemon Bars which just mixes a can of lemon pie filling with an angel food cake mix. I didn't have lemon pie filling, so I tried strawberry pie filling. It turned out very nice, esp topped with some cool whip.

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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Creative Orange Peeling

Learn this neat trick to peel an orange with a spoon. It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it. I will apologize for any umms you hear, there are a few in there, but I am working on them. I like making these videos, but I am a little nervous in front of the camera. Once I get good at making these videos, I want to do a series on how to sew. Until then, enjoy this video that will teach you a new skill to impress your friends...ok well maybe not impress, but it is a cool party trick.
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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween Fondue Night

DH eating a mushroom eyeball
We have a tradition where the kids can eat all the candy they want the day after trick or treating. Since we did a trunk or treat on Sunday, we were left at home on Halloween. I have long discovered that if I wanted to get the kids to eat dinner on a day they can have all the candy they want, then dinner has to be awesome. So this year I decided to do a Halloween Themed Fondue Night. It was a big hit!

We start off with the cheese course. I dyed my cheese green and carved a skull face out of the loaf of bread. Then I made some finger looking breadsticks. I just rolled the dough out into a breadstick and took a toothpick that I dipped in brown food coloring to make the knuckle marks.
Green Cheese w/Finger Breadstick
Skull Bread

We then moved onto the meat course. I made some mushrooms into eyeballs by smearing a fingers worth of blue food coloring in the center and then taking a toothpick in red food coloring to make the squiggles. It looked really cool when they where cooking.

Witches Brew (fondue broth)
Mushroom Eyeballs

Finally we move on to the dessert round, which is always a buffet of goodies to dip in our chocolate fountain! 

Dessert Tray

I used the toothpick in food coloring trick again to make faces on the marshmallows. Here we have two different kinds of cookies, left over pound cake from earlier this month that I froze, and marshmallows.

Chocolate Fountain

Fun Marshmallows

In the end, my kids thought I was evil! They said it wasn't fair to have such a yummy dinner on one of the few days a year they can eat candy unregulated!
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