Learning each and every day

My quest to edify myself a bit every day

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Day 315 – October 28

I”ve been trying to get this post done for two days now. . . . something always seems to come up! On Sunday, I tried out a new macaroni and cheese recipe out of my vegetarian cookbook. The recipe called for bleu cheese. I have no idea why I went ahead and used the bleu cheese since it’s a known fact that I don’t like it. I think I was maybe 8 or 10 the first time I tried it and I remember thinking, “Yuck! This is terrible!” I guess maybe I thought 25+ years would change my tastes? Anyway, I made the recipe, and thought it would be interesting due to the sliced tomatoes, the bleu cheese, the fontina cheese and the nuts on top. Besides, it called for ALOT of cheese. For one big casserole dish, it called for 8 oz of chedder, 4.5 oz of blue cheese, and 9 oz of red leicester cheese (I couldn’t find that kind of cheese, which is why I used fontina). That’s over 5 cups of cheese! Heart attack here I come!

So, the verdict. I definitely shouldn’t have used the bleu cheese . . . yuck! The toddler is the only one that ate it without complaining. . . .everyone else either politely pushed it off to the side of their plate (that was DH) or commented, “what’s that funny tasting blue stuff?”. Also, the sliced tomatoes on top were just weird. I don’t particularly care for cooked fresh tomatoes, so not sure why I put them in. Following a recipe for once in my life, I guess! Even when you removed the tomato, the macaroni that had been under the tomato was tainted. So, not really a winner in my book. I think I’ll stick to my tried and true recipe from now on!

Day 314 – October 27

I haven’t made pancakes for Sabbath breakfast in a long time. The fall colors have been amazing this week, and the weather turned chilly yesterday. How are these seemingly unrelated statements actually related? The combination inspired me to make pumpkin pancakes for breakfast this morning. I had pinned and made some pumpkin pancakes before, but I wanted to try something different. I found and pinned this recipe from the blog Two Peas and Their Pod. I just made the pancakes without the streusel since I was in a bit of a hurry this morning. I think the pancakes were a hit, at least many of them disappeared. I found them to be only mediocre, but I think that’s because they got left in the oven (aka warmer) for too long and they dried out a bit. I’ll be trying them again with the streusal topping which I think would be rather delish! Or maybe I’ll add mini chocolate chips next time . . .can’t go wrong with that!

Day 312 – October 25

Based on my lack of posts, you’d think I hadn’t been learning anything new for the past 10-ish days. I suppose that’s mostly true. I haven’t learned anything interesting enough to share. I have, however, been busy learning all the quirks of my newborn. He’s not really any quirkier than the previous babes, he’s just a new little person that I have been getting to know. Figuring out when he’s hungry, when he’s sleepy, when he has to go potty, you know, the essentials of babydom.

But, amidst all of the baby learning, I did manage to accidentally learn something today. I’ve been using computers for years and years and know my way around a computer. In fact, the computer tech person at my first job straight out of college dubbed me the office super user. Imagine my surprise today when I pressed a combination of keys and my screen flipped 90 degrees! I sat there going, “What just happened?” I wasn’t totally sure what keys I had just pressed, but a bit of experimentation revealed the following:

Ctrl + Alt + any of the arrow keys = your screen will flip. The direction and amount of flippage is dependent on which arrow key you press.

-The down arrow will flip the screen upside-down.
-The right arrow will flip the screen so that the top of the page is now at the right.
-The left arrow will flip the screen so that the top of the page is now at the left.
-The up arrow will flip the screen back to the normal orientation.

I had no idea! How many times have I had to look at pictures with my head craned to the side because the uploader didn’t flip them. That won’t be a problem anymore. Someone sends you a picture oriented the wrong way, just flip your screen!

Who knew!

Day 305 – October 18

Today was all about banana bread. Well, the entire day wasn’t about banana bread. Actually, I didn’t even think about banana bread until about 8pm tonight. So maybe I should start over.

After the babes were in bed tonight, I got a hankering for banana bread. Fortunately, I had bought a big bunch of super ripe bananas the other day, so I was all set. I did a quick search and found three recipes, which I pinned to my bread board. I ended up only making two of the recipes. I tried the Apple Butter Banana Bread from Recipe4Living’s blog, and the Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Bread from the blog Spoon Fork Bacon.

I made 6 mini-loaves of the coconut version, and one regular sized loaf of the apple butter. My favorite was the chocolate chip version because it has chocolate! The coconut didn’t really add any extra flavor, it was more just a change in texture, so I’ll just skip that next time. The apple butter banana bread was really pretty good, too. It was spice-y (as in, nutmeg, cloves, etc) and had a really nice flavor. It just didn’t stand a chance against the chocolate chip version!

Day 304 – October 17

I generally make homemade bread for the family. For the past few months, I’ve been lazy and have been buying bread at the store. But, the good stuff is like $4 per loaf! So today I said, “Forget it! I’m making bread!” I tried a new recipe that had cottage cheese, whole wheat and honey. It was super yummy! So yummy, in fact, that the two loaves disappeared in less than 24 hours! Wanna make some yourself? Here’s the recipe.

Special Whole Wheat Bread
from The Red Star Centennial Bread Sampler, adapted by me
Makes 2 loaves

4 – 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 packages Red Star Instant Blend Dry Yeast (2 pkgs = 4 1/2 teaspoons)
1 T salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup wqter
1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter or margarine

Heat milk, water, cottage cheese, honey and butter in the microwave until warm (120-130 degrees). In a stand mixer fitted with the beater, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, yeast and salt; mix well. Add the warmed liquid mixture to the flour mixture. Blend at low speed until moistened; beat 3 minutes at medium speed.

Turn the oven on for one minute. It doesn’t matter the temperature, you are just wanting to warm the oven up a bit.
Switch to the dough hook and gradually add enough all-purpose flour to make a firm dough. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover, let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough. Divide into 2 parts. ON lightly floured surface, roll or pat each half to a 14×7-inch rectangle. Starting with shorter side, roll up tightly, pressing dough into roll with each turn. Pinch edges and ends to seal. Place in greased 9×5-inch bread pans. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 35-40 minutes until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans; cool.


Day 303 – October 16

I’ve been meaning to make some homemade chewy granola bars. Today, I finally got around to making the granola to use with said granola bars. It was so super easy! Basically, you take oats and whatever else you want in the granola (nuts, etc.), mix in some wet ingredients (in this case it was applesauce, oil and honey), then bake for about an hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes. I’ll be experiementing with the wet ingredients as I didn’t think that the applesauce mix made for a very yummy granola. But, the basics are super easy and so customizable! You can make it low or high fat, sweet or not, chock full of goodies or just plain. The kids love oatmeal in the morning, but I’m thinking granola would be a good option to mix things up a bit for them.

If you want the recipe I followed, it’s here at the blog Back to the cutting board. Tomorrow, I’ll hopefully get around to making the granola bars.

Day 301 – October 14

Today I made the cupcakes to go with the amazing frosting. The recipe came from the same blog, Krissy’s Creations. I was a bit skeptical of the 1/2 cup of olive oil. The batter tasted very olive oil-y, and I was thinking it wouldn’t be very good. But, I was wrong. The cupcakes were very moist and quite yummy. My only complaint is that there was too much batter, so the cupcake liners got filled too much and then they spilled over, making for a sloppy looking cupcake. The kids didn’t seem to mind, though. Most of them ate two cupcakes each. I haven’t figured out if it was the cupcakes that they loved, or the amazing frosting. Either way, it was pretty good.

I will say that once the frosting was paired with the cupcake, the strawberry flavor was lost. In the future, if I ever make this crazy good but crazy unhealthy frosting, I’ll add a fair amount more strawberry, or find strawberries that have a sweeter flavor.

Day 299 – October 12

Today, I spent a bit of time getting the sweets ready for DD’s birthday party on Sunday. I made a Double Coconut Cake that I hadn’t made in about 10 years . . . I think it’s going to be yummy! I also made the frosting for the cupcakes. Holy cow, this frosting is going to be amazing! 3 cups of butter, 6 cups of powdered sugar . . .need I say more? I actually used real butter as opposed to margarine since it’s a buttercream frosting, and not a margarinecream frosting. It was a thing of beauty to see the butter get nice and creamed after about 5 minutes in the stand mixer.

The recipe only called for 1/2 a cup of strawberries, which really didn’t make the frosting very pink. We didn’t have any red food coloring, so DD chose blue . . . . the flavor isn’t affected, but the color sure looks cool! Now I just need to make the cupcakes to put under the frosting. But frankly, it doesn’t really matter what the cupcakes taste like, the frosting is delish just on it’s own. Now, if you are on a diet, this is not the frosting for you. When DS1 saw me making it, he said, “Whoa! That’s ALOT of butter! That is definitely NOT healthy!” Even the 5yo recognized the absurdity of 3 cups of butter, but he also was won over to the merits of that amount of butter once he tasted the frosting!

I can’t wait to see how everything comes together with the cupcakes tomorrow! I’ll post pics once the whole ensemble is put together. (Oh, forgot to mention that the recipe came from Krissy’s Creations and you can find it here.)

Day 297 – October 10

Today I went to the dentist and got my teeth cleaned. I discovered that I have some recession in my gums, likely due to the way I brush. Apparently, you are NOT supposed to brush left to right. Instead, you should brush in circles and with a flipping motion from top to bottom or bottom to top. How in the world did I get to be 36 before hearing this information? I mean, really, in all of the toothbrush/paste commercials, you always see people brushing their teeth with a back and forth sawing motion. Why is it that the correct information isn’t being distributed? Seems like lots of people with sensitive teeth (due to receeded gums which expose nerve endings), would not have sensitive teeth if they knew how to properly brush.

So, have YOU been brushing your teeth the wrong way for years? Here’s a vid from YouTube showing the correct way to brush.

Day 296 – October 9

Commercial patterns have completely bogus sizing. I have never been able to just make a pattern as is and have it fit correctly. I have no idea why I thought this time would be different. I made a jacket for the newest LO as part of my Kids Clothing Week Challenge. I cut the smallest size, which ostensibly would fit babies up to 7 pounds. That would be perfect since I’m not sure that the little man has quite gotten to 7 pounds. It ended up being as big, or bigger than a 3-6 month jacket that I had been using for the babe which was way too big. Here, see for yourself.

See how it comes down to his mid thigh? And you could fit two of him in the jacket! So I altered the pattern, taking in several inches on the side and back, and shortening it. I ended up with this.

It’s a much better fit! I did make one change between the top pic and the newborn-less pic . . . . I got rid of the closure tabs and just installed snaps down the front so that it will fit him more snugly.

So what did I learn today? At this point in my “making clothing for the babes” experience, I’m better off just drafting my own patterns and looking at catalogs, etc to get inspiration. Who knew?!

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