Monday, January 16, 2012

A Domestically Inept Bread Primer: Part 1

If you may recall, back in my angel food flop post I talked about my dear friend Ashley and mentioned that she got me a wonderful Christmas present despite the fact I totally screwed up her birthday cake.  None the less, she, being the good friend she is, got me a wonderful cookbook that I've been longing for!  She got me George Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker.  This is a fabulous book about bread!  Even if you are a newbie (or domestically inept) home baker, you too can appreciate the recipes and secrets poured out in this book.  I have quite a few bread books.  To be honest most of them are quite daunting (no offense Peter Reinhart- I still think you are a genius).  This book is different.  It introduced me to a whole new level of bread baking.  Though steeped in tradition, it beautifully weaves newer trends and tastes into the practice of old-school bread-making.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jammin' in January

Who says canning is only for summertime?  Well not me!  This past weekend my friend Katy and I made and canned a bunch of peach and cherry jam using produce we had frozen from the late summer.  Canning can be kind of an overwhelming process....Especially if you are doing something like peaches that requires you to remove the skins and cut the fruit beforehand.
Here's what we did: in late summer, during prime peach season, Katy purchased a whole lot of peaches from a local farm.  We then spent one after noon removing the skins, pitting and slicing up the peaches and froze them in 6 cup batches.  (If you don't know how to easily remove peach skins, see my post about removing tomato skins, its the exact same process)!  It would have been quite daunting to do all of that and then proceed to make jam and can all of them in one day.  On another day Katy also pitted and froze a bunch of cherries for the same purpose.  We froze them knowing that someday....we would get around to actually jammin' and cannin'.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Spring is in the air?????

We have had some unusually warm weather here in Ohio.  Granted we've had a few days of freezing temperatures, but overall the winter has thus far been very mild.  Yesterday, the temperature was pushing 60 and there was a hint of spring in the air...even though it's only been winter officially for a few weeks.  Unfortunately my plants are getting a little confused.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Custom Handmade Gift Bags

Well Christmas is over now and most of you don't even want to start thinking about Valentine's day.  After all, it's still over a month away.  Well, if you start now, you can have an inexpensive and adorable gift for all your sweeties on Valentine's day.  These custom gift bags are so easy to make that even a domestically inept person who has no sewing skills can do it!  I promise!   Just fill these adorable bags with goodies (candy, soaps, lotions etc.) and the ones you love will feel so special for receiving something handmade! Tired of giving the same old cheesy gifts just for the sake of giving a gift?  Handmade gifts are by far the best you can give!  Knowing someone took the time and energy to create something, with your interests in mind is a delightful thought.  I gave a bunch of the above snowman bags to my co-workers for Christmas and filled them will small, inexpensive trinkets.  Everyone loved them!  I think they liked the bags more than what was actually in the bags.  So today I'm going to teach you how to make these.  But don't let the fun stop here!  Engage your creativity!  There are so many possibilities with these gift bags!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cauliflower Soup

Here in Ohio, we are starting the New Year off with a cold snap.  We have had a very mild December but January might be a different story.  The temperature dropped 20 degrees today and we are having heavy winds and rain.  Obviously, too treacherous to venture as I was holed up indoors today and shivering from the cold, I decided it was a good day for soup.  I had a head of cauliflower in the fridge I needed to get rid of so I set out to make some delicious and very nutritious cauliflower soup.