Thursday, January 13, 2011

Crafting and Baking

Two posts in one week?! I know, crazy! :) I just wanted to share with you all what I've been working on (in addition to sewing thrift store clothes) this week.

I've been so inspired lately to get in touch with my "crafty" side if you will, I don't know if its the cold temperatures, snowy ground, or what, but I've been so inspired and found some really cute ideas on blogs! Over at The Toasted Coconut I found this super cute Valentine's Day wreath. I thought that it was such a great idea, and you can imagine how many odds and ends fabric scraps I have lying around, just waiting for a project like this! And since I have pretty much no Valentine's Day decorations, what a great (and cheap since I didn't have to buy anything) project.

So I decided to get to work!

I took a wire hanger and bent it into a heart shape.

I spent most of the time cutting strips of fabric from various other projects I've done (recognize the red polka dot? or the pink and purple fabric?)

I then started to tie each one on the wire hanger.

And here is what it looked like after all the strips were tied on...It was kind of hard to see the heart shape now and it reminded me of a small fabric animal...haha so I decided to try to fix that.

Here is the finished product. I ended up taking a sheer silver ribbon and winding it around the hear shape to hold some of the fabric down and to define the hear shape a bit more. I really like it! :)

The second thing that I want to share with you all is this super yummy homemade bread recipe.
Here is a little back story for you:

Earlier this fall, a friend and I went to a nearby Amish community. They have some stores to sell their goods and I bought this loaf of oatmeal bread, and it is seriously some of the best bread I have ever had.
So, because of my love of baking, I came home and decided I HAD to figure out how to make that bread at home.

After a lot of google searches, and my own experimentation, I think I have figured it out so I will share it with you.
A side note: its really not hard to make at all, it just requires time and some patience :) 

Homemade Oatmeal Bread

-2 pkgs. active dry yeast
-1/2 c. warm water (for yeast) and 1 1/2 c. more warm water (2 c. total)
-1/3 c. peanut oil
-2 tsp. salt
-1/2 c. brown sugar
-2 1/2 to 3 c. all-purpose flour
-2 1/2 to 3 c. whole wheat flour
-2 c. cooked oatmeal
-any add-ins you would like such as dried fruit or nuts (optional)

Soften the yeast in the 1/2 c. warm water for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, 1 c. of the flour, 1 c. of the wheat flour and the rest of the warm water. Mix well.

Add in the salt, oil, and oatmeal. Add in flour a little at a time until a soft dough is formed-it should pull away from the side of the bowl (it will be sticky).

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Knead in any add-ins you are using.

Place dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in bulk. Note: I've found the easiest way to have a warm place is to heat up a bowl of water in the microwave, making the microwave nice and warm and then place your dough in there.

After doubled in size, punch down and form into 2 or 3  loaves (depending on how big you want them). I know there are probably a lot of ways to form into loaves, but this is what I do:

Use a rolling pin (floured surface) to roll out into a rectangular shape, and then roll dough up from the short side.

Place loaves in oiled pans and allow to rise, about 45 minutes. Brush tops with egg yolk wash if desired, and sprinkle some oats over the top. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes.

Sooo good! When I made this recipe earlier this week, I made one of my loaves into a dessert bread-before I rolled up the dough into a loaf, I brushed it with melted butter and sprinkled a cinnamon and brown sugar mixture on top, then rolled it up and baked it. It is my husband's favorite now! I bet it would be good if you put in some raisins to make a cinnamon-raisin bread...mmmmm! The possibilities are endless!

Happy crafting and baking! :)

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