Friday, November 20, 2015

Homemade Wheat (or White!) Bread

Oh my goodness, this bread is good. Remember Wendy, my awesome nurse-mentor when I worked in the NICU? Twas she brought the delicious Butternut Squash Harvest Soup to the weekly Sunday potluck at work. Part of the reason that soup stole my heart, though is that it was paired with this amazing homemade bread.

I feel inadequate to fully describe the deliciousness of it. It's soft but not crumbly. The texture and taste are amazing. Also, I love that it calls for 100% wheat flour and still delicious. (Don't you sometimes feel like fractioning out part-wheat, part-white is missing the point? I want it either completely whole grain or completely fluffy and light. Then again, I'm new to bread making; ask me again in a few years.)

I knew I needed to share this recipe with my mom (and the world), but when I went to make it a few days ago, I could not find my wheat flour. I could have sworn I had a quarter bag left... Yet it turns out, this oversight was destiny. I already had the rest of my ingredients in my mixer and didn't want them to go to waste, so I added white flour instead, and the result was another amazing loaf.  My husband fell completely in love, and our family ate the entire loaf in an embarrassingly short amount of time. I'm not going to even tell you how short. It was that good.

So I'm set: whether I need a white or wheat loaf, this recipe is gold! (And if I want a crusty, artisan bread, mom's No-knead, Overnight Bread is another no-fail winner. I typically make it without any mix-ins, and it's delish.)

1 1/4 cups warm water (very warm to touch)
1/2 Tbs yeast
1/2 Tbs salt
1/4 cup honey
2 1/2 Tbs canola oil
3 cups wheat (or white) flour

Mix water, yeast, salt, honey, oil and flour together until well mixed.  Knead for 10 minutes.  Let rise, covered in greased bowl for 1 hr.  Form into a loaf and transfer into a greased loaf pan.  Cover with a clean dishcloth and let it rise for 1 hr. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Go With Everything" Lace Baby Skirt

Several weeks ago I attended a baby shower and sat next to my dear friend, Melanie, and her beautiful baby. Mia was wearing a onesie with an ivory lace over-skirt and looked like a princess. Melanie told me that she loves the skirt because she can put it on over any color/style onesie and turn it into an adorable outfit.

I found a similar skirt at Target and actually bought one to send to another friend for a baby gift. But then, of course, I couldn't resist trying to make one myself.

I happened to have a spool of very wide ecru lace (6 1/2" wide) that I bought at a thrift store months ago, knowing that I would have a use for it at some point:

But if you don't have a spool of lace handy, simply purchase 1/2 yard of lace fabric; it will work just as well. Cut two pieces of lace. The first one, the bottom layer of the skirt, should be 1 1/2 yards wide (or the width of your fabric) and 6 1/2 " long. Cut the top layer 1 1/2 yards wide (or the width of your fabric) and 5" long.

If you have a serger, place the two pieces of lace on top of each other with the right sides of both pieces facing up. Serge the top edges of the lace pieces together. This creates the finished edge of the waist of your skirt.

If you don't have a serger, place the right side of the 5" piece on top of the wrong side of the 6 1/2" piece. Sew a narrow seam along the top of both pieces. Go back and zigzag the raw edge to keep it from fraying. Then open up the lace and fold the short piece over the long piece to hide the seam and create the layers with the right side of both pieces showing. Iron the seam flat.

Measure around your baby's waist, add 1/2," and cut a piece of 1/2" soft elastic that length. (I didn't have a baby handy to measure, so I took the measurement from an 18 month size baby skirt that I had at home. It was 18 inches.) To create a casing for the elastic, measure down 3/4 inch from the top edge of the skirt and sew along that line, back-stitching at the beginning and the end of the stitching.

Thread the elastic through the casing by pinning a safety pin through the front end of the elastic and pushing it through.

(I use a straight pin to secure the back end of the elastic to the front end of the casing so it doesn't pull all the way through and get lost inside the casing.) When you reach the end of the casing, undo the safety pin being careful not to let the elastic slide back into the casing. Use a straight pin to secure the front end of the elastic to the end of the casing.

Place the right sides of the skirt together, matching the raw edges. Stitch the raw edges together with a 1/2" seam, making sure that you catch both ends of the elastic in the seam. Zigzag the raw edges and turn right side out:

Pair it with a favorite onesie and. . . .

Think how cute this could be in a soft denim as well. You could hem it--or not. I think frayed edges would be fun.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Silent Night - SSA Arrangement

The moment you all have been waiting for is here.

Actually, nobody has been waiting for this and it probably isn't very exciting to you at all. But it is exciting to me because I arranged an SA or SSA arrangement of the song Silent Night -- and I am posting a link so that those who are interested can download it.

I volunteer as one of the music leaders and organists at my church and it has not always been easy to find solo and choral and instrumental arrangements to use at home and at church. It is always exciting for me to find a new song or arrangement that I like. So here is my little contribution to the world of Christmas music. If it brightens your day and helps you feel a bit of that peace "which passeth all understanding," then it has fulfilled its purpose. Please comment if you have any questions about anything in the music. (I am hoping to put an mp3 of it up eventually as well.)

Click here to download.

If playing or singing Christmas music isn't your thing, you should at least take a listen to one of "Mack's" Christmas arrangements:

Mack Wilberg is the current director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and a musical genius (in my humble opinion). And this song is my husband's Christmas favorite. You have to make it through the entire song because by minute 3:30, I feel like the music and vocals are so perfect that it is almost unreal.