Friday, November 30, 2012

Grilled Bagel Sandwiches

So, I feel like I had a stroke of brilliance when I thought of this idea: a grilled bagel sandwich that was actually toasty on the outside!

Simply cut a bagel in half.

Butter (or margarine) the slices.

Place one half butter side down on a non stick frying pan or griddle.

Stack up your sandwich fillings and top with the other bagel half, butter side up.

Cook until it is golden brown on both sides.

Yummy!  I used a plain bagel with black forest ham and provolone, but use your imagination!  I'm thinking an asiago bagel with sun dried tomatoes, turkey, and mozzarella would be amazing!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Granny's Gingersnaps


These yummy cookies are an winter favorite of mine and yet another recipe from Granny.  To make these tasty gingersnaps, you will need:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.  Stir in the spices.

Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles large crumbs.

Stir in the molasses and egg.

Form into one inch balls and place on an unlined, ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the sheet immediately.

The cookies are soft right out of the oven, but firm up as they cool.  So yummy!

Monday, November 26, 2012

DIY Knotted Headband

Ever since I learned how to belay in rock climbing, I have wanted to make an accessory featuring the retraced figure eight knot.  The retraced figure eight knot is the knot that you use to connect your harness to the rope before you attempt to climb a wall, and it's really kind of pretty!

To make this headband, you will need:
  • Cord
  • 1 hair binder
  • Needle and thread
First, measure out your cord. You'll want enough to wrap around your hairline, twice, and then a little extra for the knot.  Mine measured out to about 3 feet with a little excess in the end.

Once you have cut your cord, you can begin tying your knot.  Again, you will need to measure with your hairline to determine where you want the knot to start.  I chose to start my knot on the left side of my head, so I measured starting at the nape of my neck around the right side of my head and over to the left.  That description is a little confusing, but it will make more sense as we go.  My knot began about 15 inches from the end of my cord.

Now, where you have chosen to begin your knot, make a loop with the cord and wrap the longer end of the cord around the loop, then threading it through.  Our instructor explained it as making an alien head, wrap a rope around its neck, and stabbing it in the eye.  Haha!

Pull the cord until you see the figure eight shape appear. 

Then, loop the end of the cord through your hair binder and retrace the figure eight.  This basically means that you will go back through the knot, following the cord, until you have two figure eights nestled together.

Then, simply thread the cord back through the hair binder and sew the ends of the cord together.  Be sure you measure around your head before you sew the ends together and account for the stretch of the hair binder. 

Trim the excess cord.  If you're using a cord that frays easily, take a lighter and melt the edges.  The thicker the cord, the larger your knot will be.

Voila!  How cute would this be with a natural colored cord and a nautical outfit?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful Reflections

Chocolate-Whiskey Pecan Pie

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving Day.  As for my family, Thanksgiving continues through the weekend.  We had lunch with my family yesterday, and will have Thanksgiving with John's family on Sunday.  Today (as is my long standing tradition), I'll be putting up the Christmas tree and decorations.  Yay!

In the spirit of our Thanksgiving weekend, I'd like to reflect on the things I'm thankful for.
(1) My loving and lovely family
Especially (2) John, who pushes me outside my comfort zone (here, bicycling - which terrifies me - on our honeymoon)
Which leads me to (3) rock climbing.  I would not have tried it without John suggesting it, and now, I can't imagine not doing it
(4) Inga, our sweet little puppy.  She is such a ham and always makes me smile!
(5) Traditions: like setting up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving :)
And, of course, I am thankful for this blog that keeps me motivated to try new ideas and recipes, and all of you lovely readers.  Now, speaking of #5, I should get going!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you all have terrific weekends!

Monday, November 19, 2012

DIY Distressed T-Shirt

Not too long ago, I bought a cute little solid tee shirt. It fit great, and I was all excited to wear it. Then, the FIRST TIME I wore it, I got a grease stain on it. Correction: multiple grease stains. Who knew baking snickerdoodles could be so hazardous to your clothing!

Well, I didn't want to throw the shirt away, but I wasn't quite ready to relegate it to the grubby clothes pile either. So, I decided to try a fun little project instead.

You will need:
  • 1 colored t shirt
  • Bleach
  • Spray bottle
  • Electrical tape (masking tape... anything sticky and removable)
  • Scissors
Cut out electrical tape and press it onto the shirt in the pattern of your choosing.  If you're like me and trying to disguise a grease stain, avoid taping over the stain.
Nice new shirt, big ugly grease stain

When you're satisfied with the look, place the shirt on a well covered, protected work space. I used the tile floor in the basement and lots of newspaper to avoid any accidental bleaching.  Be sure you also place plenty of newspaper between the front and back of your shirt to prevent bleed-through.

Spray the shirt with bleach until you like the amount on the shirt.  I was a little heavy handed, but I still like the effect.

Wash (alone or with other bleachable items), dry, and wear!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Workout Motivation

With the holidays approaching (and all the delicious, but not so healthy food), I've been trolling Pinterest for fitness ideas.  I stumbled across an idea to put a dollar in a mason jar every time you workout.  When you hit a goal number (100, for example), you get to take the money and treat yourself!

I decided to take the motivation 1 step farther and made little jar toppers with inspirational quotes and reminders of why I'm working hard.  When I hit 100, I'm going to reward myself with some fun new workout clothes!

You will need:
  • 1 mason jar and lid
  • paper
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • coloring materials
Simply trace the jar lid onto the paper and cut it out. 

Decorate with inspiration of your choice and affix the paper to the lid with a piece of double sided tape.  Or, do like I did and make several inspiring lid toppers to change out as you progress!

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Homemade French Bread

I love making bread, but there is something about yeasty breads that is a little daunting.  I think it goes back to a failed batch of cinnamon rolls that refused to rise.  I blame faulty yeast.

So, I was pleasantly surprised with how simple this french bread recipe was to put together and pull off.  Another one of my granny's recipes, it makes two loaves and tastes delicious!

You will need:
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 unbeaten egg white
Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a medium-large bowl.  Add the sugar, salt, and 3 cups of flour and beat until smooth and shiny.

Add 2 1/2 cups more of the flour and knead for 5-6 minutes.  Place the mass of dough into a large, greased bowl and allow to double in bulk in a warm place.

Punch down the dough.  Then, divide the dough into two balls.  Form the balls into two long loaves.  Make cuts 3/4 inches deep and 1/2 inch apart.

Place the loaves on a baking sheet and, again, allow to double in bulk.  Then, bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove the loaves and brush the tops with the egg white.  Bake for another 2 minutes.

John and I enjoyed this for breakfast with jam and butter.  It also made several delicious grilled sandwiches (pumpkin, mozzarella, and hazelnut butter was my personal favorite.

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