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Do It Yourself – “Farmhouse White Sandwich Bread”

DISCLOSURE: Home made breads are not your run-of-the-mill normal grocery store bread. It is heartier, dense, flavorful, stick to your ribs. It preserves differently as well.

After making Artisan Bread several times I felt I was adapted well enough to graduate to another standard. So I hit the google machine and type in homemade white sandwich bread and I hit the JACKPOT!!! On the first page I checked out Farm Girl Fare‘s blog site, and I fell in love with it.

I read her article on the perfect loaf of bread for beginning bakers and I was confident I could do this! The article is wordy, but it encompass information that is important to bread making. Things you need to know and also book recommendations and extra things you can do with the basic recipe to change things. In the latter part of the post is your baking directions and I suggest you read it in it’s entirety before you begin the process.

Honestly there is a lot more reading and waiting than actually doing work.

What do you need?
-4 cups all-purpose flour
-1½ Tablespoons Instant Yeast
-2 Tablespoons granulated or brown sugar
-2 Tablespoons your favorite neutral oil, or melted butter (neutral flavored oils being Canola, Safflower, Vegetable, etc)
-4 cups warm milk or water, about 85° F (Milk is the best imo)
-About 6 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
-1½ Tablespoons salt (VERY IMPORTANT)
Tips:

 
1. Read her blog post entirely.
2. I like using 1 TB of instant yeast. I just let it sit and meld longer.
3. Don’t leave out the salt. I forgot it once and the whole batch taste like cardboard.
4. Honey is a nice addition to the bread.
5. It really is true that the longer the bread sits and goes through its process the better it tastes. 
6. Once you do this a couple of times you’ll become pro. It really is not as hard as it originally looks like. 
7. If your bread dries out, using a damp non-terry cloth type towel to wrap the loaf of bread, turn the oven to about 200 and give it about 8-10 minutes. It brings back in the moisture. 
8. When you store your bread, it’s good to wrap it in surran wrap and then put it into a zip lock baggy. 
9. If your bread becomes hard and stale don’t throw it away! There are 100 things you can do with that stale bread like making croutons or stuffing! 

This has been my go to recipe, and I LOVE IT. 

Give bread making a shot! Skip out on the preservatives, have a heartier lunch sandwich, and it cost less in the long run.

 

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Do It Yourself – Artisan Bread

As I had mentioned before I began this journey by the undoubtable need to save money and become more frugal. So here we are with bread! Lots of people will rave on that there is nothing like a loaf of freshly baked bread, and they are not wrong!

Bread making can be VERY intimidating so I knew I need to start simple and I have found it! Artisan bread is easy peasy! I found this GREAT recipe from The Italian Dish Blog. (Which BTW is my FAVORITE Italian Recipe Got To Place.)

I’m not going to post the entire instructions here so I recommend you visiting the page directly. She has it very clean cut, nicely place pictures, and a video showing you how to fold the bread. I can’t make it any more simple than what she has already. 

Artisan Bread / Peasant Bread / Italian Bread… etc etc etc. 

What do you need?
  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated fast acting (instant) yeast (2 packets)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
  • 6-1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached all purpose white flour

THAT IS IT! That’s all you need. (See posted link above for directions)

You get a nice crispy outside and warm moisture inside.

If you have NEVER baked a loaf of bread a day in your life, this is where I suggest you start! Make a big pot of spaghetti, salad, and some artisan bread and your family will be begging you for more!

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Do it yourself – Bug Repellents for the Home

I LOATHE bugs. I freak out about bugs. Bugs do not belong in my house. However it is inevitable that we get them.

What bugs do I have problems with? Ants, Earwigs, and Flies.

ANTS

  • Apple Cider Vinegar mix with distilled water. I have this spray as a universal spray. It’s just 1/4 cup acv and water w/ some lavender oil. It kills ants, gnats, and spiders. The caustic kills the pests, and it’s good for your hair! 
  • Citrus reigns king. Take a little sachet and fill it with some lavender, mint, eucalyptus, cinnamon sticks, clove, bay leaf and lem0n basil for ants in drawers, closets, and pantries.  This goes for a whole line of other pests too like Moths! Plus it all smells yummy. 
  • Ant Poison. (WARNING: Although this isn’t an extremely toxic remedy to humans or pets it can be irritating to the stomach. So, keep pets away from this and children) What do you need? Borax 20 mule blue team, sticky sweet yumminess, index card. Thanks to Kitchen Stewardship  for this gem. I use Syrup on an index card and sprinkled the borax on it and set it in the path of my ants. They eat it and take the “Poison” home. Our Ant problem in the master and guest bedroom has dropped dramatically. (Thanks Heavens)

FLIES

  • We have a horrible unnatural problem here with flies in Dela”Where”. It was never this bad in VA. So there is this HUGE cycle going on about how to build the cheap Mosquito trap from a 2-liter soda bottle. Well it’s not a new thing. The same general principle applies for flies too. Here is a nice blog post with illustrations on how to create said flies, mosquito and miscellaneous insect trap. (Even bugs attracted to LEDs) Thanks EcoBites.com and The Walden Effect for great visual guides. 
  • Sticky Wicky Fly paper. I have not tried this yet, but from the blog I read this from I am very confident it should work. This evening I will give it a try!  Check out this nice DIY post from Coming Home To Roost
  • Good Old Fashioned Fly SwatterThis is for the humor factor. Hand your fly swatter to your three year old and tell him to be the big smasher. He’s quite good!
  • CATS and Dogs. Do you think I’m kidding? My cats are brilliant fly catchers. It’s also very entertaining to watch! Someday I’ll get it on video. My Dog is a good fly eater too. (YUCK!)

EARWIGS

  • These guys aren’t horrible, but they are creepy. They are attracted to dark dank places. They help keep the slug population under control and birds help keep them under control. Bird Feeders around your garden. 
  • Shoe Box Trap. Poke decent size holes into a shoe box and add some oatmeal or bran to the bottom and set it out at night or in a dark place you have problems with. Check each morning and dump it out. Rolled up newspaper trap works too! 
  • Check weather stripping and seals around doors and windows. They come in from the outside, and they do not breed in doors. Making sure these things are done and sealed up helps. 
  • Cockroach Roach Traps. Add them to dark places and toss them when you have a few. 

The good thing is they don’t want your food they want plants and other bugs they eat. They come inside on accident, and they don’t hurt anything and disease isn’t a real issue with them. Best of all, again they do not breed in doors.

 

 

 

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Do It Yourself – Chocolate Hard Shell Sauce

I don’t know about you, but I love chocolate covered fruit and ice cream. Instead of buying that magic hard shell chocolate sauce I make my own! Not only is it easy but it’s cheaper! (My favorite combination!)

Hard Shell Chocolate Sauce

What you need?
 
-6 ounces of Chocolate (Personal Preference Semi-Sweet)
-1 table spoon coconut oil
-1 small pot 1/2 way with water
-1 small pot that can sit on top of the one with water. 
 
What to do?  First, my disclaimer, my microwave and I have frequent disagreements so I just the stove, however this can be done in a microwave. 
 
Bring your water to a low simmer. Once it is simmering pour in your chocolate chips and coconut oil into the top pan and set it on top of the pan with simmering water. You chocolate should begin melting very shortly. As it melts, stir until it is completely melted. 
 
Immediately add to the top of your ice cream and put it into the freezer for a minute. Viola, hard shell chocolate sauce. 
 
Another Favorite is chocolate covered strawberries. Use a kabob skewer and insert the end into the top of the strawberry and swirl it around (I find it easier to leave the stems on.) If you want to add coconut or nuts just sprinkle them on top of the strawberry while the chocolate is still wet and then refrigerate until chocolate is set. 
 

It really is that simple. Coconut oil gives it that nice shine and helps the chocolate harden faster with very little work. ENJOY!

 

 

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Homemade – Artisan Bread (*AKA Peasant Bread*)

This was my first bread making experience. It is easy and I found that the directions to follow from The Italian Dish Blog were wonderful with a nice video to follow-up with. From a non-experienced bread maker to another start here first.

Please Note: This is an Artisan bread not sandwich bread. It goes GREAT with a nice big plate of spaghetti.

What you need:

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated fast acting (instant) yeast (2 packets)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
  • 6-1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached all-purpose white flour

What to do:

I suggest going to The Italian Dish Blog as she explains the process very thoroughly with pictures and video.

FAQ:

Q: My bread turned out really crispy on the outside. Did I do something wrong? A: No; true artisan bread is crispy crunchy outside and gummy yummy inside.

Q: Is there a way to lessen the crunch. A: Yes; ignore the water step.

Q: Can I half the recipe? A: Yes.

Q: Have you tried a whole wheat version of this? A: No; but I will! I do know that a whole wheat version to make it more palatable you need a sweetener. Honey will probably be my way to go.

Q: Why did you call it peasant bread in the title. A: My mother grew up relatively poor in TN. This was a term she often used in regards to artisan breads.

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Homemade – Plain Yogurt (*In the Crock pot!*)

I have learned that making yogurt is a time-consuming practice. Not so much because of the prep time, but the time it needs to cure. The yogurt did not turn out like what you buy at the store, but it was really good! I could eat this plain with nothing added where store-bought stuff I can’t do that.

Here are the three blogs I checked out for DIY Crock pot Yogurt

Money Saving Mom

Thankfully Thrifty

Keeper of the Home

The winner was Keeper of the Home. I opted for the additional steps for thicker yogurt. Although I like them all!

What you need: 

-1 Crock pot
-Whole Milk
PLAIN yogurt (must have active cultures)

TIP: You want to use 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt to every 4 cups of milk. In the other blogs, their ration was 1/2 gallon of milk 1/2 cup of yogurt.

What to do:

At this point I am going to recommend to simply go to Keeper’s blog! DIY – Plain Yogurt The layout and pictures are wonderful. READ thoroughly before doing this project. The first time I tried it I missed a step and this turned out VERY runny. (Although good still.)

FAQ

Q: How much time did you spend on this project. A: As I stated before this isn’t a hard project it just takes a lot of time to do.

Q: Can I use other types of milk? A: Some say yes and some say no. I have always used whole milk, BUT I think tonight I may just opt to try it out with 1%. I’ll let you all know how that goes.

Q: Can i use these recipes to create Greek yogurt? A: Greek yogurt is merely a strained version of regular yogurt so in theory yes! You need cheese cloth. You simply let the yogurt sit longer and drain.

Q: This yogurt is very runny did I do something wrong? A: No; this isn’t like store-bought yogurt. Manufacturing has done a number on us! To thicken it up you can drain the yogurt with cheese cloth.

Q: Can I use this yogurt in my cooking? A: Of course!

Q: What if I don’t want plain yogurt. A: Just add your desired flavoring after the yogurt has been created. Add whatever items you want! Get inventive! I love crunchy granola with mine.

Practice Makes Perfect. This is a project that needs practice.

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