Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter



I hope you all have a wonderful Easter with your families and friends! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Updated pictures of the kitchen

Hey everyone! Can you believe we woke up to a thick blanket of snow this morning?! (Check out my Instagram for a pic). I think we've had more snow in the month of March than we had all winter combined. Hopefully spring will show up soon!

I have been wanting to share updated pictures of the whole house with you for quite some time. I figured I had better get to it before we have to put our house on the market and I have to start depersonalizing around here!

First, is the kitchen (because it was the easiest to clean up!). It's not perfect, but we love it. It's very well used and functional for our family. And no....it never looks this tidy on a daily basis, just in case you were wondering!


The table is a Goodwill find that I painted and distressed, and the chairs are from Josh's grandmother. 







The silver is a mix of family pieces and Goodwill finds!

Original china cabinet makeover here.


Audrey's growth chart is from Dear Lillie.


The china cabinet is filled with a mix of newer items and family heirlooms.










Audrey is learning letters now, so we always have the alphabet up on the chalkboard wall!





Pretty canister idea from Life in Grace.

An antique milkshake maker from Josh's side of the family. 



Audrey's Learning Tower...still wrapped in Christmas ribbon so she can't climb in and out by herself just yet! :)







So that's it for the kitchen! I'll eventually add these to the "tour my nest" page, too. Next I'm going to try to share some new pictures of the living and dining room with you!

Hope you all have a good Monday! Is it snowing where you are too?!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easy parmesan risotto

I've always loved risotto, but until recently I hadn't tried making it from scratch. I thought it must be too difficult, so I settled for a box mix, or just ordering at restaurants on occasion. Not anymore, my friends! This recipe is very easy and very yummy! Worth the extra couple of minutes to make from scratch! 

(so sorry, my food pics are always funky in color!)

Original recipe from here (mine is tweaked slightly from the original)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (I've always just used chicken broth in its place)
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, salt and pepper and cook until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the rice into the pot and stir, cooking about 2 minutes. Add the wine (or in my case, chicken broth) and simmer until absorbed.

Add half the broth (1 3/4 cups), stir once, and simmer until absorbed. About 8-10 minutes.

Add the remaining broth, stirring once and simmering again until absorbed, for about 8-10 minutes. Test the rice at this point. If it's undercooked, add more broth and simmer until rice is softened.

Add the parmesan and remaining tablespoon of butter. Stir it up and enjoy!

Try this and I promise, you will never buy a box mix of risotto again!

I have another delicious veggie risotto recipe to share with you soon...but this one is a good, basic risotto to start with! Stay tuned, my friends!




Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DIY bath toy bag

Hey friends! Hope you've all been well! Here's a little project I whipped up last week. I saw the original project here, and thought it was such a great idea.


This is so easy, it barely calls for a tutorial, but here's how I did it:

I used 5/8 yards of mesh fabric (purchased at Joann's), and folded it in half so that the factory finished edges were together. Then, I just sewed along the 2 sides, and the finished edge becomes the opening to the bag. But before sewing all the way up the edges, I tucked in a short piece of ribbon on each side to use to hang the bag up (and of course, turn the back right side out). And that's it! Easy! 


If you visit the original tutorial, you'll see that she made her bag slightly differently and hers even has a cute accent ribbon at the top! Maybe I'll add one to mine someday! 

The thing I love about this bag is that it won't hold water, like plastic bath toy holders can, which eventually leads to mold and mildew. This bag can be thrown in the wash so it's always nice and clean! It lets the toys drain and dry completely, so mold and mildew aren't an issue. 



I didn't have any suction cup hooks on hand, so I just used 3M Command Hooks, and they seem to be holding up nicely. 


This photo will give you an idea of the scale of the bag. It's quite large, so it can accommodate plenty of toys as Audrey's collection grows! 


Hope you all enjoyed this simple project! See you soon! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Homemade bread recipe

So, this is the first homemade bread recipe that I've tried. I've been making it for several months now, and I really love it! For a long time, the idea of making bread sounded like an enormous task, but now that I've done it, it really doesn't seem like a big deal at all! I find this recipe to be pretty quick and simple, as far as bread making goes.



There's nothing quite like homemade bread fresh out of the oven...especially for a carb fanatic like myself! I love this with soups, for toast in the morning, and I bet it would make yummy french toast too (although I'm pretty terrible at making french toast for some reason, so I haven't tried that yet!).

This recipe makes 4 loaves of bread...enough to share! I often walk over to my neighbors house with a warm loaf of bread to share some of the love!

Do you want to make some of your own? Original recipe from here.

5 cups hot water
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil (plus more for your countertop)
2 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons yeast (I used Fleischmann's Rapid Rise highly active yeast)
11 cups bread flour

Pour the 5 cups of hot water into a large bowl. Add in the sugar, oil and salt. Whisk for 30 seconds.

Add 1 1/2 cups bread flour. Whisk 30 seconds. Add 1 tablespoon of yeast and whisk for 10 seconds. Add in 2 more tablespoons of yeast and whisk. (I don't know if the exact timing really makes a difference, but I follow the original recipe just in case!).

Add 10 more cups of bread flour. Take your rings off!!! Mix with hands until the flour is well incorporated. Your dough will look a bit shaggy at this point.

Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and let it rise for 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes, pour some oil onto your countertop and put the dough on it. Separate dough into 4 equal parts. Roll each of them out into a long rectangle, then fold a few times over to make a loaf.

Place loafs in pans, and put them in a non-preheated oven of 200 degrees for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes, and without opening the oven, turn it up to 325 degrees. Bake for another 30-35 minutes. Loaves are done when tops are golden.

Here are more pictures to help you see what the bread will look like as you make it:

While mixing


After mixing

Rising

After rising

After oiling counter and separating the dough

This is the shape you want to roll it out in. I love this rolling pin for bread dough! You can refrigerate it beforehand so your dough doesn't stick to it! I usually forget that step, but I put a little oil on it and that works too!




Yummmm!

Let me know if you plan on trying this recipe, or if you have other homemade bread recipes to share, I'd love to see them!


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