Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year and Thanks

Hi everyone!  Sorry we've been MIA.  It's a new year and we are spending more time with our families and other endeavors.  Thank you for joining us on our blog ride and feel free to email us any time!  Unfortunately we need to take a hiatus from blogland.  Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy 2014!

Friday, November 22, 2013

The bread that changed my life ....

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Gosling

I know ... a little dramatic, right?  Truth be told, this bread has changed my life for the better.  I can make it and bake all week, my husband doesn't have to stop on his way home from work to get bread (code:  spend way more than he should and be late) and I know exactly what is going into it.  Did I mention the cost?  Under a $1 a loaf.  AMAZING!
No-Knead Crusty Artisan Bread on ...This bread is incredible and is fool-proof! As easy as it gets when it comes to bread making!

I noticed a few "pins" on pinterest for Artisan Bread.  I thought, how hard can this be?  So after researching a few sites and perfecting a bread that suits our tastes, this is what I have come up with:

1 pack of Fleishmann's Active Dry Yeast
Salt & Garlic Salt
6 cups of unbleached flour (you can substitute with whole wheat, for taste)
3 cups luke warm water
A stand up mixer & bread paddle attachment (optional)
1.  Start by heating and measuring 3 cups of warm water.  I run the faucet until the H2O is hot to the touch (appr. 100-115 degrees).  Place that in your mixer or large mixing bowl.  Then add 1 packet of yeast or 1.5 tsp.  Let that sit for 2 minutes and stir for 10 seconds. 
2.  Add 6 cups of flour.  2 tsp. of salt (table or kosher) and 1 tsp. of garlic salt
3.  Mix that until completely combined.  The dough is a wet/sticky dough.  When handling/transferring, you can coat your spoon or fingers for better handling.  If you have a bread bucket, use that.  I have been using a VERY large pasta bowl with saran wrap and it works fine.  Place your dough in your bowl, put it in the fridge and let it rise for at least 3 hours. 
Post rise 

4.  When you are ready to bake, generously coat the top of the risen dough and cut a section out.  Continue coating your dough as your form your shape, but do not knead it.  Just wrap the dough around the bottom, for desired shape.  Place on a stone or non stick cooking sheet.  Let rise at room temperature for 30 min. Using a sharp knife, cut 2 or 3 marks in the top of the bread, to let the heat release while cooking. 
5.  Preheat your oven to 410 degrees and cook for 30 minutes. 
You have to fight the urge not to dig into it immediately.  Wait until it has cooled a bit (appr. 30 minutes).  It will be easier to cut into (with a serrated knife) and the center is VERY HOT for a while.  Save remaining dough for up to 10 days in the fridge. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Table Makeover Inspired By Pottery Barn

Passing Notes Today: Mrs. Kelly 

 Hey Y'all, 

Today I'm going to show you our kitchen table makeover. Here was my inspiration--the Keaton table from Pottery Barn retails at $1600.

Our kitchen table was looking way more shabby than chic. We have a kitchen remodel in our future some day so I didn't want to go out and buy a new table (certainly not to the tune of $1600).  I just hoped to spruce up our existing piece.  It's oak and very sturdy.  And, best of all, it fits in our tiny breakfast nook.  Here's how it looked when we started:

Here she is disassembled and in our garage.

Check out all the chipping and marks.  This was before sanding!

We used a chemical stripper at first but I started to get all freaked out by the chemicals in the chemical stripper.  So then, my awesome husband sanded that table down.  He spent a few nights out in the garage sanding.  

Then came the fun part of applying stain.  

The stain and polyurethane was a royal pain in the you-know-what.  It took far longer than we thought it would to complete this project.  Try a month longer.  Ah well, the patience was worth it because in the end the table top turned out like this...

But she still wasn't complete.  I bought some chalk paint at the Purple Painted Lady.  I actually used a sample size to do the legs of the table.  Then I waxed.  And after that, I distressed.  I'm pretty happy with the end result!  The chalk paint was super easy to use.  It costs a little more but for an impatient lady like myself, it's an amazing product.  You don't really need to prep the wood beforehand.  You just start painting.  I think this table looks better than before!  Would you agree?

I can't imagine why Pottery Barn didn't have a blue booster seat in its ad.
Don't you think it adds to the charm?

I probably spent about forty bucks total for the remodel project and far more in sweat equity.  My husband is laughing while he is reading this because he did the lion's share of this project!  Love him.

Now if only I could do something about that floor.  Hah!


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