yogurtbreadsliced

Yesterday’s bread experiment was a great success! Yogurt bread, from The bread lover’s bread machine cookbook was dense, heavy, and had a nice, mature taste. The crust is very thin (which I like), but still nicely crunchy, and the bread tastes just as well toasted as not. And with just 4 ingredients, which I always have at hand, I would say we have a keeper!

For the 1.5 lb loaf, the recipe is as follows:

3/4 cup water

1 cup whole milk yogurt

3 1/2 cup bread flour

2 tsp salt

2 1/2 tsp yeast

Put all ingredients in bread maker bowl, keeping aside about 1/4 of the flour. This will be added, if necessary, while the dough is made, to accommodate for the different consistencies of yogurt. Bake on Basic setting in the electric bread maker, with Medium crust.

The only modification I made is that I didn’t have whole milk yogurt, so I took out 2 tbs of the water and replaced it with canola oil, to make sure there is enough fat in the bread.

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Saturday was a good day for baking. I dug out the bread maker, the bread machine cook book a friend gave me as a gift a couple of years ago, and we started looking through recipes. we have been wanting to make our own bread regularly for a long time now, and perhaps this time we will stick with it. Our plan is to try as many as we can of the recipes in the book, and find those we ‘d like to make our staple.

The book is The bread lover’s bread machine book, a very thorough and easy to read / follow recipes book. My only deviation from the recipes is that it suggests you add baker’s gluten in pretty much every recipe, which makes the bread rise etc. better. In the beginning I used to add it, but after I stopped I can’t say I have seen much difference, so I just stopped. Neither of us is allergic to gluten, but why add more if you don’t need it? I am not sure how ethical / legal it is to post recipes from a published book, even though it may count as advertising. So, lets say that as I go through the various recipes, I will reproduce only the ones I really really like, or ones that I will modify considerably.
We started our exploration through the book with a whole wheat flaxseed bread, which I would rate as a 3 out of 5 for my personal liking. It came out dense and moist, the flaxseed gave it a nice texture, but the honey made it a little too sweet for my taste. Would I make it again? Probably not – too sweet.

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Apart from the bread, I also made some tilapia filets, which came out very good. Since I made this from memory, and it is a classic where I come from, I can share without reservations:

  • Slice 1 onion in thin rings or sticks, and a lemon in thin slices
  • Lay the fish filets on a baking dish of your choice, and spread the onion and lemon over them
  • Sprinkle with olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, fresh dill, salt & pepper, and dried oregano
  • Bake for 20 min. on 400F

Serve with mashed potatoes, steamed or baked vegetables, and use any left overs for fish sandwiches the next day.

Enjoy!

 

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While we were home for the summer holidays my mum brought me a pile of remnant fabrics to play with. I wanted to make something to remember this holiday, which was special in so many ways. I picked the black-and-white fabric, obviously a pocket from an old garment as my starting point. I combined it with some shirt fabric, on which I embroidered a few chamomile flowers, a private reference to a kindergarten drawing.

The bag remained in pieces for several weeks, waiting for some free time to be sewn. This morning, when everyone was still asleep, I sneaked out of bed at work rising time and put it together. The shape is not ideal, due to the pocket being so narrow, and I didn’t want to make it too short to keep the right proportions, so I ended up with an oblong bag. All in all, it didn’t turn out all that well, but it is a special bag for me anyway.

In other news, I have been in the mood for baking all day, but that’s another day’s post :-)

new cardigans

The weather is getting cooler, just a little bit each day.  The light is this beautiful diffused brightness that turns everything golden, and the trees whisper the husky song of drying leaves. It was time for new cardigans for the boys!

I have been waiting for the chance to make the kimono-style cardigans with long sleeves, especially as it seems to be quite difficult to find long sleeved sweaters for babies. I used a shirt that fits well for sizing, and two sweaters from my robust stash of sweaters for repurposing. I used one of daddy’s old grey ones (he has many), and a purple one that used to be my aunt’s. I made the sleeves extra long, to ensure they last this winter, and I am very pleased with how they fit the boys. I still have to add bias tape to prevent fraying, so although I let them wear their new cardigans on Saturday, I don’t consider them done. I make my own bias tape, which I find quite time consuming, perhaps because I haven’t done it enough to find all the shortcuts.

If you want to make your own (the pattern is actually so basic and simple, it could work for any size, up to an adult cardigan – think of those nice ballerina wrap around tops!) there are lots of tutorials out there, like this one, this one, or this one. I actually winged it, after having made the pattern a couple of times before. For closure, I am planning to sew snaps in strategic places, instead of trying to fumble with strings on wriggly babies.

More pictures when they are all done. Stay tuned!

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I am terrible with going to the post office. There is no good alternative in my area, I always feel they are going to be rude and annoying (which they often are, but not always to be fair), and it usually requires an extra trip just for that. Unlike most people, I don’t begrudge the wait – I have long ago made my peace with waiting in lines and I just take the opportunity to people-watch, day dream, and look around for inspiration. There is always inspiration, if you give yourself time to let it rise in your mind, so waiting in lines is the perfect time pocket for doing just that.

The reason I mention post offices is that I have to go to one, as I have 4 packages with gifts for people that I haven’t mailed to them in weeks (okay, months… *blush*) One of them contains a tag blanket for my lovely niece, who turned 1 in August. She was my original inspiration, as my brother mentioned that she likes to stick the tags from toys in her mouth, and so do my boys. A light went on in my head, and I understood the purpose of tag blankets. I had seen them, and tutorials for how to make them, online, but always thought they ‘d be kind of a boring thing to have around. Obviously, I have a long way to go before I think like a baby. The boys looooove theirs, and enjoyed being the product quality control team for the first one I made (see photo above.) They grab the tags, stick them in their mouths, they play with the applique, and V plays his favorite game, which is to put the blanket on his face for a few seconds and then lift it up – is it a form of κου-κου τζα (peekaboo) or does he get something else out of it? I so wish I knew! Maybe I should try playing the game myself :-)

There are several tutorials online for how to make them, which were very useful in some respects, but of course I did mine a little differently, to suit my preferred way to work / fabric selection etc. I used solid-color flannel for the soft side, and an equal size cotton fabric (from fat quarters) for the other side, plus a little more for the matching applique. For the tags, I used my stash of ribbon from gift wrapping and ribbon (my mother would be proud of me for holding on to them all these years!) A word of caution: if your gift ribbon is “wired” to help the bows hold their shape, make sure to pull that wire out before attaching to the blanket.

The process itself was very easy and fun:

  • Cut two pieces of fabric at a square of your choice, estimate how many tags you ‘d want for each side, and cut as many in equal sizes. You can embroider, applique, use patchwork pieces or use whatever other embellishments you like for the fabric pieces.
  • Fold tags in half, and pin on the right side of one of the two fabrics, tags’ folded end facing the center of the fabric, and edges sticking out just a little bit from the fabric edge.
  • Lay the other piece of fabric on top (right sides facing each other with tags in between them) and sew all around, leaving an opening for turning inside out.
  • Turn inside out carefully (lots of pins inside!), remove all pins, and top stitch all around to close opening and give a finished look to the blanket.

I washed mine a couple of times before giving it to the boys, to make sure all the colors and other nasty stuff from the tags were washed away.

Enjoy!

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