» August 2012 «


Homemade Dinner Rolls


To continue my attempt at stocking our freezer (Lower Grocery Bills & Freezer Meals), I decided to bake homemade rolls to accompany our soups. I usually direct all bread-making ventures to Jack because, unlike me, he is patient. When I bake I want to prepare the food, put it in the oven, wash the dishes, and pull the food out of the oven. Simple, easy, no hassle, and no waiting between steps. All that to say, these are the characteristics I look for in a bread recipe–I know, it’s sad, but this time it worked!

homemade rolls

This recipe is incredibly easy and really doesn’t take long. I followed it to a tee, but changed the seasonings on top.

“My Favorite Buttermilk Dinner Rolls” from The Bread Bible (slightly altered):

Ingredients:

1 tbsp dry yeast
Pinch of Sugar
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. warm buttermilk
2 tbsp. honey
4 tbsp. butter
1 large egg
2 tsp. salt
4 c. all-purpose flour (plus some for dusting during kneading)

Directions:

1.) In a small bowl combine yeast, sugar and water. Dissolve and let stand until foamy, roughly 10 minutes.

2.) In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, sugar, butter (melted), egg, and salt. Mix in 1-1/2 c. flour and yeast mixture. Beat on high for 2 minutes.

3.) Continue to add the remainder of the flour 1/2 c. at a time with a wooden spoon.

4.) Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, 4-7 minutes by hand. Use flour to prevent sticking, 1 tbsp at a time.

5.) Grease a large bowl and place smooth dough inside. Turn dough over so top is greased. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1-1/2 hours.

6.) Deflate dough and turn out onto floured surface. Divide dough in half and roll each into a 2 to 3 inch cylinder. Cut each into 8 equal portions. Roll each into a small oval.

7.) Lay dough balls on a greased baking sheet about 3 inches apart. Cover with saran wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.

8.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush each roll with egg glaze (1 egg, 1 tbsp water, 1 tbsp milk). Sprinkle the top of the rolls with garlic, thyme, sesame seeds and pepper (or choose your own combination).

9.) Cut small diagonal slashes on top of each roll. Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. If using 2 baking sheets, switch top to bottom halfway through baking process.

10.) Allow to cool before serving and enjoy!

These rolls freeze beautifully. Just make sure you seal them up nice and tight and try to get all the air out of the bag or container you store them in to reduce the chance of moisture getting trapped inside.


Purple & Orange Wedding


Today was my last farm day for the year. I’m always sad when summer comes to an end but with Fall just around the corner the workload at the farm dwindles down and really, it’s just in time for me to head back to classes. After seven years and three degree changes I am finally beginning my last year. Hooray! Next week I will head back to class and will also be starting a new job. Such a busy month. I am so excited to get started with the year and finish up this chapter of my life but right now, feeling sad to say goodbye to summer and all the beauty to be found out on the farm.

Today Linda and I worked on a rather unique wedding. The bride wanted purple and orange–not a request we are used to getting, however, the bouquets were both fun and beautiful. The groom’s boutonniere was purple and the groomsmen had orange. Like many of us, the happy couple also enjoy a good tasting beer and thought it would be fun to include hops in their bouts. Once again, so fun!

purple & orange wedding

purple & orange wedding

purple & orange wedding

purple & orange wedding

I hope you’ve enjoyed these pictures and found a little bit of inspiration. I never would have thought to use purple and orange for wedding colors but after putting these together, I’m a believer! I so loved arranging this fun wedding and wish the happy couple all the best.


Grilled Eggplant, Tomato & Aioli Sandwiches


In preparation for the coming school year our kitchen has once more turned to freezer-meal central. I recently read a book on cutting your grocery bill in half and while I began the read thinking it would be quite useless, I can proudly say, it works! I’m very excited to share some tips with you throughout the coming months. For now, let me just emphasize the importance of going to the grocery store once monthly and taking one day each month to cook up a couple staple meals that will keep in the freezer. Last year we realized just how valuable freezer meals can be with a schedule like ours.

Anyways, I’ll get to more freezer meal recipes, tricks and tips in a few weeksMore freezer meals here, but I’ll get to back to the point… While freezer meals are wonderful on the wallet, we love our fresh fruits and veggies so we supplement our menu with produce dinners from the farmer’s market. Whipping up a quick vegetarian meal once or twice a week goes a long way to incorporating variety into your month of meals.

Egg, tomato, eggplant sandwich

This week one of our produce meals consisted of eggplant, tomatoes, onions and eggs. The tomatoes were from our very own garden, the eggplant was thrown into my produce bag for free after buying 5 zucchinis and 5 yellow squash and the eggs are from a local farmer. Neat-O, right? I love fresh!

Here’s how we put this dish together:

1.) Grill Eggplant: Slice eggplant, sprinkle with salt, parsley, pepper, thyme and garlic, place in a sauce pan with 2 tbsp. of olive oil, cook each side 3 minutes or until slightly browned

2.) Saute onions in 1 tbsp of olive oil

3.) Cook 2 over-easy eggs

4.) Prepare Aioli Sauce: 1/4 c. light mayo or Greek Yogurt, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 minced garlic clove

5.) Slice tomatoes, toast bread and assemble sandwiches

Egg, tomato, eggplant sandwich

Easy as pie! My favorite part was slicing open the yolk and letting it drizzle all over the sandwich, seriously, it was SO good.

Next time you are looking for a healthy, tasty and filling dinner recipe, give these open-faced sandwiches a try. Trust me, it’s a decision you won’t regret.


Men’s Shirt Refashion + Farmer’s Market


I think the best thing about Summer and Saturdays is the Farmer’s Market. I don’t know if there is a better excuse for waking up early on the weekend. This weekend, Kristin and I manned the Aunt Willie’s Wildflower station at the Kingsport market and had such a great morning.

I think she was a bit more awake than I was at this point. We’ve also started taking instagram photos of our last year together so here’s a look at that one too.

The shirt I am wearing in these pictures takes me to my next topic of discussion–clothing refashions.

Some of our friends were thinning out their closets last week. I peeked into one of the bags destined for the college “share closet” and stole this men’s dress shirt. Of course, when I tried the shirt on it was incredibly long with sleeves that extended about 8 inches past my hands plus oodles of growing room under the arms and around my middle (sorry, no before pics that are worth showing you). Here is a quick and dirty tutorial to give you an idea of how easy it is to take in a shirt.

To start, I buttoned the shirt and turned it inside out. Next, I lined up the front and back pieces, set my sewing machine needle in 2 inches from the original sew lines (or however much you need it to go in) and followed the shape of the original line down the shirt sides. Where the original line curves for shape (which is very little for men), I exaggerated the curve so it would hug in the right places (think man shape vs. woman).

For the sleeves, I followed the same guidelines as above, moving my needle in from the original sew line and continuing to sew up the arm, around the armpit and connecting it to the line I sewed down the shirt sides.

Next, I cut the sleeves at the elbow, folded a cuff and sewed it in place.

Not the fanciest sew job but to the untrained eye, it looks pretty darn good (and it only took 15 minutes). Now I have a fun dress shirt to go with my skinny jeans. So, next time you are thinking about throwing out the husbands old shirts, think again and see what fun fashions you can come up with.


Baltimore + Friends


Sorry for the brief hiatus from posting, I hope you all have had a chance to check out last week’s Jungle Safari Baby Shower. The hubby and I decided to take a last-minute trip up to Baltimore this weekend to visit our good friends Adam and Leslie. We kind of love them. With classes starting back in one week, we figured it was one of those “now-or-never” moments.

Baltimore

We had such a blast in Baltimore. Breakfast at Gertrudes outside the BMA, seriously the most amazing basil hollandaise sauce over eggplant and poached eggs. It was so delicious that I decided my latest mission is to cook the perfect poached egg.

Anyways, back to our weekend. We took in the beautiful views on Federal Hill overlooking the harbor.

Took a walk around Fort McHenry (think Star Spangled Banner). Loved the ocean views surrounding the fort.

We even managed a mini beach trip on Sunday followed by dinner in Little Italy and the most amazing cannolis. Yes, it was a great weekend.

Tomorrow is another day of flower cutting and market arranging at the farm. Kristin and I will be running the flower business at the Kingsport Farmer’s Market on Saturday so anyone in the area should come out and visit us. I promise, once you see the flowers you won’t regret giving up your Saturday morning. I’ll be sure to take some fun market pictures for you all. Happy Weekend!


Jungle Safari Baby Shower


Last weekend’s jungle party was a success! I took way too many pictures so these collages are my attempt to show you all the details. To be completely honest, the jungle theme was pretty easy to pull off–think grasses, lots of them. That’s right, I used vases and vases of grasses and hosta leaves to bring the jungle indoors.

jungle baby shower decorations

For the table, I bought three yards of animal-print fabric and used a strip of burlap to break up the pattern down the middle of the table. I used green glass dishes to continue our nature theme and bring color to the table. I also cut grasses with branching brown ends on top to add a bit of nature and height to the table.

jungle baby shower decorations

The next step to creating this jungle safari table was to make brown tissue paper poms. There are many tutorials for making these poms and I promise they are all very simple. For tutorials however, I usually revert to my good friend, Martha Stewart (cause she’s awesome).

jungle baby  shower decorations tissue poms

To help give the table dimension and to label the food, I made little sachets with fabric squares, wooden skewers and circle tags (tutorial coming soon). I have never liked my handwriting so I used a fancy stencil to write out the food labels.

jungle shower decor

jungle baby  shower decorations food labels

I also set up a little card station at the party. We pre-purchased a set of thank-you cards and a book of stamps for the parents-to-be. Then I set up the card station for guests to write their name and address on envelopes so the parents-to-be wouldn’t have to find everyone’s addresses on their own. The station had a giraffe-print fabric square, grasses, a basket for the written-on envelopes, and of course the thank-you cards and pens.

jungle baby  shower decorations card station

I drew 2ft. jungle animals on black card stock and taped them in various areas around the house. I am hoping to make you all some printable stencils for my jungle animals so keep checking back. I also printed out cautionary signs: “Elephant XING”/”Do Not Feed the Animals”/”Trespassers Will Be Eaten”

jungle baby  shower decorations jungle animals

In the gift area I switched from brown animal print fabric squares to black and white. If you can find animal print fabric for cheap just buy it in yards and cut it into squares. I could not find any inexpensive animal print fabrics so I opted for the $.99 fabric squares from Walmart (they have bunches of prints available). Notice in the picture my hanging paper jungle mobiles, none of the pictures of those were that great but I had them hung around the gift opening area and in the sunroom.

jungle baby  shower decorations zebra print

Another station was set up for the guests to leave an encouraging message for the parents to be. I used leaf and flower-print card stock, a hole punch, and twine to make little hanging notes. I also brought some of my potted plants from home for the table greenery. Behind this station, I lined small clear bottles filled with grasses to create a grass wall separating the front room from the kitchen.

jungle baby shower decorations notes

My last jungle station held the party favors. My hubby makes himself loads and loads of yummy granola for snacks so I convinced him to make me a very large batch for the party. Then I scooped out one cup of granola for each ziplock bag, wrapped the bag in burlap squares and tied them off with twine.

jungle baby shower decorations party favor granola treats

This was such a fun party to plan and I think a fun time was had by all the guests and most importantly the parents-to-be. I hope these pictures serve as inspiration for your next party. I’ll try to post a few tutorials for the miscellaneous jungle decorations very soon.


Gift Wrap: Baby Shower Basket


This past weekend we held a jungle baby shower out on the farm (pictures coming soon). For my gift, I decided to go with necessities as opposed to adorable baby clothes–always a tough decision.

babyshowergiftbasket

I thought I would play on the “shower” aspect and compile shower supplies for the mommy and daddy to test out.

babyshowergiftbasket

Included items: washcloths, shampoo, body wash, baby powder, drying mats & burp cloth, washable wipes to go and, of course, little shower animals just because they were so cute.

My hope was to have a little paper umbrella sticking out of the box. Sadly, the umbrella didn’t quite survive all the way to the farm, but a fun idea for those of you better at paper-umbrella making than I am.