Friday, April 22, 2011

Diet Coke

Diet Coke..... those two words can instantly relax me! We are great friends. But....... all good things must come to an end!

Here It comes, I'm just going to say it to the world (or my 8 followers! ) :) I am going to quit drinking Diet Coke! I have already started, It has been over 24 hours since my last drink. Crazy right?

J is going to pass out! I haven't told him yet. He will never believe it. I am hopelessly addicted to Diet Coke, and it's so bad for you. He is always trying to convince me to stop and to drink more water.

I have been drinking Diet Coke since I was about 8 I think. My sister was diagnosed as a Diabetic, and so my mom started buying Diet Soda, and that is when I started drinking Diet Coke and I haven't stopped since. I usually drink at least 2 a day.

I have been thinking a lot lately about quitting. I have been training for a 1/2 marathon, and I know my running would be so much better if I would quit drinking Diet Coke and start drinking more water. I also have been having some problems with the nerves on the left side of my body, and part of me thinks that if I drank more water that would help release some of the bad toxins in my body, and maybe my nerve problems wouldn't be so bad.

I never drink water, I don't really like how it tastes. But I will drink it if I don't have any Diet Coke in the house because I don't like drinking juice or anything else. So, if I eliminate the Diet Coke then I will seriously up my water intake, and that can only benefit my body.

So, I am saying goodbye to my old friend for good I think. I am posting this so that I can't really back out. This is goodbye forever. It's all or nothing with me. I'm not going to be able to just have one every once in a while. I know if I have any at all, I won't stop. (wow, I sound like an alcoholic don't I?)

Thanks everyone for supporting me in my decision! :) Wish me luck! :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dinner Rolls vs Breadsticks

Yesterday I made dinner for two families in my neighborhood that needed meals. I decided to make soup because it's easy to make a big batch of it. But, you can't have soup without some sort of bread. I could have bought rolls from the store, but I knew that fresh, home made rolls would be so much better. And, they sounded so good. I usually just use my bread recipe and make rolls out of it instead of bread loaves, but this time I decided to find an actual roll recipe to use.

I searched the internet and found a recipe that looked easy, and it made 2 dozen which was a good amount of rolls, so I would only have to double the batch. I read over the directions several times and seemed confident I could handle it. I mean... how hard can it be to make rolls right?

I got up in the morning, ran to the store, came home and started the rolls. I spent around 3-4 hours making these rolls. I put them in the oven to bake, I was so excited! I pulled them out and I realized that I RUINED them!!!!! I ruined 4 dozen rolls!!!! I was devastated!!!

I had been baking all morning, and I still had the soup to make. With only 2 hours before dinner was supposed to be dropped off I had ruined the rolls and had no time to start over.

Look at them! They are sad, and scary looking!
Instead of being these nice warm, butter covered, pieces of fluff they were these thick, solid, chunkies of bread!

I contemplated taste testing one, and if they tasted okay then just delivering them anyways.... but I just couldn't bring myself to give them to anyone by my own family to eat. (That statement is securing me the mother of the year award!) :)

My kids tried them, and actually liked them. So, I bagged them up and am saving them for dinners throughout the week.

But, I was still left with a problem...... what to do about getting some bread for my meal. I could exist off of just carbs... I love Bread! In my opinion, soup is no good without bread! Most meals are no good without bread, in my book!

I called my friend out of desperation. I just needed to have a mini nervous breakdown before I could continue on with my dinner.

She saved my life.... there I was, hyperventilating on the phone about Mr. Blue Eyes still napping so I couldn't go to the store, and how I needed to start the soup, blah blah blah.... and she whipped out this recipe for these breadsticks that take about 30 minutes to make from start to finish! NO WAY!!! (Elaine moment.... if she was there I think I would have totally hit her and pushed her over, just like Elaine.)

I thought it was worth a try. She gave me the recipe and I got right to work. They totally came out prefect, and it took no time at all! It was so easy, I almost cried. I love this breadstick recipe, we are best friends. I will use it from now on with soup instead of rolls.

I went to battle with my dinner rolls and got my butt kicked.... I'm not about to do that again!

Here is the picture of my leftover breadsticks. I didn't have time to take a picture of the nice looking ones that I gave away.

They do look a little mangy, but I was in a hurry, and partially crazy at this point. I am sure next time I can make them look a little nicer.

Okay, here is the website I got the roll recipe from. She said in her instructions to follow the recipe exactly to get the best rolls ever... well I followed her recipe exactly, and mine were totally jacked up! I think I know what went wrong though.... I just mixed in all of the flour it called for without thinking about it. Usually when I make bread I add the flour slowly and watch the dough, and just wing it when it comes to the amount of flour. But this website made it very clear to follow the recipe exactly, so that is what I did.

If I ever attempt dinner rolls again, I think I might give this recipe another go, but I will only add the first 3 cups of flour and then slowly add the 4th cup as needed, instead of adding everything all at once. I noticed my dough didn't look nearly as sticky as hers did in the picture.

Also, I read on the comments section of this recipe, that people thought it was a little bland and were adding 2 tsp of salt instead of one. I agree with them, it's a little bland so I think I would add more salt next time.

Here is the recipe for my life saving breadsticks!!!

Breadsticks

1 Tbl yeast

1 ½ cups warm water

2 T sugar

½ t salt

3 ½ flour

4 T butter

Dissolve yeast in water. Add sugar & let it sit and bubble up. Then add salt and flour. Kneed dough for a few minutes. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Melt butter, brush some on bottom of pan. Roll out dough and brush dough with butter. Then add parmesian cheese, garlic salt, salad supreme, ect. Cut strips 1 ½ inches wide and about 6 inches long, and twist. Place in pan. Bake @ 375 for 15 – 20 minutes.


In my opinion on Dinner Rolls vs Breadsticks, Breadsticks totally rocked! :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sopapillas

So.... I was at church today, and I was starving. Church starts at 9 am folks. Getting everyone up, dressed, and ready to go all by 9 am leaves absolutely NO time for me to eat breakfast. So, there I was, starving, in a room full of about 50 kids from the ages of 7 - 11, trying to keep my snarling stomach under control, when the lady who was leading the music started talking to the kids about Spring time, and Bees.... What does this have to do with Sopapillas you ask? Everything.... she started talking about how bees like honey, and my brain clicked! Did she say honey? Mmmmmm..... Sopapillas. :) Every time I hear the word Honey, I think Sopapillas. I had to have them.
Did I have a recipe? NO! Have I ever made them before? NO! But, I wasn't about to let that stop me! I have Google.... with Google I can conquer the world! (Have I mentioned that I love Google?)
So, here is my first time attempt at Sopapillas.

Yum! :)
(these are the pretty ones... not all of them turned out pretty!)

These are the ingredients I used. Plus 3/4 cup of water.

You take your Flour, Baking Powder, and salt and you sift them into a bowl.

Once that is all sifted you add your Shortening.

I then used my pastry cutter and mixed everything together until all of the shortening was mixed in and the flour mixture looked a little crumbly.

Then you add your water and mix until it turns into dough. The instructions I read said to use your hands to mix. I hate using my hands for stuff like that. I'm just lazy, why would I do it with my hands when I have modern electronics? I do have a Bosch mixer that I use for making everything, but my mixer doesn't mix little portions of dough very well. That is the one thing I don't like about my Bosch, I can't just make 1 pizza crust, or 1 loaf of bread. If it's not A substantial amount of dough, then it just flings the stuff around in the bowl and it doesn't mix anything. (and yes all of you Bosch snobs out there, I am complaining about my mixer, and that is okay, so just deal with it!) I did end up mixing this with my hands and it actually worked out really well, and it wasn't that hard.

Once mixed, break up and roll into little balls. I weighed mine, and I got 8 portions that weighed around 2.2 0z. The recipe I followed said to break your dough into 12 portions, but they just looked to small for me. The bigger the better right? :) So, I only did 8! Then cover and let sit for about 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes is up, you take each ball of dough and mash it flat and cut it into 4 triangles. I then took each triangle and rolled over it a few times with the rolling pin to make them thin enough to bubble up when you cook them. The first few I did, I just mashed with my hands, and they were way to thick, and didn't bubble up at all.

Heat your oil up in a frying pan, once hot add your dough pieces into the hot oil and cook until brown on both sides. Watch out, they have a little bit of an attitude, the oil has to be just right temperature or they won't really bubble up like they should.

Okay, when I first started heating up my oil, I set my burner to 6, but I was putting the scones in and they weren't bubbling up. I tried a few things with the dough to see if I could fix the problem and finally figured out the oil needed to be hotter. I turned up the heat to 7, and that worked really well until I was almost finished. I only had a few left and they stopped bubbling up again, so I turned the heat down to in between 6 & 7 and they started bubbling up again. So, the oil has to be just the right temperature, or they don't cook as well. But, bubblie or not, they tasted amazing!

Yum.... could life get any better than this? I sifted some powdered sugar on and then drizzled honey on top. Sopapillas combined with a nice cold Diet Coke.... It was a powdered sugar, honey covered, paradise! :) These were consumed within 3.5 seconds after this picture was taken.

(Here is the link the website I got this recipe from.)
Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. shortening
3/4 cup water
2 cups vegetable oil

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into bowl. Then add shortening and blend until mixture is corse and crumbles. Using your hands add water and mix into a smooth dough. Kneed lightly on a floured surface. Cut dough into 12 pieces, roll into round balls, and set aside. Heat oil in frying pan or deep fryer. Roll dough balls into thin circles, and cut into triangles. Fry in hot oil until golden brown, turn over when dough puffs up. Remove and drain onto paper towels.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easter Crafts

Okay everyone, brace yourself. This is a long post! I need to learn how to group all of my pictures together, but since I haven't learned that yet, this post is super long.
Okay, this needs to start out with a little story.... Last weekend, I went out of town on a girl trip. While I was in the security line at the airport I started chatting with this really nice girl who was behind me. I found out she is a blogger and was going to a blogging conference. To make a long story short, we exchanged our blog addresses (hers was on this really nice business card) and we parted ways after security. I did not think about her again until I was cleaning out my suit case and found her card, so I looked her up!
Hello..... she has the coolest, biggest, most awesomest (is that a word?) blog ever!! Had I known this is who I met, I would never have ever dreamed of giving her my blog address. Or, I would have made Little Bo Bakes help me fix mine and make it awesome while we were on vaca together. I'm a little embarrassed. Some small, optimistic part of me is hoping that she has forgotten about me and hasn't actually looked me up. But, I'm not holding my breath!
Are you ready to meet who I met? Everyone, meet a little Tipsy! Her blog is full of crazy cute, and cheap decorating ideas. I loved it! Her blog inspired this blog post. I had just left all of my amazingly crafty friends to come home to discover this blog, I was in crafting heaven. I tried a few of a little Tipsy's crafts and then another one I have wanted to do for a while. It has been a fun few days!

Okay, these first two crafts I found stuff around my house and just had to run to the dollar store and spend a whopping $4.00 on things I needed to have everything for them.

This spring flower bouquet is made out of pipe cleaners. I loved it and I knew my girls would love helping me make this one.

These are the main things I used to make it. I got the eggs and the grass from the dollar store. I already had a vase, pipe cleaners, and ribbon.

You take your pipe cleaners, you need 3 for each flower, and make them into circles, and then twist them into figure eights.

Then stack them all together to form a flower.

Next, you take a green one for the stem, and wrap it around the middle to secure all of the petals in place.

Then, you take your middle color, and wrap it around the flower horizontally, and then make a swirlie for the middle of the flower on both sides.

This is the finished product. Repeat as many times with as many color as you want to make your bouquet. This was a fun and cheap activity to do with my girls.
Here is the link to this project from a little Tipsy's website.

Paper decorated eggs.

These are the supplies I used. I found the eggs, and the styrofoam cup at the dollar store. Everything else I had at my house.

I hollowed out the styrofoam to make a nest, my super secret tool I used to do this was a butter knife from my kitchen. Next, I dug through my giant box of paper scraps, found a few that I liked and tore them into little pieces. I covered the plastic eggs with Modge Podge, then stuck my scraps of torn paper on the eggs and covered them with more Modge Podge. I smoothed and creased the paper until it laid flat on the eggs, then let them dry. Next I hot glued moss onto my nest. It was a really fast and easy project to do. I did end up with Modge Podge all over both of my hands, but I don't think that could have been avoided. I am always messy when it comes to Modge Podge. I did find that you have to work fast before the glue starts to dry or else your hands will start sticking to the paper on the eggs and tearing it off, but that was the only problem I ran into. Here is the link to this project from a little Tipsy's website.

My Fabric wreath!!! :) I have been wanting to do one of these since last spring but just needed to sit down and do it! I'm happy to finally have it done! I keep going outside to look at it hanging on my front door, it makes me happy!

Okay, so the instructions say to use 1 honey bun, but I didn't have a honey bun. I had to go to Joann's for some other material, and all of their material was on sale, so I decided to just pick out my own material and make my own honey bun. This is the stack of material I ended up with. I picked out 20 different types of material, and got 1/8 of a yard of each. I think it ended only costing my around $11.00, which is awesome because a honey bun costs around $30.00. So I saved myself a bunch of money! :)

Next I cut 2 strips out of each fabric measuring 1 1/2 inches wide each. You should end up with 40 1 1/2 inch wide strips of material when you are done.

Then, I cut those strips into 5 1/2 inch long pieces.

I purchased a wire wreath at the craft store. You take your strips and fold them in half, then tie them onto your wreath. Once all of your strips are on the wreath, you just mess with it and fluff it until it looks good.
This project was fairly cheap to make due to awesome sales at the craft stores. The wire wreath was originally $3.50, but I had a 40% off coupon to use on it and then when I got up to the register, I won an easter discount of an extra $2.00 off my purchase, so the wreath was technically free. The material was $11.00, so this project only cost me $11.00.
Here is the link to the fabric wreath tutorial that I used. In the tutorial, she said that she used her whole honey bun, and went around all 4 circle wires of her wreath. I used almost all of my strips and went around the very inside circle and the very top one. So, I'm not sure if I just bunched my fabric to close together, or what. But, there was no way I had any left to go around the other two wire circles. I think next time I will try having my fabric a little more spread apart, or maybe just using 2 honey buns.
I spent $15.00, and a few hours out of my life, and I have some crazy cute Easter decorations. I hope you enjoyed this. Happy Easter everyone! :)