Thursday, November 22, 2012
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! We've got our turkey in the oven and family on the way. To celebrate the holiday and to help you with your Christmas shopping, I am having a free shipping sale through the weekend in the Etsy shop. Just use the coupon code THANKSGIVING2012 to receive free shipping on any order (U.S. orders only). The coupon will be active until midnight MDT on Sunday 11/25. Happy Shopping!
Posted by Marissa of Ris C Handmade at 11:46 AM
Thursday, November 15, 2012
This sweet girl turned 6 months old this week. I can't believe how big she's getting. She's still small for her age (5th percentile), but at least we are on the charts and she is growing and that is all that matters.
We found out at her 4 month check-up that she had a heart murmur and we had to see a cardiologist. Come to find out she was born with 2 holes in her heart (an ASD and VSD). It was a scary few days between when we found out about the hole (at first we only knew about 1) and when we were able to speak to the cardiologist.
The cardiologist explained to us how common it was (1 in 100 babies is born with a heart defect) and that most go on to live normal, healthy lives. Our "holey" girl is lucky in that so far she is fine and it is not affecting her too much. As long as she continues to grow and stays active, she will probably not have to have any treatment. They may have to repair one of her holes, but they most likely won't have to do anything until she is 8 years old.
I guess lucky isn't really the right word for what she is. She is blessed. When we first found out about her heart, we had so many friends and family members praying for her and we felt them. Although we were scared, we knew it was going to be okay, and it was. Prayer works.
Posted by Marissa of Ris C Handmade at 7:50 PM
Monday, November 12, 2012
The great thing about these pacifier clips are that they work for almost any pacifier type. I say almost because I have not tested it on every type, but I am pretty sure you can find a way to get it to work with any type. A lot of clips have a wide piece of fabric/material that clips around the handle part of the pacifier. They are frustrating because not all pacifiers have handles. All pacifiers do have ventilation holes though which is why my style of clip will work.
My clips have a loop of skinny elastic at the end that you loop through the handle, if it has one, or a ventilation hole if it does not. It will even fit through the tiny holes of the Soothie pacifiers that most hospitals give out!
The ribbon is also so pretty and soft. I have several that I made for my baby girl and she loves to suck on the ribbon itself :)
I currently have 9 styles up on Etsy, but more are coming so look out for those too. Check them out here:
Posted by Marissa of Ris C Handmade at 5:06 PM
Friday, November 9, 2012
A few years ago I started making my own bread from scratch and now I will never go back. The homemade kind tastes so much better, is so much better for you, and is so much cheaper. It is a little extra work, but once you get the hang of it, it is not hard at all. I make bread at least once a week.
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I made it a lot more and froze a bunch so that I wouldn't have to make some for a while after I had my baby. You can freeze them for a month or two, but I wouldn't go longer than a few months or 6 months at the most as they get freezer burnt really easily and that ruins the texture.
When I first started making bread, I used the bread recipe from pantry secrets. It is an okay recipe that is meant to be fail safe and easy. It is easy and fast, but I don't think that my recipe is any harder. Mine might be a little easier to mess up, but even when I do mess up, it still tastes good, it just doesn't look as pretty. I also like that mine has all REAL ingredients. Theirs requires Soy Lecithin and I am not sure what that is exactly, but I am sure it is processed and we are trying to avoid processed foods as much as we can. It is also hard to find and you have to buy it from them (which is convenient for them).
My recipe comes from my mom, who got it from a local bakery in CA. I have modified her recipe a bit to make 2 regular size loaves as hers makes HUGE loaves that don't fit in my bread bags. Growing up, everybody knew my mom for her bread. She would donate a few loaves for silent auction fundraisers and they would often sell for over $50 a loaf! It is really that good and you can hardly believe that you are eating whole wheat bread because it is so light, fluffy, and moist.
I was scared to make hers at first because I didn't think that I could make mine as good as hers, but come to find out it is really easy and mine taste just as good!
This bread uses 100% whole wheat flour. I grind mine myself if a wheat grinder right before I make it. Wheat flour loses its nutrient value quickly after you grind it (like within a few days) and can become rancid quickly. When you grind wheat, if you do not use it right away, be sure to store it in the freezer so that you can retain the nutrients better. You can also use whole wheat flour purchased from a store, but it won't have the nutrient value that using freshly ground wheat can have.
So on to the recipe (scroll all the way down for full recipe)
Break making is so much easier if you have a good mixer with kneading attachments. I use the 20+ year old mixer that was a hand me down from my mom after she got a Bosch. Bosch mixers are the best. Kitchen Aids will work, but their motors are not as strong and will burn out rather quickly if you make bread very often. You can also mix and knead everything by hand.
I fill the top of my grinder with as much as it will hold. For my grinder, this makes about 4 cups and only takes a few minutes to grind. I set it aside to use later.
I also have a trick for the honey. I take my 1 cup pyrex liquid measuring cup and first put in 1/3 cup of oil. Then I add honey until it gets up to 2/3 cup. The honey will settle towards the bottom, but there will still be a little oil between the glass and the honey. Then when you pour it out, the honey just slips right out without sticking to the glass.
Then you add 1 Tablespoon of yeast. You can use dry active or instant yeast. Both will work just fine. The instant rises faster at first, but the dry active catches up and in the end they both make the bread rise in about the same amount of time.
After the yeast, I leave my mixer on, and then add about 4-5 cups of wheat flour, a cup at a time. My wheat grinder usually does about 4 1/2 cups at a time, so sometimes I supplement with a little bit of bread flour (I like the Turkey Flour from Lehi Roller Mills) if 4 1/2 isn't a enough. Do not use all-purpose flour.
After adding the flour, put on the lid, turn up the speed and have it knead the bread for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile I usually put the ingredients away, wash my measuring cups/spoons, and grease my pans and a small section of the counter. I will also turn on the oven for just a minute, just so it is a little warm, but not hot.
After 5 minutes, turn it off and then grease up your hands really well so you can take the dough out of the bowl and put it on your counter. The dough should be pretty smooth and a little sticky so make sure you put it on the greased section of your counter. After you start kneading bread, you don't want to incorporate any more flour which is why we grease our hands and the counter instead of flouring it.
Now we are going to hand knead it just a bit to smooth it out a bit more after taking it out of the bowl. Start out with a somewhat flattened mound, then fold it in half and press. Then rotate it 90 degrees and do it again. I usually use both hands for this, but I needed one hand to take pictures with. Repeat this 4-5 times.
Now you want to split the dough in half to make the 2 loaves. I form an elongated ball and then use my thumb and middle finger to pinch the dough into two (somewhat) equal halves.
To form the loaves, I flatten it out and fold it in half like I do when kneading, but then pull the sides down a bit to form a smooth top with the seam on the bottom. I place the loaves seam side down in the pans.
Immediately take them out of the pans and place on a cooling rack. If you don't do this, not only can they become overbaked from the hot pans, but the steam can make the bottoms all soggy.
Because it has no preservatives, homemade bread will mold faster than store bought bread so be sure to either eat it within a few days or just store it in your fridge. I've kept loaves fresh for 2 weeks or more by keeping them in a plastic bread bag in the fridge.
The original recipe calls for 2 rises, first in a bowl and then in a pan, but most of the time I just skip that first rise and it always turns out just fine.
Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
2 1/4 cups HOT water
1/3 C oil
1/3 C honey
1 t salt
1/3 C gluten flour (if bread is crumbly add more)
1 T Yeast (active dry or instant)
about 4-5 C Flour (whole wheat, bread flour or combo) then more if needed.
Combine water, oil, honey, and salt in mixer, then mix in gluten. Add yeast, then add flour 1 cup at a time until it pulls away from the sides. Put lid on and mix/knead on high for 5 minutes. *Butter/oil bowl and your fingers. (Dough should be sticky and moist) Twist dough around finger in bowl, then turn upside down in mound. Cover with a towel and put in warm, draft-free place to double in size (about 20-25 minutes). Punch down, divide in two and put in two loaf pans. Let rise in pan (about 15-20 minutes). Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.
*You can also skip the first rising and put the dough directly into the loaf pans to rise.
So there you have it. It may seem hard, but it really isn't. Just a warning though, once you start making it, you will not want to buy store bought bread ever again :)