November 20, 2008|Comments (41)
Ode to thee, Amish Friendship Bread! O whisper your sweet nothings to me, you darling lump of sourdough goodness. Thou art a lot of trouble disguised in an innocent Ziploc bag with delicate bubbles. Nay! I shall not fall for thee this year, evil tempter! O but how is one to resist such charm?
See? You are now aching for a slice, nay the whole loaf — to bathe in butter and sink your teeth into. Who was I kidding? I could not begin to let the holidays pass without my beloved friendship bread.
Keeping the spirit of friendship bread is especially important in today’s world. We are an instant gratification society and we need a subtle reminder that the best things in life must be waited for, worked toward, and carefully tended to — just like the sweetest of friendships.
The Sweet Sourdough Starter
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 package active dry yeast (if you buy it in bulk: 1 1/2 Tablespoons)
- Measure the water in a glass measuring cup and add the yeast. Stir. Wait until it foams (about 8-10 minutes)
- In a glass mixing bowl, stir the flour and sugar together. Slowly blend in the yeast water and the warm milk.
- Cover loosely with a towel and leave it at room temperature until it begins bubbling like crazy. Then pour it into a Ziploc bag and stick it in the fridge for the night.
- After a full 24 hours, squeeze the bag a few times to stir the contents and then put it back in the fridge. Do that each day for three days.
- After the three days have passed, remove 2 cups of starter to make some Amish Friendship Bread after you replenish the starter by stirring in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Let it sit at room temperature while you make the bread and then stick it back in the fridge.
- Follow Steps 4-5 and repeat as often as you would like.
NOTE: The starter may be frozen for later use — just thaw at room temperature and enjoy.
Now for the Amish Friendship Bread… the pound cake and coffee cake hybrid that will send you into sensory overload. Yes, and while were talking about overload — don’t worry about sending starter to everyone you know. This is not meant to be an edible chain letter but simply an inexpensive way to let your friends and family know that they are loved.
- 2/3 cup oil
- 1 cup starter (very full cup — possibly a little more than a cup)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup rasins, craisins, or chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup nuts (optional…. could use mashed banana, pumpkin, or something else)
Mix dry ingredients and then add eggs, starter, and oil. Mix well, stir in add-ins, and pour into two well greased loaf pans and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
Send a link to this post to ten of your friends in the next hour and your every wish will come true. Sorry, I just had to say it. I couldn’t resist.
November 19, 2008|Comments (33)
We decided not to buy anyone gifts this year — everyone will receive handmade items or canned/dried goods from our garden. This meant that I would be working overtime on dishcloths, homemade soap, and little rounds of fabric (with lace edging) to top canned goods like shower caps. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
First up: Basketweave Dishcloth
This sweet and easy to knit design was an adaptation of a scarf pattern that I came across and declared perfect for a dishcloth. You know how I love all things woven so this pattern really spoke to my inner pioneer. It also doesn’t contain any tricky knitting moves — all straight knitting and purling.
Second: Canning Jar Fabric Lid Covers
A classic way to make a gift of garden goodies a little more glamorous, these scrap fabric jar covers say: “gift” to me. I love the snazzy little bit o’ lace (not real lace… the cheapo stuff) on the edge and the bright festive colors.
Third: Barley Soup Mix
Just dried beans, veggies, and spices — this simple but useful gift may be decorated with the canning jar fabric lid covers or with a bow. I like to add an ornament and I dress up my labels (printed from the computer with cooking directions) with festive clip art.
Last but not least: Drawstring Soap Sack
Having made a small ton of soap this year, I have quite a few bars to give out to our friends and family. Wrapping soap seems like a very silly idea so a plush drawstring bag seems appropriate. Don’t you think? These are made with two fleecy washcloths sewn together with some string. So much better than wrapping paper… useful, too!
A Handmade Holiday is my favorite part of simple living. The act of trading costly gifts during the holidays may be open for debate but the act of giving gifts that are from the heart, full of love, and made by hand — there’s nothing trite or commercial in that. No one ever went into debt with a Handmade Holiday.
November 19, 2008|Comments (11)
So easy a caveman could do it.
- 100% Cotton Worsted Weight Yarn:
- 120 yards
- knitting needles (I used 2.25 mm – 40.5 cm, 1 US – 16 in circular)
Cast on 40 sts.
- ROW 1-6: Knit all stitches
- ROWS 7-12: K4, (P4, K4 four times) K4
- ROWS 13-19: K4, (K4, P4 four times) K4
- REPEAT until you almost have a square dishcloth
- Now, KNIT six rows
- Bind off all sts.
Your dishcloth should be square with a knitted border that goes all the way around and has a basketweave center.