The B Life: January 2014

Homemade Bread from Scratch

Makes 2 medium loaves.

Best Homemade Bread recipe. No breadmaker.

In a large bowl whisk together:

2 1/2 cups hot water (I usually put the kettle on, and let it cool a bit before getting started).
1/3 cup veggie oil
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tbsp salt

Then add:
3/4 cup flour and whisk for 30 seconds.
When that is whisked so that it looks like a paste, add 1 1/2 tbsp of yeast and whisk for another 30 seconds.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add 2 - 3 cups of flour and mix with a spoon. Once the flour is all mixed in, add another 3-4 cups of flour. Mix with a spoon until you can't work the dough anymore, and then stick your hands in and knead. Keep doing this for about 10 minutes, until all the flour is mixed in. The dough should be soft, but it shouldn't be sticky. If it is sticky, add pinches of flour until it isn't anymore.

Move the dough to a separate greased bowl (cooking spray works well). Cover with a teatowel and set on top of the stove to rise. I usually let it rise on an element, so that it can soak in some of the heat from the preheated oven. Let rise for 1 hour.

When it has finished rising (so that it is roughly twice the size of the original), knead your dough on the counter or flat surface to get all the air pockets out.

you can see that the dough has risen to twice the size!

Separate the dough into two even sections, forming into an oval shape and place in greased bread pans.

Let rise on the stove again for about 30 minutes, covered, so that they begin to fill the baking pans.

Then pop them in the oven (still at 350 degrees) for 30 minutes.

Take them out, and enjoy.

The original recipe came from Bunny's Warm Oven (you can click the blog name for the original), but I have tweaked it a little bit to make it easier, and to cut down on the amount of flour in the recipe.

I typically freeze the additional loaf until I am ready to use it, taking it out the night before to defrost on the counter. You can freeze them in giant freezer bags, or appropriately sized containers. I typically reuse my freezer bags for the bread once I have emptied them. When my freezer is empty, I start the breadmaking process over again. It's so easy!

Today, I had banana muffins and chocolate chip cookies on the go while the bread was rising. So, after 2.5 hours of baking I had:

- 2 loaves of bread
- 1 dozen banana chocolate chip walnut muffins (tweaked recipe from my momma!)
- 2 bakers' dozen chocolate chip cookies.

Looking for a healthier alternative? Try adding whole wheat, gluten free, or all natural flour instead of the all purpose stuff.

Be warned. Once you start making homemade bread, you will NEVER go back to the store bought stuff.


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Recipe Day: Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Welcome to my first ever recipe post! I am so excited to share this one with you! 

Because I am a student, living in the most expensive part of Canada, I have made it my New Years resolution to feed myself for under $100/month. Because of this, I have resorted to making my own bread and cookies, cutting down on my coffee intake, and substituting a glass of wine with some lemon water.

For this reason, I have also become really inventive with my cooking: purchasing mostly fresh produce and finding interesting ways to cook it. I have no need to be gluten free, so I won't be (because it does happen to be expensive), and I can't afford all the meat that goes along with the newly popular paleo diet. 

Thus, we have another new instalment to the world of Lipstick&Yarn: cheap and delicious recipes.

Please note that all prices (and measurements) are in CAD, not USD.

what you need

2 sweet potatoes
1 large onion
seasoning salt
extra virgin olive oil
garlic powder (or minced garlic, up to you)
chipotle chili pepper

tin foil
large baking pan/sheet

serves 4

\\ 1 //  
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Stab sweet potatoes and place them in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. This will soften them up so that they are easier to chop.
While they are in the microwave, place foil in your baking pan (easier clean-up) and cut your onion into long strips. I cut mine into quarters.

\\ 2 //
Peel the sweet potatoes before you chop them into strips about an inch thick. If you don't, the skin will just end up coming off in the oven anyways, and they aren't great to eat. 

\\ 3 //
Toss onions and sweet potatoes into your baking dish and lather them with olive oil. Make sure they are all covered. You don't want any of them sticking to the foil.

\\ 4 //
Season to taste using the garlic, salt, pepper, and chipotle chili pepper. Be warned about the chipotle chili pepper though, it's potent, so if you don't like your sweet potatoes to be super spicy, go easy on the spice.

\\ 5 //
Put in the oven for an hour to allow the potatoes to roast thoroughly. If you want them a little crunchier, leave them in an extra 15 minutes. 

Dish onto plate and enjoy!

Everything on this plate was oven-roasted, and purchased as loose, fresh produce. So,
super healthy and delicious! The beans are glistening a little because they were sweating
out their own juices as I took this photo.

Total cost of dish:

2 sweet potatoes // $0.79/lb = approx $1.50
onion from bulk bag of 6 onions // $2.49/bag = $0.50
Salt, pepper and garlic was already on hand.
Chipotle Chili Pepper // $5.99 for 52g.

Total: $8.00 CAD. 

Note: Since I am only feeding myself, the fries were divided up into containers for 3 subsequent meals, meaning that the total cost of this per person/portion is only $2.00 - and that's only if you don't already own the spice! If you do own the spice, then the portion cost becomes a mere $0.50 CAD/portion. 

Happy cooking! 

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Crochet Diaries: Beanie in Oatmeal

Hats are a staple for any yarn-loving DIYer to have in their 'I can totally do this' repetoire. In the vast lands of knitting and crocheting, there are a lot of really awkward looking yarn hats...ranging from the 1970s 'unisex' crochet hat:


to the Clueless barret/beanie worn in its many incarnations throughout the movie:


Luckily for yarn-a-holics everywhere, Hipsters and Canadians alike have made homemade beanies and toques (pronounced too-k) cool again. Though, I suspect the flower band might not make the same comeback..

Thus, I obviously had to jump on board and create my own hipster-beanie using a skein of Red-Heart's Oatmeal yarn. 

Red Heart's Oatmeal yarn turned out to be the perfect choice for this hat, and it is so warm! 

The stitching on the band is just a single crochet, pulled only through the front half of the stitch as to give it the knitted look. The top part of the beanie is made by a puff stitch, a tutorial for which can be found here. Once I finished about 20 rows or so of the puff, I simply cross-connected the top to give it the bunched look at the back. Adding a few buttons was the perfect touch.

The beanie was actually a gift for my best friend, Maria, who was gracious enough to model it so that I could take some pictures to share. 

Isn't she lovely? She was the perfect model - with those old books, leather gloves, gorgeous curls, and set against a backdrop of the most delightful snow!

Downtown Hamiton, Ontario is such a wonderfully vintage place to show off our smiles and handmade things. Thank goodness that crocheted pieces took a turn back to 1910. I really hope we are able to leave those horrendous 90s head-coverings behind.

In the meantime, we're all big smiles, handmade gifts, and old houses. It's a vintage-y life for me.


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Happy 2014!


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