It’s a great pumpkin…

DSC_0724“Every fall, the leaves on the trees turn brown and fall off the branches, pumpkins grow big and plump in their patches. The air grows cooler, and people start to think about their Halloween costumes. And every fall, Linus writes a very important letter.” Charles Shultz captures the essence of childhood in his amazing stories of Charlie Brown. I know I was always a fan of Peanuts when I was growing up and now I have the opportunity to share these fun stories with Emie. Reading the stories are so fun, they bring fond memories of my dad and I want Emie to share in these same memories too.

DSC_0515The last several weeks have been one fun adventure after another. With each activity, I have definitely kept my Nikon by my side to capture precious moments. DSC_0752

We have hiked in the mountains and looked at leaves turning, balloon watched, pumpkin patched, decorated, and baked. When we went to one of the pumpkin patches Emie had a wonderful time. It was somewhat of a playdate/photoshoot and pumpkin picking event.

IMG_4240Now that we have a porch full of pumpkins it was the perfect excuse to plan a pumpkin carving party this week and I just know Emie is going to have a blast. I also know my chickens will be loving the pumpkin seeds and “stuffing” to snack on too.

The shop has been busy shipping out our festive Halloween bows too- as a brief side note, thanks so much to those who are supporting our small business. I know we thank you often, but we genuinely appreciate your business and spreading the word to your families and friends.

DSC_0382As for this week, I am happily planning delicious fall snacks and activities with Emie. I want to hear from you, what are your family Halloween traditions? Are you dressing up? Share your stories and fall favorites with me. Make today great, and thanks for stopping by to read. So… I have to ask, will you be waiting in the pumpkin patch this Halloween night for the Great Pumpkin to arrive with toys for all the boys and girls? I’m sure I can guess where my sweet baboo will be! (smiles)DSC_0583

Homemade Bread

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

I have had several requests for my homemade sandwich bread recipe and today is definitely your lucky day! I am happy to share this gem recipe with you. This is a recipe I have been sharing from my mom’s collection of delicious goodies.

DSC_0392_01

Homemade Bread

2 Cups                  warm water

2 ½ teaspoons      yeast

½ Tablespoon      sugar

¼ Cup                  butter, melted

1 Tablespoon       salt

¼ Cup                  sugar

½ Cup                  evaporated milk

5-7 Cups              flour, sifted

1 Tablespoon       vegetable shortening (to grease your bowl and loaf pans)

1 Tablespoon       butter (to top warm bread when it comes out of the oven)

Place yeast and ½ Tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl. Pour warm water over the yeast and sugar and let it proof for 20 minutes.

Combine melted butter, ¼ Cup of sugar, evaporated milk and salt in a large mixing bowl. When the yeast mixture is ready, add together and mix.

Use a stand mixer and bread hook. Pour 3 cups flour in the bowl. Add liquid mixture and mix well. Add one cup of flour at a time until dough is no longer sticking to the bowl.

Place dough into greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for at least 90 minutes. The dough will likely rise over the top of the bowl.

Punch the dough down and place on a floured surface and knead for about 2-3 minutes. Cut the dough into two equal pieces.

image5

Roll into a rectangle and roll up. Place in a greased loaf pan. Let both loaves re-rise for another 30-45 minutes. Bake loaves for 30-40 minutes (My oven bakes these loaves to perfection at 37 minutes, but I know all ovens are different). Coat the warm bread with butter. Enjoy!

Bakes two loaves of bread.

As a side note, I will double the recipe frequently and freeze the additional loaves of bread and pull them out at needed. When I freeze them, I wrap each loaf individually with plastic wrap and place them in freezer bags. I have not left any loaf in the freezer for more than a month at a time, so I am uncertain how long you can actually freeze each loaf and still have a delicious bread without freezer burn.

I have also tried making whole wheat bread with King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour. This does make a good loaf of sandwich bread, however, I find the wheat bread to be drier in consistency. If you have any suggestions for a moist loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread, please share your insights with me!

Otherwise, happy baking and let me know what you think of homemade sandwich bread! This recipe has saved our family so much money from buying bread in the store. This seems time consuming at first, but after the first few times of making this, you don’t even need to the recipe anymore and it goes so quickly. The other plus, it’s super fresh and homemade with minimal ingredients!

Thanks for stopping by today and I have some other recipes I am hoping to share again soon- STAY TUNED!

City Homesteading?

DSC_0369

So is it possible to live in the city and be a homesteader? I can honestly say since we have purchased chickens my entire outlook has changed on how I want to live my life. Last year we not only got the chickens, but also decided to stop buying breads in the stores and make our own. I was honestly amazed at the amount of money we saved the very first month by making our own bread. We have come across a sandwich bread recipe of which I am happy to share with you. We also make any other bread products we need. It probably sounds excessive, but each month we use a 25 pound bag of flour between baking and cooking. We do not even eat that much bread in our family, but with Emelie she adores peanut butter toast and so having bread is essential. Our sandwich bread recipe is awesome because I can make up to 4 loaves at a time and freeze them. We have started shopping more farmers’ markets and we are eating a significant amount of fresher and healthier things. Keep in mind, when I first met Craig, the man would not touch a salad with a ten foot pole, but he has since learned to eat them and there are so many possibilities to make a salad delicious and satisfying. Not only as a family, but personally for me, I just feel better eating cleaner without all of the processed foods and preservatives. We are ultra particular about the meat we buy and have become spoiled with grass fed beef. We are hoping to eventually share a cow with someone and have a freezer full of delicious meat. We rarely go out to eat and are even less likely to eat fast food.  I personally cannot justify the cost of the food out, but it’s so filled with empty nonsense with minimal nutritional value. Now, honestly, I will not deprive myself if I want something utterly delicious and decadent, but I have come across so many recipes, I can make what I want from scratch. We have decided to build a planter box to plant some vegetables at home. We have never had the greenest of thumbs, so these plants are definitely being planted with prayers, crossed fingers, and highest of hopes they blossom and grow. Browsing on Pinterest and doing a little research we opted to try and plant some beets. There is nothing yummier than an oven roasted beet on a fresh salad.

DSC_0552

According to some research, beets are able to be grown nearly year round and so we have purchased three varieties; I must say, this is exciting and something to look forward to. In the midst of shopping for seedlings, I came across a large variety of pumpkins to grow and cook with, and even though I am not the largest pumpkin fan when it comes to baked goods; I am getting better. I found seeds to grow some blue pumpkins! I figured it would be excellent to grow some pumpkins with the other veggies we are trying to grow and now is the perfect time to attempt any hopes of having an established plant from seeds within a few months. My mom and I have laughed with Craig that honestly he shouldn’t be surprised if he comes home from work one day and we have a little nanny goat on the back patio. Who doesn’t want fresh goat milk from home? Needless to say, I realize I am not allowed to have a goat, but it is utterly hilarious to pick on this man. I just want to do so much more as far as homesteading is concerned. It is a new energy of fun things I want to try and see where it goes. Are you a homesteader? Is it possible to be a homesteader in the city? Share your experiences with me, I am eager to read your insight. Make it a fabulous Friday!

DSC_0571

Grand Opening!

DSC_0102_01

Ok everyone, this is truly an exciting day for us- it is our small, but wonderful Bowtique’s grand opening! As you know from following my progress, this shop has been several months and weeks in the making. With our shop celebrating its grand opening, we are offering free shipping on all orders starting now and ending Saturday. We will be offering a lot more promotions over the next several days also, so please stay tuned and spread the word. Now we are able to reveal even more products, meaning variety for you, and showcasing our discounted and handmade with love products. Please take some time and stop by: https://charmingandchicbowtique.storenvy.com

Make today a fabulous day and thank you for your continued prayers, support and encouragement through every single step of this process.