Posted by Angie Kennedy at 6:54:00 PM Labels: beading, crafty things, finished projects, rosary, Thanksgiving
In retrospect, I think it would have worked better with gold parts and wire, but I'm still pleased with the results. It's still a bit long, but I think it's because I prefer using larger beads versus smaller ones. The looper is easy to use and made putting decades together easy. It also uses less wire, which is a benefit. I'm not overly fond of snipping the little bits of chain, though. In the future, I will probably look for a different style of chain with links that are slightly larger.
The center is the Blessed Sacrament cup on both sides. The crucifix has grapes as trim.
It has a matching rosary marker with a single amber bead. The medal has the Holy Family on one side and the Sacrament on the reverse:
Posted by Angie Kennedy at 4:06:00 PM Labels: Baking, bread, Thanksgiving
Posted by Angie Kennedy at 7:06:00 PM Labels: Baking, bread, Thanksgiving
I get the "Knead to Know" e-newsletter from Fleischman Yeast and saw this bee-you-tif-full recipe for a bread cornucopia that you can use as a centerpiece. It looked a little complicated, but I felt up for the challenge!
Here's how it starts...on the left, melted butter, honey and water. On the left whole wheat flour, yeast and salt. I added the wet to the dry ingredients and blended with my electric mixer until everything was mixed together evenly.
After everything's smooth, add in the flour to make a rough dough, which kinda looks like this:
Then you knead. I think it's hilarious listening to my knuckles popping constantly as I'm working on the dough. It's quite funny. It does take about eight minutes or so of kneading and adding a little flour now and then to keep the dough from making a huge mess on your table. (And ours is glass, so things always seem to stick more anyway.) But your patience will be rewarded when you have this gorgeous, smooth ball of bread dough goodness:
I kind of let that rest and chill out in the warm oven for a while as I got the mold ready. You want to use a 12 inch aluminum pizza plate, which Jeff got me at the grocery store in a package of three. They are super bendy, so you kind of roll it in and then curl the end up a little to make a cornucopia shape. Spray it with some cooking spray to keep the dough from sticking and then lay it down on a baking sheet. I used a piece of parchment paper so I wouldn't have to wash the pan later.
Anyway, it gets cut into strips, which you wind around the aluminum pizza pan mold, making sure the strips overlap a little bit each time. Here's what I got after using a little over half of the dough.
You brush the dough with water using a pastry brush and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes. Then you take it out and brush it again (you have the option to use an egg wash, but I'm lazy and just used the water again), covering it with a piece of foil before popping it back in. I used the remaining dough to make rolls and they were perking away on the bottom rack while the cornucopia was baking. They weren't browning, so I moved them to the top rack for another five minutes while I brushed the bread. When the rolls were done, I put the mold back in the oven and only baked it for about 15-20 minutes. The recipe says bake it for 45 until the bread's dried out, but I really would like to use the bread to make stuffing or bread pudding rather than having to throw it away. This way, the bread's still a little soft and even if it's sitting out during the potluck, it should still be okay.
I said this post was going to be epic, right? My intention was to bake enough rolls for the potluck and some to freeze for our Thanksgiving dinner next week. So I also made these Big batch quick dinner rolls from King Arthur Flour. It makes 24 pretty good sized rolls.
One of my co-workers is vegan so I wanted to make sure there was something he could eat as well. I found a recipe for rolls in When You Fast: Recipes for Lenten Seasons by Catherine Mandell. The recipe uses vegetable shortening or Lenten-friendly margarine. Vegan margarine spread is expensive and it's hard to find regular liquid margarine that doesn't have some form of dairy ingredients in it (it also doesn't taste very good, IMHO). We had some Crisco shortening left in the pantry, so that's what I used. It needed to rise three times in total. I let it rise the first time for an hour and twenty minutes and took a shower. Then I kneaded it and put it back in the bowl for the second rise. I had lots of errands to run today, so when I got home at 5:15 or so, I divvied the dough up into individual rolls. The recipe calls them pan rolls as you're supposed to put them in a greased 9x13 inch pan, but I didn't want to wash an extra baking dish. So I just rolled them up and put them on the parchment paper of the baking sheet I'd been using all day. The batch was supposed make 15 rolls, but they'd be huge. These are sized a little bit more on the petite side and made a whole bunch. I tried one and it's all right but not quite as fluffy as the other rolls.
Hurray for bread baking!
Posted by Angie Kennedy at 10:48:00 AM Labels: Ciarán, tooth fairy, tradition
He lost his first tooth in October 2012 in kindergarten on an in-service day. He was a holy terror at his YMCA afterschool program that day and he'd been playing with his tooth and lost it. It was an all around bad day for everyone involved as I'm sure he had some meltdowns when he got home, so the tooth fairy did not pay us a visit. Does that make me sound like a bad parent? However, for his second tooth, he got a brand new light up Star Wars toothbrush. The rest of the teeth he's just received money for. I remember when I was growing up, we got 50 cent pieces. The boy gets two dollars; must be inflation.
What are the tooth fairy traditions (if any) in your house?
Now my only issue is opening up the loop to put links together or add jump rings without ruining the loop. I have supplies for three more Blessed Sacrament rosaries and thought I might give making a chain rosary a shot to see how it goes since the tool makes it ridiculously easy.
If you're first starting out, the only thing is that the tool is a bit on the pricey side, in my opinion, but I'm cheap so you can take that for what it's worth. The first time I looked for it at Hobby Lobby, the peg on the shelf was empty. I was not able to find it at Michaels or JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. It is available on Amazon, but it didn't qualify for free shipping. Hobby Lobby's list price was around $34 if I am not mistaken. The second time I went, there was one tool on the shelf and I had the weekly 40% off coupon, so it was much more affordable. And I perused the clearance aisle and got some nice deals on crystal beads, so this little bugger makes beading earrings so stinking easy I must
The meat from the two small pumpkins fit nicely into the food processor and turned out a little chunky, like a step between really smooth and slightly chunky applesauce. Not a bad texture. The larger pumpkin had to go back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes or so and resulted in a thinner puree. Everything went into the same bowl and got mixed up so I think it will even out in the end. It's in the freezer for now because I was afraid it might go off in the fridge between now and Thanksgiving, not to mention the bowl takes up a lot of space. I'm guesstimating about 5 cups of puree in total, but I'm also a horrible guesstimator so I guess the proof will come out when we actually start cooking. My hope is enough for a pie and for some pumpkin bread. Next year, I'll probably try to get slightly larger pumpkins that are more uniform in size, both for roasting time and for consistency in yield.
Posted by Angie Kennedy at 10:10:00 AM Labels: crochet, finished projects, yarn
This pattern is perfect for beginners because you only have to know how to chain, single crochet and double crochet. That's it! You don't have to count much and as the pattern says, it's very forgiving, so if you make a mistake you can keep on going. You get the pattern at Moogly which is a fun site packed full of nifty knitting and crochet tips, tricks and free patterns. There's also a project page on Ravelry and it was awesome to read the descriptions and see the pictures of all the other crocheters who have made the scarf. The colors are beautiful, but they used all kinds of yarn and colors, so it goes to show how versatile this simple pattern really is. Here is mine:
It's just doubled up as a cowl here, but I've been experimenting with different ways to use it. It does have that twist that infinity scarves have. I stretched it open and just put it over my shoulders and it made a cute shawl/capelet. It's surprisingly warm as well, so I think I'll be getting a lot of wear out of it this winter, especially at work. The wool I have is a light stone grey base with a few darker flecks of black and carnelian so that should work up rather nicely as well.
Posted by Angie Kennedy at 9:53:00 AM Labels: birthday, crafty things, crochet, finished projects, yarn
The girl's hat was on more of a deadline because we planned to go to the Halloween party at the zoo early in October. I used Red Heart Super Saver solids for both hats, which I got at Walmart. For the boy's evil minion hair, I used Lion Brand Fun Fur, which came in a purple shade extremely close to the Red Heart purple. I worked on the hat first and had some tricky bits with the goggle and the hands at the end of the arms, but the pattern author includes links to YouTube tutorials to walk you through new techniques. That was a real bonus. There was only one broken link, which was for a chainless half double foundation, and that was easy to find. I finished her hat on Saturday, October 12, just in time to go to the zoo on the 13th.
The boy's had had a little bit more flexible deadline. We held a birthday party for Siobhán back in my hometown in Ohio over Veteran's Day weekend (not quite two weeks after her birthday) and we used a minion theme. His hat gave me a little more trouble. I used the child pattern with the recommended hook, but I must have been crocheting really tightly because I was nearly done with it when I discovered it barely fit over his head. So I frogged it, went up a size in both pattern and hook, and started over. It still looks a little small considering I used the biggest pattern size, but it fits, which is the important thing. We left for Ohio last Saturday after I got off work and I finished sewing the goggle parts and the crazy fun fur hair in the car while there was a sliver of daylight left. The fun fur, of course, got all over the seat and the floor, which is awesome. He opted for just the earflaps, not the arms and hands, so that shaved quite a bit of time off. That's great because I was squeaking it at the last minute as it was.
Posted by Angie Kennedy at 3:38:00 PM Labels: Book Buzz, Christian fiction, Romance
The guest book in the title refers to a book at a vacation house called Time in a Bottle. Macy Dillon and her family spent summers there from the time she was five until she turned sixteen. That was the year her father died and it seemed too painful to return. The guest book tradition started when five-year-old Macy drew a picture of shells on one of the pages. The following year she found that a boy her age had left her a picture in return. They exchanged pictures each year until he asked her to meet before leaving that last summer. Filled with grief from her father's death, Macy didn't go to meet the boy at the beach that day. She left him a letter and never stopped thinking about him.
Ten years later, Macy is a single mom, her older brother is struggling with alcohol and her mother is trying to move on from her husband's death. Her mother rents the cottage once again and takes the family for a vacation, hoping that the time together and memories will help heal their wounds. Macy's daughter loves the beach and takes Macy into the paths of three men who could possibly her artist correspondent. Her brother Max ends up in jail and meets someone who puts him on track to face his addiction and return to God. Macy's mother meets someone from the past who wants to offer her a future. Macy struggles with putting her daughter's father into place in their lives as she finds sparks with each of the three men: Wyatt, Nate and Dockery. The book has a sweet ending and more than one beginning.
This is the first of Marybeth Whalen's novels I've read. She has several that take place in the same North Carolina beach area. I liked this one well, but the plots of the other ones weren't as appealing to me, so I probably won't pick them up.
Posted by Angie Kennedy at 3:26:00 PM Labels: Book Buzz, Fantasy, Fiction, supernatural, YA
I've been waiting forever for Emerald Green to come out...it's been out in Germany and Europe for over a year, I think, but the English translation didn't come out until October. Luckily, I got on the hold list pretty quick so I didn't have to wait too long for my copy. What I like about the three books is that they seriously pick up exactly where the previous book ended. It's almost like she took one big book and divided it into about three equal parts.
Throughout Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green, we learn more details about Count Saint-Germain's plans for closing the circle of twelve on the chronograph. Everything hinges on a prophecy that indicates there will be no more disease or aging once the chronograph is closed, but for whom? Gwyneth starts to fall for Gideon in the second book, but the Count leads her to believe that she is being manipulated because women are weak and emotional. Gwyneth and Gideon start putting more pieces of the puzzle together regarding Paul and Lucy, two other time travelers who disappeared with the original chronograph because they suspect that the Count's plan was sinister. In Emerald Green, Gwyneth develops a relationship with her grandfather when she's sent back in time to elapse and he helps her put some of the clues together to discover what the Count's true intentions are for a completed chronograph. Gideon also reveals that his feelings for Gwyneth are serious. We learn that Gwyneth is more than what she seems and we learn that the Count is closer than we think (I'm really trying to avoid spoilers!). Thank goodness, things work out in the end. Whew!
I tore through this pretty quickly because I had to find out what happened. It's pretty action packed and even though it looks thick, it's a fairly quick read. If you haven't read the series but find the idea intriguing, now's a great time to pick it up because you can read all three back to back without missing a moment of the action. I loved Gwyneth, she was fun, but her best friend Lesley is an absolute hoot, especially when she falls hard for Gideon's younger brother.
Posted by Angie Kennedy at 3:09:00 PM Labels: adventure, Book Buzz, Children's lit, Fiction
The first book is titled The Mysterious Benedict Society and introduces us to a colorful cast of characters. The children include Reynie Muldoon, Sticky Washington, Kate Wetherall and Constance Contraire. They all answer a classified ad placed by Nicholas Benedict and his assistants, Rhonda Kazembe and Number Two. They are looking for children of high intelligence and moral fiber who can go undercover at the mysterious institute run by Ledroptha Curtain. Curtain is building a machine called "The Whisperer" which subtly plants messages into unsuspecting listeners' ears. The Society enrolls at the Institute, which uses children's voices to repeat the insidious messages into the machine. They are successful in foiling Curtain's plan and Mr. Benedict gains control of the Whisperer so he can restore memories wiped out by Ledroptha Curtain, but Curtain and his closest Executives escape.
We learn more about the children in the second book The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey. They have been living at Mr. Benedict's home being homeschooled because Ledroptha Curtain is still at large. Mr. Benedict and Number Two set off mysteriously on a journey and then are abducted. Rhonda Kazembe tells the children that Mr. Benedict had planned a scavenger hunt as a reward for the children's hard work and while no one is watching, they sneak away to mount a rescue mission. Their mission takes them on a voyage to Europe, hot on the trail of a very rare plant that could possibly control or cure the narcolepsy that plagues both Mr. Benedict and Ledroptha Curtain. The kids' mission is successful, but unfortunately Curtain escapes once again.
In the final installment of the series, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma, the children are housebound because of the danger Curtain poses while still at large. The house is under guard but Curtain's executives in higher branches of the government have devised a plan to gain back control of the Whisperer and once again take over the world. Once again, the children match wits against Curtain and his team of henchmen known as the Ten Men because they know ten different ways of causing extreme pain. Thankfully, Curtain gets his just desserts in the end and the children save the day.
There is a prequel to the series called The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, of which there was an excerpt at the end of the ebook version of the third novel. I don't think that our public library has a copy of it in the ebook collection, but it does tell the story of Mr. Benedict when he was about 9 years old.
It's an enjoyable series with lots of puns and other plays on words. The kids are interesting characters and there are amusing illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. When I read it for class, we met for a book discussion with a group of sixth graders and they really enjoyed it.
Krista had talked about making bread and bagels at home and I wanted to figure out how I could incorporate more baking into my life. I'm off on Mondays because I work Saturdays, so it seemed like a good opportunity to put some things aside in the freezer for future use. I'm intrigued by Krista's bagel recipe, but today it was pizza dough. It takes so few ingredients and I almost always have them at home. However, when I get a bee in my bonnet to make pizza for dinner, it's hard to keep the kids patient during the hour and 45 minutes or so it takes to get the yeast going and the dough proofing. So today I pulled out a three pack of active dry yeast and make a triple batch of pizza dough. That's three nights of pizza for our family because we make two at a time as we all like different toppings.
Pizza dough only requires a few ingredients and I use this basic pizza dough recipe from Food Network. All you need is sugar, olive oil, yeast, water, salt and flour.
I ended up using about a 60/40 mix of whole wheat flour and unbleached white flour because that's what I had. This is the first time I've done that, so I'll have to get back to you as far as how well that worked out.
Wee happy yeasties! It took me a long time to get the hang of proofing yeast. Why? Because up until a few years ago, I had absolutely NO idea what temperature lukewarm was in regard to lukewarm milk or water for proofing. Duh. When I used to work at the community college, we had a culinary arts student who worked as a baker in one of the fancy hotels downtown and he told me, among other tips, to use the darn cooking thermometer to check the temp. Turns out yeast loves stuff that's 105-110°F. Unless I get ahold of old yeast, we're good to go now.
Over the past couple of years, I've been on a mission to find the perfect tsoureki recipe to make for Pascha. The fabulously eggy, buttery Greek Easter bread has become a new tradition for me. One of the blogs I visited to get the recipe that's turned out the best passed on a useful tip for proofing bread dough for first and second risings. I don't know about you, but in order to try and save energy, we tend to keep our house a bit on the cooler side in the fall and winter months. That happens to be when I do most of my baking. The house is never warm enough to get a nice even rise. The blogger suggests putting your oven on the lowest 'warm' setting for a while (I usually do this when I get the yeast working) and then turn it off. Keep the oven closed until it's time to proof so it retains the heat and then cover the dough in your bowl and let rise till doubled in size.
Today was fridge cleaning day so the dough sat in the warm oven rising away while I cleaned. When it was time to change the cleaning water, it was time to take the dough out of the oven. I have four dough balls wrapped in plastic wrap and secured in a zipper freezer bag to go in the freezer until needed. I put two dough balls in the fridge to use later this week. The original recipe says that the dough will hold up for a month in the cold, so I made sure to put the date on the bag so I'd know when I needed to make a bunch of pizzas to use it up.
Originally I had meant to make a big batch of chapatis as well. We pulled a few Indian recipes to make and chapatis are pretty easy to make and only need flour and water. Much cheaper than buying naan at the grocery. I also intend to make some onion chutney to go with it. Yum!
Posted by Angie Kennedy at 9:56:00 AM Labels: Book Buzz, fairy tale, Fantasy, Fiction, YA
It's probably been mentioned several times in other Book Buzz entries that I am a totally sappy romantic sucker for best-friends-falling-in-love story lines. It's probably my favorite plot device. Can't help it. So I had very high hopes when Deirdre, the main character of Lament, has a best friend named James, who is head over heels in love with her but is too afraid to tell her. They are both ridiculously talented musicians, especially when you take into account the fact that they're teenagers. Deirdre plays the harp and favors traditional Irish music. James plays the bagpipes and is quite good at it. Deirdre's talent has garnered her attention from the wrong sort of faeries: court fey who want to kill her for her talent but also because she's a cloverhand. She can see faeries when others cannot, which, as you might imagine, puts a damper on carrying out their sinister plots. The Faery Queen sends her minion Luke Dillon to "take care" of the Deirdre problem, which he totally complicates by falling in love with her. Ugh. Deirdre is understandably frightened by the new developments of seeing faeries and the awful things they do and also understandably upset at having an assassin on her trail. But she goes and falls for Luke? Seriously? This is the antithesis of my beloved best friends in love device: the jerky, but handsome, stranger who strolls in from out of town and sweeps the heroine off her feet and the best friend who's been there through everything gets left in the dust. LADIES, QUIT FALLING FOR GUYS WHO WANT/HAVE TO KILL YOU. FOR REALS. There's a lot of details in between, but to sum up: Luke is ordered to kill Deirdre, but refuses; Deirdre seriously falls for Luke and tries to figure out how to be with him without being dead; poor James is nearly killed by bad faeries, but still loves Deirdre. Unfortunately, he sends her a text message eloquently telling her how he feels about her and she feels bad for being in love with the guy who's trying to kill her. AWKWARD. This is one reason that being a teenager sucks. Too much angst. Luke, who prior to this was missing his soul because the bad faery queen kept it in a cage, is accepted by music loving fae at the end of the book and gets his soul back. However, he's 100% faery now and therefore not the guy Deirdre fell in love with.
So begins book two, Ballad, in which Deirdre and the physically recovered, yet emotionally wounded James head off to a school for musically gifted students. There's a chasm between the two friends because Deirdre feels awful about not returning James' feelings. There are also repercussions of her contact with faeries and her existence as a cloverhand that are causing her to spiral into depression. James can't see it because being near her is too painful. He also meets Nuala, a faery muse who inspires talented artists and then steals the years from their lives in order to survive. She doesn't like Deirdre because her presence shifts attention away from Nuala herself. And James turns down her offer to make him the best piper because he wants to earn that right himself. His refusal changes how she looks at him and herself. Nuala's snubbing of Deirdre and Deirdre's inability to share her experience with James nearly changes the faerie world because the new faerie Queen is using them all as pawns to gain strength. The Queen's plan seeks to rid the fae of their uncontrollable attraction to be near the cloverhand. If she can sever the connection with Deirdre, then the fae gain tremendous power year-round, rather than at specific times of year. It's not until Deidre disappears days before Halloween and her cell phone is discovered with hundreds of sad, unsent text messages to James, that he begins to realize she had been going through a huge thing on her own.
Deirdre, James and Nuala (ugh, I don't like her) make it through the Halloween ordeals alive, but I really want things to be resolved in the third book. I want a neatly tied up package of happy endings. I want faeries to stop messing with people and being nasty. Is that really so much to ask?
Who we are...
- Angie Kennedy
- Louisville, Kentucky, United States
- I live with my husband Jeff, son Ciarán, daughter Siobhán, and one fat old kitty. There's never a dull moment in our house! This blog is mostly about stuff I make, bake, grow and read. There's a sprinkling of other life-related stuff along the way as well.
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Back in the day...
- Thanksgiving feast
- Amber glass Blessed Sacrament rosary
- The finished cornucopia of bready goodness
- Rising up! My EPIC bread baking post.
- The tooth fairy is earning her paycheck at our hou...
- Nifty item
- Finished project: Artfully simple infinity scarf
- Finished project: Despicible Me minion hats
- The Guest Book by Marybeth Whalen
- Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier
- The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton ...
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