Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Savory Cheese Rolls

I'm reposting this because my mom said the recipe was too vague and the pictures didn't do the recipe justice. So here's the edited version with better directions and better pictures! Love ya, Mom!

Looking for a cheap and delicious recipe to try for this weekend's big game? Or how about something a little different to serve with a hot bowl of soup? My sister told me they make something like these cheese rolls at her high school, so I thought I'd give it a whirl and I'll tell you, they are really yummy. The dough is pillowy soft and the cheese gets all crusty and cooked....ah, I'm drooling.

The recipe is:

TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour
1 1/8 cup water
1/8 cup powdered milk (I use Morning Moo)
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
2 tsp yeast

Prepare the dough in the bread machine or KitchenAid and let raise to double.

Roll dough into a big rectangle, just like you would for cinnamon rolls. Spread butter over all the dough. (I didn't in the picture....didn't realize I was out when I started making them. The finished rolls were not as good as normal without the butter, so make sure you add it!) Sprinkle with cheese and seasonings. Starting at the long end of the rectangle, roll tightly just like when you make cinnamon rolls. Cut into slices and raise for 20 minutes or so. Bake at 350 until golden brown and bubbly.

Touchdown!

And just FYI, this is one of the things we had at our SuperBowl party LAST year. This year we're making Peanut Butter Cup Popcorn, Jalepeno Poppers, In-N-Out Copycat Burgers, Cream Cheese Stuffed Pretzels and 7-Layer Dip. And no, I'm NOT making that all myself. We're partying with two other families and have divided up the dishes. Can't wait! I could care less about football, but I love any excuse for a party!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pinterest Tested: Prim and Proper Updo

Welcome to Pinterest Tested! Ever wonder if that miracle cleaner is really miraculous? Or what about that homemade facial cleanser? Does it work? This is the place to find out! Each Monday I am testing Pins that catch my eye to see if they really live up to the claims made on Pinterest.




Today I'm testing something new... a hairstyle! I always wonder if the styles I see on Pinterest are doable for real people with real hair and minimal hairstyling skills. So I chose a 'do I thought was doable. :) haha. This is what the Pin looks like:



Simple, sleek, elegant. I like it!

THE TEST: Can a normal person recreate this hairstyle at home?

I followed the directions, which were very clear. Basically, you put your hair into a half-pony, tease the bottom of that pony a little, then smoothly tuck the rest of your hair through a hole in the half pony. That didn't make any sense. It would be better to just follow the instructions on the Pin. haha.
I was surprised to find that this hairstyle was really easy! It only took a few minutes. The final results aren't exactly like the original picture, but I wore my hair this way to church and got compliments, so I think that's a good sign. My hair is not nearly as long as the hair shown in the pictures either...it's a few inches below the shoulders with lots of shorter layers and I was still able to pull it off.THE RESULT: A new, elegent hairstyle that takes minutes and is totally doable for anyone at any hairstyling skill level!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bombs

I thought I would share one of our favorite family recipes. At our house, we call them Bombs. They are basically a soft roll with yummy filling inside.

To make Bombs, start with a loaf's worth of bread/roll dough. You can use any recipe for the dough (or buy frozen bread dough...which I think is the biggest rip-off on the planet), but this is the recipe I use. It makes mighty tasty rolls.

2 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour, approximately
2 tsp. yeast
1 1/8 cup warm water*
1/8 cup powdered milk*
1/4 cup butter
1 egg

* If you don't have powdered milk, you would add 7/8 cup milk and 1/4 cup water instead of the water and powdered milk suggested in the original recipe.

Add all ingredients to bread machine in order listed. Select the dough cycle and let the machine do all the work. I usually add 3 1/2 cups of flour at first, then I test the dough and add more until it feels right--not sticky, not too dry/firm, just nice and soft. When the machine beeps, take the dough out and divide it into 12-15 pieces. Shape each piece into approximately a 5 inch circle.

If you do not have a bread machine, you can make this in a stand mixer (like a KitchenAid). I would mix the sugar, yeast, milk, water, butter and egg together first, then the rest of the ingredients. Just don't put yeast and salt touching eachother---salt kills yeast and your bread won't rise very well!

Next you will need the filling. Anything goes as long as it is not too juicy that it will leak out. Here are some of our favorite combinations:

-Pizza Bomb: spaghetti sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella (plus any other favorite pizza toppings)
-BBQ Bomb: shredded beef/pork/chicken, BBQ sauce and cheddar
-Joe Bomb: ground beef, sloppy joe sauce and cheddar
-Ham & Cheese Bomb: diced ham, broccoli, onion and cheddar
-Taco Bomb: ground beef with taco seasoning, salsa, onions and mexican blend cheese
-Bacon Bomb: diced chicken, bacon, green onions, ranch dressing and mozzarella

Place about 4 tablespoons of filling ingredients in the center of each dough circle.

Bring edges up around the filling and pinch to seal the dough.If there are any holes, the filling will leak out all over the pan!

Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet.Let dough rise in a warm place for 15-20 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown on top.

Here's what they look like all baked, cut open and oozing with cheese and sauce.

They are Hawaiin Bombs, by the way---Canadian bacon, pineapple, green peppers, sauce, cheese. And they were delicious!

I have recently started rubbing the cooked buns with butter and sprinkling them with garlic salt. Yum! It really adds something amazing!

These would be a great food for the SuperBowl. They make a great dinner paired with a big salad. We also love taking them on car trips and picnics because they are still tasty even if they're not piping hot.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pinterest Tested: Homemade Laundry Soap

Welcome to Pinterest Tested! Ever wonder if that miracle cleaner is really miraculous? Or what about that homemade facial cleanser? Does it work? This is the place to find out!  I am testing Pins that catch my eye to see if they really live up to the claims made on Pinterest.

I am excited about the test for today. It's one I've seen Pinned over and over, so I had to see if it actually works.

The Test: Is this recipe for laundry soap actually cheaper and does it wash clothes as well as regular detergent?

I went to Wal-Mart to see if I could find all the ingredients I would need and guess what? Wal-Mart had everything and all the ingredients were even next to each other on the shelf in the detergent aisle! I was thinking I would have to hunt all over the store, but nope. All together. How nice! This is what I came home with:

One box Borax
One box Super Washing Soda
One box Baking Soda (large size)
Two small containers Oxyclean (I used store brand)
Three bars Fels Naptha

The total came to $16.55 including tax.

Another hesitation with this project was if it was time consuming to put together. I grated the bar soap and stirred everything by hand in less than 20 minutes. It was easy! I would recommend wearing a mask (or tying a scarf around your face like I did) while mixing to avoid breathing in the dust. It made me choke a little. Or you could do as one reader posted in the comments section and dump everything into your bucket or a garbage sack and shake. Smart!

So my next question was how many loads I would get out of one batch. The original post said it only takes one tablespoon per load. So I measured, oh yes I did! And I was going to do it one scoop at a time until my brilliant husband stated the obvious and had me see how many scoops were in a two-cup measuring cup and then just figure the results from there. Duh. haha. According to my calculations, I will get 462 loads from this one batch.

That means the cost of this detergent is 3.6 cents per load. The detergent I was using before cost 5.3 cents per load (and it was a cheap brand that I got on sale).

The original recipe says that the oxygen cleaner is optional. If you left that out, the detergent would be even cheaper...2.7 cents per load. Don't know if it would clean as well though.

Now for the big question...does this stuff actually clean clothes as well as store-bought detergent? My answer is YES! I can't tell a difference from what I was using. I'll post something if I stop feeling that way after I've been using it for a few weeks.

This Pin passes The Craft Patch test for sure!

THE RESULTS: A homemade cleaning solution that seems to work as well as store-bought detergent. It was easy to put together and it really is cheaper.

Update: I finally used the last of this soap in mid-March. That means it lasted for one year and two months! Wow!

Read more about the second time I whipped up a batch of this laundry soap HERE.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The $1.60 Ruffle Shirt

I love when stuff goes on clearance after Christmas. Especially if you have the patience and wait until it goes to 90% off. Thanks to Melissa at 320 Sycamore for giving me the heads up... I got these shirts at Target for $0.80 each. Can't beat that!

No offense to Santa, but I don't really care for the Christmas logo. So what's a girl to do? Cover it with ruffles, of course!

I used Sachiko's tutorial found on her blog, Tea Rose Home. Easy (she had great directions) and I love the way it turned out! The perfect shirt for kicking around the house...it's comfy and stylish! Plus if it does get splattered with baby poo or pasta sauce or cleaner, it cost $1.80, so it's no sweat.


I bought a second set of shirts and I can't decide what to do with them. What t-shirt transformations have you seen that you just love? Or have you seen something at the store that you'd like me to recreate? Ideas appreciated! Just remember that it has to cover the front center since the other shirts also have Christmas logos on them.

A Sweet Deal: Three Ways to Repurpose A Photo Clutch

I was browsing through Joann’s Christmas clearance aisle yesterday and stumbled upon these babies:Because everything was 90% off, these cute photo clutches were only $1.49! My store had this purple/pink color and black too.

Don’t need to carry photos around? Here are three creative ways to repurpose your sweet deal photo clutch:

1. A receipt organizer. My purse is always a mess of crumpled receipts. When I need to find a receipt, it would be so nice to open up this cute book and flip to a specific receipt that was all nicely tucked away.

2. An on-the-go quiet book. Then you’d always have something to entertain the kids when you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or the grocery store. Just include a dry-erase marker and the possibilities are endless: tic-tac-toe, matching, practicing letters, the Dot game…

3. A home d├ęcor reference book. Have you ever seen something at the store or hesitated to jump on a good deal because you weren’t sure it would match your wall color or the fabric on your couch? If you compiled a little book with fabric samples and paint chips and kept it in your purse, you would never have to wonder again! You could just flip open to the right page and see if it would match the rest of your room.

Well, what are you waiting for? Run to your local Joann’s and see if they still have these photo clutches in their clearance aisle!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pinterest Tested: "Miracle" Faucet Cleaner

Welcome to Pinterest Tested! Ever wonder if that miracle cleaner is really miraculous? Or what about that homemade facial cleanser? Does it work? This is the place to find out! Each Monday I am testing Pins that catch my eye to see if they really live up to the claims made on Pinterest.

Today I am testing this Pin:



THE TEST: Are baking soda and hydrogen peroxide a miracle cleaner for bathroom gunk?

Lately I have been noticing the gross build-up around my bathroom faucets, so I thought I would try it out.





I mixed up the cleaner, applied it to the faucett, let it sit for 10 minutes, then scrubbed everything with a toothbrush.

Here's what it looked like before and after:
Can you see a difference? The brown stuff is a little lighter. But yeah, not a whole lot, huh?!


I think the cleaner did a much better job on the knob tops. They went from brown and crusty to only slightly old looking. Definitely an improvement!

The crusty stuff at the base of the round knobs didn't look like much of a change. But I know it did clean a lot of it off, because when I poured water over the handle, all this gunk came shooting out:

THE RESULTS: I think the cleaner worked. I just wouldn't call it a miracle cleaning solution...the difference after cleaning just wasn't miraculous enough to me. I do love that the cleaner didn't have a strong odor, that I had the ingredients on hand and that it was inexpensive.

ETA: I used this solution to clean the linoleum floor in my bathroom and it worked really well. I let the paste sit for ten minutes and the just wiped away all the dirt that normally requires intense scrubbing and harsh chemicals to remove. So there you go.... it's not so effective for the faucets but it worked great on the floor!

P.S. If you know how I can get these knobs looking a little less shabby, I'd love to hear suggestions.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Paper Clip Love Birds

A few years ago I made these little love birds, and I have enjoyed pulling them out each year for Valentine's Day. I think they are so cute...they just make me happy! They are also really easy to make and you probably already have all the supplies you need to make them. Yay!

Here's how:

1. Gather materials. All you need is scraps of red/white/pink paper and two paper clips per bird. I prefer the big thick paper clips...they make stronger birdie legs.

Step 2: Bend the paper clips into legs by following the pictures shown below:

The last bend you will have to make is so they stand up. I had to wiggle and bend and wiggle and bend until mine stood up on their own.


Step 3: Cut out a bird body (front and back), a wing, and a beak from coordinating paper. Tape or glue the tops of the paper clip legs to the back side of the paper body and glue the other paper over the paper clips, sandwiching them in so the pretty sides of the paper are showing. Add a beak, wings, and eyes and you are done! If you wanted to get fancy, you could even add a little feather sticking out of the tail.
Now you just need to find a perch for your happy little love birds!
If your love birds are a little tipsy, you could cut out a coordinating circle of cardstock to use as a base. Glue the legs to the paper and your birds will be a lot more stable.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Make Your Own Scratch-Off Cards!

When I was a kid, I used to beg my mom to let me scratch the little silver circles off of ads and sweepstakes that came in the mail. I get the biggest kick out of that! Recently I saw an article at BHG about making your own scratch-off cards and I about died. I can make my own?! Of course I had to try it out to see if it really worked. And guess what? IT DOES! Wahoo!

I decided it would be fun to give my husband a scratch-off card for Valentine’s Day. Here’s what it looks like:

Under each heart is a different gift. I will give him whichever one he scratches off.

Materials Needed:
A Valentine’s Day card
Con-Tact paper
Acrylic paint
Liquid dish soap
Paint brush
Small paper cup or something to hold paint
Scissors
Pencil
Penny

Step 1: Prepare your Valentine card. I made mine in Photoshop and it took all of ten minutes. You could just as easily make one in Word. Print it out on cardstock.
Step 2: Cut a strip of Con-Tact paper big enough to make four hearts. Lay it on top of the hearts on your card and trace them onto the paper side of the Con-Tact paper.Step 3: To make the special scratch-off paint, mix two parts acrylic paint with 1 part liquid dish soap. I just eyeballed the measurement.

Step 4: On the shiny side of the contact paper, paint a thin coat of the special paint to cover each heart. Let it dry, then add a second and third coat if needed. Remember, you don’t want to be able to see through the paint.
Step 5: Cut out the hearts following the lines you traced. Peel off the paper backing and place the sticker over the hearts on your card.
Step 6: Include a shiny new penny with the card so your Valentine will have something to scratch with!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pinterest Tested: Banana Smoothies and Healthy Cookies

Anyone else addicted to Pinterest like I am? Who even needs Google anymore? When I want to find something fabulous, I can almost always count on Pinterest weeding it down for me.

The problem I've found is that some of those miracle cleaning solutions or delicious looking recipes fall flat when I actually try them.

So every Monday I am going to test an idea from Pinterest and tell you whether it actually works or not! It will be like the Mythbusters of domesticity. Woohoo!

So let's get started with a bang...two tests!

I, along with half the U.S. population, am trying to lose a few pounds for the New Year, so here are two healthy options to help me stick with it. (By the way, dieting stinks! I hate it! I can't wait to be done!)

Test #1--Banana Oatmeal Smoothie:


Banana Oatmeal Smoothie



The first time I made it, I used almonds and I did not like the texture...too chunky! Maybe my blender is weak sauce, I don't know. So I substituted peanut butter instead. I didn't have yogurt and didn't want to have to keep that on hand, so I used milk instead. With my substitutions, the recipe looks like:

1 banana
1 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup rolled oats, raw
2 tablespoons peanut butter

This has turned into one of my favorite breakfasts! The oats make the smoothie taste like cookie dough. It's absolutely delicious!

The way I made the recipe, it comes out to 570 calories. So even though it is a healthy breakfast, it's not low calorie.

THE RESULTS: Delicious (with tweaking), nutritious, but make sure you watch the calories!

Test #2--Healthy Cookies





No Fat, No Sugar Healthy Cookies




These cookies intrigued me. How can it be a cookie without butter and sugar? I followed the directions exactly, except I omitted the raisins. I don't love raisins in cookies and didn't have any on hand, so that was an easy choice. Although the finished cookie is not super sweet, it has potential! The cookies are like a cross between banana bread, no-bake cookies and a granola bar. Yum! The flavor was very mild (especially without the raisins), so I think next time I make them, I will add orange rind, craisins, more cinnamon and maybe a touch of nutmeg. I also want to try subbing the bananas for pumpkin puree. The best part of this cookie, though, is the calorie count. If you skip the raisins and divide the dough into twelve cookies, each cookie has only 57 calories! That is awesome! Here's what my cookies looked like:
THE RESULTS: A great healthy cookie base, good texture, needs a little extra pop of flavor. Excellent nutrition and calorie count!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Valentine's Day Gift Idea: Picture Scavenger Hunt

Today I want to share something that MR. Craft Patch actually came up with. He is such a good gift giver! I look forward to any gift-giving occasion just to see what he will do. Since Valentine's Day is coming up, I thought I'd share what he did for me a few years back...

On Valentine's morning, he handed me an envelope with one picture in it:

Then he explained that in order to get my present, I would have to find it. I went to the location of the picture and found another envelope with another picture:After several more locations and envelopes, I finally came to the last clue: But when I got to the car trunk, the candy was not the only thing in there. He had also bought me a pair of shoes that I had been swooning over for a long time, but had never wanted to spend the money on.

Shoes, chocolate, and a sweetly planned delivery? Does it get any better? What a hunk!

I thought his picture scavenger hunt was such a fun idea that would be great for spouses and kids alike. I know my own kiddos would think it was awesome to hunt for their presents. Give it a try this Valentine's Day and tell me how it goes!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Valentine's Day Breakfast

I love to make fun meals for my family for holidays, so on Valentine's Day, I surprised my family with a special breakfast:
It's a heart-shaped Egg McMuffin with ham hearts and pink milk. My kiddos flipped over this. They were so excited!

This is an easy breakfast to make. I cooked the egg inside a metal cookie cutter, sprinkled it with cheese and cut the bread into heart shapes and toasted them.

I have also done special dinners for Valentine's Day before. This year I will be making:


Heart-shaped mini-meatloaves

Potatoes sliced thin, cut into heart shapes, then oven-roasted

Pink dinner rolls

Strawberries

Pink milk


Can't wait!

Save Those Extra Buttons!

Today I put on one of my favorite sweaters and noticed that one of the buttons was gone. Aw, stink! At first, I was feeling grumbly until I remembered that I always save the extra buttons that come on new clothes. I grabbed my sewing notions box, dug down to the bottom and dumped this out on the kitchen table:
Yep! I have been saving the extra buttons off things for years now. Whenever I buy a new outfit, I write a simple description of the article of clothing on the bag with a Sharpie, then stuff it into a bigger sandwich bag and bury it back down at the bottom of the sewing notions box. And today it finally paid off! My sweater was good as new in no time!

So next time you buy a new shirt, save those extra buttons! It could save your favorite sweater some day down the road.
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