Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Easy Bread Recipe

Our family loves bread and I have been wanting to try making some from scratch for quite awhile now. Since I have never made bread before, I wanted to start with a fairly simple recipe. I also didn't exactly have specific bread baking ingredients on hand, so I was also searching for a recipe that called for all purpose flour rather than bread flour or whole wheat flour. After a little searching I located the following recipe from

Prep Time: 3 Hours
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 3 Hours, 45 Minutes


3/4 Cup Warm Water
1 Package Active Dry Yeast
1 Tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Vegetable Shortening
1/2 Cup Milk
Approximately 3 Cups All Purpose Flour


In large bowl, add the warm water. Slowly stir in dry yeast. 

Continue to stir until yeast is dissolved.

Add salt, sugar, shortening, and milk to bowl. Stir.

Mix in the first 2 cups of flour.

If needed, begin adding more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough chases the spoon around the bowl.

You do not need to use up all the flour called for in this recipe, or you may need more flour than called for. The amounts vary depending on many factors, including weather, which is why most bread recipes only give an approximate amount of flour needed.

Turn dough out onto floured board and knead, adding small spoonfuls of flour as needed, until the dough is soft and smooth, not sticky to the touch.

Put dough in buttered bowl, turn dough over so that the top of dough is greased. Cover and let rise in warm spot for 1 hour.

Punch down dough. Turn out onto floured board and knead.

Preheat oven at 375 degrees F. 

Form dough into loaf and set in buttered bread pan. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes.

Score dough by cutting three slashes across the top with a sharp knife. 

Put in oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Turn out bread and let cool on a rack or clean dishtowel.
I did not have vegetable shortening on hand so I used vegetable oil as a substitute and I had Very Active Dry Yeast rather than Active Dry Yeast. I am not sure if there is a substantial difference between those two types of yeast, but it seemed to work just fine. 

I definitely don't consider myself to be much of a baker so I was nervous about making those two substitutions. It didn't seem to make much difference as the bread turned out great. This was a simple recipe to follow and other than the hour and a half wait for the dough to rise, it went pretty quickly. I think it was a good beginner bread recipe. I am looking forward to trying some other variations in the future.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Simple Soda Cake Recipe

I keep seeing recipes on Pinterest for a simple cake using only a boxed cake mix and a can of soda. It sounded a little too good to be true to me, so I thought that I would try this recipe for myself.

Recipe calls for:
One regular boxed cake mix.
One 12 ounce can of soda.
One Egg white is optional to add a little extra fluff.
Frosting if desired.
Pour the cake mix into a mixing bowl
Add the can of soda
Blend with an electric mixer.
Bake according to the instructions on the box. (I would consider greasing the baking pan as the cake seemed to stick to the pan a little more than usual due to the lack of oil.)
I used a white cake mix from Pillsbury and a can of the new A&W Ten Root Beer. I iced it with some  At first I wasn't sure if Root Beer was the best option, but it turned out pretty good. It tasted kind of like a Root Beer Float Cake. The best part is that the "Ten" sodas only have 10 calories, so you really aren't adding any significant calories to the cake mix.

It would be fun to experiment with some different combinations of cake mix flavors and soda flavors.

Here are some interesting ideas for flavor combos:

50/50 Bar - Orange soda with white cake.

Spice Cake - Vanilla cake mix with Ginger Ale
Red Velvet - Red Velvet cake mix with Cherry Coke/Pepsi or Dr. Pepper
Lemon Cake - Lemon cake mix or Angel Food cake mix with Sprite/7 Up/Sierra Mist

A&WTenPillsbury White Cake Mix

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Halloween Safety Tips

Kids love Halloween because it’s the one time of year when they have a good excuse to wear crazy costumes and let their imaginations run wild. Since they can get swept away in all of the fun and excitement, parents should take a few minutes to remind them of some commons Halloween Safety Tips. Adult supervision is key in keeping kids safe on Halloween.

According to the Center for Disease Control Halloween can be one of the most dangerous days of the year for pedestrians. Statistics show that the likelihood of fatal pedestrian accidents in children is twice as great on Halloween than any other day of the year. 

Here are some helpful tips to follow:

  • Never allow your child to trick-or-treat alone.  Go out in a group instead if possible. Always provide adult supervision.
  • Always carry a flashlight when walking.
  • Use reflective tape on costumes or provide children with glow sticks.
  • Stay on sidewalks when possible. Cross only at street corners and where cross walks are available. Stop at all corners and cross in groups.
  • Only approach well lit houses 
  • Be wary of burning luminaries or jack o lanterns as costumes and clothing may be flammable. Dress your child in fire retardant costumes if possible.
  • Make sure your child’s costumes are well fitting to prevent trips and falls.
  • Costume accessories such as swords or knives should be pliable to prevent injury.
  • Use make-up instead of masks when possible. Masks can make it difficult to see properly.
  • Do not allow children to eat candy and treats until an adult has had a chance to carefully examine them. Discard any unwrapped candy or treats. Parents of children with nut allergy should carefully inspect and remove candy with nuts or other allergens.
  • Check for choking hazards such as gum or toys for very small children.
  • Do not enter any person’s home.
  • Always accompany your children to the door.
  • Teach your children to stay alert and always watch for cars.
  • Always carry a cell phone in case of an emergency.
  • Drivers should be extra cautious of trick-or-treaters.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!



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