Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate

There’s nothing like spending a rainy Sunday afternoon consuming lots and lots of delicious chocolate.  I’m enjoying homemade gluten free brownies and Silk Chocolate Almond Milk.  Delicious!

Since I finally was able to produce a decent loaf of GF bread that actually looked and tasted like bread, I’ve tried a couple more recipes and GF four blends.

I’m sure many of you know how expensive it can be for certain GF flour ingredients. I came across one blend that uses sorghum flour, corn starch, harina masa (corn flour), and brown rice flour. I like that this blend is a lot more frugal. Harina masa and corn flour can be purchased inexpensively, and often with store brands. We are blessed to have a very powerful blender, so I purchase inexpensive bags of brown rice and make my own brown rice flour by tossing the rice in the blender In small batches. That leaves only the sorghum flour as the more expensive purchase of the four items. This, of course, is not counting the highly expensive, but very necessary xanthan gum!

My most recent recipe for GF flour has been to use a favorite wheat bread recipe and modify that.  I use my GF flour blend instead of the regular flour, and I add xanthan gum.  I increase the water as needed, and I add three eggs (not sure on the science of it, but it helps).

Most of the loaves I’ve made recently have been soft, fluffy, and springy when out of the oven.  That can change after freezing.  Often, the GF bread comes out of the freezer very crumbly.  Therefore, I’m still working on a recipe that is frugal, tastes good, and freezes well.  In the meantime, I at least have a couple of recipes that will make do, especially if they are not frozen!


GF Bread:

First, I made a brown rice flour blend.  You can find this blend on several websites online.  It yields nine cups.
-6 cups brown rice flour
-2 cups potato starch
-1 cup tapioca starch/flour
I used the recipe at the website listed above and used my flour blend (2.5 cups).  I didn’t have potato flour, so I made some by putting potato flakes in my blender.
As I ate the bread, I kept thinking that I was eating white bread made from wheat flour.  It was such a treat.  I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t going to have any problems like I would from eating a loaf of wheat bread.  The outer crust was crunchy hard and the inside was spongy soft.  You could fold and squeeze the bread and it would spring back to its shape and not crumble.
I will be making this recipe again.  Next time, I will add honey to add more flavor and sweetness, as I thought it needed it.  It did taste good with jam.  I had three thick slices back to back.
The website has a great video showing how to make the bread.  The chef uses a hand mixer, but I attacked it by hand with a whisk.
 Interestingly, GF bread dough resembles thick cake batter, so the whisk works fine.  Plus, you don’t have to kneed it on a floured surface.  After mixing, you spread it in a baking pan, let it rise, and then bake it.  There is no punching down, no huge mess.
I’m going to slice what’s left and freeze it, pulling out slices as I need them.  I’ll probably also make the raisin bread that’s listed on the site.
*After freezing and pulling out a slice to toast it, the bread was a bit crumbly.




These are Thirsties Duo Wraps, Duo Hemp Prefolds, and Fab Wipes.

Sewing a square pillow

Here is how to sew a square pillow:

Square Pillow1

Cut out your fabric.  I used a quilting ruler and some leftover fabric.  I cut two squares the largest size that I could.

Square Pillow2

Square Pillow3

Put the pieces right sides (outsides) together and sew around three sides, leaving one side not sewn.  You can sew 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch from the edge.

Turn the pillow right side out and press flat.

To be more advanced, before turning right side out, cut the points off the corners, and fold over the open edges so you can iron them flat.  Then, then turn right side out.

Square Pillow4

Stuff the pillow!  (Edges are not folded in and pressed in the above picture.)

Square Pillow5

Here, you can see that the edges have been folded inwards and pressed.

Square Pillow6

Pin the open sides together and sew as close to the edge as you can.

Square Pillow7


Square Pillow8

Recently, I knitted some baby mitts.  They’re also good as no-scratch mitts if you have cooler weather.  The green set will fit a newborn and still fit several months later.

Click here for the pattern.

For the blue set, I used a Weight 3 yarn (baby alpaca?) with US 6 double pointed needles (DPNs).  For the green set, which came out smaller, I used Sensations Sincerely in Grass Green (Weight 4) with US 6 DPNs.  I cast on 24 for the blue set and 16 for the green set.

I made changes when I did the green set, because I wanted to use a larger weight yarn (to make matching mitts for a Yoda hat).  I also wanted to make the mitts smaller.  See below for the adjustments I made to the pattern.

Pattern Changes for the Green Set (to make them smaller):

CO 16 (instead of 24)

R1 – work for 10 rounds (instead of 12)

R2 – end up with 20 stitches (instead of 30)

R4 – end up with 24 sts (instead of 36)

R5 – do 8 rounds (instead of 10)

R6 – no changes

Delete R6-8

R9-12 – no changes

Hand Mits1

Hand Mits2

Hand Mits3

Hand Mits4Here they are with the baby Yoda hat and sleep sack that I knitted.

Is your nursery pressed for space?  I made made large wet bags for cloth diapers and ones without PUL lining for baby clothes.  Both types can hang from the side of a changing table.  This way, you don’t need two separate hampers/trash bins.

Here’s how I made hanging hampers for baby clothes.  I recommend making two, so that you have one to use when the other is in the wash.  I tried to stay frugal by using fabric I had on hand.

Dirty Clothes Bag01

1.  Cut out two large rectangles for your hanging bag.  You’ll also need three long, narrow rectangles for your straps.

2.  Fold the straps right sides together and sew along one short end and along the long edge of each one.  This will leave one end open.  Turn right side out.

3.  With the large rectangles, put them right sides together and sew along one short end and both long sides.  Fold over the non-sewn edge and press, then turn right sides out and press the entire piece flat.

4.  Sew down the folded over edge of the opening.

Dirty Clothes Bag02


Dirty Clothes Bag03

For each strap, tuck in the open edges and top stitch around all four sides.  I sewed 1/4 inch from the edge.

Dirty Clothes Bag04

Place the straps against the outside of the bag, maybe an inch from the top edge.  Put one in the center and the other two a couple inches from the outer edges of the bag.

Dirty Clothes Bag05


Dirty Clothes Bag06

Sew the straps in place.  I sew a rectangle to get it tacked down very well.

Dirty Clothes Bag07


Dirty Clothes Bag08This picture shows how it will look later on.  I pinned it to the changing table to make sure it would fit well.


Dirty Clothes Bag09

Now, attach snaps to each strap, as well as one to the top of the bag (to keep it closed).  I highly recommend purchasing a snap kit.

Dirty Clothes Bag10


Dirty Clothes Bag11

Here is the finished bag!  The clothes bag and the wet bag can be kept next to each other on the changing table, which maximizes space!

Dirty Clothes Bag12


Dirty Clothes Bag13

Here are some pictures from the other bag I made.

Dirty Clothes Bag14


Dirty Clothes Bag15


Dirty Clothes Bag16

Knitted Baby Sleep Sack

Recently, I knitted a baby sleep sack to match the Yoda hat I’d made.  I love this pattern, because it unbuttons at the bottom for easier diaper changes.

This is the Snug in a Bug Sleep Sack pattern.  I used Sensations Sincerely in Grass Green (Weight 4) and US 8 circular needles.

Here is a personal pattern note:  When working on the buttoned bottom, it says to BO 36 sts and K the next 36 sts before turning your work.  In my personal notes, I wrote that I knit 35 and had 36 sts on the needles, because I had one left from binding off.

Yoda Hat12

Yoda Hat13

This is with a Star Wars wet bag that I made.

Yoda Hat04

This shows how the sleep sack looks with a regular knitted hat (non-Yoda).

Yoda Hat02

This shows how the sleep sack can be unbuttoned.

Yoda Hat01

I’m a teacher, and I keep the books in my classroom in labeled baskets.  I like having the books organized by categories, such as historical fiction, fantasy, life science, biographies, etc.  At home, I wanted to do something similar, but in a frugal way.

I used some leftover plastic bins and I printed some labels.  I sorted the books into categories, wrote those categories on labels with a Sharpie marker, and then covered the labels with packing tape to keep them from tearing or wearing out.

Organizing kid books1

Organizing kid books2

Organizing kid books3

Organizing kid books4

How to Knit a Baby Yoda Hat

I wanted to knit a baby Yoda hat, but I couldn’t find a pattern that was just right.  I found it best to knit a hat and then add the ears on.  This is based on the You Seek Yoda Hat by N. Lutz, but you don’t leave holes in the hat for the ears.  The beauty of doing a complete hat first is that you can always remove the ears when it’s not Halloween time.

I used Sensations Sincerely Yarn in Grass Green (Weight 4) with US 10 double pointed needles.  The hat is a baby size.  I know it’s too big for a newborn, but I don’t know what size baby it would fit after that.

Yoda Hat03

First, knit a baby hat.  Then, make the ears.  For the ears, you will be working in the round, but on double pointed needles (not circulars).

Yoda Hat Ears (Make 2):

CO 22

R1-4 knit

R5 K1, K2tog, K to last 3 st, SSK, K1 = 20

R6-7 knit

R8 repeat Row 5 = 18

R9-10 knit

R11 repeat Row 5 = 16

R12-13 knit

R14 repeat Row 5 = 14

R15-16 knit

R17 repeat Row 5 = 12

R18-19 knit

R20 repeat Row 5 = 10

R21-22 knit

R23 repeat Row 5 = 8

R24 knit

R25 repeat Row 5 = 6

R26 knit

R27 repeat Row 5 = 4

Cut yarn, pull through, and weave in ends.  You can stuff the ears with extra yarn if you like.  Then, sew them onto the hat.

Yoda Hat05

Yoda Hat06

Yoda Hat07

Yoda Hat08

Yoda Hat10

Yoda Hat11

Sausage and Green Beans

One of my favorite dinners right now is sausage cooked with green beans.  I’ll slice sausages lengthwise, add green beans and some water, and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes (or until the water is gone).  Yum!

sausage & green beans1

To make gluten free, lower glycemic cookies, I used gluten free flour and agave nectar (half of what the recipe says: if the recipe says 1 cup of sugar, use 1/2 cup of agave nectar; also reduce the amount of liquid you use).  I adapted a recipe from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur Cookbook.

I put the cookies in the freezer so I wouldn’t eat them all at once!

GF SF oatmeal cookies1 GF SF oatmeal cookies2