Wednesday, February 29, 2012

CRAZY for Books!

The Precious Little Things In Life offers a very helpful tutorial on covering your books!
And how could you resist these colorful covers? Like Candy! Homespun Threads gives her tutorial for covering old books.
This is definitely on my list of things to try -- Confessions of a Plate Addict turned this group of books in to a stunning piece of artwork.
And then how about things to do with just the PAGES of books?  Like this great idea of stitching on the pages from All Things Paper?

MIss.Stephanie give us more ideas for using books -- love this table idea.
I have to say this is  my favorite -- book chandeliers!  These are part of a photo shoot at Ruffled Blog but I'm thinking we can figure out how to make these.

Finally, I changed up my ladder again after taking down the Valentine's decorations and this is what I came up with.
I chose some of my favorite vintage books and hung them on the wires of the ladder and added some of my new vintage hankies I picked up. 
I love that you can see these books and their covers and I think I'll be changing them out from time to time to feature new ones from my collection.
Don't you just love the title of THIS one? I haven't read it all but it's definitely a fun 'read'!
I love collecting old school books and dictionaries -- this is one of my favorites.

Books are such a versatile, inexpensive way to decorate -- have you been inspired to use them?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Vintage Book Stacks

I love decorating with books! Here are some new book stacks I made by removing the covers and applying some vintage hardware to the bindings.
I used Gorilla Glue to attach them and held them in place with rubber bands while they dried.

 I printed out this old book cover page and French script page and adhered them to the top then added some special photos of my family.  
 This is my Grandpa Barath -- a very godly man who raised 11 children on his own after my grandma died at the age of 42.
 This is my mom (far right) and some of her sisters. Not quite sure what was going on here but it's a funny picture!
 A small mirror on one and some vintage jewelry, twine . . . whatever you have around make these a fun, simple project!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Treasure Trove

On a recent weekend getaway I wandered into an antique shop and found some great treasures including this big jar of buttons and old jewelry for 10.00.
 It was fun dividing it all up into "Pearls" (there are actually several intact pearl necklaces in here as well!)
Not to mention the hundreds of great buttons!

I also got several pretty, vintage hankies that will be going on my ladder for Easter as well as another lovely pair of vintage gloves.

 I'm a sucker for vintage jewelry and I couldn't pass up this metal, enamel pin.  I weep to think how many of these I threw away as a teenager because they were no longer "in fashion"!
 Finally, I snagged these mini wreaths for 1.00 each! The beads are all glass and they have that pretty, iridescent coating on them.  

 All in all, a very successful day!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Eggless Marble Banana Cake

When I came across this recipe at Treat & Trick it went right onto my Pinterest recipe board.  So today when I had a craving for something sweet, I whipped this up in just a few minutes.
Using simple ingredients you most likely already have, just mix up the batter, add cocoa to part of it and put it in your pan. (No, you're eyes aren't bad . . . it's a fuzzy picture . . . sorry!)
 Then swirl with a knife to get the marbled effect.
Then bake and enjoy!  Be sure to stop over and check out Trick & Treat . . . she has a fantastic blog just full of delicious and healthy recipes (Yes, those two words DO go together!).

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Time-Saving Homemade Mixes

I love serving homemade biscuits and muffins with my meals but working more hours than I have in years has forced me to find an easier way to incorporate them into meals during the week.  The answer:  Homemade Mixes.  I found this Basic Muffin Mix and 'tweaked' it a bit since we are on a strict low-fat, low-sodium diet. 

Below you'll find the entire recipe as well as lots of different 'variations' to make lovely things like Blueberry Lemon Sour Cream, Banana Nut and Cranberry Orange Muffins . . . all from this one mix!  This was my 'variation' . . . Strawberry Walnut -- I added 1 c diced, fresh strawberries and 1/2 c coarsely chopped walnuts to the batter.

Finding a low-fat biscuit mix recipe was a REAL challenge as nearly all that I found incorporated shortening in the mix but persistence paid off and I found this one that uses just 3 T of butter (although I swapped that out for fat free, plain yogurt). 
For a different 'twist', you can add dried herbs, Cheddar cheese, garlic and more depending on what you'll be serving these with.  They're also great for breakfast spread with some honey and jam!  I put the mixes in a gallon zip-lock bag and write the directions right on the bag so when I'm ready to bake them up, it's all right there.
Got any time-saving tips for cooking you'd like to share with us?

Fat-Free Biscuit Mix
4 c white flour
4 c wheat flour
½ c wheat germ
2 T baking powder
1 T Salt ( I use ½ and ½ salt)
1 t baking soda
2 t Cream of tartar
Mix all ingredients well and store in cool, dry place for up to 3 months.

To make one dozen biscuits:

Combine 2 cups of mix with ½ c fat free mayo or ½ c fat free, plain yogurt*, and ½ - ¾ c sour milk**.  Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.  Pat out ½” thick on lightly floured surface and cut into 2” biscuits.  Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

* You can cut in 3 T butter instead of the mayo or yogurt but I use the others to cut more fat.
**To make sour milk, add 1 t lemon juice to ½ c milk and let sit for 10 minutes.

Low Fat Muffin Mix
9 cups flour
2 ½ cups sugar (or equivalent substitute)
1 1/8 cups non fat dry milk
3 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
Stir together well, breaking up lumps. Store in a large airtight container labeled with the date and contents. Store in a cool, dry place. Shelf life: 6 to 8 months. 

To make 12 regular sized muffins: Preheat oven to 400° F. Coat muffin tins with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, beat: 2  eggs, 1/2 tsp. vanilla,1 cup water ,1/2 cup fat free, plain yogurt. Stir in 2 1/4 cups muffin mix just until moistened. The batter should be lumpy. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown. Muffins freeze well. To reheat frozen muffins, microwave on high for 30 seconds per muffin. 

These two toppings would go well with almost any of the muffins. Sprinkle mixture atop uncooked muffins before popping them into preheated oven:
STREUSEL TOPPING for 12 muffins: Mix together: 1/2 cup sugar ½ tsp. Cinnamon, 1/3 cup flour cut in ¼ cup cold butter or margarine until mixture is crumbly. 

CRUNCHY TOPPING for 12 muffins: Mix together: ½ cup rolled oats ½ cup flour, ¼ cup brown sugar,  1 tsp. ground cinnamon and  cut in 1/4 cup softened butter or margarine with fork or pastry cutter until crumbly.

TYPE OF MUFFIN: Ingredients to add to mix before baking: 

APPLE MUFFINS: 1 1/2 cups raw grated apples 1/2 tsp. gr. cloves 1/2 cup nuts or raisins.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture before baking 

APPLESAUCE MUFFINS: ½ cup applesauce -- yogurt 

APRICOT MUFFINS: 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots 

BANANA MUFFINS: 1 mashed banana,  ½ cup walnuts (optional) 

BLUEBERRY MUFFINS: 1 cup fresh or frozen rinsed blueberries 

BUTTERSCOTCH MUFFINS: 1 c butterscotch chips ½ cup chopped nuts 

CARROT MUFFINS: 1 cup grated carrots ½ cup raisins  3/4 tsp. allspice 

CHOCOLATE CHIP FUDGE MUFFINS: 3/4 cups cocoa 1/4 cup sugar  1 cup  mini chocolate chips 

CRANBERRY ORANGE MUFFINS: 1 cup  chopped fresh or frozen cranberries ½ cup nuts ¼  cup orange juice 1 Tb. orange peel 

INCREDIBLE CREAM CHEESE MUFFINS: combine: 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese ¼ cup sugar 1 egg Drop this mix by Tb. onto top of muffins before baking

KISSES AND HUGS MUFFINS: ¾ cups cocoa 1/4 cup sugar
After filling muffin tins 3/4 full, drop one Hershey's kiss into the center of each muffin, pushing down slightly until kiss is covered. Ice cooled muffins with confectioners sugar and water glaze. 

LEMON MUFFINS: omit 1/2 cup water and replace with 1/2 cup lemon juice  1/4 cup chopped nuts 

LEMON POPPY SEED MUFFINS: 1 package (3.4 oz each) instant lemon pudding mix 1 Tb. poppy seeds  - omit 1/2 cup water and replace with 1/2 cup lemon juice 

OATMEAL MUFFINS: reduce muffin mix to 2 cups and add: 1/2 cup oats  1 cups raisins or grated apples 

ORANGE MUFFINS: 1 cup sour cream ½  cup nuts or coconut (opt) 1 can (11 oz. each) mandarin oranges, drained. 

PEANUTTY MUFFINS: 1 cup peanut butter chips 1/4 cup chopped peanuts 

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA MUFFINS: ½ cup peanut butter 1/4 cup chopped peanuts 2  mashed bananas 

PUMPKIN MUFFINS: 1 cups or ½ can solid pack pumpkin  2 t pumpkin pie spice 1/4 cup each chopped nuts and raisins 

RASPBERRY MUFFINS: 1 cups fresh or frozen whole, unsweetened raspberries

ZUCCHINI MUFFINS: 1 cups grated zucchini 1 Tb. cinnamon 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)