Last night we celebrated finishing the “Little House in the Big Woods” for homeschooling by having a special dinner dedicated to recreating a night like Laura and her family might of shared. The plan was to have R make sweet potato fritters with fresh pineapple salsa from “The Meatless Gourmet” cookbook (with Daddy’s help) along with freshly baked bread (all from scratch and using only fresh ingredients just like back in the 1800’s), turn out all of the lights and use only candlelight (after the meal was prepared of course!) and R would play us songs on her violin (because music was such a big part of the Ingalls’ life), and share stories with us. All in all it was a perfect night!
We started the morning off by making “Judy’s Board of Directors’ Cinnamon-Raisin Bread” from the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”. This lovely book was given to me as a birthday gift last year by my dearest lifelong friend, Molly. It started with a yeast and buttermilk base and I changed up the recipe to make it a bit more hearty and healthy by using Hodgson Mill’s 5o/50 white and whole wheat flour (it is blended for you for better baking!) and it turned out delicious.
I have to admit I have this fear of deviating from the recipe and thought it would turn out brick hard, but it didn’t. I let R do most of the work (we did cheat by using my Kitchen Aid stand mixer) and I have to say she did a beautiful job. It was a lot of work though! Fortunately, another gift Molly gave me for my birthday the year before came in really handy, making it a breeze to roll out the dough to the 8X16″ rectangle and roll it all without sticking to this lovely handmade rolling mat!
It is made of a 17X23 1/2″ piece of unbleached cotton canvas, is hand-embroidered with “Pies by Colette” and three cherries and has a hand-embroidered red stitch running around the edges (edges were finished with the sewing machine) and she used a protractor and her sewing machine to make the center circles (8, 10, & 12″). Clean-up is a snap ~ simply brush it off and throw it into the washing machine on delicate and hang dry. It then rolls up and is tied with a ribbon for easy storage until the next time it is needed.
Can you tell how much I love this gift? She gave it to me along with the “Sweety Pies” cookbook. I just might have to make this for a few gifts this year!
I really enjoy giving a book along with my handmade gifts in part because I am a complete and total bookworm and I love to share my favorites with my friends and in part because I love putting together theme gifts. I mostly purchase gently used copies (when available) from Alibris.com or my local Library’s book sale room. I by no means attempt to pass them off as new…I simply prefer reusing items that have so much life left in them.