Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Flower (and Flour!) Power

It feels like spring around here...in the house, anyway. As far as I'm concerned, spring begins on March 1st, and I'm making the appropriate preparations. I've bought some new white enamel vases at IKEA that are perfect for spring tulips.

Other vases have been pressed into service. I read somewhere that you can take a small bouquet and split it into several different vases, making it appear that you have many more flowers than you actually have. This is just one small bouquet from the grocery store. I think I'm in love!

I spent a long time inside my local Jo Ann's last week, carefully choosing fabric that will help me change the seasons inside, too.

I chose this natural linen-like fabric, and a pretty pale blue striped one, for the living room couches. I'll cut and sew covers for the seat cushions, replacing the dark red plaids that I'm currently using. I've got enough fabric for some throw pillows, too!

I bought these cheerful colors for various bookshelves. I'll create a small fabric runner for them, lightening up all the dark wood and bringing a bit of spring cheer!

I love blue and red ticking. I splurged and bought two Martha Stewart ticking bags several years ago and I never get tired of looking at them! I bought this red ticking fabric to make fabric ties and pillows, and I think it contrasts nicely with the tan linen.

This happy fabric was only .50 at Goodwill! I'll use it as accent fabric and for other small projects.

I'm starting to pull out my spring dishes...a pale green set from IKEA, and some of my spring-themed Emma Bridgewater dishes, like these robin cereal bowls that Todd bought for my Valentine's Day.

I love that detail!

I treated myself to some new rubber stamps that make me think of the coming season - mason jar stamps, which remind me of the mason jar bouquets I have all summer long...

...and mums, which are technically a fall flower, but can be brought into spring with light colors. I love this design and am planning on stamping some wrapping paper next week!

All of this planning and organizing, plus my regular work, has left me a bit too busy for knitting lately. Valentine's Day planning kept me from it the first two weeks of February, and I'm confronted with knowledge that for the first time in two years, I don't really have anything "on the needles." I've finally selected a next project, but with garden planning scheduled for later this week, I'm not sure when I'll get to it!

One place that's received plenty of attention in the midst of my hustle and bustle is the kitchen. It seems like I've been cooking and baking daily! This week I've made miniature apple pies, jam stacks, homemade baguettes, and Martha Stewart's Christmas crinkle cookies...and that's just the baking! It seems like more and more, I walk down the grocery store aisles thinking, "No, I could make that. I could make that." It feels really good.

I had another kitchen victory recently when I discovered that I could make bagels at home that tasted just as good as those at the local coffee shop. I met some girlfriends at a bakery and had my heart set on a big, crunchy bagel. I was really disappointed to learn that this particular location didn't sell bagels...but I couldn't get them out of my mind. I looked up a recipe and went to work!

Whole Wheat Bagels
Adapted from This Chick Cooks

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup white flour
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt

Mix water, yeast, and honey together, and then add remaining ingredients. Mix for about 5 - 7 minutes. Cover, and let dough rise in a warm place for about an hour. Your dough should double in size.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees, and let a large pot of water come to a boil. Separate your dough into balls and poke a hole in the center with your finger, twirling it around until the bagel shape naturally forms.

Now, in order for your bagel to have that nice, chewy exterior, it needs to be boiled. I boiled mine for 2 minutes per side, flipping carefully with tongs halfway through.

Then, I baked them for about 15 minutes, until a nice golden brown.

They were delicious! And so easy! Toasted, with a bit of cream cheese...yum.

Of course, these are incredibly versatile...the sky's the limit when it comes to flavor combinations. I can't wait to make another batch...after I take this latest batch of rising dough and make more jam stacks, that is! :)



  1. Everything in this post makes me smile! What a great bunch of lovely :-)

  2. My son's gfriend just made homemade bagels :) yum.