Category Archives: Thrift

Country White Bread


This is the easiest and most dependable yeast bread I’ve ever made. The recipe came from a Country Living magazine almost 25 years ago. Lately I’ve baked some every few days.

COUNTRY WHITE BREAD

1 pkg. yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1 T. sugar

Dissolve yeast in sugar and water to prove.

Add:
1/1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. sugar
5 1/2 c. flour
1 c. water
3 T. oil

Mix together and knead for about 8 minutes.

Oil large mixing bowl, place dough in bowl and turn once.
Cover with a clean tea towel and put in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

Place risen dough on floured board, punch down, work out the air pockets.
Shape into loaves, and place into greased pans.
Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 350 until done; depending on your oven this could be from 35 minutes to 1 hour.

Notes
*When I want a wheat loaf, I dissolve the tailings from a bag of Raisin Bran cereal in a little warm water or milk, then add it to the mixture. Years ago, I bought regular bran and wheat germ, but when I added them to the recipe my husband said it gave it an unpleasant texture. For some reason, the fine stuff at the bottom of the cereal bag works well, which is especially nice because I don’t want it floating in my cereal bowl and it seems like a waste to just compost it.

*Contrary to what I used to think, it is possible to over-oil the bowl.

*For taller loaves, I use two different sizes of pans – one large and one medium. When I use both large pans, the loaves are smaller.

*For a nicer crust, I butter the top about midway through the baking.

*I have discovered the Best Place for the dough to rise. Well, at least in the winter. Under our Vermont Castings wood stove. I couldn’t believe it. It rose twice as fast but wasn’t too hot. Perfect.

*Sometimes I just don’t get a good rising. Maybe it’s a humid day. I don’t know. But when that happens, it can be used for croûtons. This was my husbands idea and it was a really good one. The big puffy loaves don’t make nice croûtons but a dense loaf is just right.

*My hands just aren’t what they used to be and I can’t knead the dough, so I use my heavy duty mixer. It’s a Kenwood (an English product), not a Kitchen Aid, but it works every bit as good and cost a fraction. I bought it about 1994 and didn’t want a Whirlpool product, because at that time they were contributing to Planned Parenthood (but not anymore, as I understand it). Here‘s a more current list.

This post is linked to:
Food on Fridays @ Ann Kroeker.
Frugal Fridays@Life as Mom

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Baking, Food, Hints, Home, Recipes, Thrift, Thrift

New Curtains

This morning I’ve renewed my efforts to do something different for our kitchen windows. For several years the kitchen theme has been a red/white/green cheerful, kind of a 40’s look. Red rick-rack and all that.

But then, as women do, I started thinking about something different. Although not something so different that would require wall painting, etc. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – the kitchen could certainly do with a new coat of paint, but I just can’t face packing up everything and all the rest of it that goes with a painting project.

So, I’m going to be contented (for now) with new curtains, potholders, and a few other things.

Our dining table was the one that my parents bought in 1965 from a discount furniture place in Tulsa. Can you imagine yourself 46 years from now still using a table from a discount place?

I guess they don’t even make discount furniture like they used to.

Anyway, the table (which you may have seen in some of my photos under some of my projects) has a brown, woodgrain formica top with a house and trees painted in 2 opposite corners. The accent paint color is kind of an aqua.

Then our son’s girlfriend gave me a cat and fish wind chime for Christmas, which is Very nice and she really shouldn’t have spent that much money. But it is nice and I really like it. The colors are the same as in the table. So the blue/green/aqua colors of the mid-60s are what I’m going with for the new look.

To fit in with my “Using What You Have” thoughts for this year, the curtain fabric is some that my sister gave me.

Now, Don’t have a cow: it’s fleece.

I know, I know. Fleece just isn’t curtain fabric. But it is in my house.

Our kitchen windows are on the south with no shade, which is nice in January, but not in Texas in August. And the window shades just weren’t very effective, besides which, they’re shot.

My sister pointed out that fleece is too bulky to make the rod pocket, and I don’t want to do tabs, because that would let light in around the tops and I’d have to buy new curtain rods (or come up with something else), so….

I’m hand printing/stenciling cats and coffee cups in green and turquoise on a piece of old sheeting to add to the tops for rod pockets. One thing I’ve learned with using acrylic paint for fabric painting: it helps to thin it a little bit with water, but not too much. I had too much water in the mix and then had to add more paint. But with it thinned a little it helps it to look more like fabric dye than gloppy paint. I tend to buy only basic colors, so I had green, but not the turquoise. For it, I mixed the green with some dark blue, then a little white to lighten it. Amazingly enough (thank you, Lord!), it is exactly the color of the fleece.

Yesterday I tried sewing a patchwork top on, but it just didn’t look right.

We’ll see how the hand printed fabric turns out.

So far, so good.

Leave a comment

Filed under Crafts - Cheap, Free, Home, Kitchens, Making Do, Thrift, Thrift, Using What You Have

Household Greenery, Using What You Have

For years I’ve seen the hint in magazines and books about growing herbs and things on the kitchen windowsill, but they usually instruct one to purchase all kinds of things, like an already growing plant (have you seen the price of the potted herbs at the grocery store?). And all the special starting pots and fertilizer, etc. Not my way of doing things, so for years I didn’t even try it.

Houseplants don’t fare well in my care, so I quit buying them years ago. However, I still like them and decided to try and see what I could do with … well, with nothing fancy.

So I got to thinking about what I could do with what I already had; for instance that sack of old seed packets in the closet. (Even when I buy good quality seeds, my good intentions don’t always get me very far – like into the garden plot. But I’m too cheap to throw them away, because one never knows. Maybe they’ll grow even if they’re old. Well, they did!)

Obviously nothing was purchased for this little experiment. An empty tuna can, green beans can, a few old book pages, and some white glue. And thankfully, some leftover, good quality potting soil. Oh, yes, and lettuce seeds that were at least 5 years old.

While I honestly don’t recommend searching for outdated seeds, why not use them if they’re just sitting around?

Very pleased I was with the results!

Except that the can with the plant in it looked a little naked so I covered it with book page paper also.

Be sure to hammer a few nail holes into the taller can so it can drain.

What I learned from this step was to not cover the whole can down to the bottom with the paper. This puts it into the water line and it wicks up and stains the paper.

Voila! Edible houseplants! For free!

Update: For outdoor ideas of a similar nature, go to this post on Make Mine Beautiful. Polly is a professional and shares tons of ideas.

This post is linked to:

Food on Fridays @ annkroeker

Frugal Friday@ Life as Mom

7 Comments

Filed under Book Page Projects, Free, Gardening, Home, Making Do, Thrift, Thrift, Using What You Have

Vintage Kitchen Altered Book Ephemera, Part II

(Click on images to enlarge, then click again on the magnifying glass.)

Leave a comment

Filed under 1943, Advertisements, Ephemera, Food, Hints, Making Do, Menus, Recipes, Thrift, Thrift, Vintage Advertisements, Vintage Magazines, World War II

Vintage Kitchen Altered Book Ephemera

These pictures are from the October 1, 1943 issue of The Family Circle magazine. Some magazines haven’t changed all that much over the years. Family Circle has changed a lot. In ’43, it contained only 20 pages, included current events and a movie review, a short story and was printed in black and white on paper which was not slick. The cost is not printed on the cover, but I’m guessing that it was about .05. (Click on the image for an enlarged view, then click again on the magnifying glass. It will then be readable.)


The Sweetheart Toilet Soap ad is particularly nice for me, because that’s the brand of soap my mother bought for our bathroom (besides the Lava that was for my dad. Boy, I only used that soap once!). Sweetheart was pink and pretty and had a lovely fragrance.


I’ll be scanning in lots of vintage ads, recipes and illustrations and will share some of them here. I’m working on an altered book. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in an altered book round robin, and my sister (Fran) suggested we invite Abby and Cathy to join us in one with the theme of “Vintage Kitchens”. We will each choose a more specific theme for our own books then write a few rules for the others to follow when they work on ours.

Fran has chosen the 1950s, with emphasis on the colors of turquoise and pink.

For mine, I’ve chosen a 1940’s look with red and white, and accents of green and yellow.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1940s, 1943, Advertisements, Altered Books, Cooking, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Food, Making Do, Recipes, Thrift, Vintage Magazines, World War II

Made in the U.S.A. – Dusting Powder Update

Update on the dusting powder:

While we were out this weekend, I looked again at Walgreen for dusting powder. They have Jean Nate and a few designer perfume boxes – all more than I wanted to pay. The clerk and I commiserated with each other about the dearth of the selection.

Good old Wal-Mart.

Spring Fresh Dusting Powder, Lavender scented

$1.68 and that includes a puff.

And made in the U.S.A.

2 Comments

Filed under Femininity, Made in the U.S.A., Thrift

Sweet Talcum Powder

One of my favorite passages from Harper Lee’s book “To Kill a Mockingbird” is:


“Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.”

Many ways of life have changed since I was a girl, and true to my aging, I don’t think hardly any of them are for the better. And being from the south, one of the things I miss on a daily basis is floral scented talcum powder. When I was a girl, a lovely scented powder could be bought at the dime store.


Powder was available in a variety of fragrances, even at Dime stores. Brands such as Cashmere Bouquet and Evening in Paris were sold for very little money, therefore ladies in any income bracket could afford it.

If you had an Avon Lady, she would bring it to your door. It came in boxes,

Or tins.

One of my favorites as a girl was Here’s My Heart.

If you needed a new powder box and puff, that was available, too.  There was a wide variety, everything from less than a dollar, to something very nice from a department store.

I miss powder.  Yes, I know.  I’ve read the stories about how it can cause ovarian cancer. Flirting with danger is never advisable, but it mystifies me how people can excuse driving after drinking – immediate death – and cringe and swoon over bath powder. Sifted cornstarch can make a passable substitute if one wants to avoid the danger.

We live out in a rural area. Wal-Mart just does not carry enough to choose from. They have Shower to Shower, generic Shower to Shower, baby powder and some in plastic containers with a thin puff. The drug stores don’t offer anything better. The discount perfume stores at the mall in the city carry some nice ones for about $12.00, but I just don’t want to spend $12.00 a month on powder.


The absolutely loveliest I’ve ever had was Pretty by Elizabeth Arden. My husband’s employer gave out Red Door gift cards for the spouses that was one of the things I bought. Apparently, Pretty is now running over $35.00, so I’ll just have to wait and hope for another gift card.

Well, here’s what I do: I buy the cheap baby powder from either Wal-Mart or the dollar store, pry off the plastic lid and add essential oil to it. The ones that I usually use are lavender, carnation, and jasmine – about 4 drops each. (Peppermint would be a fun one to use at Christmas time.) I let it sit for a couple of weeks, shaking it up every now and then. And then I pour it into my powder box.

It doesn’t fool me into thinking that I’m using Oscar de la Renta or Pretty, but it’s nicer and more feminine than Shower to Shower. And it costs a whole lot less than $37.50.

Now, if I just knew a good source for a nice fluffy puff….

This post linked to Frugal Friday @ Life as Mom where there are lots and lots of links to frugal postings.

*Update, November 16, 2011: The last time I added essential oils to a basic powder it took a little more than I remember. This is something that needs to be adjusted by each person to suit their own preferences as to more or less fragrance.

Also, Dollar Tree sells a lavender scented body powder made in the U.S.A. Considering that it sells for merely $1.00, it’s surprisingly quite nice.

6 Comments

Filed under Books, Femininity, Fiction, Making Do, Shopping, Thrift, Using What You Have