Friday, December 11, 2009

Onion Bread

I brought this to knit night for the San Antonio Fiber Junkies and everyone seemed to like it. There wasn't much to bring back home, so it couldn't have been too bad. Monday I woke up to several requests for me to share the recipe. I have been saying for a long time that I would share this recipe on the blog, and so now I shall. :)


* Scant 1 cup margarine/butter
* 5-6 onions
* 4 tsp. salt
* 2 packages quick-rise yeast
* 8-9 cups flour
* 2 cups milk
* 1/3 cup honey
* 4 eggs


1. Chop up all but one onion (if you have 5 onions, chop only 4), into diced-sized pieces. I use my food processor for this step so I don't wind up crying (too much) and so I can get it done faster, and at a size I like.

2. Melt 3-4 Tbs. margarine/butter in a large skillet. Brown onions in the butter on med-low heat. I really like to have them caramelized and golden. This smell... is heaven. Honestly if you don't melt right there on your kitchen floor at this point, then you probably shouldn't make this bread. It is SO SO SO SO good.

3. While the onions are browning, mix together 3 cups flour, yeast, and salt.

4. Also while the onions are browning, place 2 cups milk, 1/3 cup honey, and around 1/2 cup butter on low heat in a sauce pan. You don't want it to boil or even simmer... just warm up until its around 130*. The butter may not melt all the way but when you see it start to separate and dissolve into the milk it should be right around the right temperature. The whole reason you don't want to heat it up too much is that you don' t want to kill the little yeasty particles in the flour mixture when you add it in, in a few minutes. So... no overheating. SAVE THE YEASTIES!

5. At that point, you will want to start slowly pouring it in and mixing with the flour mixture. Once it is well combined, mix in 3 eggs and 2 cups flour, stirring well between each addition. Stir. Add. Stir. Add. Stir. You get the point.

6. Stir in onions. Try not to drool in the batter.

7. As much as possible, stir in around 3-4 cups flour. Honestly, at this point, as my arm is about to fall off, I always want to look at whoever writes bread recipes and say "Really? How in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks do you expect me to get MORE flour into this thing?" So... I'm adding in a disclosure. Once you can no longer stir it in, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and work the rest of the flour in through kneading. I promise it works. I swear it. And if it doesn't, you can just leave it behind on your counter, and I won't tell a soul.

8. Now... Knead about 5-10 minutes, adding flour as needed to create a soft, elastic dough. More arms falling off. I know. But just try to think of putting all of your love for your family (or the hate you have for that evil shopper that stole your parking place at the mall last week) and get all that energy out. Whatever works.

8. Spray a bowl with non-stick spray and place dough in bowl. Turn dough so that the "grease" from the spray is on the top as well. Allow dough to rise 30-45 minutes in a warm place, or until doubled. (This means the yeasties are doing their work. It is perfectly fine to name them and praise them. I find they like this.)

9. Once dough is done rising, punch down dough. Oh come on... you know you love this part. Who doesn't like to punch baked goods? I mean really.

10. On a lightly floured surface, separate the dough into two pieces (I prefer the judo chop method), and then twist them together. It should look like a little doughy-candy-cane (without the pretty colors) when you're done.

(pre-candy-cane-look >>)

11. Spray dish/pan with non-stick spray, and preheat oven to 350* F.

12. Place dough in pan. A large bundt pan works best. I can't find mine since the move so I use this honkin' ceramic dish. If you're doing what I did, fold the twisted dough into a circular shape and place in baking dish. If you don't have a LARGE baking dish/pan, you will want to separate this out into two loaves and place them in smaller bundt cake pans or large bread pans. I know it doesn't look like a ton of dough at this point, but you have to trust me. This is like the bread that took over Manhattan. It grows. And it just keeps growing.

13. Bake bread for 45 min at 350*. At this point, your house will smell like absolute BLISS. There is NOTHING better than the smell of onions and bread cooking. Zomg.

14. While bread is baking, slice the last onion in thin, long slices. Saute' onions in about 2 Tbs. butter until caramelized and lightly browned. More onion crack goodness. *Swoon.*

15. After the 45 minutes of baking, remove bread from oven, and generously brush on 1 beaten egg. This acts as a glaze to help it have a pretty brown shine, and also acts as a glue for the onions...

16. Put the caramelized onions on top of the bread, and then put it back in to bake an additional 20 minutes or so. If you are baking it in one huge ceramic dish like me (instead of a bundt pan, cook it an additional 15-20 min). Nomnomnom!

17. Bread is done when it sounds "hollow" when you tap it, and the onions on top are well browned. It looks like something that belongs in a really expensive bakery, where they charge like $40 a slice. You can officially feel proud now.

The bread should separate easily from the pan - just carefully turn it upside down and jiggle just a bit (be sure to have a plate under it to catch the onions and sprinkle what few fell, back on top).

If you make this, prepare for everyone to ask you to make it often... and you can honestly tell them that you slaved on it all day. It is one of those labor of love recipes, but you can really taste it. YUM.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday Favorites

I'm borrowing an idea from my best friend, Rachel in listing some of my favorites from other blogs, and from the world around me. I love to hear what inspires everyone else, so I thought I'd put a little bit of that back out there today since I have felt so inspired lately.

* These Crochet Earrings posted about over at All Buttoned Up are one of my new favorite things. I am thinking about making some to add to my jewelry collection, and to make some matching necklaces and bracelets as well. I am in love with their delicacy!

* Homemade Serenity has some AMAZING crafts and activities for families this holiday. They aren't "cheesy" throw away things like most crafts you see themed around a holiday. These are really beautiful, store-quality items I would love to have displayed throughout my home. Go check it out if you get a chance!

* This incredible home-made Gift List over at Angry Chicken is inspiring me big time. I think I'm going to have to make up something like this to record what the girls received this year. I also truly truly love the "Mildly Interesting Secrets" books. I know a certain someone who would really appreciate this I think! I am absolutely in love with herAmy's unique style.

* This pom pom garland from Artsy-Crafty Babe is really bringing so much of the child in me out to come play this Christmas. I have no idea how many hundreds of pom poms it would take to make a garland but it looks SO fun, and absolutely worth it.

* The Artwork over at Artsyville. I can't pick just one piece to showcase, because it is all INCREDIBLE and so freeing and inspiring. It reminds me a lot of SARK's work, and for those of you who know how much I love SARK, you then know how much I love these pieces as well. Browse around the blog, and see if you can tear your eyes away from the left sidebar long enough to find other treasures. Definitely worth a look-see.

* This idea from Daily Danny of using old book pages to wrap things in, is really inspiring to me, in a decorating sense. I would of course say try to use a book that is already of no use (missing pages or partly damaged for example), but truly... isn't this beautiful? Though this example uses soap bars, I am hoping to make some hand-salve, and am thinking this would be a nice way to wrap it for the men in my life.

* This beeswax candle tutorial is wonderfully done. I think I will try to make some this year, using some of the soy wax I have on hand in some old jelly jars we have saved throughout the year. :)

* Getting away from the crafty side of things for a moment, I am really inspired by this picture from La Belle Avenue of cooking over a fire. One of my goals is to someday have a wood stove that I can actually cook with. I just love this photo.

* I have been really inspired by silhouettes lately too, so these ultra-creative silhouettes from Notes from a Cottage Industry really spoke to me. I am going to be scouring our flea market and thrift stores for interesting frames and see what I can do to create some fun scenes to hang on the walls.

* Finding myself inspired to be more creative in my journaling with this image from WeHeartIt. Very SARK like, I think. Of course, that means that a new journal, and a fresh set of Sharpie Pens are on my Christmas list this year!

* Color continues to inspire me, as seen in these stripey wrist-warmers by Posy Gets Cozy.

* This "Postcard" image from Soule Mama just makes my heart swoon. Anna loves to look at and talk to the moon. She always has. All of her postcard-type-images are just blowing me away. Do go check them out. Amazing.

* This natural pine-bough wreath and old floursack stocking from The Cottage Gals have me really inspired as well this Holiday season. We are trying to incorporate more nature into our celebrations this year. Soon we will go on a nature walk to find pretty items to include in our decor.

What is inspiring you these days?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

'Mater Soup

This is one of our favorite cold weather meals and the temperature has been just right for it. The days are cool and dreary, with a bit of a chilly drizzle in the wind. It just makes you want to stay inside and keep cozy!

To make this yummy Garlic Noodle Tomato Soup, here is a very simple recipe!

~2 cans condensed tomato soup
~2 cans worth of milk
~2 cups of your favorite noodles
~3 Tbs. minced garlic
~sprinkling of shredded cheese in each bowl


* Whisk together milk and soup in a large pot on the stove, over medium-low heat
* After ingredients are well blended, stir in minced garlic.
* Boil noodles separately, drain, and stir into soup mixture.
* Serve with a sprinkling of shredded cheese in each bowl, and a crusty roll to sop up leftover soup on the bottom of the bowl.


I hope you are staying cozy these warm winter days!

Monday, December 7, 2009

We Made Christmas

We have had a really late start this year putting all of our decorations up. I don't know why it has been such a challenge, but we decided last night that it was time, and so we did. I am so so glad! It was just the lift to our spirits that we needed.

Anna seemed to especially love the process of decorating the tree. She kept asking after each ornament, "Can we open presents now?"

Our knitting group, the San Antonio Fiber Junkies, met on Saturday. We had an ornament exchange, and I think that was a big part of what inspired me to get everything set up. This cute pair of knitted mittens was given to me by Rachel from SAFJ. She made a pair for everyone! Aren't they adorable?

This gorgeous beaded angel was made by Kate, our hostess for the SAFJ knit-night. She's so tiny and beautiful. I love it.

When it came time for the ornament exchange, we all put the ornaments we brought into a big bag and Kate brought it around and let us draw out of the bag. I think I was one of the lucky ones, in that I got a gift-bag filled with these GORGEOUS hand-crocheted, and beaded, snowflakes.

I have received beautiful handmade ornaments from other people on the Reclaiming The Home message board in years past, and they have made it once again, to our tree. Thought I would share them as well!

This little guy was the inspiration for the knitted gnome I made and showed you all a few posts ago. :) Isn't he adorable? Anna kept saying that he was part of the gnome's family and should not be on the tree. I told her he was a Christmas gnome and this was his special home, and she seemed to like that idea.

This next ornament was actually part of a trade, if I am remembering things right. We accidentally cracked it when we were packing them up as gifts last year, so hubby glued it and we kept it for our own tree. I just love it!

If you look close you can see some of my other favorite things. To the right is a beaded ornament my grandmother made for us. We have an entire collection of them on the tree. They are some of my favorite things.

On the bottom left, you'll see one of the bows from the tops of last year's presents. Simple as it is, it adds a nice shine to the tree, when its tucked into the branches, and its nice because it reminds us of the joyful act of giving this time of year.

This next one was a blank ornament from the same trade last year. Kevin used an opaque marker to write our names and the date for this year's special ornament!

On the top left you'll also see a silver pipe cleaner wrapped into a curly-Q. That is our kid-and-cat-safe version of tinsel. They're fun to put on the tree, and add a really special shimmer when the lights go on!

We did some other decorating around the house as well. Kevin put lights on all the windows downstairs and it gives such a beautiful, festive feel to the house. This is also a slightly better picture of the curtains and valences I made last year.

We also have a miniature wooden Christmas tree that keeps the kitchen and dining room festive as well. I love this thing. $5 at a garage sale. Can't beat that.

Finally... a picture of our tree, all decorated. Anna is of course putting on the finishing touches. :) We don't have a topper yet. We're going to make a star out of sticks we all collect on a nature walk next weekend.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bringing Sissy Back

I mentioned a while ago that we tragically lost our puppy, Sissy, to distemper a couple of weeks ago. We were all heartbroken, but I think it was especially hard on Anna, missing her special Sissy dog. They were glued to each other, always following one another around. Sissy slept with her, cuddled by her feet when Anna was still for more than 2 min, and was her playmate and her friend. It was very hard for her to lose that.

We wanted to do something for her that would help her to feel less alone and to let her know that Sissy is with her and loves her. We found this dog from Build a Bear.

We sat her down and told her that even though Sissy couldn't be with us, she sent all her love inside this new Sissy dog, and then handed it to her. This was her reaction...

Needless to say we were all in tears. She hugged "Sissy" like that for a long time, just holding her close.

She hasn't put her down since she got her yesterday, and is already having all sorts of adventures with her. They are glued at the hip and I have a feeling they will be for a long, long time.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Proof I can Knit

I realized that even though I've been knitting for 3+ years now, literally all of the projects in my projects pages on Ravelry are crocheted. So... without further adu... proof I can knit.

Isn't he cute? There are lavender and chamomile blossoms inside his belly that make him smell incredibly good. Supposedly they are great for helping littles sleep. This bitsy gnome will make his way into a shoebox gift for an infant who wouldn't otherwise have a Christmas gift.

I also have a question for you. I am wanting to knit something new at our San Antonio Fiber Junkies Knit Night tomorrow. Any ideas of what I should start knitting? Have you been creating anything new lately?

Thursday, December 3, 2009


We are now LEGAL! ;)

As of today, Reclaiming The Home is an official legal entity. Its a landmark day!

I know it may seem like a small thing, but in a lot of ways it feels like my baby is growing up. A lot of hours have gone into this behind the scenes, and it is wonderful to see my dream become something more.

Thanks for sharing in this milestone with me! :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kristin's Holiday Sweet Potatoes

These are my "famous" holiday sweet potatoes that have become a tradition in our house, since our very first Thanksgiving as a couple. We make them for any special "big-meal" occasion. I thought I'd share the recipe for any of you who would like to try them at your winter-holiday dinner this year (whether that is Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, etc).


* 4-6 Sweet potatoes, peeled
* About 1/2-1 cup margarine
* 1/3-1/2 cup brown sugar
* 2 bags mini marshmallows
* Salt & Pepper


* First, preheat oven to 350*
* Then cube the peeled sweet potatoes into one-inch or smaller cubes.

* Next, fill the bottom of a large casserole dish with one layer of sweet potato cubes.
* Dot cubes with margarine, generously. You should use at least 2 Tbs of margarine per layer. Sprinkle 2+ Tbs. of brown sugar over the potatoes and margarine, and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper as well (about 1/2 tsp each). Sprinkle a small handful of marshmallows (no more than 1/2 cup) over the bottom layer.
* Repeat layering until all the sweet potatoes are used up, and finish with a layer of marshmallows.

* Cover and cook at 350* for 1 hour, 20 minutes, removing from the oven every 20 minutes to stir and add more marshmallows. This step is vital to evenly cook the potatoes and to create the unique and delicious sauce that comes with this recipe.
* After it is done baking, and potatoes are easy to poke with a fork, give one final gentle stir and serve warm.

These sweet potatoes will win over even the pickiest eaters. Who knows? You might even find that it becomes one of your traditions as well.

Do you have any other holiday foods that are a tradition in your household?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thank You Alice!!

One of my dear friends, Alice, runs her own sheep farm in Virginia. She also spoils me beyond belief. I would say a good half of my spinning stash is in large thanks, to Alice (and her beautiful sheep)!

Yesterday, Kevin walked in the door with a huge box with my name on it, and wouldn't you know it - it was stuffed to the gills with amazing goodies!

First up, a bundle of Shetland roving that just looks so squishy and fun to spin! I can't wait to see what it will become on the spinning wheel!!

Next up, a virtual ton (ok about a lb and a half) of Superwash BFL roving. *SWOOOON*!!!

That's not all my friends... no no. Alice also dehaired cashmere by HAND and sent some to me to spin with. It is so incredibly soft that I just want to squish it to my face and never let go.

As if that wasn't enough, she included a bag absolutely full of silk hankies. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to spin these up. I will be spinning these on the spindle so that I can spin them lace-thin. I am so excited to make these into some gorgeous yarn.

She sent a huge bundle of really nice dyes and dye solution so that I can turn these gorgeous fibers into colorful creations of my own. Up to now I'd been mostly using Kool-Aid and frosting coloring. It will be a lot of fun to play with more professional dyes!!

Spoiled, right? I totally know. But she didn't stop there. She sent me 2 skeins of this GORGEOUS Mirasol Miski in a delicious lavender color. It is 100% baby lama and is softer than clouds, I swear.

And because CLEARLY that wasn't enough to make me feel like the luckiest lady alive, she sent me 4 skeins of Sublime Cashmere/Merino/Silk.

To say the least I am THRILLED and surprised and so excited to try out everything, and get to creating. To say that I am honored and blessed to call Alice my friend is an understatement. Random wooly packages aside, Alice is one of the sweetest and most genuine people I have ever met and consider myself lucky to know her.

Alice, I hope you know how much you're loved. Thank you for this very sweet gift, my friend!