In My Life, I've Loved Them All

Playing in the Kitchen: Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Look at me, I made a loaf of bread! After making the Macaroni Grill Bread, I decided I wanted to try again, with a difference recipe, and make more of an everyday bread. After scouring the Food Network and Martha Stewart websites (to no avail) I went to The Pioneer Woman. And found a recipe for that “special” kind of bread we never buy in the store unless it’s on sale.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

The verdict: This bread is pretty tasty, as long as it is heated in some fashion. Like toasted with butter. It is also FABULOUS made into French Toast. Seriously, you should make this bread for no other reason than to make it into French Toast. OhMyGoodnessGracious.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread Toast & French Toast

The Pioneer Woman has already done a fabulous job photographing the entire process. So I’ll just share what I learned during said process.

For one thing, the yeast doesn’t seem to make the milk/butter mixture foam like I thought it would. I was genuinely afraid I had killed the yeast and the dough wouldn’t rise, but I continued onward, and was much relieved when the dough doubled in size like it was supposed to.

Another, much more important thing, the dough is very sticky! The dough hook to our Kitchenaid Mixer has been misplaced, so I thought I’d just do the 10 minutes of kneading by hand. WHAT. A. MESS. I looked like a 3 year old playing in mud. Very fun, but less than graceful.

This tedious part of the process could have been avoided with one of these:

or

Now that I see how little a replacement hook costs, I feel silly for not getting one a long time ago. But you KNOW as soon as I order one, I’ll find the original in a cabinet somewhere. But that’s OK. At least it’ll mean I can make this bread again. And make that bread into French Toast. Fantastic!

Playing in the Kitchen: Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

This recipe, from my grandma, makes wonderfully soft sugar cookies. Not just “not crunchy” or “chewy” but seriously SOFT. And delicious.

What sets this recipe apart from your standard sugar cookie is the soured cream. No, not Sour Cream (save that for your enchiladas). These cookies call for Heavy Cream that has soured. Don’t worry, you do not have to wait until your cream is past it’s expiration date to make the cookies.

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies
Photo taken March 2011, and “aged” w/ Photobucket.
Maybe I have too much time on my hands.

To “sour” your cream, measure out 1 cup of cream into a small bowl, and add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar. Let it sit for a while (5-10 minutes minimum). It may get a little lumpy, you have been warmed. Add it ALL to the batter when the recipe calls for it.

Oh, and here is the recipe, from Mom’s side of the family:

Grandma Simmons’ Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

Mix

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla

Sift

  • 3 cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

Combine wet ingredients and dry ingredients.
Add 1 cup Soured Cream, blend thoroughly.

Scoop onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with sugar, Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. *You’ll know they are done when the edges just start to get golden brown.


This recipe gives you more of a thick batter than a traditional cookie dough. These aren’t the cookies that can be rolled out and cut into shapes. I used a mini-ice cream disher scoops to make the process of scooping the dough a MILLION times easier (and it gives you consistent sized cookies, too. It’s starting to get hot in Tx, so anything that can speed the process just a bit and get me out of the kitchen is much appreciated.

Also, I’ve been told by my cookie-testers that they taste better when you use sugar-sprinkles and not the Jimmy-sprinkles. I personally think the Jimmies are just fine.

One last tip: OVER-SPRINKLE. Put on more than you’d think is necessary. I tap down the scoop of cookie dough a bit so it looks more disk-like, and cover in sprinkles. These cookies spread as they cook, so if you only lightly sprinkle, they’ll turn out looking a bit silly.

These cookies would work out great for a Bake Sale or kids Birthday Party. The recipe makes 30+ cookies, so sharing with friends, fraternity brothers, or co-workers is probably a good idea too.

If you have any tried-and-true Sugar Cookie recipes, please share in the comments below! I’m always looking for something new to try!

Buy advance tickets on Fandango!


I can spell Bologna. Why?

It’s never a boring day with the Wienermobile rolls into town! It’s a shame I did not have a better camera with me.

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

SunandSki.com

Playing In The Kitchen: Romano’s Macaroni Grill Bread

If you can’t grow ANYTHING, you should try growing rosemary. This herb needs very little attention, and grows like a weed. And then you can bake this bread!

Ok, so the recipe I found in my Food Network Magazine called for dried rosemary, which I might have in my pantry (but if I do, it’s probably way too old to have any taste left).

Rosemary Bread like Macaroni Grill!

You see, my family doesn’t particularly like the taste of rosemary (on chicken, in soups, etc). This may be a big reason we have so much growing in the backyard (little plants turn into BIG plants when you don’t mess with them too much). When I saw the recipe, I thought it’d be a great way to actually use the free herbs in the backyard.

Before we proceed, I must point out that Food Network says to use DRIED rosemary, not fresh. The cooking standard is 1 teaspoon dried herbs = 1 Tablespoon fresh herbs. There are 3 teaspoons in a Tablespoon. SO, you’ll need about 6 TBL of fresh rosemary (I used 4 big sprigs, removed the stems, and chopped them up). Isn’t math fun??

Sprig of Rosemary

Almost Famous Rosemary Bread
Food Network Magazine, March 2011

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and serving
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt Freshly ground pepper
    (AND about a cup of Warm Water… the magazine failed to list this important ingredient)

Directions
Stir the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer). Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, the flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary, the fine salt and 3/4 cup warm water; stir with a wooden spoon (or with the dough hook if using a mixer) until a dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, dusting lightly with flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (Or knead with the dough hook on medium-high speed, adding a little flour if the dough sticks to the bowl, about 8 minutes.)

Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Add the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until more than doubled, about 2 hours.

Brush 2 baking sheets with olive oil. Generously flour a work surface; turn the dough out onto the flour and divide into 4 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, sprinkle some flour on the dough, then fold the top and bottom portions into the middle. Fold in the sides to make a free-form square. Use a spatula to turn the dough over, then tuck the corners under to form a ball. Place seam-side down on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, putting 2 balls on each baking sheet. Let stand, uncovered, until more than doubled, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the loaves 10 minutes; brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the kosher salt and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon rosemary. Continue baking until golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve with olive oil seasoned with pepper.

I can’t find the dough hook to my KitchenAid Stand Mixer, so I kneaded it all by hand. Relaxing, and my wrist needed the exercise.

Pre and Post ride, Rosemary Bread
Wee Little Loaf, before and after the 2nd Rise

If anyone has some good BREAD MAKING TIPs, please share in the comments below!





The CPSIA -or- Why I do not sell baby clothes on Etsy

I enjoy making baby Onesies very much. From a crafter perspective, they are very cute and are a small project that can be completed in an evening. From a business perspective, baby clothes are something that people will always spend money on. Stuff for babies and stuff for pets. Cute stuff, which is what I am good at. Tie Onesie by Cindy CHowever, I’m not expanding my ETSY shop to include Baby items (or items intended for Kids 12 and Under) any time soon. Namely because of the CPSIA.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) went into effect February 10, 2009.

This law bans all products designed for children ages 12 and under
which contain lead over specified limits. Items intended for children thus need to be tested for lead. The provisions are still under review on whether or not small shops or independent crafters, such as the ones on ETSY, should be included in such mandatory testing/tagging/paperwork. If an ETSY seller purchases materials that have already been tested, do they need to re-test?

Currently, the answer is still YES. And it is a good thing.

But it is more trouble than is worth my while at the moment. So for now, I’ll just continue to make Onesies for my friends, since it seems EVERYONE is having a baby these days (oh dear).

Custom baby clothes by Cindy



There is a lot of chatter on ETSY on how the CPSIA affects shops, and what consumers should be aware of. Below is some detailed answers to common questions, along with some reference sites. I hope this help others considering selling child’s products.

Question: I would like to make and sell baby onesies with iron on transfers of some of my designs and iron on appliques. However, I have absolutely no clue about all of the CPSIA rules, etc. Therefore, I am looking for a simple explanation about what I would have to do if I moved forward with selling my children’s products.

For the baby bodysuit (you can only use the term onesies® when selling if you have direct premission from Gerber to use their reistered trademark) you will need paperwork attesting to the fact the the non-exempt components have a lead level of below 300PPM. For the iron on transfers you will need paperwork attesting to the fact that there is less than 90PPM of lead in that embellishment since the government lumps transfers in the same testing catagory as paint . For now the testing paperwork can come direct from the supply’s manufacturer as long as it has all the information in the correct format as per the component testing criteria. If the supplier is unable or unwilling to supply the testing information or it is not in the correct format then you will need to send sample of each supply by batch and lot # to be tested by a 3rd party lab, at your own expense.

Next you need to create a file on each item or batch of products you produce. A batch is a collection of products that is made with all the same raw supplies that have the same batch or lot #, even if the finished products look a little different from each other. In the file you should, at the very least, include a copy of each test certificate or GCC that shows the compliancy of each non-exempt raw supply, the date the item was made, and a description of the item.

The above file should tie back to the tracking label on the finished product. CPSIA label are different they are for the purpose of tracking children’s products back to the maker of the item.

CPSIA tracking labels are required on all items considered primarily for children 13 & under made after Aug 13th 2009. This is so if there is ever a report made to the government about a product that it can be tracked back to the person that made it.
For a crafter the CPSIA tracking label must include at minimum :

  • Your company’s or shop name, or RN# (not required to repeat if able to find it elsewhere permanently on the product like on a FTC care and content label)
  • The city, state/territory, & country where the item was completed
  • If different from where made an address or website so a consumer can contact the manufacturer / designer (do not include a phone number unless you want anyone that sees your label to call you)
  • At least the season with year of manufacture or date of completion of the product
  • If you make repeats of the designs then you may also need a batch number, but only if the pieces are mostly identical looking and made of the same looking raw materials as each other.

    Interpeted from http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/sect103policy.pdf

Since your dealing with a product that is also covered by the FTC for labeling requirements you may need to change out the exsisting care and content label if your embellishments change any part of the one included by the clothings manufacturer. FTC care and content labels have required on most fiber or fabric based products since the 1970s, regardless of what age the product is intended for use by. The labels need to be on a whole host of products not just clothing, there is a list The FTC label needs at the very least:
– Your company, shop name, or RN#
– Fiber content by %
– Fiber country of origin
– Washing and care instructions

Other info may be required depending on the exact fabrics use like registered trademark info for fabrics that are followed by a ® or the international symbols for care instructions.

Interpreted from http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/textile/bus21.shtm#covered & http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/textile/bus50.shtm#Complying

Question: I am looking for shops on Etsy to buy handmade products from. Some of these include baby clothing. How do I ensure the shops are CPSIA? Can vendors get proof of being compliant?

Under the CPSIA, to avoid confusion for the general populous thinking something is CPSIA approved, anyone that sells direct to the public to can not advertise that they are CPSIA compliant.

As a retailer you will need a GCC for each product and production run of a product as proof of CPSIA compliance for all of the children’s product’s that were made after Feb 10th 2009 that you choose to carry for sale regardless of if the product are coming from a mirco crafting business, a wholesale distributorship, or directly from a multi-national manufacturer.

So in the this case you will have to contact any seller here that has products that match what your looking for and first ask if they are able to provide a General Certificate of Conformity (GCC) to the government specifications and have tracking labels and when needed any warning labels for their products. Some of the sellers may tell you they don’t not need to provide a GCC or other proof of testing because they are using all lead testing exempt raw materials in the product they are making. In this case they are wrong, you as a retailer still need a GCC in hand to attest to the exempt status from testing of any product you carry for resale.

A GCC needs to include:
– What the item is exactly (by description, SKU or model #) and when needed what batch or lot numbers that this particular GCC covers
– The regulation name(s) or #(s) that the finish product must conform to (ex. lead testing, small parts, strangulation hazard, hazardous substances in surface coatings, etc.)
– You company’s name and address with which person to contact that maintains the product files (basically the sellers business info)
– What non-exempt parts where tested or citing the exempt status of any conponent not tested
– What test method was used by CPSC code # or official name
– When the test(s) was (were) preformed
– Where the test(s) was (were) preformed and a record of the test mantained

+ Not needed but good to include: Information that ties the GCC directly to the tracking label

Some good reading before selling children’s products:
SAMPLE GENERAL CERTIFICATION OF CONFORMITY
http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/faq/elecertfaq.pdf

Guidance on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) for Small Businesses, Resellers, Crafters and Charities
http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/smbus/cpsiasbguide.html

Handbook for Resale Stores and Product Resellers
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/thrift/thrguid.pdf

*Information gathered via ETSY community forums and CPSC.Gov website

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