the trick to reviving “dead” bread (one of the best tips i got in 2014)

have you ever bought baguettes or french bread and couldn’t finish the whole loaf, then stored it in the paper bag it came in, only to find it  disappointingly stale and stiff the following day? guess what?!  i learned how to revive dead bread.  here’s the back story:

since this past spring we’ve been getting a constant stream of visitors, friends, and family staying at our place.  in may, a family stayed with us to attend their son’s graduation and help him move home.  while they were here they went to visit boudin bakery in sf.  they came back with more bread than what three families could possibly consume in one sitting.

some of the bread went into ziploc bags but some of the bread stayed in their paper bags.  i was sad to think that all this beautiful bread would end up in the trash in a day or two.  but the father prepared fresh bread for us every morning (they stayed with us for a week)!  i was baffled how we got warm crunchy-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside-bread every morning–even when the bread had been sitting in the paper bags for 4 days.

apart from fresh bread in the mornings for a week, the father was gracious enough to share with me his secret to reviving dead bread (this works for bagels too):

  1. *pass bread quickly under running water from the faucet two or three times.

    *very important! pass it QUICKLY under the water, don't just hold it under running water.

    *very important! pass it QUICKLY under the water, don’t just hold it under running water.

  2. vigorously shake the excess water off the bread. (also a key step, because too much water will make the bread soggy.)
  3. bake in oven (uncovered) at 350-400F for 4-7 minutes depending on size of loaf and your oven.
  4. ta-dah! your bread is now resurrected and is as good as new, just like when you bought it from the store…or maybe even better since you might not have purchased it right out of the oven.
  • this trick works best if the entire loaf of bread hasn’t been cut or has as little of the soft bready center exposed (but i’ve also tried it with a half loaf–just don’t get the inside wet).
  • this works for bread that either has a shiny or matte crust.

since learning this trick i have saved many loaves of bread (and money too!).  so this was one of the simplest and best tips i got in 2014.

hope you have a wonderful new year and spare many loaves of bread from being prematurely tossed into the trash in 2015!

revived bread

update, 21 march 2015:  this works for naan too! (and if it works for naan i think it might work for pita bread too!)  if you’ve tried this trick on other kinds of bread and revived it let me know!

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my favorite month & give-away winner

DSC_0189my favorite month of the year is probably september because it’s the start of fall.  when i used to live in new jersey i would always anticipate for that one morning, some time in september (after the new school year starts), where the warm late summer air suddenly turns crisp and has a frosty bite!  then i know autumn has arrived and it’s time to bring out all the cozy sweaters, scarves, hats, coats, and boots.  then the leaves would start showing their fiery colors, and shortly after that i get to start stomping on dry leaves that would crunch and crinkle under my shoes.

so without further ado, the random generator has selected eileen as the new owner to the canvas calendar!  thank you, everyone, for stopping by my blog…it’s always fun to have give-aways, because that means i have more room to do other crafts!  for those who didn’t win the calendar, you can try making your own!  there’s still eighteen days left in 2014.

2015 calander on canvas tutorial (& a give-away!)

the baby took a long morning nap after miss e went off to school, and now BOTH kids are taking a nap!  what are the odds of this happening again? maybe i should go buy a lottery ticket…or better yet i’ll have a give-away–just in time for the new year (details at the end)!

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i’m participating in a giftswap, so for the gift that i’m making my swapmate i needed to test how washable kids paint would handle on canvas surface.  the canvas handled the kid’s paint beautifully.  as i was covering the canvas with experiment strokes, colors, and washes the test run evolved into a do-able project (even for preschoolers).  it’s a fun, practical, handmade gift for the coming new year!

basic supplies:DSC_0048

  • 11 x 14 canvas (if you get a smaller canvas you’ll have to write smaller)
  • watercolor/acrylic paint
  • sharpie marker
  • water
  • brushes
  • paper plate (or some sort of flat surface to mix your paint)
  • 2015 calendar

1.  pick a few colors that you would like on your canvas (or one color would work too!)

2.  mix your paint with water to thin the paint out so it’s somewhat transparent.  you don’t want your paint to be too think or heavy.  when you write on the canvas you want your writing to show.

3. now apply the paint on your canvas however you like.  create a background for your calendar.

4.  have fun experimenting with different amounts of paint and water!  you don’t have to cover the entire canvas with paint either, some white showing through also makes it interesting.

6.  set the canvas aside to let the paint dry.

7.  after the paint has dried you can start writing the months and days on the canvas with the sharpie pen.  (you might want to practice writing a month or two on scrap paper so you get a feel for how big or small to write the dates.)

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this is the canvas calendar that i am giving away.  to participate in the give-away please leave a comment below and…(now CLOSED)

1.  in your comment please answer: what is your favorite month out of the year?

2.  and briefly explain why it’s your favorite month of the year.

3.  leave your comment before friday (12/12) 11:59pm and i’ll announce the winner (drawn randomly) saturday morning.

DSC_0050this is miss e’s rendition.  she said she doesn’t want the numbers.

here’s a sneak peek at what i’m making (or rather, what i messed up) for my swapmate (this is another variation on the canvas calendar.  i got the mini canvas and easel from blicks–and they’re having a canvas sale right now!).

do you see the mistake?

update, dec 29: she changed her mind…

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tuesday

it’s the first tuesday of december…yes, i’ve taken a long hiatus.  i haven’t had much my-own-hear-myself-think time for the past few months.  i used to despair about that.  i don’t anymore, i just take it when i get it.  i’ve learned that those times will eventually come around again.  maybe not as often as i’d like, but they’ll come.

yesterday, i finally had a window of my-very-own time–and i didn’t need to do laundry or the dishes, or answer emails, or wait for service people, or get groceries, or go to doctors’ appointments–i really just had a do-whatever-i-so-desire moment, so i opened up “tuesday snippets” for the first time in months and finished many of my half written snippets that had just sat in queue.

here i am, today, baby is napping on his own again…so i’m going to write a fresh entry, and i’m not going to leave it dangling.  i’m going to finish it before baby wakes. *fingers crossed*  i don’t think there’s going to be a driving point to this entry…i’m just commemorating the fact that i finally get to add a new entry.

baby is 7 weeks old so i think we’re heading into a more definite routine of wake, feed, and sleep.  he’s also sleeping longer stretches through the night so we’re also getting longer sleep through the night.  and i think–it’s not certain–but i think he gave me a little social smile yesterday afternoon after i nursed him.

spring break!

last week we were away for spring break–in the lovely land of o canada!  we were in montreal and quebec.  this was our first real getaway vacation since miss e was born.  most of our travels have been to visit family–which is vacation–but we haven’t been able to visit a place that has no family connections and just act like tourists…well, we visited massachusetts and maine last year, but that was still with family and because we were attending a cousin’s graduation…maybe that counts as being half tourists.

since miss e is 3.5 now, can eat whatever we eat, sleeps in a big kid’s bed, takes only one nap (and some days takes none), is becoming more reasonable and logical, loves flying, and still just as curious as ever.  so we realized maybe we can start taking trips abroad.  at this new prospect we immediately wanted to go exploring europe!  we had so much fun brainstorming all the places we can go…but when we started to really hash out a schedule, reality settle in and we realized we still have a 3.5 year-old that is only ~3 feet tall and still needs a nap.  three plane tickets to europe would not be worth it.

we came up with eastern canada because my family visited montreal and quebec when i was in high school.  i remember those two places feeling a little like europe (because they speak french and have signs in french).  and mdh has never been there so he was intrigued with my descriptions of montreal and quebec.  so eastern canada was a good compromise between our dream and reality.  and with a todd-schooler in tow, things would slow down considerably and schedules would have to stay quite flexible, so we looked into vacation homes instead of hotels.  this way we have the option of cooking and eating at “home” instead of having to eat out all the time, and we can play at “home” on days we have slow starts, early starts or no starts.  and since we were looking at vacation homes, there were a variety of room options for fairly decent prices, so we added another room and invited grandma and grandpa along.  at this point, it’s not about hitting scenic sites, it’s just about the more the merrier!  haha!

DSC_0370it’s interesting how our travel priorities have changed with a little one.  in the end we just tell ourselves it’s not about checking off the to-do/to-see list, but it’s about doing things together.  a frequented hot spot was playing a local park at least once a day!  (oh hey! we do that back at home!)

park in quebec, canadabut we did see some pretty sites too!  and visit museums and play in the snow (which we don’t get to do back at home).

DSC_0045DSC_0266and right before we took our trip we broke some happy news to our family…via snail mail.

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counting

a few days ago, we came across a page in miss e’s cutting and pasting craft book that required a bit of math.e.mat.ics.  i thought it was going to be an easy peasy breezey activity because she’s been counting for a while now.  so i figured she knew the math to it.

now i realize knowing how to count does NOT equal to knowing the concept of math.  knowing the name of numbers doesn’t mean they know that number can be applied to objects so that they can be counted.  i’m even having a hard time describing the concept of counting…it’s quite  a leap into the abstract world!

and at the time we were working on the activity page i noticed i was getting quite frustrated because my 3 year old couldn’t do the math!  yesterday, i came across this funny little clip by “bored shorts tv” and had a good laugh…(good grief, tiger mom, miss e is only 3!)

God who causes the growth

So then neither is he who plants anything nor he who waters, but God who causes the growth.  –1 Corinthians 3: 7

a student who came to our friday night home meeting this past year graduated in december.  before he moved back home he gave us a potted polka dot plant as a thank you gift.  he apologized that he couldn’t find a bigger plant to give us.  so jokingly we said that the plant could be a reflection of his spiritual growth as he begins his training at a bible school in so.cal (in a week!).  but the more i thought about it the more i realized that this little plant does fit the picture of our spiritual growth.

the polka dot plant when we first got it.

the tiny plant came in a tiny pot, so i re-potted it in a bigger pot and placed it by a sunny window.  i’m only watering it twice a week.  i don’t pay much attention to it when i water it, but when i compared the first re-potted picture with the one month photo you can see that the plant has grown nearly 2 inches!  along the same lines, we may feel that we’re not growing in our spiritual life.  we read our Bibles, we have morning revivals, we attend fellowship groups and prayer meetings but it just doesn’t look like we’re progressing much on a day-to-day basis.  fortunately, 1 Corinthians 3:7 tells us it is God who causes the growth, and not our feelings or constant fretting.

re-potted in a bigger pot.

almost 2″ taller after a month!

God promised us in Ephesians 4:13a that we would “all arrive at the oneness of the faith of the full knowledge of the Son of God, at a full grown man.”  becoming full grown isn’t reserved for just a few super believers, the verse said all.  God fully expects that His divine life in all of us to grow to full maturity, because He has no reservation of the quality and capability of His divine life in us.   His life is the life that had conquered death, so it certainly has the power to bring us to full maturity.

when i re-potted the polka dot plant, i was fully expecting it to stay alive and grow, and that’s why i had miss e paint a stick to use as a marker so we can track its growth (each section is an inch).  i wasn’t sure how much it was going to grow in the course of a month, and i know even less how much it will grown in the next two years–God is the One who causes the growth.  of course it doesn’t mean we just kick back and let God “cause the growth.”  we still need to cooperate in situations that brings the growth.  the plant cooperates through the leaves doing its chlorophyll thingy and the roots absorbing water and nutrients.  we also need to cooperate through our eating the Word and spending time with the Lord.  but no matter how i feel on a day-to-day basis, i can trust that He is faithful to cause us to mature in life.