recipe: braided easter bread

Traditionally, Easter bread is a sweetened loaf that has been served for many centuries. This one in particular is modified from a traditional Italian loaf. After combining a few recipes that I found online, I made this loaf twice and settled on the one where I had the best results. I altered the steps, added and took away some ingredients, and didn’t add dyed eggs to it. It is a soft and sweet loaf that can really be served anytime during the year! It is paired best with light or sweet toppings (such as butter or jam).

Braided Easter Bread

Ingredients:

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup butter, plus more to grease
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
6 cups all-purpose flour

Steps:

1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, yeast, and warm milk. Mix and cover with a damp tea towel for 15 minutes. Mixture should be bubbly.

2. Add warm butter, salt, vinegar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat over medium for 1 minute. Add flour 1 cup at a time. Use approximately 6 cups or until dough is slightly firm and no longer sticky to the touch. Move to a floured surface and knead by hand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and let rise for 1 hour.

3. Punch down the dough. Separate into three and let stand on a floured surface. Roll out each one into a rope 1” thick. Put each rope side by side, and pinch the top ends together. Gently braid, then form into a ring.

4. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a cookie sheet or 8” cake pan and gently place the ring on top. Butter the ring, then cover with a tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

5. Place ring in oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and brush with more butter. Let cool slightly before serving. Can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days, or frozen up to 3 months.

Emory

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zero waste (mama + daughter outfits)

Hellllooooo spring!!

During the long winter months, I took up sewing items by hand. I have never been good with a sewing machine, and while I hope to be one day, right now I find that I just don’t have the space or time to learn.

What I do instead is while Wilder is having a nap and Remy is having quiet time, I cut out patterns for clothing and I sew them. It takes me weeks to do it by hand, but being able to rest on the couch and watch Netflix for an hour or two while I stitch the fabric together is such a nice break in my otherwise long day.

The clothes are always something that we need. From dresses to shirts to shorts, we always end up wearing it all. I simply purchase a vintage sheet from a thrift store for usually $6 and under and from it, I get a few separate pieces of clothing. It’s sustainable living at its finest.

(You can see Remy’s black dress and my tan dress here, both of which I also made.) Have a lovely week!

Emory

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how to create a healthy home

Image Pixabay CC0 License

Creating a healthy home environment is something that every parent strives for, which is why so many people dedicate so much time to keeping their homes clean. Taking care of the house is a time-consuming task and can feel like it never ends, especially when you have kids. But, looking after your home and keeping it healthy involves more than just chores; there are also other ways to make your home a healthier place to live. Here are some suggestions that can help you to make your home as healthy as possible:

Improve Your Air Quality

Air may be invisible, but its quality plays a significant role in the health of your home. While there is a lot of focus on air pollution, in terms of fumes from factories and vehicles, the air pollution that is within your home is worth thinking about too. The home environment can produce all kinds of fumes, from the wood that you burn to heat your home through to cooking fumes; there are many ways the air in your home can become polluted. Air pollution can lead to respiratory diseases, and if any of your family suffers from allergies, these can be exacerbated by low indoor air quality. 

Making some simple changes around your home can make a big difference to the air quality. One of the first factors to think about is your HVAC system; if your air conditioning is not working right, it can lead to dust and allergens not being effectively filtered out of the air. To prevent this, it is a good idea to get an HVAC Repair engineer to resolve the problem as soon as you notice. 

Another useful way to improve indoor air quality at your home is to keep it well ventilated. Keeping your home ventilated will help to ensure that the air can flow freely.

Ditch the Chemicals

Reducing the amount of chemicals that you use in your home can help make your house naturally healthy. The chemicals that are used in many proprietary cleaners could be potentially harmful to people with respiratory illnesses.

If you would like to reduce the chemicals that are used in your home, you may want to consider switching to greener alternatives or even try making your own natural cleaning products.

If you do need to use chemicals in your home, don’t forget to take care around children and pets, and try to keep the room ventilated when using the products.

Deal With Mould

Mould not only looks pretty nasty, but it can also be bad for your health. Mould spores travel through the air and can cause issues for people that are sensitive to mould. Preventing mould from forming is the best course of action to keep your home healthy. To prevent mould, it is a good idea to clean up any spillages and deal with leaks as soon as you notice them. Keeping condensation at bay by opening windows when cooking is also an essential part of preventing mould.

** This was a contributed post.

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preventing plumbing problems at home

Plumbing problems can cause havoc in your home. From minor issues like dripping taps to full flooding, when something goes wrong with your plumbing, it’s a pain to have to sort it out. Even small problems can get worse if you leave them, causing water damage or driving up your water bills. Although you can address problems when they arise, there are also steps that you can take to prevent some of the most common problems. Prevention can be the better way to approach plumbing issues, saving you plenty of time and money. Take a look at these ideas to prevent plumbing problems in your home.

Insulate Exposed Pipes

Pipes that are exposed to the elements could experience problems due to fluctuations in temperature. When it’s cold, old pipes could freeze over and might be at risk of bursting or breaking. Pipes in your attic or basement, as well as some exposed pipes outside, should be insulated to prevent them from getting too cold. You can easily do this yourself if you want to, as pipe insulation is available from any hardware store. It will help to protect your pipes and keep heat in so you save money on hot water too.

Image from Pixabay – CC0 License

Regularly Check Connections

Connections between pipes and various plumbed-in items around your home can be key areas where problems form. Loose connections and leaks can cause issues, so it’s smart to keep an eye on these areas. It’s a good idea to regularly inspect your home anyway, and even smarter to take a close look at any connections that could start to leak. Sometimes these problems can be very easily solved by tightening something up or using some sort of sealant to fill any gaps. It can help to prevent worse problems later, which might be more difficult to fix.

Keep Your Drains Clear

Blocked drains can cause many issues. Keeping them clear ensures everything is working as it should be. Drains can get blocked due to what you put down them, as well as problems outside your home. Make sure you keep food out as much as possible and avoid pouring oil down your drains. A professional RootX treatment will take care of roots from trees and plants trying to get into your pipes. This can prevent damage and avoid the need for putting new pipes in too, so you can save a lot of money.

Know Where Your Shutoff Valve Is

One of the most important things that you can know is where to find the main shutoff valve for the water supply in your home. This can help to prevent flooding and disaster if anything does go wrong. It’s also important if you want to attempt any basic plumbing tasks around your home, as you will often need to turn off the water first. You might be able to check your property inspection report to locate the valve.

Aim to prevent plumbing problems in your home and you can avoid all kinds of issues that could be expensive to fix.

** This was a contributed post.

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recipe: checkered cookies

This recipe was largely inspired by the Checkerboard Cookies found in the recipe book “Fika.” The recipes in it are so simple, delicate, and tasty, I thought that using one to serve at Easter (and beyond) would be a nice treat. 

Checkered Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Steps:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and flour. Mix well and form into a soft dough.

2. Separate into two pieces, placing one in another bowl. Sprinkle cocoa powder over one half of the dough. Mix well.

3. Divide the light and dark doughs into two pieces each- making four in total. Form each piece into a log approximately 1 inch in diameter. Carefully place one light log next to a dark one. Then place one dark log on top of a light one, and the remaining light log on top of the dark one. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove dough from fridge and wrap and cut into approximately 24 equal pieces. Put cookies onto a non-stick cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool before removing from sheet.

Emory

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