Aug 4, 2014

To Infinity and Beyond!

After much discussion, pondering and praying, both Rachel and I decided to pour our creative energy into something new. We wanted to build a site we both would enjoy and would benefit our family. Where it is OK to strive to create - as long as it benefits the family. Because they are what matters the most. While sewing and crafting is fun, homeschooling is a full time job. Not sure why we have not thought of this before, but building a homeschooling blog makes more sense and would fit in with our needs/life much better than a craft blog. I still love crafting though and wanted to keep in touch with friends - so I did create an online creative journal. A blog. Or rather what blogs used to be before Adsense and Blogher entered the scene. Something simple, low maintenance so I can concentrate on being a mom and be there for my kids most of the time,

We really appreciate you reading along and staying connected. We would like to invite you to join us on our new adventure and follow our new homeschool blog BLUE FISH ON A BIKE. And if you ever have a hunkering for Hungarian food or see what I am up to, visit Plenty of Paprika.

(By the way, we are moving some posts around and deleting others, since Untrendy Life is no longer going to be an active blog.)


For me this has been a great outlet, but primarily a way to stay connected to Dora.  I like making things, and I enjoy having a place to show those things off, but I'm entering a season of my life where I'm going to have to find my creativity in other ways.  I've gone back to school, and two of my three homeschooled children are in highschool.  It's a busy season, and I feel my time with my children at home speedily drawing to a close.  It's as if those early years were the slow, rickety uphill climb of a rollercoaster, and now suddenly we're on the downhill, picking up speed as we go along, and before I know it, it'll all be over.  I don't want to look back five years from now and regret that I didn't cherish these last years enough.  Since I was in junior high and first saw a recording of Our Town by Thornton Wilder, this passage has haunted me:
Emily: Oh, Mama, look at me one minute as though you really saw me. ..just for a moment now we're all together. Mama, just for a moment we're happy. Let's really look at one another!...I can't. I can't go on.It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed... Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every,every minute?
Stage Manager: No. (pause) The saints and poets, maybe they do some.
See now I'm blubbering like a baby just reading over that passage again.  I'm certainly not a saint and I'm not even a poet, but I don't want to miss one minute of time with my children while they're still in my home.  They're amazing people and I'm so lucky to get to be with them every day.  It makes sense to me to turn my creativity at this point more towards homeschooling, towards the things that I do with them.  You may have noticed over the last year that my posts have been more about time spent with them than about crafty things anyway.  So I'm excited to start this new adventure with Dora, blogging about homeschooling and all that entails.  There will still be crafty moments, because making things and creativity are just part of our homeschool lifestyle, but it will be mixed in with lots of other things, too.  We could have just stayed here on Untrendy Life and shifted the focus, but for various reasons it feels better to start fresh.  Like a hermit crab outgrowing its shell, and scuttling to a new one- the new blog feels like the right shape and size for what we want to do now.  

Jun 16, 2014

Hungarian Potato Casserole - Rakott Krumpli Recipe


This is a comfort food and really easy to make. Although it does require a lot of slicing. Basically it is a meat and potatoes dish.




Only has 4 ingredients and salt and pepper for seasoning.

Hungarian Potato Casserole

3-5 lbs russet potatoes
12-18 hard boiled eggs, sliced
3 lbs polish kielbasa, sliced
sour cream (1-2 cups)
salt and pepper

Wash potatoes, cook in boiling water for about 10-15 minutes. You want them almost all the way cooked. When done, drain water, rinse in cold water and slice. Grease a large baking pan, and start layering first the potatoes (sprinkle with salt and pepper), then the kielbasa, and finally the eggs. Repeat layers one more time, finish with potatoes. 

 Spread sour cream on top.

Bake at 450 F for about 30 minutes, until sour cream sets and starts browning. Easy! And delicious!


May 23, 2014

Hungarian Curd Dumplings or Túró Gombóc Recipe

To continue with Hungarian recipes, I decided to post these curd dumplings, even though mine always turn out looking kind of shaggy, flat versus round - however they taste just great. I have been waiting and hoping that one of these day I will make perfect looking curd dumpling and take pictures...after waiting for a few years, I realized it is silly to wait, and wait and wait, hoping to capture picture perfect dumplings. They are traditionally made with Túró, if you want to make some here is a previous post on it LINK HERE. I did make some with Queso Fresco, which is different from Túró, but has similar texture, although it is much drier. I made adjustments to the recipe to accommodate for the different cheese.


Ingredients:

500 g  Túró or Queso Fresco cheese ( I have tried using Queso Fresco, and had to adjust the recipe slightly, I will note adjustments in parentheses.)
120 g semolina flour
3 eggs, separated
pinch of salt (skip this is using Queso Fresco)
1-4 Tbsp sugar to taste)
pinch - 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest to taste
(1/4-1/2 c sour cream - only with the Queso Fresco)

10 oz plain bread crumbs
1 stick of butter

powdered sugar
cinnamon sugar
sour cream

If using Queso Fresco, crumble it in a bowl (picture below). If using Túró, just add it to the bowl.


Add semolina flour, pinch of salt (omit for Queso Fresco), egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, (sour cream for Queso Fresco) and mix it all.

If using Queso Fresco, add the sour cream a little at a time. The texture should be spreadable, not dry and not too wet.

Cover and let the mixture rest in the fridge for a couple hours in order to soften the semolina flour. While waiting, brown plain bread crumbs in the butter, stirring constantly to make sure it does not burn. Set aside. Start boiling water in a large pot, before taking out the curd cheese mix. While water is heating up, beat egg white until peaks form and gently mix in the egg white to the curd cheese mixture. 

Now for the messy part. You have to form balls from the curd cheese mixture - which is pretty soft. You can do this by using your hands - just make sure you wet your hands. It is still going to be pretty messy. Or you can do what I do, use an ice cream scoop with a trigger and it is mess free! As you form the balls, drop them in the boiling water a few at a time. It takes about 5-10 minutes for them to be done, depending on the size. Take them out one at a time with a slotted spoon and put them in the bread crumbs. Gently cover them. While warm, the dumplings are pretty fragile. Chill in the fridge, and they will become firmer.

To serve, dust with powdered sugar, or cinnamon sugar or a dollop or sour cream.

Next week, I'll post one of the most famous and complicated desserts from Hungary.

May 20, 2014

Easy And Elegant Graduated Wood Necklace (a quick how-to)

This post is not so much a "how-to" as a "where-to", simply because the necklace is quick and easy to make - however where to find high quality wood beads is more what this is really all about. I have used wood beads bought from Hobby Lobby and Joann's and they worked just fine, I thought the necklace I made from them looked good, price was very nice, so nothing to complain about. Until I bought Ebony and Sibucao wood beads from Beads and Honey. Not sure I can look at wood beads the same again. Even though there is a difference in price, I think they are worth it. Just a note: I am NOT getting paid or did not get free products from Beads and Honey. I just really loved the beads! And customer service. More on that later.

To see the difference, I took pictures. On the left are the wood beads from Hobby Lobby, on the right the Ebony and Sibucao beads from Beads and Honey. The colors are more intense and the higher quality of the wood is undeniable. 

Here is the simple but elegant beauty I made for a friend. 

 I used a strand of graduated ebony wood beads and a strand of 6-7 mm ebony round beads and about 24 inches of 1 mm leather cord.
The pattern is simple to see from the pictures. Basically I started with stringing the biggest bead from the graduated strand ( I used most of the beads, did not use the smallest 4 beads), added a 6-7 mm round bead on each side, then got the next to largest beads and added 1 on each side and just kept going until I ran out of the graduated beads and simply divided up what I had left of the 6-7 mm strand.




Tied a double square knot, added a dab of G-S Hypo Cement and pulled the cord back through the first beads from the knot. Cut off the extra cord and done. 

I made the Sibucao necklace shorter, therefore I added a clasp. 


Only used the 7 largest beads, with the 6 mm round beads in between, and simply divided the leftover 
6 mm beads and strung them until I ran out. To finish this necklace, I used fold-over cord ends, jump rings and lobster claw clasp. Simply put the cord on the fold-over cord end, using pliers fold one metal flap over the cord, then fold the other flap over the on top. Attach jump rings to cord ends, with lobster claw. They are super simple to use. 


Now, a bit about the costumer service....Lynette, the owner of Beads and Honey included some candy with the beads! Yes, I am easy to please. But even something as simple as surprise candy included in an order can delight someone! 



May 16, 2014

How To Make A Three Strand Ombre Wood Bead Necklace

This necklace was made for a friend. We bartered. She is helping me get back into shape and I get to make her some jewelry out of wood beads - which she wanted. The first necklace is done and it is a simple, chunky long statement necklace.

Supplies: waxed cotton cord, 2 packages wood bead mix - all found at Hobby Lobby online. The hardest part is sorting the beads according to color and size.

Cut about 25 inches of cord for each strand. Strand #1 has the largest beads. Started by stringing the darkest color, then split the 2 other colors in half and added the beads on each side. Strand #2 has the next largest beads - strung the same way as the first. Strand #3 has the next smallest size, with some little ones added at the end, since there was not enough. All the strands are close in length, not quite the same. You can easily vary the length of the necklace. Once you determine the length you want, simply divide the measurement in 3. For example, for a 24 inch length, the answer is 8. That's how long the middle section of each necklace needs to be approximately of course. The other colors need to be half of that, or 4 inches on each side.

Once the 3 strands were done, I taped down the cotton cords on one end and threaded all 3 cord ends on the other side through a tapestry needle and added some leftover beads (so now there is only 1 strand) - repeat on the other side.
Pull them tight, tie off with a couple square knots, knot the ends of the cord, cut extra cord off - and done.

A pretty quick and simple project, with no special tools needed. And it makes a nice accessory.