Living the Good Life...Imperfectly

The Easy Way to Make No Knead Bread

Easy No Knead Bread

Guys, I’m a little sad today. My trusty little kneading machine has kicked the bucket.  I knew she was on her last leg, but I still wasn’t ready to let her go.  She was actually a breadmaker I picked up at Goodwill about three years ago.  She was marked $4.99 and fifty percent off, so I picked her up for $2.50.


buy generic adderall onlineI didn’t use her to bake bread though.  I used her just for her dough cycle, since I don’t have a stand mixer, and I’m too lazy to knead by hand.

Anyway, my husband was unloading the dishwasher yesterday and noticed that the mixer mechanism at the bottom of the pan had broken offorder adderall online.

So, I’ll need to find another Goodwill breadmaker soon.  I stopped by a couple Goodwills yesterday, and I didn’t care for the selection.  Isn’t that how it always works? Any other time, there seem to be about 7 million nearly new breadmakers at every Goodwill.  Now that I’m in the market for one, there are slim pickings.  Oh well.  Such is life.

Anyhow, since I don’t have a breadmaker to knead my dough for me, I figured it’s a good time to make some no-knead breadclomid for sale.

how to order tramadol onlineThere are so many different variations to no-knead bread.  I’ve tried several.  The one I’m going to show you has been modified a bit from a King Arthur recipe.

buy tramadol onlineNo-knead bread is super easy, uses only a few basic ingredients, and is delicious.  It’s crusty and crackly on the outside, and nice and chewy on the inside.

After making many no-knead loaves, I think the one thing you want to remember is not too try to hard.


When I first starting making no-knead loaves, I was kinda intimidated by yeast.  So I read lots of recipes, and nervously tried one out.

The result was good, but not quite like the picture in the recipe.

Here’s the deal.  Just follow the directions, and if yours doesn’t look exactly the same as mine, it’s okay.  Just go with it.

If it’s an ugly, sloppy mess, it will still work.  That’s the beauty of this stuff.  It’s artisan style bread, so imperfections, wrinkles, misshapen-ness are just fine.  Don’t overthink it.

I tried too hard.  I’d add more flour.  Then more water.  Then flour.  Ugh!  Just go with it…

Okay, so onto the bread.

If you have a food scale, use it.  If you don’t, that’s okay too, but I would highly suggest picking one up.  I’ve noticed that I have much better baking results when I use one.

Start with 16 ounces of all purpose flour in a large bowl.  I like to use a large tupperware syle bowl with a lid.  It just makes storing the dough easier, but any large bowl will do.

If you don’t have a food scale, just scoop 3 and 1/4 cups of flour into a bowl.

Add to it 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt.  I like Himalayan pink salt, but any kind will do.

Then add 1 package of yeast (or 2 and 1/4 teaspoons if you use bulk).

Mix it up with a whisk or spoon.

Pour in 1 and 1/2 cups of warm water.  Just make sure the water isn’t piping hot, or it will kill your yeast.  I like to judge the temperature on my wrist.  If it feels too hot on my wrist, it’s probably too hot for the yeast.

Use a wooden spoon and stir it all around.  At first, it’s going to seem really wet.  Then it will seem like it’s too dry.

Just keep stirring.

I did CrossFit yesterday, and mixed up my dough last night.  The stirring made me want to cry!  Thank you JoCo CrossFit.

As long as you haven’t just finished CrossFit when you’re out of shape, stirring the dough should not make you want to cry.

If you don’t want to stir, you can use your hands to mix, but it will be very sticky, and your hands will be completely covered in dough.

Also, if you use your hands, don’t forget that you DO NOT KNEAD.  We don’t want to overmix the dough, or you won’t get the best result.

Eventually, everything will combine and you will have a really sticky, shaggy dough like this.

easy no knead bread

Put the lid on the bowl and leave it on the counter for a couple hours.  It should puff up nicely.  I forgot to take a picture of mine, sorry.

If you aren’t using a lidded bowl, just cover it with cling wrap or foil.

After two hours, pop the bowl in the refrigerator.  Leave it there until you’re ready to use it.

Once you are ready to bake your bread, take it out of the fridge and tear off half of the dough.  If you put a little oil on your hands first, the dough won’t stick to you.

Tuck the rough ends under to make a ball about the size of a grapefruit.  It can be uneven or ugly.  No worries there.

Put the ball on a piece of parchment paper, on top of an upside down cookie sheet.  We won’t be using the cookie sheet in the oven, but it makes transporting the dough a lot easier.

easy no knead bread

Sprinkle your dough ball with a bit of flour, and rub it around so that it’s no longer sticky on top.  Let your dough warm up and rest for about an hour.  I usually let my dough rest near the oven, where it’s nice and warm.

While your dough is resting, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  If you have a baking stone, place it on the middle rack and preheat it as well.

If you don’t have a baking stone, use your heaviest baking pan and turn it upside down.  You can also use a heavy dutch oven, cast iron skillet, etc.  We just want whatever the bread will be baking on to be preheated as well.  Just make sure whatever you are using doesn’t have plastic handles, or anything else that could melt.

I didn’t care for the baking stones I had, so now I used unglazed tiles for baking and making amazing brick oven style pizzas.  I’ll have a post about that soon.

Put a metal pan on your bottom rack to preheat as well.  The size or shape doesn’t matter.  We are just going to use it as a steam pan later.

After about an hour, your dough will have loosened up and puffed up a bit.  If will have a bit of wiggle when you shake it.  It will still be a little cool, but no longer cold from the fridge.

easy no knead bread

We’re almost ready for baking!

First, you’ll want to slash your dough to help it bake through the middle.  The easiest way for me to slash is with kitchen shears.  Open them wide and cut three diagonal lines across your dough, about 1/2 inch deep.




If you don’t have kitchen shears, you can use a knife to slash instead.  Just use a quick and light motion to slash.  Getting the blade wet first will help with drag.

easy no knead bread

Holding the parchment paper, transfer your dough into the oven, onto your baking stone, dutch oven, skillet or pan.

Next, quickly but carefully pour 1 cup of hot water into the preheated pan you put on your bottom rack.  Quickly close the door to contain the steam in the oven.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the bread is a deep golden brown.

You will know it’s done when you thump it and the loaf sounds hollow.

no knead bread

Carefully remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack.  Once it has cooled a bit, slice off a thick piece and enjoy!

Have do you feel about baking bread?  Do you have any tips to share?  Please comment below.






6 Reasons I Make Homemade Bread (and Why You Should Too!)

6 Reasons I Make Homemade Bread and Why You Should Too

How often do you eat bread?

We eat it daily at my house.  Toast, sandwiches, slathered with butter as a dinner side.  We love it.  Today we’ll be talking about why I make homemade bread, and why you should too.  And no, it isn’t hard to do!

Most people have a love/hate relationship with bread.  Everyone loves to eat it, but feel that carbs are evil.  This definitely isn’t the case, but we’ll talk more about in another post.

When I made the decision to feed my family more of a “clean” diet, I took a hard look at a lot of our staple food items.  We traded out our regular wheat bread with 100% whole wheat bread.  I felt like eating less refined food would be better for us.  My goal was to find something that listed 100% whole wheat as the first ingredient.  My family adjusted without too much of an issue and I didn’t give it much more thought.

As I became more informed about the foods we were putting in our bodies, I started paying more attention to food labels and ingredients lists.  I discovered that the whole wheat bread we were eating listed 26 ingredients – many of which I couldn’t pronounce, nor did I have any idea what they were.  Here is the ingredient list:

Whole wheat flour, Water, Sugar, Yeast, Wheat Gluten, Soybean Oil, Cultured Wheat Flour, Vinegar, Salt, Honey, Mono and Diglycerides, Ethoxylated Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl, Lactylate, Calcium Peroxide, Datem, Ascorbic Acid, Enzymes, Calcium Propionate, Yeast Nutrients, Calcium Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Ammonium Sulfate, Fumaric Acid, Wheat Starch, Soy Lecithin.

What in the world??

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Meal Plan Monday – Week of December 28

Meal Plan Monday

Meal Plan Monday – Week of December 28, 2015

Christmas is over, and the new year is almost here!  I can’t believe I am working on the last meal plan for 2015.  Looking at this week’s menu, I am glad we are wrapping up with the ham.  I love Christmas leftovers, but I’m finally getting tired of ham and potatoes.  I’m also getting tired of Christmas cookies and Chex Mix too, if you can believe it.  This Meal Plan Monday will not involve cookies!  🙂

I hope to make use of ham one more time this week, then put the rest in the freezer.  Even after eating lots of sandwiches, we still have so much ham.  I put off getting a Christmas ham until the last minute, so they only had huge ones left by the time we got around to buying one.  My husband picked one up, and the smallest he could find was over ten pounds.  We still have ham coming out of our ears!

Because Jason and I are both on vacation this week, I am excited that I will be able to make meals through the week that I ordinarily wouldn’t have time for.

My grocery list is pretty light, since most of my meals are based on ingredients we already have.

My daughter has been requesting eggrolls for a couple weeks now, so those are definitely on the menu.  They are a little time-consuming to make, but the whole family loves them.  I’m not able to make them nearly as often as I’d like. They always remind of happy times from my childhood.  My mom used to make them pretty often when we were kids.  She would make huge batches of them, especially when we were going to have company.  When people came over for dinner, they always requested my mom’s eggrolls.  My mom, my sister and I would sit around the table and wrap eggrolls together for what seemed like hours.  We would always talk and laugh and just have a great time.

I’m always in a big hurry, with so many things to do.  These memories make me realize that I need to slow down.  When I cook, I shoo the kids out of the kitchen so that I can just dinner done quickly.  While I know it won’t always be practical, I’d like to invite the kids in occasionally so that they can learn how to cook, and so that we can make memories together as well.  With a new year, I’m hoping to have a new attitude about my time in the kitchen.

Meal Plan Monday for the Week of December 28th:

Monday – Ham and Beans, Crusty Bread, and Salad

Tuesday – Turnip Soup with Rice and Homemade Bread

Wednesday – Eggrolls, Stir Fried Vegetables and Rice

Thursday– Corned beef and Cabbage, Homemade Bread and Potatoes

Friday – Homemade Pizza and Salad

Saturday – General Tso’s Chicken with Rice

What does your menu look like this week?  Do you have a traditional dish you make for New Year’s?

Why You Need to Start Your Christmas Budget Now

Why You Need to Start Your Christmas Budget NowChristmas is over.

It’s time to take the tree down, put the gifts away, take the trash out, and look at your bank account.

Yikes!  None of those options are fun, but I know too many people are putting off that last one.  It may even be that you need to check your credit card bill to see how much you actually borrowed.

That’s right.  If you used your credit cards to pay for Christmas, and you didn’t have the money in your bank account, you borrowed money.  Yes, borrowing money to pay for Christmas can definitely cost you, especially if you are only making the minimum payments to pay it back.

I used to fall into this trap too (You can read more about that here).  Christmas would sneak up on me, and I didn’t have any money set aside.  There was never enough, so I would pull out my credit cards.  There were times in my life when I paid almost double for those Christmas gifts, after paying the interest on my credit cards.

The last few years have been different, and they can be different for you as well.  Now, my husband and I use what is called a “sinking fund.”  Each year, right after Christmas, we decide how much we want to spend the following year for Christmas.  Once we have a dollar amount established, we divide that number by twelve, and put that money aside each month.  By the time December rolls around, the money for Christmas is already waiting for you.  No more credit cards!

Let’s look at an example.  

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Merry Christmas!

merry christmasMerry Christmas!

From our family to yours, wishing you a magical day filled with love, warmth, and memories.



Why My Picky Kids Always Eat their Dinner

Why My Picky Kids Always Eat Their Dinner

Dinners at my house used to be stressful.  When my husband and I met, three out of four of our children were pretty darn picky.  It was always a struggle to get them to eat their dinner.  It was a battle of wills.  Once their unfinished dinner was thrown away, they were suddenly hungry for a snack.  I was not a happy camper.  Fast forward to today, and my picky kids almost always clean their plates.

Want to know the secret of how I get them to do this?

Ice cream.  I bribe them with ice cream.

Yep, there is an unspoken bribe, every single night.  If they eat their dinner, they get dessert.  If they don’t, that’s their choice, but they know they are done for the night.

To some, this may sound silly, but it works for us.  And at the end of the day, they’re eating nutritious meals, and that makes me happy.

At one time, there were many foods that the kids thought they didn’t like, but in reality, they had never even tried them.  There were other foods that they had tried before, but never the way that I prepared them.  I totally understand that, there are a few foods that I don’t enjoy as well.  What I didn’t want to see happen was that I would spend time cooking nutritious meals for them, then they would refuse to eat it so that they could eat granola bars or cereal.  I was also not okay with cooking multiple meals for multiple people just so that everyone would have something they wanted.

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New Series: Meal Plan Monday – Your Guide to Eating Well On a Budget

New Series: Meal Plan Monday

Meal Plan Monday

Are you spending too much on groceries each week?  Do you even know how much you are spending?

One of the big challenges that my family has faced has been staying within our $125/week budget, while sticking to mostly clean foods.

The most helpful habit I’ve established to help us stay within our grocery budget is meal planning.  You can read more about that process here.  Every Monday, I will be sharing our family’s meal plan for the week.  Some weeks are better than others, but you will see that it can be done on a budget.

I also wanted to get something out of the way.  There will also be weeks when you look at my menu and think, “that isn’t very healthy.”  You will be right.  Yep, I’m imperfect, and there are times that my family will want something highly processed and junkie.  And I will give it to them.  As long as we are making efforts to eat better most of the time, I’m happy.

For now, my meal plans only include dinners.  I will also start adding recipes for the menu items posted as I can.  I am learning that I am a terrible photographer, but I am slowly working on taking better photos.  Please bear with me and my imperfect pics. Read More »

When Your Quiet Time with God Hurts Your Heart (And Why It’s OK)

 When Your Quiet Time with God Hurts Your Heart and Why it's Ok

When Your Quiet Time with God Hurts Your Heart

During my quiet time with God this morning, I read through my daily devotional in “Jesus Calling.”  This first verse did not speak to me.  I read it several times, in several versions.  I tried to glean something from it, but neither of the bibles I was using had any commentary on it, so I didn’t think too much more about it and moved on.

This following is the second verse from today’s reading.  I’ve read this verse many times before, but today it has me feeling uneasy.

“Yet I hold this against you:  You have forsaken your first love.”
– Revelation 2:4

My Life Application Study Bible has a commentary on this verse that says, “work for God must be motivated by love for God, or it will not last.”  Yes, that makes sense.  We should do what is right, what is good, because we love God and we want to please Him.

But then I heard a small voice in the back of my head saying, “No, that’s not what you do, Lisa.  You do what is right because you are trying to be obedient.  You want to be blessed, you want God’s favor. Not just because you love Him.  Your actions are not motivated by your love for God, so if what this commentary is saying is true, it will not last.”

Wow!  How incredibly selfish of me!  But it’s completely true.  My day to day actions are not based on pure adoration.  I have selfish motives.  And I began to feel incredibly guilty.  Why are my motives so wrong?  What is wrong with me? How do I fix me?

Do you ever have days like this?

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How I Slashed My Grocery Budget by Spending $1

How I Slashed My Grocery Budget by Spending One DollarHow I Slashed My Grocery Budget by Spending $1

When you look at your monthly budget, how much are you spending on groceries?  If you are like me (and most families), your grocery budget is probably one of your largest expenditures, behind your mortgage or rent.

I used to go to the grocery store and spend waaay too much money.  I was always alarmed when I got to the register and saw how much I’d spent.

How much are you spending on groceries?

Once I started tracking how much I was spending, I decided that groceries was one of the areas I could cut back on.

I also started to see a pattern.  I would go to the store on the weekend , try to buy what was on sale, and get the groceries home.  By Wednesday or Thursday, I would realize that I was out of several ingredients, so I’d have to head back to the store.  While my initial grocery trip was well within my budget, multiple trips throughout the week for forgotten items would bust my grocery budget almost every time.  I was buying groceries that were on sale, instead of specific ingredients for meals.

Time for a Change

That’s when meal planning came into play.  I went to the Dollar Tree, and spent $1 on a simple spiral notebook small enough to fit in my purse.  I would write down each day of the week, look at the sale ads for the week, and choose a menu according to what was on sale.  Then, I would make a grocery list based on my menu.  I still continue to do this, and never have issues with going over my budget anymore.   Read More »

How to Ninja-Kick Christmas Shopping Stress

How to Ninja Kick Christmas Shopping StressOh, Facebook.

I saw something on Facebook today that really made an impact on me.  It was a meme about Christmas being only ten weeks away.  I thought, “Wow, Christmas is just around the corner.”

That doesn’t sound very impactful, does it?

It’s not.  What is impactful is that there was no panic included with that thought.  A couple years ago I would have FREAKED OUT.   There was never enough money, never enough gifts, and Christmas stopped being exciting or fun.  It got to the point where I dreaded Christmas.  Christmas shopping stress was the worst.

I would stress about what I was going to get everyone.  I would stress about the number of presents the kids would get.  I would stress about how I was going to pay for gifts and wrapping paper, and Christmas cards, and postage, and Christmas cookies, and Christmas dinner, and … you get the idea.  The list goes on and on. Read More »