Breads, Food, Recipes

Super Easy Loaf Bread – Bread Machine Recipe!

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I’m going to place the recipe up here (so you don’t have to scroll through the whole post to find it), and then you can go ahead keep reading for more tips, and why I do things the way I do! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s only six ingredients, and that includes water! (Plus butter, if you’d like to brush some on top after it comes out of the oven!)

Also, full transparency here: Although I have made some tweaks to this recipe and technique and made it “mine,” I originally found it on Pinterest. I was going to link to the place I found it, but Pinterest has now marked that website as spam. The original recipe was not my own.

Super Easy Bread Machine Bread – 2 Pound Loaf

2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. yeast
1 1/3 cups warm (not hot) water
1/3 cup oil ( I use olive oil)
4 level cups flour (I like King Arthur Unbleached White, or Walmart’s Organic White flour.)

Add all ingredients into bread machine and start “dough” cycle. After it has kneaded for a few minutes, check to see if there are still ingredients stuck to the side that may need to be pushed down.

When the dough cycle is complete (it takes one hour and twenty minutes in my machine), flour a large cutting board and dump dough onto it.

Split and shape into two loaves. I use a dough cutter a lot like this one to split the dough, but I actually got mine even cheaper at the Dollar Tree! Tuck the rough edges underneath, so the top is nice and pretty, and place in bread pans. These USA Pans are my absolute favorite…you don’t even have to grease them, and the loaf comes out beautifully!

Let rise (preferably in a warm place) for 20-30 minutes. You can cover it lightly with a kitchen towel if you’d like, but honestly, I don’t most of the time.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes at 375 degrees F. ( You can even use a food thermometer to check the inside, if you’d like! The inside should reach 200 degrees when the dough is fully cooked.)

After baking, (carefully!) slide the bread out of the pan and place on a cutting board or cooling rack to cool. If you’d like, it is also delicious to rub or brush some butter on top! ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t know about y’all, but I love bread. What I love even more than store-bought bread is bread that I make at home, with only six ingredients, and not a lot of stress. (Am I the only one who used to think that bread making was always super complicated, and therefore stress-inducing? haha)

Well, let me tell you what changed everything for me…

I decided to take a $6.75 risk on a thrift store bread machine, and I haven’t looked back since! (Don’t worry, I cleaned it suuuppper well when I got it home!) I don’t even use my bread machine to cook my bread, just for the dough part, but it takes out SO much of the guesswork/finicky-ness of bread making, since it does all of the kneading and keeping the dough at a good temperature for the first rise! (That’s especially helpful if you’re making bread in the winter, and keep your house pretty cold like we do!) ๐Ÿ™‚ Just make sure your bread machine includes rising in its dough cycle!

For all of the ingredients, I’m here to tell you that you really don’t have to worry about the “special order” for putting them in, if you are starting the machine right after getting the ingredients in there. Some machines have a delay setting, and yes, in the case of delaying, you want your yeast and sugar on top of your flour, so that the yeast doesn’t activate yet. But if, like me, you are starting it right away, you can actually just put all of the ingredients together under the flour!

I measure out the water first (out of our awesome Berkey water filter), then microwave it for 30 seconds. You may need to adjust, but for me, that makes the water warm enough to activate the yeast, but not so hot that it kills it. While it’s heating, I measure the sugar, salt, and yeast into the bottom of my bread machine pan. Then add the water, oil, and four level cups of flour. (I’ve also used this recipe with fresh ground whole wheat, still works great! Just needs more rising time. It also makes slightly smaller loaves that way at least for me.)

This dough recipe is also SO versatile! I have lots of things I’d like to show you in some more posts. Seriously. We’ve made loaf bread (obviously haha), rolls, hamburger/hot dog buns, pizza, my bagels, and even pretzels with it!!!

Have you ever tried making your own bread? Are you like I used to be, and you think it must be really complicated? I hope I made things seem a little more simple for you! If you have any questions I didn’t answer, leave a comment and I’ll see if I can help! ๐Ÿ™‚

Motherhood, Scripture, Thoughts

My Favorite Imprint

I know it may not look like much, but do you see that little mark that I’m pointing to on my arm? It’s happened to me a few times, and I love it every single time. That imprint is from my daughter Olivia’s ear, as she slept while I held her. I got, and occasionally still get, lots of them from her big sister Emma, too. Actually even more, because Emma hated sleeping alone. But that’s alright. ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s very few things higher on my list of things that are precious than the time I get to spend with them sleeping peacefully in my arms, sometimes one or the other, sometimes both. They feel safe. They feel loved. They feel comforted.

Yes, I know that there are things I “need to do.” Yes, I know that my house isn’t always spotless. I try to make it decent at least. Really, I do. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But nothing can replace that time with my babies in my arms. So I’ll clean when I need to, and hold my babies while I can. I want to soak up every minute of their cuddles, with their sweet little bodies pressed up against mine. <3

Oh, that we would rest in such a way in our Heavenly Father’s arms as well! He knows what we need, and when we need it. He is worthy of our trust and our love, and of us wanting to be safe in His arms.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.ย Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

~Matthew 11:28-29

Motherhood has at least a hundred and one things to pay attention to, all at the same time. Haha. Maybe sleepy babies are one of the ways God helps us to slow down, and take the time to rest more deeply in Him, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ (If you keep your Bible nearby, or even a Bible app on your phone, it’s a great way to actually have time to read, too!)

So, to the Mama who feels guilty for holding her sleeping babies…

Please don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong! Enjoy those snuggles. If they nap well on their own, of course you don’t have to go scoop them up out of bed. But if they fall asleep on you, maybe that’s where they need to be. Maybe it’s where you need to be, too. ๐Ÿ™‚


I Checked Something Off of My Recipe Bucket List!

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Y’all. We did it. We made bagels for the first time ever, and I can finally cross them off of my mental Recipe Bucket List! By the way, they were delicious… ๐Ÿ™‚

My husband, Sam, also made some Pecan Cinnamon Sugar Cream Cheese

I have had three main “bakery”-type items I’ve wanted to try making for a while: Bagels, pretzels, and doughnuts. (You know, while taking a break from making dozens of fabric face masks…) When I thought about it again last night, I asked my husband if he would mind starting some dough in the bread machine when he got up today (since he gets up a lot earlier than me haha), so that I could make the dough into bagels when I got up. He was very willing to comply. ๐Ÿ™‚

They may not be the prettiest or most uniform bagels, but they sure tasted good!

After boiling them in water with about a tablespoon of sugar, I baked them on my USA pans.

I highly recommend these pans…they’re nonstick, but without yucky chemicals! ๐Ÿ™‚ Just make sure you don’t use metal utensils, you don’t want to scratch your pans!

We just used our regular white bread recipe (which has been ridiculously versatile…I should probably post that for you soon!), and made that into bagels. After boiling them in the slightly sugary water for a minute or two on each side, I drained them a bit, brushed them with an egg wash, and then baked them. SO good!

Have you tried any new recipes or cooking techniques lately? What’s on your Recipe Bucket List? ๐Ÿ™‚

Scripture, Thoughts

I Donโ€™t Want Things to Go Back to Normal

Now, before you write me off as being crazy and cruel for not wanting โ€œnormalโ€ back, let me explain…

Before this pandemic started getting serious, we (generally speaking) were comfortable. We took so many things for granted. I know if youโ€™re anything like me (hello, fellow extroverts! *waves from at least 6 feet away*), you enjoy getting to see people and interacting with them on a regular basis (spur-of-the-moment is fine too…). You know, things like going to a restaurant, dropping in to pick up a few things at the grocery store, hanging out with friends and family, going to church, throwing birthday parties and other celebrations, having people over for dinner…so. many. things.

And just like that… we don’t get to anymore. At least not the way we used to.

I think in a lot of ways, it has been a good but difficult reminder for us.

Think of this Scripture:


Come now, you who say, โ€œToday or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profitโ€; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, โ€œIf the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.โ€ But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

James 4:13-16

You see, I’m pretty good at making plans. What I need to be good at is realizing and remembering that I can make all the plans in the world, but it is God who is in control!

Now, I’m not saying to not make plans. Plans are good things. The problem comes when our confidence is only in our plans and not God’s plans. We need to remember that as much as we can make plans, we’re not really the ones who can make them happen. That’s in God’s hands.

A good reminder…

So, what should we be doing? I truly think that all of this is a good reminder of what we normally have. Of what we normally take for granted. Here are some things for which I think we will have a renewed appreciation, when we’ve all gotten through this together (well, separately…):

  • Going to church
  • Tight hugs
  • Firm handshakes
  • Being with friends and family
  • Steady jobs
  • Food โ€“ grocery stores and restaurants
  • Birthday parties
  • Graduations
  • Concerts
  • Each heartbeat and each breath we can easily take
  • And yes… even toilet paper ๐Ÿ˜‰

Let us truly say and mean, “if the Lord wills” when we make plans for the future…and, Lord-willing, truly be grateful when He does bring them to pass. Let that be our new “normal.” <3


Happy Resurrection Day!

โ€œNow when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, โ€œWho will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?โ€ But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled awayโ€”for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, โ€œDo not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciplesโ€”and Peterโ€”that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.โ€โ€
โ€ญโ€ญMarkโ€ฌ โ€ญ16:1-7โ€ฌ โ€ญNKJVโ€ฌโ€ฌ

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Sewing Tips, Video Tutorials

Fabric face mask with *removable* nose wire!

Disclaimer: I make no guarantees or claims about the effectiveness or proper uses for face masks. Use at your own risk.

Hey y’all! Hope you’ve been well! I’ve been busy making more fabric masks since my last post…so far I’ve made 35 masks for several different people, and planning to make more, Lord-willing! ๐Ÿ™‚ In the process, I have found myself tweaking my technique, and finding ways to make the masks better/more comfortable to wear. I was really interested in the type of masks that had a nose wire, but I still wanted to be able to put my masks in the washer and dryer, and that just sounded like a recipe for disaster to me. So that got me thinking…how could I make a wired mask, but not make it super complicated, and be able to take out the wire for washing? Well, here’s what I came up with! ๐Ÿ™‚

Although this mask is quite different, the original measurements came from this tutorial from Deaconess.

Here’s a video tutorial, where I walk you through the whole process! You can also keep reading to see more pictures and descriptions of what I did.

You will need these supplies:

  • Two pieces of fabric (the tighter the weave, the better) cut 9 inches by 6 inches
  • Two pieces of 1/4 inch elastic, cut 7 inches long (Well, that seems to be a good size for most people. I have also used 6.5 inch or 7.5 inch pieces, depending on the fit for the person who will use the mask. Feel free to adjust as needed!)
  • Thread
  • Either pins or plastic sewing clips
  • And, of course, a sewing machine! ๐Ÿ™‚

In this picture, you can see the way the two layers get sewn together. The fabric should be right sides together for this step, and the elastic gets sewn in between the layers, from corner to corner on the short sides. Make sure the elastic is not twisted! Backstitch at the beginning (which is the right side of the opening for flipping), then at each of the ends of the elastic, and the very end.

The only thing that makes this step different from a regular mask is that on the second long side (bottom of this picture), we need to leave what is essentially a large “skipped stitch.” To find the placement, first put a mark 2 inches on either side of the center. When you come to the first mark as you sew, lift your presser foot and needle, and simply pull the fabric straight back for about half an inch, then proceed stitching like normal. You may also backstitch on either or both sides of this gap, if you like. Clip all four corners.

See? This is what we created in the last step, and that hole will be where the wire can be inserted and removed later! ๐Ÿ™‚ Leave the thread intact, don’t cut this part!

After flipping the mask right side out, this is what it should look like!

Now, on each of the short sides, clip or pin three small pleats. If the pleats are about 3/8 of an inch wide, that works well. Make sure the pleats on both sides face the same direction! I also like to clip the opening on the bottom, to make sure it’s lined up when I sew.

This is where the small gap is on the top of the mask.

Now place two more marks on the top of the mask, 4 inches apart, 2 inches on either side of the center, just like we did before. You can find the center by either measuring or by folding the mask in half.

The wire that you use should be firm, but easily bendable. Cut it 4 inches long, and then round the ends. Make sure it’s not sharp! You don’t want it to be able to scratch you or poke a hole in your new mask! This is floral wire, but you can use whatever similar wire you can find! I’ve even used some Christmas ornament hooks, which were already the perfect length! ๐Ÿ™‚ (You probably have some of those laying around, don’t you? haha)

Now it’s time for the topstitching! Start on the bottom of the mask, before the larger opening. Begin sewing 1/8 inch away from the edge. Rotate at the corner, towards the pleats. At this point, I like to switch to a triple stitch for the pleated sides, and if you have that option too, I highly recommend it! It makes the sides so much stronger, without having to topstitch twice or backstitch over the pleats at all. When you get to the next long side, which is the top of the mask, and you reach your first mark, rotate 90 degrees and stitch 3-4 stitches, then rotate back. Proceed sewing, this time 3/8 inch from the edge, until you reach the second mark. Here you will rotate again, sew 3-4 stitches back towards the edge, then rotate back and proceed with a 1/8 inch topstitch.

Finish the second pleated side, then the rest of the bottom, trying to overlap exactly where you started, and backstitch to secure. Clip threads.

Now your mask is ready to insert the wire! ๐Ÿ˜€ The gap for the wire will be where the two fabrics meet, inside the deeper topstitching!

And there you have it! A lovely fabric face mask with a wire you can take out for washing and drying! ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy sewing! Let me know if you try it or if you have any questions! ๐Ÿ™‚

helpful tips, Sewing Tips, Video Tutorials

Fabric Mask Topstitching Technique

Disclaimer: I make no guarantees or claims about the effectiveness or proper uses for face masks. Use at your own risk.

Hello everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚ I know that a lot of people have had a sudden interest in sewing fabric face masks lately (including myself)!

I started making them for a local organization, based on this tutorial from Deaconess.

Although it is a very good and helpful tutorial, I found that I didn’t like their style of topstitching. It was difficult to make it look nicely finished, at least for me, so I came up with a technique that I have enjoyed more. This technique is great for pleated face masks, where you want some extra reenforcement on the side stitching, to make sure the pleats stay in place well!

I made a video that will hopefully be helpful for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here you can see which stitch settings I chose: A left-needle-position regular straight stitch for the long sides of the mask, and a left-needle-position triple stitch for the pleated sides.

Make sure you hold your pleat in place with your left hand after you remove your plastic clip or pin!

This is a close up, right after I removed one plastic clip and turned the corner towards my pleats.

I hope that this technique is helpful for you! Please let me know if it was, or if you have any questions! Happy sewing! ๐Ÿ™‚

About Me

“Life as Caroline” is back! :-)

This has been a long time coming! I’m excited to finally have a blog again, and looking forward to sharing some things along the way! I’m planning, Lord-willing, to post videos, pictures, tutorials, and things that I find helpful in general. Life hacks are one of my love-languages. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanks for joining me! ๐Ÿ™‚