Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Fireman's Gift & A Manly Stocking

Today's post is what the fireman did for Christmas for his guys at work. If you recall, he currently works at a 6 man house, which is doubly as large as most firehouses. And since he's one of the captains there, he needed a gift for 5 guys. The captain's always have a gift for their crew and he couldn't leave the other guys out.

Since he likes to cook/bake, as firemen often do, he thought of something along those lines. But he wanted to make it more manly, bread!

He decided to do it like gifts in a jar, cause some of the younger guys aren't seasoned cooks yet.

So, he found these loaf pans and a silicone spoonula (spatula that's rounded). He made a batch of beer bread that only needs beer and butter added. Then he loaded those ziploc bags with the dry ingredients. I helped him by printing out the directions with pretty holiday border.

He said the toothpick doneness-test would be the hardest part for the guys. So, he included one. For fun.

You can see I missed a few things in the list, he just wrote it in. Guys don't stress about that sort of thing.

Sometimes I think we can learn a few things from guys that way.
Aren't they cute?

Uh. I mean, manly?
Then he wrapped them in these fun holiday bandana's. See the snowflakes on them?

I think this was a super cool idea. He's just really cool that way.
Here's his recipe. He made a smaller version of it because the pans he bought weren't as deep than the ones we have.  So, you have it two ways. One way you use a whole beer, the other, only a cup.

I'll rewrite it for you. The amount in parenthesis is the smaller recipe.
Full Recipe: Dry ingredients only
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (1 cup)
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (1 cup)
3 teaspoons baking powder (2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt (1/4 teaspoons - heaping)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (1/4 cup - scant)

That's what you put in the baggies (or large jar)

Directions for mixing and baking:
Full Recipe: (amount in parenthesis is smaller recipe) (again)
1 beer - full bodied dark or irish red (1 cup)
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine - half stick (no change) (you could do a tablespoon less)

Preheat oven to 350
Lightly grease loaf pan (Pam)
Pour out dry ingredients in large bow.
Add 1 beer ( or 1 cup if using smaller recipe)
Mix well, mixture will be thick
Pour into prepared loaf pan
Pour melted butter over batter, do not stir
Bake in preheated oven for 50 min(45)
Check doneness with toothpick - if it comes out clean it's done
Drink rest of beer while loaf is baking (unless you did the larger recipe), additional beer drinking is optional, but recommended

He made a test batch to check his measurements. It was yum!

But I drank the rest of the beer, not him.

I also wanted to share a cute little crafty thing I did.

What? I have a life outside baking?

Not lately.

The fireman had no stocking, never did have one. He always made one for the kids, or bought new ones each year. Young boys are destructive.

So, when we got married, I had one from when I was a kid. Then Mom made me a new one last year, cause my old one is felt and she wanted me to have a newer one.
So, we had 5 stockings, none for him.

He protested, saying he didn't need anything in his stocking. He's a giver, not a receiver. Makes him feel uncomfortable. He'd be totally fine not getting anything for Christmas.

Sooooo too bad.

So, I figured he'd like a rustic stocking. Something manly.

I made this.

Actually, it was easy!

I found the red plaid (totally manly) and laid my stocking down on top of it and pinned it. I then cut the plaid about a half an inch larger than my stocking. This is for the stitching.

Then, I cut another plaid piece, the same size, using the first plaid as a pattern. I matched up the plaid a bit, but that's no biggy. Also, if your plaid has a front and a back, put your first plaid piece face-to-face with the other plaid piece.

Plaid, plaid, plaid, plaid. I don't think I've ever written plaid that many times.

Then I laid the denim over the toe area to see how big I wanted it. I left the edge by the plaid about a half an inch more covered than I wanted it, and cut the toe area to match the plaid rounded edge. Make a second from this pattern face-to-face again.

For the toe I folded under the half inch hem (that faces the plaid) and stitched a line to hem it. Then I stitched that line right to the plaid, right on this front side. The rounded part will stitch together when I put the two stocking halves together.

Do the other stocking half.

Then I figured out how big to make the heel area by laying it over the denim and marking it. I wanted just a basic corner, again about a half an inch larger than I wanted it on the edges that touch the plaid only. Make a second one for the other stocking. I folded those edges down and hemmed them both (just a stitch down so it won't unravel), then laid it on the plaid and stitched it down on or near the same line. This leaves the unstitched denim edge matching your plaid edge. Again, it will stitch in when we put the two plaid pieces together.
It's not perfect, no big deal. I used a zigzag stitch here, straight would be fine, too. Colorful would be fine, too.

Do the other stocking half.

Then for the top fold over, I did it a little differently. You could do the same thing here, but I wanted it to have a fold. So, I laid my denim over it to get how big it needs to be, again about a half an inch longer (down the stocking) than I wanted it. The top and sides will be just cut to match the stocking pattern. I then hemmed that piece, but I didn't stitch it down the the plaid like the other pieces. You totally could.

Then, take your top denim edge with the face side up, lay it on the table. Then take the stocking, facing up, and lay it on top, matching up the sides and top. Pin it. Make a stitch across the top only of the stocking. When you flip the denim over to the top of the stocking, they will both be right side up and the top edge will be smooth and hemmed.

Do the same with the other stocking.

Now take the two stockings, finished except for the edges and lay them face to face. Pin it to keep from slipping. Stitch about a half an inch away from the edge all around the stocking, EXCEPT for the top. We want it open!

Then turn it right side out. Viola!

You could use thick ribbon or cording to make a loop for hanging. I cut a rectangle of denim, folded it half lengthwise, stitched the raw edge, turned it inside out and handstitched it to the stocking, inside the stocking.

He totally loved it! And it only took me, like 30 minutes to do. So, now Santa has something to put fun presents and candy in for him.

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