Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A New Blog

To be in keeping with my new life, I have started a new blog! From now on I will be blogging at Feathering The Nest. Please come by and leave me a comment.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Jonathan and Emily July 4 2009

All my life I've been wondering if this moment would come

Getting ready

Wondering if I'd go through life all alone

Waiting for his bride

So I asked God above me who has mercy so free

Entrance of bride

In His goodness would He give someone to me

Giving away of bride

As my days turned to seasons, and the seasons to years

Pastor's message

No sign did I see that my prayer He'd hear

My sister, Alison and a dear friend, Rachel, singing Someone

But my Father in heaven knows just what's best to be

Jonathan saying his vow. Jonathan's Father prayed after he said his vow, and my Father prayed after I said mine.

And in His way, on His day, He sent to me

Me saying my vow.

Someone to hold me when the nights are so long

With this ring I thee wed...

Someone beside me to help me go on
First kiss

Someone to love me and to give my heart to

Mr. and Mrs.!

I asked for someone, God gave me you!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's Almost Time!

There are only eleven days left until my wedding! We are very busy finishing up all the last minute projects. My blogging will be put on hold until after my wedding, honeymoon and moving. When I come back I will be a Mrs.! See ya later.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Anyone that has ever grown zucchini knows that when zucchini comes, it comes! You have zucchini everywhere! We have zucchini growing in our garden, and several friends are growing it too. And since we have a big family, we can eat a lot of zucchini, right? Oh, yeah. This morning we ate zucchini muffins for breakfast, last night we had stuffed zucchini for dinner, and the night before we had stir fried zucchini as a side dish. Sure, we can eat up that zucchini! Here is a recipe that a friend made for a church dinner recently. It was so delicious that I asked her for the recipe! I haven't made it yet, myself, but it looks very simple. This recipe actually calls for yellow squash, but they can generally be used interchangeably in recipes. These recipes that call for grated squash are good for overgrown squash that have lots of seeds in the middle, because you can cut them out before you shred it.

Squash Pie
2 cups grated yellow squash
1 small onion, chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup biscuit mix
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Cavender's all purpose Greek seasoning

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into 10 inch pie plate, buttered or sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350* for about 30 minutes, until set and lightly browned.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Ridiculous Experiment

Have any of you ever noticed the button on your dashboard where you can change the language? Well today, I saw it again and thought, wouldn't it be neat if I changed the language, just to see what it looked like, and then changed it right back again? Sounds pretty safe, right? So I hit the button, scrolled through the options, and selected Arabic. The letters looked so cool! Then I hit the wrong button and changed the page I was on. Trouble! My blog read in English, but the header was all in Arabic! And I couldn't figure how to get back to my dashboard. I scurried around hitting random buttons, changing pages but I had no idea what I was doing because it was all in Arabic. Ok, I thought, now I'm done for. My blog is in Arabic, and I can't change it back because I can't read it! So I went and told my Mom what I did. She just laughed and shook her head. "Emily, you are too curious!" Abigail suggested e-mailing a friend that can read Arabic and asking her to help me put my blog back in English. I was about to do so, but I thought I would look at my blog one more time in Arabic, and try to figure out for myself what to do. Then I remembered all the buttons along the top of a blog that say sign in, follow blog, etc. I started randomly hitting these. Finally I must have hit the sign in button, because the page looked exactly like the English sign in one, except that everything was in Arabic. Do you know what? Arabic is backwards. All the things that are on the left of your page are on the right on an Arabic page, and vice versa. So I found the sign in page, and signed in. Then I was at my dashboard. Remember, it was all still in Arabic, so I was stumbling around in the dark. But I managed to recognize that language button. I hit it, and scrolled down to where it said English. Hit the button...ahh. I can read it now. I was so relieved! Have any of you out there ever done something like this? Let me tell you--I'm staying away from that language button! Well, I do know how to fix it now...

Monday, June 8, 2009

An Interesting Link

A friend recently sent me this link for a very interesting article on lactose intolerance. You might like to read it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fried Grits

Have you ever heard of fried grits? I have heard of them since I was a child, in the books I loved to read about pioneers and frontiers people. But I never tried it until just recently. I was just trying it for an experiment, but guess what? It was actually good! It is the only way I know of to use leftover grits, so it's a frugal recipe as well. I guess that's why the pioneer people in my books ate them--they couldn't afford to let anything go to waste!

Take your leftover grits, while they are still warm and pack them into a square container. If you have a lot of grits, you could use a loaf pan, but we never have that many. Refrigerate grits until they have become solid. Take the container of grits and dump out the block of grits onto a plate. Slice off thick slices. In hot bacon grease or olive oil, fry until brown on one side, flip over, and fry on the other side. We like to eat it with maple syrup drizzled on top. It is also good with milk gravy. The other day we had leftover grits and gravy that we ate for lunch the next day. Yum!

I have heard of frying dollops of fresh grits instead of waiting for them to cool. I have also seen a recipe that said to mix the grits with a bit of beaten egg. Hillbilly Housewife has some fried grits recipes if you are interested. I tried frying leftover oatmeal the same way once. It was not as good as grits, but not too bad.

And on a side note, do you know what GRITS stands for?


Have fun! And check out Life As Mom for more frugal ideas.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Benefits of Mulching

Mulching in the garden is very beneficial. Mulch helps to conserve water, especially in dry, windy climates such as where I live in Texas. I have noticed distinct difference in how well the mulched beds respond to a hot afternoon compared to the ones with bare soil. The mulch will look dry on top, but if you feel underneath it, the soil is moist. Mulch also keeps the fruits clean. Rain and watering often splash mud on the plants. A layer of mulch keeps down the mud so you don't have to clean the fruits quite as much. Another benefit of mulching is that it insulates the soil. This is related to the fact that it conserves water. A mulch will keep the soil cool on hot days. And in the fall or early spring, it will insulate the warmth of the day, and keep the soil a little warmer on cool nights. Finally, mulch improves soil health. By mulching, you are adding organic material that will compost over the year, and when you till it in next spring, the soil will be better for it.

I used to think of mulch as decorative wood chips that you put around your flowers. But mulch in the vegetable or herb garden can be so much more than that! This year we are using bought composted cotton burrs. A friend who was moving away gave them to us. But we have also used leaves, rough compost from our pile out back, or straw.
Some people use black plastic around their plants, but I prefer not to go this route because plastic does nothing for the soil.

Try using a mulch on your garden this year and see how much better your garden grows!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wedding Budgeting

Planning a wedding is a big job, and a really fun job, but it can be hard to stay within your budget. When we started planning my wedding, Dad told me I could spend a certain amount of money. While it was great to know how much I could spend, I was a little lost, because I didn't want to spend it all up right away and then be stuck; but I didn't know how to keep from doing that either. So I looked around on line for wedding budgeting ideas, and I found this Easy Budget Wedding Worksheet. They give percentages of the total wedding budget that each part of the wedding should cost. It makes it so easy! Just decide on a budget, use the worksheet to figure out how much you can spend on your dress, flowers, rings, reception, and go shopping. It really helped me to know I could spend X amount of money on a certain category. Since our budget is very small, we cut out things from the planner (like the transportation category--limousines just don't fit into a frugal wedding!) that we didn't want, and used the money in another category. You can use this budget as a spring board to build your own. This budget planner really helped me.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Garlic Onion Buns

I developed this recipe three days ago, and only made a small batch just in case we didn't like them. Well, all the buns got gobbled up, and I made another batch this afternoon! They go especially well with soup. I think they are becoming a new favorite at our house.

1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup warm milk (110*)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup very finely chopped onion (or to taste)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour or grahm flour
about 2 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 beaten egg
poppy seeds

In a 4-quart mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the milk. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing the salt with the flour, and work them into a dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth, elastic, and somewhat glossy.

Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover it with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough into 12 equal size pieces and shape each into a round ball. Flatten slightly. Set the rolls on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cover with a towel and let them rise again for about 30 minutes.

With a very sharp knife or a razor blade score an X in the top of each bun. Brush the buns with the egg, and sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the buns from the baking sheet at once and allow them to cool on a wire rack.

Monday, May 18, 2009

How to turn a pair of jeans into a skirt

The first step is to find a pair of jeans or other pants to use. When I am looking for pants to make into a skirt I look for pants that are slightly snug around the waist and have straight or slightly flaired leg. These styles make a nicer skirt. You also need a large piece of denim fabric, an old skirt, or another pair of jeans to fill in the jeans with. Here I am using another pair of jeans that I cut the legs off of to get a large enough piece of fabric to use. It is fine to sew together pieces of fabric, or make one long seam down the center. As long as you like the look, go with it!

Next you rip out the inner leg and crotch seam. This step is rather tedious, especially if the jeans you have chosen have a lot of top stitching. I don;t pick out every stitch. Usually I'll pick out a few, the rip as far as it will go, then pick out a few more, and so on. That makes it go a little faster. After you have this seam completely torn out, rip out a little of the center front and back seams. The goal here is to make the fabric lie flat. When you have first ripped out the inner leg seam, you will see, when you lay the jeans out, that the crotch still curves up. Keep ripping until it lays flat. Do this in the front and back.

Now that you have everything ripped out, lap one crotch piece over the other. Pin it down, and try it on. If it fits, proceed to the next paragraph. If not, try to determine what the problem is. If you have a "bubble" under the lap over, you probably need rip the seam a bit higher, and lap it farther. If the skirt feels too tight, re pin the lap not quite as far as before. This is a difficult part of making these kinds of skirts. Because just about every pair of jeans is cut a little differently, there is not one way to do this. You just have to keep pinning and trying on until you have the look and feel you want.

Now lay your skirt on the floor or a large table. Spread the legs out so that there is a V shaped opening between them. Take the fabric you are going to use, and lay it inside and under the V. Pin the fabric in. You may need to iron under a seam allowance. Or leave it to fray. Pin the fabric in the front and back, and try the skirt on again. Once again, if the skirt seems to bubble, you have spread the lags too far apart. Re pin the seam with the legs closer together. If the skirt is too narrow, spread the legs a little farther apart. Keep repinning and trying on until you are comfortable with your skirt.

You can see here that I spread the legs way too far apart. They need to be re pinned closer together.

Correctly pinned front

Now you can sew. I usually sew a double seam. One right next to the edge, and again 1/4 inch away. Sew all the way from the bottom up the lap over. Be sure to sew up into the original topstitching, and back stitch to prevent it from coming apart.

All that is left is to hem your skirt. Trim off any excess fabric. I usually press under 1/4 inch, then 3/8 inch, and sew the hem twice. Once right along the edge of the hem, and again 1/4 inch away. Or you could run two rows of stitching around, and leave the edge to fray.

Enjoy your new skirt!

Some other projects I've done.

You can use overalls, too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Card Idea

A few months ago I designed a card that I thought would make a very pretty wedding invitation. Jonathan and I were courting at that point, but I stuck the idea back in the corner if my mind, just in case. When the time came that Jonathan and I were engaged, and I was making the wedding invitations, I knew exactly how I wanted to make them! You could use this design to make any occasion card.

The card base is 8 1/2 by 5 1/2. Make two folds at 2 1/8 inches from each side so that the card opens down the center. Decorate each side with embossing, then a punch. You could vary the design by using rubber stamps, stickers, or rub on's to change the theme.

For more card ideas, visit There Is No Place Like Home.


Since most of my readers are personal friends, a lot of you already know this. But for you who don't...

Will you marry me?


We have been engaged about a month now, and wedding plans are full underway. We have set the date for July fourth. It's coming right up! Wedding preparation is the reason for the sad lack of blog posts. But I have some new ideas, so I should be posting more again. Don't give up on me yet. :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hobby Lobby Coupons

Did you know that you can print Hobby Lobby coupons off their website? They have 40% off coupons on the website for you to print off as you will. The only restriction is one coupon per customer per day! Go here to print your coupon.
For more frugal tips hop over to Life as Mom.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bake Your Own Bread!

I bake all the bread for our family. Mom started teaching me to bake when I was about 9. She was expecting my youngest brother and could not stand for any amount of time. Since then, I have been learning and experimenting, and I love to bake bread. This recipe is a family staple. Mom developed it years ago and I bake a batch at least once a week.

Baking your own bread is a rewarding experience. First of all, you know exactly what is going into every loaf you eat. No preservatives, additives, or ingredients with long unpronounceable names! Homemade bread also saves you money. The last time I calculated the cost of this recipe, it was about sixty cents a loaf. Now you can buy a loaf of cheap all white flour gumminess (is that a word?!) for a small price, but if you're looking for a loaf of really good bread, you can expect to pay at least a few dollars! I think homemade bread supercedes even the very best bakery bread.

This recipe makes 4 loaves. For smaller families, it is easily halved. The bread also freezes well. Put it in a plastic bag or wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and store in the freezer for up to several weeks. Remember that homemade bread does not have any preservatives, so it does not have a long shelf life. It will mold in just two days in warm weather, so it definitely needs to be frozen. You could even freeze half a loaf.

I prefer to knead by hand, but if you have a heavy duty mixer, like a Bosch or Kitchen Aid, feel free to use it. I have found that it is easy to add too much flour when I use my Bosch, so be careful. This dough needs to stay relatively wet.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

3 cups quick cooking oats
9 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, divided
1 cup unpacked brown sugar
3 tablespoons salt
6 tablespoons oil
6 cups boiling water
4 cups white flour
3 tablespoons instant yeast
1 1/2 cup water

In a large bowl, combine the oats, 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, brown sugar, salt, and oil.

Pour boiling water over. Mix very well.

Let sit, stirring occasionally, until oatmeal mixture has cooled to lukewarm. (about 105 degrees) This will take 1 to 2 hours, depending on the temperature.

Mix in 1 1/2 cups the water. Add 8 cups whole wheat flour, all of the white flour and the yeast. Mix until the dough is so stiff you can not stir any more.

You may add more white flour if needed. Turn dough out onto floured counter.

Mix by hand until a cohesive ball of dough forms. This will take about a minute.

Knead for 10 minutes, using additional white flour if necessary. The dough will be very sticky, but try to use as little flour as possible.

Adding too much flour makes dry coarse bread. Use a dough scraper (I just use a plastic putty knife!) to scrape up the dough from the counter and your hands as you knead. Don't worry about the dough sticking to everything.

When the dough feels stretchy, you know it is kneaded enough.

Put dough back in mixing bowl, cover, and put in a warm place to rise.

The dough should double in size and look fluffy. This will take about an hour. The temperature of your house and the humidity levels affect rising times, so you must learn to rely on your assesment rather than a timer. The dough is fully risen when a finger pressed into the surface of the dough leaves an indention.

When the dough is risen, punch down gently, and cut into four equal parts. Grease four 9" by 5" bread pans. To make loaves, pat or roll one part of dough into a rectangle about as wide as your bread pan and a little longer.

Roll up the dough, starting at the narrower end.

Tuck the ends under, and pinch seams to seal. Place seam side down in greased pans.

Cover loaves and let rise until they are crowning over the edge of the pan. This will take from 30 minutes to an hour.

At the end of rising time, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and turn out of pan onto a cooling rack.

Brush the top crust with a little butter if you like. I don't usually do this, but it is a nice touch, and a good way to cover up a loaf that was slightly over baked. Let bread cool completely before storing. If you must cut the bread before it has cooled, remember that the texture will be slightly gummy, and the center of the loaf may sink a bit. The crumb continues to develop as the bread cools. Sometimes I decide it is worth it, though, because warm bread is so good!

Another bread that is so easy to bake is French Bread. We make this a lot to go with spaghetti or casseroles. It is really good spread with butter, sprinkled with garlic and toasted in the oven. And french toast is always a favorite at our house!

French Bread

2 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons instant yeast
6 cups white flour (you can substitute whole wheat flour for part if you prefer)

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine water, sugar, oil, and salt. Add flour and yeast. Mix well.

Turn out and knead 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough on bowl and let rise until doubled.

Divide dough in half. On floured surface, roll each half to a 12" by 15" rectangle. Roll up, starting with the 15" edge.Place loaves on greased cookie sheets. Let rise until doubled. keep and eye on them. They usually rise really fast at this point.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a very sharp knife or a razor blade, make several diagonal slashes across the tops of the loaves. Mix 1 beaten egg and 2 tablespoons milk and brush on the loaves. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds.

Bake about 20 minutes. Bread should be lightly browned. Remove from pans to cool on a rack.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Apron Giveaway!

Lynn, from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures is doing a review of my Etsy Store, Emily's Emporium. And the review includes giving away one apron from my store! Go read the post to find out how you could win your favorite apron from Emily's Emporium! The giveaway will end Wednesday, March 25 at 5 o'clock.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Homes For All

The dog has a kennel, the pig has a sty,
The rabbit a burrow (I don't know just why);
The bee has a hive, and the bird has a nest,
For bossy, the cow, a good barn is best.
The horse has a stable, the chicken a pen,
The cat has a mat, but the wolf has a den;
A cave for the bear, and a hole for a mouse,
But I am so glad that I live in a house!

by Mable Watts

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Even Better Butter

If you read my blog post Better Butter a few weeks ago, here is an updated post. I wrote that I make homemade margarine with 1 cup butter, 1/4 cup water and 3/4 cup oil. I got a comment from Shannon saying that she uses 1/2 cup water. I tried it, and it works just fine! Today I made butter using 1 cup very soft butter, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup canola oil, and 1/2 cup water. This is even better butter!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Natural Dandruff Remedies

I would like to share with you some dandruff remedies that I have used. I have struggled with dandruff for about a year and a half. For me, it is worsened by using shampoos and other hair products that are loaded with chemicals such as laurel sulfates. The first thing I did was cut out the Equate shampoo I was using and switch to Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo and conditioner by Giovanni. It is loaded with essential oils that cleanse and heal the scalp. After every washing, I rinsed my hair with Herbal Vinegar Infusion. (recipe below) A few times a week I coated my scalp with Isoplus Tea Tree and Aloe conditioner. This conditioner is really thick and greasy kind of like Vaseline. I put it on at night, and wash it out the next morning. After following this hair care schedule for about two weeks, my scalp was soft and smooth and my naturally curly hair was shinier and curlier than ever! I still use the natural shampoo, because just washing my hair once with the chemical types makes my scalp start to snow. Now that it is healed up, I don't use the vinegar rinse. (It doesn't exactly smell good.) But I do occasionally use the scalp conditioner.

Herbal Vinegar Infusion
2 cups distilled or spring water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons rosemary
1 tablespoon nettle
10 drops essential oil of tea tree, clary sage, or rosemary
(I used tea tree and added about 5 drops lavender as well.)

Bring the water and vinegar to a boil. Remove from heat. Add herbs, cover, and steep for about 2 hours. Strain, add essential oils, and bottle. Np need to refrigerate. Shampoo hair and rinse, or of not shampooing, wet hair and squeeze out excess. Apply approximately 1/4 cup to wet scalp and gently massage for 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse with cool water. Try to use daily until itching and flaking stops.

Warning: This vinegar infusion reeks while you're making it! I heat bring the water and vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan with a lid. Then when it's time, I crack the lid just enough to pop in the herbs. I put the pan in a place we won't be for most of the day to steep. I haven't found a way to reduce the odor while I'm making it, so I just try to keep it out of the house. After the infusion has cooled, it still has a slight odor, but I don't think it's too strong. I can smell it on my hair until it has completely dried.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Homemade Buttermilk

Did you know that you can culture your own buttermilk? By adding a small amount of store bought buttermilk to sweet milk, you can stretch that expensive store bought jug to several more quarts of buttermilk perfect for baking!

Bring 1/2 cup fresh buttermilk to room temperature. Add 3 cups of water and 1 cup powdered milk. Mix well, pour into a jar, and cover loosely. Let the milk sit on the counter for 24 hours. Then refrigerate.

Buttermilk! It's as easy as that.

Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Finally Finished!

When I was 17 I found a book at our library that was full of pictures of beautiful antique quilts. By the time I got home, I had decided I was going to make a quilt. I sketched out a pattern I had seen, made paper templates, and started in. I used scraps of fabric I had saved from other sewing projects and old clothes for the patches. Soon I had made 30 quilt blocks. Later a friend gave me books of quilt patterns, and I found out that my quilt pattern was called pinwheel. When I read the directions they gave for piecing the blocks, I found that I had done mine in a very difficult way-the directions they gave were much simpler! Slowly I sewed the blocks together, layered the quilt, and hand quilted it. Last Monday I bound it, and now my quilt is complete!

This post is a contribution to Show and Tell Friday at Kelli's House.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sourdough Bagels

Cream of Wheat and bagels has been the regular Sunday morning breakfast at our house for as long as I can remember. Dad and Mom's favorite bagel is cinnamon raisin. My brothers and sisters and I love blueberry. Since I have been keeping a sourdough, I have been on the lookout for sourdough recipes. I was really excited to find Sourdough Bagels on Wild Yeast Blog. I changed the recipe to include whole wheat flour, cinnamon and raisins. Since I did not have high gluten flour, I just used unbleached white flour and the whole wheat. I did not have malt powder either. I have never used these ingredients in bagels, and they always turn out delicious. If you have never used a recipe that is measured by weight before, don't be afraid to try it. I am new to weighing ingredients, but I actually find it easier then measuring by volume. It is so much more precise.

Sourdough Bagels

Yield: 16 bagels, 85 grams each


* Mix: 10 minutes
* Rest: 10 minutes
* Divide/shape: 20 minutes
* Refrigerate: 8 – 12 hours
* Boil: 20 minutes (includes heating the water)
* Bake: 20 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 78F


* 693 g high-gluten flour
* 304 g ripe 100%-hydration sourdough starter
* 308 g ice water
* 2.5 g (7/8 t.) instant yeast
* 13.5 g (2 1/4 t.) salt
* 18 g (1 T.) sugar
* 15 g (4 1/3 t.) non-diastatic malt powder
* 47 g milk powder
* Seeds for topping (optional)
* Semolina flour for dusting
* 1 T. baking soda for boiling


1. Combine the flour, starter, water, yeast, salt, sugar, malt, and milk powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed to combine.

2. Mix on medium-low speed until the dough is very smooth and strong, almost rubbery, about 7 minutes.

3. Turn the dough out onto an unfloured counter and work a few turns by hand. Form the dough into a smooth ball; the surface should feel satiny and tight.

4. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.

5.Divide the dough into 16 pieces of about 85 g each. If you are making plain bagels, form the dough into a loose ball. For cinnamon raisin bagels, press about a dozen raisins into your ball of dough. Sprinkle a small pile of cinnamon onto the counter. Lightly roll the dough in the cinnamon , fold it in half, and roll it a few more times and fold. This will make swirls of cinnamon through the bagel. Form the balls of dough into a loose ball. Cover loosely and let rest 10 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and dust them with semolina.

7. To shape each bagel, poke a finger into the center of a ball of dough. Twirl the ball on your finger to stretch the dough into a bagel shape. Make the circle bigger than you think is necessary, because the bagels rise, and the hole will swell shut if they are too small.

8. Place the bagels on the prepared cookie sheets, slip into a large food-grade plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. I did not want to be boiling bagels Sunday morning, so mixed the dough early Saturday morning, and cooked them Saturday night.

9. In the morning, preheat the oven to 450F.

10. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Do not remove the bagels from the refrigerator until you are ready to boil them. Add the baking soda to the water once it is boiling.

11. Meanwhile, place a cooling rack on the counter with a dishtowel underneath it, and place the topping seeds, if using any, on a small plate in a shallow layer.

Boiling bagels
12. Drop the bagels, three or four at a time, into the vigorously boiling water for 20 seconds. They may or may not float right away, but they should float by the time the 20 seconds are up. If they float right away so the tops are not submerged initially, flip them over about halfway through the boil.

13. Remove the bagels from the water to the cooling rack with a slotted spatula. Let them drain for about 30 seconds before pressing them, top down, into the seeds and replacing them back onto the semolina-dusted, parchment-lined cookie sheet.

14. Turn the oven down to 400F once the bagels are in. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

15. Cool on a wire rack.