Tips for Bending Wood Using Microwave Oven

 

One method for quickly adding heat and moisture to small pieces of wood is to use a microwave oven. As long as the wood and a means of keeping the wood moist can fit into the oven, this is an extremely efficient method for softening wood. Through experimentation, I have found there are several things to take into consideration when steaming wood in a microwave oven.

 

A microwave oven works by focusing tightly shaped radio waves on the water molecules within whatever is placed inside the oven. The molecules become slightly agitated and as a result, they give off heat. A dried piece of wood will heat up quickly when placed into the oven because it still contains enough water molecules to create heat. When the wood is removed, it is very hot, but it dries out very quickly because the water molecules have broken down and so they easily evaporate. This process actually makes a microwave oven a good tool for drying small pieces of wood for turning and other small projects – but only if the moisture content is lowered slowly enough to prevent cracking.

To make the microwave useful for bending, you need to add some moisture to the equation, just as you do when steaming wood. There only needs to be enough water present to surround the wood. Any extra water will just slow down the process. Wood can be wrapped in a soaking wet rag or placed in a shallow microwave-safe bowl with just enough water to cover the wood. There is no set time for heating wood in a microwave, so a little trial and error will be needed. Usually 5 to 10 minutes will do the trick. Keep a close eye on the progress, because if all of the water evaporates …

Paleo Mayonesa

Growing up we were always a “Miracle Whip” family.  To be honest, I don’t even really know what Miracle Whip is.  All I know is that it was sweeter than real mayonnaise, and supposedly “better for you.”

Anyways, both Miracle Whip and mayonnaise contain the same basic ingredients of eggs, soybean oil, vinegar and water.  I am/was/still anti-all mayo-types, but I think Paleo mayonnaise might change my mind.

How do you make mayo paleo?  Remove the soybean oil and substitute it with some real fat.  Bacon fat.  In this case, bacon does make everything better!

Paleo Mayonnaise
Adapted from 21DSD
INGREDIENTS:
1 large egg yolk (pasteurized)
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 cup bacon grease (from 1 packet of bacon)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar and mustard.
  2. Very slowly, using a 1/8 measuring cup, pour in the oil while consistently whisking.  Continue to add oil and whisk until the mixture has thickened (about 8 minutes).
  3.   Cover and chill for up to 4 days.

I plan to use this mayo in an upcoming paleo-rendition of a broccoli crunch salad.  Stay tuned!…

Chocolate Chip Streusel Banana Bread

For a while, I was on the Pinterest hunt for the best banana bread. And I think I just about found it. To me, the best thing in this world, on anything (besides ice cream), is a streusel topping. Pair that with a filling of layered chocolate chips and spiced banana cake, and you have yourself a win (or the best banana bread!).  Bake this in a disposable banana bread mold, wrap in cellophane and tie up with some bakers twine, and this makes the perfect holiday/housewarming/birthday gift!

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chip Streusel
From A Cook At Heart
INGREDIENTS:
2/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
3 very ripe mashed bananas
3 tablespoons milk
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×5-inch metal loaf pan.
  2. For streusel – stir chocolate chips, brown sugar, and walnuts together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Sift all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into medium bowl.
  4. Beat sugar, butter, and egg in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in mashed bananas and milk. Add dry ingredients and blend well.
  5. Spread half of batter in loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of streusel. Repeat with remaining batter and streusel.
  6. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool loaf in pan on rack.

Food Blogger Cookie Swap : Eggnog Snickerdoodles: December – Thing One

This year I learned about and decided to participate in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  And while this blog is primarily about running and healthy living, food makes up a good portion, sweets and treats included.  I mean, it’s all about balance, right?

The Food Blogger Cookie Swap is pretty simple.  You sign up, donate $4 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, get matched with 3 food bloggers, bake, ship out your cookies, receive cookies from 3 different food bloggers and post your recipe!

And today is the day that all the participating food bloggers post their cookie recipes.

For the swap, I made some truly holiday-spirited cookies.  This is a go-to recipe I’ve been making for the past 2 years during Christmas time –Eggnog Snickerdoodles.  These cookies combine the soft and fluffy goodness of a Snickerdoodle with the subtle holiday hint of eggnog and its spices.

I decided to package my cookies in ½ gallon mason jars, which fit 1 dozen cookies perfectly stacked.  I also opted for flat-rate boxes so that the weight of the package wouldn’t matter.

I sent 1 dozen each to 3 different food bloggers (A Kitchen Addiction, Miss In The Kitchen, and Stay And Have A Cookie) and received cookies from Where Has All The Flour Gone, Nicki’s Random Musings and Tales From The Crumb Tray.  I had so much fun making, packaging, and sending out my cookies and it was really exciting to unexpectedly receive a box of mysterious cookies…three times!  I also haven’t baked in a really long time, so it was great to engage in a swap.

Below is my recipe for Eggnog Snickerdoodles if you want to try them for yourself.  You won’t be disappointed!…