Average Joe Artisan Bread Kit

Believe it or not, I am not a professional chef. The word ‘artisan’ would not be associated with my name! I am your typical ‘average Joe’ cook and baker who enjoys working in the kitchen. But, when a friend introduced me to the Average Joe Artisan Bread Kit, I suddenly believed I could bake a beautiful loaf of bread (without a handy bread machine and mix!).

Average Joe creator Joe Bellavance perfected a very obtainable method of baking bread with his bread pot and step-by-step instructions. I will warn you, baking this bread does require time and patience, and you have to be committed to following the steps! But, trust me; you can do it, and it’s worth it!

You must give yourself about 30 hours before you will eat and enjoy the bread. Day one is easy: mix the ingredients and let the dough rise for 18 – 24 hours. Day two requires your attention to detail. This is when you’ll shape the dough, let it rest one more time, then bake it! After it cools, it is then yours to devour!

For the past 26 hours, I have been in bread baking mode. I have successfully created a loaf of bread that will accompany the soup I’m preparing for dinner tonight! Here is the photo diary of today’s Average Joe adventure…

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I strongly believe that a few more times working with the kit, I’ll become a rival of any bakery. (That’s confidence, not arrogance!)

Click Here for the Average Joe Artisan Bread Kit website to learn more about the company and to shop the products.

They offer a very nice gift edition that has everything you need. However, the set includes kitchenware that most of us already have, including measuring cups. In my opinion, the best option is the Cook’s Edition set with the Bread Pot. A bundle is available on the website. With this set, you’ll get the mandatory bread pot and the box that contains the instructions, recipes, and ingredients for your first few loaves.

This is a great gift for the amateur baker in your life. It would be a great housewarming gift for those that you know enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen. It would also be a great addition to your kitchen if you enjoy a fun challenge, and a delicious loaf of bread for all of your hard work!

The kit also includes instructions and recipes for pizza crust! That’s what I call ‘bonus’!



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98 Days Until Christmas

The weather is finally cooling off here in Northeast Indiana, and fall is in the air. Which can only mean winter will soon follow, and Christmas will be right around the corner! The ‘planner’ in me rushed to the calendar today to see how many days until Christmas…98 days…the countdown is on!

I have a long list of family and friends who are on the ‘Nice’ list. So, with 98 days remaining, I want to stay ahead of the game and get organized for the gift giving season!

Christmas Clock

I do not believe that gifts are the reason for the season, but I do believe that God’s Gift is, and He is gracious enough to allow us to celebrate His Son. Therefore, I find it all the more important to be a thoughtful gift giver!

I’ve learned a lot from other cultures and religions. Celebrations that honor miracles and produce intentional, thoughtful gift giving are inspiring. And I’ve appreciated how people who don’t necessarily believe in a religion still celebrate the love and the joy of their family and friends.

So, no matter how you celebrate, or who you celebrate, chances are you’re going to buy a gift this holiday season. Here are a few tips to help you this year:

1. Make your list! Check it twice. Who do you need to buy a gift for?

2. Make a budget. Look at your list, and look at your bank account. Be realistic about how much you can spend this year.

3. Write notes on your list. Next to each gift recipient, jot down likes, hobbies, passions, etc. Make note of anything they said they’d like to have lately. Also, make sure to include notes about any achievements or changes in their lives since the last time you bought them a gift. For instance, if your niece Suzy just got married, you’ll need to consider her significant other on your list now, and she probably doesn’t need a new/another toaster!

4. After you’ve made some notes, determine if your gift idea will be something that needs to be ordered or personalized. Those gifts will require more time for customization and shipping compared to a gift you pick up at a retail location. Always be aware of how many days you have until the day you must present the gift!

5. Always remember that it really is the thought that counts. You don’t have to break the bank to prove you love someone. (Even someone like me, contrary to popular opinion!) With that in mind, make sure the gift is something that the recipient will enjoy, not something you would enjoy or you think they should enjoy!
You may want to consider going in with someone for a gift. My sister and I are notorious for teaming up on gifts. Our money together opens up better possibilities for the recipient!

6. Once you begin purchasing gifts, don’t forget to write down what you bought for each person. Keep track of your purchases and your budget. I have been known to overbuy because I forgot I purchased something 3 months ago! It’s never too early to start a list!

7. Check local newspapers and social clubs for holiday market listings. You might find exceptional gifts that are unique to you and those on your list.

8. Wrapping is all about presentation! Don’t overlook the final touches to your gifts! Let it show your style and your personality!

9. After the gifts are unwrapped, and the egg nog is gone, take note of their reaction to your gift and the other gifts they received. Did you hit a home run? Is there something they received that you could add onto next year?

I think gift giving is an art. And with thoughtful preparation, you can be the artist! Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek advice!

Be looking for gift recommendations and Top Ten lists on our blog as the holidays draw near! We’re here to help!

– Kristin


If you haven’t been introduced to SCOUTMOB yet, let me introduce you! 


SCOUTMOB is a brilliant website which showcases intriguing gifts and decor. The goods lean more to the trendy, retro, rustic, hipster styles. Handmade items are available, as well as gifts that can be personalized. 

I love this website because the gifts are unique, and everything I’ve purchased from them has been just as good, if not better, than it was presented on the website! Plus, they offer great discounts and coupons!

If you are having a difficult time finding a good gift for a fella, there are some great finds on SCOUTMOB. From mustache wax to bow ties, and flasks to leather goods, the website has rare ‘for him’ finds.

SCOUTMOB also allows you to choose your location/city to help you explore a town creatively! Use this feature to get a feel on a city’s scene. This is especially fun for fellow foodies!

Happy shopping!