Sunday, September 28, 2014

Weekly Granola: Almond Hazelnut Granola

Lets talk procrastination. I'm doing it now. Instead of studying for the GRE, I have decided to update my blog. Recently while procrastinating, I  was reading an article on procrastination (I know, meta) that has made me think of procrastination in a new light. I am a heavy procrastinator. If something needs to get done, I do it, but most things I find hard to concentrate on. Yes, there are countless sources who say it is an epidemic of our time, a side effect of my generation, but I have decided to see it in a new way.


In the western world, we have grown to think of how we view time as natural. Time is unquestionable in its nature and is the foundation of perspective. But there are cultures who see/experience time differently. I have recently been reading a book that has made me question how I view the world sensuously. My boyfriend, for example, is quick to explain bodily and natural phenomena through science. While this can lead to a certain level of satisfaction and understanding, ultimately it cripples your ability to feel, or in other words, to live in the moment.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Happy Friday



I hope everyone has a happy and relaxing weekend. I for one am ready to sleep in on Sunday!

Here are some links to enjoy.

I want to eat this salad.

Lately I have been obsessing over eggs.

Get my drink on.

I want this book.

How do you guys feel about savory waffles? I haven't decided..

One way of looking at being in your mid 20s and still not knowing what to do (me).

More eggs.

I love her attention to detail.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Weekly Granola: Pumpkin Pie Spice

In Florida, we get the short end of the fall stick. While every food blogger is posting inspiring recipes for the season, I sit here in humidity and heat wondering where all of this festivity is coming from. I don't think the season creep is helping. It seems like August ends and people are breaking out the Thanksgiving decorations.


I miss experiencing the transformation of the seasons, but living here in Florida has taught me to appreciate the small changes. Now in the mornings I notice the ground cools enough over night for a light layer of dew to settle. And my car is no longer 101 degrees when I first get into it. It's the little things.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Hey all! Just a quick update.
I joined Bloglovin! I don't know if any of you use it, but basically it what I term the girl version of The Awesomer. Not to say that The Awesomer is inherently "male", but instead that Bloglovin is more of a food lover, fashion lover, blog stalkers dream. So head on over and follow me!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

An Update, with Cookies

Where have I been? Where have I been. Around I guess. My inspiration for blogging just sort of fell through. That isn't to say that my desire to blog was not there (I think about it almost everyday), but I couldn't summon the urge to write a post.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lemon-Poppy Seed Biscotti

I like rituals. They give me a peace of mind. They settle me into a permanence that I can take comfort in. It's not that I don't like change; instead, it is because rituals excite change that I like them. I love the ritual of coffee, the familiarity of its taste. I used to have a working espresso machine, and I must say, it was one of the best purchases I made. I used to enjoy grinding the coffee beans, packing my espresso, and watching it extract to form a crema. I enjoyed how hands-on the process was, how involved I had to be to get my morning cup. With it broken (R.I.P), I now must resort to buying espresso, and while it is no great inconvenience, it is expensive.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Brown Butter, Sesame Seed Banana Bread

Sometimes, I feel homeless. Not in the sense that I do not have a home--I do--but because I do not have a space that is all mine. Is that selfish? To have a comfortable home surrounded by people you love and yet still feel discontent?


 I don't know.

But the thing is I share everything. My room, my closet, my bed. There isn't a corner that is mine to personalize or a space to escape to.

Once I moved away from home to go to college, and since then came back, home has not felt like home used to. I have been told that once you move away coming back is not the same and I do believe that. Eventually I will be able to afford my own place, or at least space, but until then I will have to quiet myself with knowing that all things have their time.


There are certain smells whose essence conjures the nostalgia of home. Fresh baked banana bread is one of those. It smells of warm, ripe bananas, cinnamon and clove. This is a one bowl, no mess bake that requires some old bananas and no patience. Just mix with a spoon, bake, cool, eat. I like baking like this: simple, no frills.



This recipe is a combination of herehere, and here. This recipe is my go to banana bread at all times. We used to make it all the time at the restaurant. I wanted to add a little something extra to it this time though, and since I love brown butter and sesame seeds, I decided to combine everything into one bread. If you don't have sesame seeds, don't worry, its not essential. However, I will admit that their nuttiness adds something extra to this bread. Ripe bananas are a must, so buy some extra bananas next time you are at the grocery store and give them a few days on the counter.


Brown Butter, Sesame Seed Banana Bread

In one bowl combine

3-4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup browned butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
pinch of clove
1 1/2 cup of A.P flour
1/4 mixed sesame seeds

Bake at 350 for 40-50 min until toothpick in center comes out clean.




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New Glasses

I've never bought glasses online. I must admit, I was kind of nervous, thinking that the prescription wouldn't be right or that they wouldn't fit my face. But, I was wrong. BonLook makes the process of buying glasses online so easy and painless that I doubt I will ever buy glasses anywhere else again. 

You can virtually try on all glasses to see which one fits your face best, and if you don't like the glasses, you can return them for free!

Plus, if you sign up for their e-mail promotions you will get coupons as well as the occasional free sunglasses. 

I'm not a huge promoter/advertiser, but when it comes to something I thoroughly enjoy/believe in, I feel like I should share. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Travel: Weekend in Atlanta

This past weekend myself and a few friends decided to pack our bags and drive to Atlanta. I had always wanted to visit the Aquarium and since we couldn't think of a could reason not to go, we all decided to just do it.

It was a weekend packed with food, sight-seeing, and hiking. While in a way I am glad to be back home, I also miss the excitement of travel.



My favorite part to the trip had to be the Georgia Aquarium. Recently bumped down to the 2nd largest aquarium  in the world, the Georgia Aquarium does not disappoint. I could sit for hours watching the whale sharks swim. The price is relatively affordable for all you get to see, and if you are in town for more than a few days, I recommend the city pass. Go early if you can because the lines get long and if you can avoid it, don't go on a weekend.


Next on our list was The World of Coca-Cola. To be honest I am not a huge coke drinker, so going here was more for the novelty of saying I had been. Would I go back? No, probably not. But, if you have never been I would recommend going only because the price is cheap and you do learn a lot about the history of Coke as well as all the ways they trail-blazed advertising. Also, you get to sample all the coke products you want from around the world. This one was my favorite.

Since we only had a few days we were limited in what we could do. We did visit the infamous Vortex Burger (and we waited over an hour for a table.) I went in to pastry heaven, attempting to sample every bakery I could get my hands on. Octane Coffee had my favorite pastries, if only because of how cheap and cute they were. If I lived in Atlanta, I would probably find myself going there regularly. I also went to my first ever improv show. We decided on Dad's Garage. The atmosphere was intimate, the location convenient, and I would recommend going to anyone looking to have an inexpensive good time.

All in all, I really enjoyed Atlanta. There is so much to see and do. If you are close (or even if you aren't close) do try and go. You won't be disappointed.

P.S:























Stone Mountain. Don't be like me and think it is just some rinky-dink rock that you can get away with
wearing riding boots to climb. Big mistake. Wear comfy shoes and enjoy the gorgeous views.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Let's Talk Bread: Chocolate Sourdough

Sometimes life gets you down. You begin your day just fine, going about your usual activities, anticipating the moment when you get to release from the stress of the day and enjoy yourself, until suddenly--no--there is no release, everything has changed, and the moments before are now so long ago, and so strange.
This week has been a whammy of emotions. I made this sourdough last week before I got caught up in the panic of time. I had wanted to make this bread on Valentine's Day but it never worked out. I've been having an issue recently with all of my sourdough breads coming out too dense. You can see in the pictures that the dough is what I call "tight": little to no airbubbles, with the insides compressing together. Although the particulars of the bread are not perfect, the flavor is spot on.


I love a chocolate, crusty bread. It's like two worlds melting into one, where you want to say that it shouldn't work but somehow it does, and it tastes so good.

The dough is not sweet. There is no sugar in this recipe. The slight sweetness comes from the occasional chocolate chunk or cranberry, but other than that, it is just dark, rich chocolate with a tang of sour.

Because I used cocoa powder, I added instant yeast. Cocoa powder can inhibit the natural yeasts in your starter, so the instant yeast helps it along. Fold in the chocolate chunks and cranberries at the end, do not do so during kneading or you will tear your gluten.


Bake this and be prepared for your house to fill up with the aroma of warm, melting chocolate and dark crusty bread.

Chocolate Cranberry Sourdough

1250g Bread Flour
.75L Starter
112g Cocoa Powder
36g Salt
11g Instant yeast
65g Coffee, cool
500g Old Dough
500g Chocolate Chunks
500g Cranberries
add water to right consistency (window-pane).

Mix and knead all of your ingredients together. I chill this overnight and then let it rest the next day before baking. Bake at 450 with steam until dark.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 22: An Act of Kindness

I made this bread yesterday for my coworkers. Chocolate Cranberry Sourdough. I never made so many friends at once. Stay tuned soon for the recipe!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 21: Funny

My cat's not amused face when I try to take her picture.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Brownies


I think everyone has an opinion on brownies. It's just one of those things. Similar to politics (sort of).

 Some people like their brownies fudgy. Some don't. Some like nuts in theirs. Other people find that gross.

I'm a brownie purest. Don't put anything in my brownies. And if they have the texture of cake, I'll eat them, but only out of principle. Biting into a brownie and realizing its cakey is like biting into a oatmeal raisin cookie thinking its chocolate chip. It's a day ruiner.


I also prefer brownies made with cocoa powder. It lets me control the sugar/fat content of my brownies and adjust depending on what I want. Plus, it usually results in a deeper chocolate flavor. The result is a brownie with a barely flaky crust and moist fudgy interior.

Brownies are a one pot project that are extremely easy to make and don't require much time. There really is no excuse not to make brownies. I mean, can you think of one?

I realized that I hadn't done a recipe on here with chocolate, which is not like me at all considering I am a chocoholic. Like exercise, eating chocolate gives me endorphins. Or so I tell myself.


Anyway, make these brownies (or don't). But I promise that if you make them, they will brighten your day just a little. Unless you burn them. Then, I can't help you there.


Cocoa Brownies
Adapted from here

Some pointers:
-I doubled this batch. I recommend that you go ahead and do the same.
-The original recipe calls for using a double boiler. Pft, who has time for that?
-The whole "stir for 40 strokes": you are doing this to form gluten. These brownies have very little flour, so you need to encourage extra gluten development. You don't have to count your stirs, just keep this concept in mind.

In a pot over low-medium heat combine:
  10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3/4 cup sugar
  1/2 light brown sugar
  3/4 cup cocoa powder
   pinch of salt
  1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt these ingredients until smooth and and slightly hot to touch.

Take off heat and add in one at a time:
2 eggs

Last, add in:
1/2 cup A.P flour

Once the flour is incorporated, stir for an additional 40 stirs with a wooden spoon. Poor batter into your sprayed and lined pan. Bake at 325 for 20-25 mins. For a double batch it took over 30. You want a toothpick when inserted in the middle to barely have batter on it and the batter should be set.


Photo Challenge Day 18: Magic

Magic: how walnuts turn purple when baked.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Sixteen: Create


I went off the grid these past two days. I apologize. To return, another photo.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Thirteen: Perfect

I don't really see things as perfect. I'll have moments of "oh, this is perfect", but those moments are more of a feeling than a realization. Nevertheless, when I look at nature, I can see no reason to find anything wrong with it. My basil plant I decided to grow a while ago has been the most resilient plant I know. For lack of a better word, I find it perfect.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Eleven: Out & About

This picture was taken before the endless rain and thunderstorms that took up the rest of the day.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Eleven: Mistake

I made a lot of mistakes today: I messed up a brioche, I got scolded at work, I didn't spend enough time with my parents, I procrastinated on studying for a test, I didn't take enough time to appreciate my boyfriend--the list goes on.
But, one mistake I did not make today was going out and having a margarita. It was nice. It felt good.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Let's talk bread: Rye Bread

Lately, I've been in a rut. Mostly because I'm stuck in the endless cycle of work/sleep. My days off fall during the week when no one is available. And baker hours suck. I get in these ruts of hating my job and the habits it puts me into.

While I may not like all aspects of my job, there are a few things about it that I enjoy. The main one being bread. I get to make some awesome bread. I sometimes forget how much I have learned in the past two months, and how much of it I have had to teach myself. 

I work by myself. Everyday, at 5 am I come in, turn on the ovens, get my mixing bowls, and start measuring out all the breads I have to make that day. Baguettes, brioche, white toast, rye baguettes, ciabatta, the list goes on. It's stressful, but I like the product I am making. While the world is just rising, I am in my small bakery creating dough that will eventually turn into bread others will eat.
I cannot stress enough how important time is when bread baking. It is your number one ingredient. You have to have the patience to let your bread be. For this rye bread, time is all it takes to let it fully develop and come out tasting great. 

While I may not have a recipe for this rye bread (mostly because the recipe isn't mine to share), I can offer a few words of advice.

-As I said earlier, rye bread needs caraway. Its something you can eyeball. I mix my caraway seeds in with my bread, but you could top it with the seeds instead.
-If you do choose to put seeds in your bread, make sure you wait till the last few minutes of mixing. Otherwise, the seeds will tear the gluten and create a tough bread. 
-Use old dough in your recipe. Old dough creates flavor. If you don't have old dough, don't worry about it, but if you do, use it!


So while I go on being in my rut (and getting over myself), bake and enjoy some rye bread. Rustic and nostalgic, rye bread is true comfort. 


Photo Challenge Day Nine: Details

 Ignore the bigger picture for a moment and instead concentrate on the details: the cracks in the crust, how the tips are baked to the darkest of browns, the flour marks, and the way the bread opens up where it was scored. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Eight: Water

So I had this plan where I was going to come home and make some fruit water and photograph it and explain how awesome it tastes, but then I took a nap. And then it was dark. And then I realized I still needed to take a picture. So here is my poor lighting take on water.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Seven: Utensil

This photo prompt stumped me. I don't have a favorite utensil, nor one that I overly use (besides a fork). Nevertheless, I do have a weakness for vintage cookware, and these pink spoons are among my collection.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Five: Square


Square-ish books I've been reading.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Four: Childhood


PB&J: No matter how old I am, it will always be my favorite.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sugar Cookies


I had the day off today. Well, technically, I just took it. Sometimes, taking time for yourself is the best medicine.

Although I bake for a living, I almost never bake at home. I used to love it. I was the person who had an extra fridge just to keep my extra 50lb bags of flour and sugar. I got excited in kitchen stores and bookmarked every top ten food blog. It was an exploration in creativity, a new means of expressing myself.

Now, not so much. I bake at work and that's it. I still find myself fantasizing about what recipe I want to try next, or new ways to make an old favorite better, but when it comes to actually getting in the kitchen and baking, I turn the other way. I think it has to do with the monotony of doing it everyday. I didn't want baking to be the only thing I did, the only thing that defined who I was.

Part of the reason I decided to start this blog is to try and revive that old love. No matter how old I am, or what I do, baking will always be a form of expression. And so, to keep it simple, I give you sugar cookies.

I believe that everyone should have a few basic recipes that are reliable. Sure, crazy cookie recipes are fun, but the basics are what you fall back to when you need to impress a boyfriend, create a good first impression, or what you bring to a family dinner. Why? Because its what everyone loves. Besides chocolate chip, sugar cookies live in the realm of classic. A good sugar cookie is just barely baked, melts in your mouth, and provides just the right amount of sweetness without being overbearing.

These cookies fall into all of those categories. Within an hour, you can have all of them baked, cooling on your counter, and ready to be enjoyed.

Sugar Cookies

Cream together: 
2 1/2 sticks of butter
1 cup sugar

Add in:
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Combine together then add to butter mixture:
2 1/2 cups of A.P flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes depending on size.
I rolled mine by hand and dipped in sprinkles. But if you wanted to roll out into a shape, let the batter cool in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling.



Photo Challenge Day Three: Orange


Fun with sprinkles. Because, why not bake cookies on your day off?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Two: Favorite


My favorite cuddler, cord chewer, constant meower, eating machine, and friend.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Photo Challenge

This blog is all about enjoying the everyday things you create, whatever that may be: food, photos, art, etc.

I just recently got my camera and I am new to the whole camera culture.

I'm currently that person who is out with friends taking twenty minutes to photograph a flower as I play with all of my settings.

It's embarrassing.

So, to help myself (and those who are out with me) I've decided to embark upon a photo challenge.



If you haven't seen this yet, I recommend you give it a try!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Let's Talk Bread: Sourdough

To start things off, let's talk about bread.

Sourdough bread, to be exact.


To me, sourdough is one of those things I crave when I want something a little more substantial than just regular white bread.

It adds a little zing to whatever accompaniment.

And also, its simple.

If you already have a starter (if you don't, some Google research should get you started) then  making this bread is only a matter of time.

Literally.

Its just about waiting.


All bread comes from patience. You need to just let it be. Don't rush good bread. I start this sourdough the day before I want to bake it. That might sound tedious and like one of those things you have to plan, but it isn't. Take your starter out of the fridge, let it get nice and fresh (you can autolyse your flour and water while you wait), and then get started.


I do not have a recipe for this bread: I use a ratio. Basically, take whatever your weight is of flour and decide what percentage of the flour weight you want the starter to be. The higher the percentage, the more sour the taste. Please keep in  mind, that a little goes a long way. Don't jump from 50% to 70%. I used a 50% weight of sourdough to the weight of my flour. For the salt, a good rule of thumb is 25 grams of salt per kilo of flour. (Sorry no cup measurements here, people.)

I don't measure water (usually). Feel your dough and decide when you think it is ready. The dough should be a little sticky and should pass the window-pane test.

Once you have mixed your dough, put in a sprayed bowl, cover, and let it do its thing overnight. Take it out first thing in the morning, portion it, round it, and let it rest on the counter for one to two hours. Basically, you are just wanting to relax the dough. Eat breakfast or watch T.V while you are waiting. I then shape the dough into the final shape that I want, let it relax again in this form for about another hour, and then bake at 450, with some steam, until it is nice and dark.

So go forth, bake some bread, and enjoy your fresh-sour creation.
 
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