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Warning: Picture heavy post….

My new obsession is reading craft and cooking blogs. I’m not sure how this came about, maybe it’s that I’m 32. My theory is that it’s because I’m 32, have a kitchen that I can move in, and I hear that little tick-tock in the back of my head.

So anyway, back to these food and craft blogs. My brother turned me onto Allrecipes.com. That was the catalyst. Then last winter, after I moved into my first grown-up apartment with a living room and bedroom separated by a wall, I got the itch to bake bread. It’s all down hill from there. I started reading all about bread. See, I had never made bread before and I steered clear of any recipe that involved yeast. Sometimes there is this little scaredy cat living deep down inside me and that cat keeps me from doing things that look complicated by telling me that it’s too hard and I might screw it up. Stupid cat. How am I going to learn if I don’t mess up once in a while, right?

Getting back to the topic at hand… I started making bread. I bought some yeast packages and set to work. I screwed up a couple of times. Once I forgot salt. I learned the art of an egg wash. And a little bit of extra flour won’t hurt a thing.

My newest favorite bread recipe comes from Alicia Paulson. I love her site. I want her life. Everything in her kitchen is pretty. She spends her days making pretty things…and her husband helps. (I need to get me one of those.) and they live in beautiful Portland. (I’m dying to visit there.) Anywho…This honey oat bread is AWESOME! It calls for proofing the yeast. To proof the yeast, you mix it in warm sugar water until it bubbles. It’s SO neat!

It goes from this…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To this….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To THIS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure you can see this, but there is about a half inch foam on top. After it proofs, I add a little bit at a time to my flour mixture. I mix it with a spatula until all the liquid has been added. Then I knead with my hands right in the bowl. I’m a little paranoid about rolling and kneading on my counters. I’m having a hard time keeping the cats off the counters and I don’t feel that they ever get clean enough sooo…I knead in the bowl. If the dough is still too sticky after I’ve finished kneading and mixing, I add a tablespoon of flour. I keep one of those big soup spoons in my flour jar for just this occasion. Usually, a tablespoon is the perfect amount.

Don’t you just love my measuring cup? It use to be my grandmothers! 🙂

When everything is mixed, I spray cooking spray in a bigger bowl and transfer the dough. It looks like this….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then cover….

With a wet towel. I set my on the stove because it’s warm. I have a gas range….Love it! The dough rises fast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon it looks like THIS! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And after you bake it, it looks like this!

This is fresh out of the oven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it goes well with THIS! 🙂 

<—Beef stew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just got this dutch oven this week. I was so excited to make this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is ginger ale and was an experiment. Turned out that the BF liked it so much and was so intrigued that yeast could carbonate that he insists that we always have it in the house. This is where the yeast farts come in. When he found out what the carbonation was, he said, “so basically, yeast farts.”

This is our dinner tonight, what’s yours?

Live Long and Prosper!

P.S. I don’t have the perfect apartment nor the perfect life, so please excuse my meager surroundings. I make due with what I have…and I love it all! 🙂

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Okay, I admit it…I’m a geek.

This really isn’t a new revelation. I’ve been a geek for a while, I just didn’t know that all this cool stuff existed for us (read: geeks). My parents are pretty run of the mill when it comes to trends. Both Beatles fans, Dad was a farmer so he’s pretty out-doorsy. Mom’s a teacher…sports fan…crafty. Dad likes westerns and Star Trek. Mom likes mysteries and comedies and old musicals.

I am a mix of both. I like sports, I don’t seek it out and I don’t play, but I keep track of my teams. I would love to go camping and hiking but end up spending more time in the kitchen. I LOVE Star Trek and all things “space-y”. I love old musicals and British mysteries.

I also happen to like really geeky/nerdy tv shows. I’ve been hearing about Battlestar Galactica for years now. I’ve been told my numerous people that I would like it. I took their words of wisdom and Holy Frak! if that isn’t a good show! Right now we are on Season 4 and even though I read through some spoilers… they didn’t prepare me for what was about to happen! I wish that the BF would get off the XBOX so I could watch some Netflix BG. He just got the new Black Ops game and can’t get enough. He got it Thursday and he’s already prestige-d.

Okay…so to go with the theme of the title… I’ll give you some bears and beats. YES! I know it’s suppose to be BEETS, but I’m not Doug Funnie so I’m going to use BEATS…as in music.

Bears… I collect bears…stuffed bears. All kinds of stuffed bears.

Beats….I can’t stop listening to Fiona Apple. Damn my sister for turning me on to her. I mean, I liked Criminal well enough, but it was my sister’s teenage angst that played her albums over and over again and now I can’t stop listening to her…for like the past week.

Also, if you haven’t checked out The Dudes yet, seriously, you’re YEARS behind…catch up. They are AWESOME!

There is something hot about the lead singer….

This is my favorite song of theirs… wish I could find a better recording!

Enjoy!

 

Live Long and Prosper!

In my old life… working for a sonovab****…. I got the wonderful opportunity to organize our participation in trade shows around the country. I fell in love. Then I got the opportunity to attend the largest convenience store trade show in the country… and fell even deeper in love. Maybe it was all the free stuffs, maybe it was all the bright colors, maybe it was all the organization needed, I think it was the perfect storm of all  my favorite things.

This weekend I get the pleasure of attending the National Restaurant Association Trade Show. I am so geeked! I hear it’s a lot larger than the NACS show and more trade related and not so much like an amusement park. I don’t care….there will be food….and beer…and I hope to come home with some free stuffs! 🙂

I have packed our travel mugs with coffee…I have an extra bag tucked away in my purse…and a small knitting project…I’m set. 🙂 I have a free pass for a whole weekend of yummy goodness…. 🙂 I hope the boy still loves me after he sees me go psycho!

Live Long and Prosper!

For months, we Chicagoans cuddle up in our homes, fight the brutal cold and wind, and desperately wish for warm days. That’s really why we stay here. People wonder why live in Chicago when there are so many warmer places to be. Well, I’ll tell you. It’s the summers. The summers in Chicago are intoxicating. It’s worth fighting all the awful winter weather to enjoy summers here. The neighborhood I live in now is SO much better than Lincoln Park. More families, less hipster/trixie types. Although… there are more and more hipsters invading this area. 😦 There is this wonderful park a block from my apartment. I hear BIRDS when I wake up in the morning as opposed to hideously loud car radios and clueless girls on cellphones! I’m afraid that soon we’ll be infested with the young party crowd.

WOW! I’m getting old! LOL Basically, I wanted to say that I have spent all winter waiting for weather like yesterday and so far we’ve had two days like that… and BOTH of them I was sick for! 😦

I hope you were able to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather while it was here.

Live Long and Prosper.

I never feel like I fit in anywhere. I have parts of me that fit in certain parts of society but really, my boyfriend is the only one (other than my family) that truely accepts me for me…even when my worlds collide and I say the wrong thing to the wrong group of people.

I finally figured it out… well, part of it anyway.

I’m interested in a lot of dorky things, Star Trek, Star Wars, knitting, any cheesy sci-fi on TV, ANYTHING written by Joss Whedon…

The other day, the boyfriend brought in the mail… and here were the things I was excited about:

*KnitPicks Catalog
* Barbie Collectors Catalog
* NRA magazine

And here is why I’m the odd-ball!

Something else that drives me nuts, dreaming about ex-boyfriends whom I haven’t spoken to in YEARS and who are married with an ugly baby girl. (sorry, but not all babies are cute..and there may be a bit of jealousy, JUST a bit. I’m sure she’ll grow up pretty.) What do these dreams mean? WHY was I at his wedding? WHY was I the one that he came to when shit started falling apart? WHY did I try to make things better? UGH! Usually I really enjoy my dreams, but this one has set me on edge. It use to be, back when we were “together” that when I had dreams about him, I would hear from him. F*%#! I don’t want that to happen.

Live Long and Prosper!

1/2 cup of butter

4 cups of unpeeled potatoes, sliced

2 cups carrots, sliced

1 onion, sliced

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp garlic powder

3/4 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp celery seed

1/2 tsp pepper

Melt butter, add other ingredients, Stir well.

Cover and cook for 10 – 15 mins.

Uncover and cook until tender about 15 – 20 mins

Add water IF it starts to stick.

This is one of my family’s favorite side dish. Made this last night and just remembered how delicious it was. I would like to share it with you.  Enjoy!

Live Long and Prosper!

Snowy Saturday