Thursday, June 30, 2011

July Goals

Oh my divinity. It is the last day of June. How did that happen? I swear that just a week ago it was the beginning of summer vacation. I have never liked the month of July, usually because it has signified the beginning of the end of summer. Oh well, I will just have to suck it up. And go to the beach as many times as I possibly can. Since another rainy morning is upon us, I am finding myself stuck in the house watching the news (I hope that this kind of t.v. will not melt my brain, I am going to need it this coming school year). I kind of like/love this rainy weather. The sun isn't brutally hot, there is always a good excuse to take a nap at 3pm, and it is perfect movie weather at night, what else can a girl ask for?

Well, since the month of July is upon us, I decided to come up with some goals for the month of July. 

  1. Get a passport (very very important!)
  2. Bake the bread recipe that my Aunt sent me (how lovely!)
  3. Volunteering at least 2 times a week at Hospice
  4. Go on a day-cation with my sister and mom to the outlet malls (yay!)
  5. Write 2 articles to submit to blog sites for publication
I'm sure that there is a lot more to do than just those five things, but right now that is all I can think of! June was a pretty wonderful month! Here are just a few things that I am proud of this past month.

  1. Made English Muffins for my Dad on Father's day.
  2. The women that I work with for my volunteer job love me coming in! It is such a nice feeling to be welcomed and liked only after a couple of times working, even if it is only filing. I know my ABCs.
  3. I bought a skirt. I know this is a weird thing to be proud of but I have not owned a skirt in about 10 years. I just thought that I was not good enough for skirts. But I realized, with the help of my sister aka my shopping buddy, that I can wear skirts and that doesn't mean that I am a weak, dainty girl. Boo yah.
  4. I got hired to work with a catering company. I know, a job where I get to work with food!
  5. I have really worked on my blog and I am proud of that! I know that this blog is young and that I am a young writer but I have realized that I am going to have to work hard for this because this is what I love to do!
I hope that July will be a great month too, even though I know that it will be time for school to start again. This new school year will at least be a new adventure and I am always up for an adventure!

Have a lovely last day in June!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Who is Justice Beaver?

Hey hey hey! So those poptarts from yesterday? Yeah, only two left... That's how you know that you did a good job! I decided to take a break from the sweets today. Don't get me wrong, I have a huge sweet tooth but sometimes a girl needs some space. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Today has been so dreary and rainy! I woke up this morning to a hot and humid day, pretty normal weather. But soon and right before I was about to go out on a bike ride, the heavens opened up. Plan derailed. Despite the icky weather, the house was alive and kicking! We had one of my sister's friends over this morning for breakfast. The girls whipped up huge (and I mean huge) white chocolate chip pancakes. These girls have good taste! Luckily, there was a bit of a break in the rain showers so I got my bike ride in after all!

I really think that we should do a comparison of what my brother eats and what I eat because they different. Today he had a huge plate of pasta and homemade alfredo sauce. He is definitely a good cook, we just have different tastes. Today, instead of alfredo pasta, I made black bean burgers. Woo! I always enjoy a good black bean burger and figured that it would be more cost efficient (not to mention more fun) to make them myself. So delicious! The sister even gobbled one up and gave me a thumb's up. What can I say? I have a way with beans.

Black Bean Burgers

1 can black beans
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped finely
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
3 small cloves of garlic
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp dried parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Rinse beans, put in a medium bowl and mash with a fork until a thick pasty consistency is formed.

Add chopped up green pepper, onion, and garlic, mix.

In a small bowl, beat egg, stir in worcestershire sauce, cumin, and parsley. Add to bean mixture.
Add the bread crumbs until the patties stick together.
Form into 4 balls and shape into a patty.

On a greased cookie sheet, place the patties equally apart. Bake for 10 minutes on each side.

I served my black bean burger on toasted whole wheat bread, spread with 1 Tbsp hummus, and a sprinkle of alfalfa sprouts, so good!!

yum alfalfa!

it's so cutie patootie

My sister made hers in the traditional burger way, with ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and mayo. She said it was super duper wonderful!

On to tackle the rest of the day!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pop Tarts are My Friends

For my sister's 16th birthday (that we missed because she was vacationing abroad) I decided to make her a makeshift cake. Cake? Or pop tarts? I'm thinking pop tarts. Plus, my sister asked for rice crispy treats for her last birthday, so cake isn't really the norm around here. So, yeah, pop tarts! I was so excited to get some baking done! Right now I am in the midst of making helping supervising lasagna being made so hopefully I will not get too distracted or give you the lasagna recipe instead of the pop tart recipe, what an awkward combination.

Homemade Pop tarts
{other source}

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 sticks of cold butter, softened a bit
8 Tbsp cold water

Cinnamon sugar filling:
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1.5 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp all purpose flour

Additional fillings:
Grape Jam

Ready to get to work?

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease two cookie sheets.

In a medium sized bowl mix flour and salt. Cut butter into chunks and add to flour mixture. Use your fingers to break down and distribute the butter throughout the flour mixture. Add one tablespoon of cold water to the dough at a time, mixing after adding. A soft dough should form.

If you live in a warmer climate or in the swamp (like I do) then chill the dough for about 20-30 minutes. This will help prevent the butter from melting and not give you a panic attack when you realize that the dough won't stop sticking to everything and that you are not going to be able to give your lovely sister a birthday present. Trust me, too much of a head ache.

After dough has been chilled, lightly spread flour on a smooth surface. Cut dough in half and roll out to 1/8th inch thick square or rectangle. Repeat with additional dough.

Cut rough edges off around the rectangle and cut your pop tarts. I got 10 out of this recipe (so you will need at least 20 squares, it all depends on the size of the pop tarts).

Spread your desired filling on one square. Top with a semi matching dough square and press edges together with your fingers. Crimp the sides with a fork to ensure that the pastry is fully closed.

Bake for 7-8 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

I melted some white chocolate chips in a small bowl with about a teaspoon of shortening to spread on top and added some sprinkles for the nutella pop tarts. I also drizzled just a tad on the grape jam ones. For the cinnamon sugar filling I melted about a tablespoon of butter and added some brown sugar and cinnamon and brushed it on top. The rest I left plain, for the purists.

Nutella filled with white chocolate spread and sprinkles!

Grape jam filled pop tarts with a tad of white chocolate drizzled

Cinnamon sugar filled!

The whole bunch (minus a couple because they were gobbled up!)

Voila! Delicious pop tart look a likes!

I am so thankful that this summer I am able to spend so much time with my family. Last summer, I worked every single weekend, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. I even had to work on Father's day. It was a disappointing job, my managers did not even remember my name and sometimes had me working until 2am. I really really do not like retail jobs, maybe it is because of these bad experiences, but then again maybe they are just horrible.

Anyways, I realized just how blessed I was this past weekend. It was on Sunday and my sister and I went out shopping. It didn't occur to me until we were driving home that last summer I never could hang out on Sunday's because I was either sleeping in late from my late night Saturday shift or waking up early to start working again. I can really deal without the paychecks this summer. I think that my happiness is more important than a stupid part time job. It is my goal in life to be happy and this summer I have felt just that. Happy.

I love being home to blog and to bake. I love that I have a volunteer job and that I get to workout every morning. I just feel like every day is a new adventure. I even get excited right before I hop into bed in the hopes of just what may happen tomorrow. This is what summer is supposed to feel like. I haven't felt this way in ages. I know that this is one of my last summer vacations because soon I will be all grown up and on my own, so this one is to be cherished. I do cherish this summer, every moment, every pastry, every blog post, and every book that I dissolve my conscious into. Everything. Even the horrible weather!

Like I said, it's lasagna time so I must be off to grate some mozzarella cheese.

Have a wonderful evening and make some pop tarts for someone you love (and yes that includes yourself). They are a bright, sunshiney treat that is sure to make every morning sigh with the promise of a beautiful day.


Just make them!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Up and At 'Em

Helllloooooo Monday!!

Best. Day. Of. Da. Week. Well, maybe not the best day, but hey, sometimes you gotta fake it until you make it.

This morning was kicked off with a ten mile bike ride, super easy. Not really. The hardest part was actually getting on the bike (not literally, I do have the coordination to do somethings) because the motivation level this morning was around an all time low. I woke up at 7am, like usual, and felt like I got smacked with a listless branch while I falling off a volition tree. Yep. No mojo. Half and hour later, with the usual gentle coos that I tell myself to wake up and get going, I did just that. Since we have been bombarded with rain for the past 5 days (not that I am complaining, we are in a drought!), this morning was just as equally gloomy as most of the other mornings this past week, which made it even harder to get up.

Once I got going, after I stopped hurling insults at the world for being up so early, I felt a lot better. I was pedaling to my heart's content and I even felt...happy. Happy, even though it was so muggy I am pretty sure that I half way drowned; happy, even though I thought the heat would melt me like a kebab; happy, even though I was down wind for a while behind a garbage truck; happy, even though I had tried to succumb to every nuance that would make me feel unhappy. It's nice when things like this happen. It's especially nice
when things like this happen on Monday mornings.

Monday's are the start over, the do-over button if you will, to the previous week. A second chance. Today I get to start my volunteer job at Hospice, which I am pretty excited about. I like knowing that I will be helping someone and that I am needed. It's a wonderful feeling, to be needed. i know that it is small and that I will be working in a cramped cubicle, but I think that that is the perfect fit for me. As long as I am helping the world, I am a happy girl.

Happy Monday to all!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy 100th

This is the 100th post of Today is the Day!

Weird factoid, I had a dream that my mom told me that I needed to lose 30lbs. It was such a crazy dream! I was incredulous when my dream-mom looked me in the eyes and told me that, yep, 30lbs would do the trick. I woke up in a panic, wondering just where are the celery sticks and mountain water, breaking out into a rash when I thought about giving up chocolate (blasphemy). Crisis averted, however, when I snapped out of fantasy-quasi-unconscious-dream mode and realized that was just a dream. A ridiculous dream because if I lost 30lbs I would weigh...30lbs less...

My sister and I cooked together the other night, just like old times. She made a great chicken noodle soup because she is the best cook that we have! I, however, made the bread because for whatever reason I have not fully grasped the concept of cooking. Anyways, we made this feast for our mommy dearest because she has developed a nasty cold. The bread that I made is an old world rye bread and has said to be the best bread that I have made so far, what a compliment! I was really astounded when I saw what the bread looked like after baking it, like it belonged in a Panera Bread or something.

Swirly bread with cornmeal and flour sprinkled on top.


Crusty Rye Bread 
(for bread machines)

2/3 cup water at 105-110 degrees F
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 cup of buttermilk
1.25 cup of bread flour
1 cup rye flour
1/3 cup mashed potato mix, dry variety
2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
1.25 tsp salt
2 tsp bread machine yeast

Place all ingredients in bread machine, starting with the liquids and ending with the yeast. Be sure to keep the yeast out of contact with the liquids or salt. Select dough/manual cycle and let it rip!
Remove dough and place on a lightly floured surface, cover, and let rest for ten minutes.
On a greased cookie sheet, sprinkle cornmeal.
Roll dough with hands into a 25inch rope. Curl the rope into a coil shape and tuck the end underneath the dough. Place on cookie sheet and let rise 45 minutes, meanwhile heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush water on top of dough, and sprinkle with cornmeal and a tad bit of flour. 
Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and onto cooling rack.

Well the answers to my prayers have been answered. Hallelujah! It rained today! Since it looked like this:

There was not much to do today except chores, reading, watching the Casey Anthony trial, and (drum roll please!) baking. Today I decided to make white chocolate, cranberry, walnut scones. Can you say yum? The house smells so good! So comfy! Factor in the rain and I may just not get up off of the couch in the near future (and by near I mean ten years). Yes. But, scones were made, thunder was clapped, and rain was poured. 

Decadent White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Heat oven to 400 degrees F

In a large bowl mix in the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Cut butter into flour mixture using two knives until butter is well dispersed.
Mix in the buttermilk, egg, and extracts.
Finally, add in your treats! (chocolate chips, dried fruit, and walnuts)

Lightly grease a cookie sheet and spread the scone dough onto the center of the sheet. Flatten into a circular shape and cut 8 wedges with a serrated knife. Bake for 17 minutes. Let stand for 1 minute.
Once out of the oven, cut scones with pizza cutter along the same lines that you made when cutting with the knife. Remove from cookie tray and place on a cooling rack.


Since the weather continued to rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain the whole day through, dinner was super easy difficult. Oven ready pizzas are just so dang complicated these days. I swear I broke a sweat.

Just kidding :)

Oh my goodness that picture is blurry!

Now to enjoy a rainy evening with a good book, nameste my friends.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Traveling Sister

My sister has come home! Yay! The momster and I went to the airport yesterday to pick her up and spent most of our time waiting for the plane that never seemed to have a distinct arrival time. Never fear, we kept busy by walking around arrivals and riding the moving sidewalks. It was very entertaining!

I am just so glad that my sister had such a great time and that she had a safe journey too. She also came home bearing gifts, such a surprise! For her surprise, I made her favorite meal/snacky poo: macaroni salad. I even made hard boiled eggs, I felt like Betty Crocker! Anyways, it was delicious and I hope that she enjoyed it!

(Egg cracking skills)

(pasta yumm)

From Paris, my sister bought me a tea cup inspired by Marie Antoinette and a poster of the Moulin Rougue.

Also from Paris, my sister bought my mom a bottle of wine

From Germany, my sister bought my brother a t-shirt (no picture available) from a famous brewery. She also got my dad a stein, which went along with our father's day gift of imported beer.

From Switzerland we all got chocolate! yum!

(regine's little butt is in the picture, sniffing out her food in the pantry)

Can't wait to see more pictures of her amazing trip!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Heat

It is hot. No, no, that doesn't cover it. It is brutally blisteringly hot. I checked the weather this morning and the heat index was close to ninety degrees, at 7am...Why? I guess it is the appropriate weather for the first day of summer, woo! It has gotten to the point, temperature wise, that running is no longer plausible. Unless I want to get up at 5am. Which I don't. So, I have been getting by on my granny power walks and long bike rides. I am going to miss running for a while, but absence makes the heart grow fonder right? Hopefully...

Now that it is officially summer, it is time for peaches. Every time that I eat a peach or see a peach I think about Georgia. Which leads me to think of the song by Ray Charles "Georgia On My Mind". Then it gets stuck in my head. Not that I'm complaining. It's just a weird process that I thought I would share. Anyways, me and peaches have been going through a rough patch in our relationship. You see, instead of eating a delicious, ripe, juicy peach I have had the disgusting pleasure to eat a gritty, coarse, dry peach. Gross. So gross that I had to break up with peaches claiming that the problem was me, not peaches (but we all know the truth).

Yesterday, I overcame my previous bad experiences with peaches. I sliced a golden peach open, admiring the amazing burst of color, similar to the fiery rays of a sunset, and fell in love. It was the best peach that I have eaten in years. So I gladly chopped up the rest of the peach, sprinkled the pieces along with blueberries on a bowl of shredded wheat. So good. If I could I would have just replayed my morning over and over again because nothing, not even that delectable little brown square of dark chocolate, tasted as wonderful as that peach.

Now I am a girl addicted. I must have another peach! But, I wanted to try a little something to spice up the peach (not that it isn't amazing just they way it is, I would even sing that Bruno Mars song "Just the Way You Are" song to it) just because I can. So, what I'm thinking is grilled peaches. I have heard of grilling peaches before, but have never experienced them for myself. Mostly because I am terrified of the grill. Maybe because I am not very experienced as a cook, especially on the grill. Open flames and me just don't seem to get along. But this is a challenge that I am willing to take on, full throttle! I just need some help starting up the grill, it's the best for everyone's safety...

Enough about the peaches, I'll have to wait for someone to come home and assist me.

Since it has been so stifling, I decided against baking and for freezing! When I was little, I was obsessed with the freezer. I used to freeze peanut butter, whipped cream...yeah, not so good ideas. But now that I have matured, so have my freezer skills. Today is the day for frozen bananas. I love frozen bananas, they taste better than ice cream. Well, they taste good on ice cream...

Nevertheless, frozen banana time!

Grown Up Frozen Bananas

1/2 banana (or a whole, just use 1 Tbsp nutella, instead of 1/2 Tbsp)
1/2 Tbsp-1 Tbsp Nutella (or chocolate)
1/2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
pinch of shredded coconut

Cut peeled banana in half. Insert a popsicle stick into the bottom of the banana. (Or if you don't have popsicle sticks, use a plastic knife.)
Spread with nutella. Sprinkle with walnuts and shredded coconuts.
Wrap in wax paper and set in freezer for about 6 hours or until completely frozen.

(plastic knife=creativity award)

Yay! Frozen nanners!

Off to beat the heat, stay cool my friends!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

English Muffins

Happy Father's day!

Today started out very early for me, waking up at 6am is something that I am clearly not used to. But I was a girl on a mission, a mission to make english muffins for the family. My plan was to go to bed quite early so that it could be a little easier for me to wake up. Well, that did not happen. I was so excited that we got rye flour that I had to make some! I started the bread around 8:45pm, not really caring that it takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes for the bread machine to do its thing. Whoops. Oh well! The rye bread was so good this morning, along with watching the sun rise, and sipping some hot coffee (because I was not awake, not at all).


Snickers eyeing that piece of bread...

Snickers big fat nose in my camera lens...

The rye bread!


After mixing and kneading the english muffin dough, I went outside to get some pictures of the rye bread in the fresh morning light. Snickers followed me outside and tried her very best in snatching away the piece of bread that I was taking pictures of. Granted, it was on the ground, I guess she just doesn't understand what a blog is. She's darn cute though. Since I was waiting for the dough to rise, I shot some pictures of my Dad's garden. He works so hard in his gardens, and because of that we always have a ton of veggies and pretty flowers.

Dill weed flower


So colorful!

Purple flowers of some sort

Bring on the english muffins!

English Muffin Extravaganza 
Yields six muffins

2.25 cups flour (I used bread flour)
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1.25 tsp active yeast
1 Tbsp butter or shortening (at room temperature)
3/4 - 1 cup milk (enough to make a dough)

In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Mix in shortening and 3/4 cup milk (or more until soft dough emerges).
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about ten minutes, resist adding more flour dough will be sticky but very manageable after a couple of minutes of kneading.
Lightly oil a bowl, place dough ball in bowl and turn it so that all sides of the dough are coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for one hour.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, sprinkle with corn meal. Separate the dough into six equal pieces and roll into a ball. Place balls on cookie sheet, allowing enough room between each so that they have room to rise. Sprinkle the tops of the dough balls with more cornmeal. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise one hour.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F and heat a greased skillet on medium high heat. Add about three of the balls of dough to the skillet, cooking for 5-8 minutes or until nearly burned, flip and repeat on other side.Repeat process until all muffins are browned.

 Place browned muffins on an ungreased cookie sheet.Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from pan immediately, cool on wire rack for 30 minutes.
(They look like the real deal!)

Serve with butter, nut butter, or homemade jam/jelly!

The brother grumbled that they tasted better than store bought (grumbled this because he just woke up...). Thumbs up though from the whole family!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Vegetarian Monsters

Vegetables are magical. Ever heard of Jack and the Beanstalk? Yup, that's what I thought. Anywho, tonight was vegetarian night for me and the momster (the boys practically survive on solely meat so they did not accept our invitation for dinner). We made veggie quesadillas and they were by far the most amazing thing that I have ever whipped up. I first made a quesadilla in home ec in the sixth grade and it was fantastical. Who knew you could make such a cheesy delicious dinner with only a tortilla and shredded queso? I didn't, that's for sure. Sometimes sixth grade home ec really pays off...sometimes.

Very Veggie Quesadillas

Yields 2 servings

1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 small mushroom, chopped
1/4 cup chopped zucchini
grated cheese (as much or as little as you would like)
2 tortillas.

Heat a flat pan on medium high heat, grease with either cooking spray or olive oil.
Cook veggies (start with zucchini, bell peppers, and onions. Add in mushrooms once onion is nearly translucent ~5 minutes). Remove from pan and place in a bowl.

Re-spray pan with cooking spray or olive oil, add tortilla. Spread half of the cooked veggie mixture on one side of the tortilla and sprinkled with cheese. Fold tortilla in half. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until crunchy.

(not crunchy)


Repeat with other tortilla.
Cut with pizza cutter into 3 triangles and serve!

Very delicious with salsa or sour cream :)

Happy Saturday night!

Whole Foods Adventure

I have been wanting to make an awesome rye bread for quite some time now. The only problem was that I did not know of a store that sold rye flour and found that searching the supermarkets was futile. My Mom suggested that we check out if we had a whole foods market nearby, as it turns out, we did! Before making the trip out to the market we called and confirmed that they had the elusive flour (which they did) and set off on an adventure. My Mom and I are known for our adventures. In fact, once she and I were driving around my university in search of a walmart during my freshman year. When we came to a somewhat familiar street I said that we should take a right, my Mom protested and said that left was the best pathway (because she spends so much time in my university's city...). We ended up going in the completely opposite direction, it started raining, and we had an even more difficult time finding the walmart. The story is often retold at dinner's and whenever the two of us are driving. We are a dangerous set of women.

(We forgot our reusable bags...)

Anyways, we made it to whole foods without getting lost (not to say that it wasn't an adventure because it most definitely was). It was my first time in a market like this, we do our grocery shopping at walmart (because we eat a lot, I mean a lot a lot). When I walked through the doors I felt like I was in a magical land even more splendid than Disney World. One of the first aisles that we went down was dedicated to oatmeal. It was kind of like those humongous jelly bean aisles, but instead of jelly beans it was oatmeal! I was in heaven. We found the rye flour (woo!) and then spent the rest of the time meandering throughout the store looking at odds and ends and smelling just about everything.

We picked up a father's gift for my Dad (imported beer) which I hope he will enjoy tomorrow! One of the coolest things that we stumbled upon was a make your own nut butter station, neat-o!! Or should I say nut-o!! Yeah, that was not very funny. We also smelled some amazing coffee beans, which had to look hilarious because we were practically sticking our heads deep down in these plastic containers. I also saw some granola bars that looked a lot like the ones (dried plum and walnut bars) that I made, packed in similar containers thinks I am on to something with those bars.

(Nut butter station!)

Sadly, we left the market to go to our usual fruit market to get some veggies and fruits for the week. We also had to pick up some ingredients for some farmer's market quesadillas, yum!

Still praying for rain! I don't think that it will ever rain. Every evening it gets pretty dark and cloudy, the wind whips around the palm trees, taunting us with the idea of rain. Unfortunately this never happens.

Have a lovely Saturday night!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Decaf Coffee Buzz

Friends, foes, and generally fantastic people, hello!

Well, the closest I came to making something today was a steaming cup of decaf coffee because I do not deny overwhelming cravings. Do I know how to make coffee? Yes. Well, almost, in a this-is-my-first-day-as-a-starbucks-barrista kind of way. Not to say that all barristas are incompetent, I practically drool over a barrista that has become somewhat of the community watering hole. He is now known to friends of mine, along with myself, as "John the barrista", it's a full name kind of thing. Like "Florence and the Machine". Nevertheless, he is a great barrista, which I believe was the point of my blabbering...

I raise my enormous coffee mug to you, my friends, for a toast to a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Write a Letter

In accomplishing my daily tasks today I felt...unfulfilled. Why? I have no idea. Why are you reading this blog? Why am I writing it? Who knows. It seemed as if I had an empty hole in a part of my soul, not to be all dramatic, but it really did. I mean, I did a lot today, got a job working with a caterer (now I get to rub elbows with the rich and fabulous), confirmed an orientation appointment for a volunteer opportunity through "Hospice", and worked on some writing pieces. But still, something was missing. Then I spent a good deal of the afternoon harping on the fact that I have been single all my life, am currently single, and will probably remain single for a good portion of my future life. Way to be a debbie downer, right? It happens every once in a while, usually after watching too many episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress" and since I have developed a crush on the guy in that new dumb "Teen Wolf" show. I am my own worst enemy in that regard. I really amaze myself sometimes.

Anyway, after eating waffles at noon and contemplating whether or not I should get up off of the couch today. I did, I'm not quite that pathetic just yet. After reaching for a cold diet coke for my pounding head ache, I plopped myself down at the kitchen table to do some research on my laptop (my slowly dying laptop) about places to volunteer at. I did get a little distracted and found a website that was dedicated to American soldiers. I read a little about the organization and wondered about how I could possibly help these men and women. What I knew that I could give was one of my most prized talents, my writing. I know that I can babble on for what seems about eternity without even realizing just how much I wrote. So with a little more hunting I found a way to send a letter to a soldier that would be packed into a care package.

I can write a letter. I was sure of it. I knew it. But when I started writing I suddenly lost my train of thought and became overwhelmingly nervous. Here I am, a girl who has nothing (and I mean nothing) to worry about trying to communicate with someone who has everything to lose. Talk about pressure. I kept going though, picturing myself talking to one of my readers on my blog, my brother, or one of my students that I tutor. It helped slightly. I just pray that I did not make a total nuisance of myself or insult him/her in any way. But I thought this was a very noble cause, writing letters to soldiers, and you might know my obsession with writing letters. I just hope that it reaches someone that needs a little word of encouragement and that I will remain confident so that I will return to write another letter.

If you would like to write a letter to a soldier here is the link: Write A Soldier

More Tissue Paper = More Class

Hey hey hey, it's fat Albert! Or me, whatever.

So yesterday I made those baguettes. I am curious to see if they actually became crispy ya know? With all the humidity and rain nonsense? What's up with that? Anyways I tried my best. That is what my mom always asks for, my best. Like Pizza Hut delivers, so do I my friends, so do I. I wanted to give the baguettes a little oomf if you will, so I decided to wrap them in tissue paper. Classy, very classy. People who use more tissue paper have more class, or so I've heard.

Swaddled like two infants, how adorable. Hopefully, the ladies enjoy their bread! 

So this is what I had for breakfast...

Gotcha! This is what my brother had for breakfast. Rather, this is the only remnant from the entire pizza that my brother wolfed down this morning. Isn't he too cool for school? I had the usual cereal, which was super duper (as always). 

Up for some giggles this afternoon? 

Giggling counts as a workout right? I'm gonna go with yes! Today is the day high five! Sweet.

Peace out girl scout!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bonjour Paris!


So, the sister is officially in Paris, France. The city of lights. The keeper of the Eiffel tower and the holder of Notre Dame. Which I think is absolutely amazing! I hope that she is having a blast and that she gets to taste a lot of wonderful food, and remember details about the food for when I go (hopefully).

In celebration of her departure I made a quite tasty dinner (chicken in a white whine sauce) and wanted to make a focaccia to go along with it (because every good dinner needs good bread). Tragedy struck, however, when I opened my bread machine, after it had gone through the process of kneading and rising,  to find a gloopy mess (kind of like the bagel mishap I had a couple of days before that). Something has to be off, my guess is the yeast. Yeast is really sensitive and I am like a bull in a china shop when I am baking so it's no surprise to me if I did something weird that left my yeast unusable.

I got a new jar of yeast today (woo!) and have begun the process of making French baguettes for my Mom's coworkers, hopefully this time it will work right!

Since I have been busy the past few days with helping my sister pack and such, I haven't had the time to write a post about some delicious granola bars that I whipped up recently. I actually ate one yesterday as we were on our way home from the airport. Strange enough, while I was at the airport, I saw a guy that was in my Statistics and Astronomy class my senior year. Weird running into him a couple of years after I graduated. Uber weird that he is in the same group going to Paris with my sister, small world right? Anyway, these are great granola bars! Originally they were Apricot and Pistachio bars, from, but I did not have either of these. Never fear, bars were made with a little creativity.

Dried Plum and Walnut Bars
(Good enough to eat at airports)

2.75 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp honey
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped dried plums (or any dried fruit)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (or whatever nut you have)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, grease an 8x8inch pan
Mix all ingredients (I mixed everything in the order listed, maybe because I know something about baking or not) until combined.
Pour contents into pan and bake for 25 minutes.
Cool completely in pan, cut, and enjoy!

For dinner tonight, I am going to try my hand at some French cooking with a "Cassoulet". It is going to be tres deliceux!

Au revoir mes amis!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Prize from a Cracker Box

Over the weekend, I discovered a secret surprise on the back of a box of triscuits (the best cracker ever!). 

Basil seeds! Isn't that exciting? It is like one of those bogo sales, buy a box of crackers and get a plant for free. Marketers should really adapt this to other things. I would definitely hit up a shoe sale if they were giving away plants for free. Maybe that's just me...But I am excited about growing basil, mostly because it is just so delicious!

I am an eager beaver when it comes to gardening. I just planted the seeds yesterday and had to put my nose in the dirt to see if anything had sprouted overnight. No sprouts yet, I hope it actually works.

After poking around the garden and researching frozen hot chocolate (still a little lost on that one, but I think an adventure to DD will assuage that) it was time for lunch. On the menu today was a whole wheat pita, cooked mushrooms, spinach, pinto beans, and a slice of pepperjack cheese. The cheese was all gloriously gooey, what more could a girl ask for. I topped the pita sandwich with salsa and served with my favorite thing ever, prunes! I am not even joking. I love prunes, I had no idea that they were dried plums, there is so much to learn about this world.

My baby sister is leaving for an awesome trip to Europe tomorrow and I am so excited for her! She will be away from home on her birthday, but gets to spend her special day in Paris! At some moments I think that I am tagging along too. I break out into a sweat and panic in the thoughts that I have not packed yet, booked my flight, or made reservations for a place to stay. Then I realize that I am not going, drop the suitcase from my eager hands, and pretend like I didn't just have a major weirdo attack.

That's just the kind of girl I am!