Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sunday Morning Muffins

I love Paula Deen. I swear that we could get along super well together. I love her shows and her little sayings and of course the butter! The other day I saw an episode where she and her son were making some lunch dishes. The main course was a sandwich, pretty healthy, but they served it with fried yellow squash and some super sweet dessert. "Two out of three ain't that bad"- Paula Deen. My hero.

So today I am working on some orange marmalade, so exciting! It will take about one hour, a long time but definitely worth it.

This past weekend, my sister and I made some amazing muffins! What else would you expect from a couple of gals who are craving a sweet breakfast treat? So we made blueberry banana muffins topped with a crumbly streusel.

Blueberry-Banana Muffins


2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 mashed banana
2 cups whole wheat flour (or whatever flour you have on hand)
2/3 cup sugar
2.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup blueberries

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp cold butter

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line or grease a muffin pan.

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the streusel topping. Use two knives to cut the chunk of butter into the flour mixture. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all wet ingredients, including banana and egg. Add in dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. For super amazing muffins do not stir too much, the batter should be lumpy! Gently fold in blueberries.

Pour into the muffin cups, the cups should be pretty full. Top with streusel topping. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly. Serve warm.

The streusel topping really makes this muffin amazing!

Voila! Delicious muffins for a lovely Sunday morning. Or any morning really.

I love these coasters!

Time to start packing for school again. I can't believe that I will be up there in just a couple of weeks! I have so much to do!

Monday, July 25, 2011

How to Impress

Sundays have become my favorite day of the week. This transformation started and finished this summer. There is just something about Sunday, especially Sunday morning. No one and nothing is in a hurry, the streets are still and tranquil, and the days are usually bright and warm. There is no better feeling than waking up early on a Sunday morning, baking some delicious bread or english muffins, and reading the Sunday paper. Well, at least the comic strips.

On Sundays, my family and I usually like to do a special dinner. These dinners are usually planned and cooked by my dad, since he is really into bbqing and grilling. I am more of a bread person, so I hardly come into contact with meat. That is until yesterday. For years I avoided eating ribs, I just did not find the meat appetizing. The meat always seemed chewy and hard to bite off the bone. I am not cool with bones in my meat, therein lies the dilemma. But, I was watching Paula Deen's "Best Dishes" on the food network and she made these ribs that literally fell off the bone with a single poke of the fork. I was a girl hooked. I made it my mission to cook these fantastical looking ribs. So, naturally, I did.

This recipe is sure to impress anyone, especially your family. Since when did you become a wonderful chef? Since when did you know how to handle meat, let alone spare ribs? Since when did you know what spare ribs are? The questions will roll out endlessly.



1 rack spare ribs

Dry Rub:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup fajita seasoning
1 Tbsp paprika

1/2 cup beer
2 cloves garlic
1.5 Tbsp honey
1.5 Tbsp worchestire sauce
1 Tbsp brown mustard

To start, trim the ribs of any excess fat. In a small bow, mix in the ingredients of the dry rub. Use half the rub for one side of the ribs, the other half for the other side of the ribs. With your hands, rub the dry rub all over the ribs. Super fun. Wrap ribs in plastic wrap really well, this helps lock in the flavor. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat oven to 250 degrees F

Next, in a large bowl, mix the ingredients for the sauce in a medium size bowl. Set aside.Tear off two sheets of heavy duty foil. Unwrap the ribs from the plastic wrap and place meat side up on the shiny side of the foil. Place the other sheet of foil, shiny side up, on top of the ribs. Begin to seal the foil up by double folding the sides, leaving one side open. Carefully, pour sauce into hole, and finish sealing the sides of the foil.

Place on a cookie sheet and put in the oven. Roast for 4 hours at 250 degrees F.

After four hours, carefully open the tin foil and pour the sauce into a saucepan. Bring to a boil for about 5-7 minutes. Brush sauce over the ribs.

Heat broiler and broil ribs for 5-7 minutes. Remove and serve!

(this picture does not do these ribs justice)

Voila! Delicious ribs that are sure to impress!

Along with the ribs, we had grilled veggie skewers, texas toast, coleslaw, and homemade arnold palmers!

Arnold Palmer, served in a mason jar with a lemon wedge. I was more excited for the drink than the ribs!

We all enjoyed the dinner. My brother even baked the bread and then used it for the texas toast. Can you say authentic?

Baby jean jean (as Regine is now known) loves to swim. Not.

Friday, July 22, 2011

an ode to cleaning

inspired by the real life situations that went down this afternoon.

never mind the monsters in the closet, those beasts are child's play. the real enemy lacks a sinister guffaw and ugly scar. the real enemy is not a shadowy creature looming around the graffitied corners of long abandoned ally ways. the real enemy, the one that your parents always warned you about, is the mess of your own room. or life. crack open the door to your once easy living boudair and fall into a pit of chaos, disaster, and worst of all the fact that you have let your inner sanctum become so unkempt. tsk tsk. you tumble over laundry baskets filled with half dirty clothes and half clean clothes, but at this point even you cannot find the distinction. those piles might as well be cain and abel. 

after pivoting and gyrating your hips to avoid the leftover microwave from your college days, all the while deftly avoiding to step on the sewing scissors that have become buried under the latest project, you feel the uneasiness of the walls. suddenly you are in the middle of a vast land. a land of your own trash. clothes, sheets, dirty dishes, and fifth grade year books as far as the eye can see. finding it difficult to pry your feet out of the hackneyed first position of the art of ballet, because after all that is the only amount of room that you have dedicated to your once dancer's feet, to stand. standing in the middle of the room, your room, is odd, strange, and eccentric. but making it to the bed is even more of an unfamiliar entity. 

contemplating whether or not you can still nail that split that you used to be so proud of in your years of cheerleading so that you can be just a wee bit, a tad really, closer to the bed. cheerleading, oh remember those times. where is my year book? oh, yeah. hiding like a petrified dog in a thunder storm under all of the rubbish that somehow appeared overnight. there is no way, no path, no insightful idea to crack open and gently scramble over the heat of a frying pan to get you out of this mess. unless.

unless, you pick something up. anything really! just reach in there and grab something. oh, whoa ok not too far, i think that pile just barked. something floating on the surface, aha this library book which, no doubt is over due. no wonder you don't have any money. it all goes to the library. well, my dear community you are welcome. i hope this means that the library will buy more meg cabot books. i digress. with one book in your feeble hands you gain a sense of, what is the word for it? empowerment. 

then, only then, like the tazmanian devil in reverse you swirl, cha cha, bachata, and two step your way through the muck, the clutter, and the unkown. at last, the floor is visible, the designer sunglasses have been found, and most importantly, you found .75 cents. queen of the world? not quite. but you are .75 cents closer to a chai tea latte. or that stupid library find. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wear Sunscreen

Ok, so I got a stack of books from the library about four weeks ago. I have read one of those books. I really have not read a really really amazing book. Most of the books that I have read are generally blase to me, even though they were winners of the national book award and the pulitzer prize. Maybe my taste in literature is just not as sophisticated as I once thought. The two favorite books that I have read were "Water for Elephants" and "Push". I read "Push" in one day, it was just that amazing. It was the book that inspired the movie "Precious" and all I can say is: wow. Ah-mazing. Read it, I approve it one hundred percent.

Today it has been rainy and kind of gross outside. I know that the whole country has been going through a heat wave and it is normal to get thunderstorms because of the high temperatures. Speaking of bad rain, I never disclosed my horrifying experience with what I believe to be a tornado. It was a pretty regular day and my sister and I were watching a movie. We noticed that it was getting pretty dark outside and strangely windy. We looked on the weather channel and there was no warnings regarding thunderstorms or tornadoes. I decided to check what the skies looked like outside, so I walked over to the front door and tried to pry the door open. I thought that I was trying to push the door open while it was still locked. The wind was so intense that it was a fight to get the door open. I know I had to have looked pretty pathetic, with my wrestling with the door and all. The sky was pretty dark but nothing really bad so I went back in the house.

A second later my sister and I heard the garbage cans outside of our house blowing around. Thinking that they might become dangerous to either our house or our neighbors' houses we decided to run out, grab them, and chuck them in the garage. So we went running out of the garage and stopped midway down the drive way because there in the middle of the sky was the most odd looking clouds. It looked like a vortex, like the whole sky had opened up, revealing a portal to another universe. It took me a second to realize that this was most likely a tornado. A notion that was solidified seconds later when the sky started swirling with menacing rotations. Not the clouds, the whole sky.  I grabbed my sisters arm, pointed at the sky, and then we both latched on to each other and sprinted into the house.

We began chucking everything out of the small closet that we have downstairs, the only area of our house sans windows, so that we would have enough room to hide in the closet with both of the pups. I ran around looking for a flashlight, batteries, cans of food, and whatnot. While I did gather some essentials, I really was just running around in panic. I could no longer think straight, I just shut down for a while. I do remember screaming "Is the tornado here yet?!?!". Just as suddenly as the wind picked up, the gusts stopped and the clouds reverted from the ugly shade of green to melancholy gray. I stopped running around, stopped thinking that I was going to die, and sat down on the floor to finally catch my breath. Luckily, nothing happened. But it was horrifying. I had never seen the sky look so macabre. I mean, I have seen my fair share of bad weather but this was in its own category.

I tried to tell my parents about the tornado, but they dismissed it saying that it was probably just a whatchamacallit because rachel always tends to over exaggerate her stories. This time my sister saw it, but it did little to validate my story. My brother even saw it since he was outside at football practice, but he saw three instead of one. I'm thinking it was a tornado. So, when the weather is as torrential as it has been today I kind of flashback to that day. I always liked that one quote from the sunscreen speech that was remediated by Baz Luhrman

 "The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
Never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday"

like a tornado on a random afternoon. By the way, if you haven't heard/read the sunscreen speech it is one of my favorite inspirational song/story/speech. I don't really know what it is, spoken word or something like that? It's just good.

Oh yeah, I baked muffins today. But, I lost the recipe. I thought this story would suffice. It probably didn't because those were some spiff muffins! Cinnamon streusel (is that how you spell it?) holla!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Will You Date Me?

I have one question for you. Will you date me? Will you date me even though I read far too much. Books of all shapes, sizes, and smells decorate my boudoir. The kind of reader that becomes giddy at the thought of going to a book store. Meandering down each of the lengthy aisles, gently running my fingers along the spines that creak and groan with welcoming noises. The spines that bound and endless amount of words, chapters, and happy endings. You will find me hunched over a book or a kindle, helplessly dissolved in a foreign land. You will be fiction for a while. You will be unnoticed. Then again, you will be the one to snap me out of the trance. True love's first kiss and all, or at least that's how the story goes.

Will you date me? Will you date me even though I would rather bare an au natural face than be made over? My eyelashes are blonde and dissolve in my alabaster skin tone. My freckles will pop out, like little brown smudges that dance across the bridge of my nose up to my cheek bones and then piroutte around my lips. My lips that are chapped because I can never keep track of a single tube of lip balm, let alone multiple tubes of lip balm. I will be lost if you ask me out for a night on the town and will be severely under dressed. Will it be because I am confident or will it be because I want to give you an excuse, a pass, to excuse yourself from me?

Will you date me? Will you date me even though I sometimes eat dessert before dinner? Or breakfast? Chocolate is my kryptonite. Chocolate ice cream is what melts this sometimes strictly healthy eater. I do not like cake. I sometimes smell like butter and sugar. I admit to you that I walk around with flour dusted down the front of lumpy t-shirts that I wore to bed and then spent the entire next day in. Am I proud of this facade? Perhaps. Am I proud of my culinary craft? Definitely. Dater be warned, I will be messy in the kitchen. I will cry if everything falls apart. I will mourn the loss of my muffins/pies/cakes/breads. I will swear off baking cursing it to an eternity of suffering and heartache. And like an addict, I will return for my fix. Perhaps in the form of late night cookies. Do you have any chocolate chips? Flour will cover the walls, the floors, the kitchen cabinets and doors like freshly fallen snow. We could either make snow angels or dust it up. Or ignore it because the cookies are finally done.

Will you date me? Will you date me even though my idea of classy cinema is the newest romantic comedy? I confess that I have seen "You've Got Mail" at least 125,783,754 times. When I am sick, curled up on the couch with a bowl of piping hot chicken noodles soup and an equally piping hot cup of tea, you can be certain that it is in the DVD player and that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are my closest confidants. It makes me feel better. Do I know the words to the opening scene? Every single one. Have I quoted the film? Yes. But I am getting away from the point. Be assured that I will sit silently through the movies that you like, unless they are scary then I will be squirming around with fear and anxiety, because my mother raised me to be polite. I am just entertained by the notion of love.

Will you date me? Will you date me even though I would rather receive a handful of basil sprigs than a bouquet of roses? Basil smells sweet. Roses have thorns. Basil you can eat and thus live forever in your taste bud memory. Roses are easily forgotten, they will bloom and they will die. Basil is useful. Roses are to be looked at. I don't just want to be looked at. Keep your pedestal in the closet. Or better yet, keep your pedestal besides the fridge, I can really use a step stool when reaching for flour on the tippy tops of shelves. Otherwise, I will have no use of your pedestal. I refuse to be a rose, I am basil.

Will you date me? Will you date me even though I am sensitive to caffeine? Ask me out on a coffee date and see what I order. Probably tea. Anything but coffee. I will get nervous and jittery from one sip of the black silk liquid. I will talk super fast and my skin will bloom in a soft pink only disturbed by the fresh dew of sweat. Enjoy your coffee, enjoy my company, enjoy a scone. I will enjoy my tea. If you would be so kind as to let me watch you pour the creamer into your coffee, it is my favorite part. Like billowing clouds in a noir sea.

Will you date me? Will you date me even though I fall asleep at 10pm, even on weekends? The blinking green lights of my alarm clock softly call out to my slowly dwindling attention with the soft yet so sweet promises of sleep. The dark room. The sweats that I am already in. The somewhat self induced sugar coma. They are all taunting me. I will try to resist. But 9:59 will inevitably evolve into 10:00. A transition in which my eyelids will draw close simultaneously. 

Will you date me? Will you date me even though I have already picked out my wedding gown, song, and cake flavor. I have said too much already. Go ahead and snicker. Sneer your lips. Tilt back your head and let out a haughty guffaw. See if I care. I will.

All my heart,


Big 10

It's time for the big 10. Not like football (no worries if you don't understand what I mean), as in my top ten recipes. Let's do it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cherry Splurge

My life has been fulfilled. I have cherries. That's right, cherries. So, of course I had to do something with them. Like turn them into overnight oats. Hurray! I have no idea why I have been craving cherries lately. But because of the insane cherry prices, my family has not been able to afford the splurge. These cherries are our special treat. 

Do you know what else is a special treat? I went out to lunch with my lovely mom! This is her week of vacation and I have not been able to spend some alone time with her because of my volunteer job. We went to our favorite restaurant, Panera Bread! I know that it is probably overrated and by now severely un-hip, and that is just fine with me. 

The first time my mom and I went to Panera Bread it was in December of my freshman year of college. She was helping me move back in to the dorms after winter break. It was so cold that day. And rainy. Overall the temperatures were bone chilling, something that we are definitely not accustomed to. We were cold and wet, but most of all starving. Since I had only been at school for a few short months I knew little about the surrounding area. I did know, however, that there was a Panera Bread literally right down the street from us. Our lunch was so delicious and best of all, warm. Chicken soup is really for the soul! Ever since then it has been our mecca, so it is only appropriate that we pay tribute to it every so often.  

I nixed the chicken soup this afternoon though, way too hot for that. Instead, I got a mediterranean veggie sandwich with a greek salad and of course, a hunk of French bread. 

Yum! I ate the sandwich and most of the salad. I wrapped the bread up in a napkin for later. Very classy.

While we were eating, I heard something in the Panera kitchen beeping. I am pretty sure that it was a bread machine, because it sounded exactly like mine! I am like 99.9996% sure it was!

Very Cherry Overnight Oats

1/3 cup rolled oats
5 cherries, mashed
2/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp wheat germ

Topping: chopped nanner, sliced cherries, and crumbled special K blueberry cereal (because we had no granola!)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, excluding the toppings, and refrigerate overnight. 

Voila! A delicious and might I say decadent breakfast treat.

Cherry goodness!

P.s. I got my passport picture today! Tomorrow will be an adventure down at the office to turn all the paper work in. Woo!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Makeover tonight!

Do you like?

I feel like a new girl. A new girl with a new blog.


Morning Cookie Monster

Good morning y'all. Ready for Tuesday?

This morning was...hot. I feel like I talk about the heat 98.8789% of the time in my posts. I probably do. But wow, at 8am the heat index was already 96 degrees. For some reason I decided to do an interval running workout. I am a little crazy, I know. But if I can get through 2.5 miles in 100 degree heat, I am pretty sure that anything else would seem peachy keen.

I am volunteering again at Hospice today. Yay filing! It is reassuring to think that because I can alphabetize and organize things by date, I can find a job. Pretty cool. The work is pretty tedious and repetitive, but I love the women that I work with. I was assigned to the secretaries of the office as a helper. I don't know why I was assigned here, but I feel like I fit in pretty well. The women are hilarious, they have their cubicles decorated, and tease each other like old friends. You need some humor in your life when you are working with Hospice. I really do like the job, even though it is only a volunteer thing.

To get ahead of the game I am going to share a yummy cookie/cake ball recipe early. I know, last night was a breakfast post, this morning is a cookie/cake ball post. Oh well, I will get over the blog-jag soon enough. Enough about that, on to the cookies!

My birthday falls around Easter time. For years, whenever my grandparents would come to visit for either my birthday or Easter (or both), they would bring a carrot cake. Not just a carrot cake. A carrot cake from Publix, which makes the cake just that much better. So I have become conditioned to crave carrot cake for my birthday. Not really. But it is definitely my favorite cake. I stumbled upon a carrot cake ball recipe a while ago and deemed it worthy of my making it.

Mini Carrot Cake Balls

1/2 cup carrots, shredded and tightly pack
1/4 cup raisins, soaked in water overnight
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla

Measure out 1/4 cup raisins and place in water overnight. I highly recommend that you do this, the raisins are just divine!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Measure your dry ingredients: whole wheat flour, rolled oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.

 Add in chopped walnuts, raisins, and shredded carrots.

In a small bowl, combine the vegetable oil, honey, and vanilla. Pop in the microwave for about 20 seconds and give it a stir.

Add the oil to the dry ingredient bowl and stir.

Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. Measure out about 1 Tbsp of dough and place 2 inches apart. Roll the dough into a tightly packed ball with your hands.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes remove from oven and let cool on the hot sheet for 10 minutes.

Voila! Delicious, bite size, and better for you than the original cake!

I wish that these pictures came out better. Oh well, they are not for looking at, they are for eating. nom nom.

Have a lovely Tuesday :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Love My Pajamas

Hello, lovelies :)

So, I have a breakfast post for you even though it is clearly not the standard time for breakfast. But hey, it's 9am somewhere right? I reserve the right as a college student away from home to eat breakfast foods at any time of day. For some reason breakfast is particularly delicious at night. And midday. And midafternoon. And in the wee hours of the morning. It's just the best meal ever.

Since it has been grossly hot (blech) hot oatmeal is just out of the question, unless I crank down the air conditioning to a balmy 60 degrees. I have learned the hard way that I have no right and/or privilege to touch the air conditioning. No way jose. I would rather just wait until the head honcho aka the mom comes home from work and adjusts the air. So I decided that this morning would be an overnight oats kind of morning. Woo! Since I am always searching for new yummy recipes, I had to find a new overnight oats recipe. It's a good thing that me and ohsheglows.com are best friends. It took no longer than .09484 seconds to find a recipe that made me drool at the thought of it. Oatmeal raisin cookie overnight oats. Right? Super fabulous, I know.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Overnight Oats

1/3 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup milk
1/2 banana, chopped (optional, but we can all use some more fruit in our diets)
1-2 Tbsp raisins
1 Tbsp chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon.

Here's the game plan: Throw everything into the bowl, stir, and pop in the fridge. In the morning, throw in some granola, badda bing badda boom, breakfast time.

Congratulations! You have just earned your degree in the field of delicious breakfast foods from the overnight academy. I am so proud.

You know what? I was feeling kind of down on myself today. It was a gross feeling, plus it was Monday, so yay. I know that so many people go through these things and more severe than this but wow it can be a bummer. All summer I have been working out, lifting weights, biking, and eating well. But still I feel like I should be so much healthier. I have come to the conclusion that my problem is: comparison. I compare myself to everyone. This blogger ran 8 miles today so that makes my 10 mile bike ride futile. I ate ice cream last night, that blogger never eats after 9pm. This movie star says this about health and fitness, I say that about health and fitness. Every single nuance of my life is compared to someone else. I'm talking every. thing. From the size of my bum to the miles that I run, nothing ever seems like an accomplishment when I read/hear/see someone doing it better/longer/or faster. I think I have been doing this my entire life and I just realized that today. What is up with that? I have no idea. But I believe things will be a changin'. For the better.

I realized today that it is a blessing to have just woken up. I got one more day, I know that some people were not as fortunate as me. I got to speed around on my bike, I know that some people don't even have legs. I got to volunteer at hospice, some people are in hospice care. Every negative thought soon turned into a beautifully positive one. There is nothing better than that transformation.

Instead of moaning and groaning about whatever new problem that I find with either myself or the world I should be greeting the world with a smile. Kind of like her...

How adorable? 

I love my pajamas too!!

I need a bigger sink...

Plus, I saw this picture today. 

tee hee.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

From Wilderness to Bread

I typically don't blog on weekends. I find that spending time with my family and doing things outside of the house are more beneficial to my happiness then a little blog post. This weekend was a great weekend, just like all the rest. The family spent the day together today, which is wonderful because we hardly get to do such things anymore. My sister and I decided to go out on a hike this morning to a local nature center that is just a wee distance from our house. It was really nice! It was also eerily quiet, something that I just could not get over. I have never been surrounded by such...nature. If you call undisturbed palm trees and brush as nature. We did spot a tortoise though, well my sister spotted it, she's the nature one. I was the one who was pretty sure that we were going to get attacked by a wild boar. Thankfully, the noise that I was sure was the snort of a vicious wild pig was just a bullfrog, oh my imagination.

I did manage to snap some decent pictures. I also managed to remember that poison ivy is such a thing and that is why the park rangers want you to stay on the path.

Trail markers

If a tree falls in the forest...

Pretty purple berries (may be poisonous...)

Wild mushroom

The clouds look so strange, like coffee with old coffee creamer in it.

Coolest grasshopper ever!

Long winding trails


Another tortoise. The other tortoise we saw was just chilling in the bushes. Hey, it was ninety degrees! 

It was brutally hot, but so worth it! It was great time spent with the sister and getting in touch with nature. 


My mom does not ever really get excited about food. She poo poos cake and serves herself one measly spoonful of ice cream. It is funny to think that we are even related since I love food, whether it is cooking it, baking it, eating it, planning it, or talking about it. I guess we are just different in that regard. There is one thing, however, that my mom loves that I make. Naan bread. I remember the first time that I ever made the bread. We were outside grilling it and because I am grill-challenged she was assisting me. Curious about the taste of such a foreign food entity, my mom sneakily took a piece of the hot bread and ripped off a piece for her to try. Her eyes lit up and she held the piece out for me to try, still oohing and ahhing over her first bite. I tried the bread and could not believe how flavorful and light the bread was. We shared our little foodie moment, our first and last, that night. Ever since that moment she has requested that I make the bread. Today I decided to surprise her with just whipping it up without her asking. She was more than delighted.

Naan Bread

1 cup warm water
1 package (.25 oz) of active yeast
3 Tbsp milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
4.5 cups bread flour

2 cloves garlic
4 Tbsp butter, melted

To kick it off, take 1 cup warm water and add 1 package of yeast to the water. Stir a little and let sit for 10 minutes. The yeast should get frothy, like this:

After 10 minutes, pour the yeast/water mixture into a large bowl. Add in sugar, milk, salt, and egg (beaten), give the mixture a quick stir. Add in one cup of the flour at a time until a soft dough has been formed. 

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 6 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, add dough into the bowl and turn to cover all sides. Cover and let rise one hour.

After one hour, punch dough down. Add in 2 cloves of garlic, well chopped or with the help of a garlic press. Knead until garlic has been well distributed. 

Separate dough into 12 balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, cover, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat grill to medium high heat and grease.  Melt 4 Tbsp of butter. 

After dough has finished the final rising, spread into flat discs. Place dough on heated grill, spread a little melted butter on top, and cook for about 4 minutes, when the dough bubbles (like a pancake) it is ready to flip. Repeat with other pieces of dough. Place in a bread basket to keep warm, serve immediately.

Voila! Delicious, garlicky, and did I say delicious already?

 It is the perfect summer bread!

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Dream in Paris

I had a dream last night that I moved to Paris. I was alone and walking down a crowded street studying a map from one of the guide books my Dad bought me for a birthday gift. I was wearing a scarf, which was interesting because usually I don't really pay attention or remember the outfits that I am wearing in my dreams. Do you even dream in outfits? I have no idea, but I did. I kind of like the idea of moving far away. Sometimes you have to put yourself in the most uncomfortable situations to truly appreciate your home. Even if this dream is a hint for what is to come, I know that I will always have a loving home waiting for me and that is the best kind of life insurance if you ask me.

Anyways, I did eventually wake up from my French inspired dream and was very hungry. The stomach does not wait too long after waking up to scream at every fiber of my being in a bossy way to get me into the kitchen. Yesterday, I whipped up some amazing sweet potato oatmeal from ohsheglows.com. It was a rainy morning yesterday so what better way to spend the darkening morning than in the kitchen with cozy oatmeal. This is one of my favorite recipes, I really encourage you to give it a try!

Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal

1/2 cup rolled oats
2 cups milk
2 small sweet potatoes
1 banana, mashed
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp honey

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour (I used whole wheat)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat.

Peel and chop sweet potatoes, add to boiling water. Stir occasionally and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and set in a bowl. Rinse the pot.

Add two cups of milk and rolled oats to the pot and bring to a boil. Be sure to watch the milk and stir often, burnt milk is not pleasant! After the oatmeal and milk have come to a boil, let simmer on medium low.

Add sweet potatoes and banana to the oatmeal mixture and mash with a potato masher. Add in the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and honey. Stir until well combined.

Make topping by adding all ingredients in a small bowl, crushing the butter with a fork until the mixture is crumbly.

Grease a casserole pan (I think mine was 8x8 inches). Spread the oatmeal mixture into the casserole dish. Finally, sprinkle the topping evenly over the oatmeal.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Afterward, set the oven to broil on a low temperature. Keep the oatmeal under careful watch while it is under the broiler so as to not burn the topping. With the broiler set a t 400 degrees F, I kept mine under for about 4-5 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve immediately!

I love this oatmeal! It is even great the next day, which is why I indeed devoured it today. There is nothing wrong with liking oatmeal that much.

I sprinkled some extra walnuts on top of the oatmeal the second day to add some crunch. 

Walnuts look like brains. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dental Issues

I had to go to the dentist today. Blech. I don't know if you know this, but I absolutely dread the dentist. I even have anxiety over the appointments. It just isn't something that I look forward to. Because it is in no way fun. Sure, they try to get on my side with their frivolous gifts of toothbrushes and toothpaste, but you can't fool me. Oh, boy I am nobody's fool. For some reason I always leave the office in pain, both physical and psychological pain. Today was no different. For an hour and a half they poked, prodded, scraped, cut, took x-rays, and questioned me about my life. Don't misunderstand me, I am sure that they are great people blah blah blah, but I want nothing to do with them except a thumbs up for my checkup. That's it.

After an extremely painful day in the dentist's torture chamber office, I needed to cope with all the pent up anxiety, bad feelings, and overall painfully sore mouth. So I baked. Marvelous idea if I do say so myself. I know, brilliant. My Aunt sent me a really neat bread recipe and I have been itching to give it a whirl. I have been super busy though with volunteering, so my baking afternoons have been usurped by my making the world a little better. Today was different. Plus, it was raining so there is nothing that I would rather do on a rainy day than bake.

This recipe is really great because you can mix and match ingredients so that any combination is a crowd pleasing one. I made a whole wheat zucchini bread in my bread machine a while ago, so I thought that I would sort of replicate it with this new recipe.

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

Step 1

Choose from an apple, pear, zucchini, carrot, shredded. Or a banana mashed. Whichever item that you choose make sure that it equals one cup.

I used zucchini because it is delicious!

Step 2

Choose from: Walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried currants, raisins, dried figs, dried apricots, pitted dried dates, rolled oats, chocolate chips, and/or sweetened shredded coconut. Whatever you choose should equal 1.75 cups. Any nut combination should not exceed 3/4 cup.

I used 1 cup rolled oats and 3/4 cup chopped walnuts.

Step 3

Grease pan. You can either use 1 9x5 inch pan or 3 6x3 inch pans.

Step 4

Time to make the batter! In a large mixing bowl, combine:
1.25 cups flour (I used whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Add in your chosen ingredients from step 2 to the batter mixture.

In a small bowl combine:
2 eggs
1/2 cup cooled, melted butter or vegetable oil (I used vegetable oil)
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (Sour cream was the choice for me)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp citrus zest (optional) (I did not opt for the zest)

Whisk all wet ingredients together until well combined. Then add in the choice of your fruit or vegetable to the wet ingredients.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined.

Step 5

Bake! Pour batter into greased pan(s) and bake at 350F for 55 minutes for large loaves or 35-40 minutes for small loaves.

 Cool in pan for 30 minutes on a wire rack, then transfer out of pan and on to wire rack to cool completely.

Voila! A scrumptious bread from a wonderful recipe that just keeps on giving.