lizzybuffy2008: (Default)
It has been forever since I have posted in a journal...for some reason, I find this much more difficult than Instagram or Facebook, but this is me trying to change that.

Pretty much anyone who knows me in real life or online also knows that I am mildly (some would say more than mildly) obsessed with cooking and baking. I am constantly actively looking for new recipes, happening upon them, or finding inspiration. My latest source of inspiration is The Great British Baking Show...I know, I am woefully behind, but I do not watch a lot of television anymore, so just found it. A couple of online friends from fandom have mentioned (and baked some of the challenges) over the years, so when I saw it on PBS, I knew I needed to try it out. I love it! I love that it exposes me to some foods I have never heard of before, I love that there is so little drama and I particularly love that everyone is nice to one another. We are through the first season (which might actually not be the first season shone in Britain) and I was struck by the Kouign Amann challenge. It is a Breton pastry that I had only recently heard of and had never eaten, but I would like to make croissants soon and thought it would be a good warm up for them. I looked at recipes (including the one from the show) and decided to go with this one:
http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-kouign-amann-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-190760

I liked the step-by-step instructions and the fact that it could be broken up into 2-3 days. I did it in 2 and am very proud of how they turned out:



Onto croissants!!
lizzybuffy2008: (Default)
When last we spoke, we were headed to perm. home for the weekend and I was busy not-planning our vacation. The trip home was a good one; the weather was perfect, so we got weeds pulled, mulch put down, the porch cleaned, some of the porch furniture cleaned and put back out, ribs and brisket smoked, and strawberry focaccia made.

Strawberry FocacciaSmoked baby back ribs, smoked brisket, and French potato salad


We left for Montreal on 6/11. It took a while to get there due to delayed planes and getting lost in the rental car, but we made it. We enjoyed our time in Canada, even though we only had two days of good weather. We had some really amazing food in Montreal (delicious croissants from a patisserie near the hotel,) but our favorite place was in Quebec City. It is called iX pour Bistro. It is in a not great part of town in a rundown building, but it is some of the best food, I have ever had. They only have seven tables and two barstools and are run by the chef and a server. It is French food with a good wine by the bottle selection (heavy on the French.) We had a scallop first course that was orgasmic! We also ended up chatting with a younger couple to our left and an older (uber wealthy) couple to our right. We gave the last glass of our bottle of red to the young couple (he did not want wine and she did not want an entire bottle,) so he gave us each a bite of his fish (which we had not had.) Not to be outdone, the older gentleman on the right ordered the only dessert we did not have and shared it with us. It was odd, even for one of our trips, but the restaurant just sort of made you feel like you were in the chef's home, so inspired sharing. I would highly recommend calling or emailing them for reservations if you are in Quebec City.

Day 1 - Old Montreal at night


We returned on 6/17, again late due to planes and I have been trying to get back to normal life. I bought a 10 class punch card for yoga, so have added a second practice per week. I also am working on 30 days of handstands. My goal is to be able to move completely away from the wall for more than a second.

The veggie garden is doing really well. I have already harvested some jalapenos and picked my first tomato today. I did not do any new bread recipes, but did remake the English muffin bread and the walnut bread from last month. They were both pretty easy and turned out well, so...
photo
lizzybuffy2008: (Default)
Wow; I cannot believe it has been almost a month since I posted last. I will bullet things so I do not forget anything (hopefully.)

*American Idiot: It was good (as long as you are a Green Day fan.) Kind of reminded me a bit of Tommy, not sure why. Although, I wish there had been more story, some things were a little hard to grasp. Interesting thing; obviously some people had no idea about the content, because about 1/2 way through a bunch of people left (during a sex and drug use scene.)

*Migraine/sinus allergy headache: I had one for an entire week. Not sure if it was due to peri-menopause or allergies or what, but gym attendance really suffered. I was able to make it to yoga that week and have had good weeks since then.

*Cooking/baking: Around Easter, meat pie (really good,) rhubarb custard pie (first lattice crust.) Since then strawberries have come in season, so strawberry mousse (definitely will make again,) strawberry short cake (have frozen biscuits waiting for more strawberries,) strawberry salad (a savory favorite,) strawberry gelato (another easy favorite,) strawberry jam (now I need to make scones and clotted cream,) and a NY Times walnut bread (best looking bread to date.)

TourtiereStrawberry MousseStrawberry GelatoStrawberry Jamphotophoto


*This week heralded the beginning of our very short pea season (maybe 2 weeks,) so I have three pounds waiting to be shelled.

*We are going to see a "50 Shades..." parody musical thing on Saturday, so hopefully I will have funny stuff to report next time.

*Our mint is growing like gangbusters, so I see mojitos in my future. I picked up some thyme, golden and orange pepper plants, and Cherokee purple tomato plants that will need to go in the ground this weekend. We are not going to have a big garden, but I am looking forward to it.

That is all for now.
lizzybuffy2008: (Default)
Do not get me wrong, I am happy for spring, but wow 2014 is moving by fast. Last week did not start off the best, with the hubby stabbing his hand with the boning knife. One trip to the ER and two stitches later, he is fine, just a bit inconvenienced.

The rest of the week was much less eventful. It was another good gym week, plus we went to an evening yoga practice at the new studio. It ended up just being the two of us, so was a bit more intense; yay headstand, tripod headstand, and side crows...The plan is to keep it up this month and then try a Yin yoga class next month.

It was also our week to travel to the permanent home, so that was both a little stressful and a little nice. It is colder there, so not as much yard work, but the weeds were still bursting through. We did manage to watch all of the dvr'd "Episodes." It was pretty funny, but I think I like it more a couple of shows at a time, rather than 9 in two days. We have "Game of Thrones" recorded for tonight...

I also bought some short ribs and sirloin tip to grind hamburgers and made potato buns, so we had cheeseburgers and roasted sweet potato fries for dinner Saturday night. They were pretty yummy.

photophoto


We must have picked up a nail on the drive back yesterday, because I woke to a flat this morning. It is all patched now, so hopefully will last until it is time for new tires. This week will hopefully, be fairly quiet now. I will need to make bread again and am going to give DIY vanilla extract a try.
lizzybuffy2008: (Default)
Well, my cryptic musing about not being able to walk the next day after the yoga class came true, but not due to the yoga...do not get me wrong, I was really sore: shoulders and hamstrings in particular. What laid me flat, sometimes hunched over, was food poisoning. Hubby and I were both having a craving for sushi, so we went to a local place last Saturday evening. I should have known when it took wayyy too long to arrive at the table and was slightly warm, but by then we were really hungry...another tell was that we did not have seconds. We have been known to eat an ungodly amount of sushi, so this should have been a clue, before we were both heaving at 2AM. He recovered quicker than me, by forcing something into his stomach, I was out for the count for 2 days...

Even with that, it was a good gym week (3 days in a row with a break today, yoga again tomorrow and a run or walk on Sunday.) It was also still a good week for cooking. Pork butte was on sale, so I made a new (for me) carne adovada recipe that is quite good. It is not like we remember from New Mexico, but I am not surprised by that. I also made an Italian style (cream cheese and mascarpone cheese) cheesecake for my March dessert of the month. I thought it was going to be an epic fail at first (was supposed to be a 10" pan, I only had a 9" and the conversion from metric to English units are a little off,) but it turned out really tasty. Not so pretty, hence no picture, but it is light (in texture, not calories, woah momma) and has a nice vanilla flavor.

The title of this post refers to going further down the trail of DIY...I am contemplating making my own cleaning products. If they work, there are many benefits, the least of which is cost, so I am thinking about trying dish washing tabs first (mainly because that is what I will run out of first.) The biggest issue with them and some bulk cooking recipes as well, is storage space. You either have leftover ingredients that take up space or you make a vat that takes up space...ah well, I will keep you posted.
lizzybuffy2008: (Default)
Another week gone by and thank goodness a fairly uneventful one. I had a great gym week; 4 days in a row (the first time this year,) followed by a rest day and then this morning, I went to a new yoga studio very close to my house (and just opened) for a practice of 108 sun salutations to celebrate the spring equinox. I may not be able to move tomorrow, but I felt so accomplished when I did number 108.

I had some good news regarding the car...the body shop believes they can fix the dent without replacing the bumper, so a few hundred dollars saved, plus they will fix some scratches in the front that are a couple of years old.

Recipes this week included: bagels (see below,) homemade loose chorizo, grill smoked salmon, meatballs, and marinara sauce.

Friday morning bagels


The weather is starting to get nicer and so I am beginning to think about gardening. I will start with some herbs and then as it gets past frost time, tomatoes and peppers. I do not want anything huge, just (hopefully) a small plot of heirlooms that I cannot get at the farmer's market. I hope the spring finds everyone on my flist with some more pleasant temps. See you next week.
lizzybuffy2008: (Default)
It has never been such a problem for me before, but I guess since the new house's master bedroom has east facing windows, I have gotten use to the sun helping me get up. This week, I have been shutting the alarm off and going back to sleep, ugh.

Also, I guess it is making me loopy (yes, I am blaming DST.) I always put the emergency brake on when parking the car, but for some reason did not last Tuesday while at the grocery store...pushing my cart around I hear over the loud speaker them describing my car...it rolled out of the parking spot and hit another vehicle. Not much damage to the van it hit, since it had a big rubber bumper, but my rear bumper cover will have to be replaced...plus I feel like a complete idiot.

Brighter news was my first attempt at everyday whole wheat bread:

photo

They look a little funny, but the taste is really great!

Nothing much else happening here, just kind of wish the weather would make up its mind. It is nice to see all of the trees and bushes flowering though.
lizzybuffy2008: (Default)
Being that we were down to a few slices of everyday bread, I knew my first project was to come up with something to fill that void. I decided on a soft, honey-walnut bread. I figured that it would be good for sandwiches (which we have about once or twice a month) or with almond butter and my next project; homemade Nutella. The bread recipe made two large round loaves and turned out just the way I was hoping.

Walnut Bread


The Nutella was the next project. The hardest part was getting the skins off the hazelnuts, but thanks to some vigorous shaking in a bowl with a lid, that was not too bad. I wanted a less-sweet version with a little more hazelnut flavor, so I cut the sugar by half and also used less cocoa powder. It is not something we eat everyday, but is a nice change from the other nut butters.

The morning that I made the Nutella, I also put together the pie crust for my first homemade apple pie. I had been delaying apple for a long time due to the work involved, but it was well worth peeling all of those apples. To finish my resolution baking/cooking for the month, I made a brown butter pecan ice cream...oh holy shit, it is the best butter pecan I have ever had; maybe one of the best ice creams.

Deep Dish Apple PieDeep Dish Apple Pie & Brown Butter Pecan Ice Cream


Now, I will spend every waking moment at the gym, so that I can enjoy these treats and prepare for March's delights.
lizzybuffy2008: (Default)
When last we left our heroine (me,) I was recovering from a cold, but ready to get back to life; famous last words. I posted on Monday and an ice storm hit Tuesday night with a second round Wednesday day/night. We were prepared to be inside for a few days with movies and recipes to make. I was productive on Wednesday; taking pictures, finishing my mustard and making bread:
Ice Storm 2014


Whole-grain MustardWhole-grain MustardWhole-grain Mustard


French Baguettes


The fun ended Wednesday night when the power went out. We were in bed anyway, so just contacted the electric company and went to sleep. We awoke Thursday to no power, 50 degrees in the house and two of the neighbor's trees having fallen in our driveway; blocking the cars in. We spent the next several hours, sans coffee, trying to clear the driveway. I helped, but did not have proper gloves and boots, so ended up intermittently huddling for warmth under the covers. Once we were able to get out, we went to Starbucks. After half an hour of waiting; we finally had caffeine. Then it was off to Home Depot, but sadly no propane/kerosene heaters were to be had, so at 5PM, we packed up the car, called the neighbors at our permanent home (to check road conditions) and set off for electricity and heat. We certainly consider ourselves lucky to have had another place to get to, some people suffered with no power for close to a week. We came back on Sunday to power, but no cable or internet. That was finally fixed Thursday night (hence the tardy post.) There were a couple of other issues (a stone pillar falling to block the driveway and breaking a water connection at the main, causing a leak and no water for 18 hours,) but overall, we were lucky and people really pulled together and helped their neighbors.

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