T.G.I.S. // Week 23

Shout-out to WordPress for deleting all of the text in my post for the third time in a row. When I click “save draft” I really do want you to save it, not erase it. So, this is an old post, and I don’t remember what I wrote before, but here’s a short summary:

TGIS 231) It’s summer!!

2) Last day walking from Euro to orchestra/digital design together! It was a bittersweet moment…

3) Mandarin buddies forever. We’ll miss you next year, Sasha! Hope you have a great time on the East Coast!

4) Look at that notecard! I realized yesterday that I only studied for one of my finals… I know, it was an extremely risky (and very un-Meganish) decision. But, at the same time, I’m kind of proud of myself. I mean,  I pulled off an 83 on the AP Euro final, and the last time I’d cracked open my textbook was May 14th. Then again, I only needed a high F to keep my A, but it was still a bit scary going in unprepared. Thankfully, everything turned out okay, and both my GPA and my sanity remained intact.

Summer is HERE!!

T.G.I.S. // Weeks 16-22

Weeks 16-22

Weeks 16-22… ouch. I’ve been busy, and taking pictures was not exactly at the top of my list of priorities. But, now I’m back and I’m trying something new! I think I like this collage thing; it takes up less space and I don’t have to worry about all the pictures looking perfect. What do you think?

1) A small miracle occurred on May 15th… I survived the AP European history test. It was a miserable experience, and I hate whoever came up with the AP system. I became one with the Princeton Review and my textbook for the first two weeks of May. Fun, right? Not at all. But, when I finished that test… it was one of my happiest moments this year. I basked in post-AP bliss for a good two days. Then I remembered that I still have a Euro final on the last day of school, so I should start studying again. Darn.

2) I also survived Junior Issue of our school newspaper, which was an enormous miracle. It only took 33 interviews and one episode of public crying to get through it. It was more stressful than usual because we all assumed our new positions for next year. So, in my case, I inherited the role of Feature section editor (yay!). However, since we don’t have the new staff writers for next year yet, all editors had to write their normal number of stories AND edit their sections. Somehow, I ended up writing about our teachers’ union’s attempts to negotiate salary increases. Yes, that experience was just as bad as it sounds. Oh. My. Goodness. If you’re a school board member for our district and you’re reading this right now, I have a message for you: WILL YOU JUST GIVE THE TEACHERS A DANG RAISE ALREADY? DO YOU HEAR ME? SHEESH! I’m really not interested in writing about work actions, contract days, or strikes. Just sayin’.

3) If there’s a box, the boys will park their furry bottoms in it.

4) I procrastinated too much for the AP Euro test, so I’m getting a head start on AP US history for next year. Just kidding, I just bought the books and shoved them under my bed. Get pumped!!

5) Waffles and smoothies for Mother’s Day. Love you, Mom!

6) I want to buy the entire Anthropologie store. Why does all their stuff have to be soo pricey?

7) Late happy birthday to my Aunt Ruth! So sorry I couldn’t wish you a happy b-day in person, but I hope you had a great day! I’ll see you this summer!

Happy Weekend!

T.G.I.S. // Week 15

20130413-223203.jpgStrolling around Chinatown for a Mandarin field trip!

20130413-223243.jpgAre those dried starfish?

20130413-223216.jpgTerracotta warriors at the Asian Art Museum!

20130413-223251.jpgThis was my favorite piece. I was supposed to be looking at Chinese art, but this is Japanese. A chunk of his nose is missing. Just saying.

20130413-223322.jpgThis was my second favorite piece. I think it’s from China, but then again I didn’t really read very many of the descriptions.

20130413-223226.jpgLook closely at what’s written on the post-its… wise guy.  (What a Rebel -> Sitting)

20130413-223233.jpgHomemade Caramel Corn was kind of major. My cousin organized a concert in order to funraise for her club (of which I’m a member). All of the proceeds went to Trust in Education to support women and children in Afghanistan.

Happy Weekend!

T.G.I.S. // Week 14

20130406-235555.jpgHeavenly Ski Resort in Tahoe… the view from the top of this run was gorgeous!

20130406-235630.jpg(View from the Gondola) Someone took the time to hike up the mountain and profess his love for Tahoe using sticks. Now that is true love, folks!

20130407-001008.jpgLook at the beautiful scenery! This is the exact spot where I crashed into my uncle seven years ago, and completely took him out. . Keep in mind, he’s six-foot-something and I was four-foot-nothing; don’t underestimate me.

20130406-235606.jpgAt least I didn’t run into a tree…

20130406-235538.jpgThese looked better in my head. High-altitude baking is quite interesting. And yes, that is a windowsill in the hotel. According to my uncle (whom I crashed into), they look like pelican nests. Close enough.

20130406-235620.jpgEver wonder where I get my perfectionist/anal-retentive tendicies from? Here’s the answer. This is my father’s handiwork.  I’m not even going to go into detail about his plate-stacking and packing obsessions.

20130407-001002.jpgUntil next year, Heavenly!

Happy weekend!

Rosemary Bread

IMG_0138We all make mistakes, right? Whether they’re due to forgetfulness, carelessness, or just a general lapse in judgement, things happen occasionally, and we just have to suck it up and deal with them. Usually, the best thing to do is to simply accept that we’ve screwed up and try our best to fix whatever problem we’ve created. However, admitting that we’re in the wrong can be difficult. Our first instinct is often to try to figure out a way to blame everything on someone else, and that’s okay; it’s part of the process.

But, you know what makes the fixing-of-mistakes process a bit easier? Forgiveness. The nicest surprise is when someone goes easy on you and is understanding of your little boo-boo.  Take this rosemary bread, for example; I can abuse it all I want and it still bakes up into a delicious loaf of carby goodness. I’ve added too much water or too little flour and it was fine. I’ve forgotten to flour the pan adequately and completely flattened the poor dough, and it was still ok. Heck, one time I forgot to add the ROSEMARY and it was possibly one of the best loaves of bread that ever came out of my oven. I wish all recipes (and people) were as forgiving as this bread.20130404-174742.jpg

(This the text conversation that I had while baking this bread back in December. I wasn’t kidding; the bread looked like a complete loss when I smushed it into the oven. It actually turned out amazing.)

My obsession with rosemary bread began at Macaroni Grill back when I was little. We used to  (actually, we still do) eat there occasionally when we’re visiting my great-aunt in Berkeley. Let’s be real; the best part of the dining experience is the bread. It’s kind of perfect. The rest of the food? I can take it or leave it, especially since half of the menu is on the do-not-eat-or-you’ll-have-a-heart-attack list. Because it’s slightly dumb to go to a restaurant for the sole purpose of getting at its complimentary bread basket, I started experimenting with rosemary bread recipes. I think this was the first recipe I ever made using yeast!

Basically, it’s kind of special to me, and you should try it. I mean, if a ten-year-old can bake it, you definitely can!

(P.S. You know what’s not forgiving? Gluten-free muffins baked at high-altitude. That’s a story for another post.)

Rosemary Bread

  • 1 ½  cups warm water
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour (I think I actually like AP better)
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • Rice flour, for dusting
  • olive oil/ balsamic vinegar/salt/pepper for dipping (optional, but definitely recommended!)

1) Pour the warm water into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Allow the yeast to proof for five minutes.  Then, stir in the olive oil and whisk to combine. Mix the flour, rosemary, and salt into the liquid mixture one cup at a time. If the dough seems very wet, add more flour a tbsp at a time. Knead the dough by hand for ten minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

2) Transfer the kneaded dough to a large bowl coated with olive oil, cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. At this point, feel free to retard the dough in the refrigerator overnight.  Extended rising times at cooler temperatures actually improve the finished bread’s flavor.T he next day, simply bring the dough back to room temperature and continue to step 3.

3) Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the hunk of dough into two equal portions. For each portion, stretch and shape the dough into an oblong, batard shape. To prevent the loaves from spreading while rising, create tension on the surface of the dough by tucking the edges underneath. Dust a dark baking sheet with generous amounts of rice flour and place the loaves about 6 inches apart. Cover the loaves with a lightly oiled sheet of plastic wrap and allow them to rise until they look like they’ve taken a deep breath, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

4) Unwrap the dough and use a knife to slash the loaves. Using a spray bottle, spray each loaf lightly with water. Bake the loaves for 18-20 minutes, or until they sound hollow when tapped. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. Slice and serve with olive oil/balsamic vinegar dipping sauce.

Enjoy!

T.G.I.S. // Week 13

Spring Break 2013!!20130330-230226.jpg

Hello from Tahoe… where it may or may not have rained cats and dogs earlier this afternoon. Oyy.20130330-230236.jpg

On the way up, we stopped at Islands for lunch. The waitress broke my “not-being-asked-if-I-want-a-kids-menu” streak. I think it had been at least a few months since that had happened. I guess we have to start over from day 1 again.20130330-230217.jpg

Once we actually got to the hotel, my dad and I noticed that there’s something wrong with the bathroom door lock. This is the handle on the OUTSIDE of the door. Basically, we can lock someone in the bathroom, but we can’t lock someone out of the bathroom. The guy at the front desk said it’s supposed to be that way. Uh huh, sure it is. 20130330-230422.jpg

Work it, Caramel! He was pretending to be a model. I think this is his attempt at the sexy “over-the-shoulder” look.

Happy weekend!

Baked Donuts: Two Ways

Cinnamon-Sugar Baked Donuts

Cinnamon-Sugar Baked Donuts

Powdered Donut Holes!

Powdered Donut Holes!

I have eaten my fair share of donuts in my lifetime. Belieeve me, I know my donuts. Contrary to popular thought, I do, on occasion, consume things other than kale smoothies and oatmeal for breakfast.

When I was little, we bought donuts on Sunday morning quite frequently. It was a fun little outing for my dad and me. I loved guessing which donut they’d give us for free when we bought a baker’s dozen. I always insisted that we get a few cake donuts. Why? SPRINKLES, of course! That’s pretty much all I cared about as a five-year-old. Taste meant nothing. In general, sprinkles and glaze are soo much more aesthetically appealing to small children than a clear glazed yeast donut. Just saying.

These days, I actually do care about the flavor of the food I eat. Yeast donuts totally trump cake donuts in my opinion. However, I’m not totally in love with the whole deep-fried aspect of donuts in general. (Remember, I usually drink kale smoothies and eat oatmeal). That’s where these baked donuts come in. They are pretty darn spectacular. I haven’t eaten a cake donut in quite some time, but I imagine these taste pretty similar to them. Best of all, they’re baked, not fried, so you can eat two!

The coating suggestions that I’m giving you are just that- suggestions! Powdered sugar is my personal coating-of-choice, but feel free to experiment! Sprinkles and glaze are always good, especially when there are littles eating breakfast with you. You can use spring-colored pastel sprinkles and make  Easter/spring baked donuts for Easter morning breakfast! Yum!

(Or, you can bake these tomorrow morning to celebrate the first day of Spring Break, 2013! Whooo!!)

Recipe Notes: I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for half of the AP flour. Still tastes great! Also, if you don’t have a donut mold pan, don’t fret! Just use a muffin pan or a mini muffin pan (for mock donut holes).

Baked Donuts: Two Ways

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (or 1/2 whole-wheat, 1/2 AP)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or not freshly grated, either one!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (low-fat works great)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Powdered Coating

  • generous 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Spray the donut or muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

2) Sift together the dry ingredients for the donuts into a large bowl. Whisk all the wet ingredients together in a medium bowl or measuring cup. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

3) FIll each donut well about 3/4 full. Don’t fill them all the way up; that results in strange, non-donutish looking things. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. Bake the donuts for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into one of them comes out clean. They should be a nice golden brown color. Allow the donuts to cool for five minutes in the pan before inverting them onto a wire rack to cool.

For Powdered Donuts:

1) Lightly spray each warm donut with water using a spray bottle/mister. Then, roll the donuts around in the powdered sugar until they are thorougly coated. Voila! Done!

For CInnamon Sugar Donuts:

1) Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a wide bowl. Then, brush each donut with melted butter and dip them in the sugar mixture.

Enjoy!

Donuts are best served warm, but they last for up to three days in an airtight container. Simply microwave them to warm them back up!

Slightly adapted from Shutterbean

T.G.I.(T). // Week 12

*My computer is being a poop. That’s why this is so late. No uploading pics or sending emails on my laptop for me. Inserting pictures using an ipad is possibly more frustrating than editing stories on an iphone. This week, I’m getting lots of practice doing both. Help!

20130326-185858.jpgGuess where I saw these ducks…20130326-185814.jpg

Disneyland!!! With my favorite people, of course. We were on a SoCal music tour with our orchestra. Yay!

20130326-185800.jpgOur first activity was seeing/experiencing a Medieval Times show. Related to music? No. Educational? Not really. Entertaining? Errm… I guess so? I’m pretty sure I was witnessing animal abuse; one of the horses appeared to have an unnaturally shiny silver coat. However, the best part of the show BY FAR was this poor fellow. Say hello to the Medieval Times poop-scooper. His one and only job was to shovel horse manure. I’m not kidding. He stood there with his shovel just waiting for the horses to take a dump. This is my motivation to stay in school.

20130326-185808.jpgDuring the show, they served us a gigantic dinner. I’m talking half a chicken, tomato bisque, garlic bread, roasted potato, another unidentifiable meat product, and a small pastry. The food wasn’t bad, but the way it was served? Umm, no. ALL my food was touching. TOUCHING. Not okay, like, at all.

20130326-185911.jpgThe next day, we went to some sort of symphony performance. As you can see, we had front row seats. Just kidding, we were in the nosebleed section. That was actually a good thing, since I slept through at least 1/3 of the concert. Whoops. In my defense, I tried really hard to be interested in what they were playing, but I my appreciation for live (or non-live) classical music is limited, if you get my drift. I realize that sleeping through the performance was incredibly rude, but I was really sleep-deprived at that point. Plus, I had another hour of editing/transcribing ahead of me, so I needed that extra sleep.

20130326-185823.jpgGummy bears, Pandora, and girl-talk with the roomies. Thanks for a great time, guys! <3

20130326-185922.jpgIn other happenings, I tried my hand at taking pictures of my cousin’s synchro team during practice. They never cease to amaze me.

20130326-205221.jpg
Apparently, one of my little friends decided to run out of the house after dark and scare my parents half to death. They thought he was dead for a good six hours. Luckily, they found him sitting outside our kitchen door the next morning. THANK GOODNESS. I imagine he was a bit pooped.

Happy Tuesday!