Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

The best thing since sliced bread is…well…sliced bread!  

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I recently purchased this book, thanks to the recommendation of my friend Bethany, and since the day I bought it about 3 weeks ago, I have not once been without fresh baked bread when I wanted it.

The secret to this recipe is a high-moisture dough that can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.  You mix the ingredients together to create enough dough for four loaves, let the yeast do its thing for about 2 hours, and the dough is either ready to be baked or ready to go into the fridge for whenever you’re ready for some fresh bread.  Pull off enough dough for a loaf and bake it at a high temperature (I use a pizza stone).  And this stuff is DELICIOUS !  This bread is a perfect mixture of crusty and soft, light and airy, yet thick and hearty.  It is infinitely adaptable:  we’ve already used the same dough to make pizza, bacon and eggs in toast, naan bread and several varieties of the traditional loaf (sandwich bread, rustic boule, ciabatta, baguette).  

My husband likes to tell me that I should be on an infomercial, because I have evangelized this book to so many people, but it is just too good not to share!  I hope I’ve convinced you to buy the book, because, seriously, with just 5 minutes of active time (the rest of the time is just letting the dough rise/settle) you can have a delicious, homemade artisan loaf of bread whenever you want one!

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Ok, so I know you’re all dying for the recipe.  You can find it here, but support the authors and buy yourself a copy!

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A Baby Shower, A Baby and A Small Project

A couple of weeks ago I hosted a baby shower for my dear friend, Dacia.  My aunt opened up her lovely home to us, which was the perfect setting for a spring shower.  We had a great time, the food was splendid, the attendants were gracious and apparently it was so exciting for for my friend that it made the baby arrive sooner!  

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My friend is a vegetarian, so on the menu was balsalmic vinegar and olive oil marinated grilled vegetables (asparagus, portobello mushrooms, onions, peppers and zucchinis), creamy baked polenta with soft cheeses and topped with sauteed onions and peppers (served with crusty bread), curried cream cheese dip (served with wheat thins), and Sahale mixed nuts (to die for, you can get them at Costco).  

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We drank mojitos (both virgin and regular!) and indulged in chocolate covered strawberries and a rich, flourless chocolate cake for dessert.  With my aunties help, we threw quite the fun party!

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As I alluded to above, my friend gave birth on Sunday (a week before her due date) to a wonderfully sweet and precious little boy!  My husband and I will be the godparents and we couldn’t be happier!  

Now I am just waiting for my sister and brother (who recently moved to Denmark and are due with their first baby on Sunday) to tell us that my nephew has been born!  Come on, little guy, hurry up!

This is such a fun time of babies, babies and more babies, but I’m telling ya, all this talk of babies is certainly making me a bit anxious for my turn!  It sure would be fun, but I know we’ve got some waiting to do.

We moved (across the street!) this past weekend, so I haven’t been able to do much in the way of crafting lately, but what I am excited about is that I now have a HUGE and functional craft room!  I will be posting with pictures as soon as it is complete (it’s almost there).  I am so excited to begin crafting in my new space.  The one thing I did make a couple of weeks ago was this sweet camera/iPod case for my friend’s birthday.  That’s all for now!

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Click Photo to Enlarge

Still Sewing Away…

I haven’t stopped sewing!  The last couple of weeks I’ve been slowly making clothes for my niece, Maddie (just turned one!).  Making clothes for little ones is so much fun.  You hardly need any fabric and it goes so quickly.  The only problem was that I didn’t use any patterns and I attempted to size them off measurements alone.  This method actually worked pretty well, although I definitely had to make some adjustments after Maddie tried them on.  

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I love this shirred dress I made for Maddie.  It looks so cute on her!  Stay tuned for a possible Tutorial plus pictures of Maddie modeling her outfits.

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I made the most simple jean skirt for Maddie.  I took a pair of my husbands old jeans (these are 7 For All Mankind jeans that got holey) and keeping the original leg hem, I cut about 12″ up from the hem.  I used fold-over elastic (thanks Angry Chicken!) to create an elastic waist out of the old jean leg.  Then, just to finish it up I added a white trim to the bottom hem.  That’s it!

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Onto food…here’s a recipe for my all-time favorite burger.  It is so easy to make and tastes better than any burger you will order at a restaurant (seriously!).

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Gorgonzola Burger (4 servings)

1 1/3 lb lean ground beef
3 tbsp. good barbecue sauce
1 glug (technical term, guys) worcestershire sauce 
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
couple pinches kosher salt
freshly ground pepper 
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola 

 

Garlic Aioli (recipe follows)

3 tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard 
1 tsp. fresh basil, finely minced 

4 english muffins

 

In a standing mixer (or in a bowl) combine the first six ingredients.  Mix to thoroughly combine, but don’t overwork the meat. Add the gorgonzola and mix briefly.

Form the meat into 4 evenly sized patties and immediately refrigerate for at least 10 minutes (up to a day ahead).

Prepare your grill pan or outdoor barbecue to a high heat.  If using a grill pan, lightly grease with olive oil.  Grill the burgers until they are cooked through (no pink, time will vary depending on your grill).

Toast the english muffins and top with the garlic aioli.  Other condiments could include fresh tomato slices, basil, or crisp lettuce (although I prefer this burger very simple, it will have plenty of flavor!).  Top each muffin with a gorgonzola patty and enjoy your gourmet meal!

My Sewing Niche

I revamped my sewing area this weekend.  We took a trip to IKEA in hopes of finding a bookshelf to house all of my fabrics.  I’ve recently acquired a whole load of new fabrics, hand-my-downs from my sister-in-law and friend, and I needed a beautiful place to store them all.

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I am quite happy with how it turned out, but I am thinking that I might quickly outgrow it.  If my fabric stash keeps growing at the rate it’s currently growing at, I am soon going to need to rent a warehouse!  Someday I hope to have my own craft room, but since we are currently renting a small house, that is not yet an option.  

This week I made Phad Thai for the first time.  It turned out quite delicious, subtle, but nice flavor.  Here’s the recipe I used:

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PHAD THAI

  • 1 (12 ounce) package rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/8 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup crushed peanuts
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions:

  1. Soak rice noodles in cold water 30 to 50 minutes, or until soft. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Heat butter in a wok or large heavy skillet. Saute chicken until browned. Remove, and set aside. Heat oil in wok over medium-high heat. Crack eggs into hot oil, and cook until firm. Stir in chicken, and cook for 5 minutes. Add softened noodles, and vinegar, fish sauce, sugar and red pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste. Mix while cooking, until noodles are tender. Add bean sprouts, and mix for 3 minutes.

Merry Christmas!

We have had a beautiful Christmas season, filled with apple cider, cozy fires, savory soups and, of course, tons of snow!  We are going strong with about 14 inches of lovely snow!  Our house looks so cozy covered in a soft, white blanket.

Our House in the Snow

Our House in the Snow

On Saturday, my hubby decided he wanted to build a legit igloo.  So along with my cousins, we geared up in our warmest weather-proof clothes and worked for hours straight to achieve this:

The igloo in all its glory

The igloo in all its glory

My cousin and I worked for about 4 hours on the igloo, and we finally got tired out.  But Levi and my cousin’s hub kept working until 10 p.m. that night!  It turned out pretty awesome though, so definitely worth it.  That thing is definitely not going anywhere too!  I can see us celebrating Valentine’s Day inside that igloo :).  It’s about 5 ft. tall and probably 8 ft. across.  Amazing!

Last thing I’ll post for today, I’ve been getting into making pies.  This was my most recent creation, and I think it turned out quite perfect.  It sure was delicious too!

Homemade apple pie

Homemade apple pie

"Fancy" lattice work

"Fancy" lattice work

I hope everyone has a Christ-filled Christmas.  Stay warm and enjoy those you love the most!  Merry Christmas!

One Year!

Happy One-Year to us! August 3rd was our anniversary and we had a wonderful, adventure-packed weekend. But first, since I have been so delinquent in my blogging, I will start way back a couple weeks ago when Levi and I decided to have a picnic at Richmond Beach. I made the most delicious dinner (probably one of my favorites so far!) of chicken satays and this awesome cold sesame noodle dish. We barbecued the satays on our grill and then quickly packed everything up and headed to the beach.

For the cooking enthusiasts among us, here are the recipes. You MUST try them! So delicious!! (click the links below for recipes):

Chicken Satays
Peanut Sauce (for the satays)
Soba Noodles with Toasted Sesame Seed Sauce

Last week we nannied my cousins two youngest daughters, Iona (3) and Amie Kate (2). Oh, they are the CUTEST little ones! We stayed over at my aunt and uncles house in Bellevue for the week and had to endure such terrible things as Puppet Shows:

And Story Time:

Oh! If only I could quit my job and make a living out of playing with these two lumps of pure sugar! They were just too much fun, and I am missing them terribly already. I should mention that Iona and Amie Kate are Scottish babes, born and bred in the land of Haggis and bagpipes. They are a little too young for accents, but my favorite thing ever is that Iona says “pardon” if she didn’t hear you! Can you imagine an American kid saying “pardon?” It got me every time!

So, after saying goodbye to our surrogate babies, that weekend Levi and I got to pamper and spoil ourselves. On Friday night we stayed at my aunt and uncles condo downtown. Here was our view:

Then, on Saturday night, we got all gussied up and went to Canlis Restaurant for dinner. Oh my was that amazing!

At Canlis we got to sit at Table One, which is a major privilege! It is their most requested table because it is where Peter Canlis, the founder of Canlis, used to sit every night he dined there. It had a clear view of both beautiful Lake Union and also the honored guests, which meant Peter could see each one of his happy diners from there!

That night we stayed at Willows Lodge which is a beautiful hotel in Woodinville. The next day (Sunday) we went wine tasting at Chateau Ste. Michelle which was divine! However, we were unaware that there was a huge jazz festival going on right in the winery on that day. It was packed! It was still wonderful though, and we had a lovely picnic right on the lawn there. That night we went back home and ate our Anniversary Wedding Cake, which yes, we froze for a year! It was soooooo good! I don’t know how it could have still tasted so good, but it was amazing!

As for crafting, it has definitely slowed down since I started working three weeks ago, but I do have some things to show you! First, I made this cute shirt about a month ago (shame on me for not posting sooner!). Sorry for the weird photo, apparently this is the only one I have and I am too lazy to go try it on again:

Then there was a new addition to our family! My new SERGER!

She’s so pretty and she is really a trooper! For those of you who know about sergers, my favorite thing about her is that she does Cover Stitch (look at the bottom of your tshirts and sleeves, the double straight stitch with a serge on the back is Cover Stitch) which most sergers don’t even do. I am so excited! I made Levi this tshirt last night, but it is a little too tight on him:

I really hope to post more later, but now that I am working full-time it might be a little harder! For those who don’t know, I now work for Childhaven, a nonprofit company on Capital Hill that works with abused and neglected children. I am an Administrative Assistant and I love it! Check out the company: www.childhaven.org.

My family comes next week! I can’t wait! And, my best friend Hannah gets married next Friday…crazy! Things are going to get even more crazy than they already are! I’ll try to keep up…!

Lots has happened…

…including: Levi’s beard just died, literally, like one minute ago. That’s not to say that it really resembled anything close to a beard. As Levi’s brother put it, it looked like he dipped his chin in some miracle grow and the result was a hideous showing of scruffy hairs all in one central area. And he had those nasty little patches of hair around his cheeks. It needed to happen, guys. Don’t even be sad.

Next, I graduated! Hurray! Here is the picture you have all been waiting for:

Those gowns are so unflattering! Not to mention the square “caps” they make you wear. Aren’t we supposed to be celebrated on this day? Celebrated, NOT humiliated. I had a wonderful graduation party last weekend and it was so fun to celebrate with some of my family and friends, although I really missed having my parents there.

I’ve been working on some crafty fun projects lately. First, I decided to make a cake stand inspired by this blog . I went to Value Village and found a silver platter and a silver candlestick with grapes on it and after epoxying them together, I got this result:

This was such a fun project! I am excited to make more of these! This one became a graduation gift for my wonderful sister Emily (check out her blog!). I have in mind a white china cake stand for my next one.

Next, I made some baby bibs for two soon-to-be best friend babies (one born, one on his way):

I love this sock monkey oilcloth. These bibs are super simple (well, if I knew how to do binding correctly the one would have turned out a lot better!) and I just drafted the pattern from a bib I found at the fabric store. I like the idea of having a pocket on the bib, to catch runaway food scraps.

I tried a new recipe I found on epicurious that turned out quite yummy. It’s called Garbanzo Bean Soup With Saffron, but it should be called tomato, butternut squash and potato soup with garbanzo beans because these three ingredients pretty much made up the bulk of the soup.

I added some leek to the soup, which I found for a good price at Trader Joes. TJs also has butternut squash all chopped and ready to go in small bags which was perfect for making this soup incredibly hastle-free.

I love garbanzo beans (or chickpeas, same thing), they are such a subtle flavor but they are also incredibly versatile. I add them to my couscous, make hummus or serve them with a spicy dish like Chicken Tagine.

It turned out tasting really nice, but it has a subtle flavor so I upped the garlic and seasonings a bit. I served it with an Indian Naan bread (also found at TJs). Levi had to work late that night so I brought it to him at work in a pink lunchbox. He appreciated that (both the pink lunchbox and the dinner).

Here we are last week, almost to our one year anniversary (it’s on August 3rd). It’s so crazy to think that we haven’t even been married for a year yet. Marriage is so wonderful and such a blessing. We are excited for two of our best friends to get married within this next year! Yay for Hannah and Chris and Kelley and Gregg!