It’s Thanksgiving week! For me, that means 2 things: 1-watching all the Friend’s Thanksgiving episodes and 2- making green bean casserole. If you’re not familiar with the Friend’s Thanksgiving episodes, you can use Variety’s All Ten Friends Thanksgiving Episodes Ranked post. My own ranking, your Netflix guide, and snack pairings in tomorrow’s post. As for my green bean casserole, this year I’m trying Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook Cravings recipe. I’ve tried the traditional-everything canned recipe to the everything fresh recipe and haven’t ever found the exact taste I’m looking for, but I Chrissy’s recipe is a promising combination of both styles. What are you making for Thanksgiving? Do you stay with your traditional recipes or change things up?
We get it, Garfield, Mondays are the worst. But instead of focusing on the terrible part about Mondays, I like to focus on all that I can get done in a week to fully enjoy my weekend. It was a habit I cultivated when I went back to school in January and it served me well as I was going to school three days a week and needed to make the most of my downtime. On Sunday nights, I write down a list of everything I’m interested in: doing, reading, seeing, learning, etc. And on Monday morning as my coffee slowly kicks in I put everything in a Google Keep list and set reminders for anything that has a due date. This allows me to see everything I plan to do and prioritize what I “need” to get done and what would be “nice” if I got it done. For example, “redesigning my website” goes in the need pile and “finishing colorful wedges baby blanket” goes into the nice pile. This way when it’s Friday night and I’ve finished everything on my need list, I can enjoy the weekend completing my nice list. It makes binge-watching Hallmark Christmas movies much more rewarding knowing that I’ve got everything finished.
My dog, Ella and I are taking a cross-country road trip and documenting it all. here on the blog and on our Instagram. On our adventures, we are hiking, trying all the local kombucha, doing yoga, and chatting with folks about breed-specific laws in the US. Check back for dog mom hiking tips and road trip tricks.
I changed the ratios a bit but the recipe is pretty close to the original. The one thing that I never do when making breads or cookies is add nuts. No not because of nut allergies but because I just don’t like them in my baked goods. Cranberries and chocolate chips? Yes, please! I added about half a bag of Trader Joe’s chocolate chips and 3/4 of a cup of cranberries. I don’t make these changes below because you really need to play with this recipe a few time to get the hang of your “add-in” measurements.
I brought the muffins to work (breads great but for work, muffins work better) and they were gone before lunch. I would suggest keeping your eye on them in the last 5 minutes because they can go from almost done to done fast!
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 2 loaves or about 24 muffins
3 large eggs
1 cup (235 ml) vegetable oil
1 3/4 (350 grams) cups sugar (I probably did closer to 2 cups)
2 cups grated zucchini (2 whole zucchinis)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/8 or a couple of good shakes teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon (6 grams) table salt
1/2 cup (55 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup (115 grams) dried cranberries, raisins or chocolate chips or a combination thereof (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans, liberally. (See those pictures of the cakesinside their non-stick pans? Yup, they’re pretty much hanging out in there for the time being.) Alternately, line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla.
Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as nuts, chocolate chips and/or dried fruit, if using.
Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans.
Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will bake far more quickly, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
No this isn’t an April Fools’ Day joke. I’m really posting and since it has be awhile I thought I’d do a quick recap on what the heck I’ve been doing the last couple of months.
Survived winter. Which if you’re not familiar with the emotional roller coaster that is winter, please see 20 April Ludgate GIF that describe how I and probably everyone else who has had to deal with below zero temperatures and the other sick jokes that mother nature has played on us for the past six months.
Joined ClassPass. If you’ve been following my Instagram you’ve seen that starting in February I worked to complete thirty classes in little over a month. I completed my goal in early March and have gone down to 3 to 4 classes a week and getting outside for runs. I have a lot to say about ClassPass and the workouts that I’ve been doing, so I’m going to post more on that tomorrow.
Read books. A few days before winter break started I realized that I had not finished one of the three books (Night Circus, Wild and Goldfinch) that I had started months before, so I resolved to finish Goldfinch before going back to work and I did! I also started and finished The Circle and I’m about 50 pages into The Marriage Plot and can’t wait to pick up The Girl on the Train. I also started listening to books and for those of you who commute, check out Audible. I listened to Yes Please and loved it! I just picked up #Girlboss and once that is done I plan to listen to Girl in a Band. I find autobiographies the easiest thing to listen to. Tip: listen to the preview before you buy. There’s a reason why they give Grammy Awards for Best Spoken Word.
I decorated. With the help of a vintage store going out of business, my parents hand me downs and a small town interior design store in December and January my apartment went from odds and ends to a full blown adult apartment. I have rugs, a dinning room table, throw pillows, etc. It is so cozy and I love it. Above are just pictures of the living and dinning room but I’m always posting kitchen photos on Instagram.
I knit. More on this later. I have four friends expecting babes in the next three months and I have been busy.
I baked. Cookies, muffins, bread, etc. Nothing really new, I mostly stuck with my standards but this week I tried a new chocolate chip cookie recipe The Chewy from Alton Brown. I wasn’t impressed and as a friend said, “They aren’t bad but you’ve made better.”
I watched a lot of shows. Again I’m going to do a whole post on this but if you haven’t checked out Bloodline, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or the HBO documentary Going Clear, please do.
Hope you enjoyed this update. I’m happy to be posting again and I hope you continue to check in.
Yes, I’m still posting! I know that I haven’t been making much of an effort lately but I’ve been focused on stepping away from the computer after work these past couple of months and focused on creating, traveling and spending time with friends. I even kicked myself off of Facebook to encourage myself to spend my internet time more wisely. I don’t know if it worked completely because I do have to ask friends to look things up for me and remind friends to invite me to things the old fashioned way… via email. If you’re wondering what filled my Facebook void, I quickly found myself reading other’s blogs, posting on Pinterest, and Tumblr and even Tweeting!
Now, if you’re saying that that doesn’t seem like I really spend less time on the internet, I would probably say no but I think it is a more productive way to use my internet time and it has inspired me to start sharing with you all again! Aren’t you lucky.
So start stopping by again. I think there will be a couple new posts in the next few days and at least one post per week after Winter Break is over.
I’ve been working on a new pattern line called Kiddie Cocktail. It is patterns for ages 6 months and up. The line will focus on function and fashion for hip kids. Sorry, no pumpkin hat patterns. I’m going to try to make every pattern under one skein per color using Blue Sky Alpacas and have options to make accompanying pieces, like a hat and mittens.
I’ll keep you updated as I’m designing and getting feedback from parents and kids. If you have ideas or elements of outerwear that you wish your kids have, like earflaps, send them my way! And a big thank you to Merrill for trying on the first hat pattern!
p.s. photo of Merrill by Amanda Hall
It has been a crazy weekend filled with missing bus stops, last-minute ticket purchases for Riot Fest, super fun date conversations, cold recovery, furniture building and possibly picture hanging. What have you been doing with your weekend? You still have a whole day! Do something fun and not on your list.
Brown Butter Waffle Cake, can’t wait to make this for a fall birthday brunch.
How to be Alone, reading this before I begin to make travel plans.
I’m giving up Chanel 5 for this musk.
Can’t stop playing Tampon Run.
Toft Luxury British Knitting. Finally a well designed yarn website!
Let’s talk about death baby.
I want to see The Skeleton Twins
Oooh you don’t like it when I’m sarcastic?
All summer I have Fridays off and I kicked my first Friday off by sleeping in, making eggs in a basket and sipping coffee on my back porch. Do you have an altered work schedule for the summer months? If so will you do anything differently with your time out of the office?
‘The Slap‘ A short film that captures strangers and acquaintances slapping each other. Would you participate?
I would play this arcade game.
I’ve started taking this piece of advice on dates.
This may be my new favorite cookie recipe, but I’d add dark chocolate chips.
A 90-year human life graphed out in weeks.
A simple cowl to knit for cool summer nights.
Finally updated my “about me” page.
Possible weekend project and another reason to buy a drill.
Until Monday night I thought I was horrible at making anything with active yeast aka bread. I used to kill the yeast because the water I was using was too hot until the Family Consumer Science teacher explained to me that your body temp is 98 degrees, so you want to barely feel any heat from the water on your hand or wrist.
So with this advice and a few encouraging words from a friend, I made the pretzel bread recipe from Libbie Summer’s Sweet and Vicious while listening to episodes of Cheers and maybe sipping on a cold brew to off put the heat from the stove. Obviously the bread turned out great and I brought some into work where folks enjoyed it with a grainy mustard and at home I made a fancy grilled cheese with it.
Below is the recipe with all of my notes but if you have questions feel free to comment or tweet at me @thehomemadegood. Also, Libbie’s book has a ton of other great recipes in it and would totally suggest ordering it if you like this one!
Pretzel Bread Recipe
adapted from Libbie Summer’s Sweet and Vicious
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons warm water 115 F
1/2 cup warm milk (I used half and half)
3 tablespoons butter, melted and room temperature
2 1/2 teaspoon
3 tablespoons packed dark brown butter
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour (I used all purpose)
1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil (I used 1/2)
1/2 cup baking soda (used for boiling the dough)
1 to 2 tablespoons of pretzel salt or rock salt
a large spider or slotted spoon
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, put the water, milk, butter, yeast, and brown sugar. For ease of mixing, take a second and break up the packed brown sugar. Mix until combined, then let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, or until it begins to foam. Mix in the salt.
With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of flour and mix for 1 minute. Continue to add the remaining flour as needed until the dough forms a firm ball that is tacky, not sticky. You want it to feel like the back of a post-it note. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl-you can keep it in the mixer bowl if you want. Pour the oil over the dough and begin to flip the dough around a few times to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Using the stand mixer knead the dough for 10 minutes at medium-low speed, until the dough has a satiny shine and is elastic. While you can do other things during this time you want to make sure that you stay in the kitchen because my mixer slowly moved from one end of the counter to the other. Cover the dough and let rise for 1 hour, or until it doubles in size. You can place it on the center of your stove top while preheating the oven to 400 F to possibly speed up the process. You can also complete the steps below as your waiting for the dough to rise.
If you haven’t already, preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a stockpot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Slowly add the baking soda without stirring.
Working with one dough ball at a time, use a large spider or slotted spoon to slowly lower the dough ball into the boiling water. Boil for 30 seconds, turning once to make sure the complete surface of the dough has been covered with water. Remove with the slotted spoon to drain and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the second ball of dough.
Make a cross in the top of each loaf using a sharp knife. The dough looks pretty ugly at this point, but it will pop up and look gorgeous and tasty after baking.
Sprinkle the loaves with salt… lots of salt!
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the loaves are a dark golden brown, turning the sheet around once in the middle of the bake time. Remove the loaves from the baking sheet and let cool slightly before serving.