Saturday, September 20, 2014

Something Saturdays (9/20/14)

Fun fact: I used to measure time by Arthur. If I asked how long church was my mom would say "2 Arthur's". This is how intrinsic it was to my child psyche.

Well, last weekend was A BLAST. So amazing to spend the entire weekend with my bestie. Plus we found some really amazing bridesmaid dress options (and probably some shoes for them online, as well. Alex already ordered them from Amazon to test 'em out). I also found my veil and tiara (that's right. TIARA. Don't judge me.)-which I then bought on  Tuesday after I had my mom come and look at them (50% off-what whaaaat.) And some other accessory things were sorted out/pondered upon. Also we ate a lot of food, watched movies/TV (including our favorite old film, "Pillow Talk"), laughed a lot, gave each other hard times, bickered, and met with Alex's younger sister (and a bridesmaid in my wedding), Carrie. Just like when we were kids :D.

Michael started his new job this week. New job also equals new schedule, so we had to readjust to waking up early again (although earlier. In NY we woke up at 7 every morning. Up until now we've been sleeping in until 9 or 10 AM--or 11/12 if you're Michael. Now we have to wake up at 5 AM. Eep.)

Also had some more florist appointments-including 1 place that has worked with my church for...um...ever, and they're friends of my maternal grandparents. And they gave me my lowest quote yet. So they're def. a front-runner. AND I had my first fitting/serious alterations meeting with my mom's dress and my alterations woman. We're making real progress and I'm starting to (mostly) feel better about it (although there are certain times where it's so frustrating when I want to change something but am told I "can't". Urghh.)

Plus it was Michael's birthday week!!! Due to busy-ness we unfortunately weren't able to make it as special as I would have liked, but we tried. :) I made him cheesecake (recipe coming soon) and was extra nice to him. We also had his birthday dinner with his mom's side of the family last night, plus Michael's best friend (and best man), his wife, and their daughters were there. It was so fun!

And finally....this commercial makes me love Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell even more:

Recipes from the blog that I made this week
Cheesy Chicken and Potato Chowder

Movies/TV Talk (assume there'll be spoilers)
Finding Carter-I'm soooo sad about Max/Taylor annnd ERMAGERD stupid friggin Lori kidnapped her AGAAAAAIN. Aghhh! (Also pretty sure that Lori and David had a relationship-either prior to or during him being with Elizabeth-and her whole "woman spurned" thing is what made her stalk them and, I guess, kidnap Carter.) 2015 cannot get here soon enough!

Love at First Sight-Awww Cortney/Jason and Doug/Jamie are soooo cute!

Instagram Latel(a few highlights from this week on Instagram)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Whole Wheat Puff Pastry

Forgive these pictures. I normally try to wait to make and photograph food until the light is good but one night I came home from work and decided I AM MAKING WHOLE WHEAT PUFF PASTRY TONIGHT, LIGHT BE DAMNED!

So....I did. Thusly the lighting in these photos is meh. But stick with me because homemade puff pastry is awesome, but now...not only can you make it preservative-free, you can also make it WITH WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR! I mean...I'm not gonna say it's healthy. There's a lot of butter. But ya know...it's better.
Don't be intimidated by the idea of making homemade puff pastry. It's slightly time intensive but only because you have to chill the dough a bunch of times-so you can do other stuff while the dough chills. You can do laundry, make other food, clean, watch TV....ya know...productive stuff.

But the actual work put in is crazy simple. The hardest part is using your muscles to roll out the dough. Which isn't hard. If my wimpy arms can do it, so can yours!
Then, once you've made your puff pastry, you divide it into thirds--or fourths (because a package of puff pastry is generally about 1 lb. and these recipe yields 3-4 lbs.--this will make it easier to use when you're making recipes that call for the storebought stuff) and then stick it in the refrigerator or freezer. Hooray! And when you bake up the pastry it's wonderfully flaky and buttery (although, sure, less flaky than with white flour) and has this awesome earthy, almost nutty, quality from the whole wheat flour. It's awesome. 

You'll see!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Brown Butter Brown Sugar Toasted Almond Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Today is my Michael's birthday!! It's the day my favorite boy came into this world so that I could then be born 3 years later and then 19 years after that I could fall in love with him and then 4 years after that we could get engaged and less than a year from now we can get married <3 Happy birthday sweetie, I love you more than anything!

And he and I loved these cookies almost that much. Which is like...a lot.
I had something of an ulterior motive to making these cookies (as if I ever really need a reason to make cookies)--I was lucky enough to be sent some samples of Zulka's new sugars to try! You may remember that I've spoken about Zulka's Morena Sugar (my fave granulated sugar, btw) before. To sum up: Zulka is a family owned company that is dedicated to producing more natural sugar through responsible and environmentally friendly cane production. Their products are minimally processed, which helps preserve the flavor and natural properties of the sugar cane (which means it tastes better!)

And Zulka just came out with some new sugars, and I was able to try their Brown Pure Cane Sugar and Powdered Pure Cane Sugar!
Powdered sugar is great and all but....brown sugar is where it's at. It's my boo. My sugar BFF. So when I tested it out I wanted to make sure I chose a recipe that was really going to showcase it, as well as show me how it would behave in my favorite use for brown sugar: chocolate chip cookies. This recipe was perfect because not only is there a big dose of brown sugar in the cookie dough, the almonds are also toasted and caramelized in brown sugar-double whammy! 

And btw-the sugar was phenomenal. Subtly more rich and flavorful than more processed brown sugars, it really took these cookies to the next level!
Browned butter and brown pure cane sugar lend these cookies complexity and warm, delightfully comforting flavors. Brown sugar candied almond slivers add some smokiness and crunch. Dark chocolate is the bite that cuts the sweetness, and then the sea salt just ties everything together into a neat, delicious, cookie bow.

I LURVE THESE COOKIES.

As my fiance' and I were hunched over the cookie jar, shoveling fresh cookies into our mouths, Michael declared (around a mouthful of chocolate and almonds and cookies), "These are some of the best cookies you've ever made."

"Really?" I declared, probably causing bits of cookie goodness to escape and fly into his face, "EVER?!"

"They're up there," he confirmed, before reaching for another cookie.

You'd reach for another cookie too.

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