Archive | September, 2011

Donuts vs. Doughnuts

26 Sep

So it all started with a quick trip into a local antique shop called The Huckleberry. They had TONS of great finds, and what did I come home with?? A donut cutter!! (I snagged some cookie cutters that I am planning on using today as well.) But of course, since I bought the donut cutter, I had to make donuts, otherwise it wouldn’t have been a needed purchase, and I assure you, at the time, I felt like I “needed” the donut cutter.

(And just as a side note: Is it Donut or Doughnut? Well, I spent all of my energy making these things, so I am going for the simpler spelling.. you know, to save energy. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Apparently my spell check is okay with either)

Let’s just say… we don’t pay our local donut shop enough. I mean this was a long process! I was thinking, “I will NEVER make donuts again! Sheesh!”…until I tasted one, and OH MY GOODNESS! There is nothing like a fresh homemade donut and a cup of coffee! I decided that I wanted to get out my family china to eat them on, especially since this donut required so much effort!

(This china was passed down to me from my mother, who got this as a wedding present from my Dad’s Aunt Lilo. She bought it in Bavaria, Germany, which is where my grandmother if from, so this set is special to me. :))

Rolling the donuts in sugar was apparently not enough sweetness–I had to make up for with my cup of cream and sugar..with a little coffee added. 🙂 And yes, I did eat off of my fancy china while sitting outside on an old rickety picnic table..which I happen to like, even if it does look like it should go in the trash. Don’t worry, I hammered all of the nails down so they wouldn’t snag my jeans.

I used a Brown Butter glaze for these and I thought they were YUM!

And who can resist this?? I made half with a cinnamon sugar coating and the other half with a Brown Butter Glaze.

Here is the recipe if you are feeling like a baker today! I promise, it was a lot of steps, but SO worth the end result!

BASIC RAISED DOUGH
INGREDIENTS:
•3 Tbsp. active dry yeast, divided
•1 C. milk, heated to 110 degrees F, divided
•2 to 2-1/2 C. bread flour, divided
•2 tablespoons sugar
•1 tsp. vanilla extract
•3 egg yolks
•1/2 stick of butter
•vegetable oil for frying
1. In a medium bowl, dissolve 2 tbsp. of yeast into 3/4 c. of heated milk (110 degrees). Add 3/4 C. four and stir until it is like a paste. Cover and let rest in a warm spot for 30-minutes.
2. Combine the remaining yeast and milk in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the rested flour/yeast mixture, sugar, salt, vanilla, and egg yolks. Mix until smooth. Turn off the mixer and add flour, 1/2-cup at a time, until your dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and is no longer sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, and up to 12-hours.
3.Line a baking sheet with a non-terry dish towel and dust it with some flour. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/2 thick. Cut out with a donut cutter, or a cookie cutter.
4. Place the donuts on a baking sheet at least 1-inch apart and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough proof anywhere from 5-20 minutes, until the dough springs back slowly when you touch it with your finger.
5. Put about 2-inches of oil in a large pot. (I used a large cast-iron skillet). The donuts will rise to the top, so don’t worry with trying to cover them with oil. Cook on one side about 1-2 minutes and then flip and cook the other side.
6. Remove and drain on a rack over a paper towel until cooled.
7. Glaze the donuts or coat them in sugar/cinnamon mixture.

BROWN BUTTER GLAZE
INGREDIENTS:
•3 Tbsp. butter
•1-1/2 C. powdered sugar
•1 to 2 tbsp. milk
1. Cook butter in a pan on the stove top over medium heat until the solids in the butter separate and begin to brown. Remove from Heat immediately.
2. Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth.
Recipes adapted from Doughnuts by Lara Ferroni

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Simplify!

6 Sep

I have come to the conclusion that I do too much. I have too much stuff..and it’s just time to de-clutter and simplify my life! So, starting next week, I am going to start with ONE thing a day to de-clutter. It could be the bathroom linen closet, a junk drawer…or even my makeup! (OH NO!) I have accumulated a ridiculous amount, and instead of making me happy, it’s making me CRAZY! I am even going to be saying “NO” a lot more to those things that make me feel obligated. So get ready, if you ask me to be on a committee, or something else along those lines.. the answer just MIGHT be a NO! And it has nothing to do with anything other than it is time to take care of ME.
I recently just happened to come across this book, The Minimalist. I don’t even know how I happened to find it. Maybe it was a sign from God.. I don’t know! Because TRUST me, this is not the kind of book that I usually choose to pick up and read. It was only .99 cents on Amazon, so I figured I would give it a go.
Now, I promise you, I am NOT going to become a “Minimalist”. There is just NO way. This girl doesn’t do Christmas presents (meaning she tells people to not get her any presents..which makes me sure she is probably a certifiable lunatic.. haha:)), doesn’t have window coverings in her house, doesn’t decorate for Christmas, and doesn’t use mascara! NO MASCARA??? C’mon! I am sure people would appreciate it if she wore some.. a tube of mascara doesn’t take up THAT much space! Anyway, regardless of her crazy ideas about things, she does make some good points, and she has good tips on decluttering and simplifying your life.
One of the main reasons I need to declutter is because I feel stiffled! I am drowning in a sea of stuff. Stuff that really doesn’t make me happy! SO while I am not going to become a hard-core minimalist, I do realize that having 18 plastic mismatched cups in the cupboard isn’t aesthetically pleasing to the eye. And I know that it’s mostly just my eyes that see it, but if it is making me feel anxious, well then I am going to get rid of it!
It is about to be the perfect garage sale weather, so I am about to get started! I am going to try to see if I can put a little of the money back into the bank account, money that I have slowly spent on all of this junk. It won’t be much, but it will be something. So garage sales, eBay, Swap Shop, and Goodwill…here I come! So, if you can remember what it is that I have in my house, and you think I might part with it.. ask me! I am about to be throwing stuff into a great big NO KEEP pile! This includes my ridiculous collection of cookbooks! Now, I LOVE cookbooks, and I will keep a FEW. I mainly find myself going to the internet everytime I need a recipe. And now I have a Kindle, so is there really any need for books??? Nope. But you can have them.
I am a little late for the Spring Cleaning, but it has definitely hit me. We have books, toys, dishes, etc. running out of our ears, and it just isn’t normal. I feel like it is taking the focus away from a lot of things, even spiritual things.
Don’t you feel you could be a more “Spiritual” person if you didn’t have a house and a mind full of clutter?? Well, I DO! So, that’s my goal. I want to be able to wake up in the mornings, brew a cup of coffee, and read my Bible without feeling like the house is about to fall in on me.
I know it’s ridiculous that it has gotten to this point… but I need to fix it! There are lots of other people in the world who need this stuff more than I do.
I am even going to go so far as to wish I didn’t have a TV…but I am pretty sure that with the football season starting, that’s going to be a no-go with the hubs.
However, I can guarantee that it won’t be on nearly as much when he isn’t home though! And my kids aren’t going to like that one bit, but tough love baby! For all of us… starting with my makeup drawer I think. Before I can get everyone else organized and decluttered, I guess I better start with me.
So, just be prepared to follow me on this journey. I am going to post before and after pics..even if they are embarrassing! I am hoping it can keep me motivated to go in the right direction.
Here’s to a simpler life!–Amber
OH–and BTW, if I can get rid of most of this stuff.. I am going to save every dime I make and every dime I find…and I want to buy an iPad for me and Chris! (See, I told you I can’t become a hard-core minimalist! I am already planning my next purchase.. but ONLY IF.) Besides, an iPad can hold all of your books, it’s your internet, it’s everything..all in one simple package, right?? There’s my reasoning!