aesthetician

aes:the:ti:cian – one who is a student of the principles of art, beauty and taste.

oatmeal bread

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Making bread has become a natural routine for me. A few years ago – I thought of making bread as finicky, difficult and time consuming. While yes, sometimes it can take a while, I’ve found that bread is very forgiving. Make a mistake! Bread don’t care. Like today: I forgot to put in the oil until I was already kneading the dough. Oops! I just kneaded it right in, and It still turned out beautifully. On Thanksgiving: the bread didn’t rise, but I threw it in the oven anyway and POOF! Beautiful bread.

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Culturally, bread making has become somewhat of a lost art. I say we should bring it back. Its such a beautiful process and it’s become therapeutic to me. Put on some jams (I highly recommend Supertramp or Simon and Garfunkel. IDEAL bread making music) and knead away my friends. Your troubles will seem miles away.

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This recipe comes from a wonderful book called Recipes from the Old Mill, by Sarah E. Myers and Mary Beth Lind. The whole book is stuffed with recipes for homemade goodness. I highly recommend taking a look.

Oatmeal Bread

adapted from Recipes from the Old Mill

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tsp salt

2 cups boiling water

2 TBS oil

1 tablespoon yeast (or one package)

1/2 cup lukewarm water

31/2 – 41/2 cups AP flour

In a large, wide rimmed bowl, combine oats, whole wheat flour, brown sugar and salt.  Pour boiling water over ingredients. Stir to combine. Add oil and cool to lukewarm.

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. When the batter has cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast mixture.

Stir in enough flour until it becomes to stiff to mix. Knead in bowl (or on a floured surfaced), adding flour as necessary for 5-10 minutes.

Place in a well greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled (about 1 hr). Punch down, and let rise once more.

Preheat oven to 350F, grease two 8×4 loaf pans and divide dough equally into both pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Brush with milk for a softer crust. I found that they baked perfectly at 35 minutes.

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An elusive feeling, a refreshing of our souls: spring, without fail, gives me new energy and fresh inspiration.

Today, that inspiration is spring cleaning. Well, errands, running around like a crazy person and spring cleaning.

image (1) [ its nice when things are clean ]

Life, like usual refuses to calm down. Since I last posted, our little car died. Not a pretty death, either. Some person lost control of their vehicle and crashed into our innocently parked car. The axle was broken, tons of body damage etc. Needless to say, when the insurance company called, the word on their lips was “totaled”.

So, after a few weeks of intensive searching, we have another little baby car. Even SMALLER, actually, which is proving to be a dream while parallel parking in the midst of little Havana. No frills on this little dude. Manual windows, CASSETTE PLAYER (mix tapes – you shall be unearthed!)…pretty much manual everything. Except transmission. Which makes me the happiest girl in the world. Yes, I tried to learn stick. Yes, I was doing pretty well. Until: we moved to driving hell.

So now I’m free as a bird! Trader Joes? Here I come!

Now, to new things, better things. Exciting changes on the horizon. Spring has given me a new lease on life. Not to mention a ravenous appetite for salads. And yogurt. Every. Single. Year.

In other news:

This brilliant invention for small space living.

A thought provoking piece

This is happening

What? JCP has cute stuff?

 

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“As you get older, you will discover, that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others”

– Audrey Hepburn

in which i get a flu shot and still get the flu

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For those of you who may not know me as well, I have a piece of information for you. My immune system is crap.

I have never met ANYONE who gets as sick as often as I do. And its not only that I get sick: I get REALLY sick.

Mono? Had it. Strep? Four times last year.

I was sick when I met Zach, in my dear friend Christy’s wedding. Then my friend Kaye got married, what did I do? Get sick. There was even a running joke that I would be sick for my own wedding, but instead, Laura and Kari, two of my bridesmaids (who incidentally NEVER get sick) were both sick. I believe that they took my sickness upon themselves for me.

So here I lay in bed, watching copious amounts of Dr. Quinn, and resisting (not very well) the impulse to watch gobs of Michaela/Sulley fan vids on youtube. I’ve eaten an entire package of pistachio pudding, and am contemplating how much energy it would use to take a shower.

When I was little, being sick was almost fun! Almost. My mom would give us a little brass bell that we could ring whenever we wanted or needed anything. We called it the sick bell. For stomach ailments, my mom believed in the power of sprite and orange juice. While I’m not sure they have any proven medicinal benefits, to this day I can’t be sick without craving it.

What are your “sick traditions”?

yuletide

2012-12-19 21.00.33 [ a little bunch of leftovers from our christmas tree ]

Our baby tiny apartment looks like someone splattered Christmas all over it, and not too evenly. This is Zach and I’s first holiday season post-wedding. While I did accumulate a few Christmas decorations thanks to some major sales, and a special gifting for searching through Salvation Army, unfortunately the kitchen is completely un-festive, and I just straight up ignored the bathroom. But our living room! Oh the glory! Not really. But I think it looks pretty cute.

I’ve always felt, even as a little girl,  that it isn’t just Christmas itself, but the weeks leading up to it that make this time of year so special.  Hot chocolate, the smell of evergreen, burning candles, piles and piles of sweets and a general aura of coziness fills our spirits with glee. The anticipation of what is upon our horizon is almost as special as the holiday itself.

2012-12-19 21.07.04 [ a very grainy photograph of my first wrapped present ]

But the best, the BEST, are SECRETS. I love Christmas secrets. Tucking presents away in corners of closets, the general “i’m going to get something” excuse when you dash out the door, and the only time a year my parents EVER condoned lying. Christmas lies are different.

Living far far away from almost all of the people you love can be difficult this time of year. Right now, I’m wishing I had a certain someone to go Christmas shopping with, or another certain someone to make cookies with. Alas, I found myself watching the Family Stone alone this year, which meant crocheting and crying. Both and probably at the same time.

2012-12-19 20.51.21 [ a mid-afternoon pick me up. all week long. ]

But Friday we are Illinois-bound!  Friendly faces await, there are places revisit, treats to be made, and plenty of hugs to give. I’m hoping this time I will make it through security at the airport without someone searching my hair.

I may get a chance to hop on and post during the holidays, but if I don’t, may it be Merry and Bright.

2012-12-19 20.41.52[ hoboken hasn’t  gotten the memo that its supposed to be snowing.  ]

 

 

 

absolute crazy

2012-11-19 13.20.44

Life has been absolutely crazy. Seriously. And i’m not talking about the fact that Rihanna is blasting in our apartment right now and I’m being sassy with pretend friends.

I’m talking about hurricanes and floods, and no power and going to my Auntie’s farm, and getting stuck and almost being a permanent resident on Laura’s daybed. ( I found a stink bug in that particular daybed, so if you happen to sleep in it someday, check the foot of the bed before you get cosy.)

In contrast to this insanity,  wondrous acts of community have and are taking place.  People are looking outside themselves and helping others. Zach and I were taken in for over a week by our good friends the Troast family. They were beyond hospitable, letting us stay until our power came back on. All of you have sent us so much joy. We are absolutely overwhelmed with all the love right now.

And after all that came Thanksgiving,  and so many competitive cousins, and sickness.

Life is starting to get back to  normal. Back to the job hunt, back to our daily little routines. Which currently include but are not limited to: parks and recreation, homemade bread, crocheting, and general large daily coffee intake.

Next post: THE HOLIDAYS ARE UPON US.

 

 

here and there

My mom just left on a train for the Newark airport, which, we discovered, is much harder to get to by public transit if you don’t live in Manhattan. We can only dream, Zach and I. Someday we shall live in a tiny, but adorable, impeccably constructed Soho loft. Until then, our 500 square foot flat in West New York suits us just fine. I’ll post some pictures on here at some point – when I’ve sufficiently convinced myself that I can’t make any more improvements.

 [ pastry and coffee from the old german bakery ]

We had a wonderful week. After a day or so we found ourselves falling into a routine. Wake up, eat oat squares, go somewhere for an adventure/walk until our feet hurt, come back, eat lunch, get sleepy, watch a movie – and so on. It really was beautiful. Fall on the east coast really put on a show for my mama. Everyone was saying things like “What gorgeous walking weather!”, or “Aren’t you just enjoying the crisp breeze?” and other equally fall-infatuated statements. There’s something about the mixture of grey dreary days, bold warm colors of the trees and the warm sparkle of the sun on those cool fall days. Not to mention the pumpkins littering the streets. I’m a summer girl at heart, (I prefer to blow dry my hair naturally – in the warmth of the sun) but there will always be a little hop-skip-and-a-jump in my heart when the  first sugar maple starts to turn brilliant shades of red and yellow.

 [ hudson street on a rainy day ]

 [ they wrote my name on my cup! and Mumford on a job hunting afternoon ]

And of course, with these heart palpitations come the inevitable urge to photograph the little things. That tree! The way the light hits those glorious ancient buildings! My Starbucks cup! And other sundry items. (I really should get new batteries for my camera. Iphones are awesome, but no replacement for the real thing.) So I suppose this entry is a little bit of a photo essay – dedicated to the beauty of fall. Also, to fall visitors. And good art.

[ part of the DIWhy installation: by Gene Schmitt ]

In other news:

This recipe, from the blog responsible for beginning my cooking addiction.

And, this syrup.

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