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Goodbye to Childhood

24 Jun

It’s the summer before I start college, and I feel like I’m having a midlife crisis. I spent this past week working at the preschool I have been an intern at for the past year, and today I finally had to say goodbye. I have grown so attached to those children, those teachers, the classroom, and everything associated with being there. It had become such a huge part of my life, had made me realize that I want to become a preschool teacher, and helped me on the track to changing my major from psychology to early elementary education. It was my last tie to high school since I had started there as an intern for a child development class and it was my final goodbye to that experience. I finally felt the permanence of graduation, the gravity of the situation I now find myself. I feel like I’m moving all over again like I did so often throughout my childhood- Felixstowe, England to Bonneuil Matours, France to Simi Valley, California to Beaverton, Oregon. I’m saying goodbye to everyone who has supported me over the past four years and looking towards an uncertain future filled with people and places that I will undoubtedly become attached to. Though I understand that I’m not moving across the country or even out-of-state, I will be moving away from the only people who have been there every step of the way. They were there for me when I didn’t know anyone in town, and had to say goodbye to the same people, the same houses, the same schools, the same towns.  I have to live apart from my parents. While I always pictured myself in a faraway state (like Texas) figuring I had moved a lot and could handle it, I overlooked the fact that I have never liked moving far away, and that I really hate goodbyes. Truth be told, I could never really picture myself, a liberal, gun-hating, agnostic in Texas. Then again, I never pictured myself enrolling at a Catholic University that I only applied to because I got a shortened application in the mail. don’t get me wrong, I love the feeling of starting fresh, just as much as I love routine. I’m extremely excited to begin college and to see where my future leads. I wouldn’t be disappointed if I ended up at that same preschool in four years time, whether it be to stop by and say hi or to start a full-time career. All I can do now is wait, dream, and enjoy my own kitchen while I can.

During my senior camping trip, we made french toast on one of the mornings, and I decided I needed to make it once I got home. I had attempted french toast many times in the past, but had never been able to get the consistency right. I realized no, that what I needed was a batter thickened with cream to give it a more custard-y texture, and some seasoning. I made some for breakfast last week using milk, eggs, and bread like before but I also added some heavy cream, vanilla extract, and nutmeg for a richer version. I also took out the sugar I had previously been adding, but I might experiment with a teaspoon of brown sugar next time or a sprinkling of powdered sugar after cooking.

I put one egg, 1/4 cup milk, 3 Tablespoons of heavy whipping cream, a couple pinches of nutmeg, and about 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a shallow dish.

I combined with a fork until completely combined.

I placed my first piece of bread into the mixture for 30 seconds before flipping it over in the dish. I left it in the dish to soak for five minutes.

While the second piece of bread was soaking I melted some butter in a pan over medium-low heat.

Once the pan was heated, I carefully added my two pieces of bread.

I let these brown on both sides until cooked, 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the bread and heat of the pan.

I chose to eat mine plain, but french toast is always great with some warm syrup. If you have any berries you could also microwave some maple syrup and berries together and mash together to form a delicious topping too.

All I know is that I can see myself making this quite a few times over the next few months. 🙂

Double the Pleasure

27 Feb

You know what I love? Late Arrival. I love it because I usually wake up without an alarm somewhere between 7-8am leaving me plenty of time to get ready and enjoy the morning. I especially love it because fo the first time ever, I got to bake before I went to school last Friday. I decided that I would get up at 7am, get ready and have an hour to bake in my sun-filled kitchen. It was nice and peaceful to be able to start my morning off by baking a batch of scones and then eating one still warm from the oven as we drove past piles of snow on the way to school. It was also nice to be able to take pictures of the final product in the bright, natural light as opposed to the dim flourescent lighting that I usually have at night. Overall, it was an experience that I’ll no doubt try to recreate again this year.

The scones I made were from this recipe from Joy The Baker a great blog I just discovered.

http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2011/01/orange-and-dark-chocolate-buttermilk-scones/

Orange and Dark Chocolate Buttermilk Scones

makes four large or six small scones

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons orange zest (I just used the zest of a whole orange which was about this much)

2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1 large egg yolk

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold buttermilk

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I used semisweet)

 

Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.  I use my fingers to rub the butter and dry ingredients together.    In another bowl, combine egg yolk and buttermilk and beat lightly with a fork.  Add to flour mixture all at once, stirring enough to make a soft dough.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Turn out onto a floured board and knead about 15 times.  Roll or pat out into a 1-inch thickness.  Cut into 4 large or 6 small  squares.     Place on prepared baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees F for 12-15 minutes.

 

I used a scone pan (I’m so English, I know) instead of a baking sheet, that’s why mine are triangles. Also, since I didn’t know how rushed I’d be I only took pictures of the final product:

They were a great texture just make sure not to handle the dough too much, otherwise they’ll be rock hard. Next time I might add in a teaspoon of vanilla or replace the sugar with vanilla sugar. I would also double the dough since it really did only make 4 regular sized scones or, 8 small ones in my case. These scones were perfectly sweet and sophisticated like scones always are.

This morning (being a Sunday) I decided to make something a little more savory and a little more fun. If you’ve every heard of Voodoo Doughnuts you have heard of the famous Bacon Maple Bars. If you have been there and tried one, you know how genius the combination is. Now I didn’t exactly feel like making doughnuts, though I am contemplating doing it in the near future especially as I just discovered we have a pan for baking doughnuts instead of frying them… Anyway, I made bacon maple pancakes! 🙂

Since I’m still pretty sick, I didn’t bother making pancake batter from scratch and just used a cup of Snoqualmie Falls Lodge Pancake and Waffle mix with 3/4 cup of milk (not water!), a dash of cinnamon and a teaspoon of vanilla. The cinnamon and vanilla really make it taste like it’s been made from scratch, so don’t skip it if you do try them.

I took two strips of  bacon that had been cooked and chopped them up relatively finely.

I heated up my pan with a little olive oil and started pouring. I worked with two pancakes at a time, sprinkling bacon on the tops of them as they were starting to bubble.

Then, I gently flipped them…

As you’ll see at the end I like my pancakes a little more brown, don’t judge me!

They look so lovely from the underside with all that bacon peeking through!

I then stacked them on a plate, drizzled with some maple syrup and leftover bacon bits. Let’s just say that I was a very happy person this morning and I’m definitely making these again.

I want to know what strange food combinations you like? Many people think maple bars and bacon is weird, french fries and chocolate milkshakes or salted caramels. Do you eat something that may seem strange, or do you know someone with a strange eating habit? I’d love to know in the comments below! 🙂