Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My First Dinner Rolls

On Saturday night, I made my first dinner rolls! I thought they would go well with our steak dinner, and they did! Thankfully, we had a few friends over, one of which is a baking master, so he was able to answer a few trivial questions I otherwise would have guessed on.

I used this recipe and loved it. Next time, I think I'll add slightly less flour because it tasted to me like there was a little too much. Also, I would love to find a nice honey butter mix to put on top of the rolls for right as they come out of the oven or something. Overall, the recipe was not too bad and I really look forward to getting to make them again soon!

Before I made these, I also mixed together the steak marinade. I used this recipe, which was a tad complicated, but I think my family liked it. Honestly, I could hardly tell because steak is not necessarily my favorite meat. I can never seem to spend less than a few minutes chewing on one bite. I'm much more of a chicken girl. (:

- rl

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

(Healthy?) Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

I was first drawn to this recipe because I was curious how strawberries and oatmeal would taste together. I read the instructions through a few times before gathering the ingredients and I wasn't sure whether or not I would add the glaze on top. They are advertised as 100 calories each, but that is only if you cut them into 16 squares (I did 9) and if you don't add the glaze (I ended up adding it). I went in expecting them to be 100 calorie breakfast bars, when in reality they're probably at least 200 calories and taste more like a dessert.

I was talking to a friend from school last night and when I mentioned all the cooking I've been doing (which is not particularly usual for me) she remembered me posting pictures of these bars and commented on how good they looked. She wasn't wrong. I think these look so, so tasty, but I was kind of disappointed by them. I'm not sure if I added too much glaze or something, but they are very squishy and fall apart easily. I think that I was confusing oatmeal and granola's unique consistencies. I have eaten the bars alone, but mostly have been adding it to my oatmeal each morning.

I may end up making these again sometime if someone mentions that they'd like to try them, but I don't necessarily see them as something I'll be craving in the future.

- rl

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Banana Bread, Round Two

Less than a week after my first banana bread endeavor, I made a second loaf! I was looking forward to trying a different recipe shortly after making my first loaf, but was disappointed that it was a result of my first loaf growing mold after I had been gone a few days. Just as I was going to pull up Pinterest to look up a different recipe, my mom suggested I try one that had only a few ingredients that she had in one of her cookbooks. She couldn't find the exact recipe she was looking for, but we found another one and I started gathering the supplies.

This loaf felt very different from the start because of its use of Bisquick. Then, when I checked on it a few times while baking, I saw that it was huge, definitely bigger than the previous loaf, the bread starting to go over the sides of the pan, whereas the previous batch barely reached the top of the pan. Then, before even cutting into it, the removal of the bread showed how crumbly it was. This batch was definitely more dry than the previous one, which was disappointed because the moistness of the first batch was my favorite part. All in all, I don't think I'll be making this recipe again.

Today I am watching Building off the Grid: Big Sky Ranch and about to head into work for the first time in three weeks. I took the last two weeks of the semester off to finish up homework and get packed without that added stress, then the first week of summer so I could get some cleaning (and apparently an impromptu trip!!) out of the way. Now, however, it's back to work, which will be good for me. Having so much time off has been weird, but good.

- rl

Monday, May 23, 2016

My Disney Experience

One week ago I could not have guessed that just a few days later I would be flying to Florida, going to Disney for an afternoon, then driving all day Friday from Orlando to Dallas with one of my best friends. That's what happened, though. Those two days were probably the most spontaneous days of my life thus far and I loved every second of it, except for maybe the hotel room where the air conditioner didn't every really turn on, despite the humidity that is Florida.

Thursday morning my sister took me to the airport at 5:30 for my 7:30 flight to Orlando. By 11:30 that morning I was in Diana's car on the way to the parks where she has been interning all semester with Disney. Crazy, y'all. She was able to get me into the parks for free so we spent all afternoon going from park to park. If you're familiar with Disney, you can tell from the order of the photos that we went from Animal Kingdom to Hollywood Studios, then Epcot and Magic Kingdom. This rapid succession of events was a nice refresher for someone like me who would happily plan out the exact route I would take in each park if I had all the time in the world to see everything. Because this was not possible, however, Diana planned it all and I just followed.

Favorite ride? Either the Star Wars or Peter Pan one, although there were several others that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Favorite food? The rolls at Mama Melrose's in Hollywood Studios or the hot dog with pork and coleslaw on top from Casey's Corner in Magic Kingdom. OH! Or the mango sorbet (on a cone!) from the France Pavilion in Epcot.
Favorite park? Epcot. For those that don't know (like me, one week ago) Epcot has over ten 'pavilions' (largest pavilions I've ever seen) that are like different countries. They literally brought in architects from the various countries, have food, etc. from that country, and all cast members that work there are from that country. If I could only return to one park, it would be Epcot because there was so much to learn there.

I've always said that, while I wouldn't mind going to Disney, I wouldn't want to pay for it, so I'm very thankful that I got to experience this. I did spend quite a bit on food and water, but no where near what most have to pay to even enter the parks for a day.

Our drive back went quickly. We took turns driving the 16 hours so we could do it all in one day. Florida had a lot of rain and Mobile, AL has awful traffic. We listened to a lot of music and several hours of comedy. By the time we got to Dallas at one in the morning we were both exhausted, yet were able to get home safely.

Thank you, Diana's mom, for encouraging this trip and helping us along the way.
Thank you, Diana, for spending your last day at Disney (for now!) running me around the whole place and then trusting me while driving. (;

- rl

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Banana Bread

Growing up, when someone asked me if I liked a particular food I would automatically say that I didn't, even if I hadn't ever tried it. Stupid. Since going to college, however, I have met people that have challenged me to try new things. I also realized that I feel like a total jerk for denying something I haven't even given a chance. Because of this I've tried a few odd things (mainly fish ice cream from my Alaskan bestie).

Freshman year the life group leader on our floor frequently made banana bread. At some point, I decided to try it to be nice. Honestly, I cannot remember if I liked it or not, but I obviously didn't hate it because when I saw bananas beginning to brown at home the other day, I automatically thought that I should make bread out of them. After a little bit of browsing on Pinterest, I found this recipe from Simply Recipes and decided to give it a try. Guys, it is so good. It was so, so easy and I'm enjoying cutting off some slices between meals. Here's to hoping I'm not the only one in love with it and that I can remember to keep the supplies for it in my dorm next year for all those bananas I tend to forget about.

- rl

Monday, May 16, 2016

March Reminiscing

I'm on my third day back home for the summer and I still cannot believe that fact. I also can't believe I only blogged once this past school year. It was a crazy one, but I didn't realize I let this slip by so often. Sophomore year was so good and challenging. While I wish I had documented it better here, I can't change it now. #regret

These are pictures Ally, my roommate, and I took back in March. One Sunday afternoon we decided to ditch homework and take a walk to Lincoln Park, walking back on a route that went through a beautiful neighborhood with some interesting features. We're not positive what the eggs were hanging from the trees for, but they were so beautiful to see.

Right now I am munching on banana chips, baking banana bread, and trying to get my room organized before I start work next week. While I love keeping things to look back on for sentimental reasons, the minimalist I want to be dies at the thought of keeping ALL my journals from middle and high school. Stay tuned to find out who wins the battle...

- rl