Category Archives: Baked Goods
So in my ever-ongoing quest to eat better at breakfast time, I decided to make another batch of my awesome Make Ahead Oatmeal Blueberry Pancakes. These things are probably the best things I’ve ever made. It’s great being able to grab something healthy and quick on my way out the door. Life is good.
Except when you eat the pancakes at your desk, and the blueberries get all hot and gooey…but you don’t have a fork so you just roll them up and eat them with your hands. And then you bite into a very large, juicy blueberry, and the juice shoots across your desk. Onto a product you’ve been working on for the better part of a week and is due to your boss today. And he walks into your cube before you have time to print out a new cover sheet.
As I prefer to avoid situations that leave me juice-stained and unprofessional, so I needed an Option.
Options are the best thing ever. They’re what lets you adapt to life, to mold otherwise imperfect situations into your own personal Utopia, culinary or otherwise.
The pancake batter was pretty thick, so I figured it’s strong enough to stand up…maybe not on its own, but definitely IN A MUFFIN TIN!!!!
Who’s a fan?
As an added variation, I tossed in five mini-bananas I bought at the international market last week. I know they have a ‘real’ name but I can’t pronounce nor spell it, so for now, they’re “mini-bananas.” They were also about to turn brown, so I cut them up and added them into the batter before I let the stick blender do its stick blender job.
After the batter was all happy and blended, I chopped up about two big handfuls of dried apricots. I wanted to add some additional nutrition and change up the texture a bit. (SF Note: Be careful what kind of dried fruit you buy. A lot of manufacturers add in a gazillion cups of sugar during the drying process, and that’s not healthy at all.)
I ladled the batter into muffin tins using a 1/4 cup measure–this is the same measuring cup I used to measure out my pancakes when I made them the first time. If two 1/4 cup pancakes equal one serving…then two 1/4 cup muffins must equal one serving too!!
Finally, years after my formal education has been completed, those math skillz are starting to kick in. I wonder if I can retake any of those Geometry tests Mr. McCormick failed me on…
Guess who can’t wait for breakfast tomorrow?
Bread rocks my socks. I’ll openly admit it. I am an unashamed, unabashed, unadulterated carb-a-holic.
I’ve already gushed about my grandmother’s toast. It’s just plain white bread, with the perfect scraping of unsalted butter. Nothing fancy, but it’s comforting, like being wrapped in a carbohydrate Snuggie, in front of a fire, on a cold winter’s night. And is there anything better than being greeted with the beautifully nostalgic aroma of fresh baking bread?
…the correct answer is no.
I’m a carb addict, but I’m also generally disgusted with what’s sold in the stores nowadays. Seriously, there’s a problem if you can leave bread on the counter for two days, and it’s still soft. And anything that is left open for a week and refuses to mold is just plain wrong. Like, wearing a paisley shirt and polka dotted pants wrong.
I love bread, but hate the stuff in stores. So what’s the answer?
Make my own.
Now here’s my Studio Foodie Cheating Moment: I totally used a bread maker. I know! It’s not 100% hand made the way Great Grandma Emma (remember the egg thing?) would have made it. [gasp!] But you know what? From what I know of her from stories, she was a resourceful woman. If they had bread makers back in the ‘20s, she would have used it too.
I’m not adept enough at making bread to really start messing recipes yet, so I went verbatim from the bread machine combination companion users guide and recipe booklet. The only substitution I made was to change out the refined sugar in favor of honey.
So, there I was, in my kitchen. Recipe booklet on the counter. Ingredients carefully-ish measured and photographed. All I needed was the bread machine…which was perched high above my head, on top of the cabinets. That’s ok, I told myself. Among women, you’re like an Amazon. You can reach it!
Ordinarily, my height is a plus in every situation but dating. I’m about 5’8,” which isn’t particularly ginormous, except I like to Wear Heels. And yes, “Wear Heels” must be capitalized. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. There are some shoes that are worn, and others that are Worn. The entire purpose of putting those gorgeous, blessed shoes on your dogs is to make a statement, and a strong one at that. So when your typical shoe puts you closer to 5’11”, and the average American male (at least among my dating pool) hovers around 5’10,” well, you can see my problem. (My most recent ex-boyfriend SAID he was 5’10” but was really 5’9”, and I had to wear flats every time I saw him. We broke up after 6 weeks. Correlation or causation? The world may never know…)
Anyway, confident in my ability to reach things, I stretched to my full length…and my fingers could barely touch the machine.
I don’t even remember how I got that damn thing up there. No, I do. I had to push it up over the cabinet top lip. I remember thinking, That’s going to be a bitch to get down. And it was.
The sad thing about living in a studio is that not only are you limited on easily accessible storage space, there’s no room for things like chairs to stand on. So there I was, ingredients at the ready, and nothing to bake them with! And like hell I was going to do it all from scratch. I do NOT have time to kneed.
However, not only am I tall, I am creative! A quick trip into my closet and I had what I needed–my awesome leopard print heels with the 3 inch rise. Damn, I love those shoes. I also kinda love being a genius, because the bread machine as on the counter a few seconds later.
French Countryside Bread
(shamelessly lifted from the Oster User Manual & Bread Recipes book, accompanying the 2lb Expressbake Breadmaker)
1 3/8 cups water (warmed to approx. 115 degrees)
1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 cups bread flour
1 Tablespoon honey (or sugar, as in the original recipe)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
The instructions are supposed to be idiot proof. Add all the liquid ingredients, then the dry ingredients (less the yeast). Make a little well in the center and pour in the yeast. Close the top and hit “start.”
And somehow I forgot to put the honey in with the water. Oops. So I poured it in the side and hoped for the best.
The resulting loaf wasn’t the prettiest thing I’ve ever made. It’s definitely not the exquisitely crafted handmade loaves from the specialty bakeries that you can still occasionally find tucked in here or there around town. But my apartment smelled like childhood, and sometimes, that’s all that matters.