Monday, January 31, 2011

Fluffy Philly Pretzels

I pulled this recipe out of my binder a couple weeks ago to satisfy a salty/bready craving. I haven’t made these in a couple years, but boy oh boy did they do the trick. Just remember when making these that it is fresh bread without preservatives, meaning they really need to be gobbled up within one-day of making them (at my home, that was not a problem). This recipe yields about 2 dozen medium-sized pretzels, or 18 large pretzels.

1 C. milk (I used 1% organic milk because this is what I keep around at home)
¼ C. brown sugar
¼ C. warm water
1 ½ tsp. yeast
3 C. flour (I used high-gluten flour to help my dough get even fluffier, but they will still turn out yummy with regular all-purpose flour).
3/8 tsp. baking powder
¾ T. salt
1 egg
1 T. water
1 T. coarse salt

In a saucepan, heat milk just until bubbles form around the edge; remove from the heat and stir in brown sugar until dissolved. Meanwhile, combine warm water and yeast. Let stand for 3 minutes then add the cooled milk mixture. Add in ½ of the flour (creating a smooth, wet dough) and cover and set aside for 1 hour to rise.

Stir down the dough then gradually add the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt. Place on a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Roll into a large rectangle (approx. 10” x 16”) and cut into ½” wide strips. Roll each strip into a rope and twist into large pretzels. Let rise another 1 hour.

Bring a large kettle of salted water to a boil. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lower the pretzels gently into the boiling water for about 5 seconds. Then remove and place 2” apart on a greased baking sheet.

Beat egg and water and lightly brush the pretzel tops. Sprinkle with coarse salt (to taste) and bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Now Enjoy!


Monday, January 24, 2011

black tights

American Apparel top, Lucca Couture skirt, Hue tights, unknown jewelry

In the Fall & Winter black tights are a serious wardrobe staple for me. I wear them to work at least once or twice a week, so needless to say I have several solid & patterned pairs. I love how opaque tights really expand my wardrobe (like this outfit I wore last week, shown above). Bare-legged I wouldn't quite feel comfortable wearing this skirt to work (I might worry that it is a little too short), but with tights it pulls together a more modest ensemble that I feel just fine wearing during 8 to 5. And even more so, the tights give a little extra edge to an otherwise ho-hum outfit.



Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy Friday!

I'm excited for it to be the weekend again. Last weekend was SO gorgeous I spent every minute outside. I spent Saturday at the beach (here), Sunday at a flea market (here), and Monday riding my bike around Newport Back Bay. While at the beach we spent a little time checking out the tide pools, and I managed to capture a funny moment of Mr. Crab coming out of his shell to say hello (see above). I can't wait to see what this weekend has in store - hope you enjoy yourself too!

Happy Friday!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kitchen Experiments

Having a job where I now only work about 45 hours a week, has given me a new burst of energy to start doing all those things I never felt like I had time to do before. The past month or so I have been cooking and playing in the kitchen much more than my normal tired self (the past 3 years I've alwaysput together weekly dinner lists, but I've been trying new things more often now). I typically do not post food on my blog, because I don't really use recipes (I just cook what I want to cook - semi-mad scientist style), but I thought the colors from our canning project this weekend were so beautiful I wanted to share. So here's a couple snapshots of the peppers, carrots & onion mixture we canned this weekend (which we spiced up with the habaneros that we grew on our back patio).



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Boy Meets Girl

wearing: thrifted sweater, bcbg maxazria skirt, anthropologie belt, nine west heels, vintage lace top & jewelry (the necklace was inherited from my grams).

When I go to flea markets I peruse BOTH the women's and little boys' clothing racks. Maybe I should be semi-ashamed to admit this, but hey, if the clothes fit and I like them then isn't that what vintage shopping/thrifting is all about? I'm just a unique kind of girl :)

This past weekend I found a fun little boys yellow sweater at the Melrose Trading Post and I fell in love with the buttons on it. I swooped it up (for a STEAL) and wore it to work yesterday, giving new life to my old duds. I loved the way the structured cable-knits contrast with this fun girly (and flouncy - something I hardly ever wear) skirt.



Friday, January 14, 2011

A little dark sparkle

I got this beautiful ASOS top as an Xmas gift from one of my sisters-in-law. At first sight I instantly imagined myself wearing it with dark skinny pants (cropped right above the ankle), sky-high platforms, and my regular load of vintage jewelry. Now, I still think this would be a great look (if you see something and put an outfit together in your head in five seconds, you KNOW it’s good) - but I thought that look might be a little too va-va-voom for a regular work day. So as a more work-friendly option, I paired it yesterday with my high-waisted Theory pants and funky Isabella Fiore snakeskin pumps for a more sophisticated vibe.



Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ode to the Chicago Dog...

(pic taken by yours truly during my most recent trip to Chi-town)

Dear Chicago Dog,

You are absolutely UH-mazing! And what is with the way Chicago puts those tasty pickled peppers on everything? We like spicy in LA, why didn’t WE think of this? I think it’s time I come out and say it: I love you more than the LA Ghetto Dog. Now trust me...that means a lot. Yes, you’re both equally wrapped in glorious bacon, but the spicy peppers and mustard win me over everytime. But shhhh, please please, don’t tell LA.



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Camel Love

I have a soft spot for all animals, and a HUGE soft spot for silly ones. This usually translates into me not being able to say no when it comes to picking up crazy little animal curiosities for my home. Case in point - this adorable camel cookie jar. I spotted him at a flea market recently and knew he had to be in our home (Dan always tells me he wants a camel right?). Now he sits on our wine shelves and provides a great holding place for Dan’s collection of corks, until he decides what he actually wants to do with all of them.



Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Operation: Bring Desk to Life!

Brocade Magnetic Bulletin Board, $39.99 @ The Container Store

I decided today that my desk at my new job needs a dramatic makeover. At my last gig I never spent anytime in my office (because I was always out at clients) so my office pathetically consisted of just a desk and chair and one picture...just ONE lonely picture! Now that I will actually be sitting at the same desk for five days a week, I think it's time for that space to resemble me.

Of course, I need to decide on some pictures to hang up, but I've found the perfect place to put them already. I'm 100% loving the Brocade line of desk accessories at the Container Store, as evidenced above.

This Brocade Magentic Board is not only whimsical, but it serves a great purpose. I hate using thumbtacks and putting holes in pictures, so I love being able to use magnets when hanging up photos (I have a magnetic inspiration board at home for this reason).

See & Store Containers, $1.99 each @ The Container Store

I also think these See & Store Containers (which are magnetic) would be cool to put up on this board as well. It's a great fun way to keep paper clips (which my new Company LOVES - they don't staple anything) and binder clips within reach.

Brocade Pencil Cup, $4.99 @ The Container Store

I like the idea of the matching Brocade Pencil Holder too, but I also I think it's good to not go overboard on the matchy-matchy so I'll stop here. If you like these designs, there are plenty of other great Brocade desktop accessories (bins, magazine racks, etc) there too.

Also, a calendar is a must! I found a couple of cute mini-desk versions on Etsy as shown below (side note: Btw Amie, why don't you sell a calendar on your etsy shop? I'd think you could put together a really cute one with all the prints you've made in the past year. And this time of year is so perfect for selling them too!). I think I like the first one the most; that little hedgehog in August is just too cute.

Little Forest 2011 Mini Wall Calendar Limited Edition, $15 on Stephanie Fizer's Etsy Shop

2011 Winifred Studios Calendar, $24 on winifredStudios Etsy Shop

Now I need to find a couple of picture frames, and possibly decide on some cute bookends (I have some at home already that may workout).


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