Odds & Ends

At this very moment, I have something like 10 posts hanging out in my Drafts folder. Some half written, some fully written but not edited, some just waiting for me to upload a picture to go with.  In other words, they are all so close to being able to publish, but then I lose interest, or they suddenly seem not “of the moment,” and something else seems more worthy of writing about right now.  I’m sure there’s some deeper psychological reasoning, but I’m not going there right now.  Instead, I’m going to put all those drafts aside for yet another day and tell you some random odds and ends.  Cool?

I read a list of the Top 50 Fast Food Items this week, and for some reason, it was so interesting to me, despite the fact that when I really thought about it, I realized I haven’t eaten fast food in four years.  I can’t decide if I’m proud or kinda sad about that.  For better or for worse, fast food seems so intrinsically American.  For the record, said list had Chick-fil-A Waffle Fries as #1 and I feel like that’s wrong.

Guys, are you buying these new John Mayer mini-albums as they get released?  He released the “Second Wave” last Friday and three of the four are VERY good.  “Helpless” is maybe the most I’ve liked a JM song in a long long time.  Cept I think “Wildfire” is actually pretty great too.  He just added new tour dates, including a stop in Denver and while it’s not Red Rocks (ugh, the Pepsi Center), you know I still bought tickets because where John goes, I will follow.

Tuesday was the best day of the year (aside from Oscar Sunday, Opening Day, GABF Day and Thanksgiving :P): National Pancake Day/Mardi Gras!  Pancake flights at Snooze (tradition, tradition!), followed by a caffeine/sugar buzz like WHOA and homemade shrimp étouffée that blew Joey and I away.  Best part?  It makes like eight servings so we’ve been enjoying it all week.

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We watched Other People on Tuesday night and though you probably wouldn’t think of Molly Shannon as starring in anything of real quality, we loved it!  It’s much more about Jesse Plemons’ character than anything else, but it’s beautifully tragic and after watching it, I realized that might be my favorite movie genre?!  What does that say about me, exactly?

I started fermenting some carrots and bottled a strawberry-lime kombucha on Wednesday and my hippie heart felt so satisfied and happy about it.  Also, I cannot get over how amazing purple carrots are.  They are already beautiful, but then you cut into them and they are YELLOW?!  Nature is a crazy cool magician.  This is only the second time I’ve tried flavoring my booch with fresh fruit and I’ve got my fingers crossed that it tastes good.

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This is hardly worth mentioning but I’ve been using hand lotion like crazy lately and I think my nails are all the better for it.  I’ve always had pretty good nails but for the past few years, they have been so weak (tearing and breaking on the sides CONSTANTLY) and I had a theory it was because I started cooking a lot and thus, doing a lot of dishes, which probably dries your hands/nails out, so I figured I’d at least try the moisturizing route and maybe it’s too soon to say, but I think it’s really really helping.

A picture of a breakfast my mom once cooked for us popped up on my TimeHop last week and Joey and I were reminded how often we used to go to my parents’ on Sunday mornings and how much we miss that.  I pointed it out to my mom and now we’re going there for breakfast this Sunday.  Ask (or passive aggressively mention) and you shall receive.  I’m pretty excited.

Have you been watching the live feed of the April the Giraffe??  She’s about to have a baby and we’ve been obsessively checking in on her, waiting for it to happen.  Meanwhile, a giraffe at our own Denver Zoo unexpectedly had a baby yesterday.  Joke’s on us!  The baby’s name is Dobby and my heart can barely handle the cuteness (of the actual baby AND of the name)!  Side Note: if you have not seen a giraffe sit down or stand up before, check the live feed out NOW.

It’s Friday Eve and I’m happy for that.

A Homemade King Cake

I live life in the future.  As in, my body might be in the present, but my mind is one week, two weeks, three weeks, A MONTH in the future.  Lots of times, this is not ideal.  Like when I’m turning onto the highway, thinking about what kind of Oscars snacks I wanna eat and completely miss the fact that the highway is at A DEAD STOP and I should have noticed BEFORE I got in the turn lane because now it’s too late.

But other times, like when I stumble across a King Cake recipe two months before Mardi Gras, and have ample time to buy plastic babies online, locate purple glitter and carve myself out an entire day to make said cake, then my tendency to live in the future really comes in handy.  It just means I’ve got my shit together  I’m mentally and physically prepared for stuff.  Or that’s what I’m telling myself, at least 🙂

Anyway, I found this King Cake recipe on Joy the Baker’s website and though she’s not a New Orleans native, she lived in the French Quarter for a bit, which I think accelerates your NOLA cred, AND I felt good about getting a cake recipe from someone with “the Baker” in their title.  Also, she adapted her recipe from John Besh’s and I feel like he probably knows his way around a King Cake.  This is all to say, I felt like this was a recipe I trusted.  And after using it with success, I 100% recommend it.

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What, you don’t have butter softening on your kitchen shelf?

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Yeast scares the heck out of me but this dough rose just as it was supposed to and OH MY GOD, it smelled HEAVENLY.  Better than the $1 cinnamon buns smelled at IKEA the day before.

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I tried mixing the filling (with perfectly softened butter!) with a spoon and then said “forget it!” and used my hands.  It was oddly satisfying and also felt like the best sugar scrub when I washed it off afterwards.  

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The dough didn’t give me ANY trouble when I rolled it out, spread it with cinnamon-sugar butter and re-rolled it.  HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF.

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Would you believe this was my first braided bread attempt?  Okay, my end connecting could use some work, but otherwise I was pretty proud of myself.  I let this rise for half an hour and took myself on a run, because: balance!

 

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Baked it for about 5 minutes longer than the recipe said and it was nice and toasty looking on the outside but so tender and soft on the inside.  Bakers always be saying “don’t be afraid to let your dough get some color” and I was afraid but it all turned out just fine.

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Once it was fully cooled (and my house smelled fully intoxicating), I mixed up the glaze, which honestly seemed just a tad too thin, and poured it over.  Cut to Joey and I spooning it from the sides back over the top for several minutes.  There was a glaze jacuzzi in the middle that I wanted to swim in.  Then sprinkles, sprinkles, sprinkles.  They were all different coarsenesses (is that a word?), but whatever!

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Joey directed me where to cut the first piece and I hit that baby, even though I was the one who put it in and should have known exactly where it was.  Doh!

Honestly, I was so excited for this little King Cake project and it couldn’t have gone better.  It was surprisingly easy and totally paid off because this tasted so good!  I’m trying to think back on all the King Cakes I’ve eaten in this life — no joke, when my sister and I went to Mardi Gras in 2012, we ate something like five different King Cakes — and I feel like most have been of the soft bread-y texture.  This one definitely had more of a crispy exterior, but I kinda LOVED that about it!  Mostly, I’m excited to know I don’t have to debate shelling out a bunch of money to ship myself one from NOLA every year, because I can just make one myself.

Also, I had lunch with my mom yesterday and gave her a big old piece and it made my heart so happy to share a piece of New Orleans with the person who passed her love for that city down to me ♥