Tag Archives: bread

Bread (& Circuses) on Impulse

Sometimes I can be extremely impulsive.  More often than not, I overthink things to the point of being unable to make a decision – especially when it comes to spending money.  I can talk myself out of pretty much any purchase.  Though I guess this probably isn’t actually a bad thing.  Without that ability, I would own a lot more shoes.

But sometimes, I act completely on impulse: like that time Run Rock n Roll offered a $29 leap-day discount and I decided “What the hell, let’s run the Chicago race in July.”  Or that time I decided to start a new blog.  Or that time I bought a new bread machine.

Yep, I bought a new bread machine.  Over the weekend I made homemade whole wheat hamburger buns.

(For the record, it was kind of a fail.  I used a bastardized version of these two recipes which tasted good but was much more bread-like than light and fluffy like a hamburger bun should be.)

During the mix/ knead cycle, my trusty old Breadman started to sound like a Gremlin was trying to escape.  Gremlins pretty much terrify me so I thought maybe Breadman needed to be put to rest.  I hopped on Amazon and less than 10 minutes later this guy was ordered.

(Also for the record, the one touch buying through the Amazon app is incredibly dangerous.  Seriously, nothing should allow me to buy something with the tap of a single button.)

So friends, I would like to introduce you all to Panem.

(Why yes, I did name my bread machine.  And just in case naming my new kitchen appliance wasn’t dorky enough for you, I made sure I named it after a fictional country in the latest YA book crazy to sweep the nation.  But hey, at least it’s actually a reference to bread; I mean, that’s got to count for something right?  Right?)

I haven’t actually used Panem to make anything yet, but I have no doubt there will be lots of carb-tastic fun in our future together.

I didn’t do a ton of research before buying this – after all, I spent less than 10 minutes on Amazon before I clicked “Buy” – but the reviews for this model were good, the price was right, and it’s the same brand as my old bread machine which has definitely stood the test of time.  It also has a horizontal loaf pan which I was looking for as well as a 13-hour delay timer which I’m pretty excited to try out.  I mean, how badass would it be to come home from work to a fresh baked loaf of bread?

So stay tuned for all my future adventures in bread making, and hopefully I’ll be successful in hamburger bun making too!

354. Random Thoughts Thursday

I could probably write  a separate post for everything here, and I probably should for content, but I don’t feel like it.  So instead I present you with a bunch of randomness currently on my mind.

Last weekend was quite the weekend for me.  It was full of all kinds of firsts.  I ran 16 miles for the first time (along with 14 and 15 miles along the way!) I shot a gun (multiple guns actually) for the first time ever, and I made homemade bagels for the first time. (FINALLY! I’ve only been talking about making homemade bagels for about 3 years now!) It was quite an impressive weekend really.

The boy owns guns and likes to go shoot them with his buddies. I have no interest in guns and even less interest in shooting them. Plus, I’m a disaster on my own; I don’t need to be a disaster with a deadly weapon in hand. But I know the boy likes guns, and I knew he would REALLY like it if I went shooting with him one day. So for Christmas I applied for my FOID card (Firearm Owners ID – It’s an Illinois thing. Illinois loves it some gun laws.) and gave the boy a copy of the application along with a note promising to take him shooting once I received my FOID. We finally picked a weekend and went. Honestly, I was surprised by how nervous, uncomfortable, and just plain scared I was to begin with. When we walked into the range, I would flinch or jump every time someone would fire a shot. I was on the verge of tears for at least the first 20 minutes simply because that’s how I most often react to the stress of nervousness/ being uncomfortable. Ultimately I had a good time. I would definitely go again but probably not anytime soon. Nik puts up with a lot of my ridiculousness (and my various kitchen experiments) so it was nice to do something that was really all for him.

I don’t know if I was feeling extra ballsy after my adventures with guns or if it was just fresh in my mind because I found a recipe when I was pulling recipes from old issues of Cooking Light and Vegetarian Times to add to my recipe binder, but I decided I was also going to make homemade bagels on Saturday.

I used this recipe from the November 2011 issue of Cooking Light. I’m not sure why I waited so long to make my own bagels, but I’m glad I finally did this because these bagels were AWESOME! I stuck to the recipe pretty closely to make sure they came out right, but I did make a few minor changes:

  1. I left out the barley malt syrup because a) I didn’t have any and b) I didn’t feel like trying to track it down. The recipe says you can leave it out so I wasn’t worried.
  2. I brushed the bagels with egg yolk thinned with water. I also topped half of them with salt, minced onion, poppy seed and sesame seeds to make everything bagels.
  3. I only made 11. I had 6 that were about 3.5 oz and 5 that were about 4.5 oz. I could have cut down all the 4.5 oz bagels to make a 12th bagel, but I was too lazy.
  4. I baked for almost twice the suggested time. I cooked them until golden brown on top and hallow sounding.

I totally rocked my February Challenge, and I feel like a rock star for it.  If you’ve been reading my blog for some time now, you know how good I am at failing at my fitness challenges.  Last month, I killed.  I blew my goal of 175 activity points (which I increased about a week into the challenge from the original 150 points) out of the water clocking in at 212 activity points for the month.  I tracked 26 out of 29 complete days.  I did fall short on my fitness class goal only attending 4 out of 5 classes.  However, that was a scheduling failure rather than me blowing things off.  There are a pretty limited number of classes I can actually attend to begin with since I don’t get home until about 6 in the evening. When you account for my Weight Watchers meetings on Tuesdays, my darts league on Wednesdays, and my training runs on Mondays and Thursdays, I’m left with Friday, Saturday and Sunday for classes.  There aren’t any evening classes on Friday and I run on either Saturday or Sunday.  That leaves me one day a week to do classes and since there were only 4 weeks in February, well…getting to 5 classes wasn’t really realistic with marathon training taking top priority.  What’s important is that I didn’t fall short of the goal simply because I was being lazy.  So because I feel like my challenge was a huge success despite that, I’ve decided to go ahead and reward my successes.   I’ve deviated from my original reward plan though and ordered How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (the reward for my bonus weight loss goal) instead of the fitbook.  There is a method to my madness though kids.

The reason I went ahead and ordered the cookbook instead of the fitbook is because I’m following Michelle’s lead and going for a Meatless March.  Back in September 2010, I made the decision to stop eating animals.  I never proclaimed myself a vegetarian because I expected to eat meat again, and I have.  Lately though, I’ve been wanting to get back to a primarily meatless diet.  This seemed like a great way to do it!

I signed up for my fifth half marathon yesterday.  The Rock n Roll race series was offering a Leap Day discount of $29 off any race.  I’m usually able to pass up a deal, but that’s a really great discount.  I decided to snap it up and registered for the Chicago Rock n Roll half marathon on July 22nd.  I was hesitant to sign up since I hate running in the heat.  (Really, I just hate the heat.)  But it was hard to pass up such a deal, especially when it would be an encore performance, and a chance to kick ass, of my very first half marathon.

Last week I decided to impulse buy a cast iron skillet, a cast iron grill pan and The New Rules of Lifting for Women off Amazon.  I haven’t used the skillet yet, but I’m a fan of the other two items thus far.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Have a happy Thursday!

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