3.31.2013

Cadbury Mini Egg Easter Bread


Easter Bread (source)



Ingredients


  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus 1/2 tablespoon, melted
  • a handful of Cadbury Mini Eggs (or any other candy-coated chocolates) 


Preparation

  1. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°–115°. Transfer milk to a 2-cup measuring cup; stir in 1 Tbsp. sugar. Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 2 eggs; whisk until smooth.
  2. Combine remaining 4 Tbsp. sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add milk mixture. With mixer running, add 1/2 cup room-temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes.
  3. Brush a medium bowl with some melted butter; place dough in bowl. Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap.
  4. Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1–1 1/2 hours.
  5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down dough. Divide into 3 equal pieces. With lightly floured* hands, roll each piece on a lightly floured* surface into a 16-inch-long rope with tapered ends. (If dough begins to bounce back, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes to allow dough to relax.)
  6. Arrange ropes side by side lengthwise on prepared sheet. Pinch top ends together. Braid dough. Pinch bottom ends together to secure (braided loaf will be about 12 inches long). Tuck candy coated eggs between braids, spacing evenly. Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free area until puffed but not doubled in size, 45–50 minutes.
  7. Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375°. Whisk remaining egg with 2 tsp. warm water in a small bowl. Avoiding eggs, brush dough all over with egg wash. Bake until bread is golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loaf registers 190°, 20–25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.



 
*Note: Instead of flouring hands and work surface, I sprinkled cocoa powder on my hands and parchment paper. 

Have A Happy Easter! 


3.27.2013

Hay There









I took a visit to this local field yesterday. I always pass by the huge stacks of hay on my drive to work and thought they'd make a nice backdrop! I also felt like randomly straightening my hair yesterday for no reason. I never do it, so why the heck not. I actually like it straight, but I think since I'm used to it being wonky and wavy that I felt like I had no idea how to style it this way! It was very strange.

It started to sprinkle when I was finishing up taking my photos, so I packed my gear up and as I was stepping into my car, I slipped and fell on the gravel rocks that make up the little access road. Ouch! I landed on my bum but thankfully I and my dress are alright!





Cardigan: Old Navy
Dress & Clutch: thrifted
Shoes: Chelsea Crew via Ruche

3.25.2013

Mixed Up






Mixing prints and seasons in today's look. I learned to hide behind the walls to escape the wind. Gosh it's bitter! It also helped that by hiding from wind, I was hiding from onlookers when the wind blew my skirt up!! All in a day's work!





Coat: unknown department store in NYC (old)
Shirt: Ross'
Skirt: Charlotte Russe
Shoes: Target

3.24.2013

Jello Cookies


I SHOULD HAVE MADE THESE FOR ST. PATRICK'S DAY! I'm seriously kicking myself for not making these a week ago. They're like happy little radio-active sugar blobs. Appetizing! Actually they're pretty good. And I think I might go to the store soon to get blue-raspberry jello! Seriously any flavor jello will work. I just happened to love lime.

Jello Cookies (adapted from here)

Yields 40-48 cookies

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 6 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 packages jello, divided (any flavor, not sugar free)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp milk (I used soy, any should do)

Directions:


Preheat oven to 400°F.

1. Whisk together flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar and 1 package gelatin; beat until light and fluffy. Blend in egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture.Mix will look like a bunch of crumbs. Slowly add milk until resembles dough. 


2. Pour remaining jello package into a small bowl or ramekin. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in dry jello. Place jello coated balls onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. You may choose to flatten dough balls with your palm or bake in ball form.

Rounded vs. Flattened balls

3. Bake for 8 minutes if you flattened cookies or 10 minutes is you left them as balls (or until edges are lightly browned.) Cool on baking sheets 3 min. Remove to wire racks to cool slightly. Eat right away and they're nice and chewy/fluffy. Or wait until cool and they get slightly crisp on the outside. Store in air tight container.


Baked flattened cookies

Baked rounded cookies
I preferred the rounded version, they are puffier!

These would be perfect for any occasion because you can make them any color! Baby showers come to mind. Cute lil pink or blue cookies :)
~Naomi




3.23.2013

Weekend Warrior




Well we've made it. We made it to the point in my (blog's) life where I feel comfortable enough to show you a lazy day look. Even though it might look nice and sunny, it was like -50 million degrees and I only had to venture outside for my annual TB test for work. On my day off! On a weekend!

So I hid my tired eyes under my sunnies and put some lipstick on to make it look like I tried. After that silly errand, I took a nap. I deserved it! Haha. Welcome to the life of a nurse on her day off.
~Naomi




Vest & Jeans: Gap
Sweater: Polo Ralph Lauren (thrifted)
Purse: TJ Maxx
Sunglasses: eBay
Boots: Avon

3.21.2013

Bargain Pleats






If I were to add up this whole outfit, I think it would have cost me around $30 total. I picked up this cute pleated skirt with it's faux leather waistband at Target for $2.68! It was a returned online item and on clearance! I didn't even try it on.

And while we're on the topic of things I bought but didn't try on, that cute pink tank top. I had bought it at H&M when it was crowded from some sale last summer. I got the size 4 when I should have got the 6, it was too tight! So I had to wait until I lost some weight to wear it! Hooray now it fits!

Happy Thursday ya'll. The weekend is dead ahead!
~Naomi



Sweater: hand-me-down
Tank top: H&M
Skirt: Target
Tights & Necklace: unknown
Shoes: Deb Shops

3.19.2013

Ice Maiden








I guess I was a little early when I labeled my two previous post as "Spring" outfits! The snow came down yesterday so heavy that my hair and camera (oops!) were soaked after only 10 minutes! Hope you're staying warm and safe wherever you are!
~Naomi




Sweater: NY & Company
Top: Daisy Rae Boutique (via giveaway)
Pants: Vince Camuto
Boots: Old Navy

3.17.2013

Orange Sweet Rolls (& Happy St. Patty's Day!)



Orange Sweet Rolls(source)


Ingredients:
Dough:
500 g (4 cups) flour
70 g (5 Tbsp) sugar
25 g (2 Tbsp) yeast
½ teaspoon of salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
160 ml (2/3 cup) warm milk
120 g (8 Tbsp) butter, softened  
        
Orange Butter Filling:
100 g (7 Tbsp) soft butter
120 g (1/2 cup) light brown sugar
4 tablespoons grated orange zest (about 2 oranges)
2 tablespoons orange juice

Topping:
1 egg and 1 tablespoon milk

Orange Glaze:
100 ml (3.3oz) freshly squeezed orange juice
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
1 Tbsp corn syrup







Preparation*:

  1. Using an electric mixer, mix the flour, sugar, and yeast. Add the salt and stir. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, and milk in a thin stream while kneading until the dough is smooth. If the dough is not uniform and smooth at this point add a tablespoon or two more of milk.
  2. Add cubes of soft butter, a little at a time while kneading on medium speed. Continue to knead the dough well for about 8 minutes; the dough should be smooth and barely sticky.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in volume. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  4. After dough has risen, transfer the dough to a work surface and divide it into 3 equal parts. Roll out each piece of dough into a circle with a diameter of about 30 cm. (Roll each part of dough on a piece of baking paper to keep its shape uniform).
  5. Evenly spread first half of the filling on the surface of first circle. Place another circle of dough on top of filling, stretch the edges of the dough so sit overlapping circle below. Spread the remaining filling, and cover with the last circle of dough. Fasten the layers together and flatten the edges with a knife creating a beautiful round shape. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter cut the circle into 8 equal triangles, like a pizza.
  6. Make a small hole in center of each triangle and widen it with your fingers. Fold the sharp point of the triangle down into the hole, and pull it back gently upwards. Repeat the action on all the triangles, and arrange them back in the form of a circle on a parchment lined baking sheet. To finish design, pinch together the corners on the large end of each triangle. (If the corners do not stick very well, hold in place with a toothpick.) Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

(photo from The Cookie Fairy)
Baking Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350* F.
  2. Beat together egg and milk for topping. Brush the pastry and bake for about 22 minutes until lightly browned. While it is baking, cook all the ingredients for the glaze in a sauce pan over medium heat for several minutes, and then brush the hot pastry several times immediately after removing it from the oven. Top with sliced almonds (optional).
  3. This yeast cake is the most delicious on the day of preparation.



MY NOTES:
*Recipe was translated using Google sidebar translator. Measurements were converted using this conversion calculator.

  • I followed the recipe exactly as I typed it above for the dough
  • I was unable to make the pretty design that The Cookie Fairy photographed as seen above, so my rolls were short and fat instead of triangular and thin.
  • I over estimated how much juice my oranges would give me when juicing them for the Orange Butter Filling, so my filling was soupier. Thus, I skipped the glaze and topping and just poured the excess soupy filling on top of the rolls once I placed them in my tart pan and then baked it. 

Overall, delicious taste but certainly time consuming! Why did I even bother going through the hassle of translating, converting, hand juicing, hand kneading?! Well because I love to bake. It's was quite therapeutic!
~Naomi

3.15.2013

A Celtic Blessing



May the blessing of light be on you—
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great peat fire.


(attempted a mini hair-bow)


With St. Patrick's Day just around the corner, I thought I'd embrace my Celtic roots. My grandmother's side was Welsh. For the longest time, my mother claimed we were related to an ancient Welsh princess. I think we later found out she only acted like one (a modern day diva, holla!) and was never actually royalty. That's how tall tales and legends are created, no?
~Naomi



Shirt: hand-me-down
Belt: Old Navy
Skirt: repurposed thrifted dress
Sweater: Thrifted (Abe's)
Shoes: Deb Shops



P.S. It was very windy outside when I snapped these images. But I was stubborn and wanted to have some Spring-like sunshine on my face! So here's the proof of the elements:


3.13.2013

She's Got Legs



Hooray for warmth and mini-dresses! I quoted The Little Mermaid with the title, it felt perfect. All winter I was covering my legs with opaque tights, longs skirt, or even jeans. With the burst of spring weather, I almost didn't need tights. But I am still winter pale, so I donned sheer ones. You're welcome.







Caught doing a funny jig, had to include it anyway!
Special thanks to my friend Sarah Jean who snapped all these lovely pics of me on Saturday. We were making a quiche and bolted outside while it was baking. Our apartment heated up to 79* with the sunshine in the windows and the oven on!

We struggled to capture images where my mini slip wasn't peeking out the bottom. (You can see it a lil in the last image.) I didn't realize how short the dress was until prancing around with SJ telling me every 5 seconds, "You're slip's showing, you're slips showing." I think I'll add a ruffle to the dress, either that or not wear a slip! :P
~Naomi



Cardigan: Old Navy
Dress: H&M
Necklace: F21
Belt: Charlotte Russe
Heels: Steve Madden