America, Celebration, Family, Farm, Food, Funny, Health, Uncategorized

The Marriage Bread

Chris recently said that he was “getting really tired of calling me his girlfriend.” Most girls would probably be a little bit offended by that, but I knew he was thinking about a title upgrade, not a title downgrade, so I let it slide.

I’m not really known for anything significant. Some people are known for being great swimmers or accomplished pianists, but I’m known for random things, like being able to tell the difference between cauliflower and broccoli plants, knowing the exact percentage of cotton in different t-shirts by just feeling them, and drinking an exorbitant amount of coffee every day.

And, apparently, bread baking.

I found a recipe for bread in my grandma’s local newspaper a few years ago. And like the dweeb I am, I cut it out and saved it. No new age Pinterest recipes for me! (Just kidding Pinterest, you know we’re buds.)

According to the article, people submit recipes all year long to the newspaper and at the end of the year someone chooses the favorite from each category. This just happened to be the best in bread and it sounded good, so I kept it.

I’d never made bread before, which should be a testament to how easy it is. However, I’ve made it multiple times for multiple people and everyone loves it and acts like I’m a magician for being able to make it.

When Chris and I started dating, I warned him that I was by no means a chef and didn’t cook super often. Then, I realized that was probably not the best thing to say to a potential suitor, so I followed it up with “but, I could feed you.” Yes. I really said those words. On our second date.

Which in my mind meant, I’m not a great cook, but I can cook and you won’t starve. He laughed because I’d worded it all in such a roundabout way. And, he kept dating me, so hey, not so bad!

Back to the bread. Chris met my extended family after we’d been dating for awhile and one of the first few questions he was asked was whether I’d made him bread yet. I hadn’t and my uncle said “just wait til you try the bread she makes, you’ll want to propose to her on the spot!”

We’d been dating about three months at this point and both found this to be a funny quip.

As we travel to see each other, we don’t cook together very often, so I still hadn’t made the infamous bread when Chris had been to see me. When he came in early December, I made a loaf and he claimed it was the best bread he’d ever had.

Now, was he just saying that because I was his girlfriend? Probably. I think he’s a bit biased. But, unbeknownst to me, he did ask my dad for his blessing to marry me that same weekend. Coincidence? Who knows, but the girl who regularly wears socks with sandals won him over somehow, so the bread theory is as good as any.

And a little over a month later, on our trip to Breckenridge, Chris conspired with another couple we were with and we drove out to Hoosier Pass on the Continental Divide and he proposed. And I said yes!

For breader or for worse.

Culture, Food, Travel

Recipe Rethink

I’ve been lied to my whole life. Apparently, perch are not perch. I hope this is coming as a shock to everyone else too. What we call perch in the South are technically sunfish (I think. You might want to fact check me on that. Actually, just make a mental note now, you should always fact check me on everything I say.) So, upon discovering this, I felt I needed to take a picture with my first ever actual perch. Look at how cute this little guy was!

Note that I am wearing three layers. In June.

Note that I am wearing three layers. In June.

I’ve decided there should be a section on every recipe that gives you directions for cooking in less than ideal conditions. Sometimes, they’ll include directions for cooking at high altitudes, but how often do you make macaroni and cheese on a mountain? One time. I have done that one time. Which I was excited about because I got to use the special high altitude directions.

I’m not high maintenance. I can make do in a lot of situations. I think it’s more that I’m not very ingenuitive. Is that a word? As you can imagine, in a fish camp, the kitchens aren’t as fully equipped. Which isn’t usually a big deal because I don’t cook much on these trips. My dad is easy to please, so pretty much any sustenance will do. In fact, I think both of us could dine on only fish all week and be perfectly content. But, I bring a few easy things to throw together. And some vegetables, we can’t forget the veggies.

This year, I decided to get a little more inventive. Before we left, my brother asked if I wanted to take the mandolin (which I did consider, even though I’ve never used it before) or a cutting knife. But, I declined. If you know my track record with kitchen clumsiness, you’ll know why I declined.

I had a couple recipes I intended to make and at home, they seemed like no big deal. Unfortunately, I didn’t think things all the way through.

For banana pudding, you were supposed to whisk until smooth. No whisk? Use every utensil in the kitchen looking for the best fix and end up just using a fork. I’m pretty sure even the pioneer women had whisks. (By the way, is that word looking weird to anyone besides me?) I’ll fast forward and tell you that the fork method doesn’t really work all that well and that the pudding was definitely not smooth. The directions also said I needed to crush the cookies to sprinkle on the pudding. Luckily, the kind people at United Airlines took care of that step for me. Food processor? Completely unnecessary.

Crushed cookies

Crushed cookies

Steaming broccoli: all you need is some boiling water, right? Wrong. I forgot that a steamer basket would be needed for this task. My solution? A colander over boiling water, with a misfit lid. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think this was going to work. I thought I might end up with a new dish called broccoli a la plastic. But, it worked really well actually. Ya’ll make a note of this one, in case you are ever in a broccoli steaming pinch.

Quality engineering

Quality engineering

No pie plates? No problem. Use a cast iron skillet. It’s rustic. It should also be noted that the handle is super hot coming out of the oven and almost caused a second hand burning episode. (If you missed out on the first episode, read back a few posts and you’ll be all caught up). Luckily, my hand was saved the burning and no other major injuries were incurred. #success.

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Dessert, Food

Day In The Life Of

I had a really long day. So, I decided to put my dog in a hat and take a picture. Because there is just something so funny to me about dogs in hats. You just can’t help but smile. Lilly was less than thrilled.

My favorite co-worker

My favorite co-worker

People ask me what I do all day. Which is a really good question. Some days, as you can see, I stop to take pictures of my dog in a hat. I mean, you have to appreciate the small moments in life. Other days, I do embroidery on hats. All. Day. Long. Actually, the dog picture and the embroidery happened on the same day. I think the embroidery drove me nearly to the point of insanity. If you’ve never had the pleasure of running an embroidery machine (with fifteen needles and fifteen bolts of thread) that continually beeps at you every time a thread breaks for 8 hours a day, I’d invite you to come try it. These hats were 16000 stitches x 14 hats. In case you can’t calculate that, I’ll make it simple: there were a lot of thread breaks (and a lot of beeping and some frazzled nerves).

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What I really mostly do is answer emails and take apparel orders and get designs together for said apparel orders and basically make sure everyone has the answers and things they need. And in between all of this, sometimes I bake pies. I know, I live a tough life. There is a purpose for the pie though. I decided when my friends and I became twenty something’s (you know after all the monumental birthdays are over), we still needed to celebrate. But can we all agree that cake seems a little overdone? Okay, now that we’re on the same page, pie. It’s one of the best things. And, on your birthday, you deserve the best. So, on birthdays, I bake pies. Amy’s was the most recent.

Apple Pie

Amy’s Apple Pie

But, really, my actual job (not my pie-baking sideline) does encompass some odd tasks. I got an email from one of our regular customers after I had been helping her with her design for a kindergarten graduation shirt. She needed names put on the back, and said she’d mailed them to me. I kept waiting to receive the new email from her. The next day, I went to the mailbox and there was a big envelope from her. Sure enough, she mailed (not emailed) me the kids names. All hand written on notecards. So, that day, I had to lay them all out and take pictures for our designer to recreate. And, just in case you were wondering, arranging notecards of kindergarten names was not included in my original job description. I did, however, go ahead and write it down on my resume’, so my next employer will know the full extent of my qualifications.

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It’s not a glamorous job, but it’s definitely never boring.¬†And, on the good days, you get pie. Now that’s hard to beat.