Friday, August 26, 2011

Non-Dairy Cinnamon Bread

I discovered a new blog to drool over, literally.  Two nights ago I was awake and hungry (Much like I am now).  After cursing my night float schedule and shaking my fist in the general direction of the sleeping Mike, I stomped out into the living room to read fashion blogs.  I stumbled upon a baking blog: JoytheBaker and her pictures of food made my stomach roar and lurch upon itself, trying to digest me from inside.  My blood sugar plummeted whilst looking at the breads, cookies, soups and salads. I quickly consumed my emergency stash of sour belts.  Then at 2AM, in my dirty kitchen, sink piled high with dishes, I set out to bake Joy's Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread. (click link for her recipe)

I ran into some obstacles along the way...
-I was about 1/4 cup shy of flour so I had to substitute Bisquick
-Mike is severely lactose intolerant so I used almond milk and margarine where the recipe called for milk/butter in the same quantities.
-I even ran out of margarine at one point so I used some olive oil/butter substitute spread. It was sad, but do not pity me.
-I did not have a bread loaf pan so I used a round pan.
-I did not have a rolling pin so I used a glass.

With all these glitches threatening the outcome of my bread, imagine my surprise when not only was it edible, but it was delicious!

Here are my notes on Joy's recipe:

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
Makes: one 9x5x3-inch loaf 8" round loaf

For the Dough:
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup and 2Tbsp Bisquick
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter Margarine
1/3 cup whole milk almond milk
1/4 cup water I used this water to activate the yeast, then added it to the mixture later than instructed below.
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned butter substitute spread. I don't think this product browns since it is oil.

In a large mixing bowl (I used just the bowl of my stand mixer) I do not own a stand mixer; I don't even have a rolling pin! whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted.  Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract.  Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F. Since I don't own a thermometer, I have no idea what temp the butter/milk mixture was when I added it to the dry ingredients.  Unfortunately I also omitted the part where it stands for a minute or two.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.  Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together.  Keep stirring.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be sticky.  That’s just right. She is so right, this is exactly what happened!

Place the dough in a large,  greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  *The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning.  If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below. My dough did increase in size, though I am not sure about the doubling.  I rolled it out immediately after 1 hour, no time to wait.
While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned butter spread until..melted.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch  loaf pan round pan that you have lying around.  Set that aside too.
Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. First time I saw this instruction as I am sitting here annotating. I did not let my dough rest.  On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin large glass to roll the dough out.  The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long.  If you can’t get the dough to 20-inches long… that’s okay.  Just roll it as large as the dough will go.  Use a pastry brush to spread Clumsily pour melted butter spread across all of the dough.  Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  It might seem like a lot of sugar. It didn't.  Seriously?  Just go for it.
Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips.  Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares a disorganized pile of cut up dough.  Layer  Pile the dough squares haphazhardly in the loaf pan like a flip-book.  Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size. I waited for about 10 minutes and didn't see any signs of dough expansion, then my impatience ate me and I tossed it into the oven.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. I did this part correctly.  The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw.  A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes immediately tear off a piece and scald one's tongue with it, but it is so worth it.   Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto  a clean board.  Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the  upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up.  Eat most of it out of the pan.  Serve warm with coffee or tea.  No time for tea making! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I love my Anthropologie San Pedro Skirt!

Ugh, I had a terrible night on call.  I am post-call and haven't slept yet since I can't...let's just leave it at that.

Four words: second cut/damage discount.  So lately, I've been reading the blogs of Anthropologie lovers who know how to find a great deal so I decided to wander around near Anthropologie yesterday and see what would happen. Original plan was to buy flour since I had used up all the flour during my Cinnamon Bread Adventure.  So I headed for Trader Joe's conveniently located next to Anthropologie.  Accident or Divine Intervention?  Or completely volitional on my part. (Never allow self to wander near an Anthropologie unless serious mission in mind. Also, aren't all TJ's near Anthro's anyway?) I was pretty excited when I saw this skirt, only a 0 and 4 left.  Blah blah, if you go to that link (which I did AFTER I had already bought the skirt) you might not be so keen to get this skirt.  Conversely, ogle and sigh below at Anthro's gorgeous styling of this sleek Eva Franco skirt with its well-positioned diagonal seams and luscious turquoise tweed fabric:

Image credit: Anthropologie

So how did this skirt only score 3/5 on the reviews?

Alas, I agree with the reviews: Fits small and snags like a professional snagger!  Unhappy! Actually the 0 fit me just shy of snug, no need to throw up my breakfast to be able to zip up or anything.  Unfortunately, while trying it on just now to take pics for the blog, I may or may not have passed out from overheating.  So summer skirt, I think not due to polyester content.  Maybe if I don't like it anymore I can re-spin the polyester into a single mitten or something.  Just kidding, you'd have to pay me for me to learn how to do what I just said.
As for the snags, they were only noticeable when I was holding the skirt closely up to my face.  They disappeared while I was wearing it (not sure why), and while I was clutching it to my bosom all night (hey! don't judge, I was on call and needed comfort!).  But I whined to the SA and she took off 15% and gave me her blessing to vanquish the snaglets with scissors, which I also did while on-call.  Sigh, so why was my call so bad?
As a cure for the spiraling of terrible on-call events into a downright disaster (no details here my friends, HIPAA prohibits), I came home and immediately put my skirt on again.  Unfortunately, all of the handling of the skirt overnight and the careless refolding sort of uncrispened that back pleat.  Nothing I can't take an iron to...if the thought ever crosses my mind again.

Here is our friend, the Anthropologie Eva Franco San Pedro Skirt in Turquoise pictured with:
Top: JCrew, tailored. Now it is so tight that I have to detach my arms at the shoulder in order to get in and out of it. FAIL!
On the other hand, it does look much better.  Oooh please disregard the VPL, I am post-call, not going out into public!
Belt: Gap
Wedges: Banana Republic
Flats: JCrew

Ok, ok so the secret is....I had an original turquois skirt love.  No surprise, it was the No. 2 Double Serge Pencil Skirt in veridian green.

(cue: angelic vocalizing)

This green is too sophisticated for my poor post-call addled brain. I have to be honest, this skirt's coloring is more mesmerizing than the Anthropologie one.  I WOULD consider it if it went on sale. Hey! don't say that that's impossible, after all, I got last season's yellow double serge pencil skirt on siggily sale!

Ok, stay tuned for some baking by me!

Friday, August 19, 2011

I love my 20 pairs of jeans!

Jeans are fascinating! Who doesn't own a pair of jeans. Who doesn't like jeans?   Per wikipedia, jeans became mainstream among US teenagers around the 1950s.  In 1885 you could buy a pair of jeans for $1.50.  Well, as you will see, I still buy jeans for less :-p

Here are all of my jeans, all 20 of them.  I am not counting my denim jacket or skirts, since I have a few of those too.

Prerequisite knowledge prior to seeing my jeans:
1. T-shirt: my aunt gave this to me. Daisy Fuentes.
2. Heels: the brand is... Danita K..? They are pretty random but they are cute! 
4. Sandals: Coconuts via DSW
5. Gabriel Brothers, aka Gabe's is a discount store selling (often slightly irregular) products, including but not limited to clothes at a fraction of the original price.  They also sell housewares, furniture, rugs, and food.  They are a good source for cheap decorating, furnishing the homes of college and grad students.  And residents too.  And my mom and dad.   
6.  I made these gifs on Adobe ImageReady.  I learned from a few youtube videos.  How much fun! 

This is similar to how how they organize jeans on shopping websites, by leg fit!  Except the models aren't all me.  And the lighting and everything is flattering rather than, sallow-making!  

1. Paris Blues, these were the 1st skinny jeans I bought back when the trend began.  They are one of the most worn and photographed jeans that I own.  They are stretchy and comfy.
2. Forever 21, I bought these because I was looking for a pair of dark jeans.  They were only $11 or something like that.  The front fits poorly; my hands in my pockets obscure the poor fit.
3. Seven7, I found these at a thrift store over 2 years ago.  These are my MOST worn and photographed jeans.  They are #1. They fit perfectly and I have no complaints whatsoever.
4. H&M, I hemmed these on my own.  Since they are black, you can't really tell! I didn't want to keep on rolling them up--what a faux pas. Oh wait, I do that all the time.  I wear these quite a bit.  I like the zipper back pockets. You know, I never noticed until now that these were so high-waisted...

More jeans after the jump!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Urban Outfitters is having a nice sale.  I bought this dress for $14.99:

I got it in XS, it fits me perfectly.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the fabric (100% viscose) had a shimmer to it.  Of course, the main reason that I decided to get it was for the horses.  I've never been a horse lover, but I do enjoy a good horse print.

Dress: Urban Outfitters
Belt: J Crew
Shoes: Urban Outfitters
Purse: thrifted
Necklace: gift
 Ok...a word on the shoes.  I love this color! They ran out of my size 6 1/2 so I got the 6.  The description says that they run big...well I would argue that they are TTS, therefore they are a little snug.  Urban outfitters, why do you mislead me?? On the other hand, they are suede so I expect stretch potential.  For now they certainly look nice perched on a birch!  Did I mention how much I like the color? They are not quite red, not quite orange.  Perfect!

Here's me with Mike (poor Mike he has sun in his eyes and is all splotchy from the leaf shadows) and some self-timer action:

I have been working on my jeans post a little bit at a time.  It took a long time because there are 20 pairs of jeans to photograph, turn into gifs, and then write about.  I have 3 more pictures to take then I'll be done!  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ode to James Jeans

Just the other day, Ideeli was having a James Jeans sale, now Hautelook is having one!  I don't think I'm going to get any as I already have my own pair. In the meantime, I can still admire the way that Hautelook had styled their James Jeans:

*all images from Hautelook

I can't help but want all of these tops.  I especially love the pink striped blouse, the mustard blouse, the red striped blazer, and the leather jacket.  Where did these items come from?? They look amazing. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Spring Roll Weekend

Here is a synopsis of the past week in outfits.

Monday was skipped because I can't remember what happened then.

1. Tuesday went to Target to buy lots of Gatorade to prepare for my on-call dehydration as well as many frozen foods (pizza rolls, anyone?). Wearing: Charlotte Russe top, shorts from Target, shoes Zigi via Ideeli
2. Wednesday dinner with friend who told me about tailor, bought the necklace pictured above which is made of clay. Necklace necklace necklace we made you out of clay...Wearing: top from Vietnam, J Crew petal skirt, Target shoes
3. Thursday went to Tailor and Chinese store to buy a boatload of coconut water and pastries...mmm  Wearing: AE dress, Benetton purse, shoes from Kohl's
4. Friday went swimming and went to the mall to buy a massive quantity of sour belts, then ate most of them while wandering around the mall, bought H&M dress pictured below.  Wearing: Daisy Fuentes T-shirt, shorts from Target, J Crew belt, Zara sandals (scored this in Madrid back in 2005!)
5. Friday night on a date with Mike.  Wearing: unknown brand dress via Gabe's, clay necklace, sandals from Dillards many moons ago.  

What next?  I guess next comes Saturday.  I awoke at some late hour on Saturday (2 pm) due to my completely scrambled circadian rhythm.  Then Mike and I attempted to go to a barbecue but we found out that he got a flat tire.  This was my first experience with a spare tire.  Then I went to work.

On Sunday, I had a very random and very brief moment of culinary epiphany.  I made spring rolls completely from scratch, without any recipe and without a single warning.  Living with me means that you have to be prepared for sudden bouts of delicious cooking that occur extremely rarely. The remainder of the time, I ruin pasta by forgetting that I put it on the stove and improperly cook every meat out there so that eaters of my cooking will definitely get food poisoning.   But this time, no one got sick and there were many a delicious spring roll to be had by all!
Wearing: Urban Outfitters dress, cupcake apron, headband from Francesca's
Oh I also saw HP7.2 yesterday and I'm really sad that it's over.  I cried during the Snape death!
Here is the aforementioned H&M dress.  It was on sale for $10 (otherwise I wouldn't have bought it) and there was only 1 left and it was in my size! Hooray.  I had to iron it when I got home but it looks beautiful ironed.  I love how well it fits and the color is very soothing.

First I wore it with its own little chiffon belt and neutral shoes (unknown brand).  I love the gold accents in the buckle and exposed zipper.  Then I wore it with black (F21 belt, booties from Shoe Carnival--what an amazing store) accessories.  I think booties kind of make my legs look super stub-stub :(! Then I decided to put a blazer on since everyone is wearing blazers these days.  I think it is a nice summer to fall transition.  I am proud of myself for wearing accessories since I am usually too lazy to accessorize: earrings from Charlotte Russe and clay rose necklace.

Until next time!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Gap Jeans for $7.78

Just in case you were wondering how much I got these jeans for, they were $7.78 (!)
As I talked about in my last post, I was trying on jeans at Gap in the mall away from home but after my risk-benefit analysis I decided that $12 was too much for jeans with a chocolate stain and 4 miles of extra length that I didn't need.  But $7.78-chocolate stain = sealed deal. Seal Deal!
I found these at my local Gap for $12.97.  With an extra 40% off, I was finally able to overlook the several inches of denim that I was stomping on and tripping over in the dressing room.  I think I have found the perfect wide legged, high-waisted pant.  My search ends here....or DOES it? 

In Gap spirit, I wore my Gap belt which is probably 10 years old and also scored for ~$7 (with inflation it is probably a $10 belt!!)
Here they are compared head-to-head (leg-to-leg) with my James Jeans--
ADHD MINUTE: is having a James Jeans sale!  I wanted all the jeans but then I remembered I had my own.  These were my 1st splurge on anything EVAR, and the store had complimentary hemming, using the ancient and special technique of  re-attaching the ORIGINAL hem (this was very important to them...and me after being brainwashed) .  Anyway, these are like the PERFECT length for 3" heels. 
See? I would only have to hem the Gap jeans by like 1.5 or 2".

I was planning to hem these myself as I have been known to undertake simple sewing tasks on my own.  But then I was having dinner with a friend and she was wearing this ridiculously well-fitting top and I exclaimed, "Where on earth did you get such a well-fitting top???" and she referred me to a tailor down the street who charged a reasonable fee.  Earlier today, I dropped these Gap jeans off at this tailor's...I also threw in an ill-fitting blouse and 2nd pair of pants (J Crew and Limited, respectively) for good measure.  Come next week I be the proud owner of 3 well-fitting garments. Cha-ching!

I learned how to make gif's in Adobe ImageReady:
I'll say it if you don't, this is pretty entertaining!
Top: Forever 21

Speaking of James Jeans and Gap Jeans.  I apparently own 20 pairs of jeans!!! I stopped buying jeans for a whole year in order to control the jean population.  I tried to neuter them, spay them, give out free birth control, institute a one child-jean-only rule.  But still, they kept on multiplying.  I've been buying jeans since high school; I suspect I do it while sleepwalking.   I mean jeans are so thick and blue and theoretically should last years and years. Therefore, whenever I find a cheap pair of jeans, I think that that I've encountered something of high value!  Most of the jeans I own cost less than $20, less than $15 even.  I started to reflect on my little denim children and felt an unquenchable need to catalogue and classify them by leg type and color.  When I get the Gap jeans back from the tailor I will finish my little Jean catalogue project.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Magic Week and Golden Weekend

Well, that title only applies to one outfit this week.  Also, I think I wore it on Wednesday so it's not like I started the week with anything magical.  There were only 2 work outfits this week because I was scrub-a-dub-dubbing it up for the remainder of the week.  Though, I have to say that this week was magical in that it was my Golden Weekend!

See? I wasn't lying.  I look like a magician.  There was a bunny in that hat, which is Mike's new hat, but it hopped away.
I am totally trying to rock the men's wear trend.
Outfit #1: Urban Outfitters blouse via Gabe's, J Crew belt and black Minnie pants (first seen on me here), unknown brand oxford shoes
"Assorted Ruffles": blouse from Vietnam, Anthropologie skirt, J Crew belt and flats (Last Straw Flats on sale here)
Accessories: Veggie Sticks from Trader Joes. yummieeee!

While I was wearing the UO shirt, Mike was looking at me from the back and was disturbed because he felt that he should have been looking at my face and not back-of-head.  That is kind of grotesque---all this for a few measly buttons on the back of a silly blouse with a sewn-on sequin tie! This shirt is a 6x6 UO shirt. 6x6 is a collaboration between Urban Outfitters and Boutique No. 6, a NYC-based local shop.  And look! This model is wearing my shirt!

image credit:, 6x6

I think I wore outfit #2 on Tuesday. Blouse + pencil skirt is an easy go-to combo. Then, I realized that I was experiencing Deja-Vu-drobe...I had worn this VERY ENSEMBLE 8 months ago during my first few hours of owning the Anthro skirt.  You know, when you first take a piece of clothing home and practice incorporating it into different outfits.  And taking pictures of them:

I am on the phone.
It's true, I have many unpublished pictures of practice outfits dating many years back, waaay before I had this blog and way before I knew that other people blogged about their clothes.

Over the weekend, I partied like a rockstar:

Outfit #3 "Lace Face":
Top: UO lace shirt over other lace tank top
Jeans: Seven7 (thrifted!)
Shoes: Nina
Necklace: H&M

Well all that partying only encompassed 4 hours of my Golden Weekend.  The rest of the weekend, I lazed around and ate food.

Outfit #4 "Boring & Blue": unknown brand top, AE jeans, JCrew flats
Outfit #5
"Ahoy Mateys": unknown brand dress with adorable buttons! Sandals-Coconuts via DSW

I love this little dress. Unfortunately it is largely polyester and I nearly had heat stroke while wearing it.  I wonder if it could be work-appropriate if I wore leggings with it?

Today I had a little adventure---bridesmaid dress adventure.  I drove about 30 minutes to an Ann Taylor in a neighboring town in order to secure a dress for one of my ladies.  I only got lost once and it put me only 5 , or 15 minutes out of the way.  These were investment minutes, said the bridezilla who had possessed me and who was driving the car.  At my request, my bridesmaid returned her dress which was purchased from the website last month for 30% off.  Now the dress was marked down so many %'s off I can't even process the number.  Well actually I can: it was originally $175, I originally got hers for $110 (whereas I was able to get the others' for $69 plus 40% off--> $40ish).  Now there are only a handful of dresses left in the whole wide world and they are marked down to $39. At my local store they only had 1 left and it was not the correct size. Over the weekend there was an extra 50% off sale, but I missed that and only caught the 25% sale which was in-store today.  Nonetheless I got all 5 bridesmaid dresses for under $250 therefore I deserve bridezilla treats.

While on my adventure at the foreign mall, I went into a Gap store and tried on some very nice high-waisted flare trouser jeans.  They were SO nice and soft.  I can't find them on the website though. The only thing that deterred me from buying them was their length (I would have had to hem about an inch off) and a suspicious chocolate stain on them.  Even though they would have only been $12 after discounts, I did not have the heart.  Maybe I will try my local Gap.