Monday, September 29, 2008

Bacon Cinnamon Buns

I saw this post and I knew I had to make them. They just sound so horrifically bad for you that I just needed it. Kind of like the that monster burger I don't remember who came out with when McDonalds, Burger King and everyone else was carrying on about their salads and low carb stuff. Granted, I never actually got whatever burger that was but I didn't have a whoever it was's close by. That sentence probably only makes sense to me.

They are not my real cinnamon buns where I make the dough and everything but boy do they smell good.

Here's what I did:

Get a can cinnamon buns and unroll them
Precook the bacon for a few minutes in the toaster oven so some of the fat drips off but it still stays soft when it cooled
Cool the bacon so it can be handled
Roll the bacon into the cinnamon rolls
Bake at 350 in a convection oven until lightly browned, it was about 20 mins but keep an eye on it.
You should probably let it cool a bit before frosting but I didn't.

I will, however, let them cool a little before trying them. We shall see what people at work think of these. Everything I have brought so far has been relatively tame and 'normal'. We'll see how people react to these.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Like I mentioned before, I have chosen and reached an agreement on a house. I am closing on the 10th. Today we did an inspection. It went pretty well. A few cosmetic issues but nothing of real concern. I can totally fix most of the cosmetic issues too. In like an hour and $50.

Well you know how I am. I can't exactly just sit there and stay out of the way while they do the inspection. So I decided to take pics of the house. I was using the VGA camera on my cell phone so pictures are not that great and apparently angled really poorly. I just snapped and figured it'd be good. I'm not exactly a professional photographer.

So without further ado, here is a grand tour of my house.

The first 2 are the exterior, obviously. Front and then side/back. It's a townhouse so they maintain the exterior and yard. I have the garage, 2 spots on the left and the space for a car in front of the garage. There is a mirroring house with their garage attached to the right of the pic. I could probably put 1 or 2 more cars pulled straight in but it might be difficult to get cars out. And there's my car on the left, at least the butt of it (the silver one). I don't think I ever got a pic of it posted.

There's not much of a patio in the back but there is enough room for a grill and since I'm the end unit I can also use the yard on the side. There's shrubbery around it that makes it a little more private, though it's definitely not secluded. I'm figuring I'll get a folding chair and table or a few of those plastic stacking chairs that I can keep in the sunroom and pull out as desired. If I decide I like the outdoors. That's the sunroom with all the blinds drawn. My old couch will go in there. And the grill that I intend to get. And in the winter my little herb garden. That will be in planters that will get moved around as necessary.
OK let's go back to the front and go in the house. So you walk in the front door and this is what you see. Stairs to the right. Living room on the left, connecting back to the kitchen and sunroom.

Here's another angle of the living room. And I think that's Howard, one of the inspectors. I've been told that they are really good prefinished hardwood floors. I think he said it was spruce but he had a pretty heavy accent and I didn't want to ask a 4th time what he said. Oh, and it's on the stairs too. I'm thinking I am going to get a microfiber sectional in here. And I think an LCD over the fireplace. It's a working gas log fireplace. The inspectors said it could easily heat the 1st floor should the heat die or something. Good to know but hopefully won't get used.

Now let's continue into the kitchen. That's Cheryl, my realtor. I was just bopping around taking pictures so she ended up in the pic. A nice lay out. The cabinets and appliances are functional but definitely not new. Apparently I missed taking pics of it but to the left is where the dining table would go and then glass doors to the sunroom that then leads out side to the pic you can see above. I have 18.5" between the top cabinets and the countertop to fit a TV. So now I know what my limits are for the LCD that will go right where their TV is.

Here is what I'm dreaming up for the kitchen. New cabinets (I'll need to determine if I just need to do the faces or the whole thing), stainless steel appliances, tile floor, I am undecided on granite or manufactured stone countertops. The layout is great. I really like the island and there's lots of cabinets and countertop space.

This is the laundry room that leads to the garage. It is to the right of the fridge in the kitchen.

Then next to the laundry room is the half bath. My realtor likes the wallpaper. Me, eh. It'll stay for now. It's got the same vinyl floors as the kitchen.

And then next to the bathroom is the pantry. mmmm this should work nicely for me. It's pretty deep. Hopefully I won't overflow it.

That covers the downstairs. Now let's head up the stairs. In front is the water heater. Not really any significant storage here. To the left of it is the hall bathoom and further over the 2nd bedroom. To the right is the master. The master is so much more important so we'll head there first.

Here are a few different angles. First from the doorway. Another angle near from the right of the door and then a shot from the left to the right showing the closets and leading to the master bath. There's plenty of light though my pics don't show that so well.

Yes it is that green. This is the first place to get repainted.

Big walk in on the left. And then smaller closet on the right. The one on the right is actually bigger than the closet at my old apt. This should be funny. I might fill one rack in the big closet. Then lots of storage in the rest.

Now for the bathroom. To the right, sink and toilet.

And to the left, the shower. I know the green here and in the bedroom are pretty hideous. That's the first thing getting repainted. I'm thinking gray. A real light gray. I'm not sure if I want to do the same shade in the bedroom and the bath or maybe do the bath a shade darker. Any thoughts?

In my fantasies I'm going to redo this bath. Solid surface vanity, new toilet, get rid of that wallpaper and a walk in shower. I really want a walk in shower. Then the guest bath would get a similar thing except with a soaking tub instead of the shower. We'll is what, if anything, actually happens.

Let's continue. Through the bath to the office. The desk and cabinets are built in. This is actually pretty exciting. And most of the drawers have file holder thingys too. I like file holders. It's got a skylight that is angled that you can't really see out of but provides some light. One problem though is that the A/C does not seem to have a vent in here. We'll see how well it works. There is also the attic access from here. It's got the pull down stairs and a solid floor. Nothing particularly fancy, not a living space, but a solid floor is good for putting random crap that I really should get rid of but instead stick in the attic.

OK, we're done with the master suite. Now let's check out the guest area. Here's the bathroom. Yes, it really is that purple. This will get repainted too. Any thoughts on color? Same as the master? That would save me a can of paint. It's got pretty much the same tub as the master too.

And over to the guest room.

And here is the closet. I didn't capture it very well but this thing is monstrous. It's bigger than the walk in in the master. No one visiting me is staying long enough to use all that closet space. This means more storage space for me.

And that's my house.

So what do you think?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Food Blogging

So I saw this post on a blog talking about food blogs. It is kind of a strange post. I'm kinda disturbed by it actually. Apparently there is a very dark scary side of food blogging that I didn't know about. Kind of like the little kid who found out the boogie man really does exist. And it's that weird uncle who is just a little too friendly with your kid brother. And while this uncle doesn't seem to care for you, he seems to spend a little too much private time with your brother.

OK that's a pretty disturbing analogy. Anyway.....

The poster, or rather the person the poster is quoting, felt that food blogging is an eating disorder. She thinks she is obsessing because she has 20 food blogs in her reader (hah, what does that say about me? I've got 100+) and that food blogging made her obsess over food. She would hide what she was eating online because she was afraid of what other food bloggers would think. There is also a focus on food bloggers not being overweight but maybe having been overweight and posting everything they eat.

Maybe I am on another planet or something but the food blogs I read don't post everything they eat. A lot of them are bakers who carefully test and hone their recipes and techniques and post amazing pictures of it. It's about expressing and preserving your passion for food.

For me the purpose of this blog is a lot different. I like to bake. I baked a lot before I started this blog. It lets me carry on about something I made without having to bore someone (or have to listen to someone tell me that I'm boring). I blog about the good and the bad with no discretion. Just anything that I have some thoughts on or that I make just because I feel I need to make something. And it's probably better that I spend a bit of time blogging after I make something rather than making the next thing. It keeps me from making food for the rest of my life in a single day.

The blog is really like having someone to talk to but without having to listen to them. It's got the pro's of people without the con's of having to deal with their drama and need for attention. I can ignore the blog when I've got other stuff going on and it doesn't get mad. It doesn't talk back and it always agrees with me.

So a blog is like having a friend without any of the stupid stuff that comes with people. I get to have my cake and eat it too. Literally and figuratively. Right? Right.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Now that the house thing is resolved I decided I needed to bake something. Now keep in mind, although it is resolved, I am not actually moved in yet. I still am using my toaster oven to do all baking. I am still doing my prep at the bathroom sink. The place is all carpet, even in the bathroom, so I have to be really careful not to spill things.

Last week I got my copy of Bon Appetit. The trouble is I am still getting my mail at work. My boss is the one who gets the mail. He hands me my mail, one at a time as he is sorting through it. Then he sees the magazine. Since then I've been hearing about how I need to bring stuff in.

I brought flour, butter, sugar, baking soda with me... everything I need for chocolate chip cookies. Those were on the list of items I could not see myself living without for a month. I even had some kinda old dark chocolate bars. They sat in the car on my drive down, so the surface bloomed but I still used them. The cocoa butter goes back in when the chocolate melts while it bakes anyway.

I pretty much used the Original Nestle Tollhouse recipe, with some minor modifications.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 oz chopped up dark chocolate
  • 4 oz Mint dark chocolate chips and Raspberry dark chocolate chips

  • Cream the butter, sugars and vanilla together.
    Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing until uniform before the next addition.
    Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt together and mix into the butter mix.
    Mix in the dark chocolate.
    Separate the dough and mix in mint and raspberry chips or anything else you want to different batches as desired.
    Refrigerate the dough for about 24 hours. Or leave in the fridge until you want cookies.
    Scoop into cookies on foil or parchment. I used a tablespoon.
    Sprinkle a few grains of salt on each cookie
    Bake an appropriate amount of time for the size cookies you are making. I didn't time it. I was using my toaster oven so I'd just look.
    Slide the cookies off your pan so they don't overcook.
    Allow the cookies to cool a few minutes before moving them.

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    My New House

    We have reached an agreement on my new house! Within 30 days it should be mine! Woohoo! I went to bed at about 6:30 right after I got home from signing the papers!

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    People Watching

    I went to a wedding this weekend. To get to this wedding I had to fly. To fly, I had to go to the airport. That's where the show went on.

    There was a lady in front of me in the main line going up to security. She got flagged for additional checks so she went to the special line at the side. I wasn't, so I went to the line next to hers. So I am standing on the other side waiting for my carry on stuff to come down the belt. She comes over to my line and stands there as well. I think to myself, uh ok whatever. My bags come down the belt, followed by the person behind me. I am there putting my shoes back on and putting my laptop away so that I am good to walk to the terminal. At this point the lady the lady starts getting very upset. She wants to know where her bags are. She knows she came through before me and the person behind me and our bags are coming out and hers aren't. At which point I point at the other line, where her bags are sitting and backing up the people who are in that line.

    Next was the lady who was in front of me going through the actual security check. She was probably about 35, well to do type person. She was dressed nicely, probably has a personal chef, trainer, stylist, whatever else rich people have. She had a cup of fruit with her. Probably a nice healthy snack to have with her on while she is waiting. We got to the part where you put your bags on the belt to go through the X-ray and you walk through and at some airports they have the air thing that blows on you. Well she is putting her stuff on the belt when she gets this unhappy look on her face. She asks the security person if she can carry the fruit with her through as she walks through and not put it through the X-ray. He says no, it has to go through the X-ray. At this point she looks like a kicked puppy. She hands him the cup and asks if he would throw it away. She won't eat food that has been X-rayed. He tells her the X-ray won't do anything to it but she insists she wants to throw it away. The security guy is bewildered and throws the cup in the trash. I just wish I had been cool enough to think of something witty at that point that would have completely screwed up her moral/hippy concepts.

    After I arrive I am waiting for my ride to pick me up. He decided to take a 'scenic' tour of Philly so I ended up waiting for a bit. Yay for street fights in the ghetto. There was one guy who apparently got the curbside valet. I saw a guy sitting in the car for probably 15 minutes right there waiting. He wasn't dressed in a uniform or anything so I figured he was just a guy waiting for someone. I figured he got bored or something and decided to circle around. He starts pulling away when I see a guy running up clearly as fast as he can with his suitcase and bag waving frantically. The valet stops and apologizes. He gave him the keys and the guy proceeded to load his car and eventually drive off. Apparently the valet was at the wrong terminal which is why he sat there for so long. Glad I didn't pay for that service.

    Next was a lady who was probably in her mid to late 40's. Not a small or young lady. A car with a few people in it pulled up. A guy about her age comes running out of the car, they both jump on each other in this dramatic hug. They are picking each other up and spinning around. Kind of like in a movie but they didn't look like a typical movie couple.

    The airport is a good place to people watch. People are so strange and there are so many of them at the airport.

    Tuesday, September 9, 2008


    I think I am starting to go through withdrawal. I have been here for over a month now. While I have access to good produce, I don't really have a means of doing anything with it besides eating it as is. The fridge I'm using now is one of those little cube fridges so there is barely any room for anything.

    My cooking is not particularly good. I know this. I've made lots of really bad food. I've made lots of mediocre food. I eat junk food. I don't even cook that often. I've gone weeks eating leftovers and junk food and being a scavenger of lunches at work.

    But I've always had the option of cooking, just not the time, energy, etc. Now I don't really have the means. Sure, I have my toaster oven. I've made toasted sandwiches and a couple baked goods in it but it's not the same. I can't really make pasta. I can't really brown meat. I can't make pancakes. I suppose I could make bacon in the microwave but I don't really have room in the fridge for a pack of bacon.

    So I am going through withdrawal. While I like going out to eat, I don't like doing it every meal every day. So I have my attempt at making food. But with my limited resources (and the fact that a lot of my food is bad even when I have a full kitchen) my meals have been very bleh. I make something but it's usually some version of a sandwich or a quesadilla. That or a piece of fruit or a tomato. While they are definitely good, all I can do is eat it underripe. Once they ripen there is no room in the fridge so they only have a day or 2. I can't make a peach pie. I suppose I might be able to make roasted tomatoes but I can't make pasta to use the tomatoes in the sauce. Or some version of fried rice. Or a real grilled cheese sandwich. Or anything bigger than a single serving that would need to be refrigerated.

    This does not exactly satisfy.

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008

    Raspberry Peach Crunch Bars

    I've been here for a few weeks now. I've had more sandwiches during that time than I have had in the year before. I got home today and was obsessing a bit about the whole house thing. I have issues committing to things. I didn't get a cell phone because I didn't want a contract. I took almost 3 months to buy a car because I couldn't commit to it. A house is difficult. So I've been thinking about it a bit.

    Eventually I decided I should eat something. A sandwich would not cut it and I was not in the mood to go out. I had some peaches and tomatoes from the Charlotte Farmer's Market. So I made a tomato salad with fresh mozzarella and a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt and pepper. I'm glad I brought those with me. I would have bought more if I hadn't. This tomato salad has become a bit of a staple in my recent diet.

    I have bread but I just couldn't have another sandwich when I've had a peach smoothie (made in the Magic Bullet that I decided to open, not so impressed so far) and 2 peanut butter and honey sandwiches today. So I made my own little version of huevos ranchero (I think that's what it's called) only really far from it. I already had the tomato salad so I was'nt going to chop up another one to throw on here and I don't really have any mexican seasonings with me. So really it was a tortilla with onion, cheddar and an egg on top that I cooked in the toaster oven while I thought about dessert.

    I needed a sugar fix. I had some cookies I'd bought but eh. I have some ice cream but eh. Making something is so much better. I know, this isn't exactly a high end fancy dessert but I needed some sort of baked good and my supplies are limited. I had a box of raspberry bar mix, some slivered almonds and the aforementioned peaches. And of course some butter.

    Raspberry Peach Crunch Bars

    1 box raspberry bar mix
    1 stick butter, melted
    slivered almonds, maybe a handful
    1 yellow peach, sliced

    Preheat oven to 350. Or in my case make something else to warm up the oven while you prep this.
    Mix the butter with the crust mix together and press about 2/3 of it in a 9" square pan. Actually mine is about 8x10 but who is counting.
    Bake the crust for about 15 minutes, per the box.
    Toast the almonds for a few minutes until they just start to smell nutty.
    Sprinkle some of the almonds on the par baked crust
    Spread some of the raspberry filling on top.
    Lay the peach slices in a single layer. They should cover the filling pretty well.
    Spread the rest of the raspberry filling on top of the peaches.
    Mix the rest of the almonds in with the rest of the crust mix.
    Sprinkle evenly over the filling.
    Press down gently into the filling.
    Bake for about 26 minutes.
    Allow to cool before slicing.

    mmmm suuugggggaaaaaaarrrrrrrr

    Monday, September 1, 2008

    Magic Bullet

    I don't have a blender or a food processor. Not with me, not in storage with the movers, no where. So I was in a kitchen store and bought a Magic Bullet. I've been eying the Magic Bullet for a while now. Maybe my sleep schedule was screwed up and I keep seeing infomercials. Now I have it sitting here and I am wondering if I should return it. It is not the one with the blender attachment and juicer. It was $60. I've looked at reviews and they are mixed. I just don't know.

    So do I open it or should I just realize it was stupid to buy and return it?