Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Comfort Food

Come on, admit matter how health conscious you may be, isn't it hard to pass up a good donut? I'm not necessarily talking about Dunkin' Donuts here, however some may be fans of that establishment. I'm talking about those mom 'n pop shops with the homemade-tasting deliciousness...that crisp outside with a light and airy inside, with just the right amount of sugary glaze on the outside. Mmm...

Well, lucky for us, the October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Newmann and Epicurious.

I have always (secretly) wanted to make donuts, but never had an excuse to do so...until now! The DB challenge allowed me to choose from 4 different types of donuts: yeast donuts, buttermilk cake donuts, pumpkin cake donuts, and bombolini (Italian-style, jam-filled donuts). And, since I was breaking out the industrial-size container of canola oil, I figured I might as well make as many different varieties as I could. Alas, the only one I did not make was the bombolini. Guess that will have to be another day...

Making donuts is actually not too difficult, as it may seem. First off, make your dough, roll it out, and cut out your shapes, just like making biscuits - with a hole in the middle:

Next, throw it in the fryer at about 365F:

Then, drain them on paper towls, and either roll in cinnamon-sugar...

or top with a delicious glaze, such as this blueberry glaze:

The above donuts were the buttermilk cake donuts that were quite tasty. The blueberry glaze was the clear favorite. However, Lily didn't seem to mind the cinnamon-sugar donut holes :)

For the next experiment, I made yeast donuts that I glazed with a bowl-licking chocolate glaze and pumpkin cake donuts with a simple sugar glaze (the donut holes got the cinnamon-sugar treatment):

I also made some blueberry-glazed yeast donuts and some sugar-glazed donut holes.

All in all, I had a very happy husband and some happy friends, who gladly helped me to eat up this little DB challenge. The favorites of the lot were the chocolate-glazed donuts, the blueberry-glazed buttermilk cake donuts, and my favorite was the pumpkin cake donut. Ahh...choices!

If you feel up for a little homemade treat, I recommend the recipes we used for the donuts. Check it out at:

As for the glazes:
1. The blueberry glaze consisted of confectioner's sugar, organic blueberry preserves, and enough heavy cream to make a thick glaze.
2. The chocolate glaze came from Alton Brown:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Work (and play) around the house

Recently, in a small group we joined, our "ice breaker" was to have everyone go around and tell the group the details of their day. It ended up being really interesting to understand how each person spends their day and what it is that they do in a given day at work.

Well, I figured it might be interesting to take a look at how our dear Lily spends her time! You see, Lily at the ripe age of (almost) 16 months old, is running, climbing, operating electronics, and loves spending time outdoors digging in the dirt and "gardening." We feel that the activity level has amped up significantly in the past couple of months. As Jason has said, it's a good thing she loves books, because that is the most sedentary thing that she does - Lily goes to the bookshelf, pulls off a book, plops down in her bean bag and flips through a good picture book!

So, back to Lily's day! Lily usually wakes up and hollers down the hallway, "da ma...da ma" until one of us goes to get her from her crib. After she has some milk, we (try to) snuggle in bed before heading to the kitchen for breakfast...usually consisting of banana, plain yogurt, toast, and maybe some scrambled egg. When she is finished, she says "da done" and signs "all done" simultaneously. After that, she is off and running. I have included some pictures of some of the things that she enjoys doing with her free time:

Lately, she can't get enough of playing the piano.

It's hard to keep her seated, as she much prefers to stand up and tickle the ivories:

She also loves to play with a toy drum that plays music. Here she has set up shop on a console table, where she has scooted a stereo speaker back just enough to fit her little bottom:

Next, is not what we see in a typical day, but this is a good example of what happens when mommy is not watching Lily and the gate was not up to block off the office...Lily has confiscated the computer and is opening all kinds of windows I wouldn't begin to know how to open. However, I like to think she is just advanced for her age and sending out emails :)

Lastly, a day wouldn't be complete without hours of time in the backyard, kicking balls, digging in the dirt, and watering the plants. I can't tell you how much this girl loves to be outside. Here she is watering the mint (repeatedly) and then signs "more" while saying "ma" so that I will refill her tiny watering can.

Lily eats lunch around noon and then heads off for a 2 hour nap at 1p.m. When she wakes up, it's off to play "hide the monkey" (her monkey is one of her favorite stuffed animals), or chase Lily around with the threat of a tickle. At around 6, Lily has dinner and is off to bed by 7:30 (after a bath and a story, of course!).

As I am sure you guessed, there are many variations on her day, including out of the house activities :) However, this gives you a little snapshot into a day in the life of Liliana Grace! Hope you enjoyed a glimpse of our little active girl!