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Posts tagged “amatuer photography

An adventure in making Challah (bread)

Yesterday I had the entire day free so I decided I would try making a new bread…simple enough right? noooo! Challah bread was a challenge! Not making the dough but braiding the dough. I have made pretzels a million times and bread with twisted tops but never something like this.

Now I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the braiding quite right but I’m okay with that, it was my first time and learning how to braid the bread was sorta frustrating (I had a little breakdown haha) so I’m just glad it came out looking that good.  When the bread was finally done I grabbed a giant slice, this was the best bread I had ever made!! Everyone needs to make this bread at least once because it is gorgeous! So here is the recipe  🙂

I got the recipe from my Grandma’s cookbook “Essentials of Baking”

for this recipe you will need:

  • 2 packages of active dry yeast (5 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup warm water (around 110-115)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs and 1 for the glaze
  • 5 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • poppy seeds if you want

Start by dissolving the yeast in warm water and let stand for about 5 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the sugar, 3 eggs, 4 1/2 cups of flour, salt, and the butter  until the dough comes together. Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead, working in the remaining flour as necessary to keep the dough from being too sticky, until the dough is smooth and elastic (you can pull the dough without it breaking off and everything’s worked in) around 7 minutes. Do not add to much flour. The dough should stay soft and will become less sticky with kneading.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm spot for 2 hours until its doubled in size (I always let my dough rise in the microwave).

at the beginning

2 hours later

 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, punch down the dough and roll out on to a clean work surface (don’t flour the surface, you’ll want to but it’s not needed trust me 🙂 )

To make the 4 strand braid’s, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces with a sharp knife

 and using your palms start in the center and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope as long as the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining pieces. And this is where it gets difficult..

Line up the 4 strands in front of you horizontally, Cross the strand farthest from you across the other 3 strands so that it is now nearest you. Then cross the strand that is now next to it across the other 2 strands away from you. Position the outside strands so that they are away from the center ones and position the center 2 strands perfectly horizontal. Bring the strand nearest you down between the 2 horizontal strands. Bring the strand farthest from you up and across the opposite side. Again, bring the strand farthest from you down between the 2 straight strands. Bring the strand nearest you up and across to the opposite side. Starting from the strand nearest you, repeat the braiding until you reach the ends of the ropes. Pinch them together and at the bottom and tuck the strands under at the ends.

Place the braided loaf on the prepared pan and cover and let rise again for about an hour until it doubles in size, and is spongy to touch.

Preheat the oven to 350 and brush the bread with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the seeds,

ready for the oven

bake the braid until it is nicely brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. After 30-35 minutes take out let cool on a wire rack..wait about 15 minutes before cutting in so your bread doesnt dry up.

Before I tucked the strands under the loaf I cut off some excess and used it to make some knots that came out beautifully after 25 minutes in a 350 oven.

If your bread does start to brown and get dark too early just cover it loosely with aluminum foil and continue baking…I had to do  this with mine.

🙂 I hope you all continue to have an awesome week!!


My dog has a dream

I have two dogs, Daisy..a boxer and Tootsie a shih-tzu. Tootsie’s the oddest dog we’ve had so far, we got her after our other shih-tzu, whose name was Moses passed away..anyways when we got her she was this crazy little ball of fur who immediately became best friends with Daisy.

one loves the sun the other adores the shade

The two were inseparable! And this remained true for about a year and a half and then everything changed…Tootsie was introduced to Drama (my little kitten) and they became buddies too. Toot’s soon realized she had a dream…to one day become a cat. This is what makes Tootsie very odd, she climbs the couch and lies on the top like our cats Hunter and Drama, she tries to eat their food (constantly) and finally whenever im in the backyard watering the plants and playing with my pups Tootsie runs up to our tree and waits for me to place her in the tree. I believe she wants in the tree because at night Drama hides in the tree and sometimes Toot’s see’s her.

Tootsie will never give up on her dream to become a cat, I cant help but love her for it.

I hope you all have an awesome monday and an amazing week!! 🙂

At the moment

Today for a snack I decided to have a blueberry parfait..nothing special just vanilla yogurt with a handful of blueberries on top. I wanted something refreshing and this was perfect…especially because it was in a Betty Boop coffee cup.

mmm... 🙂

I hope everyone keeps having an awesome Thursday!!

At the moment

At the moment I am taking a break from painting my bathroom with my mom with a pepsi. I usually dont drink soda..I usually drink water or even soda water but for some reason I had a crazy craving for a pepsi so I decided why not? (I also thought the picture I took looked cool and I wanted to share it 😉 )

Oh yes

At the moment..also song of the week

I’ve decided to start posting pictures that I’ve just taken and calling them at the moment. The pictures will be of anything..school notes, my pets, a book..pretty much anything im working on at the moment. This weeks “At the moment” picture is of my cat Hunter lounging on my vanity set…ladies and gentelmen…I give you Hunter..

Isnt he darling? And now, song of the week!!

I found this song while watching the amazing television show “No Reservations” the holiday special…awesome episode!! Anyways at the end Tony and his friend went to eat at a chinese food resteraunt with…wait for it…Marky Ramone (Ramone..Ramone as in The Ramones)!!! and Michale Graves! Anyways after feasting on chinese food and talking about personal tiffs with bands and Santa (yes, santa) the credits rolled and this song was played and I swooped into action on google to find it. The song I present to you readers is..”When we were Angels”!! apparently its a reworking of a Michale Graves song for Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg. The song is awesome!! totally upbeat, again the vocals are perfect..there gritty and wonderful and the fact that Marky is on drums makes the song even more special.

After learning the lyrics..goodluck not singing along, because at the  moment I’m singing as loud as I can with Michale 😉 and its addicting.

Now it feels like the holidays

I hope you all continue to have an awesome Monday and an awesome week!!

Camelot Book Store

Camelot Book Store… The best used book store ever!! hands down no exceptions. I have been going to this store for close to a year now and every book that ive purchased there has become my favorite…I bought my first first edition book there! Swiss Allmends and a walk to see them by Foster Barham Zincke..published in 1874 making it the oldest book I own and the most beautiful..mhm 🙂

Just look at it

The last time I had the pleasure of visiting Camelot Book store was about a week before Christmas, I was in the Classic literature section which houses the best books! Peter Pan, Robin Hood, The wonderful Wizard of Oz and even Treasure Island..I found this beautiful copy of Treasure of Island that day

The red capped man on the cover is beyond awesome

I didn’t buy it though..a few minutes after finding it a couple walked in..they were Christmas Shopping for their kids who love the classics just as much as I do..and since I already own an awesome older copy of Treasure Island, I gave it to them. I even got to help them pick out a few other books which was a lot of fun since it felt like I was working there. After I walked on over to some Robert Louis Stevenson books.

Just look at em

I have become a lot more adventurous at the book store over the past few months. I use to stay in my one corner which had books on Anthropology, Ships and Shipwrecks (also pirates 🙂 ) and Murder (that’s actually where I picked up my giant book on Jack The Ripper) but I am now proud to say I visit the poetry section, mythology, children’s books (you can find the most beautiful fairytale books there)

See..isnt it gorgeous

 and classic literature. I even discovered a poet that I am quite fond of now..Margaret Fishback..I bought her book “One to a customer” which is full of hilarious poems.

It even came in a cute little striped box..only 6$!

Camelot Book Store is the only store I buy books from now, I use to love Barnes and Noble but now whenever I go I can’t push my self to buy one of their books…they are soo expensive! At Camelot I can buy around 5 books every time I visit since they are only around 5 dollars each.

I love all my books, but the ones I have purchased from Camelot I do love most..older books are just so much more beautiful ( the binding) and its fun to sometimes see the notes scribbled on the page inside saying Happy Birthday or This reminded me of you. Its fun to know someone else visited Treasure Island the same way you did..through that one book.

Portals to other worlds

“Of all things which man can do or make here below, by far the most momentous, wonderful, and worthy are the things we call books”

Thomas Carlyle

Song of the week and a random picture

I literally just took this picture!

I was taking a break from taking notes for music class and I look out my window and there is a bird looking right at me on the tree in our backyard. I did take the picture from inside my room because its freezing outside (and by freezing I mean 57, that’s what happens when you live in CA all your life..57 becomes freezing cold) Anyways…Now the song of the week!!

I feel like I just wrote last weeks because I did just write it on Thursday or something crazy close to that. This weeks song of the week was my obsession last year..I would play it and play it loud..I would blare this song!! This weeks song is No Rain by Blind Melon…oh yes..

This song reminds me of many memory’s of me and my best friend Katlyn trying to preserve our childhood for as long as we possibly could..even if that ment spending summer afternoons blowing bubbles in the front yard (sometimes while listening to the Dropkick Murphys), jumping on a trampoline, learning how to dive in to a pool and even watching Winnie the Pooh. I hope you all love this song as much as I do!

Have an awesome week!! 🙂

(oh and sorry you have to watch the video on YouTube its a buzzkill I know)

Christmas lights at Naples

I know Christmas is long over but I only now have time to post the pictures from my trip to Naples so here we go :).

This is a tradition, every year we bundle up..pile in to the car and drive down to Naples to eat at Dominicos and then walk the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. On the way we saw Home Depot parking lots filled with trees (those are long gone now 😦 ) and this lovely sign that was quite difficult to decipher..

But then we finally made it to Domincos!!!! Oh my does this resteraunt know how to make pizza..salad dressing..and everything else your little heart desires. That night we were desiring fried mozzarella sticks, fried zucchini, fried calamari, a salad and a pizza with everything on it. Not a very healthy meal but its the Holidays (I said that so many times last week) the pizza was amazing!!

Look at that picture, want that pizza…leap in to your vehicle and race to Domincos in Naples to get a slice  because it was even better than it looks. After filling our stomachs to capacity..we climbed out from behind our booth and exited the building..But I did manage to snap a picture of this awesome picture (it reminded me of my music appreciation teacher)

I found it quite awesome…NOW off to the lights!

Since it had been raining for hours before hand there were about 30 people out ..so instead of feeling like you were at Disneyland on the busiest day of the year it was like walking in the woods in the middle of nowhere. Now some of the pictures are stupidly blurry but it was freezing..I only had one free hand (i had Starbuck’s mmm) so yup. First is a house that looked like a cottage from a fairytale

And dont worry no one was left out this glorious holiday season..;)

The little decorations the folks put out is so beautiful this was probably my favorite

I love this house..i take a picture every year

This little set up reminded me of Gimli from LOTR

And oh yes…Mickey was there as well.

Hands down..my favorite house!

I hope you liked the pics..and I hope everyone has an awesome New Years!!! 🙂

Christmas cinnamon rolls

This year I decided to start a new tradition…Cinnamon rolls for Christmas Eve. I prepared the dough and everything the day before Christmas Eve (Christmas Eve Eve) so the only thing I had to do was take the rolls out of the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for an hour. I used a recipe I had never used before and I couldn’t be happier..the recipe was perfect. I got the recipe from a cookbook my Grandma let me borrow..Williams Sonoma Essentials Of Baking

The only change I did make was instead of using the powdered sugar frosting I made cream cheese frosting with two 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, 1/4 cup milk, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1/4 cup butter and I honestly didn’t keep track of how much powdered sugar I used..I added it till it was perfect. I also added some orange zest which went beautifully with the cinnamon rolls since there is orange zest in them as well.

The first time I made cinnamon rolls it was a disaster.

Well, disaster is too big of a word..what happened was I put too much cinnamon and sugar so when the rolls baked the bottoms got all crusted with the sugar and then when they cooled the sugar hardened and..they were good but nothing to be proud of. This recipe was amazing and worked perfectly. Before I started I zested the orange

After getting the dough all ready I floured a giant cutting board and then kneaded the dough for about 8 minutes ( I could have used a mixer but I love kneading dough) I then greased the bowl and set it in the microwave to rise.

about an hour and a half later

I then rolled out the dough and brushed it with melted butter

and then I covered the dough with the cinnamon and sugar and rolled it up…then I cut the dough about 2 inches to make the rolls

When I was done I laid them all out on a pan

I covered the pan with plastic wrap and let them rise in the fridge over night..the next day I let the rolls sit out for about an hour and then brushed on the egg wash and then baked them…now mine baked super quickly..it took 15 minutes per batch instead of 25!

They made a lovely breakfast the next day

This recipe was so easy and lovely I will definitely be making cinnamon rolls more.

the pups (Tootsie trying to get Daisy to play)

My dog Tootsie (the shih-tzu) always tries to get my dog Daisy (the boxer) to play with her..some times it works and they play and other times is doesnt..here are some pictures of Tootsie’s attempt. (<that sounds like a movie title haha “Tootsies attempt”)

Tootsie (who looks like an ewok from Star Wars) gave up eventually and played on her baby blanket (: as you can see.. she steals slippers