Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Layered Pea Salad

I always seem to misplace this recipe right when I need it, which is for Thanksgiving. Or really any potluck, but always Thanksgiving. The traditional salad didn't get served with lunch, but with turkey and rolls for dinner after the meal was over. Love this salad, as basic as it is. Posted for easy access later.

Layered pea salad

Layer the following in a 13x9 inch pan:
1 head iceberg lettuce
1/2 cut diced green pepper
1/2 cut diced celery
1 scant cup diced onion
2 cups mayo mixed with 2 Tbsp sugar for dressing
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
8-12 pieces of bacon, fried to crispy and crumbled

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Next Stitchfix

This was an interesting StitchFix. I had a similar shipping issue as last time - I knew I was going to be out of town over the weekend, so I requested it be delivered on Tuesday. Well, they shipped it early, probably in an attempt to make sure it got here, but it arrived on Friday. Then sat on my front step until I got home late Sunday. It was still there, obviously, but why do you mail your boxes so dang early? You ask your clients when they want it, so deliver it when you say you will!

With that, on to the "interesting" pieces. I asked for a vest so I could layer up in my frigid office, and had a bunch on my pinterest board.  At the last minute, I decided to add a request for jeans since Hoyt's tiny little puppy nails have snagged on two of the pairs I wear all the time.  Here's what I got:

41 Hawthorn Moni Stud Detailed 3/4 Sleeve Blouse - $58

This is so similar to the blue and white patterned blouse I kept from my last fix. It has the same detailing on the sleeve cuffs (they're rounded and folded). I actually pinned this shirt in coral way back when I started my StitchFix style board.  Fits, flatters, like it, keep it. Status: Keep.

Gentle Fawn Hansel Woven Vest - $88

When I requested a vest, I really meant something puffy, quilted, or knit, that would keep me warm. StitchFix just blogged about how to wear vests, and has been pinning a bunch of them, and while I forgot to pin those, that's definitely more what I was thinking.  Maybe they were thrown off when I said it was for work? Maybe I haven't made it clear that I'm a fish bio in an office where everyone is more likely to wear socks under their Birkenstocks/Chacos than heels.

This is a crappy picture. You can't see any of the detailing. Detailing that, when Alan saw it, made him say "NOOOO. Hard pass. Hard pass." He later said it made me look like an really old elementary school teacher. It's just.... boring. I could style this exactly how they suggested and it simply wouldn't look good on me. Status: Return.

Pixley Carly Multi-Sone Layering Necklace - $36

I'm wearing this necklace in the above picture. It's gold, long, and has stones about the same color as the shirt I was wearing. It's fine. I like it, but meh. I have several long necklaces that are pretty similar. I didn't even take a picture of it by itself, that's how blah I was about it. Status: Return.

Moon Collection Alexander Graphic Knit Drape Front Cardigan - $68

So soft. So cozy. I normally shy away from cardigans with all the extra material in front, whether it's up top or hanging down, whatever. I feel like I would always play with it and drive myself nuts. However. I thought this was really fun. I had pinned a chunky cardigan with a big print on it, so this one was pretty on par with what I wanted in a Fix. It will definitely keep me warm in the office, even if that vest won't. Status: Keep.

Henry & Belle Janet Wide Leg Jean - $148
(The tag said Mini Micro Flare, not Janet Wide Leg) 

This was my first try for pants from StitchFix. They actually did a great job. They totally fit. They're snug across my butt, with no material bunching under the cheeks (this happens a lot to me if jeans fit my legs). There was no extra material in the crotch. 

They're even the right length.  They may be the stretchiest jeans I've ever tried on, which sometimes I associate with cheap. Also the fact that most of the stretchy jeans I've owned have fit for the first, maybe second wear after washing, then they were so loose I had to wash them again.

The problem, you ask? They're $150. That's crazy town. I live in jeans, but I tend to buy my Lucky's for $30-50 at the Rack or Ross or some other discount store. I would pay more for pants from StitchFix that were perfect. However, I put my range at $50-100 for pants. $150? Let me check my math.... Yep, definitely not in that price range. Status: Return.

So the two things I asked for I'm returning, and the two things inspired by my Pinterest board I'm keeping. I actually think that's kind of a bummer. It's great that they found things I really like when I shared my style, but I wish that when I put things on my list they were able to successfully fulfill them. Now it's happened three times - the vest, the pants, and the really really awful potato sack dress they sent me last time when I asked for a rehearsal dinner dress.  And I have yet to keep a piece of jewelry. That's probably just me being frugal, though.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Weight to Volume

I'm an idiot.

Or at least I have been for the last three weeks.

A got some sourdough starter from a friend, with the link to how to keep happy, which including weekly feedings of flour and water. Sounds easy, right? Right. Except when you do it wrong.

Once a week, you are supposed to take your starter out of the fridge, split it in two, and feed half with 4 oz water and 4 oz flour. The other half you bake with or discard if you're too dang busy to spend 6 hours making bread.

I've done this three times so far, the first time making Buttery Sourdough Rolls, which were basically cinnamon rolls without the sweet filling. They were buttery and delicious and deemed too good to bake every week if we didn't want to gain 50 pounds.

The other two times I've used the starter I made Rustic Sourdough Bread. The first time was basically a fiasco, with dough sticking to everything because the recipe didn't explicitly say to grease the bowl/saran wrap/anything the dough came in contact with. And then somehow the oven got turned off instead of preheating so the dough got to rise for an extra 25 minutes in a warm oven. Despite all that, the bread turned out fairly tasty, and the toast was super delicious. So I had to try it again, following all normal bread making protocols. Again, tasty bread, but it was really missing the loft I wanted in a rustic loaf, and the dough was super soft. I couldn't figure out where I went wrong, so I headed to the recipe comments to see if anyone else had issues like mine.

Nope. Not a one. What the heck was my problem?

Then it hit me. The day before when I had seen my friend's starter bubbling away on the counter, she had a lot more than me. Like a LOT more. Her post-feed starter was about the same size as my pre-split starter. Something was up with my feeding regimen.

Turns out, dummy here was adding 4 oz of water from a 1/2 cup measuring cup, and adding flour the same way. 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup flour. Unfortunately, liquids and flours and different weight to volume conversions. Something you average home cook probably knows. And I even know it, but somehow forgot at this very important time. Maybe I can blame it on puppy-induced lack of sleepy?

I added extra flour to my starter yesterday before work and left it out all day to feed before returning it to the refrigerator. It looked to be bubbling quite happily. Maybe next time my rustic sourdough loaves will be lofty and round instead of tasty, unshaped blobs.