Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The most beautiful and amazing igloo

Isn't this the most amazing igloo you've ever seen? It's just gorgeous. And it's in someone's backyard, they built it by making ice bricks of colored water frozen in old juice/milk cartons and then assembling them using snow to bind it all together. The whole step by step process along with lots more pictures is on slowrobot.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

No Knead Bread

I keep running across articles and recipes for no knead bread, most of which are traced back to a New York Times article with a recipe by Jim Lahey from 2006, and I couldn't resist giving this no fuss bread a go, and after some experimenting and tweaking the original recipe a bit, I must say, I'm quite impressed with it and will definitely be making it again (and again). The crust is so crisp and the inside is perfectly soft, a little chewy and just all around wonderful.

No Knead Bread (adapted from here)
3 cups flour (all purpose or bread flour, I ended up using a combo of both)
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cup lukewarm water

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, the mixture will be very sticky and somewhat shaggy looking. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel (or both depending on how drafty your kitchen is).

Let the dough sit for at least 12 hours (and up to 18; the longer, the better with this), when it's ready the surface will be dotted with small bubbles.

After the long wait, thoroughly flour your work surface and scrape the dough onto it, with well-floured hands (this dough is a bit sticky), fold the dough onto itself a couple of times, then cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

While the dough is resting, flour a piece of parchment paper. After the rest, shape the dough into a ball and place it onto the floured parchment. Cover and let rise for another 2 hours. The dough will more than double in size.

When there's a 1/2 hour left to the final 2 hour rise, turn your oven on to 450 degrees and put a large dutch oven (I used a 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset for mine, but any heavy pot with a tight fitting lid should work) in the oven to preheat.

Once the oven and pot are preheated, and the final rise is complete, pick up the dough in the parchment paper (just bring the corners together so you have a little sling that's easy to tranport) and put the whole thing (parchment and all) into the dutch oven. (You can also bake it without the parchment, but it's much easier to transport the dough in and out of the pot in it, so I like this method)

Cover the bread and bake for 30 minutes then remove the cover and bake for another 20 minutes or so, until the bread is nicely browned. Remove from the pot and cool on a rack.

Bread in Dutch Oven

No Knead Bread

First Slice

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Fun: Kitchenware Cartography

Pop Chart Lab has created an amazing limited edition print that maps out basically every piece of kitchen gadgetry you can think of, from basics (like cutting boards and pots) to the more unique (like the samovar and bacon press).

Isn't it a fun piece to hang in the kitchen?

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Archie's Girls by MAC

Last summer at San Diego Comic Con, MAC made the exciting announcement that they would be releasing a makeup collection based on the two loves of Archie: Betty & Veronica. I have been reading Archie comics for basically forever and was so excited about this line. 

The color story finally popped up on Specktra this weekend and then lots of pics and swatches were posted here, and I am starting to make my must-have list of items from the line (especially since they're complete with themed packaging, it's hard to resist). The line releases Febuary 7th in the US, and I cannot wait, I love how it's basically two lines in one, with very different vibes for Betty and Veronica:

a small sampling of the collection

Archies Girls: Betty and Veronica  February 7

Lipstick 16.50 US/20.00 CAD
Daddys Little Girl - Mid-Tone Pink Violet (Satin)
Boyfriend Stealer - Deep Blackened Plum (Cremesheen)
Ronnie Red - Bright Red (Matte)

Lipglass 16.50 US/20.00 CAD
Mall Madness - Mid-Tone Pink Violet
Strawberry Malt - Bright Red
Feelin' So Good - Deep Blackened Plum

Spoiled Rich Eyeshadow X4 44.00 US/52.00 CAD
Ron Ron Run - Deep Navy (Satin)
Spoiled Rich - Rich Purple (Frost)
Pin-Up Purple - Mid-Tone Orchid (Frost)
Gravel - Charcoal (Matte) 

Pearlglide Intense Eye Liner 16.50 US/20.00 CAD
Designer Purple - Violet with Pearlized Pigments
Petrol Blue - Deep Navy with Pearlized Pigments

Pigment 23.00 US/27.50 CAD
Magic Spells - Blackened Teal
Black Poodle - Blackened Pink

Opulash 17.50 US/21.00 CAD
Bad Bad Black - Intense Black

Powder Blush 22.00 US/26.00 CAD
Prom Princess - Mid-Tone Violet Pink (Satin)

Pearlmatte Face Powder 29.00 US/34.00 CAD
Veronicas Blush - Silvery pink with deep pink hearts

Nail Lacquer 17.50 US/21.00 CAD
Past Curfew - Deep Berry (Cream)
Double Trouble - Deep Navy (Cream)

 Lipstick 16.50 US/20.00 CAD
Betty Bright - Light Vibrant Peach (Satin)
Girl Next Door - Vivid Blue Pink (Lustre)
Oh, Oh, Oh - Sheer Brown Plum (Lustre)

Lipglass 16.50 US/20.00 CAD
Kiss & Don't Tell - Bright Coral
Summer Sweetheart - Light Peach
Stay Sweet - Light Lavender Pink

Caramel Sundae Eyeshadow X4 44.00 US/52.00 CAD
Caramel Sundae - Mid-Tone Warm Tan (Satin)
Cheryl Chic - Light Coral Pink (Frost)
Dreammaker - Pale Frosty Yellow (Frost)
Showstopper - Dark, cool-toned brown (Matte)

Pearlglide Intense Liner 16.50 US/20.00 CAD
Black Swan - Black ith gold pearlized Pigments
Lord it Up - Bronze with pearlized Pigments

Pigment 23.00 US/27.00 CAD
Lucky in Love - Shimmering Light Blue Green
Cheers My Deear - Light Lavender

Opulash 17.50 US/21.00 CAD
Optimum Black - Saturated Intense Black

Powder Blush 22.00 US/26.00 CAD
Cream Soda - Light Neutral Coral (Satin)

Pearlmatte Face Powder 29.00 US/34.00 CAD
Flatter me - Golden peach base with coral hearts

Nail Lacquer 17.50 US/21.00 CAD
Comic Cure - Bright Coral (Cream)
Pep Pep Pep - Light peach nude (Cream)

 Archie's Girls Brush Kit  49.50 US/59.50 CAD
167 SE - Face Blender Brush
168 SE - Large Angle Contour Brush
226 SE - Small Tapered Blending Brush
242 SE - Shader brush
266 SE - Small Angle Brush

Jingle Jangle Coin Purse 32.00 US/38.50 CAD
White faux patent coin purse with red piping and zipper closure

Young Hearts Mirror  25.00 US/30.00 CAD
Mirror with white faux patent slipcase

Just a Flirt Makeup Bag 38.00 US/45.00 CAD
White Faux Patent Makeup Bag

Yours Forever Tote 49.50 US/59.50 CAD
White faux patente tore with heart shaped front pocket and red piping 

Will you be picking up anything from this line? Are you a Betty or Veronica?

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Peanut Butter Oat Bars

I am so thankful for pinterest. Otherwise I wouldn't come across wonderful recipes, like this one for ridiculously delicious peanut butter oatmeal bars from Pumpkin Honey.

Peanut Butter Oat Bars (adapted from here
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13x9 baking dish.

Cream together butter and peanut butter. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and milk and mix until completely incorporated.

Slowly add in flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Continue to mix until smooth.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer (the batter is quite thick, so I lightly oiled a spatula to help spread it out evenly).

Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time.

After bars are done baking, move to a cooling rack and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Let sit for a couple minutes for the chocolate to soften and then spread the chocolate over the bars. Let cool completely before cutting.

this recipe can also be found at some of my favorite food blog hops

Peanut Butter Oat Bars

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Have a healthy weekend!

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and are looking forward to a fun weekend. I also hope you haven't been hit by the flu epidemic (is it as rampant in other areas as it has been in Boston this year?) I have thankfully avoided it thus far (knock on wood). What are you all up to this weekend?

 Lit up tree in Cambridge
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hard Sauce

Hard sauce is a wonderful complement to almost any dessert (baked applespies, bread pudding, sky's the limit here...), but it is traditionally served on British steamed puddings, which is how I was introduced to it by my grandfather. It is butter based and when you spoon it onto a warm dessert it melts into glorious little rivers and makes everything all the better.

This recipe is based off of the one my grandfather would make for his suet pudding (sounds gross but it was so delicious and decadent). He always used brandy, but I like it with vanilla sometimes too.

Hard Sauce
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract or brandy, or a mix of the two

Cream butter in a mixer until just a little fluffy. Add in sugar and beat until smooth (scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure everything gets fully incorporated). Once it's all mixed together add in the vanilla and/or brandy and let the mixer go until it's completely smooth and well mixed.

Refrigerate until ready to use, let soften slightly at room temperature before serving.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Golden Globes!

The Golden Globes are this weekend! Will you be watching (this Sunday, January 13 at 8:00 pm EST)? I am especially excited for the hosts this year, I  love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and I know that they will be amazing.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Barbacoa Beef

Barbacoa is extremely flavorful, super tender beef with a bit of a spicy kick (you may have tried Chipotle's super yummy rendition which is what inspired me to make my own).

This beef is great for tacos, quesadillas, nachos, sandwiches, or to just devour by the forkful. And it freezes well! Which is great since this makes a bunch of beef.

Barbacoa Beef (adapted from here)
4 pounds beef (brisket, round roast, or chuck roast work just fine, just use whatever your store has)
1 7oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
1 head of of garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
14 ounces beef stock (1 can)
1 cup water

topping ideas: avocado, pico de gallo, cheese, tomato, shredded lettuce, green onions, sour cream, fresh lime juice, hot sauce, caramelized onions, salsa

Combine peppers, onion, garlic, salt, lime juice, and vinegar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped and combined.

Pour the pepper mixture into the bottom of the crock pot, lay beef on top and pour the beef stock and water over the the meat. Add the bay leaves and cover.

Cook on high for 4 hours, then reduce temperature to low for another 2-3 hours until meat is extremely tender and basically falling apart.

Move beef to a cutting board and pour the cooking liquid into a fat separator. Shred the beef with two forks and return it to the crock pot. Pour in enough of the liquid that the meat absorbs it and is moist, but not drowning in liquid (I added approximately 2 cups back). Keep warm in the crockpot until serving.

this recipe can also be found at some of my favorite food blog hops


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Friday, January 4, 2013

Microscopic Photography

I recently stumbled across the photography of Tracy Anderson, who works in scientific imaging and analysis. What I especially like of his work are the microscopic images that he creates. His photos are absolutely fascinating to look at:

velcro® being pulled apart

scotch tape, being ripped from a dispenser
scotch tape

fall colors 
fallen leaf

vitamin c crystals
vitamin c

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