Mini Blood Orange Bundt Cakes (& craftsmanship)

The doorbell rang. Edgar barked, all 20 pounds of him behind it, posturing, protecting. The postman was already down our stairs and onto the sidewalk by the time I got to the door. He waved back at me as I stepped outside, socked feet onto snowy stone.

There was a package waiting for me – brown, slightly battered, and heavy. I hauled it inside. I recognized the address, the stickers on the side.

If I thought Edgar had been interested in the mailman, it was nothing compared to how enamored he was the package. I tore into it – he helped. In it we found gifts from Nick – a friend, former coworker, and immensely talented woodworker.

Among the packaging and the padding we found three beautiful cutting boards. I pulled them out, one by one.

The first was a striped one, rectangular, made of different types of wood. The colors ranged from deep and dark to light, nearly white. These came from different trees, different places, coexisting solely as the result of Nick’s own handiwork.

The next was the same shape, but softer, with rounded edges and a warm, rich stain. It felt like butter between my fingers as I slid it from the box. Nick’s logo was burned into the corner, his brand on everything he made.

The last board was even more beautiful in person. A few weeks earlier, Nick had sent me a text, a picture of his creation. The board was outside on his woodpile, hanging from the slim handle.

“It looks like you.”

I knew what he meant in that text. It made even more sense when I finally felt the board, my hands closing around it on the bottom of the box. It was the thickest of the three, made of strong stock. It was solid. Curvy. Unique. It did look like me.

That’s the beautiful thing about being a maker. There’s an ability to turn the medium into a memory – personified and artfully crafted. Craftsmanship like that deserves an equally beautiful baked good.

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Thursday Things

  1. Duke’s is my favorite mayo. I can’t find it anywhere near me. So, when Elise came up to visit me this weekend we made a quick detour to a grocery store two hours away to stock up. I’m very brand loyal to my condiments.
  2. In addition to the grocery store stop off we went to Story Hill KBC for breakfast, wandered around the Third Ward, went to a winery, ate delicious Mexican, and then she experienced Culver’s for the first time. It was a very jam-packed day.
  3. I love musicals. So much. I regularly listen to the Hamilton soundtrack when working out. Today, I dove back into the Crazy Ex Girlfriend soundtrack. The songs on last week’s episode were my favorite so far this season! I had to stifle giggles so I didn’t wake the house up while watching. Don’t believe me? Feel free to take a listen (and objectify some men in the process).
  4. I’ve also been repeating the Peaky Blinders playlist from BBC2 on Apple Music. Y’all. So good. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are the furthest thing from bad, lemme tell ya.
  5. In four days I’ll be headed back to Greenville for a week! I am absolutely thrilled. It used to be that any vacation I took from SC meant coming back to WI, now it seems the roles have reversed. I’ve already got a list planned of where I’m going to eat and drink.
  6. Lately I’ve been enjoying finding random, over-sized t-shirts while thrifting and turning them into crop tops. This is the style I’m developing as an adult woman. Fantastic.
  7. There’s a live band at work this weekend, I haven’t worked yet during a band’s set so I’m very much looking forward to it!
  8. Dunno why this week is so music heavy but there you have it.

Double Chocolate Muffins (& debates)

The glass partition between the brewery and bar slid open. Ryan, the head brewer, poked his head out, “So…uh…what’s the difference…?”

“There’s no frosting on top,” I said, without glancing up. I knew exactly what he was going to ask. Because it’s a question I’ve wrestled with before. How is a muffin different than a cupcake? Especially when it’s chocolate. And has chocolate chips in it.

The answer? No frosting. Frosting isn’t a breakfast food. Muffins are. Chocolate can be. When it’s in a muffin.

Right?

Right.

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Sweet & Salty Soft Pretzels (& houseguests)

Entertaining can be stressful.

Sweet & Salt Soft Pretzels

The need to have everything planned and perfect. It’s work to make sure that the sheets are cleaned, towels are fresh, and snacks are prepped.

Pretzels can be stressful too.

Sweet & Salt Soft Pretzels

It’s work to make sure that the dough rises, the twists hold, and the salt stays.

Sweet & Salt Soft Pretzels

I’ve been making pretzels for a few years now and honestly, I’d rather make a double batch of these boys than have to entertain on a regular basis. Luckily, my friend Elise loves pretzels so entertaining her is pretty easy.

Sweet & Salt Soft Pretzels

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Vanilla Bourbon Marshmallows (& winter weather)

I shouldn’t have done it.

Bourbon Vanilla Marshmallows

I shouldn’t have opened my big mouth.

Going on about the warm weather, lack of snow. Reveling in my ability to start my car right when I wanted to leave, not a half hour beforehand. Enjoying a longer walk with Edgar, neither of us bundled up.

Bourbon Vanilla Marshmallows

Spoke way too soon on that one.

Winter weather is back with full-force. And I forgot my gloves on my walk this morning.

Bourbon Vanilla Marshmallows

Luckily, I made marshmallows for the numerous cups of hot chocolate that will be absolutely necessary to survive. With bourbon for a little added warmth, ya heard?

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