Thursday Things

  1. Milwaukee was so good to me last week. The Best Place at the Old Pabst Brewery was gorgeous beyond belief (with a bomb ass gift shop), we went to an old school Italian bakery that looked and smelled exactly like it should, and Lorde was so amazing! She cried, I cried, I sang and danced along. I attempted to rap with RTJ. It was a truly stupendous day.
  2. The longer I’m at work the more I learn about my customers. For instance, I just found out a guy I’ve been waiting on since the get-go is a ridiculously talented glass blower. He makes hella realistic glass bones (yes, bones) and I now have a glass femur and jawbone in my possession. And intend to add more!
  3. I saw the Hateful Eight this past weekend since it’s now on Netlfix. I definitely had it confused with the Magnificent Seven and kept waiting for Chris Pratt to appear amidst all the bloodshed and swearing. He never did.
  4. Did you know that popcorn and caramel corn make great packing material for mailing goodies?! I had no idea and stumbled across it on the internets while putting together a care package for Nick’s girlfriend while she’s stationed in Afghanistan. It’s genius. And far more delicious than packing peanuts.
  5. After driving to and from Milwaukee three times and then to and from Chicago all in one week I’m so sick and tired of driving. And I love driving! But my calf does not. My nerves have been on fire all week.
  6. To ease my angry calf, I got some new Lush bubble bars this weekend. I much prefer them over the bath bombs. I’m more about suds than sparkles. I plan to soak and unwind in a mountain of colorful bubbles for a few weeks.
  7. Ironically enough, I just listened to an episode of Dear Hank and John where John extols his love for and virtue of taking baths with Lush products. We’re so on the same page. What about you? Are you a bath taker?
  8. Velvet jogger pants are a revelation. That is all.

Boozy Bread Pudding with Butterscotch & Pecans (& a visit)

I don’t really love bread pudding.

But I love Danielle.

And she loves bread pudding.

Boozy Bread Pudding with Butterscotch & Pecans via Midwest Nice Blog

And she’s here! Finally. After months of planning and prepping – she’s here. In the flesh. Fo realz. She’s currently sleeping since we didn’t get home from the airport until nearly 2am. It’s so nice to know that when she wakes up she’ll have a pan of bread pudding waiting for her.

To be honest, I almost didn’t make it. Then when I realized I had the opportunity to put booze in something, I seized it. And threw in some butterscotch chips and toasted pecans for good measure. It was also the opportunity to make my friend happy. Because if she can fly across the country with a Chick-fil-A sandwich stashed in her bag for me, then I can make her bread pudding. It’s called friendship.

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Fruit Loops Macarons (& doing)

Believe it or not, I’ve got nothing to say.

That’s why I’ve sat on this recipe for so long.

There are no witty prose. No poignant story. No 2000 word diatribe about my feelings.

There are just these macs. And these photos. Both of which I’m supremely proud of.

Because it’s like Amy Poehler says in her book “…do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.”

So this is the thing – Fruit Loop Macarons. It’s the making and the baking and the photographing and the writing. And the doing.

Fruit Loop Macarons

110 grams almond flour

110 grams pulverized Fruit Loop cereal*

400 grams powdered sugar

200 grams egg whites, aged 24 hours

100 grams granulated sugar

5 drops blue food coloring

Whisk together the almond flour, crushed cereal, and powdered sugar. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Pour in granulated sugar and food coloring and increase speed to high. Whisk until stiff peaks form.

Fold the dry ingredients into the whipped egg whites. At first the batter will be clumpy, keep folding and you’ll soon have a thick, glossy mixture that should fall off of a rubber spatula in thick ribbons.

Pour batter into a piping bag fitted with the end snipped off.

Pipe small, even rounds onto silicone mat lined baking sheets. Let stand for one hour, until the tops of the cookies have a hard shell that isn’t tacky when touched.

While the macs sit, preheat oven to 350 degrees. When cookies are ready bake in preheated oven for 10 – 12 minutes, until tops are rounded and set and feet have appeared around the bottom of the cookies.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before filling.*

Fruit Loop Frosting

2 cups Fruit Loops, divided

½ cup whole milk

½ cup shortening

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. salt

Place one cup of cereal in a small bowl and pour milk overtop. Let stand for twenty minutes. Remove cereal and discard, reserving milk.

Cream together the shortening and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add cereal milk 1 TBSP at a time until frosting is smooth. Crush up remaining cereal and stir into frosting.

Fill a piping bag fitted with the 1B tip with frosting and frost ½ of the cookies and top with remaining cookies.

*I like to pulverized my cereal in a food processor to get the finest grains I can.

*macs can be stored, unfilled for a few days in an airtight container – the flavor may even intensify!

*recipe adapted from this info graphic. (I know, I can’t believe it either!) And the frosting from this recipe!

Thursday Things

  1. What is kindness to you? For me it’s “please” and “thank you” and offering a cup of coffee and being open and honest. And so much more. Kindness is a lot like loving, isn’t it?
  2. The new reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is giving me all the feels. It’s funny and full of heart.
  3. I’m nearly at the end of Gilmore Guys so I’m beginning the hunt for a new podcast. So far Pop Rocket and Dear Hank and John are the front runners.
  4. My friend Danielle will be here next week and we are going to the Lorde concert in MKE and that may be the best impulse decision I’ve made in awhile.
  5. Tbh, I didn’t even know Lorde was the headliner. I initially was just wanting to see Run The Jewels. Lorde was really just a bonus.
  6. We are also doing the Pabst brewery tour because her favorite beer is PBR and my friends are just the classiest.
  7. Tuesday night I went to a dinner party and had the best time! It was a make-your-own Bahn Mi situation and I was in heaven. There were also cilantro mint mojitos and rice noodle and shrimp spring rolls. Again – heaven.
  8. It was also my first encounter with Curtido – a South American style fermented cabbage that’s a lot like kimchi. But full of coriander and oregano. It was so good I could sing. And no one wants that.
  9. Buuuuuuut, speaking of singing – I revisited Drinking From A Salt Pond this week by RRN. Alex has a killer voice. And is a gifted lyricist. Give ’em a listen!

PB&J Scones, Two Ways (& preferences)

Serious question time.

Do you prefer your PB&J with grape jelly and creamy peanut butter or strawberry jam and crunchy peanut butter?

If I’m being totally honest I would go with grape jelly and creamy peanut butter. On whole wheat bread.

I know not everyone is in that camp. This is a point that has been hotly contested amongst my friends many a time.

The last time I got into this discussion, I was at Bunny’s house. She made Nick and I some PB&Js before Royal Rumble started and honestly, that’s one of my favorite memories from my visit to Greenville. There’s something perfectly comforting about a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Especially when it’s made by someone you love.

Nick had never been to Bunny’s house and it was my first time back there on my trip. It was drizzling outside, Bunny’s place was warm as it always was. One of the first things she did upon our arrival was offer us some snacks. She got down to the task of making us sandwiches while Nick walked around her house in wonder. I had done it too on my first visit. Bunny and her husband, Justin, have curated and cultivated a beautiful space. One totally their own and entirely representative of who they are and what they love. There are prints and pictures and Pyrex in every corner. The walls are striped and the ceilings painted bright colors.

Nick and I sat with our food while Bunny bustled around in the kitchen – preparing for the Royal Rumble party. I reclined into my vintage loveseat, now at home in their sitting room, Nick across from me on an old church pew. The coffee table between us held stacks of books and comics and candles and records. Bruno and Lulu, Bunny and Justin’s teacup Yorkies, ran around underfoot. We talked and chewed, took everything in as the rain fell outside.

I wanted to recreate that moment with these scones – warm and comforting, and full of familiar, well-loved flavors. Whatever your preference, grape or strawberry, crunchy or creamy, I think we can all agree that the result is delicious.

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