Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Glazed Donuts

Making donuts has been a culinary life-goal of mine for many years now. I saw them as a challenge for a long time and was intimidated by the ideal fluffiness of Krispy Kreme held dear in my family.

You see, every year growing up we would go to the mall to do Christmas shopping for each other and enjoy the hustle and bustle of moving carts, decorative lights, and soft, cheery music playing overhead. On our way home we passed Krispy Kreme; my siblings and I would keep our eyes peeled to the view out of the car, searching for the Krispy Kreme sign, our fingers crossed in hope the light would be on. The light meant that they were making free, fresh donuts inside. When the neon light illuminated the store, we'd yell and beg to stop; I remember running inside and watching the automated assembly line producing hot goodies. The dough rising in moving trays, the little round donuts sizzling in oil before being flipped to their opposite side, and then moving through a continuously moving wall of white glaze. A woman would gently pull off a hot confection with a toothpick, place it in wax paper, and, with a smile as sweet as the sugar in the air, hand it to the wide-eyed, curly haired me.

1-1/8 cup milk (warm)
1/4 cup sugar
2-1/4 teaspoons (one packet) Instant or Active Dry Yeast
2 whole large eggs, beaten
1-1/4 stick butter, melted
4 cups All-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cold milk


For the dough:
Make sure the milk is warm, but not too hot - if you can't keep your finger in it for 20 seconds, it's too hot. Add sugar to milk and stir to dissolve. 
Put yeast into a small bowl; pour milk-sugar mixture over yeast. Stir gently and let sit for 10 minutes. Melt butter in separate bowl until butter is nearly melted and then stir butter to finish melting it. Add beaten eggs to butter, stirring constantly. 
Add the egg-butter mixture to an electric mixer (with the dough hook attachment). With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour in the yeast mixture. Allow the dough hook to stir this mixture for a couple minutes.
Combine the flour and salt. With the mixer still going, add the flour combination in 1/4 cup increments. 
Scrape the bowl, then turn the mixer on the same speed for 5 minutes. 
Turn off the mixer and allow the dough to sit in the mixer bowl for 10 minutes.
Transfer dough to lightly buttered/oiled bowl.
Refrigerate dough for at least 8 hours or overnight.

For the donuts:
Remove the dough from the fridge and put onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/4 to 1/3 inch thickness. The thicker the dough, the puffier the donut will be after it has risen. 
Using a 3-inch cutter (a cup, a biscuit cutter, etc), cut out as many rounds as you can, then re-roll the remaining dough, etc. 
Cut holes in each donut round using a smaller (1 or 1-1/2 inch) cutter. 
Place donuts and holes on a floured baking sheet. 
Place in a warm, draft-free place in the kitchen. I preheated the oven to 175 ºF and then turned off and let cool a little bit so that it was warm, not hot. 
Allow donuts to rise for an hour; they'll be clearly puffy and airy. 

To fry the donuts:
Take a large pot and pour enough oil that you have two inches between the top of the oil and the bottom of the pan. 
Heat it to 375ºF (maintain this temperature - try not to let it rise above 380º). 
Gently lower each donut into the oil with a fork. After 1 minute, flip the donut. 
With a fork, lift the donut from the oil onto a layer of paper towels. Flip the donut over a few times on the paper towels to get rid of as much oil as possible. 
The donut holes will cook faster, so don't give them as much time in the oil.

To glaze: 
Mix all ingredients until smooth. 
Submerge donuts halfway in glaze. Flip to the other side in glaze. 
Remove from glaze and place on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath to catch the glaze. 


Friday, November 7, 2014


 This is Melanie, and we found Narnia.

In actuality, there was a door exhibition in the park in a historic area of our city; one of them led to/was painted like) Narnia. We were really there for her photography project, and, in her words, she was "forcing me to be her model." I accepted on the condition that she would let me photograph her as well. We galavanted down Main Street, found fire escapes and cool plants behind all the restaurants, risked our lives lying in the middle of the train tracks (a couple minutes before a train arrival I might add), and simply enjoyed each other and something we love: photography.

This darling is a joy and an inspiration. I relish every minute I have with her, whether it's riding in her super super rad flatbed truck, telling each other stories, or snuggling with a skeleton chained to a bench. I'm so lucky to be in the presence of such a wonder again.

All photos of me were taken by the lovely Melanie at Sincerely, Melanie.
All photos of the lovely Melanie at Sincerely, Melanie were taken by me. Me who would love to hear from you either at or in the comments below. See you there!

Friday, October 24, 2014

DIY Pennant Stamps

I like making birthday presents. It brings me joy in life. 
Especially notebooks. 
Notebooks are happiness. They're a space to spill extra thoughts and images. They're a friend. They are meant to be messy. 
What more could you want? 

I like to buy plain brown paper notebooks and either draw phrases, verses, and doodles on them, or simply paint a small design like the one pictured above. It's super easy. All you need for a semi-uniform stamp is a new Number 2 pencil. 

Using a paring knife, cut 3 lines to create a triangle. Make flat cuts to remove the edges of the eraser.

Mix paint to the shades you want, and HEY, you've got a stamp. Practice on a notecard to get the opacity you want.

 Journal and stamp away, my friends! Birthday cards, notebooks, thank you cards, word art, paintings... experiment and enjoy. 

Oh and do come again soon, it was so nice meeting you.
Let me know what you think below in the comments.
Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I got a new sweater. And I took a lot of experimental photos this weekend and drew on some. It was grand.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ten (More) Things You Probably Don't Need To Know

Happy Wednesday. I've decided to tell you another ten pointless things that are (sometimes) relevant to my life, because why not.

1/  I went hiking this weekend at Panther Creek Falls (pictured above); it was lovely to return to the destination of my first backpacking trip 5 years later.
2/  We've had torrential rain in Georgia these last few days and it's been glorious.
3/  I have a dog now... we named her Scout after the girl from To Kill a Mockingbird.
4/  I took the PSATs today (aka filled in some bubbles on an answer sheet and then slept each time I finished early).
5/  I am reveling in knowing how to really use my camera. My world has changed now that I actually understand how everything functions.
6/  I have begun college visits and it just makes me feel like a baby.
7/  My brother is coming home from up North to visit for the first time this weekend. YIPEE!
8/  I really want to just go to bed right now even though it's not socially acceptable (let alone reasonable).
9/  Tortilla chips and black bean hummus are my life.
10/ I just want to go back to June and be on my last backpacking expedition in the Ardennes. Is that too much to ask for? I'll just go get in bed then.

Keep it real. And get some sleep for me, won't you?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Weekend Vibes: A Playlist

It was quite the difficult weekend, and it's sort of bled in various ways into my week. It's been a roller coaster of faces, grades, and emotions. I spoke to people I sorely miss, I didn't speak to others I miss just as much. I did homework, I stared listlessly at homework. I listened to music, I played music. All of it combined into a sort of washed out color palette. My week has been a haze of faded maroon and deep blues and greens.

But one of the best things of this week, the peak of the roller coaster, was a conversation with my creativity -- it's emerging from the dark hole it was hiding in, ever so slowly. And I'm chasing it with open arms.

In celebration, I've created a washed out playlist of songs I listened to while staring at blank sheets of paper before covering them in ink and pencil.

I Can See Your Tracks - Laura Veirs
Warm Foothills - alt-J
Call Me in the Afternoon - Half Moon Run
Accident - Emily Wolfe
Lost in the Light - Bahamas
I Already Forgot Everything You Said - The Dig
Pusher - alt-J
Oh No - Blackchords

Happy Wednesday, and may you survive until Friday... Please come by again and follow for the better things to come in the future,

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

Fall is in. Officially. It's like I went to bed after the football game last night amidst the dead Georgia air that was suspended between summer and fall and then woke up to cold earth under my feet, chilly winds playing with my tousled hair, and red leaves dancing and spinning around. It was a day to do homework at my desk with an open window, to go on walks with the dog, to rake leaves, to waltz through the woods. But I didn't do all those things. I stayed inside and thought and got mad and frustrated and upset and missed people and hated myself and my life and worked myself into a mess. Long ago, I decided that baking is one of three effective therapeutic activities (music and writing being the others), and so I baked.

I baked for you and I baked for me. I baked to shut out all the things I miss. I baked to distract me from the things and people I can't have. I baked to have a desire to be in the kitchen, not somewhere far away. I can't say I feel all that better, but I tried. Isn't that what matters?

So if today you've stumbled onto this recipe upset or lonely, bake. If you've found this recipe unbelievably happy, go away. No, I'm kidding, bake anyway. I guess the message of my ramblings is this: bake. It would make me feel better to know that there are one or two people happier than me today. And these soft wonders should make you happy.

This is a vegan recipe, but you can easily 'un-vegan-ify' it if you have no flaxseed. Just substitute the ground flaxseed with 3 eggs. Another perk of this recipe is that you don't need an electric mixer -- a spatula is sufficient for everything! If you're really feeling adventurous, you could substitute applesauce for oil to make it even healthier; I would have, I just don't have any at home.

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins 

yields 24 

1  (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree
1/2  a ripe banana
2/3 cup canola oil
*3 tbsp.  ground flaxseed
*9 tbsp.  water
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
roasted pecans (optional: to sprinkle on top)

*If you don't need to make these vegan, you can substitute the flaxseed and water with 3 eggs.

Preheat oven to 350º (325º if using convection bake). Whisk flaxseed and water until well combined, then put in the fridge to let it become firmer (a little bit congealed). After 15 minutes, mix flaxseed, pumpkin, banana, and oil together. Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then fold into the pumpkin mixture. Spoon into muffin tins and bake 15-17 minutes. Cool in pans a couple minutes and then move to racks.

Enjoy, and I hope you feel better or continue to have good vibes if you've got 'em already. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Kaleidoscope Self

I just want a kaleidoscope spirit, one that shifts and changes to cast a beautiful interpretation of whatever is given to it. 
And I wish it was contagious and we would have a world of kaleidoscope people.

Basically, I wish the world was one over-sized kaleidoscope.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

All Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Let me fix that: those who wait a long time. Ok, so maybe 50 days isn't a very long time in the big scheme of things; I'm privileged, I know. But living without furniture or art supplies,  wearing only half of a wardrobe, and living with a limited book selection can get pretty old, pretty fast. Doing homework? Lay it out on the floor. Eating dinner? Sit on the floor. Trying to sleep? Sleep on the floor. With a lack of chairs, tables, sofas, beds, you-name-it, we started cracking jokes like pointing to someone else (who, of course, was sitting on the floor) and yelling, "How dare you walk on my bed with your muddy shoes?!" The floor was everything and anything you imagined it to be. In addition, suddenly four spoons between five people became a perfectly acceptable circumstance. And when the brother takes the aforementioned spoons to college, no one bats an eyelash.

Because your shipment with all your possessions is coming soon.
And then delayed.
Oh, but it'll be here in just a couple days.
Never mind, maybe a bit longer.
Ok, I think think it's really going to be here this time.
Or not.

Now, after 50 days, I am so incredibly happy to announce that my formerly-empty room is now full of boxes - although this time, they are waiting to be unpacked.

It's funny. My homework is completed. I rode my bike through the neighborhood, learning to conquer the 'dutch mountains', or hills as Americans call them, once again. I've been reunited with the second half of my stringed family. My fingers are itching to peel back packaging tape and rip open cardboard boxes like it's Christmas in late August. But every time I return to my bedroom, all I can do is sit on the mattress, look at the boxes in bewilderment, fighting the urge to cry. This is one of my favorite things to do sitting right in front of me: I have a room to arrange and personalize. But I don't know where to start. It's too permanent, and I guess I don't want to face reality.

Reality says I'm here to stay. And it doesn't feel like what I signed up for.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

brown turkey(fig)s

So some things have changed around here. I've 'repatriated'. Which still doesn't really mean I'm home per se. I'm still camping in my house of 14 years. The walls of my room have been primed to a grey, washed and redeemed from a pink I like to call 'middle school phase'. I've purchased myself a new Canon REBEL T3i, and I really can't express how proud I am that I saved and waited for such a great reward. The first two weeks of American high school have passed, and I'm still floundering in the ocean of AP Chemistry summer work. I'm beginning to question my class choices and, more importantly, my sanity. With all the change that has happened, I keep seeing the distant, lovely faces of Europe in the new, foreign faces of the States, and continually I remind myself, 'Nope, it's not them.' But seeing the old faces from long ago has been more heartening - and exhausting - than I ever imagined. 

It's been a summer, short and sweet. Kind of like a brown turkey fig.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


And it's summer! Finally. Having just been released from school on the 4th of July, I'm still seeing this break with rose colored glasses, dreaming of sleeping and dreaming while sleeping. And lots of alone time with the fridge and closet; I find it necessary to clean both of them out.

So what better way to start off the summer than making floral crowns and eating good food?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

de Poezenboot

So what happens when you go to Amsterdam and stumble upon a houseboat that has been repurposed as a cat shelter? You go in of course. 

What happens when every single one of the 15 or so cats wandering around is beyond adorable? You take too many photos of course. 

What happens when one of them takes a shine to you? Ideally you would adopt, but no, allergies exist in the family. Bummer. 

For those of you who do not have a 'poezenboot' near you, I present you with some photographs so that you may live vicariously through me. 

(all photos were taken with an iPhone, so apologies for the resolution....)

^ my general feelings about life right here. ^