Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Everything comes full circle...

So I had a funny experience on Monday...

Flashback to 2008:  Eastern Michigan University:  Area Complex Director:  It was my last year at EMU during RA Interviews.  Somehow I got paired with Kyle, who is one of the funniest people I know -- this guy made me laugh hysterically almost every time he opened his mouth -- bad idea EMU whomever paired folks up.  I was wearing something of a low-cut top.  Not outrageously low, but there was a hint of a shadow.  Anyway, this young man sat down to interview with us.  He was clearly nervous and all during his interview he kept saying things that were somewhat off key and could be taken out of context, if you're someone with an off-color sense of humor....

Kyle and I both have an off color sense of humor....

and this kid was staring at my cleavage.  Not just glancing.  Not looking around the room and then zeroing in on my tatas every now and then.. nope. He was staring at my tots like he was getting ready to tuck a buck... it was un-nerving.. he was leaning forward and at one point I was kind of afraid he was going to lean in and attempt a motor boat. 

So here we have a really nervous kid, using off-color examples to answer his interview questions, who is so nervous he cannot make eye contact and has, instead, focused on my tots... At this point I am terrified to even glance in Kyle's direction because I KNEW I wouldn't be able to NOT laugh...

Then the kid made some comment about "balls flying at his face..." and I heard Kyle squeak.... just a small sound and I couldn't handle it any more.  I interrupted the kid and had to excuse myself from his interview for a moment.  I left the room and, thank goodness made it to the bathroom before I busted up laughing....

Unprofessional, I know, but at least I held it in until I was not in the interview room with the kid...

Flash forward:  Monday, February 13, 2012:  Indiana State University:  Associate Director. 
Graduate Student Interview Days.  I go over to interview days to meet some of the grad candidates.  Jess  takes me to a table of candidates and introduces me.  I look around the group and say hi and ask the their names and which schools they are coming from.  It gets all around the table and I look at the man sitting next to me... he smiles and I ask him if I know him... he says, "Yes!  You interviewed me for my RA position at EMU, my name is..." 


Luckily I'm better at controlling my facial expressions now.  I was very nice and he was flattered that I remembered him. 

Ya gotta be careful.. things just have a way of coming back around for you later....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Whirlwind Michigan...

Well, my trip to Michigan was everything I thought it would be.  Jess and I had fun in the car on the way up.  Erica and I went shopping briefly and then Erica, Marty, and I went to the piano bar and saw Frank-- my pianoman.  Well, I call him my pianoman, I doubt he would call himself that.. LOL
Yay for Frank and me!!  He's kind of like a rock star to me. He is a really talented musician and I'm totally a fan.  I'm a dork.  But still a fan.  He's nice enough to put up with me and treat me like a good friend whenever I'm around. :) 
This was later in the evening when some of us (Erica, Frank, and me) had been drinking for a while.. I missed half the conversation because I was trying to take "artistic" pictures. This is where I entered into the conversation.. Frank was doing math on his phone while telling us about his daughter who will be going to college next year and he's clueless about what to do.. luckily that's kind of my thing.. I think I was helpful.. lol
Jess and I outside of Arby's where we stopped for lunch on the way up to Michigan.  My Hetero Life Partner.. until she abandons me to move to California to "be closer to her family.."
 Erica and Me!! Sister of my heart!! 
Marty and Me!!  Obviously, if Erica is the sister of my heart, then Marty is the Brother-in-Law of my heart... because if he was my brother he and Erica are in trouble!
 I really just liked this.

 Erica and Marty!
 My Mustache straw... it makes me laugh. 
 I have one at work that is on my argyle lidded water cup.. it's classy

 Erica was playing with my Mustache.
 Aww, isn't that cute!
 We thought this would make a cute picture!!  

I SOOOO miss living in Michigan.  I miss my friends/family.  I miss the piano bar.  I miss the variety of things to do.  I miss the variety of restaurants.  I miss lots and lots and lots of things about living up there.  I'd move back in a heart beat -- if it wasn't so cold!!  Was a fun trip.. unfortunately I spent more time in the car than I spent with Erica...

Until next time, my friends...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Baking Mania

So I have been a baking fool these past weeks.  I've made real bread, lemon poppy seed scones, Cherry-Chocolate Chip cookies, Everything but the kitchen sink cookies, Lemon Poppy seed bread (I had lots of lemons, and chocolate malt cookies... I'm insane, but determined to wear out that stand mixer. 

Funny story, I like baking because I can take it in to work and don't feel guilty for eating  it OR for not eating it because it's wasting it.  However, I took a loaf of lemon poppy seed bread in this week and someone stole it.  Literally.  It was there when I left the office and completely gone when I got back. Not complaining, but I only got ONE slice!!  Craziness!! But I mean LITERALLY stole it.  I left work at 6pm on Wednesday (the absolute last person to leave the office for the day) and it was gone when I went in at 7am the next morning. I think the housekeeping staff ate it for breakfast.  Which is totally fine, but it was funny because everyone else in the office knew it was there and was planning on it for breakfast and it was all gone. 

I was flattered...

Then I decided to make cookies one night.  Jess said she thought my last cookies were kind of boring (She's weird though and doesn't like chocolate chip cookies unless they are basically raw which I think is disgusting).  So I decided to spice things up a bit.  So I made some cookies and added a bit of whatever I had on hand -- unsweetened cocoa powder, allspice, nutmeg, almond extract, and chopped up snickers bars.  I tried them and thought they were OK.  Not something I'd make again, but decent.  I took them to work and every else thought they were amazing.  I was glad because then I didn't have to feel guilty when I threw them out.  They were gone in an hour.  I made about four dozen of them.  I was glad they liked them.

Jess and I are leaving in the morning for a whirlwind trip to Michigan.  She wants to go to some ceremony for a youth group she had been involved with as a kid and asked if I'd ride up with her.  So I called Erica to see if she was free and she is.  I also texted my piano-man to see if he's playing anywhere.  He is.  So we're going to see him tomorrow night --  he made reservations for us.  SOOO Excited.

So tonight I decided to make some cookies for 1. Rex because he's Sassy Sitting 2. The road because you need cookies at 9am, and 3.  (if there are any left) Erica and Marty.  Because home made baked goods are always awesome. 

I saw this recipe a few weeks ago for Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies.  So I decided to try them...

OH MY HOLY FREAKING GOODNESS they are DELICIOUS.  I didn't take pictures this time, but the link I got them from has some. 


Seriously, make these they are the BEST cookies I've ever had.  Two things though, use the Milk Chocolate chips (Trust me it's amazing) and make sure to put parchment paper or a sil-mat down.  If you don't they spread like mad and will stick to the cookie sheet like its getting paid. 

I'll let you k now how Michigan goes.  I think I'm going to make it a picture trip. :) 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

So, when  lived in Michigan, the Meijer in Ypsilanti had these delicious mini lemon poppy seed scones.  They were in the bakery area and they were heavenly.  Sadly, we do not have a Meijer in Terre Haute, and  have been unable to find those scones anywhere in Indiana.  I've even recruited some of our grad students to help me look.  So, since I'm on a baking kick, I decided to make some.  They turned out pretty decent, but not quite as good as the ones in Meijer.  I think these need more lemon. 

The ingredients:
3 cups of all purpose flour, 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of sugar, 3 tablespoons poppy seeds, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel, 1 teaspoon salt, 10 tablespoon chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, 1 large egg, 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/3 cup (or more) whole milk.

Because there were several multiple step processes, I did a lot of them ahead so that I just had to add stuff as I went. 

I cut the butter up into tiny pieces and put them back in the refrigerator.  The butter is supposed to be "chilled."  And when making crusty things you want the butter as cold as possible.

 I zested and juiced the lemon (I zested two lemons and juiced one)

 And I measured out the baking powder and poppy seeds.

In your food processor, (I love my food processor, I use it all the time) add three cups of flour.

One cup of sugar

Three tablespoons of poppy seeds

One tablespoon of baking powder, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Pulse them all together to mix it up well

Cut the butter into the mix until it resembles a coarse meal.
 Whisk egg and lemon juice in a medium bowl to blend.  Add to flour mixture and process until moist clumps form.

Add 1/3 cup of milk.  Pulse the processor just until dough comes together, adding more milk if dough seems dry.

My dough was a bit more wet than I would have liked it.

Using floured hands, gather the dough into a ball.  Flatten into 8-inch round.

Cut the round into 8 wedges and transfer them to a large baking sheet.

Brush with milk and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.

Place in a 375 degree oven with the rack positioned in the top third of the oven.   Bake 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 
Transfer to a rack and cool.  Can be made 1 day ahead.  Store airtight at room temperature.

They were pretty good, but next time I'll add more zest and lemon juice. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mastering Crusty Italian Bread

So, today I decided to make bread.  I've only  made bread once, about five years ago I made a chocolate cherry bread.  It was good, but since I have my  new mixer, complete with a dough hook, and it's my last day of winter break, I decided to make bread.  Crusty Italian Bread.

Ingredients: 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast,1 cup warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees), 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil,1 1/2 teaspoons salt,3 cups all-purpose flour,Cornmeal,1 egg white,1 teaspoon cold water
Here we go!

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.
 Add the sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups flour. 

 Beat until blended. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough. 
  Knead until smooth and elastic.  I used my dough hook on 3rd speed and it only took about 3 - 4 minutes.
 Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
 Punch dough down; return to bowl. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a loaf 16 in. long x 2-1/2 in. wide with tapered ends. Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with cornmeal; place loaf on baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes. 

 With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes 2 in. apart across top of loaf. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  On the rack below the bread I put another empty pan that as I put the bread in, I added a handful of ice cubes to create steam in the oven.  According to everything I've read and watched that steam is what causes the crust to be crusty. 

Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Not to toot my own horn, but OMG this was the BEST tasting bread I've ever had.  I may never eat store bought bread again!!!  SOOO GOOD!!