Thursday, July 11, 2013

Best-ever Buttermilk Biscuits, the recipe

It seems like every time I'm home, my dad makes something new and yummy for me to eat. Recently, it was made from scratch biscuits. They were delectable. So he gave me the recipe and encouraged me to try them on my own. They were SO good!!! Here's the recipe (from Cuisine at Home)!

Best-ever Buttermilk Biscuits
Makes 10 biscuits
Total time: 30 minutes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups cake flour
5 Tbsp. cold vegetable shortening, cubed
4 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a bowl; set aside.
3. Pulse cake flour, shortening, and cubed butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment
until fats are pea-sized flakes. 

4. Mix in all-purpose flour mixture just until blended. Add buttermilk to dry ingredients and mix just until moistened.
5. Turn dough onto a lightly-floured surface, and knead just until dough holds together. Pat dough into a
1-inch-thick circle.

6. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut dough into 10 biscuits. Transfer the biscuits to prepared baking sheet and bake until golden, 15–18 minutes. Brush tops with melted butter during last few minutes of baking.

My confessions:

*I didn't have cake flour. I used regular unbleached flour. If you ask my roommate, the biscuits still tasted great, so no worries here! But if you must, here is a trick for turning all-purpose flour into cake flour (but I didn't google it until after I was done with the biscuits).

*I don't have a stand mixer yet. I'm trying to hold off until I can add one to my wedding registry. So, I made do with the ten pincers I have at the end of my arms. They worked just fine instead of the paddle attachment. :)

*This was my first time using buttermilk. It smelled disgusting, but apparently it's supposed to??

*My batch made 8 regular biscuits and one "doggy biscuit."

*They were wonderfully delicious topped with butter and raw, local honey.

Go ahead, give them a try!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The last of my fish tales...

The school year came to a close on Friday, and the last of my fish... survived. Johnny on the Spot made it through the whole school year and was adopted by one of my students. :) As of now, I have an empty fish tank in my classroom waiting to be cleaned out and returned to its rightful owner, and I couldn't be happier.

Next year, my theme is going to be "Out of this World." Any pet suggestions? ;)


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Test Kitchen: Cappuccino Muffins

When I lived in Portugal, another teacher at the school and dear friend brought treats to school one morning. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. They tasted heavenly with a sweet coffee and chocolate flavor.

I went to bed last night thinking about them. We had a teachers' meeting this morning, which gives me the perfect opportunity to make something and be forced to share before I devour the whole batch. I woke up just as excited about them as I was when I drifted off to sleep, so I added them to my routine this morning. Here's the recipe. Bon appetit!

Espresso Spread: (which I didn't make since I had no cream cheese... such a travesty)
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup 2% milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

  • In a food processor, combine the spread ingredients; cover and process until well blended. Transfer to a small bowl; cover and refrigerate until serving.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, combine milk and coffee granules until coffee is dissolved. Add the butter, egg and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375° for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm with espresso spread.
Nutritional Facts 1 muffin with 1 tablespoon spread equals 273 calories, 14 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 44 mg cholesterol, 261 mg sodium, 34 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

and then there was proof...

In the background... sometimes that's where the great things happen. Where they aren't noticed. Where they aren't readily praised. Where they aren't unnecessarily examined. Where they can be properly thought through. The background is where this story started, but not where it's going to stay.

This one guy had been in the background, behind the scenes, in my life. He was a friend, he was a smiling face, but that was all. He just sat and watched me while I paraded around trying to figure my life out. I put myself in the spotlight while he waited in the shadows. He waited for the timing to be right. Timing that wasn't in his terms. Timing that was in His terms, whether this guy knew it or not. I was busy trying to teach and coach and figure my life out while he watched me teach and coach and tried to figure out if he wanted a part of my busy life.

I was busy collecting friends and living the high life, or whatever you call teaching at a Christian school whilst running around like a chicken with its head cut off, and he was working. Becoming. Learning. Collecting skills and character qualities to be a godly man.

Then there was an accident, yet a moment in time that God knew we needed.

After that, the background wasn't really an option. He was on my radar, and I was... uhh... more than just on his radar.

Occasional texting turned into tennis.
Tennis turned into unintentional dates.
Unintentional dates turned into intentional dates.
Intentional dates turned into sporting events.
Sporting events turned into trips to the lake.
Trips to the lake turned into trips to my house.
Trips to my house turned into a family that was readily accepting and thrilled that this guy was so... me.
He smooths out my rough spots.
He eats and likes my food.
He laughs at my jokes. 
He buys me the most thoughtful things (like an automatic car starter).
He treats me with respect and dignity and he treats my family the same way.
 He puts my needs above his.
And he proves his trustworthiness and patience. 

I needed time to prioritize and clear my head while Christ used that time to redeem my past. I wanted pure motives and I needed time to make sure that's exactly what I had. I needed someone willing to wait for me. And that is EXACTLY who I spent time waiting for. :)

Isaiah and I spent time gaining wisdom from the friends who know us both. Praying and talking through our thoughts, dreams, and concerns. We spent time with each others' families and got to know them as well. After a few months of limbo, we made it "official" without making it "facebook official" (which is actually still okay in 2013). And 135 days later, we're still enjoying each other. :)

As someone without an M-R-S, I've gotten the question for years, "When are you going to get married?" I still don't know the answer, but I get to spend my days patiently waiting for an ever-faithful God. He's blessed me quite a bit up 'til now, and I'm excited to see His blessings down the road. For now, I'm gonna enjoy the blessings of a boyfriend who reminds me to love and trust my Jesus.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

life is daily. how should that impact my teaching?

As I think about my job and my class, I wonder what my second graders will remember about me, their classmates, and their time in my classroom. I'm reminded daily of the impact I have on their young lives. I want these children to know that they are loved. They have a teacher who would bend over backwards to help them succeed. But do they know that? How can I show them?

I'm learning that life is daily. It sounds obvious, but some days, that fact is a blessing. Some days, the dailiness of life is a curse. But each day, I am allowed to and required to...

serve my students.
love them.
guide them.
give them opportunities to become who they are designed to be.
give them various chances to find what they enjoy.
answer their unceasing, unrelenting questions.
point them to the Comforter when they are upset.
calm their fears when they are anxious.
encourage them to do their best.
pray with them.
pray over them.
show them what it means to focus on others.
give them time and prodding to reach out to others.
laugh at their jokes.
redirect their wandering minds and hearts.
be an example of focus on the important things.
encourage them to be organized so they can be productive.
smile at them for no reason.
and show them that they are cherished.

Fellow teachers, I hope this can be a practical encouragement as you impact the kids in your class. :)


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Life goals (the second grade edition)

I decided to take a few minutes and get to know my kiddos better today. In a few free minutes that we had after recess, I had them write the numbers 9, 16, 23, 30, 50, 75, and 100 on a piece of paper. Then, I asked them to write down something that they would like to do by each of these ages. :) Their answers were priceless.

A few favorites are... get married at 30 and get a job at 75. Watch the news at 75. Sleep at 100. :) And... what child living in America wouldn't want a gun at 50... or a horse. ;)