Peace & Dinner Rolls

Ahhhhhh….. sweet relief.

I fucking love quarantine and unemployment doesn’t suck, either. Losing my health insurance in the midst of a global pandemic isn’t very exciting, but there are far greater problems in the world and it was the first time I’d ever had it- so c’est la vie.

The Dumpling and I have settled into an easy routine. Our days begin around 9 when she climbs into my bed to cuddle. The favorite cat; Dazzle, loves to snuggle in the mornings and you can hear her purr her way from the living room to the tiny space between us. Gone are the stress-filled mornings of me yelling “WE HAVE TO GET IN THE CAR, NOW!” and in its place is a lovely bunch of peace.

Life has calmed the hell down and I’m living for it.

It turns out, two cups of coffee is what I need to get shit done and a few bites of scrambled eggs each morning are helping me overcome the aversion to the little chicken embryos. I still prefer them as a light coating on a veggie stir-fry, but I’m trying.

img_8270My seeds have started to sprout in the greenhouse and I had a lovely chartreuse pop of baby blue curled kale peeking up at me this morning. The shallots are doing their usual crazy root explosion and my gardenia is setting three buds instead of one on each branch. Spring is still coming, in the midst of all this chaos. img_8268

I could have sworn today was Tuesday, but no! I just went to check how much longer my bread needs to rise and it’s Wednesday! Surprise! I can’t remember the last time I lost track of the days of the week, not to mention spent a few in a row in my pajamas. All my clothes are clean and every last bra is washed and hung- with no intention of putting one on. This is bliss, y’all. Pure, unadulterated BLISS.

Since I’ve realized I’m on the wrong day of my domestic plan, I have a snoozy little afternoon full of folding linens, changing sheets and watching the Tiger King live his best life.

I’ve perfected my dinner rolls and finally remembered to write down amounts and take pictures, so here you go! Wash your hands, bake some bread, enjoy your jammies and STAY THE FUCK AT HOME. ♥

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Jenni’s Bomb Dinner Rolls (or bread if you like slices)

  • 2 cups of water ( fairly hot- I like about 110*F)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast
  • 1 1/2 salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 cups of flour. I prefer half bread flour and half unbleached wheat flour but play around and find your favorite.

Combine the hot water, sugar and honey. Stir to combine and add the yeast. Let it sit for 10 minutes. img_8232

In the bowl of your mixer, combine 1 cup of flour, salt and olive oil. Mix thoroughly and add the liquids. Add one cup of flour at a time until it is pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Knead on medium speed in the mixer for 5 minutes or do it the hard way (by hand) for about 10 minutes, it’s up to you.

I am obsessed with my Instant Pot for how well it proofs dough. If you don’t have one, go buy one right now. You genuinely need it. img_8235

Spray the inside of your Instant Pot with non-stick spray and plop your dough in there. Set it to Yogurt setting on low, and set the time to 60 minutes.

Prepare to be amazed. Also clean up your mess- you’ll be lazily eating rolls soon and you won’t want to do it after the gluten coma hits. img_8239

After an hour, open your magical countertop time machine and fall in love with it all over again. Punch that beautiful dough down and dump it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about a minute, then shape into two loaves or two dozen rolls.

60697291656__b97711e7-0dfd-4cf4-ba39-14798444e351Let rise for about a half hour or until doubled in size. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes!

Mmmm…. They’re delicious! Enjoy! img_8242

 

 

 

 


The Bet

I love football. Looooooove it. I don’t generally care who’s playing, I’m just happy to sit and watch a good game. I was turning on the Super Bowl when a text came whistling in from NotCalifornia.

My first impression is that he’s tipsy fabulous this evening because he’s taking things in a direction they have not gone. He’s usually respectful to the point I’m not exactly sure if he’s attracted to me, or my farm skills. I’m flattered, but a bit bored by it as a result. I’m not an attention whore, but after begging a man for his time & his body over the past 6 months, I’m ready for the shoe to be on the other foot. I’d like to be the focus of that same debilitating need.

NC- I miss your pretty smile…… Watching the game? Who do you want to win?

Hmmm…. I do believe this man wants to flirt with me and I’m an Olympic athlete in that division. May I offer my “Biggest Flirt” picture from junior high, as proof and for posterity.

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J- I always root for the underdog. I can’t cheer for Tom Brady…

NC- I just really don’t like LA.

J- I’m shocked.

NC- You should think of a wager to make it interesting.

J- Like what??

NC- What are you thinking? Something fun.

J- I’m game. Realistically though, my team is probably going to lose, so be nice. Ideas?

NC- Hmmm. You decide. Something fun. What comes to your mind first?

J- That I need some guidelines, lol…

NC- Hahaha. No way. No guidelines. That’s what makes it a good idea. First thing that came to your mind. What is it?

Lots of inappropriate shit, if I’m going to be honest. I’m not going to be, so I have to come up with a girlfriend answer. I think about taking him to the Follies, but I’d rather go with my friends. I think of a safe answer… which slightly disappoints me in myself, but whatevs… this is how you play this dumb game.

J- Dinner with you.

NC- So if you win then dinner? What if I win?

J- I had to pick, so it’s only fair that you do too. First thing that came to your mind?

NC- Haha. Ok well how about if I win then you have to cook dinner.

J- That means waiting until Grandma is home to collect?

NC- Well I can wait.

He won and my big mouth offered to make sushi. So consider this an invitation to all of you to come on over and help me perfect my rusty rolling skills.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit to having an unfair advantage in this department. I’m a really good cook. My Husband soup was named after the many proposals it garnered and my lemon custard tarts have made me a small fortune. I’m lethal in an apron and I have perfected the fine art of using it to my advantage. One of the first things Miss Lovely asks me when she knows I’m expecting company is:

L- Mmmmmm….what did you make?

It’s a strength of mine… but also an ENORMOUS weakness.

A man in my kitchen?

Elbow to elbow, playing with food and this respectful man who is determined to pursue me?

What could possibly go wrong?

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Not so festive.

I used to love Christmas. I was one of those annoying over-bakers and made all my gifts. I started sewing in July and my children always wore matching, homemade flannel pajamas to sleep on Christmas Eve. 

Gingerbread houses, homemade marshmallows in three flavors, chocolate dipped everything while carols played from thanksgiving to Christmas. It was my favorite time of year. Then my son left, and it’s been difficult, since. Holidays change when you’re missing someone you love. Everything does, really… but especially the days that you’re supposed to be filled with joy and love. 

I am pushing through my reluctance and exhaustion to get it done for the Dumpling. She deserves the same holiday magic her siblings had, but some things have had to shift. The jammies and gingerbread house are store bought because I’m not a stay at home mom anymore and have had to let some things go. 

I’m working crazy hours, into the weekends… and haven’t even started shopping yet. I sort of love leaving it until the last minute and I’m enjoying not stressing about it. Ish.

But I’m a slave to that motherfucking Elf on a shelf. I hate it so much that I wish our dog chewed things up because I’d leave Hallie on the floor in a bowl of dog treats. If the damn thing doesn’t move,  it means your child was naughty and devastation ensues. (Whoever thought this up really hated their parents) I have moved the damn thing on the fly so many times, it’s a miracle I haven’t been caught. Also, to hell with all of you who make your elf do spectacular shit. Chill out. You’re making my lazy, relocating elf, look bad.

I have high hopes for the baking today. I bought all the stuff. I got out the aprons. The kitchen is clean. The Dumpling has a Christmas playlist picked out and it’s going to be a magical day of doing the stuff that makes Christmas feel a little more recognizable to me. I’m trying to find the happy, and that’s the best you can do when you’re just not. 

My gift to you: our family sugar cookie recipe. They are the very best. ♥

Grandma Afton’s Sour Cream Sugar Cookies 

425*  for 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown.

  • 1/4 c Shortening
  • 1/4 c Butter
  • 1 c Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 2/3 c Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 c Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 425*. Mix shortening, butter, sugar, egg and vanilla thoroughly. Sift flour and blend dry ingredients into a separate bowl. Add to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream until combined. Divide dough, roll out to 1/4″ thick on well floured surface and cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. (Omit sprinkling with sugar if you intend to frost them)

Bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges lightly brown. These are MUCH better under than over cooked.