Monthly Archives: November 2014

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polkadots and blue jeans

November 26, 2014

 

polkadots and blue jeans

It’s snowed two times since November started. Big fluffy snowflakes falling from the sky as I type. I have a feeling that flats will no longer belong in the category of appropriate footwear very soon.

This outfit is my favorite from #ootd November. I love dalmatian print–and can you believe I bought that shirt from Forever 21 over 3 years ago? It’s held up very nicely, as I find many clothes that don’t necessarily cost a pretty penny tend to do if you don’t leave them lying on the floor!

Anyway, much to do today on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. #ootd posts from now until the end of November will likely only include yoga pants so as to properly accommodate for turkey sandwich leftovers and homemade Chex mix!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cat

(PS: See other #ootd posts by following my Instagram.)

 

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banana pear bread with salted caramel

November 24, 2014

Banana Pear Bread

The basis of this banana bread recipe comes from Marilyn, my-mother-in-law. She is one of those bakers who has eighty percent of her recipe memorized and just fills in the blanks as she goes. I don’t know how she gets away with it, but she does. Anyway, last week, I bought four bananas. Two for eating, and two for banana bread. Unfortunately, I forgot to communicate that two of them were destined for more than just peeling and eating, and all but one remained when I finally had time to bake.

After mentioning to my husband that he ate too many bananas, he kindly left the fourth one alone. But you know, you sort of need a couple of bananas for banana bread. I didn’t feel like waiting another few days for a banana to go bad, so I decided to put a pear that had gone past its prime to work. And since I’d already subbed banana for pear, I decided to go all out with brown butter and salted caramel. Eighty percent basic, twenty percent do-what-you-want, Marilyn style.

I swirled some of the caramel into the batter, but it must have been too runny because it didn’t stay in the middle.  Instead, it sizzled up to the top and out to the sides and made for a sweet and salty crust. Totally works! I will most certainly be whipping up another loaf to tote to Thanksgiving.

Banana Pear Bread

Banana Pear Bread with Salted Caramel

For the Caramel Sauce

1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons sea salt

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium low heat, mix together all of the ingredients. Stir the mixture as it begins to bubble, and allow the sugar to boil for about 7 minutes. Dip a spoon into the sauce and allow to cool over the pan to check its consistency. Sauce should be on the runnier side. When finished, remove from heat and allow to cool.

For the Bread

1/3 cup unsalted butter, browned

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup of mashed banana (about 1 ripe banana)

1 small pear, diced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour and loaf pan.

Add butter to a cold saucepan. Turn heat on to medium–stir butter as it melts, foams, and browns. When the liquid has turned a golden brown, remove from heat and let cool.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Add in mashed banana and the brown butter. Stir.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet, a little bit at a time. Mix together until all of the flour is incorporated.

Pour half of the batter into the pan. Add a few dollops of caramel sauce and use a knife to swirled the caramel into the bread. Top with the remaining batter.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cover the bread with foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

Serve warm. With butter. Spoon some of the leftover caramel sauce on top and sprinkle on some more salt. Eat it all before anybody else knows you baked.

–Catherine

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#ootd october

November 6, 2014

#ootd october

This was the first month I decided to start Instagramming Outfits of the Day (#OOTD).

I wanted to try this method of documenting outfits (snapping a pic just before I fly out the door, no special accessories or styling, and then Instagramming it when I get a chance) for two reasons.

First, I wanted to just get comfortable with publishing less than perfect photography onto my blog. Last year I noticed that my belief that every. single. photo. I put on the blog had to be 100% perfect was totally tanking my motivation to post. So I decided to just get over the fact that I shoot with an iPhone and that my house is full of photo bombing dust bunnies. Sometimes, In the mornings, I’m able to snap a pic when the light is perfect, but if it’s early I just have to work with that AM twilight. I just shove all the junk out of the way and go with it. And I’m happy enough with the results.

Second, I wanted an easy way to document how often I wear certain items of clothing. At the beginning of my elementary internship this semester, I dug out my black dress pants and tried to decide if the blazer I had worked with the pants. (Is it black or is it navy?! I still don’t know.) I’ve known for a while that any derivation of the power suit is not my style, so I decided to make my clothes work for the elementary classroom.

My personal style isn’t so much an issue. Teachers are certainly expected to look put together, but we don’t have to look corporate. I just wasn’t sure I had enough clothes. So I decided to draft a list of as many possible combinations that I could wear in the classroom and keep track of how often I chose to wear those combinations. The most frequent flyers include my mint chip skirt (above, bottom right) and anything black and white. I do believe that the photos above have captured the very beginnings of a capsule wardrobe, for weekend wear and teacher wear alike.

Yep yep! I love clothes, I love blogging, and less-than-perfect-photography will never stand in my way again. You can follow my #OOTD adventures by following my Instagram.

–Cat

P.S. Have you considered adopting the capsule wardrobe philosophy?

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26 before 27

November 3, 2014

Le Relais Gascon

Another birthday is right around the corner and my heart is all aflutter as I ponder an updated yearly to-do list. (Check out my 25 before 26 list to see last year’s goals!)

The first item on the first draft of this year’s 26 before 27 list was “really, seriously try to master a sewing skill.” Sewing is one of those things I keep thinking I’ll enjoy. I want to sew an elaborate quilt or alter a vintage dress, but the fact is that I can barely sew a straight line–still! And when it comes down to it, I certainly don’t enjoy practicing the skills necessary to be successful at this art form.

I’ve since tossed the first draft and decided to come at my 26 before 27 list from a different angle. What if, this year, I stopped traveling down creative avenues I think I might enjoy eventually and instead, dedicated a whole entire year to something I know I enjoy doing everyday?

Mind. Blown.

If there is one thing in this world I love doing day in and day out, it’s cooking and baking. (I also love shopping equally that much but probably shouldn’t embark on 26-ways-to-end-up-declaring-bankruptcy-before-27!)

I have this strange motivation to master the art of carving a turkey. I’ve penciled my 18th attempt at French macarons into my calendar for next Sunday. I flip over the vibrant colors of fresh vegetables. I feel no stress in the kitchen and often spend an entire weekend in there. I also have a husband that is glad to eat anything and clean up any and all messes I inevitably create in the name of good food. It’s a win-win.

Because I love a good theme, I’ve decided to embark on 26 French recipes. Wes and I spent a couple of days in Paris two years ago, and it was by far my most favorite stop during our belated European honeymoon. Because pastries. And cheese. And wine. And pastries with chocolate. And baguette!

I want to make it all. I’ll start with the following 26:

Baguette

Boeuf Bourguignon

Charlotte

Confit de Canard

Chouquettes

Galette des rois

Coq Au Vin

Crème Brûlée

Croquembouche

Croque Madame

Croque Monsieur

Duck a l’Orange

Éclair

Gratin Dauphinois

Madeleines

Oeufs en Cocotte

Petits Fours

Pot-au-Feu

Quiche Lorraine

Saint Honoré

Soufflé

Soupe a l’Oignon

Tarte aux Fraises

Tarte flambée

Tartelette

*promptly renews gym membership*

…Bon appétit!