The World is Full of Crashing Bores

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As a young L.A. girl graduating from my duller than dull high school, I was dying for something else.  This resulted in watching many films, discovering music, and absorbing magazines(all foreign for some reason). These were the pre-tumblr, iPodblog, and Google days, so everything felt so revelatory and vital.  In some ways I felt like I was discovering a secret world (and it was).

Give Up the Ghost

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Last week, Val, Donald and I drove to Santa Barbara for a special event.  We saw misty mountains and the sea on the way.

We Like Our Teatime, Easter Edition

It's slightly embarrassing posting more cutesy tea-time photos, but I assure you it is merely a coincidence.  It is a rare occurrence 'round these parts, but here we are...

For easter my sister and her boyfriend, Donald, came over to my apartment.  We baked, colored eggs and maybe had an egg hunt(ahem). Lately I had been feeling nostalgic for easter-egg hunts, so I was really excited to celebrate this year! :)

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Val brought her tea-cake pan and started measuring and mixing.  The batter was lemon-y.

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After a short time, they were perfectly baked.  So many cakes for three people to eat.  It was a hard problem to be faced with(woo!).  They cooled for a bit and were glazed with homemade lemon icing.

Tea for Two

Last week my school closed down for Spring Break and I couldn't have been more excited! :)  School is great, but I totally appreciate the time off.  I've had lunch with old friends, relaxed, and checked things off of my "to-do" list.  Val and I kicked of our Spring Break with a nice day out in Culver City.

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We went to this building, which was covered in green foliage.

Twist and Shout


As much as I love food, I hardly take the time to make anything from scratch.  I normally rely on sandwiches, oatmeal, and other simple creations for my sustenance.  I'm not embarrassed to admit I hardly cook anything complicated.  I live alone and I'm on a budget, so it makes sense ;)

Recently, I decided to make a soft-pretzel from scratch. This was a big moment in my life, for it required me to buy ingredients and then measure them.  The horror!  
A few weeks ago I made a batch, but it didn't meet my expectations. Apparently, I am a pretzel connoisseur and have an opinion on the matter.  Who knew. Haha.  After receiving a recommendation from a trusted source(ie. Greg), I tried a new recipe.  Yesterday, I followed the recipe carefully and about a million hours later(or two), my pretzels were ready to eat! :D  Good god, they were amazing.  It's like eating freshly baked bread, but twisted.  A revelation, I know.  Haha.  I dipped them in mustard and it got even better. Apparently the notion of eating mustard with pretzels was weird to Greg. He understood the combo very soon though, when he sang its praises.  Hah!

I love fresh and simple food. If this sounds interesting to you, try it!  Even an amateur like myself could do it :)

Here's the recipe (makes 8 pretzels):

Dough

1. Combine 1 1/2 cups of warm water, 1 tbsp sugar and 2 tsp coarse salt in a bowl and sprinkle a packet
of active dry yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam or separate from
the water.
2. Add 4 1/2 cups of flour and 2 oz melted butter(unsalted) to the bowl. Mix the dough well for about 5 minutes. It will be dry.
3. Remove the dough from the bowl and clean the bowl. Oil the sides of the bowl and then return dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Sit the dough in a warm place for 50-55 minutes.

40 minutes after dough was left to sit 


1. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees and lightly oil 2 baking sheets.
2. Pour 2 inches of water into a wide frying pan. Add 1/3 cup of baking soda. Boil the water.
3. While the water is heating, form your pretzels. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out into a 24 inch rope. I suggest looking at Youtube for how to shape them (Basically you form dough into a U shape, twist the ends over each other twice, and then bring the ends to the center of the "U" shape).
4. When the water is boiling, slowly submerge pretzels in water using a flat spatula. Let sit for 30 seconds. Remove and place on your oiled baking sheet.
5. Optional: Brush the pretzels with butter or an egg wash. I used olive oil since its good for you.
6. Season your pretzels with coarse salt. I didn't have any, so I used fine salt. No biggie.
7. Bake until dark golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.
8. Cool them if you like, but personally I couldn't wait. Haha. Dip them in mustard.

For variation you can add cinnamon and sugar to them or fold in raisins into the dough.  I might try the latter :)

Nom!

Gloucester Cathedral, Magic, and Harry Potter

Between old brick buildings and colorful bunting is this charming walkway, located in Gloucester, England.  To give you a sense of history, Gloucester was founded in AD 97 by the Romans. Wow!  I am impressed by old things btw. Strangely, I haven't shown these photos from my trip to England from earlier this year.  Maybe it was because there were so many??  Hehe.  

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In January we visited Wales and on the way home decided to stay the night in Gloucester(just for a change of scenery).  In the morning we headed for the cathedral.  Along the way we made note of many nice cafes.  I think Greg likes the look of this one.  I do too :)