Thursday, August 27, 2009

The winner!

I thought the best entity to decide the winner of the Method contest would be one of the most calm, loving, and ultimately driven beings I know:

Okay, maybe she's not so calm.

And as for the method of selecting the winner?

Step 1: Number cards.

Step 2: Place treats on cards.

Step 3: Insert cat.

The winner is.... #2! TZel, Congratulations!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

GIVEAWAY: Method products - for a clean and happy kitchen

Last week, method sent me a lovely package. I'm a huge fan of method cleaning products for a number of reasons:

-the products smell good
-the products work (very important)
-they don't irritate sensitive skin
-contains mostly natural ingredients.

I went through the apartment and scrounged around to see what I had on stock of method. Here's what I found:

Window spray (also great for cleaning glasses!)
omop - reusable floor pads
soy candles, which last much longer than regular (unfortunately most of them are at Big Lots since they are being clearanced).
All-purpose cleaner (a must in my kitchen!)
Hand soap & hand soap refill--it's that good.

Those are my must-halves. I really enjoy the line of products and was more than excited to receive a package of four of these:

with samples of their wood spray, hand wash, dishwashing soap and all purpose cleaner, in a neat little box with a coupon to boot! Love!

It's only natural to give away one of these boxes to one of my readers, so if you'd like to win please respond by next Wednesday (August 26) by posting in the comments your favorite thing to bake!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bread in Minutes

One of our wedding presents was a book from our Amazon registry, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Considering that Austin has had a record number of days - both consecutively and total - above 100 degrees, making bread isn't one of those things that I planned on doing immediately. However, that and an extra KitchenAid Mixing Bowl and the prospect of fresh bread every day with minimal effort means the kitchen has been hot and the bread very fresh the past few weeks.

While our new kitchen is bigger, it's still an apartment kitchen. This means the oven runs very hot, the appliances break with some regularity (this week: the garbage disposal), and I don't really have room to store things like a baking stone
or a full pizza peell

So I improvise: Since Mr. O and I are just a couple, I make smaller loaves and raise them on this bread board.. And instead of a baking stone, I use another one of our wonderful presents: a giant Le Creuset cast iron skillet. It crisps the bottom of the bread very well and serves the same basic purpose of aerating the loaf. Just remember to preheat it like a baking stone and you're golden (no pun intended.)

However, for this post I made the sandwich bread (which is done in loaf form). It took about three hours to rise because it's humid as all get-out and also I added some whole wheat flour to the basic dough recipe. It's all over the internet right now, but I would definitely recommend high-tailing it to your local library or bookstore and snagging a copy.

I learned with the help of this book that slashing a loaf doesn't require a razor (reference: my horrid Daring Bakers trial) but instead it is possible to sub a wet serrated knife. It's like buttah.

Finally, the book recommends storing the cut-side of most of the breads on the cutting surface for primo storage. Has anyone tried this? It looks a bit silly with a loaf.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Review: House Pizzeria

I'm starting this post with an admission: This review is going to be biased. very biased.

Mr. O and I celebrated a very special day here. We are lucky enough to have friends that are more than cool with us having our wedding (!) shower at one of the best and newest pizza/pubs in Austin, House Pizzeria.

cupcakes: peanut butter, chocolate and vanilla (not provided by House Pizzeria)

On to the food:

Meatballs! (mmm.)

Rosemary, goat cheese and potato pizza (my favorite!)

Eggplant tapenade (awesome)

Seriously, this place kicks ass. And I'm not just saying that because I love everyone there. The pizza is excellent and the beer is plentiful.

I probably shouldn't have used "kicks ass" and "wedding shower" in the same post, but it's that good.

Go visit if you haven't!