Friday Five

For those of you wondering, I have still NOT had a pumpkin spice latte. Atlanta is making it easier for me by having highs near 90 everyday. No one wants a PSL when they are sweating.

1) Thursday I undertook the most ambitious project of my cooking lifetime — making homemade challah from scratch. Challah is a traditional Jewish bread eaten during the holidays (or whenever you want some delicious, carby goodness). Eric is half Jewish and Thursday was Rosh Hashanah so I was like, hey, why not? Now challah isn’t as labor intensive as it is time intensive. I chose to make this Apple-Honey Challah which required few ingredients and not too many steps — just a whole lot of wait time while the dough rose. I did not realize how much time it would take when I started the dough at 5 pm, but waiting until 10 pm to dig in was worth it when we dug in to a beautiful, delicious, sweet challah.

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Even I was impressed with how it came out. I followed the recipe quite strictly, as I am prone to do while baking. The only time I deviated was adding a bit more flour during the first kneading to achieve a more bread dough consistency. But it turned out perfectly. I am hoping the rest of the loaf survives until Saturday when I can make some killer french toast.

2) I want to give a big, BIG shout out to Martha Stewart this week. She is responsible for the above challah recipe as well as the one for the Red Wine Braised Brisket I made for dinner (I’m going to go more in depth about that brisket in a post next week so be on the lookout). That lady knows her stuff — as if there is any doubt. I have a few of her cookbooks in my collection which I now want to dive in to more. Her cookbooks and website will definitely be the first places I look the next time I need a great recipe.

3) I’ve been obsessed with granola lately, specifically Cascadian Farms French Vanilla Almond granola. It is the perfect breakfast or snack with a handful of blueberries thrown in and a splash of almond milk. I’ve had it every morning for two weeks.

4) We got a really nice set of Cuisinart pots and pans as a wedding present. They are great. But I have recently been feeling the need to get a mini sauce pan.

mini

You might not think of such a small pan as a necessity, but when I was making the challah, I wish I had something this size to melt down the butter that I brushed on the outside of the dough before baking. It would also come in handy when making simple syrup or a balsamic reduction.

5) I am a big fan of portable snacks. I mostly work from home, but sometimes I have to rush out to a meeting and like to bring a few snacks in case the meeting runs long. My new obsessed are the Quaker Snack’ems Oatmeal Squares in Brown Sugar. They are additive and delicious. I randomly tossed them in my cart while at Target last weekend and have already gone back to get more. Now of course you can buy a full box of the cereal and divide it up yourself, but when I aim in a hurry, I can just toss a pack in to my purse and don’t have to worry about it. Also there is built in portion control. If I had a box with me, I would mindlessly eat the whole thing. And probably wouldn’t be ashamed.

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