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Happy Fourth of July!!!

Guess what? This is a music themed post! ok before we begin, you have to press play on the below video. Ready! Go! Introducing…. drumroll…. the Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa!

Now that you’re in the mood…..

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This year me and the fam’ went to the Dallas Arboretum for the Fourth of July concert!

It started with a grand debate on salads- which salads to bring!! By the end of it I was thinking there was going to be some sort of dessert salad involved. Cooking the night before and a trip to Central Market and we had not 1 not 3 but probably 8 salads, ready, no you’re not, ready now! yes! Chicken Salad, Three Bean Salad, Pasta Salad, Broccoli Salad, Potato Salad, Fruit Salad… ok maybe there was just 6, but still 6! It was a salad party! Unfortunately the tomato, peach, almond salad from the previous night didn’t make it.

Once we made it past the long line to get our tickets scanned, everyone dashed for the concert stand. And when I say dashed, I mean raced! Everyone had one goal in mind: Shade. I really think they should have put the Rocky theme music on the path speakers. It would have made things even more entertaining. With the race over, the math calculations began…. where would the sun be in t-minus 30 minutes? Would the shade extend this far? Is the hill incline too great?

We picked the perfect spot. Picnic basket out, shoes off, and a satisfying pop of a cork and we were off…the salads awaited!

iPhone Pics 7-4-14 328 And the people watching began! After pointing out several cool wine glass holder contraptions that would have made my second glass of Rose much easier to hold, I spied the most incredible, patriotic, picnic set up…

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Vintage cooler, patriotic wine glass charms, the most beautiful red white and blue quilt, center piece, and stacked plates just waiting for multiple courses! It was amazing! And they do this every year!

Next up, this awesome hat, super sweet vintage glasses, and a stars and stripes forever scarf!

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Third glass of Rose and the program started with a best dressed president competition. Jackie O’ and JFK took the win! Then the National Anthem, lots of cheering and a mix of Americana tunes: Liberty Bell March, America the Beautiful, Sweet Child of Mine, the Hawaii Five O theme song, each military branch’s song, and then ending with, but of course- the Stars and Stripes Forever!

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While the music was playing, I made my way over to the food truck serving shaved ice gave up after 25 minutes of waiting and decided finishing the bottle of Rose would be much more fun, especially after seeing the size of the small!

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Behind the stage is White Rock Lake where several sailboats were floating about listening to the music. The sunset was spectacular. So beautiful!

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On the drive home, everyone’s eyes were peeled for fireworks. Something you learn at a young age is that around the Fourth of July, you always look out the car window and scan the horizon for fireworks when driving at night. You’ll easily spot 3-4 celebrations happening at the same time in all the suburbs around Dallas. We saw two! and there’s more fireworks tonight!

fireworks

Happy Fourth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve had this song on repeat for the past hour. hahaha! I can whistle the piccolo part, perfectly.

04. July 2014 by Molly
Categories: fourth of july | Leave a comment

Baking Tips: Bread Flour

The Baking Tip series is off and running with a tip from our Bread Expert Ian Chin! I’m no where near a bread maker- never claimed to be, I maybe will be in the future, but I always go to Ian with my bread questions.  His bread making is incredibly, incredibly impressive. He knows the weight of ingredients in his head! I’ve told Ian many a time that he should just move down to Texas and become my resident bread maker. He would say- This is your life! and then giggle. Check out his vlog series called the Baking Chin.

Today’s Bread tip@!

Most of the time All-Purpose will do! Ian actually never uses bread flour when making bread! The extra protein in the flour will actually make for a tougher loaf. To get very specific, he says that 11% protein is plenty. You could use it for a weaker dough like brioche or ciabatta, but even then it’s unnecessary because our flours in the US are actually already pretty strong. The equivalent to All Purpose in France, for my French buddies, is Type 55.

So, don’t let flour hold you back from making bread!

Bread Flour

 

Extra flour tip! When using different flours such as rye or buckwheat you will most of the time add a wheat flour as well to add strength because these flours do not have gluten. If you make a buckwheat loaf, the percentage of wheat flour has to be 80-90%. Rye can be 50/50 rye/wheat.

 

Ka-Bam! Have a bread question for the bread expert? I know I always have about 20! Post it below in the comments!

 

 

30. June 2014 by Molly
Categories: baking tips | 4 comments

Memories of Paris~Running Route

Since coming home from Paris 3 months ago I find that memories will pop into my head randomly about different things that happened over the past year. Maybe it’s my way of holding on to that incredible year or a way to make sure the memories stay alive, but it could be anything from trying a Fisherman’s mint, to the jars of mustard at GDetou, or the big beautiful flowers outside of DisneyWorld that I immediately emailed a picture of to my mom wondering what they were.

Today as I was running under a brilliant pink Texas sky following the kicker of all thunderstorms (man do I love a good Texas storm!), I remembered one of my running paths in Paris. It would start by the Madeline church, my favorite church in Paris, dark with age on the  inside and columns that went on for ages.

Madeline Columns

Then down cobblestone roads to a side street lined with some of the most expensive stores in Paris. One in particular had mirrors above their primly dressed horizontal mannequins, where I’d stop to catch a peek to see if they’d changed.

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Then past those large metal barrier posts and guards that would lower them for only the most special of people to enter the American Embassy. There sometimes I’d wave at the guards, or maybe a nod in acknowledgement (hopefully they didn’t think I was plotting something). ;-) But sometimes I would turn off my music and listen as they quickly reprimanded any tourists that took pictures. tehehe

I would jog to Place de la Concorde, standing in the shadow of the obelisk with the Tuilleries on my left, Arc de Triomphe down a long long avenue a droite, and behind me in the distance, La Madeline a top a flight of stairs covered with flowers.

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In the Tuilleries, I’d take to the sides, running lap after lap with other runners. Gravel under foot. Watching little boys and girls push sailboats in large round fountains, gardeners trim rose bushes, and even the odd Tai Chi class. A longing glance at the Amorino ice cream stand and with the song Bleeding Out by Imagine Dragons on my iPhone, I turn back ready to brave the 6 flights of topsey turvey stairs to my apartment where I’d stand in front of one of the windows catching as much of a breeze as I could before hoping in the shower.

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25. June 2014 by Molly
Categories: paris, random wanderings in paris | Leave a comment

Baking Tips: Fixing Over Whipped Cream

ah whipped cream! So easy to do and a fantastic accompaniment to so many desserts.

Here’s our next baking tip!

Fix over whipped cream by adding a little un-whipped cream! But not if it’s to the almost churned into butter stage. First here’s how to make whipped cream- throw some heavy whipping cream in a mixer with the whisk attachment and whip away at med-high speed! Depending on your quantity it could take between 3-5 minutes.  To impress your friends even more and add a fancy name, add powdered sugar and a drizzle of vanilla at the end and pow- Chantilly. You can do this by hand as well! What does overwhipped look like? The texture will no longer be smooth peaks.

Here’s a great comparison picture from a blog done by Cardamom Kitchen over at the Whole Foods Blog.

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The picture above is at the very first stage of over whipping. As it progresses larger clumps will form.

Now! How to fix this, add a little more cream to the bowl, stir or whip in (watching carefully) and voila you’re saved!

Bonus Tip: Using whipped cream in several things? Measure out the total quantity that you’ll need, whip all of it at once and then keep it in the fridge until you need it. Give it a quick whip with a whisk (about 5-6 times around the bowl will work) right before you measure the amount you need. I wouldn’t hang on to it in the fridge more than a day though or it will lose it’s volume completely.

Bonus Bonus Tip: The max amount that you can whip in a normal sized mixer is one liter.

Bonus Bonus Bonus Tip: When whipping a large amount of cream, use plastic wrap to create a shield to protect your kitchen from flying cream! Start at the back of the mixer then around the open space and back to connect.

And there you have it! A four in one!

Have a cool baking tip you want to share? Let me know and I’ll feature your tip in an upcoming post!

23. June 2014 by Molly
Categories: baking tips, whipped cream | Leave a comment

Baking Tips: No Forgotten Body Parts

I’ve started writing down general tips and tricks while I’ve been baking. I’ll be sharing a couple here every once and awhile! I was also thinking about interviewing some baking friends about their best tips- let me know if you would be interested!

Here’s the first tip- It might sound a little silly and a little obvious, but I needed a reminder of it.

Don’t forget that you have two hands. Now this is more of a speed factor tip than anything. But I can’t tell you how many times I would lean on the counter top, hanging out, maybe whistling a tune while I transferred one cupcake at a time from muffin tin to drying rack. I might have done this exact same thing at my stage (minus the casual leaning/tune whistling) and was very quickly reminded that two hands, meant half the time/half the work. Dépêchez-vous!

Raspberry Cupcakes on Tray

Bonus Tip: To help muffins/cupcakes cool, angle them sideways in the muffin tin when they come out of the oven. This would probably help with condensation developing- no soggy bottoms here! or ever!

 

16. June 2014 by Molly
Categories: baking tips | Leave a comment

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