Four for Friday!

Since I girl powered up and used my medal worthy mechanic skills to fix my kitchen aid mixer, I now can’t imagine life without two.* I’m particularly excited to see how it helps my Thanksgiving breakfast baking.

*This is the same emotion I think I’ll feel upon the day I finally own a dish washer. Until then, blissful ignorance is fine by me.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I’m really, really craving fall right now. We’ve been enjoying evening thunderstorms in Jersey and the best part is, once the rain dies down, the air becomes crisp and cool and suddenly feels of fall.

But since it’s still summer, I’m trying to exhibit some self-control and not rush ahead. Even though my heart wants to start baking pumpkin muffins and apple pie while sipping on a Chestnut Praline latte*, I’m yielding to summer.

*Not to mention this is a seasonal Starbucks drink and I couldn’t get it right now even if I wanted to be rebel.

This summer is a continuous whirlwind of busyness, but here’s four things I recently discovered that have made my summer pretty sweet.

1. Podcasts

Listening to books on tape has been enriching. It’s kept my mind busy, given me more than music to listen to, and filled me in on a lot of details I missed when I read some books the first time around. However, there have been a few which caused me to almost fall asleep standing up*. I’ve started balancing my books with the occasional podcast. I’ve tried a handful out and so far, my favorite is Hardcore History.***

*I’m looking at you, Gregory Maguire.**

**Yes, I know, I know, you’re thinking, ”Really? But what about Wicked?!” Yes, there were parts of Wicked which were wonderful, but there were also parts which drrrraaaaggggggeeddddd on.

***Not the kind of podcast you’d have pegged me for, right? Yeah, me either.

2. Banana Splits

I decided to get a little creative with this classic summer ice cream shoppe treat, but I have to admit something to you, and I don’t think you’re ready for it…

I’ve never had a banana split before.

This is ground breaking news, I know.

I’m not a big banana person, but I’m trying so hard to be one because they’re so versatile and pretty good for you, too.


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3. Step-By-Step Guides

I love when I’m able to make things for myself instead of buy them.* While I was perusing the Food Network website, not actually looking for recipes, but more so inspiration, I found theses DIY’s for buttermilk and sour cream.

*See ‘An Argument for Vanilla’ and ‘Make it Monday! Cake Flour’.

My initial reaction was, Come on, guys. The old buttermilk hack? Is that really article worthy? Because I was thinking of the simple, at home, substitution for in-a-pinch buttermilk: 1 cup milk + 1 T lemon juice (some use vinegar) mixed together and let to sit for 5 minutes.

But no. As I looked closer at the steps, I realized this was a legit guide to making your own buttermilk. The only slightly annoying thing is that you actually have to start with cultured buttermilk in order to make more. But if you’re someone who uses buttermilk constantly in the kitchen*, it might be beneficial.

*Or likes to drink it? Where are my southerners? Because I know no one born and raised Jersey is reveling in the taste of straight buttermilk.

Once you’ve made buttermilk, you can use it to make the sour cream! I am continually buying sour cream from the grocery store, so this is an ingredient it might not hurt for me to learn to make.

4. DRY

So, I didn’t just discover this stuff, but it’s so good and I’ve been drinking it so much lately, I felt like I needed to share it!

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I first discovered it at & Grain and have loved it ever since. Locally, I purchase it from Target, but CVS also sells it*. It puts me in mind of seltzer water, even though it is labelled a ‘lightly-sweet, culinary inspired soda’. Though the sweetness is subtle, the flavor is boldly present. You get the experience of soda without the guilt of all the bad stuff we all know is there.

*And, I swear, I get no kickback in telling you how much I love it. When I love something this much, I can’t resist shouting about it from the rooftops.

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