Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar Recap

I watched the Oscars last night. I’ll jump on the band wagon that’s saying host Ann Hathaway was blatantly over acting while her co-host James Franco looked stoned and clueless. But I enjoyed it nonetheless. I’m in it for the fancy dresses anyway.

I have one pet peeve I’d like to point out. Every single horrendous red carpet interviewer could not stop blabbing about Jennifer Hudson’s recent overhaul. There’s nothing more offensive to a “fat” girl turned slim than telling her she looks great NOW. She wasn’t a talented and beautiful artist BEFORE?

I won’t stay on my soapbox for long, but I would love it if people would change their tune on this one. Overweight individuals are almost always overweight for a specific reason: depression, health problems, etc. Everyone assumes they just overeat because they like cheeseburgers.

Although telling someone they look great is surely a nice compliment, no one ever thinks to encourage people to beat what made them overeat in the first place. So Jennifer, I may not be Ryan Seacrest, but congrats on being happy, and healthy, and caring about who you are.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Swirly Twirly Gumdrops…I mean Raisin Bread

I was home sick this weekend and after a few days of being trapped in the house I was bound to get a little creative with my entertainment. Most people would pop in a movie, read a book, or play a video game. But not this girl! I made cinnamon raisin bread from scratch; once an overachiever, always an overachiever.

The Food Network magazine has a photo tutorial section in each issue teaching you to make something a little more complicated. This month was ELLIE KRIEGER’S CINNAMON-RAISIN BREAD. The good news is that the bread is made with whole wheat flour and sweetened mostly with honey. It’s about 100 calories a slice. The better news is that it made the most perfect French toast breakfast the next morning.

Take one of this bread was an epic failure. The recipe calls for “instant” yeast. I couldn’t find instant yeast at the supermarket so I swapped it out for active dry yeast. Yeast is yeast, right? Wrong. It didn’t rise. I put the bowl of dough on top of the oven hoping that the warmth would help it along. I forgot about it and turned on a burner to make lunch and the bread cooked right in the bowl. Oops!

Apparently instant yeast can be added right to the dry ingredients and doesn’t need any special treatment to activate it. If you use active dry yeast, follow the directions on the packet to activate it before adding it to your dough. I dissolved mine in warm water with a teaspoon of sugar until it frothed up.

Take two was a complete success. The outside of the loaf was perfectly browned and crusty, while the inside was soft and squishy with a hint of sweetness from the cinnamon raisin swirl. It was a real treat.

Bread dough is fun. It reminds me of the colored play dough kids tried to eat in Kindergarten. Throwing flour all over the counter and making a mess feels like play time. Play with your food. Have fun with this one. As you can see by my Minnie Mouse coffee mug, I encourage fun to creep up just about anywhere.

* Get cooking. Let me know what you think. Love it? Hate it? I’m interested in hearing your feedback and suggestions.

Baking on Foodista