Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stylish Blogger Awards!

I am quite new to the blogging world, and I'm so honored that the ever so sweet Molly would think of me for this award. :) Her blog is so sweet and full of inspiration. As required, I will happily provide seven facts about myself:

1. I have four brothers. Not one sister. To say the least, this provided me with a very interesting childhood. I grew up wanting to be "one of the boys"...and for it, I was always thoroughly reminded that I was actually different. Which was a little bit confusing then. Somehow, though, I always loved dresses and playing with Barbie.

2. I love a good piƱata smashing. I ordered two for my wedding, a bride and groom, before I realized that it might be a little inappropriate to actually destroy them. I kinda forgot that. The bride and groom were not harmed...but I couldn't say the same for the poor burro... 

 3. I have Mexican/German/Swedish/Dutch ancestry. I wish that I knew more.

4. Ernest Hemingway is one my favorite authors. The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms and The Old Man and the Sea are some of my favorite novels. His memoirs, A Movable Feast, made me love him even more. (Not to mention, an acute desire to drink wine in France and watch the bulls run in Spain).

5. I often dream of opportunities to travel. Last fall, I flew across the Atlantic for the first time to visit friends that live in Germany. We saw many castles. 

6. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I started college to study art and ended up with a license to do hair. My heart has always been somewhere in the arts, but I don't know that I'll ever find rest in one field.

7. I crave cheese all day. I don't know that it is particularly healthy, but I could eat an entire block of cheddar cheese if you gave it to me. 

I would like to award this Stylish Blogger Award to the following amazing and inspiring bloggers who follow my blog. Thanks for following me and my creative attempts! What are seven facts about yourself? 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Audrey and Paris When it Sizzles

 Audrey Hepburn's classy style is one my favorite. Always sweet, feminine, and effortlessly chic, her style is something that I  am constantly pulling inspiration from. Although Paris When It Sizzles is not my particular favorite (as far as Audrey movies go), but there is one yummy sherbet-hued sheath that I have been thinking about recreating. It has a simple "wiggle" shape, with a tie waist belt and a super sweet neckline. I wish that I had a picture to show it- the front collar transitions into a softly draped cowl in the back.

I've never sewn anything with a drape, so I'm a little bit intimidated. I found this pattern on Etsy that is interesting because it is basically the reverse of Audrey's dress, minus the buttons.

I'm not entirely sold on the color for me, but I am looking at a color closer to coral/pink. Any advice and/or suggestions for drafting this pattern are welcome!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ode to The Chocolate Chip Cookie

I love love love chocolate chip cookies. There is something so comforting about a deliciously gooey chocolate chip cookie. Completely satisfying. Up until a couple of weeks ago, my most reliable source for a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies came directly from the back of a bag chocolate chips. The recipe is pretty standard- cream the sugars and butter, add your eggs and vanilla, then combine with the dry ingredients and drop in the chocolate.  This was my method- I had no idea that this infamous comfort cookie could be made any other way. The chocolate chip cookie, in fact, turns out to be a little more than I thought. 

In 2008, The New York Times published an article entitled "Perfection? Hint: It's Warm and Has a Secret." I don't know why I never heard this before, but you should always chill your dough in the refrigerator before baking. The difference? According to opinion in the article, chilling the dough allows "the dough and other ingredients to fully soak up the liquid...in order to get a drier and firmer dough, which bakes to a better consistency." I had never heard this. It most definitely did not mention this on the bag that I had so faithfully taken to. Apparently the Queen of Cookies, Ruth Wakefield, wrote in her cookbook “At Toll House, we chill this dough overnight,"  but Nestle somehow left this portion off the back of their chocolate baking bars since 1939. Shame! 

In my opinion, Alton Brown's Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe is, hands down, the best recipe around.  In summation, his recipe differs by the melting the butter, using bread flour,  and an egg and egg yolk. A bit of crunch around the edges and soft in the middle. The true test? They are still delicious after they've cooled. Trust me. I recognized this this cookie with a three-part hand-stitched tribute. It's serious. 

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
Pour the melted butter in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.