Category Archives: 101 in 1001

perfect hamburger buns

Recipe and rant from

“Most of us do not consider how many chemicals we take into our bodies. We watch fats, and eat healthy, but when you are buying prepared foods, like bread, you are getting all kinds of things that are unpronounceable. Even if you are not eating organic (and I really encourage you to do so as much as you can) making your own foods will keep many chemicals out of your family’s bodies.”

I like that little rant. But mostly, I like making my own breads at home. It’s easy and cheap. The majority of the time required is hands-off, as you can knead the dough in a mixer or bread maker, and rising time is the perfect time to start on supper / clean the house / pour a drink / take a nap / all of the above. I like eating things that I know weren’t made in a factory, put in oil-based plastic bags, trucked all over in diesel trucks, and stored for a week or two before being put on the grocery store shelf for me to eat.

Anyway. The recipe rocks. Make these, I implore. (They’re better than Sara Lee, that’s for sure.)

Homemade Hot Dog or Hamburger Buns

1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 1/2 cups flour (unbleached, whole wheat, or a mix) –I use half whole wheat pastry flour, half AP/high-gluten mix flour.
1 package instant yeast
1 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg, room temperature

Heat the milk, water, honey and butter until butter is melted. Check temperature. Depending on the temperature, let cool to 120F. Carefully beat in egg.

Mix 2 cups of the flour, yeast, and salt. Mix into the milk mixture. Stir in the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Beat well after each addition.
When the dough pulls together into a soft ball, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. This should take about 5 minutes. (Alternately, you could mix the recipe in your stand mixer with a paddle attachment, and once the flour is in, switch to the dough hook instead of kneading.)

Divide dough into 12 -16 equal pieces. This will depend on the size you want for the finished bun. (I usually get 10-14). Shape into smooth balls, flatten slightly, and place on a silpat or parchment covered baking sheet. Let rise for 20 to 30 minutes. When buns have almost doubled, bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

You can brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, coarse sea salt, or whatever you like. You can add dry onion soup mix for onion rolls. These are very versatile!

For the record, this is my recipe #1 that I have perfected and recorded for my 101 in 1001!

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House & 101 things update #2

#38. Make tiramisu from scratch
I made tiramisu on, of all days, my birthday. This is my absolute favorite dessert in the whole world and N & I devoured it over the weekend. I even used a recipe from my Julia Child cookbook to make the ladyfingers from scratch! :) It was fantastic, and I can’t wait for another excuse to make this. It may become an annual bday tradition.

#60. Buy used furniture for the house
We have yet to buy a single piece of furniture or decor that wasn’t used for our new house. Aside from things like hinges, lightbulbs, cleaners, etc. of course. First ‘big’ purchase was our kitchen table and chairs last week.

#61. Shop at Just Local Foods
I had been there twice previously for bulk grains and beans and a few other items, but this past week I bought pasture-raised locally-grown beef. Beef in the grocery store has been incredibly expensive, and I noticed that the beef-to-fat ratios are becoming more and more lax. After seeing Food, Inc. and King Corn, I’ve decided that we really need to avoid feedlot beef as much as possible. We won’t be buying pasture-raised exclusively, as it is more expensive, but between buying more local and eating less red meat, it is a step in the right direction.

I had to show off take pictures of our kitchen with our new appliances. I’m planning to do “room by room” updates as we get settled.

View of the kitchen from the garage door. Our new stainless steel gas stove! Also love the Ikea pan rack and lid holder on the left.

View from standing in front of the stove. Eventually we want to get a stainless steel fridge with bottom freezer and french doors. *le sigh* So expensive! The doorway leads to N’s office and the bathroom to the left, and to a hallway and the upstairs to the right.

New stainless steel dishwasher next to the sink and the door to the garage and downstairs. I love the extra space in the upper cabinets, although I have to use a step-stool to get up there!

I love our kitchen window. It makes the small space feel brighter and bigger. Our kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in our new house!

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101 in 1,001: New recipes from cookbooks

#34. Make at least 5 recipes from each new cookbook (1/25)

1. Betty Crocker Basics- Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells. (12-30-09)  Made this with 50 beef/50 turkey italian sausage instead of chicken. They were pretty good, but I think chicken would be really good, and using 50/50 cottage and ricotta cheese would be an improvement. Also, less spinach and more tomato sauce.

2. Betty Crocker Basics- Make-Ahead Lasagna (2-19-10)  I did not actually make this ahead of time! We had some leftover ricotta and spinach filling in the freezer, and I used that along with a good amount of cottage cheese for the filling. I also used prepared spaghetti sauce, as I’m avoiding eating canned tomatoes for BHP reasons. Overall, it was very good, and the leftovers are even better!

3. Betty Crocker Basics- Tiramisu

4. Betty Crocker Basics

5. Betty Crocker Basics

6. Baking with Julia Child- Lady fingers (genoise and cookies)

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101 Update #2 and Grandma Olson

Goals completed or progressed:

74. Clean out old cosmetics/products- completed 11-29-09 before moving

81. Read 10 new-to-me books off of the Modern Library Top 100 List (1/10)
            *The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway, completed 12-08-09

89. Visit Jordan in Chicago – completed 12-4 -09 thru 12-6-09

I’ve also got a care package ready to send out to a friend this afternoon (21), and have talked to my grampa on the phone a couple more times (16) since my last update.

Speaking of Grandpa, my Grandma Olson passed away last Thursday around 1:30pm. She had a really good day on Tuesday and visited all afternoon with my aunt Val and Grandpa. She was out of it and quiet on Wednesday, and fell into unconciousness on Thursday morning. I guess she pretty much fell asleep and her heart quit beating. She was 81 years old. She didn’t once complain about any pain from the tumor that pushed out her entire abdomen and was even starting to push out of her back under her rib cage.

The funeral was Tuesday morning, and there was a viewing on Monday night. I went to Chicago through Sunday afternoon, flew to MSP, then drove home for the night. Drove to Brookings on Monday, back to MSP on Tuesday afternoon through snow and rain, and finally landed safely in Dallas around 11:00- the flight was delayed over 2 hours due to snow and ice. YUCK.

Heading home this weekend to move all of the big furniture to the new house. I am excited but nervous. I hope we like it as much as we like our apartment!! Homeownership will hopefully include a lot of perks that outweigh the ‘costs’– lawncare, snow removal, updates and improvements, fixing problems, additional taxes…. ay carumba. Hopefully will be able to post pictures of the bedroom post-paint and decor soon!

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Update #1 on 101 + pictures of the house

I’m making some progress in the land of 101 things to accomplish! I’ve called my grandpa a few times, I bought a grilling plate and pie pan used instead of new, I’ve been gearing up to lose weight (though the traveling is really puttng a damper in things). But two big ones are about to be accomplished:

#13. Host a major holiday for the family
#53. Buy a house

We’re hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow for N’s parents and sister and my parents and brother, in our little apartment. And then on Monday… we close on our new house!!! Now, I’m not going to consider it done until it’s really done, but it is happening, that much is for sure. :)

Here are a few pictures of the place:

It’s a 3 bedroom, 1 bath Cape Cod style, built in 1926. There is a downstairs that is only partially finished, but we hope to finish the laundry/utility room and include a beer-brewing / canning area. The floors are all modern faux-wood laminate or new carpet. There is a built-on garage on the left side of the house that is falling apart; we plan to tear it down and build a bigger garage with the tax credit in the spring.

We are going to have a stainless-steel dishwasher installed next to the sink in December, and we also hope to upgrade to a gas stainless-steel oven and stovetop this winter. The cabinets with eventually be replaced, as these are the originals and are not in the best shape… we’re hoping for frosted-glass fronts and will likely use the existing brushed stainless hardware (very new).

The living room empty, and with their furniture in it. I want to buy a piano in the next year (probably an old, crappy upright!), and we also need a living room furniture set. For now, this room with probably be empty, with the exception of a big Christmas tree in front of the picture window!

 The dining room, as seen from the living room, empty and with their furnishings. Probably going to be set up very similarly to theirs, with a china cabinet on one side of the room and a bookcase on the other.

The one very small bathroom! I personally love the window in the shower. :-p Actually, there is a lot of storage space above the toilet and in cabinets above the bath/shower combo, and we like the colors and style. I’m happy getting ready in the bedroom in front of a vanity, so I don’t think we’ll be too badly off with only one small bathroom. :)

The walls of the basement family room are a mint green, which promptly getting painted over. The room is much larger than it seems from the picture- 12 feet wide by 30 feet long! Behind the photographer is a tiled area, where we would like to [eventually] build a bar. This room with be the home-theater / man cave, with N’s 42-inch HD flat screen on far wall (the tan couch in the picture). We’ll put his crappy plaid sofa and my thrift-store armchairs down there for now. Next to the family room is the utility room and laundry, with ample space for an old stove, fridge, and lots of storage shelves. We’d like to finish the floor and ceiling, add in a bathroom (there’s currently a stub for a toilet and shower), and use the workspace as a canning and beer-brewing room. Talk about living the dream! :)

 I’m not going to even post pictures of the bedrooms because 1) they’re not photogenic, 2) there’s nothing in them, and 3) they’re going to get painted and remodeled, so what’s the point? They currently have fugly wall color and curtains covering the closet doors. Ew.

The lot is quite large, and the backyard includes a wooden patio, fire pit, and large shed. The lot is fenced off, and there’s an additional fenced dog-kennel area. There’s lots of room for my garden, and stone planters in the front of the house for lots of flowers. I can’t wait to get a puppy and start planting this spring!

The finale- the hubs looking at something interesting :)

So, that’s the house! We’re so excited for our own place together: building equity, taking out a large amount of debt, a dozen home-improvement projects to be completed, and packing and moving all of our stuff in the dead of winter.  What else could two newlyweds ask for?!

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101 in 1,001

Yes, I am succumbing to the 101 list of things to complete in 1001 days, and will try to occasionally blog about it.

I arranged the majority of the list into categories, and had great difficulty in pasting it into wordpress without structural problems, so there are no categories- just things. There are a few odd ones at the end that are random but good. Here we go.

Oh, and I don’t like a blog post without a picture, so here is a very close picture of a giraffe.


Or is it a picture of a very close giraffe?

Starting day is today, November 4th, 2009.
Ending day is… ummm… August 1st, 2012.

  1. Do a TTD photo shoot
  2. Carve a pumpkin every fall (1/3)
  3. Renew my passport
  4. Write 5 new “poems” (2/5)
  5. Stay up all night and then make breakfast
  6. Get a new digital camera (01-16-10)
  7. Watch Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire
  8. Get approved to stop taking meds and stop taking them (if possible)
  9. Lotion my legs, feet, and arms every day for a month
  10. Let a frazzled mom go in front of me at a store (it was actually a Dad! 2-21-10)
  11. Get boudoir shots taken
  12. Write a letter to 5 close friends + brother (0/6)
  13. Host a major holiday for the family (completed 11-26-09)
  14. Make and send Valentine’s Day Cookies
  15. Take N to the library and make him check out at least 1 book (completed 11-4-09)
  16. Call or visit my grandpa more (6/20)
  17. Float the river with friends
  18. Treat N to a fishing trip
  19. Watch Casablanca with N
  20. Have 4+ people over for a dinner party
  21. Send 3 care packages to far-away friends (1/3)
  22. Reach 150 lbs and stay there for at least 90 days
  23. Avoid all refined sugar for 1 week (includes alcohol!)
  24. Go 2 weeks straight eating only home-prepared food- Week #1 was June 23-June 30, 2010;
  25. Go canoeing or kayaking
  26. Workout every morning (before work) for a week
  27. Workout every afternoon (after work) for a week
  28. Take a pilates or yoga class
  29. Floss every day for one month
  30. Run 2 miles without stopping
  31. Increase flexibility so that I can do the splits again
  32. Develop a chocolate “splurge” recipe that is clean
  33. Get 5 new cookbooks (2/5)
    Betty Crocker Basics
    *Baking with Julia- with Dorie Greenspan
  34. Make at least 5 recipes from each new cookbook (4/25)– see post on 1/4/10 for details
  35. Try 5 new or previously-avoided foods (5/5): edamame, steamed zucchini, avocado, sprouts, beets – 6/24/10
  36. Make bagels
  37. Make homemade pasta
  38. Make tiramisu from scratch 02-25-10
  39. Make a batch of beer
  40. Plan a meal around a bottle of wine
  41. Perfect 3 recipes and write down detailed instructions (1/3)-  hamburger buns
  42. Plant/grow a garden
  43. Can tomatoes
  44. Can another vegetable and a fruit
  45. Create a compost pile 2010
  46. Buy 5 household items used instead of new (5/5)
  47. Bring my own bags to the grocery store 10 times (1/10)
  48. Gradually remove artificial household cleaners and make/use EF alternatives: dish soap, laundry soap, drain cleaner, bathroom/kitchen cleaner
  49. Deliberately seek out non-GMO food when it’s available (6/20)
  50. Deliberately buy milk that is hormone-free (6/20)
  51. Plant a tree
  52. Pay down N’s student loans by 50% (starting balance: ~$42,000)
  53. Buy a house– (11-30-09)
  54. Go 2 weeks without any “personal” shopping/purchases
  55. Contribute a total of $5000 to my Roth IRA accounts ($835 as of June 2010)
  56. Create a monthly or bi-weekly budget Started Feb. 2010
  57. Stick to above budget
  58. Save for a new laptop or motorcycle
  59. Save for a new digital camera (11-09 to 01-10)
  60. Buy used furniture for the new house
  61. Shop at Just Local Foods 5 times (3/5)
  62. Volunteer at or donate to a food shelter 6/24/2010
  63. Adopt a pet 02-06-10, Sierra
  64. Play in a local organization or musical ensemble (ECCO, March 2010)
  65. Attend a community arts event 6-12-10
  66. Attend an arts event at the university
  67. Attend a protest / rally / event for a cause I feel strongly about
  68. Register to vote in this county
  69. Complete an attempt at Guerilla Gardening
  70. Participate in or volunteer/support a community theater production
  71. Get my wedding dress cleaned (after TTD shoot)
  72. Get through a renovation project without threatening divorce :)
  73. Unpack EVERY box from moving!
  74. Clean out old cosmetics/products (11-29-09)
  75. Reduce clothes in storage to ONE container and donate (11-29-09)
  76. Digitally organize my recipe collection
  77. Learn how to ride a motorcycle
  78. Create a checklist for TTC
  79. Read 5 “self-help” books of any variety (2/5); Twenty-Something ManifestoAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle;
  80. Complete written answers to 50 Questions that will free your mind
  81. Read 10 new-to-me books off of the Modern Library Top 100 List or this list (3/10)
    *The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway (12-8-09)
    * Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck (12-19-09)
    *The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (spring ’10)
    *Anna Karenina by Tolstoy
  82. Take a canning / food preservation class or workshop
  83. Watch 3 documentaries (1/3) Food, Inc.;
  84. Watch 2 foreign films (0/2)
  85. Attend an educational lecture/speaker/debate
  86. Drive in Chicago (or similar major city) without getting hopelessly lost
  87. Save for and plan a honeymoon- Northwoods in September ’10
  88. Eat at Filomena in D.C. with N 02-01-10
  89. Visit Jordan in Chicago (completed 12-06-09)
  90. Treat my mom to an entire day out
  91. Treat Mary and Krista for no reason
  92. Send my mom flowers for no reason 02-03-10
  93. Fit into my washable wool The Limited size 8 suit again
  94. Wear my wedding dress briefly around the house on my wedding anniversary (0/2)
  95. Make some sort of memory book or scrapbook of our wedding
  96. Take pictures of N and I (4/30)
  97. Eat a pomegranate
  98. Dance in the rain
  99. “Make love” by candlelight, with a ridiculous amount of candles (like in movies)
  100. Discover a salad that N will actually eat (this may be impossible)
  101. Paint a room without getting paint on the carpet

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