Archive | March, 2012

Currently Consuming, or The Great and Powerful Beauty of a Bowl of Cereal

31 Mar

I should really eat the whole box, just to get the sugar and carbs back, but I’m sticking to the one bowl.

It’s awesome how a bowl of cereal can make you think things aren’t as bad as they really are.  Because–sorry, should I clarify that?  Physically, things are bad.  I had a wonderful day, which is partly why I’m laying here and vowing never to get up again.

And cereal makes me think, “Oh this isn’t so bad”.  But it is.

I did critical mass today, which is when bicyclists mob the streets on the last Friday of the month.  This is a worldwide thing.  Look it up.  It’s really cool.

I went to, obviously, the Chicago one, meeting in the plaza with that weird Picasso statue.  Pictures of that will come later…

Suffice it to say, we biked to and around the Loop before heading southwest to Chinatown and around there.  We broke off when the mass returned to the Loop, because my friends were tired and I had to leave for swing dancing.

Yes.

I went swing dancing right after this.  No pause.  Haley and I got lost in an unbelievably shady neighborhood, in the dark, and that was just so much fun.  Gotta do that again sometime.

We were trying to get to the University of Chicago for their monthly java jive.  It took a while, but we got there, and then we danced for about three hours, taking breaks to explore the Ida Noyes Hall and climb on the roof.  There was a door opened onto the roof/balcony, and then a tiled roof above that one, so we climbed them both and sat on top admiring the campus.

It’s very important, you see, to break rules and create mischief whenever visiting a new place.  Or an old place.  Or staying in one place.

So after all that, we can’t walk, I have bruises and a swollen ankle from smacking it into my bike pedal, and we’re exhausted because it’s 2 am.  I know that tomorrow will hurt.  I know that I’ll leave the dorm, get on my skateboard, and regret getting out of bed in the first place.  I know I won’t want to go to a concert tomorrow, or dinner with our wonderful, favorite librarian.  But my colorful little bowl of cereal makes me think, “Oh come on, it’s not so bad.  How can it be bad when there are Fruity Pebbles involved?”

Answer: It can’t.  It was a great day, bruises and frozen toes included.  And cereal just makes it better.

How wishy-washy “inspirational” was this post, scale of 1 to “Oh my God, don’t touch a keyboard ever again”?

Maybe you should have some cereal.  Maybe that’ll change your mind.

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Lemon Bar Pies

30 Mar

Over spring break, everyone understood that of course baking had to happen.  I knew I wanted to make pie, and was pretty set on peanut butter chocolate ice box pie when I started thinking about fruit.  There’s a recipe for a lemon ice box pie that I have, which looks amazing, but I don’t like lemon curd that much…  Lemon bars, though?  Definitely.  So my friends and I thought, what if we took the lemon bars and turned them into mini pies with fresh whipped cream on top?  And so.

Lemon Bar Pies

Adapted from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 4 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • Mini pie tins (with or without crust; you can pop the crust out, which we did, or just use it, in which case you can disregard this part of the recipe.  Really, though, making the crust is so easy)

Filling:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 6 tsp lemon zest

First, zesting the lemons.  With knives, since we had no cheese grater.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Or, you know, go ahead and do this whenever.  I usually don’t remember until I’m about to put something in the oven, and no harm has come to my baked goods.  Anyway.

In an electric mixer on low speed, combine all the ingredients until crumbly.  I actually ended up with legitimate dough, mysteriously…

Yeah, it looks like crumbs here, but do not be fooled.  It was just lumpy dough.  I added more flour and it became even more like dough.  How does that even happen.  I ask you.

In any case, you could actually use pre-made crust, but this is better, flavor-wise, since the dough has zest in it.  Gingerbread crust, which is the kind that came with our pie tins, might taste a little funny, but your crust is your business.

Squish the dough into the tins like so.  Be very careful you don’t put in a lot of dough, because it will puff up a little bit and make it hard to pour the filling on top.  My advice: just fill the bottom with crust.  Don’t even bother with the sides.  As I did in the picture.  Do as I say, etc.

Put those in the oven for about… ten minutes.  Keep an eye on them.  When they turn lightly golden, take them out.

For the filling:

Beat the sugar, eggs, lemon juice, and zest at medium speed until well combined.

I have a thing for lemons.  I don’t know.  I think it’s actually a citrus thing in general.  Something about citrus…

When the crust is still slightly warm, pour this stuff on top.

It should look something like this.  Just cover the crust with the filling.  It’s pretty much done rising at this point, so if you go a little overboard on the lemon filling, don’t worry about it.

Also?

This is very important.

The Four Seasons, right.  I’m not talking Vivaldi, because that guy?  Not as interesting as everyone seems to think.  I’m talking Frankie Valli.  Those guys are the shit.  Oh my God.  I will never get sick of December, 1963.  Never.  I will especially never get sick of Bob singing in the beginning.  That really makes the song for me.  Ever since I saw Jersey Boys I’ve had this strange adoration of this group. “Why’d it take so long to see the light?”  He literally just sang that.  That’s how I’m feeling.  Late to the party? Yeah.  But rocking the fuck out of it nonetheless?  Oh yes.

See, that was really important.

Put the pies back in the oven for another ~10 minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool for a while.  Say, until cool.

In the meantime, take two cups of heavy cream and one and a half tbsps of sugar and whip them together until they look like something you might want to put on things and eat.  So like whipped cream.  Which is what this makes.  Ours was a little lumpy.  We generated some theories but found no conclusive evidence for why this was the case.  It tasted fantastic though.

We also made cookies because we are depraved hedonists.

Instructions for eating (in case you’re confused):

With a fork, and often.

Photoset Challenge – Day 7

29 Mar

Day 7, 23/3/12

It rained like mad today.  I was working at the Boring Store in Wicker Park, having biked there in terribly attractive shorts, T-shirt, and tall argyle socks, and Dayna met me down there to go to the library.  It had actually stopped raining on our way there, but as soon as we walked out, it poured down torrentially.  We were literally biking through small rivers, getting splashed by arcing waves as cars drove past us.  Some people looked out at us through their window, surprised and pitying, and we just grinned and sped down the street.

We are such attractive people.

Stacks.

After the rain, looking out of our window.

And then we made pies.  Which means a recipe post is coming tonight.

Photoset Challenge – Day 6

28 Mar

Day 6, 22/3/12

An exploratory day today…

Paulina yarnbombed the red line on the way to the Loop.

Haley and Paulina waiting for the Green line.  In awesome lighting.  Because sometimes life is cinematic.

My favorite picture of the past few weeks.  Haley yarnbombing the Green line, with Paulina’s assistance.  <3

Our destination, where we went to a record store and had ice cream.  Also, apparently where Hemingway was born.  Our bro!

Arabic coffee at Old Jerusalem in Old Town with Dayna.  I guess this was the same day… What a long day it must have been, because right before this, I had been at the downtown library, which is where I ran into Dayna in the first place…

Real hummus!  We tend to subsist on Sabra hummus cups, so having real hummus was exciting!

Dayna’s mysterious dessert…

And my baklava.  Delicious.

This one is an odd one, because the lighting is so intensely rad, and do you know why?  Dayna put her handkerchief on Haley’s desk lamp, since it was too bright.  Yes. This is also why we’re getting Christmas lights for our dorm.  No one likes harsh lighting.  Especially photographers….

(Unless you’re trying to go for that, which I did in Austria, but that is Not the Point.)

Photoset Challenge – Day 5

28 Mar

This actually wasn’t a very interesting day.  I got a new record, but then I just worked, researching books for a rare book company.

The new Lost in the Trees record, which I am listening to right this very moment.

I spent a lot of the day with this old thing, actually.  Which automatically makes it a great day.  And guess what?  I’ve just remembered that I haven’t practiced in two days.

Not.

Good.

:(

Coming back from Ragstock with Haley, Paulina, and Paulina’s rad friend Clee.  Me and Haley wore All the Hats at the same time, and All the Leis at the same time, and then we tried on many sunglasses and strange things that No One Should Ever Buy.

But it was good.  Oh yes.

Paulina found a home in a plarn bag Haley’s mom made.

Also new earrings, evidently.

There’s nothing wrong with having a quiet day sometimes…  Well, it was quiet until we were the Worst Customers Ever at Thai Bowl, for various reasons, none of which need to be elaborated upon.  Let’s just… let that go, shall we?

Photoset Challenge – Day 4

28 Mar

To Madison!  My friends and I took the bus up to Wisconsin for a concert over spring break.  We saw the circus swing band Caravan of Thieves, had ice cream, and ran around looking for the concert venue for a good twenty minutes of languid confusion.  Also, burgers happened, at Paulina’s behest.  Good choice.  Very good choice.  My roommate, Haley, and I were just talking about how weird it was to go to a real restaurant.  Like, with laminated menus and no take-out.

Paulina knitting on the bus up there.  She always has the best color schemes.  Which reminds me, the knitting club at school is meeting tomorrow.  That should be fun, since we had to suspend meeting on account of finals.

Admiring the Capitol.  Most of us are architecture dorks at heart.

Paulina actually took this one.  I don’t have a lot of pictures of me, so here we go.  This is me Yelping in a beautiful dress my mom sent.  I got it the day we left, actually, and immediately changed into it.  Super classy.

Bacon bleu cheeseburger from the Tipsy Cow.  Are you jealous?  You should be.  You should be so jealous right now.  I’m jealous.  Of Past Kate.

There was a lot of running across streets…  We wanted the best pictures, you see, which you always have to take from the middle of the road.  Obviously.

And finally, the band we saw.  Obviously I am still working out the whole concert photography thing.  This is the only picture of the concert that I kept.

Overall?  An awesome day.  We’re already planning our next Megabus adventures to Britain.

 

Photoset Challenge – Day 3.3

28 Mar

I actually have a lot of these multiple photoset days, so I’ll probably cut them down to the best of the best of.  That’s what Tumblr is for–excess.  However, I’m extremely pleased with the evening and night of Day 3, so you get to see most of these.  Possibly all of the next day, too–that’s the day I went to Wisconsin with my friends.

Day 3.3 – 19/3/12

Particularly pleased with this one.  I went out at night because I was bored and ended up working on my night photography, which is a weak area.  Also, I just really like photographing lights.  Lights and food.

This is the picture I’m currently using for my wallpaper.

Whoever decorated their house in Christmas lights all the way into March: I love you.  They’re beautiful.

This was the night I walked to Boystown, up Halstead and down Broadway to Clarke.  I was listening to the new Lost in the Trees album and the new Andrew Bird album, which when you’re alone and walking around with, are intensely moving and not a little eerie.