A College Girl's Guide to a Happy, Healthy Lifestyle!

Tag: adventure

I Semi-Hosted My First Dinner Party, and it was the Most Stressful but Amazing Experience

Today is the first time in my life that I made a dinner for a group of people. This dinner happened to be for our family of eight (out of towners and an extra guest), and I could not have been more overwhelmed.   I […]

FINAL STRETCH! | Shortbread | One Cook, One Book | Little Beach Street Bakery

I can’t believe it. This is the end of the challenge. Already.   Today is the last day that I am cooking for my challenge One Cook, One Book. The last recipe? A staple. Shortbread.   I expected to cook this earlier in the day, […]

Focaccia | One Cook, One Book | Little Beach Street Bakery

“Once you’ve mastered the [basic recipe], the options when it comes to toppings are endless” – Sara, owner of “Don’t Feed After Midnight”, on How to Make Basic Focaccia Bread

 

I have been planning on making this recipe since last Sunday. Literally. Last. Sunday. Every day I put it off because it was cold and bitter, or cloudy, or rainy. All of those cheerless weather conditions meant that I could not spend time outside in my herb garden.

 

“But Annie, what does your herb garden have to do with making focaccia?

 

Well I’m glad you asked, you lovely stranger you! I remember when the bakery I work at used to make focaccia every day. The base, aka the dough, was always really good, but there was one baker in particular that would choose the BEST TOPPINGS! For me, the toppings are what make the focaccia so absolutely delectable. And there was a particular topping in my garden that I have been anxiously waiting to use…

 

Chive Blossoms.

 

 

That’s right. Chive flowers. Apparently those things are edible! I had absolutely no idea about that until just a few weeks ago when my chives started sprouting their lovely blossoms. I panicked, because I was always told to remove the flowering tops off of herbs. Keeping the blossom takes the energy away from the plant itself, and then focusses on the flower head. That’s not ideal for herbs, especially because (in most cases) the herb is not the flower, but the leaves and roots. It was this past school semester that I came to realize how much we waste, and decided to look up if chive blossoms are edible. That way, they would have a purpose in this dish and would not end up with the chickens.

 

Turns out, they are absolutely edible! Chive blossoms have an oniony flower the way the stalks do. They’re very good as garnishes, but I’ve also seen many “chive blossom vinegar” recipes and some “pickled chive flowers” recipes as well. I haven’t personally tried any of those recipes, but I’m very excited to in the future! In this case, we are using these beautiful blossoms as a garnish on the focaccia.

 

Let’s rewind now, and talk about the wonderful process of making the dough.

 

 

I have to say that making dough is one of the best things ever. I love working hard to create this dough, only to come back after letting it sit to see that it’s aged and grown! Is it weird to say dough is like my baby? I watch it grow up and mature……. And then I eat it.

 

Okay. Actually, let’s not say it’s my baby. That’s weird.

 

Though the Goddess only knows that in future blog posts I’ll be calling dough my baby again. Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it.

 

Anyways, one thing that I did after letting the dough sit is press my fingers in it to push the dough down. Why do you do this? Well… I have no idea. Let’s take a moment and research it.

 

(Okay, first thing’s first. I should have cut my nails before dimpling because you can see my nail marks all over the place!)

 

So this process here is called ‘dimpling.’ It’s when you press your fingertips into the dough to create cute little holes. These are little ‘pooling’ areas for excess olive oil because why should you let it go to waste? You shouldn’t. Keep it in those holes so you get that explosive flavor while you bite into the focaccia!

 

Sorry, I’m a little excited tonight.

 

 

Anyways, here is what the focaccia looked like pre-cooking! We first brushed oil all over the focaccia. We used the oil from my packed sundried tomatoes, because it was a way to use up some of that oil that would have ended up just sitting around! We then cut up some sundried tomatoes for tang, and spread chipped oregano and chives. The last thing we added were the bits of the purple chive flowers.

 

Look at how beautiful and glamorous it looks with all those blossoms!

 

 

When it came out of the oven? We didn’t even give it a few minutes to sit. We cut right into it and dug in!

 

 

The texture of the dough is absolutely fantastic. It reminds me just of what I used to eat weekly at the bakery, so it was almost nostalgic in a sense. Definitely a very successful recipe!

 

 

Price talk time! This is super important, right? So to make one focaccia bread, which made about 12 servings, cost me about $3.32

After researching some alternatives:

  • Standard bakery slice: $2.25
  • Italian Herb and Garlic Focaccia Bread Mix: $4.59
  • The Prepared Pantry Tuscany Tomato and Herb Focaccia Bread Mix: $10.76

It was actually a bit difficult to find alternatives. Apparently it’s not common to find focaccia anywhere! I compared my bread to that of a nearby bakery focaccia that is sold by the slice, and then two different mixes found on amazon. You can see that the price is all over the place! What I enjoy about the recipe that I have made here is the minimal list of ingredients, many of which were grabbed from my back yard! It was a super fun afternoon activity as well. I definitely see myself making this again in the future.

 

Onto the question of the day!

 

Would you like to live in a town like Mount Polbearne? Why or why not?

I would absolutely live in a town like Mount Polbearne! I love the closeness of all of the inhabitants and how they all help each other out. It also is so fascinating that they’re essentially stranded there during high tide… It just makes it seem so secluded, but in a good way! It just seems like an amazing paradise to escape the reality of growing suburban and city life. Sounds like just the place for me!

 

 

 

 

 

Cinnamon Rolls | One Cook, One Book | Little Beach Street Bakery

“Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life” – Lemony Snicket   Today, June 2, 2017, is National Doughnut Day here in the United States. Instead of going out and buying myself a doughnut with goodness […]

CHEESE STRAWS | ONE COOK, ONE BOOK | LITTLE BEACH STREET BAKERY

“You have to be a romantic to invest yourself, your money, and your time in cheese.” -Anthony Bourdain   The first feeling that came over me when I realized I was going to be making cheese straws was not an enjoyable sensation. In fact, I was […]

A New Experience: My Wild Adventures with Finding a New Camera

You know it’s time to buy a new camera when your smartphone takes better pictures than your digital camera.

When I decided to start this blog, I had a lot of excitement in my mind of posting pictures every day of my food experiences, crafts, friends, family, everything. It was when I was making my cheese and yogurt that I realized something: My camera sucks.

Let’s see. My Sony camera that I got back when I was in middle school (So, at least 6 years ago) was not up to my smartphone’s camera standards. And when HTC made my phone, like every other HTC One, they accidentally made it so the camera easily overheats and everything turns purple (as you can see in my granola pictures.) I’ve been stealing my mom’s smartphone every time I need a decent picture, and I just wasn’t having it anymore. I had to get a new camera.

After doing some research, I thought the best camera for me was a Sony NEX 5T. I was super excited, and as I went onto Amazon to get it I found there was only one left in stock. I bought it right then and there without even giving it a second thought.

A week later, it arrived at my doorstep.

As I anxiously opened the Amazon box, I noticed something a little off. The camera box itself had a small tear, and it looked as if it had already been opened once and then closed with scotch tape. There was even a sticker saying that it was amazon warehouse inspected.  I remember thinking to myself “did I buy a used camera?” When I checked, I had not.

But apparently, I had. Not only had it already been opened and the box was damaged, but the camera didn’t come with the most important parts: The adapter cable and the camera charging cord. Frustrated and tired, I packed everything back up, printed a return form, and headed to the UPS store.

The next day came, and I went to Best Buy in hopes of finding an NEX 5t there. Well… there were no NEX series. Then I checked PC Richard & Son. They didn’t even have any Sony cameras there (Mind you: When I have my mind set for something I want, I won’t take anything other than that. That meant Sony camera, or no camera at all.) I then decided to try target, but before I even decided to leave and use up the gas to get there, I sat in my car and checked Sony’s website. They didn’t even produce the NEX series anymore, which meant no NEX series anywhere I would be going.

I went back to Best Buy, just to begin pricing out my options. That’s when I looked hard, and found a Sony Alpha 5000. I quickly researched it a bit, and then decided Why not? And got it!

And I’m super happy that I did. The pictures are amazing, and I can’t wait to try taking videos with it, either! It was, by far, one of the best investments that have happened recently!