Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

Ugh. Monday. Even though I'm usually glad to get back to the books, (I know, I'm a total a geek) Monday is still a drag. It's gray, windy and kinda chilly. My longer leg is cramping.  So far, it hasn't been the best of days.

So I'm going to do something crazy! Post pictures! And recipes! Everybody needs something to get them through the Monday Morning Blues, so here goes! (Also, I can't think of anything to write...)

Winter Neighborhood

Sunset over Clouds (yes, this is real! I didn't photoshop it a bit!)

We need some spring color up in here!

And we can't let summer feel left out...

Hello Horsey!

You have no clue how much I love this cute little lily picture!

I could post  pictures all day, but then I'd run out of pictures and have no more to post! And we can't let that happen! So on to the recipe part of this whole shabang!

I'm a tea nut, so I love a good cup of tea on a cold, windy day! But like I said, I'm a tea nut, so I love a good cup of tea any day! Here's my recipe for a perfect cup of tea.

Hannah's Perfect Cup of Tea
1: Fill your favorite microwaveable mug with water.
2: Microwave for 45 seconds to a minute.
3: Select your favorite tea, (bagged or otherwise) and let steep for 30 seconds to a minute. If you're drinking green tea, don't let it steep more than two minutes or it will become bitter!
4: Add your preferable amount of your favorite sweetener and stir.
5: Enjoy!

 What's better than a scone with tea? Pretty much nothing! Here are two of my favorite scone recipes from one of my favorite books, The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer.

Chocolate Chip Scones
 2/3 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces 
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tbsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. tea (I use a chocolate hazelnut tea)
1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix sugar, flour, baking powder, chocolate chips, and salt in a big bowl. Cut in butter. In a different bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla, and buttermilk together. Slowly add the wet mix to the dry mix. Stir until even. Add the tea. Knead the dough until it's one big ball. Roll out the dough until it's 1 inch thick or less. Use a cookie cutter to make small circles. Put circles on a greased cookie sheet. Brush with milk. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Serve warm.
Makes about 12 scones.

Parmesan Berry Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup strawberries, sliced to desired size 
1/2 tsp. tea leaves ( I use green tea)
1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix dry ingredients together first, then cut in the butter. Stir in beaten egg and add cheese and berries. Add tea leaves. Slowly add the buttermilk to form a thick doughYou might need more than the given measurement. Roll out the dough to 1 inch thick. Cut into 2 inch triangles or circles. Place scones on a greased cookie sheet and brush tops with milk. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool, serve warm.
Makes about 12 scones.

Bon App├ętit!

Friday, January 10, 2014

January 10, 2014

Finally! The winter weather curse has been lifted! Sister is back to school, Dad is back to work, and Mom and I are peacefully doing school once more. It feels good to be back. A two week break seems like a great deal, but it gets long. Especially when you have three snow days and two two-hour-delays tacked on to it.

Last year, we didn't get my books finished, so we were going to finish them over the summer. Mom/Teacher had it planned out pretty well, but guess how long that lasted? About a week. With Sister off school and plenty of time to kill, she took a babysitting job where the six-year-old girl came here at 6:30 am and left at 4:30 pm. She's a sweet kid, very pleasant, pretty easy to please... but there's always a catch. She had an attention span of a fly that has consumed four Pixi Stiks. Let's just put it this way: she went through sixteen years worth of toys in two weeks. So needless to say, I didn't complete my books. So we spent August-December 2013 finishing the previous grade.  When school resumed this week, I finally began my new new books!!

I always like starting new books, but these are very different than last year. Even though Mom only has me to teach, it's taking us longer to get through a full day of school. Some days it doesn't even happen. I have more homework, and chores, and schoolwork to make up.

To put it simply: This grade is kicking my butt. I'm maintaining my grades, but I definitely don't just float through them. More later. I have homework to do!

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6, 2014

Well. This stinks.

Indiana has been "pounded" by this dumb winter storm. Yesterday I was super excited because we were supposed to get TONS of snow, but today I wake up to find barely any more snow than we already had and subzero temperatures.

Great. Just great.

So, of course, today was called as a snow day. As is tomorrow. Prolonging our two week break two more days. Two more days of nothing. We are snowed in, but it's too cold to go outside and enjoy the snow.  Mom's busy planning for school, The Sister has already hung out with me a little and needs go hibernate back in her room. There's only so much a gal can do on her own.

Basically, I'm going nuts.

I really hate winter. Can  you tell?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 1, 2014

Wow! I can't believe it's New Year's Day! Where has the time gone? Is it just me, or did 2013 go really fast? Anyway, I may not have attended the Ball Drop in NYC, but I did have a pretty great New Year's Eve! Basically, all I did was watch the IU/Illinois game at my family's friends' house and play video games with their son.

Oh, and I made a rockin' cake.

It is a chocolate almond cake with chocolate buttercream icing that is decorated with almonds pressed gently into the icing from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. One by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, and Julia Child. Is it weird that I obsess over anything that has to with Julia Child/cooking/food in general?

Wait, don't answer that.

Anyway, I put a ring of almonds on the sides and then made a big "I U" on top. It looked and tasted absolutely divine.

We got home from our friends' house at about 11:45pm, so we crashed on the couch and flipped on the TV just in time to watch the ball drop. Then I went to bed quicker than you can say "Happy New Year!"

Today was very peaceful. I slept in, watched The Andy  Griffith Show and the Brady Bunch (gotta love the oldies!)

Then I took a bath.

I usually don't take baths, but for some obscure reason I decided to today. I waited and waited for the tub to get full, then I flopped around trying to wash myself. After I was finally clean, dry, and dressed, I stomped outside huffing, "On what planet is that relaxing?" Long story short, I ended up with water in my ears and a vow in my brain never to take a bath again. Only showers.

But all Bath Frustration was quickly buried with two hours of Wii with Mom and Dad and two helpings of Stroganoff Hamburger Helper for dinner!

Happy 2014, everybody!