6.15.2011

Go Big and Eat Doughnuts!

You've heard the saying "Go big or go home".. well that seems to be my motto for a few things..
Well mostly tattoos and baking/cooking.. and now frying.

Recently my good great most wonderful friend Terra (she has a blog.. ahoy!.. i like her and i like her blog.. you should check it out) had a birthday.  On this occasion a few of her close friends (what.. something like 20.. maybe 30 people.. maybe more.. she is a pretty awesome person to have that many close friends) threw her a birthday party.  It was my job to make her birthday dessert. With a quick chat with our mutual friend Nick it was decided that doughnuts would be a fantastic idea....

.. well i've never made doughnuts before...

But I HAD recently seen a post by Joy the Baker about them.. and i figured sure.. why not give it a go.

Next was deciding on what flavors and how many to make..

I came up with 4 different flavors..
Cinnamon doughnuts with a dark chocolate and cinnamon frosting
Caramel with sea salt
Classic Glazed
and a Baked Strawberry Doughnut with a Strawberry icing.

It was decided to make 1 dozen of each..  easy right!.. right?

So off i went.. looked up all my ingredients.. purchased what i didn't have at home and me and my friend Shaun got to making doughnuts the night before the party!!

Make dough, let it rise, roll out dough, cut out doughnuts, let them rise, fry, glaze or ice, done!
Easypeasey!.. well it really isn't too hard other than all the space making 4 dozen doughnuts takes up and the frying.. and well if you read the directions all the way through before starting that is..  <--  that last bit is crucial!

Look at me!  Making Doughnuts!
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Me placing my freshly cut out doughnuts on my silpat lined baking sheet to rise...
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or so i thought..  see here is where i made a crucial mistake.. If i had read the instructions fully.. I would have seen the part about placing the doughnuts on a lightly floured tray and to make sure i give the doughnuts plenty of space between each other cause they will spread when rising.  oops
You will notice that the tray above is neither lightly floured nor are the doughnuts spaced out enough..
I made 3 dozen doughnuts, let them rise.. and then failed miserably at trying to remove them from the tray.  They were completely stuck together and to the silpat.  I got 1 dozen off and into the fryer.. thankfully there are no pictures of those.. they turned out completely flat.. like really tasty frisbees.  I had to start over but it was so late in the night that i decided that i would make the dough and let it rise overnight in the fridge and start again in the morning.

The following morning i woke up bright and early thinking of the doughnuts.. must make doughnuts.  I believe i was up around 7 and pulled the dough out of the fridge to warm up a bit and turn on the oven and got the oil warming up.  I waited about an hour and a half before i started again.. very carefully cutting them out and placing them on a Lightly Floured baking tray letting them rise in a slightly warmed oven then my other good great wonderful friend Shaun showed back up at my house just in time to fry.

The next morning.. notice the now floured tray!
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frying to a lovely golden brown
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making the caramel sauce
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The Cinnamon doughnuts with a dark chocolate & cinnamon frosting
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The Caramel with Sea Salt..
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You will notice they aren't perfect.. picking up soft dough is nearly impossible.

But the more i fried the better i got..

The beautiful.. and i must say my favorite doughnuts of them all..
Classic Glazed.. These were FANTASTIC.. if i do say so myself.
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I don't have any pictures of the Strawberry doughnuts.. but the recipe that i used can be found at a lovely site called Salad-in-a-Jar.  Just picture my doughnuts looking like those.. or close to it anyway.

All the doughnut holes we tossed in cinnamon and sugar and i packaged it all up in boxes..  which i couldn't resist stamping with an "H".. the initial of my last name.  I think it turned out pretty awesome.
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We ended up with 5 dozen doughnuts and LOTS of doughnut holes..
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They were a hit at the party.  I put a candle in one and presented it to Terra as we all sang happy birthday to her.  Then i stood back and smiled as i saw everyone eating my doughnuts with big smiles and them all telling me how great they were..   It was totally worth it.. to stay up till the wee hours of the morning after messing up 3 batches of dough and then to get up early in the morning and try all over again.  Great Success!  I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.. but this time I will lightly flour all the trays!

I think Odin is upset he didn't get a doughnut..
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Oh.. and a HUGE, GREAT BIG THANKS to Shaun. She was on icing/frosting duty and if it wasn't for her my kitchen would have been in ruins..  You are the best!
Shauny

6.13.2011

Day 3: Front Porch Project

Well it has been a long time since we have been able to work on the Front Porch Project.  Last time we worked on it was in November!  Way too long!
You can see day 1 here and day 2 here.

Here it is almost 7 months later are we are only now just getting back to it.  We have had many excuses to not be working on it.. I say excuses because it's mostly because we are lazy and haven't done it.. but other reasons include the weather and money.. but really.. we were just lazy.  So now we are getting back to it and our goal is to have it done soon so that we can actually enjoy it this summer/fall.   Let's hope we can pull it off!

So back to it.. This weekend we worked on fixing the roof line.  It had fallen/sagged/drooped.. a few inches on the right side of the peak.
You can kind of see it here
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Here it is from the outside
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The roof line on the right side dropped about almost 4 inches..

Now i don't have any pictures of the process of jacking it back into place as it was a bit nerve-racking.

We used a 2x6 and a 2x4 screwed together to reach the top of the peak to about 5 inches above the floor.  We then placed a car jack under the boards and slowly jacked up the roof line.  Eric then secured the right side of the roof up with more screws and then i placed the 2x4 which you see below under the right  side of the peak.  We then released the jack and removed the long board and i then screwed in the new 2x4 to help hold the roof line up in place.

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You can really see the difference in that last picture.

I had really hoped for rain on Sunday to see if we had any leaking. You would figure the one time I really want rain and it doesn't. A day or two before we had an 80% chance.. well.. i'll just have to wait.

We did buy some roofing caulk and as soon as I can I will climb up on the roof and put new caulking along the edge where the roof meets the house and hopefully seal it up real tight.

Next we need to bring in a header to go along the top of the brick wall and we are thinking we will add another board at the peak to make it a bit stronger. Then we will replace some of the joists and add a few more to support the new ceiling.

Previously:
$7 (spray paint)

adding:
$39 New battery for the cordless drill
$12 Caulking

Total: $58

Hopefully I'll have more to update you on sooner rather than later!

I'll leave you with a picture of my Poe dog.. he'll be turning 1 soon!!
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6.06.2011

it's June?!

Dang.. June.. wow.. last post was January!?  I'm a slacker.

haven't been out to my blog well.. since January.. and it looks so sad out here..  I think it is time for a change.


i think i have been pretty sad lately and i think my blog shows that..  :(    but i'm working on that.  It's hard sometimes to drag myself out of my dark hole of self pity.. but i think i have found my bliss.. i knew it a long time ago.. but recently it kinda hit me..  Baking!  I love it.. i want to do it always.  now if only i could make a living baking cakes, and pretty breads or frying donuts!  I'll see what i can do about that, in the mean time, i will not make my blog seem so sad and dreary.. and i will write up some posts about my recent baking adventures!!  
Stay tuned!