Saturday, August 29, 2009

Paula Dean, Where did I go wrong?

Was it the decision to triple the recipe? Or maybe loosing track of how many cups of flour I measured somewhere between cups 6 and 8. Could it have been my slightly unlevel oven?

Whatever it was (or wasn't) I had a baking disaster last night. It started a couple of days ago. A coworker brought some zucchini to work from his over abundant garden. There were two of them. One was about 2 lbs and the other about 4 lbs. They sat on the break room counter for a few days. I think the size was a little daunting for most. On Thursday, I couldn't take it anymore. They needed to be used!

I took both zucchini home and made one of my favorite newly discovered summer pasta recipes for dinner Thursday night using the 2 lbs zucchini. It was delicious!

The 4-pounder sat on the counter all Thursday night looking lonely and un-used. I thought about it off and on all day Friday trying to decided what to do with it. Sometime between 7 and 8 p.m., I landed on zucchini bread.

When I decide to make something for the first time and I don't have a trusted recipe at hand, I generally start with Food Network. I figure they get enough exposure, someone else will have already weeded out the good recipes from the bad. And Paula Deen is usually a good bet. I can't find a lot of fault with her methodology (add enough butter and sugar and almost anything will taste good). So, when the first zucchini bread recipe search result on was Paula Deen's Zucchini Bread (5 stars with 461 reviews), I felt like I was in good hands.

The recipe called for 2 cups grated zucchini. The longer I mull this over, I'm sure this was where things started going downhill. Instead of being happy to use 2 c. of my 4-pound zucchini, I couldn't be wasteful. I started grating and decided to adjust the recipe to the amount of zucchini. Two-thirds the way through grating, I had 8 cups of zucchini. I couldn't bring myself to 4-times the recipe, so I settled on tripling it.

I started with the dry ingredients and quickly realized the amount of flour would never fit with the wet ingredients into my mixer. While this was going through my mind, I kind of lost count of the measured flour and made a guess. I think I might have guessed one too many. Not to be deterred, I continued on with the recipe, deciding I would just use my hand mixer to combine wet and dry in a giant mixing bowl.

By and by I got the batter into loaf pans and into the oven. About 15 min into the baking, there was a strong burning smell. I looked in the oven and one of the pans was dripping a bit, so I put a sheet pan on the bottom rack and left them along for 45 more min.

When I opened the oven door, imagine my surprise when there wasn't just a little drip on the sheet pan, but batter everywhere. On the oven door, along the oven walls, on almost every part of the oven racks. Zucchini explosion.

There was one pan that actually looked like it was ok. But it didn't really taste that great.

Moral of the story: I should have just been happy with the pasta.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ever gone 24 hours without talking to anyone that you didn't want to?

Neither have I. But I almost made it!

I feel like I've been going 100 mph in the fast lane for the last six months. It had to come to a stop, or at least a rest area! By the time I got back from the last big event (a work trade show in NYC -- video available on YouTube), I felt like an over-stimulated 3 year old.

So, when my sister Wendy offered me the last half of a time share week in Park City, thoughts of sitting by myself with the blinds drawn in a cushy hotel bed were too tempting to pass up.

I left Provo yesterday about 11 a.m. and headed for the mountains. It has been almost 24 hours of pure relaxation.

When I got here, I set my cell phone to silent, put on a movie and promptly took a three hour nap. I woke up, glanced at my phone and picked two people to call back (sorry if you were ignored, I'll get back to you tomorrow). I pulled out the fabric for two quilts that I've been wanting to work on and leisurely started to lay one of them out. I took a second nap. I worked on the quilt some more. I went to the grocery store. I made a cheese sandwich. I went to bed.

This morning when I woke up I felt like a new person. I actually pulled open the drapes. I might even go outside in a few minutes. Unfortunately, my 24 hours of not talking to anyone that I didn't want to was spoiled with a couple of work calls that couldn't be ignored. Surprisingly, I didn't mind. Maybe I'm almost better.

There is another 24 hours to spend here. By tonight I'll probably be ready for some company, which means that I'll be ready to go home tomorrow and get back to living life.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Today's Give Away is featuring my crazy fabric business!


I mentioned my newest adventure, Two Birds Fabric, in a blog post last week. Today it's making it's blog contest debut at Today's Give Away. If you click on the button at the top of this post, you will be redirected to the Today's Give Away site ( where you can enter to win one of three fabulous prizes!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Piper & PJ

Aren't nicknames a childhood thing? I never had one, unless you count my family calling me CL, which wasn't even that often. But one day in November, I came to work and my co-worker Jeremy started calling me Piper. Apparently I'm a trendy dresser and he thinks girls who dress trendy should be named Piper. And it stuck. Piper? Whatever ...

In May, I hired an intern to help out with the marketing and PR efforts at the company. I liked Kyna right off. She seemed confident, capable and talented. I didn't know she would also have a knack for wearing twinner outfits. Between May and August, we've shown up for work wearing almost identical outfits at least once per week. This led to Jeremy calling her Piper Junion, or PJ. And it stuck.

If you want to see one of the best examples, head over to PJ's blog for a quick look.

The best thing about PJ is that she turned out to be the super-star intern of all time and yesterday she accepted a full-time position with the company. Piper and PJ will live on.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Blog to add to your follow list

Let's get this out of the way upfront.I'm about to engage in shameless self promotion.

If you want to see my latest hairbrained adventure, check out Two Birds Fabric.

Let me know what you think. In the meantime, I'll be sewing something (*gasp*).