Eighty degrees Monday, tornadoes on Tuesday, and snow on Friday is a regular weather cycle around here lately.  That's Iowa weather for you.  When the weather, and just life in general, feels all jumbled and out of sorts, comfort food is the best medicine.  The calm familiarity of putting the pieces together of a dish that has happy feelings tied up in it is such good therapy.  If I'm down, making stirred custard from the recipe that my mom would make for me as a kid, just like her mom made for her as a kid, is like getting a warm hug from them both.  If you've never had still-hot homemade custard fresh from the stove, you. are. missing. out. Oh, crap.  And now I will have to make a post for that recipe to legitimize the fact that I will absolutely make and eat an entire batch of said custard tonight.   Update: amazing stirred custard recipe post coming as soon as I roll myself to the computer and type it out with my sticky fingers.

Where was I?  Comfort food!  Stirred custard, casseroles, gravy on everything, and... the King of all Comfort Food: Fried Chicken.  I don't claim that this is the best recipe for it, but it's pretty good.  You can change things around all you'd like as far as spices go, but I think that you absolutely need the buttermilk marinade.  It's a bit of a combination recipe from all of the researching I did on making good fried chicken.  Vodka helps the crust to crisp, buttermilk and salt marinade for juicy chicken, corn meal for a little crunch, etc.

Happy Fried Chicken-ing!  Swimsuit weather is really far away, right?  So I'm good...maybe... I think.  Probably just eat more pudding and it will all be okay.


If being basic involves loving pumpkin stuff and apple orchards and Fall, sign me up.  I love, love, love Fall.  The musky smell of crunchy leaves and the dust from the fields turning all of the sunsets fiery and stretching lazy golden shadows across the yard.  Cool days slow us down and provide respite as summer's dizzying flurry of activity is gradually consumed by the cozy feeling of tucking in for the winter.  The only weather that can top Fall, though, is an overcast, foggy day that makes it feel like the whole earth is closed in tight and hugging you with a wispy mist of teeny raindrops that never seem to fall.  I guess there's also those quiet winter nights where the moonlight shines on the snow and turns everything a bright glowing indigo and I think it's the closest I'll ever be to standing on the moon.  And the feeling of waking up on a Saturday in the summer when it's chilly but you know it will turn into the most wonderfully breezy 70 degree day and you think you could probably fly if you put your mind to it because the day holds so much possibility.  I guess all of the seasons are pretty great.

Oh, yeah: Fall, apple orchards, and apple cider donuts (you had me at donut, but the apple cider is a darned good addition).  When I was a kid, on lazy Saturday mornings my mom would get up early and make the dough for fried cake donuts.  We'd lumber downstairs and listen to the Raaaaaaanger Biiiill nature show on the radio while dunking our still-hot donuts in too much sugar and fighting over the holes.  Oh, simpler times.

These are so crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside, and have just a bit of apple tang from the concentrated apple cider in the dough.


Gosh, it's been so long since I posted anything!  Life just got busy and the blog and all other non-essential functions came to a standstill in the meantime.  Well, hello again, blog world.  I bring you good tidings of great cinnamon rolls as a offering of penance.

I had never made home-made cinnamon rolls before this recipe.  I don't know how I avoided it, with two sisters and a Mom who are all great bakers.  That might have been the problem, though.  They baked amazing delicacies and I probably just puttered around in the kitchen behind them, sneaking bites of their warm-from-the-oven goodies and never having to make my own.  I was the designated  salad-maker and top froofer-of-things-to-make-them-pretty-er when I was growing up.

Well, when the moment of truth came to test my skills, I can say that with me and this recipe hand-in-hand, it was a success.  I guess what I'm saying is, don't be scared of cinnamon rolls from scratch.  But, if you don't want to take the time, don't fret.  For pre-made rolls or dough, just stuff the filling in, bake, and drizzle with caramel sauce.


Easy Tips for No-Fail Pate a Choux Pastry.  You can make almost anything with this versatile french dough!

Get it, like "too easy"!?  *dadum tss* It's been a long week...  Anyhow, these look so good and are so versatile, everyone is always impressed when you bring these to the table.  It can just be our little secret that they are so easy and not nearly as fussy as they look!

Cream Puffs are my dad's favorite dessert, so over the years my mom has perfected the art of making choux pastry.  She can tell when they are done just by how they smell while baking (an art that I hope to master someday- I think maybe women get that when you get the all-moms-have-eyes-on-the-back-of-their-head skill and other womanly superhero tricks).  Someday...

In the meantime, you can use my tips below to make the perfect pastry!  No fussing, no fancy tools, no crying.  I promise you'll like making them and we will all be friends when it's over!


 Easy Choux Pastry Brunch Recipe- crisp, chocolate-y, egg goodness!
Kringla usually means a pretzel-shaped soft cookie usually reserved for Christmas time, but growing up in my family it meant something much different.  Well, we still had Kringla at Christmas, but on regular Saturdays or Sunday mornings, we had the other "Kringla".  It's an amazing hybrid of choux pastry puffs, french crullers, and something else I'm not sure of.  Crisp brown peaks of choux pastry give way to valleys flowing with little rivers of chocolate or vanilla glaze with an airy, eggy base to hold it all up.  This is the breakfast of champions.  And people who don't have a lot of time but want to make something impressive.  You can make all sorts of twists and variations of this, too.  Make it savory if you want- that's something I've never tried.  Hmm, maybe another post on that experiment will be coming soon.

In the meantime, give this recipe a try.  It's also a good place to start if you're intimidated by choux pastry and it's airy puffs- this one is foolproof.

Breakfast, brunch, brinner, or dessert- it's easy, fast, and flexible.

  Easy Choux Pastry Brunch Recipe- crisp, chocolate-y, egg goodness!