Monday, April 30, 2012

Dinner Rolls from Scratch

Oh my gosh. I am so excited about this recipe. I had no idea how easy it is to make delicious homemade rolls! These remind me so much of the Texas Roadhouse rolls. They're just perfectly puffy and sweet! Y'all have GOT to try this - it takes less than an hour, and most of that is baking time!

Recipe adapted from here.

3/4 cup milk
6 tbsp butter, separated
3/4 cup hot water
4 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 - 5 cups flour
2 packets fast rise yeast

1. Pour milk into a glass measuring cup. Add in 4 tbsp butter (sliced into about 8 pieces), and microwave on high for 90 seconds.
2. Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
3. Pour the milk-butter mixture into the bowl of a large stand mixture. Mix in the hot water, sugar, and salt.
4. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix using a dough hook for 1 minute.
5. Add the yeast. With the mixer on medium speed, add in the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time. Stop adding flour when the dough stops sticking to the sides of the bowl.
6. Mix dough with a dough hook on medium speed for five minutes.
7. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for five minutes (I just sit it next to my 170 degree oven).
8. Sprinkle a flat surface with a little flour. Put the dough on the surface and divide it into twelve pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, and place them in a lightly-greased 9x13 pan.
9. Put the rolls into the 170 degree oven. Let rise in the oven for 20 minutes (they should rise to about 1 inch above the pan).
10. Leave the pan in the oven, and turn up the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 15-20 more minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown.
11. Brush the tops of the rolls with the remaining 2 tbsp butter. Tear apart and serve!

(milk-butter mixture)

(dough mixing)

(warming for 5 minutes)

(twelve dough balls)

(this is what they look like after 20 minutes at 170 degrees)

(all done!)


(after brushing tops with butter)

(see how puffy and fluffy they are?)



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Friday, April 27, 2012

So Confused...

One week from today, I take my first final for this semester. I just have four this time around, but all four are cumulative, 100%-of-my-grade tests, so I'm just a teensy bit stressed out. By "just a teensy bit," I mean I'm going crazy and I haven't straightened my hair in over four days and there are crumbs on the floor in my kitchen but I'm accepting it because vacuuming is so not a priority right now.

I hate finals. They were always fine in undergrad, but law school finals are so totally different and horrible. Anyway, posting will probably be light until I'm done on May 9th, at which point I'll have successfully finished two-thirds of law school and be very, very happy! 

But, I just have to share this one little situation with y'all because it has me so confused! So a couple weeks ago we got a letter in the mail. It was addressed to Jeff, so I saved it so he could open it. It was just a few days after his birthday, so I figured it was a birthday card for him. I looked to see who it was from, but there was no return address on the card.

When Jeff opened it, inside was our Christmas card. The one we sent out last December. No note, no anything... just our Christmas card. There's no return address. It was postmarked in Dallas, TX, which is extra weird because we don't have any family in Dallas. Fort Worth, yes, and cities surrounding Dallas, yes, but we can't figure out who would've mailed anything from Dallas!

Here's my hypothesis: someone got our Christmas card in December and saved the envelope so he/she could have our address at the new house. Then, that same someone wanted to send Jeff a birthday card, and he/she pulled out our Christmas card to get our address off the envelope. Then, somehow, the birthday card got mixed up with the Christmas card, the wrong one went into the envelope, and our Christmas card ended up getting mailed to us instead of the birthday card. 

Does that make sense? It seems possible but unlikely to me. Plus, I can't figure out the whole Dallas thing.  Neither one of us recognizes the handwriting on the address, so that's no help either. I'm completely stumped! 

Any ideas on what might have happened, or what I can do to figure out this mystery? It's driving me crazy! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DIY Simmer Scent: Lemon, Rosemary, & Vanilla

Spring is in full bloom here in Houston (seriously, I should take some pictures of the gardenias and lantana in our front yard!). Spring always makes me want to spruce up the house... spring cleaning and all that, but also new houseplants and just little things that make the house seem "fresh."

When it comes to making the house seem fresh and springtimey, this stove simmer scent recipe is perfect! I found it on Pinterest, and when I read that it's the secret behind the smell of Williams Sonoma stores, I had to try it! You can find the original post about it here, but basically this is what you do:

1. Put 1 sliced lemon, 1 tbsp vanilla, and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary into a saucepan.
2. Fill the saucepan with water and let it simmer over low heat on your stove all day long.
3. Refill with water as needed, and enjoy the fresh scent of springtime!

You could also just stick everything in a slow cooker and leave that on low all day. It makes the house smell so lovely! Rosemary is such a lovely scent, and that combined with the lemons... just delightful!


Stick it all in a saucepan...


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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers

You guys know how much I love simple, easy, delicious recipes. This one is definitely easy, simple, and delicious (especially if you recruit a husband to do the grilling for you...), but it's also healthy! 

Recipe adapted from here.

1 1/4 pound lean ground turkey (it comes in 1.25 lb packages at my grocery store, but if you just have 1 lb that's fine too!)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2 large egg whites
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
6 oz crumbled feta cheese
8 Havarti cheese slices (or whatever toppings you want on your burgers!)
8 whole wheat buns (or whatever buns you want to use!)

1. Mix the turkey, oats, egg whites, spinach, and 1/2 cup of the feta (save the rest of the feta) in a large bowl. Don't be afraid to use your hands!
2. Divide the turkey mixture into 8 parts, and shape each one into a patty.
3. Grill over medium high heat until cooked through (about 6 minutes on each side, depending on how hot your grill is). Add havarti cheese slices for the last couple minutes of grilling time (so the cheese gets nice and melty).
4. Serve burgers on wheat buns, topped with the extra feta crumbles.

(turkey, oats, egg whites, spinach, feta)

(burger patty mixture)

(eight patties)


(all done!)



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Monday, April 23, 2012

Some Exciting Law School News

Last Thursday we had our annual Law Review Banquet to celebrate the end of the school year. I got to get all dressed up and put on a pretty dress and bring Jeff with me, so I was a happy camper.

Photo by Randy

The banquet is sort of a fundraiser for the Law Review, so lots of Houston law firms and attorneys pay lots of money to purchase a table at the event. The law firm I'll be working for this summer invited us to sit at their table, so we enjoyed having dinner with some of their attorneys and some friends of mine from Law Review.

Photo by Randy

Photo by Randy

Photo by Randy

Remember that huge paper I wrote for Law Review a couple months ago (I wrote about it here)? Well, there were awards at the banquet for the best papers (Best Paper on Health Law, Best Paper on Complex Litigation, Best Paper on Texas Law, etc.). I'm a good writer, and my editors had positive things to say about my rough drafts, so I figured I had a decent chance at winning one of the awards, but I was so pleasantly surprised when I won the "Best Overall Paper" award! Out of all the papers, they chose mine! I was just so happy. I spent so much time and effort writing it, and it's on a legal issue that I feel pretty passionate about, and it just feels really good to get some recognition for everything I put into that paper. I have to admit though - the best part of the award is the $1000 cash prize that came with it!

Photo by Randy

As I was thanking the representatives from the law firm that sponsored the Best Overall Paper award, I heard my name called again, this time for the "Best 2L Editor" award. Honestly, I was absolutely shocked. All year I've been frustrated with my editing work because I can never seem to make it as perfect as I want, but apparently I had the best editing skills of everyone? My first thought when I won it was "oh my gosh... you mean I could've been putting in way less time and effort all year, and I still would've been measuring up just fine?!?!" All this time I thought I was doing "just okay" work. Haha. Oh, but guess what - the Best 2L Editor award came with $500! So basically, we now have $1500 to spend on whatever we want! Any ideas?

Photo by Randy

After the banquet, we had an after-party at a bar without all the attorneys and law firms and fancy people, so we got to just hang out and relax with a bunch of my Law Review friends. It was nice to get one last fun night squeezed in before the studying and stress of finals begins.

That's not all though... on Friday, I found out my paper is going to be published next year in the Houston Law Review! I'm actually going to be a published author. How fun is that? It turns out I'm actually kind of good at this whole law school thing. :)

Oh, and on top of everything else, I got to bring a centerpiece home from the banquet, and it's been sitting on my kitchen island and brightening my day ever since.

Now if I could just get my act together and start studying for finals, I'd be doing really great at law school! If I fail all my classes, I'm going to blame it on all the time I spent writing that award-winning paper. ;o)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

I made a batch of these for Jeff for his birthday (he really likes blueberries), and they were a big hit! They're a perfect springtime breakfast!

Recipe adapted from here.

1 1/4 cups plus 1 tbsp flour
1 1/3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 oz fat free greek yogurt
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup oil
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
1/4 cup lemon juice

1. Mix together 1 1/4 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla, and oil. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing lightly.
3. Mix the blueberries in a separate bowl with the remaining tbsp of flour. Fold the floured blueberries gently into the batter.
4. Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups.
5. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (Note: the tops of these won't really "brown" like regular muffins, so don't leave them in too long waiting for a browned top!).
6. Cool on a wire rack, and sprinkle the tops with a little extra lemon zest (optional).

(wet ingredients)

(dry ingredients)

(wet + dry ingredients, plus floured blueberries!)


(into the oven...)

(cooling on a wire rack)

(yummy blueberries!!)

(finished muffins)

(with a little lemon zest on top!)


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