Category Archives: Uncategorized

To My Subscribers: We’ve Moved (Again!)

Well, after a harrowing day of moving everything around the blog-o-sphere, we’ve officially moved once again.  Now A Full Measure of Happiness is self-hosted, by yours truly, and lots of things are different!

One of these changes unfortunately includes the fact that any subscriptions to this blog will not be carried over to the new and improved version.  So if you would like to continue receiving posts in your inbox (and I hope that you do!), you’ll have to head on over to fullmeasureofhappiness.com and put your email address in again.  It’s in a box just over to the right of the page.

Sorry about the inconvenience, but I’m excited that things can change up a bit now!

Some of us get more excited than others.

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Downtime

Our Internet has been down for the last day or so, and I’m not quite sure when it will return–but I’ll be back to blogging soon, I promise!

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A Cat Family Portrait

I didn’t cook today.  Not one bit.

Fritz made us whole-wheat pancakes for breakfast, we went to a farm stand for some squashes and picked some apples, then we went to a birthday party for my BFF’s mom for dinner.  Overall, fun day. 

Did you guys know that I have a very handsome cat?

Henry noticed I had the camera out and asked if I could do a quick family portrait for him–this first one is Henry and his main squeezes (can you have more than one main squeeze?):

Once he saw how great this photo was, he asked if we could get everyone involved in a shot that was a little less formal:

It was all going swimmingly until a spark plug disconnected in Henry’s brain.  Things escalated quickly.

Once Henry leaves “nice cat” land and enters his “crack cat” phase, there’s nothing you can do but wait it out.

Luckily, once he gets it all out of his system, he’s back to being the most handsome and sweet cat ever.

For a short time, at least.

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A Bun In The Oven (and a Recipe for Sandwich Buns)

I’m so excited to finally share this news with you–someone’s got a bun in the oven, and I’ll let you guess who it is!

What?! No, not me!  Fritz and I are still students, living on loans and a tight budget.  Let’s get serious, please!

Yes–it’s my beautiful, wise, and soon mommy-to-be big sister, Erin:

Isn’t that just the cutest baby belly you have ever seen?  That was taken two weeks ago, and now Erin is at 13 weeks and says her belly is growing more every day.  Meet Sprout (otherwise known as Dub):

I know.  I can’t believe that I’m going to be a first-time aunt–and with great power comes great responsibility (…what?).  Henry has been carefully stockpiling his favorite toys under the oven to share when his little cousin comes around for the first time, Fritz has a pile of baby toothbrushes and dental instructions ready to go (especially since Sprout is already developing his teeth!), and I have been busily scheming ways to steal the favorite auntie crown from my other sisters via baked goods and sweet treats (back off, ladies!).

So to show solidarity between my big sis and I, I decide to bake some buns in my own oven.  The kind of buns that don’t need to be carried around for 40 weeks or fed and clothed once they’re finished baking.

The Best Sandwich Buns (from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads)

  • 5 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 pkgs dry yeast (that’s 4 1/2 t, you guys)
  • 1 T salt (I used a teensy bit less)
  • 2 T butter, room temperature
  • 2 C hot water
  • Milk to brush on top
  • sesame seeds or poppy seeds (or both!) to garnish

As a side note–Erin used to have bread baking fits when we were in high school, and would make approximately 20 loaves of the best white bread ever in a few hours that the family would frantically consume before nightfall.  So the smell of any yeasted bread rising always makes me think of her.  That lucky Sprout, man.

In the bowl of your mixer, add 2 C flour, the salt, and the yeast, and briefly mix to combine.  While mixing with the flat beater, add the butter and hot water, continuing to mix until a smooth batter forms.  Add the remaining flour 1/2 C at a time until the dough forms a shaggy mass–it’s okay if you don’t use all five cups, I ended at 4 1/2.

Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for 8 minutes, sprinkling in a little flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the sides (it should form a ball around the dough hook, but still be soft and a little sticky to the touch).  Lightly grease a bowl, then place the dough in it, cover tightly with Saran wrap, and move to a warm place to rise until doubled in size (this is quick–about a half an hour).

I always put rising dough in our bedroom closet.  It’s so hot in there!  Is that weird?

Once the dough is ready, place it on a floured surface and divide into 12 parts (this recipe makes a dozen large buns).  Shape each one into a ball, then cover in wax paper to rest for a few minutes.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper in the meantime.  Once they’ve sufficiently rested, flatten them into circles about four inches in diameter and lay them on the parchment paper.

Cover them with wax paper and allow them to rise for another 30-35 minutes, until they are soft and puffy-looking.  Preheat the oven 20 minutes before baking to 400 degrees.  Right before the buns go in, brush the tops with milk and sprinkle them with sesame or poppy seeds (or both!).

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops are a light golden brown.  If you aren’t sure if they are done (the tops will still look pretty light), flip them over and check to see if the bottoms are browned.  If they are, take ’em out and let them cool on a rack.

These really are the perfect sandwich buns–and I know, because Fritz is super picky about having the ideal ratio of bread to sandwich innards, and he ate two different sandwiches for dinner, very enthusiastically.

The buns have a satisfying crunch on the outside but are so soft and fluffy on the inside.  They taste of yeast, salt, and seeds but don’t distract from the sandwich.  And that is the mark of a prime sandwich bun.

Plus, Bernard Clayton says that you can freeze these babies for up to a year!  So if you have a picky sandwich bread eater (ahem, Fritz!), it might be worth your while to make a double batch and put them away for special occasions.

And if you have the other kind of bun in the oven, I’m really super excited for you…but it’s not going to be as cute as my future niece or nephew.  Sorry, but genetics are a powerful thing!

Oh, and speaking of additions to the family, Fritz and I picked up a coffee table on sale (thank you Labor Day!) at the thrift store for $12!

That’s the only kind of addition we’ll be adding to our family anytime soon (the fluffy orange cat has been put on hold for the time being).  Nieces and nephews are always welcome, though!

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A Visit to NYC

Hey y’all!

This is going to be a quick post because: 1) I haven’t cooked in two days (well, except for some green beans and microwaved frittata for dinner tonight–but that hardly counts); and 2) I visited Eber (Fritz’s sister) in the big city for her belated birthday celebration this weekend and now I’m sleepy!  But I can’t go too many days without blogging or I get sad.

After going out with Eber and some of her friends to celebrate (and perhaps imbibing in one too many $4 margaritas), we woke up late today and decided to go out for a fancy brunch date.  Fancy mostly meaning “anything involving the city” because it all feels fancy when compared to Long Island.  People wear high heels to brunch there!  My heels have basically been retired since I started PT school–not much use when you are trying to reteach someone how to walk, climb stairs, or put on their prosthetic limb.  I do miss them a tiny bit, though.

I think I need a little more fancy in my life.

But anyway, back to brunch.  We went to a cute little restaurant called Good Enough to Eat on the Upper West Side, and it was fantastic. We arrived around 11 or 12 and there was a 30-40 minute wait–but ’cause Eber and I are just so darn attractive, we got to skip the line and eat basically right away.

Actually, it may have had to do with the fact that we were the only party of two, and there were mostly large families in line ahead of us, but that’s really a moot point.

I ordered a brunch special–three-egg herb omelet with parsley, dill, and goat cheese, served with toast (giant, huge slices!), strawberry butter (oh, yes), and a green salad.  I also ordered a fruit cup on the side because, dang it, I was starving.

Eber got a “Farmhouse Breakfast”–bacon, two poached eggs over dill-onion toast, and specially requested goat cheese to go with it.

I really love goat cheese, even though it smells exactly like a goat.  Which I know, because my parents have two.  It’s just so good.

We were proud clean platers.  This was a seriously delicious brunch.  I wanted to lick my plate (don’t worry, I managed to refrain).

We walked from brunch over to Central Park and to my joyous surprise there was a farmer’s market going on!  Farmer’s markets are one of my favorite things of all time; just tasting and walking through is enough for me, since I had no intention of buying veggies just to carry them all the way back to Long Island.  Fritz actually took me to a farmer’s market in Texas the day he asked me to marry him, but that’s a story for another time.

It was awesome to visit Eber and meet some of her lovely friends–I had a really fun time and definitely ended my week of vacation on a high note.  Am I ready to go back to school?  No.  Not really.  But at least I’m starting some new classes, so it’ll be a change.  I am really looking forward to August, when I have the entire month off.  And the summer weather is definitely helping me feel less burnt out–how can you be sick of school when the sun is shining, my peonies are blooming, and the pool is calling my name?

You really can’t.

See you tomorrow for some recipes!

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White Summery Sangria

Happy Memorial Day!  It’s also my two-year anniversary with Fritz, and his sister Eber’s birthday.  A giant day of celebration all around.  Even though we are hundreds of miles apart, Fritz still managed to be his adorable self and texted me a picture of pancakes that he made “for me”, but sadly, had to eat alone.  Is that cute or what?

We are also celebrating around these parts by having a backyard summer BBQ–I made my standard summer picnic pasta salad which my family has never had before!  Weird, because I’ve been making it for years–just never made it around here, I guess.  Dad went fishing and brought home some lovely rainbow and brown trout this morning, and I made a tarragon/lemon/garlic mayonnaise to grill it with–you’ll see that tomorrow.  Most importantly, Mom and I decided to make a summery white sangria to celebrate.

It started off being red (cherry, strawberries), white (wine), and blue (blueberries) for Memorial Day, but we wanted to add some citrus, too, so now it’s just a gorgeous rainbow.  You can admire mine, or there’s still time to run to the grocery store and get the stuff to make your own.  Up to you!

White Summery Sangria

  • 1 bottle dry white wine (chardonnay, pinot grigio, etc)
  • 1-2 C of orange juice
  • 1/2 L of club soda (or one or two cans)
  • 2 T sugar (adjust to taste–it all depends on how sweet you like your drinks!)
  • Fruit–whatever you like!  We used 2 lemons, 1 lime, 1 C blueberries, 10-12 big strawberries, and a handful of cherries

Wash and slice the fruit, layering and arranging them in a large pitcher (we actually used a small 1-L pitcher for the table, and a large plastic one for “refills” later). 

Pour the orange juice and wine over the fruit and gently stir.  Add sugar according to taste. 

Chill the sangria in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.  Right before, pour the club soda over the top, give it a mix, and enjoy.  All these pictures are pre-club soda, since we haven’t had dinner yet!

It is so refreshing, light, and delicious.

A perfect summer drink that also makes a beautiful centerpiece for a nice dinner–you can arrange leftover limes and lemons on the table for gorgeous look, too.  We’ll be slicing lemon to be served with the fish, and it’ll look great next to the sangria.

I also like the white sangria better than the traditional red–it just feels lighter and brighter.  It reminds me a bit of Fritz’s favorite summer drink, a gin and tonic (or a G&T, if you’re in the know).

We also celebrated Memorial Day by going to my hometown’s parade this morning, and we ran into some friends there.

Hi Sarah, Josh, and Cora!

I love this parade because it goes by literally in a flash–small town, small parade.  I used to march proudly in this parade with my girl scout troop–go Brownies!

Hope you have a beautiful Memorial day, and happy anniversary to the best husband, student, dentist, brother, son, friend, cat owner, and all-around good guy I have ever known:

And of course, happy birthday to Eber:

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Double Trouble Chocolate Chip Cookies

Disclaimer:  These Cookies Are Almost Too Delicious To Be True.

They also aren’t healthy.  But neither is depriving yourself of beautiful things, such as a giant double chocolate bake sale cookie.

However, bikini season is coming up, so it’s understandable if you only lick the spoon and give half of your humongous cookie to your husband.  It’s not only understandable, but impressive.  I’m seriously shocked that I was able to muster up enough willpower to tear one of these suckers apart and hand half of it to Fritz.

It was hard.  But since I’ve gotten back on track with my eating and working out this month, I’ve lost two pounds!  And seeing results always helps that willpower grow.  Only six pounds to go ’till I’m back to my happy weight (those last three are so difficult to get past, though!)–and I can’t wait until I feel totally comfortable in my body (and jeans) again.

I also feel like I have so much more energy, what with all these green monsters in the mornings and quick workouts in the evenings.

Anyway, these cookies are the recipe I always fall back on when I’m making something to share with a big group of people or sell at a bake sale, because everyone loves them.  Everyone that loves crispy on the edges, gooey in the middle, double chocolate, walnutty chocolate chip cookies, that is. 

I know I sure do.  This recipe is from a Got Milk? cookbook that we had at home when I was growing up–I’m pretty sure I discovered this recipe when I was 14 or 15 and have made them ever since.

Double Trouble Chocolate Chip Cookies 

  • 1 stick butter
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/3 C cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 C bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 C nuts (I used whole walnuts)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, cocoa powder, and eggs together until combined.

Add the flour, baking soda, chocolate chips, and nuts and mix well.

Eat some dough (at your own risk).  I can’t be blamed for uncooked egg in your cookie dough (aren’t eggs pasturized?  Does that mean we can eat them raw? Is that a dumb question?).

Roll out the cookie dough into balls and flatten on an oiled cookie sheet.  Leave enough space for the cookies to grow, because they get rather large.  I made 14 large cookies, but you could halve them and have 28 cuter ones, too.

Bake them for 10 minutes and remove from the oven.  They will look like they aren’t done!  Let them sit on the cookie sheet for at least five minutes before touching them–that’s where they will finish baking.

These cookies are seriously the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had.  Sometimes I purposely underbake them because I like gooey cookies.  A lot.

 I might as well just eat the dough, really.  Just slightly warm.  But for those of you weirdos who like a crisper cookie, go 11 minutes.  Probably not much more than that, since they still get a crispy edge at 10.

Either way, enjoy with some English breakfast tea poured in your favorite mug.  The kind of mug that holds waaay too much and weighs about 20 pounds, with thick ceramic sides that hold in the heat.  Even better if it’s from a cute flour/baking/spices mill.

Anyway, off to bed.  Toodle-loo!

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