Every year, the question comes from my husband: what do I want for Christmas. I’ve learned to offer very specific hints; no “a new perfume might be nice”. Instead, I offer the name, maker, bottle description and, if possible, a link or directions to specific Macy’s counter where it can be found. It works for us: Mike feels less pressure and I get things I’ll use. We still surprise each other with fun but it’s nice to know a few items are sure wins.
For the last few years, I’ve patiently added the words “kitchenaid mixer, red” to my list. Each year, a noticeable lack of mixer under the tree. That all changed this year. Maybe it was the photo of the mixer, along with location of coupon and best place to get a deal I posted on my husband and kid’s FB pages? Maybe I was extra good this year? Or maybe, just maybe, my husband took my insistence this year as a sign that I was ready to get down to the business of cooking. Seriously cooking. Cooking as in not from a box, just add butter and milk and 1 pound of ground beef cooking. Maybe.
Pretty sweet, eh? I couldn’t wait to get started. Unfortunately, a muscle spasm in my neck the day after Christmas meant 2 days in bed on muscle relaxants. I still couldn’t lift anything on day three, or do much at all, but I had my son help me get it out of the box and in its new home on my counter. I didn’t have a whole lot of energy or ability to raise my arms, in truth, but I was determined to give it a whirl (ha) so I poured in the heavy cream, added sugar and vanilla and there was my first accomplishment: a bowl of whipped cream. Not so fancy but it was a start.
A few days later, feeling much better, I got busy again. This time, my goal was cinnamon bread from the little KitchenAid book that came with the mixer. (Basic White Bread with cinnamon variation) I won’t lie: yeast makes me nervous. For whatever reason, in many of my past bread-making adventures, the damn stuff just don’t rise. But with high hopes and a dough hook attachment, I set off. Milk, sugar, butter, yeast, salt, water, flour, etc. All in the proper order, into the bowl. In a surprisingly short amount of time, I had a nice ball of dough. I wasn’t sure if it was the right texture but off to the slightly warmed oven to rise.
And rise it actually did!
A little rolling, some butter, cinnamon and sugar and I had two nice loaves of prospective bread to pop in the oven. We baked, we cooled and we sliced. Smelled heavenly. Texture was a bit, well, chewy. Chewier than I wanted bread to be, anyways. Okay, it wasn’t a hit out of the park the first time out but the kids were reasonably appreciative, I had a photo of two loaves to post on FB as my first accomplishment and I will say, it made damn fine french toast the following morning.
I am determined that this big red bad boy not become a dust collecter on my already over-crowded counter. Weekends, when I have time to take on things like this, often get crazy but my goal is to try something out at least once every other week. I’m looking forward to this and will report in here often.