In Atlanta, like most of the country, it’s still unseasonably warm (though as I write, it’s a lovely 58°) at any rate, the dog days aren’t quite over. I’m longing for the flavors and style this equinox is supposed to bring. Spicy, crisp, heavy on the clover, and a crunch beneath my feet, that’s how I want this season to feel, smell, and taste. An ode to hints of autumn that you just want to wrap up all cozy and warm and smother in kisses.
1. Check Belted Drape Coat
2. Cincinnati Chili
3. 19 Block Cuvée Wine
4. Hard Cider
5. Pumpkin Leather Folding Tote
6. Taupe Woven Scarf
7. Gingerbread Cupcake Mix
8. Georgia Cane Syrup
9. Fig Scented Candle
10. Riding Boots
There’s something about a brooding, throaty Scottish accent. It’s absolutely my favorite. And it doesn’t hurt that I’m actually Scottish, at least the Hazels side of me is. According to a really old photo album put together by my late Grandma Mary, the Hazels clan has roots in what was Forfarshire, Scotland, today better known as Angus (which sounds about right what with the stockiness of those Hazels’ genes). Also, is it just me or does Forfarshire sound like a made-up place in Shrek?
I’m not alone in my Scottish penchant–fellow twins and bloggers extraordinaire, Catherine and Lauren (or Cath and Lar) the lovelies behind the über-popular (and just featured on Glamour.com’s Smitten Guide) Asian Cajuns adore the UK isle as well.
Lar was just in Scotland, and next month, you’ll get to read all about Cath’s Los Angeles adventures. So, here’s a twin and Scottish love collaboration in recap form.
I first heard about fitness guru Tracy Anderson on Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP, and then, when fellow bloggers and friends Asian Cajuns told me about her workout DVD. (Side note, you’ll get to know twins behind the site, Lauren and Catherine better next week.)
Knowing I was going to be at my mom’s and out of my normal workout routine, this DVD seemed like the obvious choice to take with me. Though, I was forewarned, and I’m warning you, to say Tracy isn’t the best teacher is an understatement.
It’s the first workout DVD I’ve done that you really do have to do several times before you get it because she’ll just start going into a new exercise without telling you. Plus, I get the impression she’s pretty much in love with herself and adds dance moves to just about everything. She reminds me of girls who dance in clubs that stare at themselves in the mirror making sexy faces. Oh, and she looks like Shakira while doing it all. Awesome.
But, in her defense, the interview chapter of the tape did resonate with me. She experienced college weight gain, and nothing worked to get her long and lean, she just kept bulking in the gym. Knowing girls want really toned dancer limbs, she spent eight years developing and researching this program, and the end result is this: it works.
My abs after the first workout killed. Which is ironic because that’s the exact section on the DVD I despised the most, her standing abdominal workout where it appears she’s in a Beyonce video and is ridiculously annoying. Seriously she’s just keeping beat to the music. But, I’m thinking the likes of Gwyneth and Madonna, who are Tracy’s clients (I love that I’m writing about her like we’re old friends) know a good thing when they see it. Though not available for download on iTunes, it’s worth the purchase on her website.
And to completely counterpoint, it might be best to get in the whole club scene and pop a bottle of Armand de Brignac while you’re at it. At the very least it’ll make the standing ab portion actually make sense.
My mother is a wonderful cook. She learned from her mother and older sister, as they are fantastic in the kitchen as well. But, the thing I think about the most often in my mom’s repertoire is all her own, her homemade bread. Where I live now, in the South, it’s truly all about the biscuits (and I’m trying to master rosemary ones), but there’s nothing more comforting or that reminds me as much of my own roots than my mother’s recipe for simple white bread.
She started making it when they lived in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina in 1971, but it will forever take me back to my Midwestern roots. It’s a bit rustic and no frills, but make no mistake, it’s simply Heaven on a plate. I didn’t always think that, though. Around age eight I recall being really embarrassed at lunch when we were the only kids in the cafeteria noshing on pb&j’s sans the Wonder bread. But, my mom tells a different story of stopping bread baking while my dad traveled for long stretches to Egypt for work and my brother came home and asked, “Where’s that good bread?” Hence, the homemade version was resurrected.
When we were younger, my parents both loved to entertain and threw epic parties generally resulting in my dad calling some old Army buddy of his in some foreign country around 4 a.m. and talking at the top of his lungs after downing gin and tonics all night. But, for those nights that were a bit more civilized, I remember that bread making an appearance, often baked in little terra cotta pots for guests to have their own individual loaf to break.
Ritually, on Wednesdays and Sundays, she’d make that bread. A long, slim loaf that she’d knead out in the morning, let rise in the afternoon, and bake by evening. My favorite way to eat it has always been the same–just out of the oven with a thin spread of butter. That’s it. Since I’ve been in Kansas with my mom this past week, I thought I’d finally nab the recipe and share it with you.
Perfect White Bread
(from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook)
1 package active dry yeast
¼ cup water
2 cups milk, scalded
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon shortening
6 to 6 ¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour
Soften active dry yeast in warm water (110°). Combine hot milk, the sugar, salt, and shortening. Cool to lukewarm.
Stir in 2 cups of the flour; beat well. Add the softened yeast; mix. Add enough of remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Turn out on lightly floured surface; knead till smooth and satiny (8 to 10 minutes). Shape in a ball; place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover; let rise in warm place till double (about 1 ½ hours). Punch down. Let rise again until double (about 45 minutes).
Cut dough in 2 portions. Shape each in smooth ball; cover and let rest 10 minutes. Shape in loaves; place in 2 greased loaf pans (8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ inch). Cover and let rise till double (about 1 hour). Bake in hot oven (400°) 35 minutes or until done. If tops brown too fast, cover loaves with aluminum foil last 20 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.