My Fears… Conquered!

For the longest time, I didn’t want to work with yeast. It was just one of those things I didn’t feel comfortable working with. The proofing… the idea of it being a living thing that grows in the proper environment… the odd smell. Probably the major reason why it intimidated me so much was the gorgeous breads that could be made with it. I didn’t believe I could achieve such success after a few flops I had in the past using yeast.

So tonight I decided I would face my fears. All the breads I’ve been seeing on some of my fave blogs did me in and I was tired of commenting, ‘I wish I could work with yeast so I could try this recipe.’ Thankfully some talented food bloggers were kind enough to suggest some recipes to try. Tonight I tried two… a sweet & savory (Click the link for recipes!):

Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
as seen in the blog, Karen of Loves to Eat
(will be posting pics in the morning!)
Country Crust Bread
(adaptations of fellow blogger, Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles)

Overall, I was so pleased with the way these came out, I’ve gained more confidence in trying more recipes calling for yeast. I’ve also become a believer that homemade yeast breads taste so much better than commercial ones (not counting some amazing artisnal ones I’ve had!).

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Floribbean Holiday Party!

This year we wanted to celebrate the holidays with friends in a special way. To take our mind off the cold Chicago winter, we provided a bit of the tropics with our Floribbean menu. We chose this cuisine in honor of Florida… where we would have moved this past late November/early December. We decided to stay in Chicago after reviewing our work situations so here we are. We’re not sure if we will move in the future, but for the time being, Chicago is home.

We couldn’t have asked for a better holiday party with friends and good food. Here’s what I prepared with links to the recipes! (and a special thanks to my husband for helping out around the house to prepare while I was busy in the kitchen…)

Salads
black bean corn salad
spinach orange cranberry salad
carribbean jerk chicken salad

Side Dishes
Congri (spanish rice, black beans & chorizo)
Arroz con Gandules (pigeon peas & rice)
Maduros (sweet plantains)
Tostones (green plantains)
Yuca w/Mojo

Main Dishes
Mojo Chicken
Guava BBQ Ribs
Jamaican Roast Pork
Citrus Flounder
Cuban Paninis

Desserts
Key Lime Pie Bars
Tres Leches Trifle
Creamy Tropical Fruit Salad

Drinks
DIY Caribbean drink bar
assorted wines
Caribbean punch

For holiday fun, we had our White Elephant Holiday Gift Exchange! Friends brought in a cooking/baking related gift… but it had to be something they already had. We all drew numbers and picked out a gift, with the option to swap a gift that was already opened. It was a lot of fun and some great gifts were received! Here are some of the great smiles of the night…