Bread. ICE CREAM bread.

Posted on | Monday, November 29, 2010 | No Comments

Before I say anything else, all of the credit for this miraculous recipe goes to Leann over at How Sweet It Is. She makes me wish my kitchen were larger. And that calories were a figment of my imagination. And that I wasn't horribly terrified of fondant.

But I digress. Yesterday for breakfast I made bread. Not just any bread, ice cream bread. It was uh-mazing. Delicious. And so incredibly simple.

All you need is 2 cups of ice cream (which happens to be any pint of ice cream at your local grocery store. Convenient!), 1 1/2 cups of self-rising flour, and a loaf pan. That's it.

Don't believe me? Here's the recipe.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F
  2. Mix the flour and ice cream until it becomes a well-combined doughy ball. It will smell amazing. Don't do a taste test. Trust me. The bowl will be empty before you can blink.
  3. Pour the doughy deliciousness into a greased and floured loaf pan.
  4. Bake for 30-45 minutes
  5. Eat.

It's light, moist, and perfect. My tummy is rumbling from simply looking at these pictures. Alex chose vanilla for our trial run for this bread and it came out with just a touch of sweetness. Next time I want to try butter pecan or maybe even branch out into Ben & Jerry territory. (Phish Food, anyone?) What's even better, you could easily use soy/vegan ice cream, or sugar free varieties to accommodate for people with dietary restrictions! Perfection!

Did I mention both boys loved it? Alex gobbled up two slices before I could blink and gave the recipe to big thumbs up. Kael left little evidence aside from the explosion of crumbs all over the floor. A definite seal of approval. I foresee this being made on the weekendly basis.

Icing and Eggnog

Posted on | Sunday, November 28, 2010 | 4 Comments

Alex left this morning, which is always difficult for us. Although we value the time we spend together it always goes by far too quickly. On the bright side it will be only three weeks before our next visit (in Las Vegas no less!), and by that time Alex will be a college graduate. Yay!

I meant to blog about our icing (and eating) cookies, and making old-fashioned eggnog yesterday. But somehow the day ended before I had downloaded a single picture. Whoopsie.

This was my first try at making icing. Most recipes called for corn syrup in addition to the powdered sugar, milk and food coloring. As I didn't have corn syrup on hand we forged ahead with the more traditional recipe (or perhaps just the lazier recipe?). It turned out alright, although getting the perfect consistency was a challenge. If I make icing again I will try adding the corn syrup and see if it makes any difference.

Kael was extremely excited at the prospect of mixing the dye into the icing. We ended up making red, blue, yellow and green icing colors. Although in hindsight we should have halved the recipe to accommodate for the number of cookies, we made enough to coat about three times the amount that had been baked.

Mix mix mix!! Kael loved being an active participant in the kitchen. A lot of the meals and various baked goods I make aren't very kid-friendly (hot stoves, sharp knives, precise measurements) so it was nice to have him involved and enjoying it.

It's time to ice the cookies! Someone is excited!

Sugar, sugar

Posted on | Friday, November 26, 2010 | 1 Comment

As it is rather late, this might come out a tad bit disjointed, but somewhere in the recesses of my brain it seems logical to post about baking sugar cookies today so I have room to blog about icing them tomorrow.

Shush, my logic is not your logic.

Either way, the sugar cookies were a success! A rather yummy success I might add. Although there were several moments of panic on my part as I questioned whether or not baking sugar cookies without my Grandmother's guidance was a good idea. I also thought more than once, "Oh God, oh God, I ruined them! I don't know what I did but I --- oh wait, never mind. It's okay."

We/I used the Joy of Baking cookie recipe. Joy is my go-to gal for all things doused in flour and delicious. If you ever need inspiration check her out. Or Bakerella. She's fab too. And her cake pops are friggin' adorable.

Anyways. Cookies! This was the trial run for my brand new mixer, and I must say it did the job nicely. And it was far easier (and less messy) than mixing by hand. Hooray! Although trying to figure out how to properly cream butter without a hand whisk was a definite learning experience.

Two sticks of butter, one cup of sugar. "Mix until fluffy." So far so good.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...


It's Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. This means two things: Firstly, that people who are truly insane will wait in line at 3am for retail stores to open and go on crazed shopping sprees; Secondly, that it is officially acceptable to put up one's Christmas tree and decorations without the backlashing scorn of neighbors and friends.

(Never mind that these photos were taken on a Wednesday afternoon, I waited until today to post them on my blog)

Our first stop of the day was to Target. It was mostly to watch the massive assemblage of people clamoring for the last can of Who Hash cranberry sauce. Although the fact that the Target nearest to our house has a built in Starbucks was definitely an added bonus. While meandering through the aisles we took a detour to look at Christmas decorations. Can you believe they are selling taffy by the yard?! Holy cow.

We also perused the lawn ornaments of varying lights, colors, and sizes. There are plans to become the house on the block that everyone wants to see, according to Alex. This makes me ridiculously excited. Christmas makes my heart 'splode with happiness.

Alex is excite at the prospect of owning exceedingly shiny ornaments.

Hee. It took much self restraint not to purchase this for myself. We tried to find an Elephant ornament, but sadly there were none. They had bears, fish, a camel, and frogs. But no pachyderms. WHAT KIND OF STORE IS THIS?

Gobble gobble!

Posted on | Thursday, November 25, 2010 | 2 Comments

We went. We talked. We ate food.

It was glorious.

Alex said he had never really gone to a huge gathering for the holidays and it was nice to be surrounded by so many people who were all in high spirits. Being an only child myself I haven't experienced huge Thanksgiving dinners except for a handful of times. It definitely made the day that much more enjoyable, even if I ate waaaaay too much food.

The trip to the house was also rather eventful.

On our way to Thanksgiving dinner we happened upon a telephone booth. In all fairness it was Alex who spotted it. Regardless, it was a phone booth. A phone booth! Out in the middle of no where. My first thought was "It's a dilapidated Tardis! Where's the Doctor??" Alex's? "Huh. Bill and Ted must've been here. Nah, they'd need a flux capacitator for adequate time travel these days."
It was a sad, sad phone booth. It even had a rotary dial. I wanted to see if it still worked but the doors had partly rusted shut. One of life's unanswered mysteries.
Photographic evidence of us witnessing the Tardis-Bill-and-Ted's-Most-Excellent-Flux-Capacitator. Please ignore my goof face. My excuse for such an expression is that it was ridiculously cold outside and I was hungry enough to eat my left arm.


1 Comment

It's Thanksgiving here, and in a few short hours Alex, Kael, and I will be joining friends and family in the yearly celebration. Although I know that I will be posting a million pictures of turkey and pie and people by this evening I feel I should take a moment to list the things I am truly thankful for. Because Thanksgiving isn't about the food, or the football, or the excuse to use my camera. It's a reminder of the things that really matter.

This year I am thankful for:

My almost-husbeast Alexander--Elephant, my wonderful, wonderful man. You love and respect me, you remind me to laugh (even at myself), share every silly giddy moment with me, and value every part of the person I am. I've let you know the real me, and I know I can always be myself around you. I'm so blessed to have found you.
My amazing son Kael--My darling boy who is growing up so fast. I am so blessed to be your mother. You have inspired me to be far more than I could ever imagined. Made me strong, proven that I can do things far bigger than I ever thought possible. You've taught me patience, and to value each moment I have because I know that in a moment I will blink and you will be grown.
My incredible friends--Each and every one of you, even those who don't read this blog, I love you. My guiding light when things were darkest and my laughter and hope when I need it most. I would be lost without such amazing friends, I love each of you. You are so much more than I deserve.
My wonderful family--Even though I come from a big family I still feel like I am connected to each and every one of you. When I was younger I didn't fully realize how valuable and special having family really was, and I'm so thankful that all of you were patient enough for me to realize and truly appreciate what a gift family is.
My tiny home--Even though I have had issues with the apartment I live in I continually remind myself that many are not even blessed with a house to live in, or running water, or heat. Who am I to complain when I have all of these and more. It is something worth remembering.
My rather interesting job--I sometimes wish I had more hours, or at least that I was given more credit for the work I do; but even with all of that I am so lucky to be employed in this economy. That it is a job that my body can physically manage. It can be horribly stressful, but I am lucky to have it. In comparison to many jobs I've held this is a blessing.
My so-so health--Even though I have gotten sick often this year it has still been a mild for my autoimmune disease. It's hard for me to be thankful for my disabilities, but reminding myself that I haven't needed to go to the ER or Urgent Care this season is an accomplishment, and one to be thankful for.


I fangirled so hard I exploded into glitter and galleons

Posted on | Monday, November 22, 2010 | 2 Comments

Today Alex and I went to see Harry Potter. I fully admit to squeeing like an under-age fangirl hyped up on redbull and chocolate. I even got a wand. And practiced Wingardium Leviosa (remember, swish and flick!) while waiting for the movie to start.

Yes, I am serious.

I also had to explain what was happening in the film every fifteen minutes to Alex. READ THE BOOKS YOU SILLY MAN!

It was absolutely fabulous. I want to curl up and read the series all over again.

See! They had wands! And the best part? All the money goes toward the Miracle Network and Make a Wish Foundation. Buy something nifty while doing a good deed? Double awesome!

Dos Cosas

Posted on | Sunday, November 21, 2010 | 3 Comments

Two mega-squee things happened in the past 48 hours.

Thing 1.) I got flowers. And not just any flowers. They are handcrafted metal flowers that Alex made just for me. Because he is just that awesome and super-duper.

Boom de yada, boom de yada...

Posted on | Saturday, November 20, 2010 | 1 Comment

There is an excessive quantity of glee in the Team Herbitter household this week.

Why, might you ask?

Squee face.

Hungarian stream of consciousness

Posted on | Wednesday, November 17, 2010 | No Comments

The holidays are fast approaching. I suppose if you want to be technical they have already arrived. Droves of parents at Target on their lunch breaks trying to find the perfect Barbie Dream House or Star Wars Boba Fet costume. Shopping for miscellaneous baked goods and the yearly mad dash for that one ingredient that somehow missed the shopping cart. Thanksgiving has always felt like it's own entity to me, close to Christmas but not connected. I can't quite get into the 'Christmas Spirit' until after Thanksgiving has passed. Seeing all these lights and decorations up already is throwing me off. One holiday at a time, please!

When I lived in Hungary there was only Christmas. November was simply used to prepared for the month-long event. The 25th itself was somber and reserved, but leading up to it? Incredible. Like the North Pole exploded all over Eastern Europe. There are festivals. And dancing. And music. And Craft Fairs on every corner and in every square, rows of colorful tents selling meticulously carved figurines and hand-knit clothing. And food. So much food. We would spend hours baking cookies and cakes in our tiny kitchen, and there was always a demand for more. But of all the foods we cooked and ate lángos was, and is, my favorite. It's baked and fried at nearly every festival and event in Hungary year 'round. If there is an event or celebration there is lángos, it's like gravity. It will always be there.

Lángos is important. Everyone eats it. There would be street vendors on almost every corner during Christmas, with lines going on for ages. Even if you knew there would be a 30 minute wait you still huddled together and waiting expectantly, because it was That. Good. Soft dough fried in oil and covered in salt and butter (and if you are lucky sour cream). It is something that I miss every holiday season.

I wasn't just the food that defined the Christmas celebrations though, it's everything that came with it. For lángos vendors it was the laughing children and the wonderful smell that would permeate everything -- hot bread mingling with snow, smoke, and wood chips. Hot bread that came out piping hot and fresh, steam rising in curls around half-frozen fingers. Butter and salt melting far too quickly. We'd gobble it down, in -10*C weather it wouldn't stay hot for long.

Then there is dancing at Dom Ter, the Cathedral Square, on creaky wooden boards that had likely been used as a stage for longer than I have been living. Brightly colored garlands and lights decorating the church and it's pavilion where the festivities were held. Old men in scruffy white and gray beards wearing worn jackets, singing with everything they have. There is a sadness in their singing, but the smiles on their faces stay firmly in place. Cold feet stomping to the rhythm against wooden boards as a dance starts. It didn't matter if you had no idea who you were dancing with, we danced anyway. We would laugh until tears came, until our faces ached. The older men who had seen famine and pain would buy the girls paper flowers. I remember one man kissing my forehead and saying I was his angel, tears in his eyes as he smiled at me.

Seeing the the entire city come alive was tremendous. As though Christmas captivated everything with its awe and wonder. Lights were strung and decorations scatter the streets, at night it bordered on ethereal. Especially after the first snow. December became a month dedicated to enjoying family. Joining together friends and family and valuing the time spent. I would venture out with my host family to go ice skating, or to listen to my uncle play his violin. I would go out with school friends at night and sing carols in butchered Hungarian (much to their amusement) as snow crunched below our feet and shop owners tried to call people in promising good food and cheap deals. It was so much more than receiving the most gifts. It was about valuing those around you.

I haven't felt that about Christmas in years, now. I don't know why. I can't quite mourn the loss of not having Hungary here with me still. It's in my heart no matter where I might be. I don't need to look very far to bring back the memories and share them with the people I value most.

I found a video on YouTube of Szeged during Christmas. The music is... Well, awful. But seeing all the places I treasure so greatly made me smile and filled me with anticipation. This Christmas will be about valuing those I love. It's not going to be about present, but about the time spent.

I meant to write about the cookies I baked yesterday. I suppose my mind was dwelling on other things that deserve to be remembered.

(Soon to be) Husbeast

Posted on | Sunday, November 14, 2010 | 2 Comments

I have been battling a cold for the past several days, which has given me ample time to think (or at the very least try to think whilst my brain is addled by Nyquil). And in between coughs and sneezes one thought came to mind: Elephants and Superglue.

You see, Alex and I have secret code words for "I love you". Some came from books, or from just silly moments we've had. But those two... those are the special ones. They mean something deep, deep down that I still don't entirely have words for. It will hit me suddenly, in bursts, the quiet knowing that what we have is something incredible.

It's Alex, my slayer of zombies and creator of napalm.

It's watching him on Skype with Kael, his attention rapt on every word coming out of that little voice. Playing hide and seek through computer screens just to get that extra giggle. Or better yet, watching them play together at the park or even in our living room. It's like magic. He's an incredible father, even if he doesn't know it yet. Regardless of what is happening if Kael wants to talk to him, there's time. Always.

It's how we can have a three hour drive and not once turn on the radio because we truly enjoy each others company. We debate, and we argue--sometimes to the point that I want to whack my head against a wall. But even then he is extraordinary. He makes me think, makes me back up my opinions and he pushes me because he knows I am smart enough to push back. And he listens. Not just nodding here and there to give the illusion of interest, he delves into topics with such ferocity that we spend hours discussing anything from politics to the importance planning for zombie invasions. He challenges me to think, and to not let my emotions get the better of me.

It's how he takes care of me. I'm not broken to him, and he doesn't treat me like some frail thing that is about to wither away. He loves me not in spite of my disabilities but because of them. The days that I am stuck in bed he calls and texts me, making sure I am okay. I can call him and just say "I'm having one of the bad days" and he already knows what to say to get me smiling again. And the days that I feel I can run a marathon he reminds me that I am, in fact, not the Bionic Woman.

He takes the trash out for me, carries the heavy grocery bags, sends me random texts every day, answers his phone at any hour of the night, reads me bedtime stories, reminds me to eat, skips with me around the park because he's just as silly as I am (though he may never admit to it fully), sends me flowers, makes me flowers... This list can go on for ages.

It's why I love him.

I, on the other hand, have the attention span of a Great Dane puppy and use guttural sounds to express my emotions. I also flail. A lot. And will bound across the room in Harry Potter induced, geeked-out fangirling. Or explode in silliness over a too-cute-for-words baby beluga plushie at the Atlanta Aquarium. I break into song, too. I've woken him up on his days off from work at 7am to tell him such things as, "OMG THERE'S A BUNCH OF BIRDS OUTSIDE AND THEY ARE FLYING SUPER CLOSE I NEED A NERF GUN" or "GELATO IS AMAZING, SO IS POPCORN".

Have I mentioned that he's patient? And gorgeous. He denies this, but anyone who has met him will beg to differ. He's not one of those jock-jerks that saunters up in a Tapout shirt flexing his muscles and expecting women to faun over him. Oh no. He's the guy that will do intellectual laps around you without trying. The guy that isn't afraid to get dirty and takes pride in his work. The guy that will melt you by smiling. And then amaze you as he holds the door for that elderly woman, or is out taking photographs that deserve to be in National Geographic. The guy that makes girls think, "He's definitely taken, dammit."


I'm a lucky girl.

Lest We Forget

Posted on | Thursday, November 11, 2010 | No Comments

I think of the wars, of what men and women have faced, and I truly cannot imagine it. I can't imagine the American Revolution, a small group of men so adamant in their beliefs that they would risk everything. I cannot imagine D-Day and running toward open fire knowing that you will likely not survive. The entirety of WWII and the horrors so many saw. Things I cannot fathom that are etched into minds of so many. I cannot imagine Korea. Vietnam. The Gulf. Concentration Camps. The rows of white graves at Colleville-sur-Mer. The Fall of Saigon. The Unnamed Soldier. I read about these things in books, I see pictures that make my stomach churn, and my mind cannot accept that people could be so cruel. That this really happened.

I have seen friends leave for Iraq and Afghanistan. Some never returned. Some came back with Purple Hearts and Silver Stars, and when asked what happened their faces become hard and their eyes echo the things they witnessed but never speak of. A hard answer, "I did what I could to get my men out." When I dwell on it and begin to let in the enormity of what today signifies I am suddenly overwhelmed. My throat burns and my eyes sting.

It seems selfish to only have one day. One day a year that acknowledges those who have served and who are serving. Those that have offered themselves to protect our rights and privileges. But, we can at least offer them this. We can think back to what such service truly means and feel the wave of gratitude that such people exist. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard; wartime or peacetime, or both, that they will go for us and be the defenders of what we as a nation believe.

We shouldn't only take a moment to reflect on such things. We shouldn't need to be reminded. It should be second nature that when we see a person in uniform we thank them. To shake their hand and say, "Thank you for what you did for us. Words can never express my gratitude. Thank you."

And this bird you cannot change

Posted on | Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | No Comments

I do believe yesterday was the most epic lunch date I have ever had. There were burritos. And music. And the creation of facial hair out of tin foil.

It was incredible.

Hannah Katy and I went to Freedbirds. To anyone who has never been to a Freebirds it appears to be just a hippy-esque restaurant that makes burritos. It is not. These are the best burritos I have ever tasted. Akin to culinary Mecca. They are delicious. Enormous. Phenomenal.

What about Moe's or Qdoba, I hear you ask? Ha. Don't be hornswoggled by such imitators who aspire to rise to the challenge laid down by this venerable chain. Regardless of whether you choose steak, chicken or vegetarian it will satiate your appetite. The spinach tortillas are scrumptious. And the cayenne pack a delicious punch if you wish to be a bit daring.

Have I mentioned they serve beer?

Freebird. It's not just something hollered by the drunk guy doing karaoke at the local bar anymore.

Their burritos come in four sizes: Hybrid, Freebird, Monster, and Super Monster. A Freebird can be eaten in one meal if you try. A Monster guarantees leftovers. A Super Monster? That thing will feed half of the Junior Varsity football team.

Henna head

Posted on | Sunday, November 7, 2010 | 1 Comment

Today we will be discussing hair. I have been dyeing mine off and on since I was about fourteen. In this past decade it has been plethora of shades and colors varying from the normal blondes, reds, and browns, to the not so normal purples, blues, greens, and even the occasional pink or orange. There was a point in time in my rather short life that it wouldn't surprise many to see my hair change colors on the monthly basis.

Yet no matter how many colors I dye my hair I always go back to red. I love having red hair. I love how I look and how my skin glows, that my eyes suddenly look fifteen times brighter. There is only one problem with this (aside from the fact that red is not my natural hair color). The upkeep for being a faux redhead is enough to drive a person mad. For years I had two options: I could either use box dyes every four weeks, or going to a salon every six weeks. Both options left my hair fried with split ends aplenty.

Pwning the Pad Thai

Posted on | Friday, November 5, 2010 | No Comments

I've been sicker than a dog for the past few days. Up until about twelve hours ago my stomach had continually attempted to secede from the rest of my body with such a fiery wrath that I almost let it. Almost. But my stubbornness to keep all my organs won out. I still feel rather nasty and wobbly on the insides but it's getting better, thankfully. I'm finally eating more than soup and tea.

On Tuesday before I became horribly ill I met up with Katy and we made some incredible food. Some of you may remember the wretched greasy atrocity that tried to pass itself off as Thai last month. We mourned our loss of potentially delicious pad thai and curry. So, being the creative girls we are, we decided to made some ourselves. It was fantastic!! We were inspired by the recipe from Rachael Ray for the main course (although we ended up using only shrimp and nixing the chicken) and the vegetable curry was kind of a spur of the moment recipe from what we found in the fridge. This is the closest thing I could find for anyone who wants a recipe.


De-legging the shrimp. It was a messy job. Perhaps Mike Rowe would be interested.

Halloween redux

Posted on | Monday, November 1, 2010 | 1 Comment

Last night I took Kael out trick or treating. Having a Family Fun Night at a local church is great and all, but you only get about ten good years before you become too old to run through a neighborhood with a pillow case filled with miscellaneous candy. How could I possibly refuse?! Not to mention, the kiddo needed to burn off some pent up energy.

We went with our neighbor and her daughter, Elizabeth, who dressed as Princess Ariel. This was the first year that I think Kael truly understood the concept of trick or treat. It was so great to watch him run from house to house yelling "Twick or Neat!", "Happy Habboneen!" My little ninja boy is growing up. D'aw.

Elizabeth and Kael, ready for some mischief and candy grabbing.

Of course all ninjas are equipped with a Conan the Barbarian replica sword. I thought everyone knew that.


Photobucket I was born and raised in California. I have also lived in Hungary, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and I will be moving again this summer. Kael is my incredibly awesome kiddo who is growing up far too quickly, and Alex is my fiance who makes me happier than should be legally allowed. I write about them a lot. I'm mildly obsessed with cooking and photography. I write about those things, too.