Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Laundry Pod and the Best Drying Rack!

How many of you have to do laundry at the laundry mat? I do and I really do not like it. At all. My entire life, I have been able to laundry at home (except when at university). I find it tiresome to lug all of my clothes to the mat, wait for machines to open up and having to sit there waiting for everything to wash and dry. I also find it quite annoying, that I spend $2.25 or more on one load of laundry.

The laundry mat is expensive, time consuming, water eating, and electricity abusing! Ha ha. Not that I have any true feelings about this type of establishment. About two weeks ago, I was on Pinterest and I was reading a pin for people who live in small spaces. It was a list of items that would be beneficial in a small setting. An item called the 'Laundry Pod' was among them and I checked it out. I looked up reviews on amazon and decided that I needed to get it. By owning this device, I could do small loads of  undergarments, and a little of this and that when needed, instead of waiting to gather more items for a full load at the laundry mat. Also, if I needed it right away, I wouldn't waste $2.25 for an extremely small load of laundry.

I ordered the pod last week and I picked it up from the post office, today. I also ordered a drying rack, from Best Drying Rack. I found them a while back, when researching things that were made in the USA. This took just under a week to be shipped to me. I am over the moon happy with shipping time for both items.

I used the pod and the drying rack today. So easy! I was able to wash two loads in less than 30 minutes!  Amazing! I purchased the green pod, because it was cheaper at the time. At the moment, as I write this, the white laundry pod is cheaper.

The Laundry Pod

Laundry Pod- Amazon

Best Drying Rack

The Laundry Pod is small in size, so, like the best drying rack, is easy to store! Which is perfect for my itty bitty teeny tiny apartment.

Small and compact. It fits on my kitchen sink! (Which is really small, btw.)

This small basket can hold 9-10 items depending on size. (I fit a ton more.)

This handle pops up for spinning and the hose is stored underneath the pod and is easily removed for draining.

I got all of this washed in just two loads!

The drying rack folds up to about 8"x27" and opens to 52"x38" tall. It's amazing and I love it. I hope that if you live in a small space and dislike going to the laundry mat, every singe time you need to wash something, that you will check these items out. I hope that they are a huge help to you, as they are for me!

If you don't like what I have to say about the laundry pod, here is what the box has to say:

A portable environmentally friendly washer

Go where laundry has never gone before

Saves you money
Convenient for small loads
Less water and zero energy
Hand washables and delicates
College living
Outdoor living
Urban living
Nautical living

I just wish that it was made in the USA. This is it's only downfall, for me.

That is all. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Bon Appetit Desserts: Poppy Seed Coffee Cake with Cardamom Streusel

I don't think that I have veer made so many types of coffee cake and there are still more recipes to come! I never realized how simple a coffee cake was. They are made with basic ingredients and you are able to whip them up in no time at all. I believe, that if your friend said that she/he was stopping by in 2 hours, you could be taking this out of the oven as they pull up.

This recipe calls for 1/3 cup poppy seeds. Purchasing a 2.12 oz jar from the baking isle will be perfect for you. In fact, you will have a little left over to put on those homemade bagels you just made, am I right?! Ha ha, I've been telling myself to make some bagels for a while now and have not got around to it.

Get the cake in the oven, tell your friend that she/he is more than welcome to stop by, and put a pot of coffee on (or tea!).

Poppy Seed Coffee Cake with Cardamom Streusel
10 to 12 servings

6             Tablespoons sugar

6             Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4          cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

3/4          teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2          teaspoon ground cinnamon

2-1/3       cups cake flour
1-1/2       teaspoons baking powder
1             teaspoon baking soda
3/4          teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4          teaspoon salt
11           Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1             cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
2             large eggs
1             cup sour cream
1/4          cup fresh orange juice
2             teaspoons finely grated orange peel
1/3          cup poppy seeds

STREUSEL: Mix sugar, flour, melted butter, cardamom, and cinnamon in small bowl until moist clumps form.

CAKE: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour 10-inch-diameter  angel food cake pan with removable bottom. Sift cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt twice into medium bowl. sing electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in sour cream, orange juice, orange peel, and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients to blend. Mix in poppy seeds. Transfer batter to prepared pan (batter will fill less than half of pan).

Bake cake 25 minutes. Sprinkle streusel over top of cake. Continue to bake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 25 minutes longer. Cool cake completely in pan on rack.

Using sharp knife, cut around sides of pan and center tube to loosen cake. Holding center tube, lift cake from pan sides. Cut cake free from pan bottom. Placing hand gently atop cake for support, tilt cake just far enough over to release from center tube. Place cake streusel side up on platter.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Book in Review: A Tale of Two Cities

Wow! I have had 'A Tale of Two Cities' on my bookshelf for years and I finally decided to read it. My goodness, the first 23 pages (roughly) were very hard for me. At one point, I thought about giving up. I have read several Charles Dickens novels before and the beginning of this seemed so different. I had a very hard time getting into it. However, I had read a few reviews from people, who thought the same thing and they encouraged all readers to press on. I am extremely glad that I continued to read this novel, because it was great!

A few things  I have to say, before I let you get to it...

I think we read books when they want us to read them... or in other words, when it is the right time for us to read them.

Madame Defarge, dang!

Mad Props to Ms. Pross!

Sydney! Carton!

Sydney is rough on the edges, but he has a heart of gold! Pure gold! 24 carat gold!

The last page... ugh. It got me!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bon Appetit Desserts: Sour Cream-Orange Coffee Cake with Chocolate-Pecan Streusel

I had the chance to make this recipe last week, because I did not have work on Friday. It was nice to bake again, because I am currently working a second job... beyond teaching, on the weekends. I have found it hard to make time for my Bon Appetit Desserts Adventure. I was happy to be back where I find joy!

I was pleased with this '1 whisk' coffee cake. It won't take long before it's in your belly! Family, friends, and neighbors all received their fair share.

Sour Cream-Orange Coffee Cake with Chocolate-Pecan Streusel
12 servings

1-1/2          cups (packed) golden brown sugar

1                Tablespoon ground cinnamon

6                Tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled salted butter, diced

1-1/2          cups coarsely chopped pecans

1                cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (Fair Trade, if you can!)

3                cups unbleached all purpose flour

1-1/2          teaspoons baking soda

1-1/2          teaspoons baking powder

1-1/3          cups sugar

3/4             cup (1-1/2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature

3                large eggs

1-1/2          teaspoons finely grated orange peel

1-1/2          teaspoons vanilla extract

1-1/2          cups sour cream

1/4             cup fresh orange juice

Powdered Sugar

STREUSEL: Whisk sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture hold together in small moist clumps. Mix in pecans and chocolate chips.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

CAKE: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until blended and smooth. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then orange peel and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with sour cream in 3 additions. Mix in orange juice. Spread half of batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of streusel. Drop remaining batter over by heaping tablespoonfuls; carefully spread batter to make even layer. Sprinkle with remaining streusel.

Bake 30 minutes. Place sheet of foil loosely over pan to keep topping from browning too quickly. Continue baking until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes longer. Remove foil. Cool cake in pan on rack 20 minutes. Sift powdered sugar over cake; serve warm or at room temperature.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool completely. Store airtight at room temperature.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Book in Review: Big Little Lies

Over the summer, I met a few gals at a going away party and I suggested that we start a book club. I have created a book club before and it was quite successful. When that club came to an end, I was pretty bummed, so this new opportunity was awesome! This was our second selection. It is pretty long at 460 pages, but they pass quickly!

I love a good mystery! I enjoyed this book, because you didn't know who had been killed, or who did the killing until about 30- 40 pages from the end. I will say that I did guess who the deceased was going to be about half way through the book. I enjoyed the commentary from the parents at the school. Some of that stuff was pretty funny! I wanted to shake Celeste and tell her to wake up! Madeline has a very strong personality, but she will stick by you through thick and thin, once she declares you as her friend. I'm glad Jane sets her path in a good direction by the end. I enjoyed this!

I highly recommend this book!

We are supposed to be reading 'All The Light We Cannot See' by Anthony Doerr, right now, but I am trying to finish up 'A Tale of Two Cities' by Charles Dickens. Hopefully, I will be able to read our February selection before our meeting.

Here's to reading! What are you reading right now? Any suggestions for me? I'd love to hear about books that you love and think I just have to read!