My Brain Hates Me

This kind of thing right here? This is killing me.

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This is today. It’s 7 am and I’ve been up for over 3 hours.

I.Need.Sleep.

So much on my mind lately and it seems impossible to turn off my brain. I recently figured out that slowly counting backward from 100 helps. Not last night (this morning?) though. (Can waking at 3:45 am be considered morning or is that still night?)

You’d think in 3 hours time I could do something useful. Fold laundry? Do my nails? Pay bills? Watch the unedited, full-length version of The Sound of Music? But no, because when it’s 4 or 5 am and you’re bone-tired all you want to do is lay there and try to sleep. Which is maddening. And super stupidly unproductive.

You know what else is maddeningly unproductive and mind-numbing? Staring at this for 6 hours:

20120725-065525.jpgBut that’s another story.

So fine. I’ve showered and I’m getting ready for work. You’ve won this battle, brain, but you won’t win the war.

Hello, Starbucks? Can you deliver grande mocha light frappuccinos hourly?

Yours in sleeplessness,

Stef

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The klutz with the butter

This post brought to you by Starbucks. Lots and lots of Starbucks – down my shirt, all over my pants, shoes and ankles but none, unfortunately, down my throat.

I’m traveling this week. Working at one of my company’s offices on the East Coast. I left my hotel this morning in khaki cropped pants (because it’s unseasonably warm right now), slip-on clogs, and a white top with a light floral pattern. I went to Starbucks for coffee and a bacon sandwich, and then drove on to my office just 2 blocks away. I got out of the car juggling my wallet, keys, phone, sandwich and coffee in one hand and was opening the back door of my rental car with the other when the wheels came off the wagon. Or, more accurately, the lid popped off the coffee and caused a mini  coffee explosion. Overreacting, I dropped the stupid cup so that a secondary explosion occurred at my feet.

Then I stood there in shock for about 30 seconds. Did that really just happen? Yes. Ugh.

So I did the only thing I could do – I hopped back in the car and took my sticky, wet, mocha-smelling self back to my hotel room and back to bed for the rest of the day.

Okay, all of that except the last part because, duh, the show must go on.

Here’s proof – the shirt part, at least:

Unflattering picture be damned. Proof. Lame-o.

But all that was just an aside to the real subject of this post. BUTTER. The BUTTER I made. I MADE IT. Myself. BUTTER.

I never really knew how butter was made. I mean, I remember seeing an old-fashioned butter churn when I was a kid (probably at some pioneer display or something) and I guess I just assumed there was some hugely mechanical, automated way to do it in mass quantities. Like a gigantic churn. And I’m sure there is and that’s how the major producers make it, package it, and sell it. But I DIDN’T know I could reproduce that step at home with my own handy-dandy Kitchen Aid mixer.

Note:  if you don’t have a stand mixer then I just recommend driving your happy butt down to the store and buying the butter there. There’s just no way you want to do this with a hand mixer. NO WAY, Jose.

First, get some whipping cream:

Dump it into a stand mixer bowl and start mixing on low. (The recipes I read recommended low, but I found that it was taking FOREVER to thicken (like over 10 minutes) so I upped it to medium. You may want to do that sooner than I did).

Then, before you know it, you’ll be at the whipped cream stage:

Keep it up!

Then it starts to get chunky and yellower:

That’s a good sign. Keep going.

Then, it starts to slosh – what?

Look! Almost butter-like.

At this point you will want to drain it and start trying to squeeze as much excess liquid out as you can.

The liquid is buttermilk! You can keep it and use it in another recipe or do what my husband did and just drink it. (That’s an ew thing for me, but I’m not a milk drinker at all so maybe that’s just me).

Then I threw it back in the mixer a bit to make sure there wasn’t any more excess liquid coming out and there wasn’t. I pulled the butter out and separated it into two containers. At this point you can add salt if you want salted butter, or you can add other stuff, or nothing at all. I chose to add honey to one container and salt, garlic, and herbs to the other. Then I mixed each up, put a lid on and tucked them in the fridge for later use. Voila! But you may want to shape the the butter, something I didn’t do, into a log or similar, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate it that way.

Super duper easy peasy. All told, it took about 30 minutes and very little effort. And guess what?

I TOTALLY JUST MADE BUTTER. That’s going on my resume:

Can you code?

No, but I can make butter – can you do that?  No? Boo-YAH.