Back to School

By this time in August I’m usually in Georgia with my college roommate, going to Target for school supply shopping, and wearing sweaters in anticipation of September. But since I walked across a big stage in May, I’m not going back to school for the first time in my life, and it’s a weird feeling. My sense of time is pretty wonky at the best of times, but it’s especially bad this year. I moved in with a new (and permanent) roommate in July and the heat index has been 100+ for most of this week, I keep forgetting that the first of September is next Monday. When did that happen? Where did summer go?

Technically summer will still be with me for a while—at least if melting whenever you walk outside counts as summer. But while my new driver’s license might say “Texas,” my brain still says “Virginia and Georgia,” so I’m craving the hints that fall is coming. The chilly evenings, new notebooks, new class schedule, the very first Pumpkin spice latte of the year, and maybe a new sweater because it’s almost September, and September means sweater weather.

I could get away with wearing a sweater in August in Georgia (I’m perpetually cold, so that usually saves me from getting heat stroke), but Texas heat is not so forgiving, making sweater shopping pretty unappealing. But I’d been on the lookout for a cognac bag since I saw the Madewell Tote on Kendi Everyday. I was looking for something roomy with a crossbody strap but didn’t have any luck until a random trip to Target— and at roughly 1/5 the price of the Madewell tote I couldn’t say no. It doesn’t hurt that it feels “writerly” to me. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who needs a little help to get in the writing mood?)

Bags collage1

Now that I have my “writing” bag, I’m all set to “go back to school” – or at least start writing regularly again. I’ve been on a semi-planned hiatus this summer since I finished up my senior thesis in May, but now I’m itching to get writing again. I can pick what I read and write about now, which is exhilarating and daunting at the same time. So let’s go out there and study (or write, or paint, etc). But let me grab my purse first.

Note about the product photos: I’m not sure why, but the lighting for the Target product photo is just awful. Don’t be scared– in person it’s not shiny at all and is a nice brown cognac color.

Madewell Transport Tote
Madewell Mini Transport Crossbody
Merona Tote in Cognac

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Brunch for Two

Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but brunch is quickly becoming my favorite. Since moving to Houston a few weeks ago I’ve made brunch almost every Saturday morning. What started as a thank you to Teddy for making breakfast on weekday mornings (which helps ensure that I’m fully dressed when I run out the door) has now become a weekly brunch for two.

Dutch Baby with Jam

While I would never say no to brunch with friends and a mimosa (or two), when I’m cooking on a Saturday morning I want it to be simple… but just a tiny bit fancy. It is brunch, after all. I had seen a recipe for a Dutch Baby by Emma Gardner of Poires au Chocolat , and it seemed much more appealing than flipping pancakes all morning. Trust me, this will make all your brunch dreams come true.

First Dutch baby

Light and puffy and golden, it was the most perfect pancake I’d ever made. I could hardly believe that I made something that pretty in my pajamas and bathrobe. The best part: if you have a kitchen scale you can make it in one bowl and one cast iron pan. If this hasn’t convinced you to make a Dutch baby this weekend, just go check out the original post here. If you do decide to make it this weekend, will you invite me over?

Some cooking notes:
-As you can see in the photo above, I used a little too much butter for the pan the first time I tried this, so when I poured in the batter the extra butter settled on top and made it shiny and a little extra buttery. Not the worst thing in the world, but I would recommend only using a tsp or two of butter, and swirling it around the pan right before you pour the batter in.
-Last weekend I switched out the all purpose flour for white whole wheat flour, which didn’t let the pancake puff as much as I would like (as you can see in the first photo). Next time I’ll try to only switch out 1/4 or 1/2 of the flour instead.
-Emma has some really yummy sounding pancake topping ideas, but my favorite way to eat it so far has been with raspberry jam and maple syrup. I read about Phyllis Grant swirling jam through her batter before baking it, and it’s a game-changer. (You can see some jam mixed into the Dutch Baby in the first photo.)
-The best part of this recipe? Once the batter’s in the pan, you are DONE. (Try that with traditional pancakes.) What you do with the 20-25 minutes it’s doing its thing in the oven is up to you. Cuddle your cat, curl up on the couch with a book, maybe take a quick nap (not exactly recommended, but I’ve definitely thought about it before). Maybe if you want to get crazy you could sip a mimosa and do your nails.
-Want some more Dutch Baby Ideas? Check out Joy the Baker’s Triple Berry Dutch Baby and Smitten Kitchen’s Cherry Almond Dutch Baby. Both sound amazing!

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