June 22, 2009

Gooey amazingness

For fathers day yesterday I made the most amazing cinnamon rolls from scratch. I followed this simple recipe from Bon Appetit via Epicurious. They weren't hard to make but they take some time because you have to let the dough rise for about 3 hours. Although, I was worried because I didn't think my dough rose all that much they ended up rising a lot in the oven. My family had at least two after eating a HUGE brunch so I think they are pretty darn good.

(Mine had A LOT more cream cheese glaze and were much more gooey than this picture)



  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast (from 2 envelopes yeast)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray


  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature


  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


For dough:
Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add 21/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.

Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

For filling:
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.

Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide).

Spray two 9-inch square glass baking dishes with nonstick spray (Charmi note: I just greased them with a little butter). Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. (Charmi note: I skipped inverting them and just left them in the glass dish and they still turned out great). Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.

For glaze:
Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature

I burnt them a bit but saved them by putting the cream cheese glaze on them while they were still hot so it soaked into the rolls and made them soft again. Mmmm...now I'm hungry.


June 11, 2009

Dressing Up Tonight

My husband has a reception tonight for the residents at his program that are graduating this year. I get to go and meet a lot of people in his program for the first time tonight. Its cocktail attire and I'm thinking about wearing this Rebecca Taylor dress I bought on Gilt Group a while ago. I think it could look really pretty but I'm unsure because honestly I never wear dresses like this. Most of my dresses emphasize my waist and chest and this one is sort of loose and flowy so I don't want to look prego when I'm wearing it.

The dress
I think I might bust out my wedding shoes for the occasion.

Hair in a low sideswept pony like this

My wedding earrings as my only piece of jewelry

Too much? Too weird? I don't know why I'm so nervous about this...


June 10, 2009

Birthday blues....

I'm getting old. Yes I'm in my 20's. Yes I'm only turning 27 which is nothing in the grand scheme of things (I hope anyway). But somehow I feel OLD. Its only 3 years until I'm 30 which seems to be the age I had set to accomplish many of my life goals. Three years to start a family, have a highly successful career, make six figures, travel the world, and really just overall become a wise, poised, graceful adult. Some of my random goals (make six figures) are arbitrary and actually not far from my reach. But really, I feel pretty far from becoming the effortless, intelligent person that I thought thirty came with. My career is not quite where I want it to be. I like my job occasionally and sometimes I feel challenged by it. Is it a career and what I want to do with the rest of my life? No way. I had grand dreams of changing the world with my public health degree and instead I'm helping hospitals become more efficient. Still a positive in the healthcare world but not quite working on world hunger.

My husband has also been pushing for starting a family. He wants a baby yesterday. Realistically once I start having kids, where is my career going to fit? I don't think I could be a stay at home mom permanently but I think when my kids are little I'll want to be at home. I could be out of the workplace for a few years. What job opportunities will be there when I'm ready to come back? I don't know if I could have a job like mine part-time either.

Aside from the job worries, am I ready to be responsible for another human being? Its a little terrifying for me to even think about. Part of it has to do with just worrying about if I'll be a good parent. Me and my brothers all turned out SO different and struggled with very different things in life. One of my brothers is battling schizophrenia and anger issues combined with unfounded entitlement. He has no job, no goals in life, continually blames other people for his misfortune and my parents still pay for everything with him. My other brother battled with drug and alcohol addiction for almost a decade before turning his life around. And my other brother became a spinal surgeon. What a crap shoot life is. Is it my parents fault that we all turned out differently or just our personalities/personal preferences that made things so different? Maybe a combination of the two. But when I think about having my own kids or look at my adorable, innocent nieces, I can't imagine them dealing with mental illness, drug addiction and the likes. I don't want them to even think about much less experience anything like it.

I'm slowly realizing that we can't really plan out life and trying to calm myself down before I decide I need to move across the world and never have any children for fear they will end up screwed up. Its a silly thing to think that by the time you are 30, your life will be perfect. But its a great way to take some time to review what your life has become and where its going.

My new potential ideas/goals:
- Volunteer more and get more involved in the grassroots organizations that drove me to get my MPH.
- Career wise, take a serious look at where I'm going and potentially start an event planning business that might be able to work when we decide to have kids.
- As for starting a family, I hear that something just turns on inside of you and you are ready one day. For now, I'll comfort myself with that and say that when I'm ready for babies, I'll just know.
- Calm down, relax and enjoy life.


June 4, 2009

Shopping Fever

I have gotten hooked to fashion blogs (What I WoreThe Sartorialist, etc) as of late and its really making my shopping addiction come back in a big time way.  I really don't have much money to be spending but I like pairing expensive pieces with clothes and accessories from stores like Payless, Target, thrift stores, etc.  Plus I need to start experimenting more with my current wardrobe to come up with new looks.

Check out these really great pieces from Simply Vera at Kohls.  They aren't dirt cheap like old navy, H&M and Target items but cute and more unique.

cute strappy flat sandals $60 (still a bit pricey)
Chunky flower necklace - on sale for $27
Strappy heels - on sale for $42
Awesome classic purse - $65.40

On a side note, I went to Target today on a mission to get some Bermuda shorts for our golfing trip in Miami this weekend.   I've avoided wearing shorts since the age of 12.  I loathe my weirdly thick/muscular legs.  Bermuda shorts always seemed weird to me too, even if they were down to the knees.  I caved in an bought a black pair from Target for $20:

I honestly don't think they look horrible on me - I'll post some pictures when we get back from Miami.  I'm not quite sure what to wear these with for non-golfing activities.  I'm thinking a tank like this...

plus lots of bracelets

and some high wedges (i already own the ones pictured below) or cute colorful flats
oohh the possibilities...


God of War

I stayed up last night to finish reading God of War by Marisa Silver. It is a very beautifull written book - the kind that makes you feel exactly what the characters are feeling. The book is about a young boy who lives in the desert of California and how he struggles with growing up, responsibility to his family and his mentally ill brother. It left me feeling sad and very introspective about my own life and my siblings and parents.

I have three brothers and we have all become such different people with such different stories to be told. My oldest brother is almost a decade older than me. He left for college when I was only 8 years old so when I think back to my childhood he is this sort of distant figure that I idolized. He was much more like a father figure through my teen years, but as I get older the age gap is closing and we are on walking on the same level. He is the definition of the perfect son. He is a surgeon who makes a comfortable living for his wife and four children. He is the family rock, the go to person to deal with our many family crises. I used to almost resent his perfection because I felt I could never live up to it. Lately, I realize that he is burdened with a lot of responsibility that I do not envy.

Following perfection, is my brother who is dynamic, charismatic and very unpredicatable. His addictive personality led to problems with drugs which caused much turmoil for our family. He has recently turned his life around in the past two to three years and I admire his strength as he pushes through his daily struggles in the aftermath of his addiction. Especially in today's economic times, he is struggling without a bachelors degree and his past issues.


June 3, 2009

I miss you!

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