How to Make a Grown Woman Cry (Part I)

Buy her something for Christmas that she would never expect in a million years.

Yep, I am posting this even though I am not wearing a bra, haven’t brushed my hair and still have my glasses on.  I still cry just watching it!  My family completely surprised me with a Nikon D3100 DSLR camera with 18-55 mm lens.   Being completely shocked is an absolute understatement.  When I saw the size of the box, I was like “oh, Hannah got me a new pair of slippers!”

A huge thank you to Tony, Hannah, my parents-in-law, my SIL for pitching in for this gift.   I absolutely love it and can’t wait to figure out all it can do.  The good part is that my husband bought it at a small camera store, so I can bring it in and get all the help I want – they even have free two hour classes every Saturday – how cool is that?  So all the pictures on this post are from my new camera – I have a feeling they are really big, so hopefully they won’t take too long to download.

For Christmas breakfast we had corned beef hash, eggs and my MIL’s banana bread – I wish I could describe how good this bread is!

Then it was time to put my bread in the oven.  I love this bread because it only takes minutes to put together, yet needs to rise 8 to 18 hours.  Don’t let that long rise time stop you from making this bread.

Almost No-Knead Bread (courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen)

  • 3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 3/4 cup (7 ounces) water, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (3 ounces) beer (feel free to drink the rest of the bottle like I did!)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl.  Add water, beer and vinegar.  Using a wooden spoon, fold the mixture making sure you incorporate all the flour.  It’s going to be slightly sticky, and don’t worry if you don’t think it’s rising fast enough – the beer and vinegar are doing their magic.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for a minimum of 8 hours or up to 18 hours.

Put parchment paper on the counter.  Take the dough out of the bowl and knead 10 or 15 times with a bit of flour.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 hours.**  For the last 30 minutes of rising, heat oven to 500 degrees and put your dutch oven in the oven with the lid.  After 30 minutes, reduce heat to 425 and using the parchment paper, carry your dough to the dutch oven – the parchment paper will be on the sides of the pot, just put the cover on and bake for 30 minutes (and try to remember that the lid is hot!).

After 30 minutes, remove the lid and cook an additional 20 minutes.  Yum!

it's super crusty on the outside, yet tender on the inside

All cut up for our dinner table – I love seeing all the holes in the bread 😀

I also made drop biscuits – but kicked them up a notch for Christmas.  This calls for a whole stick of butter, so these are a once in a while treat.

Gruyere Rosemary Drop Biscuits (adapted from here)

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 ounces shredded Gruyere
  • 8 ounces cold butter, divided (2 tablespoons are melted for brushing over the top)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • flaky sea salt is optional for sprinkling over the top (I omitted this)

Preheat oven to 425.  In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the chilled butter (just 6 tablespoons) and using a pastry blender, cut the butter until it is the size of peas.

Add the chopped rosemary, and Gruyere.  Stir in the buttermilk just until the dough is moistened.  Here is where I deviated. I used my 1/4 cup measure and just dropped the biscuits on my cookie sheet lined with parchment paper – so much easier than rolling out.  I also didn’t put butter on top until after they came out of the oven – so the hot biscuit just absorbed all that wonderful butter.  Bake for 2o minutes.  Cool slightly before serving.

I absolutely love the texture of these biscuits – light, tender and flaky – um, pretty sure the melted butter on top helped too 😀

I have Robin Sue to thank for one of my appetizers – she made crab rangoons, but used frozen Fillo cups, which I absolutely loved using – and a 15 pack of cups only cost $1.77 at Wal-Mart.

It helps to start with good crab – we bought this container at Sam’s Club for $17 – I used about half for our appetizers, and plan on making crab cakes with steak later in the week for a variation on surf and turf.

The cups only take about 10 minutes to thaw too, which makes this a quick appetizer from beginning to plate.

Bake for 7 minutes – delicious!

Alright – for some reason I am having technical difficulties – I think I need to resize the rest of my pictures.  Come back tomorrow for Christmas part 2!  Thanks again to Hannah and Tony for getting me the camera of my dreams!

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend – looking forward to catching up with you all! 😀

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44 thoughts on “How to Make a Grown Woman Cry (Part I)

  1. biz, can i go to your house and we can both nosh on bread and crabcakes?

  2. Well your family obviously loves you! Merry Christmas! ENJOY

  3. Nice camera Biz – you have a sweet, thoughtful [generous!] family. 🙂

    All that bread – so little time. YUM

  4. I would be crying too, what an amazing present!!!!

    Jen

  5. I love your video! Merry Christmas Biz – now, can I come over for biscuits?!

  6. Aw, you got me all teary-eyed watching that video! What an awesome gift and an even more awesome family! Merry Christmas!

  7. Wow, that is so awesome! Wishing you lots of good use out of the camera.

  8. Have fun with your new toy! I know you will… 🙂

    And I’d really like a slice of the banana bread and the almost no knead bread right now…

  9. I am *so* jealous of the new camera!! You are very lucky and how sweet of all of them to pitch in to give that to you 😀

    I’ll take some bread please…

  10. Biz–what an amazing gift! The family sure knows you! Congratulations, and have fun learning to use the new camera!

  11. I couldn’t be happier for you, Biz! You will have SO much fun with that camera! What a fabulous family you have.

    The bread looks awesome. Well, all of it looks awesome and I’m going to be making all of these recipes at some point before the week is out. Thanks!! And a very Happy New Year to you.

  12. I’m so glad you posted that video – the love that your family has for you, and your complete shock, amazement and gratitude is wonderful to watch! 🙂

    And your pictures on today’s post? Wow – what a huge difference! It looks like I can literally reach for a piece of bread!

  13. awww, how sweet! your video made me cry! and Hannah seems like such an awesome young lady, I know you’re so proud 🙂 Have fun with your new camera!

  14. What an awesome Christmas surprise! Looks like you obviously had a wonderful Christmas. Always fun when you get a new toy!

  15. I was getting teary eyed just watching you. You’re fortunate to have so many people in your life that love you so much!

    The bread and biscuits look delicious!

  16. Awww yay! 🙂 So sweet (and now we are Nikon girls together!)

  17. Oh my! That’s so nice! And I love your reaction to it. Like you just didn’t even know what to do! Merry Christmas Biz!

  18. I love how you don’t even say anything! So cute Biz, I would have been tearing up with you!

    So jealous, your pictures are totally deluxe!

  19. Aw, you made me cry too! That was such a thoughtful and perfect gift for you! You have such a wonderful family! I like the pictures it takes–very nice! Wooohooooo!

  20. Oh, you sweet thing. I was crying watching it too. I’m so happy for you. HUGS to you and your family. Merry Christmas. 🙂

  21. Oh Biz! I’m so excited for you!!! What a wonderfully thoughtful family you have!!! My husband has made me cry for the past 2 Christmas’s. I will have to send him here for a gift idea for next year! 😀

    Your pictures are so crisp and bright! What a difference a nice camera makes!

  22. Aw, Biz! How sweet of them! I got teary watching the video. I have to say, Hannah reminds me of *me* a bit, you can tell she’s kind of getting a kick out of giving you something that made you cry tears of joy. (I like doing that to my mom, too.)

    Glad you all enjoyed a merry Christmas, with lots of love and good eats! 🙂

  23. Congrats on the new camera, Biz! I assume you’re going to go on torturing your readers with more high definition pictures of your dishes. 🙂

    I think I have put on at least 4 pounds of weight in 7 days….or something.

  24. Awwwwww………what a FANTASTIC present and surprise!!!! How fun!

  25. Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog. By the way…THANKS A LOT for making me tear up. That video was the SWEETEST thing!! I can’t wait to see all of the great pictures that you will take and post!!!

  26. Nice camera! I got a DSLR also! I am trying to figure it out. I wish I knew of some classes..that is too neat!

  27. ahhhhhhhh! Congrats!! What a very Merry Christmas! The food looks delicious. I want to try making those Drop Biscuits. Hope the rest of your weekend was so wonderful

  28. Biz! This made ME cry!!! What a sweet, thoughtful family…..and they are right – you DO deserve it! Your pictures look SO crisp and clean. I can’t wait to see what more you have to come! 🙂

  29. We both got new cameras for Christmas – how fun! Your breads look wonderful AS USUAL….I want to come eat at your house:)

  30. ahh….i saw the video last night from a link on another blog…

    You have a GREAT family and you TOTALLY deserved that camera.

  31. oh my goodness, i never expect to be crying while reading food blogs, but it’s happened more then once. what a sweet gift and gesture. you can tell how much they love you!

    it looks like you had a fabulous christmas!

  32. I didn’t even get the camera and I cried! What a lovely and well-thought out gift! I love that you can take as many free classes as you want too!

  33. Woo hoo! Awesome present.

  34. I loved that video! Thank you for sharing. Lucky you:)

  35. Merry Christmas and yay for such an awesome present!! Your biscuits look amazing too – yum!

  36. I would have reacted the same way! I have been telling my husband for years that I want a digital SLR! So happy for you!!

  37. Cutest video ever! You deserve it Biz!!! Your photos already look amazing!! You’ll have so much fun with your new toy!!! 🙂 Merry Christmas!!!!

  38. What a great gift! Your photos are beautiful too. Thanks for posting the crab rangoon and with the new camera too- so honored!!! Have a great week!

  39. Yayyyy! I saw your pics today (Thurs) and I was like, “wow, nice pictures!”. And now I know why 🙂

  40. Your family is so sweet. The pictures are REALLY nice. Merry belated Christmas and Happy belated New Years. =)

  41. What a great Christmas surprise! And so great they caught it on film. You’ll have so much fun learning your new camera. Merry (belated) Christmas!

  42. Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wished to mention that I have truly loved surfing around your weblog posts. After all I¡¯ll be subscribing to your feed and I am hoping you write again soon!

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