Girl Versus Dough


There have been a lot of changes around here, lately.

First, there’s the fact that winter immediately skipped over spring and handed the baton over to summer (Hello, 90-degree heat wave! My perspiring armpits salute you.) Then, there’s the fact that I recently turned 24 and don’t feel a day over 40. There’s also the fact that Elliott just finished his last test of the first half of grad school, wiping off a good deal of blood (literally), sweat and tears (or, in his more masculine case, a good deal of frustrated teeth-clenching) away from a well-worn year.

There’s also the fact that I’ve decided, on this here Girl Versus Dough blog, to change things up a bit. You see, since its inception, GVD has been a haven for bread recipes attempted (read: Attacked) by me, so that I might do the grunt work for you and present you with the final result: Much more manageable (and less stressful) bread recipes. But though you might guess all we eat around here is bread, all day, every day, that’s not the case. My freezer, busting at the seams with half-eaten, foil-wrapped loaves from oh, two months? Eight months? ago can attest to that. No, indeed, we do eat more than bread.

green tea mini loaves

Green Tea Mini Loaves

I almost didn’t share this post with you.

I almost didn’t share it because the recipe I made didn’t turn out as visually appealing as I’d hoped. Delicious, yes, but visually? Oh dear me.

But this blog isn’t about all the successful recipes I’ve made. It’s about the good, the bad and the not-so-good-looking.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a problem with perfection. The problem is that I want to achieve perfection — beautiful, successful, undeniable, unachievable perfection. It started with grades in middle school and high school. I was bound and determined to get straight As every semester, and if I got anything lower than that on a single test, I’d run home bawling. True story (unfortunately).

Then, as I feel it happens with most girls, it transitioned to physical appearance. I would spend hours — no joke, hours — each morning tweaking the tiniest strands of hair on my head until my coif was absolutely even, voluminous and shiny. If even an eyelash was out of the way, if a hemline was uneven, if my jeans were starting to get stringy at the ankles, I’d painstakingly rectify any situation until I felt, well, perfect. But I never, ever, really did feel completely and utterly perfect.

anthropologie measuring spoons {giveaway}

Hello my dears!

I’ll be honest — I am really nervous to host my first-ever giveaway. It makes me feel all professional or something, which we all know is not the theme of my adventures here.

But let’s back up. I’m going to tell you a story.

My 24th birthday is in a week and a half. People tell me the transition between 23 and 24 is huge — I don’t believe it. I have a hunch that the moment I turn 24, not much will change. Maybe I’ll have a little more old woman crankiness. Maybe I’ll find a gray hair, or discover another wrinkle on my incessantly furrowed forehead (my default face looks angry, I’m told — trying to work on that one). Whatever might happen to me over the course of the next year, one thing is for sure: I will still love baking, this blog and all of you. Fact.

orange-pecan sticky buns

orange pecan sticky buns

Dear driver who nearly ran me over while I was walking across the designated crosswalk the other day. Dear person who doesn’t agree with my opinions and thinks I’m a loony for thinking the way I do. Dear construction workers who are tearing up the streets and sidewalks, literally, in front of our office building, causing my computer to rumble incessantly every day.

Happy Easter. Jesus is risen! I have no hard feelings towards you. I understand that you are human, as am I, and are just in a serious hurry/extremely passionate/doing your job. Maybe you were just having a bad day, I don’t know. Whatever the case, I’m not letting it get to me.

Also, I’ve baked these yummy sticky buns for you.

Love, Me

rosemary peasant bread

slices of rosemary peasant bread

“Live simply.” It’s so hard to do, isn’t it? This phrase has been mulling in my head over and over again for the past year. With the accumulation of more and more and more stuff over time despite efforts to de-clutter my life, sometimes I wonder if it’s ever possible to follow the mantra: “Live simply.”

Though it’s not easy, I still do think it is possible.

Elliott and I are not perfect people. We still throw out more paper towels than we can count in a single day; we still leave the water running sometimes while brushing our teeth, or leave lights on in a room that no one occupies. Our closets are maxed out with boxes, all filled with things: Old books, old movies, wedding gifts we never opened, clothes folded in a bag that someday will make its way to Goodwill. We have crappy hand towels we got from a Vikings football game last year that will have absolutely no use to us — but we still have them, rolled up and stacked alongside a slew of other kitschy, meaningless treasures on top of a bookshelf, all collecting dust. And I’m not even going to get into the state of our desk drawers. Let’s just say we could probably rebuild a forest with the amount of paper we have tucked away.

I think about the people at my college who walked around for a week carrying their trash with them as a demonstration (and an effective one, too), and I realize that if I did that today, I’d probably break my back.

bacon, spinach & onion galette

Bacon, Spinach and Onion Galette

As of last Friday, we’ve been living in Iowa City for a year.

I still can’t believe it.

I thought about making cupcakes to celebrate the occasion, but alas, I made them instead for a co-worker’s birthday and was too cupcaked out to repeat the process for myself. I thought about making a cake, but then I realized I just made cupcakes, which are too similar and therefore, I was caked out, as well.

So instead, I decided to celebrate with a galette. Naturally.