All of a sudden this morning I realized that I’m contemplating a re-launch of Origami out of a Refrigerator. I don’t want to get to into it yet, until I decide specifically how I want to describe it. I will say that it will be more on a specific (and popular, at least amongst my friends) topic. It will take more dedication, creativity, and photo skills on my part, though. The good news is that Origami out of a Refrigerator will still work as a title. Until then, I’ll just keep blogging (or not blogging, as seems more likely these days) as I normally do.

I’ve been back in the People’s Republic for five days now, and I’ve left the house all of once. That will hopefully/probably be different this coming week – for example, I know already that I have to go out twice on Tuesday alone.

Needless to say, I’ve been doing some baking. And since it’s January, that means I get back on a trying-to-bake-healthy kick. Oatmeal, flax – generally, attempts at more fiber and whole grains. And trying to figure out how to bake stuff that is good for you but tastes like it’s not.

First up  was Oatmeal Banana Breakfast Bars (hooray – finally starting to whittle down the stash of frozen whole bananas!). I hadn’t planned on doing anything different, but when I went to the cabinet and found my bag of non-organic dried apricots had turned black,  I had to turn to dried cranberries. The bars taste fantastic, but they came out a little too loose for my taste. Maybe I need to bake them a little longer or press them into the pan more firmly.

Yesterday I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, from here. I also replaced the AP flour with whole wheat flour. My only issue was that the cookies didn’t spread out very much, probably either because of the whole wheat flour or that I had chilled the dough. So I probably should have used it at room temperature. Or smooshed out the dough. Or maybe used a bigger cookie scoop (I used my small scoop; a medium scoop is on the list of things to pick up this week).

This is where I must add that I am SO glad I started freezing pre-portioned cookie dough. I only bake a dozen or so cookies and then freeze the rest – saves me from having to toss stale cookies, plus I have more opportunities for fresh, warm cookies whenever I want them. It was a huge time-saver right before Christmas, when I wanted to bake cookies for Landlords as I always do. All I had to do was bust out the Ziploc of frozen cookie dough balls.

I only baked a dozen cookies yesterday (using one of my brand new Silpat liners, courtesy of The Mom for Christmas – thanks, The Mom!). The rest of the dough got scooped and frozen for future use.

Today’s baking actually started yesterday – Country Bread from the Flour cookbook (also courtesy of The Mom for Christmas. And I really need to get to Flour this week – I’ve lived here over four years and I still haven’t been to any of them). I made the starter yesterday and continued the recipe today, making two loaves:

The lopsided-ness may be the result of either my loaf-shaping, slashing technique, or unlevelness/unevenness of my oven. (Side note: I also finally joined the ranks of the iPhone users this past week. While I absolutely hated the camera on my iPod touch, I have to agree that the camera on the 4S is pretty sweet)

But the bread was wonderful, both on its own and with the New England clam chowder I made. The chowder needs some tweaking yet – it took a lot longer than 6 minutes for the potatoes to become tender, during which time I feared the clams would overcook. I accidentally browned the butter, so while it gave great flavor from that, it didn’t exactly look awesome. Other changes I made were to use dried onion and onion powder (I believe we’ve previously established that while I like the flavor of onion, I don’t like onions), and fat free half-and-half (My official position: I don’t know how it’s made, I am just grateful it exists).

The only cooking plan I have for this week (so far) is kale chips, as discussed by the girls over at My Sister’s Grocery List. I think I may give them a shot in my lovely, huge new toaster oven (courtesy of The Dude, Cameron, and Stewie).

The rest of you Origamians probably have a long week ahead of you…wish I could say the same…

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