Burger/Hotdog Buns from Scratch… with a little help

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One of my family’s most indulgent indulgences is fresh bread. We do the usual sandwich bread and such, but especially in the summer, we make hamburger and hotdog buns from scratch.

You see, we’ve found that buns are really cheap to buy… if you’re willing to put up with the sugar, corn syrup and preservatives. Artisan and preservative-free bread, however, comes at quite a high blow to our wallet.

The secret to the best of both worlds is the bread machine. We have a wonderful bread machine, and not only do we use it for loaves, but also for the easiest dough!

Ingredients:

1 14 cup milk (I usually use a cup and eighth organic whole milk and water up to the quarter mark)
1 large egg
6 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp sugar
4 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp vital wheat gluten  (or 4 tsp vwg)
2 tsp salt
2 12 tsp yeast

 

Set your bread machine to the “dough” cycle.

Cut or tear dough into 12 equal pieces.

Shape pieces into round buns and oblong hotdog buns, and place on a cookie sheet (I always use parchment paper).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, or 360 on convection.

Bake for 15 (convection)–22 (conventional) minutes until lightly browned.

Aaanndd… you’re done!

60-second Minimum Maintenance Nails

Now, you know that while I love playing with cosmetics and colour, I rarely have the time to indulge myself as much as I’d like to. This is especially true of manicures and pedicures. While they are in that vague category of necessary luxury (I mean, come on—how often have you seen a person, of either gender, in a beautiful outfit but with ragged, unkempt nails?), for women particularly nails seem to take an inordinate amount time to groom.

Apart from the time it takes to actually get a manicure (let alone a pedicure), a fresh mani is so very, very easy to mar! When I lived in NYC, I got into the habit of putting all my jewelry, outerwear, hat and so on, and even paying (including tip) before the polish went on my nails. Now that I drive, even that ritual doesn’t cut it, as I invariably ding my beautiful mani on the seatbelt. Or on the gearshift. Or on, you know, my skirt.

You can imagine, then, how excited—and skeptical—I was when one of my bubbliest coworkers told me about GelMoment products (affiliate link, but doesn’t benefit me). I had heard before about expensive UV lamps (for home use) and marginally faster-drying nailpolish… but I did not believe GelMoment’s 60-second claim.

So I tried it out.

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Surprise #1—the UV lamp turned out to be an LED lamp that under $30 and comes in a fun range of colours. Actually, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure all the products cost less than $35. See pricing here.

Surprise #2—the nailpolish came in a range of pretty colours as well.

Surprise #3—Huh. Each individual coat of nailpolish actually did dry in 60 seconds! I did my usual flapping hen impression until my coworker gently pointed out that I didn’t need to. I rubbed my thumb over the nail… and it really was completely dry. Caveat here: the LED lamp is so small that you can only fit two fingernails in at a time. Okay, I’ll take five minutes’ drying time over an hour any day.

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Next up: How long does it last?