Day 100 of 100: Cinnamon Rolls!

Today’s experiment: Cinnamon Rolls

Result:

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Isn’t this a fantastic way to end our 100 Day Project?

I made these with my middle girls’ small group at church, and they were a huge success. We used this recipe, except I only had rapid rise yeast on hand so after doing some research I found that using rapid rise yeast means you skip the whole first rise step. Seems you sacrifice some texture though.

I dunno, these rolls were nice and soft and delicious. And I’ve always wanted to make them, seems it’s pretty easy to do so using rapid rise yeast and an hour less of baking time. Sweet.

Thanks for being with me through this 100 Day Project, friends 😀

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Day 99 of 100: Pork carrot ginger buns

Today’s experiment: Pork carrot ginger buns

Result:

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I’m a huge fan of dim sum, so I totally jump on any dim sum recipe that’s relatively easy to make.

These were super yummy, but they’re rather time-consuming.

It takes some technique to fold them, and I couldn’t quite get the pretty folding right…

I panfried these using this recipe and they’re fabulous. They’re also pretty yummy with a rice vinegar/soy sauce dip!

We have one more day of this 100 Day Project! I’m going to save post #100 for a recipe I’m planning on doing in a few days, so stay tuned 😀 Unfortunately there won’t be any more science, I’m still waiting for my antibodies to arrive… -____-

Day 98 of 100: Living the Tension

Our natural tendency as humans is to have things packed up in a nice, neat little box. To know the right thing to say and the right thing to do, who or what is at fault, when to let an issue be and when to do something about it, when to push through and when to rest. To know when trouble is going to end, why something is happening to you, how to fix your personal unhealthy thought processes, how to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Life, quite simply, is not that simple.

Sometimes you do have a clear vision of your goal and how to get there. Sometimes you have a clear vision of your goal but no idea how to get there or something has frustrated your plan of how to get there. Sometimes you have no idea where you’re going but you’re just taking things one day at a time. Sometimes you know the right way to think, the right way to treat someone, the right thing to do, but it feels like you lack the strength to make that change.

Last year, I read Sue Monk Kidd’s When the Heart Waits, which was a deeply transformative book for me about the tensions and unanswered questions in life. She uses language like “incubating the tension” and “living the questions” instead of resolving the tension and answering the questions. The book was clarifying about why I struggled with the tension that I did/do.

The tensions in life are coming to my attention again through this sermon series “Christian” by Andy Stanley at North Point Church, reading various articles on the pervasiveness of racism and the subleties of white supremacy (including this one from a friend from college that resonates with me), being uncertain how to react to the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage and the transgender movement, spending time with my community group talking to the homeless on the outskirts of Skid Row and not knowing what to do about the deeply disturbing and painful aspects of Los Angeles, watching some friends struggle through disciplining and ministering to neighborhood children, and struggling with how to approach issues and dissatisfaction in progress in my relationship, friendships, ministry, and work.

Frankly, I know I would wreck myself with anxiety if I even tried to resolve all these issues. I’ve been taught all my life in church that anxiety doesn’t add anything to your life, and you should learn to give things up to God.

So maybe for the sake of my brain making everything manageable, I’ve narrowed this all down to one tension, brought to mind through “Christian”: grace vs. truth.

The scariest thing to me about parenting (thankfully, I have a few years before I’m at that point) is how to teach my child to do the right thing and live in truth, and yet be gracious and forgiving.

Depending on your personality, you probably lean toward one side of grace and truth. My natural tendency is grace: I’m a bit of a conflict avoider, and so I tend to let a lot of things slide because I figure it’s not my place to judge or say anything, and while I get along well with just about everyone, people are sometimes confused as to what I’m feeling and what I think needs to be done.

I know a few people who lean toward truth: they tend to get into a lot of conflict because they’re so confrontational. If they see something wrong, they’ll let you know. I find these people refreshing to be around, because even if they’re not in the right, you know exactly what they’re thinking about and what their expectations are. At the same time, sometimes I just want them to be a bit more flexible.

The Bible says that Jesus was “full of grace and truth.” Somehow, Jesus got this balance right. And as Stanley says, this made (and still makes) people extremely uncomfortable but drew people to Jesus. Jesus asked people to give up everything, but forgave and extended grace, then says “go and sin no more.”

The more time we spend with Jesus, the more we become like him, and therefore the better we get at balancing grace and truth. The better we get at loving like Jesus did. But this takes time. It takes effort and receiving love from God, it means taking risks and messing up a lot and returning to God. It means learning to extend ourselves grace and give ourselves some hard truth. It means doing the right thing even if it may cost us all that makes us comfortable. It means choosing to step into the difficulties and the reality of others in order to love them like Jesus did.

I don’t entirely know what this looks like in all the tensions I’ve seen in my life, but I know I can’t run away from these tensions by trying to resolve them. I know I’ll mess up, but I know God is bigger than my mess-ups and that even if I don’t get grace and truth right all the time, he’s still working.

So grace and truth is a tension I’m stepping into, because I know that in doing so I find the Jesus who embodied this tension.

Day 97 of 100: Easiest donuts ever

Today’s experiment: Cake mix donuts

Result:

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Yes, these are the easiest donuts ever. I used the recipe here: 1 box of your favorite cake mix, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and 1 egg. The recipe pipes this mixture into a special donut maker, which I do not have, but I do have a donut pan. So I baked these at 350F for about 10 minutes.

Yeah so these expand. They ended up looking like muffins with a hole at the bottom.

Note: make sure the pan is nicely greased. Most of these didn’t hold their shape because they stuck to the pan. They were still yummy though!

Day 96 of 100: Animal style tots!

Today’s experiment: Animal Style Tots

Result:

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I never quite understood the whole “secret menu” thing. Especially since everyone knows what animal style fries are at In-N-Out. Do people get some sort of satisfaction from knowing what other people don’t about In-N-Out?

Okay, cynicism done.

One of the grad students in our department came to lunch with some amazing animal style tater tots from a food truck on campus, and this looked like the most amazing comfort food ever.

First, make the tots. I used this recipe. Also, if you want to do the sauce super legit, here’s a recipe. Otherwise, I caramelized some onions, added the onions, thousand island dressing, and some cheddar cheese to the tots, and baked it at about 400F until the cheese melted.

This was fabulous. I’ll probably try making the sauce recipe next time, but for the sake of time, the thousand island dressing works well.

On a side note, why can’t comfort food ever be healthy?

Day 95 of 100: Steps back

Today’s experiment: even more IHC!

Result:

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As a young swimmer, I remember getting really frustrated when my coach would have me tweak my stroke, only to go slower at the next meet.

Looking back, I realize that sometimes when you tweak your technique, you move backwards before you can move forwards.

In this section, I took it down to 3 uM instead of the usual 4, and I think that was a little too thin for the tissue to handle. Hence the broken white spots in the middle.

Meaning, I just have to be more gentle if I’m going to cut my sections at 3 uM. Here’s to slowly moving forward!

Day 94 of 100: If at first you don’t succeed…

Today’s experiment: IHC

Result:

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“Fail, fail again,” I remember those grumpy old dudes in the Muppets saying, to which my brother and I giggled at their characteristic pessimism and misuse of the idiom.

But yes, sometimes you have to mess up a lot. This IHC is heavily overstained, probably because I left the antibody sitting for too long. But yes, these sections are pretty. So progress is being made.