The people we choose to share our ups and downs with in life are our best friends, our confidants.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

St. Louis Come on and Raise Up!

Okay, maybe that Petey Pablo reference is old school, but it got my point across :)
This certainly is a summer of transition and change. Making a multi-state move the day after being discharged from the hospital with a newborn in tow in itself is an insane interesting experience. The move, which wouldn't have happened without so much help and support from amazing family and friends (THANK YOU!!!) Although, I definitely miss being able to make plans with my Pittsburgh friends, whether meeting up, jogging, etc. Some days I get really down about all the changes in our lives - but then I look at one of our moving boxes I saved that they so hilariously wrote things on like "___ was here" and a giant smiley face and such. Have I said they're amazing? They are.  Happily I have been cleared to begin exercising again so I have definitely gone out jogging several times now. It is a nice change as I have been itching to get back to it since I had to stop during pregnancy. One change in my running is dealing with a different level of heat here. Even at 5 or 6 pm it is still WAY hotter than in Pittsburgh. Hey, maybe it'll help me lose more weight ;)

Now that we live in the heart of Cardinal love I will have to brush up on my Country Grammar (haha), BBQing skills, and re-learn to appreciate the slower pace of life (for the most part). However, settling into a new home, neighborhood, city, and state, on top of the other changes, has been (to put it lightly) overwhelming. At least for me. I did have a tremendous amount of help in the initial first few weeks from my Mom - which was SO awesome - I highly recommend to anyone that has someone offering it!
However, just for my sanity I find I need to put thoughts into words here to work them out, so if you can bear with me (is that even the correct word to use there? I never know). I naively thought that just having our child would automatically make me a parent. A Mom. And it did, technically. But there was so much more to it that I knew, but I didn't know. Despite an awesome lady trying to explain it and prepare me for some of the aspects, I still found myself wholly unprepared.

I knew I was a Mom when I had a beautiful stranger placed in my arms and she snuggled up to my chest, but I wasn't fully initiated into the wonderful group of Moms just yet. For me it seemed to really hit home when I had spit up down my shirt and I was more concerned about her than cleaning myself up. When I had a sweat stain the size of a baby on the front of my dress (from her being in the Bjorn) at a party meeting people and not caring, when I had a screaming baby up the entire night because she was experiencing discomfort, when she literally had a 'blow out' in her diaper and I didn't even flinch when cleaning her up (when did poop become not a big deal?!), finally getting her to sleep and just laying down when she starts crying again, the ridiculous level of guilt over anything I didn't do perfectly, rocking her in her rocking chair with my foot for hours, feeling helpless when I can't comfort her or make it better, overcoming my discomfort feeding her in public because she was hungry and I had no other options (still working on this one).
But don't get me wrong. There are also plenty of awesome things we've experienced. Like hearing her giggle in her sleep, when she falls asleep in my arms or on my chest, getting a random smile (even if not directed at me - I'll take it!),  when just picking her up could comfort her, getting to watch her develop and meet different developmental milestones, and so many other wonderful things. So, I kind of feel like I've gone/going through the worlds worst hazing ritual, but getting through it makes me part of an amazing club called Motherhood. I'm sure there are so many other experiences and milestones that are in store for me to experience that will continue to define me as a mother/parent, as I am sure I have just started on this crazy train, but at least at this point I feel like I better understand the sacrifices my parents did to raise a family. Okay, those are my thoughts on that subject - thanks for hanging in there while I got that out :)

Anyways, since moving here, David has used almost every opportunity he has had to use his wedding present - his infamous grill! We've grilled and rotisseried (is that a word? apparently not according to spell-check. Oh well you know what I mean) many different meals that we have certainly savored. Once I get the time/courage/initiative to use the grill I fully plan on working to master barbecue! Pulled pork, beer can chicken, smoked meats here I come! My head is kind of swimming with all the possibilities, hehe. I think we both are looking forward to acclimating to this new environment. I know I look forward to meeting people, making friends, going out and experiencing our new city. Or even just having people over. Having adult beverages!

This post definitely has my thoughts in fragments, sorry about that, but right now that is how my mind is operating. With so much going on my thoughts are everywhere. All in all the changes we have gone through, and are still going through, are good. Our life is evolving and constantly an adventure with new obstacles to overcome. At least that's how I'm trying to continuously look at it. Anyways, cheers to all the exciting things happening in life!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Easter Egg-Cellence!

This year with everything going on I thought it would be nice (and fun of course!) to set up an Easter egg hunt for David. I did it a few years ago and he really enjoyed it, and since it'll be the last solo Easter (hello baby S!) we would have I went ahead with the idea. However, we unexpectedly ended up in town visiting family Easter weekend, so we had to wait a day to be able to celebrate at home together. Once home I got it all set up after David left for work and when he came home I sprang the surprise on him (yes, he had no idea. I think anyways). Since I think it's waaaaay more fun to do it treasure hunt style, I of course started out with a letter and a map to start David out on his hunt.

How cute is this envelope? Thank you Pinterest!

Since we're gearing up for a baby and a big move, I definitely wasn't going to go buy plastic Easter eggs to put clues in. What is an Easter egg hunt without eggs, you ask? Well, I got creative with my card making supplies and was able to create some fun, and different, eggs for the hunt :D

 Uh oh! A pearl fell off!
 Bedazzling can be fun, especially for something playful like this :)
The golden egg! Too bad it's not real gold haha. Now THAT would be a prize!

Thank you Cuttlebug, fake gems and pearls, and metallic markers! With the help of these aids these eggs were 'born'. With these 10 eggs and many fun prizes (Sharkleberry Fin Koolaid anyone?) David went on his treat filled journey towards the grand prize. He found prizes along the way with each hidden egg, including Chips Ahoy, Oreos, Koolaid, toffee candy, caramels, caramel chocolate eggs, Cracker Jacks, and peanut butter chocolate cups. Of course I was SUPER cheesy in my clues, using phrases like "Welcome to the Egg-stravaganza!", "You're egg-cellent", "You're one of my favorite peeps!", and "You're egg-straordinary" hehe. See? I told you. Cheesy. hehe :P 
He had to search all over like in the dishwasher, our medicine cabinet, in the desk, our mailbox! haha which our mail had just come before he got up there so it was all pushed to the back. I had one clue hidden in the baby's hamper, our freezer (Brrrr!), my car trunk hehe, and the freezer. 

The last clue led him to the hidden Easter basket hidden behind the TV that was filled with more goodies and BOY did he have a smile on his face!  Even though it wasn't on the actual day of Easter, it was still a really nice experience to enjoy together. It makes me unbelievably happy to be able to throw something as simple as this for David and make him so happy : D
I hope to keep this up as a tradition with our now growing family. Just think of the hilarious photos in the future with little kids running after eggs and then David too picking up clues of his own! Hahaha yes, I will have to continue this as a tradition...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

My First St. Louis Experience

The flight into St. Louis wasn't as bad as I expected. Although, by the end of the flight I was very ready to get up and stretch my back :) turns out regional planes just aren't very big. we got on the Metrolink at the airport which took us directly into the heart of the Central West End. Our hotel wasn't too far from there, so convenient! It's really nice, the area is a very walkable space next to Forest Park. The whole neighborhood is thriving with all kind of restaurants, shopping, businesses, and life! We ended up walking just a block down the street and eating at a nice Mexican restaurant, Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen. Darn good food! And let me assure you David LOVED the portion sizes. Later we met up with a future co-intern that David will work with this year at a nearby pub and it was a nice time out. By the time we got back to our room that night we were feeling pretty positive about our upcoming move :)
The next morning we woke up early and got out the door to walk to the first place we were viewing on our own. The walk was nice but it was a bit chilly at that time of morning with the wind. We got to the place and viewed the apartment advertised at 950 sq. feet which we felt would be great since it'd be 30% bigger than we're used to. However, I still maintain the only way they are able to say 950 sq. feet is if they count two parking spaces into that number! It was nice but I didn't like the idea of paying for a huge premium for a space that didn't feel much bigger than our current place. From there we hustled back to meet our realtor and were on our way to view many other places.
One thing David and I realized is that we apparently both believe in the Broken Window Theory. Seriously. The first place was in the area, but too far for David to walk from to get to work. It was run down and smaller, we really didn't get a good feeling from it. From there we headed outside the city to nearby 'suburb' areas. Some of the residences were okay, others were 'meh'. Clayton was a really nice and affluent suburb that we got to see some pretty awesome houses. In the end the last two we saw in Creve Coeur (another really  nice suburb) were the two I think we were going back and forth between. They were in the same condo complex. The first was smaller and on the ground level, but was spacious (for us) inside, had all that we were looking for, and had a two car garage. The second unit was even larger, being a 3 bedroom and 2 bath, but on the second floor of its building. It also had a two car garage, which is fabulous since no one else seemed to, and we discovered a GIANT storage unit room/unit in the garage as well. So, both had all we wanted in a residence, the difference came down to square footage/# bedrooms. They are both great, loaded with it all, the only downside we're nervous about is David will have a daily commute that he isn't used to.
Nevertheless, we finished up after a long day and headed back to our hotel. On the way back into the city, five minutes down the street from the two places we were looking at, was a restaurant that caught David's eye: The Salted Pig. Apparently, they had just opened 3 weeks prior and I wasn't going to miss some BBQ on this trip. We ate there and really enjoyed it :) good food at reasonable prices for BBQ!
Our realtor dropped us off, made plans to meet up with us on the next morning to get an application from us and we were on our own. I propped my feet up a while, but then we went walking around the Central West End.
Thursday we slept in and got breakfast together until the realtor came by to pick up our background check application, then we had the day to ourselves! We tested the walk time from his parking area to the hospital doors, then went and sat in Forest Park to enjoy the beautiful weather. We got a late lunch at Little Saigon for a healthy and light lunch. I got the Bun Xao noodle dish that came with chicken, shrimp, bell peppers, egg, scallions and a little curry heat. It was wonderful and I totally recommend it if you're ever visiting St. Louis :D
We stopped by a nearby Tutti Frutti for some fro-yo (YAY! Quarter Thursdays hehe). Later we walked to see the Basilica which was really neat. It was grand not only in style of structure, but size, materials, and craftsmanship. It all around dwarfs St. Paul's here in Pittsburgh in my mind. It's just impressive. No other way to say it. Along our walk back we stumbled across one of the nation's best chess clubs and the Guinness book of world records largest chess piece! The King is over 14' tall haha that is a big game piece. We went into the chess club and were warmly welcomed as guests, welcome to walk around and explore. Even I thought it was really cool, and I'm not even into chess. They are very proud of their club and they should be. I think David will be back there :)
Overall, the whole experience was exciting and encouraging. I think we are really going to enjoy this next move in our lives. I know we are both excited to start a new chapter in our lives, and having such a positive experience already in our new city will only make it better for us!
Okay, enough is enough you're saying. You don't care that much about the details of our house hunting trip to St. Louis - Sorry! My enthusiasm just knows no bounds hehe.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Southwest Frittata for Dinner

Since entering into the 3rd Trimester, I've definitely felt the physical urge to eat more protein. I wasn't given proper warning, so I'll do anyone out there who may be expecting and hasn't been warned: You will get to a point where you will want to rip someone limb from limb until you get to eat a whole bunch of meat. You'll be on a crazy hulk-like rampage until you satiate this need for meat. Yes, I mean meat. I don't know how other people get through it on only vegetarian options. Don't get me wrong, I love eating all those items such as  eggs, Greek yogurt and other dairy products, quinoa, nuts, variety of beans, certain vegetables, chia seeds, etc. In fact, David started calling me Gaston for a short while during the time when I was trying to get a lot of protein through eggs and these other methods without changing the amount of meat intake I was used to. It just didn't cut it. Not only didn't cut it, but fell FAR short. I was cranky because I felt constantly hungry, like a bottomless void resided in my stomach, but I was trying to not over eat because that is not a good thing to do either while pregnant. I did not want to face my doctor and try to explain the reason I had put on 10 lbs in 2 weeks was just because "I just wasn't ever full". No thanks lol. Eventually, David got through to me and I remedied the situation by just eating more meat products, but my story is more about the time when I was eating all the eggs.

I love frittata's. I loved them before when I was running a lot and losing weight, and I love them now while I'm not running, but I am walking :), and gaining weight haha. So, why should my meals be any different or less delicious than they were before? Frittata's are great at breakfast, but they're also delicious at dinner too. I'm an equal opportunity frittata eater I suppose you could say. When I have an egg craving, hot peppers, chorizo sausage, tomatoes, onion, and fresh mozzarella available in my pantry - I of course think of a Southwest Frittata. You really can't go wrong. Anyways, I just made it up with what I had on hand and it was wonderful, as expected. I enjoyed it immensely as David chowed down on salsa and chips. Personally I think my Brinner was the better meal, but he seemed to really enjoy those chips!

Southwest Frittata

  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cheese (I used fresh mozz because I had it but any you like works)
  • herbs of preference (cilantro, basil, whatever you like)
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1-2 hot peppers, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 3-4 oz chorizo sausage, or meat of choice
  • 3 tbsp black beans
  • 1 tbsp butter
  1. Pre-heat broiler and set rack so pan will fit without being too close and just burning everything
  2. Beat eggs in a small bowl and stir in salt and pepper, the cheese, and any herbs you're adding. 
  3. Prep the onion, hot peppers, and tomato so they're ready to go. Heat small fry pan over medium heat and melt the butter. Swirl it around the pan to coat. 
  4. Saute the meat and onions until they are starting to brown and then add in the hot peppers and let those saute for a minute. Add in the tomatoes and let those cook down a little bit. Their juice will help you scrape up any 'flavorings' on the bottom of the pan now. Toss in the black beans and just let them heat up for like 30 seconds in the pan. 
  5. Pour in your egg mixture and using a heat proof spatula let medium sized curds form and then stir around the mixture. When things seem to be evenly distributed let the egg mix set. Once the center just seems to be a little loose remove from heat and put into the oven under the broiler. Broil for 2-3 minutes - don't walk away. It can go wrong fast!
  6. Once top is golden remove carefully from the oven and let cool for a few minutes on the stove. Again use your heat proof spatula (clean it before this since you were last using it with the raw egg mixture) and loosen the edges and try to lift up the bottom. 
  7. Once loose enough you should be able to slide it right out of your pan onto a cutting board. Let cool another couple minutes, otherwise you'll for sure burn your mouth. While you wait you can toast some whole wheat bread, or whatever you like to eat with your eggs. I like open faced sandwiches. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My Rain Forest Wall Art

Over the past year and a half (or so. I don't really remember, but it's been a little while) I've been paper quilling cards trying to master the art. It seems like a pretty obscure hobby because it is lol, but I like how it looks and it's pretty neat. I've been making almost all my cards that I send out to people and I like how they're original. When I first started I was  having so much fun I wanted to do everything at once. So, I apologize to people who got very kindergarten looking cards from me, when others looked nicer. I blame my learning curve and the time when I made different cards. However, since starting I've been gradually getting better and better. At this point I am pretty happy with some of the creations I've put together, and others embarrassed to even claim. *Sigh* That is life I suppose.

The way I operate is I sit down and think of what kind of card I'm making, for whom because I take into account their preference of colors, favorite flowers or activities, etc. and then scour Google images for inspiration. For the most part I look over a couple hundred images and keep track of elements in different pictures that I like and eventually put together a finished image in my mind. This takes a lot of time. I'll admit that I've downplayed how much time just because I realize that most people would think I'm insane to spend the time I do on this endeavor. BUT, it is my main hobby and up to now I've had the time to do it while watching TV, talking to David, or when I'm home alone after work. Although, now with a baby on the way I am sure this upcoming year is going to be challenging in itself with time management and such. I have accepted the fact that I will be tabling this time consuming hobby for a while, probably a long while, and with that in mind I decided that I was going to try to go all out on this years cards. Just a heads up if you get a super bling-ed out card, it's because of this very reason. I held no embellishment back that I thought could make it cute. Sorry guys if yours come out a bit girl-y.

Anyways, to my point. While scouring images for this years cards I often come across images of peoples amazing work that are wall art, rather than for cards. They can be REALLY impressive and I am NO WHERE near that level of masterful-ness. But I of course admire. Then it occurred to me while I was struggling with a certain card that perhaps I could instead of making a card, I could make a frame-able 'card' for this individual. Now, the reason for this is because I've been disappointed with my ability to come up with good ideas for not only cards for them but also gifts. It is challenging. Thus this idea sprouted and I ran with it. For a while. A long while, haha. They love birds, so I figured a pretty rain forest scene would be something within my abilities and come out looking nice. Can I just tell you making a quilled Macaw with tiny pieces fit together is tedious. I actually felt like I was doing stained glass that's how tedious the work felt. But I finished the bird and was quite happy with the result. Then I moved on to the part I felt was more difficult - the 3D flora pieces to make it a rain forest. This part took a lot of time, because rain forests have a lot of ferns and palms and cutting those things out of card stock and bending them to look like they were real took some time. And a couple do-overs. Here's a picture of when I was playing around with the pieces, figuring out where to place them:

In the end I was really happy and proud of the finished piece of wall art, but I understand why people don't pump those out (or at least why sane people don't) and have so much more respect for those who create delicate and elaborate wall pieces in this fashion. I was impressed before but now I am blown away. Anyways, I finished my humble piece and was able to give it to the individual early since I am afraid with our upcoming move that it'll get ruined (and that would make me really cry). I need to get David to take a picture of the finished product since I didn't have time to before I gave it to them - it was quite hurried at the end to give it to them when I was able to see them. These cards I've been making kind of feel like a last hurrah to my hobbies and the activities I enjoy now since I don't anticipate getting to have that much 'me' time in the near future. Maybe I'm wrong, I guess I can always hope :) but I expect our lives to change dramatically in the next couple months. Yay! : D

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Short Cut Cassoulet - Jacques Style

It's no secret David and I love food. Especially me lately, but that's a whole other issue haha. Usually we try to let the changing season dictate our food preferences, you know summer = lighter fare and winter is of course warm and heartier. However, sometimes there are just some recipes that look WAY too enticing to wait a whole year to try. Take, for example, Jacques Pepin short-cut Cassoulet. Defined as a stew with (lots of) meat and (some) white beans, and described as a rich slow cooked casserole. Essentially, the French's version of chili. David LOVES chili, and I have been needing to eat more meat recently so we found ourselves in the 'perfect storm' to create this dish.

After one quick trip to the grocery we gathered the few items we needed. I have to tell you that the ratio of meat to beans in the original recipe from Jacques was a little bit ridiculous. And by little you know that I really mean a LOT. Even David was impressed and that is not easily done my friends. This is the man who is well known for saying "I just want a hunk of meat". But I digress. So, after getting back from the store I set about putting the 'quick' dish together. Traditionally this is a dish that takes about 3 days to put together, which is insane in my book, but Jacques so nicely creates a shorter version of it for those of us mere mortals that only have like 30 minutes to an hour in our afternoon free to make dinner. Now, you could Google Jacques 30 minute cassoulet recipe and follow it if you desired, but to suit my needs and items available I kind of used his recipe more like guidelines (yes, I said that just like in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl when Barbossa says, "the code is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules.")

This is not the finished stew, but rather a preview of the meat to vegetable ratio

Anyways, here is what I did to make this stupendous dish:

Adapted from Jacques Pepin 30 minute Cassoulet recipe
Makes 8-10 servings

  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 lb Boston Butt or 1/4 lb bacon
  • 3 Hot Italian Sausages
  • 2 Bratwursts or 1 smoked Kielbasa
  • 1 pint mushrooms
  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-6 cans Cannelloni beans, undrained 
  • 4 c chicken stock or water
  • Salt and Pepper to preference

  1. If using Boston Butt, season well on all sides with kosher salt and pepper. Rub it in with your hands. 
  2. Heat oil in a large pot and add the seasoned Boston Butt, or the bacon if using, and the Italian sausages. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, turning the meat occasionally. My advice - make sure you cover it otherwise you'll be cleaning up oil splatter from the fatty meats EVERYWHERE. 
  3. Add the bratwurst, or Kielbasa, mushrooms, carrots, onion, garlic, thyme and the bay leaf to the pot. Mix well and cook for about another 10 minutes.
  4. Now you can add in the beans (go ahead and pour the entire cans contents in, don't drain it), tomato, water and pepper. The amount of beans I feel is up to personal preference. I opened a few cans and then added more until I liked the ratio of meat to beans/vegetables. Bring it all to a boil. Now, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover to gently simmer for 5-10 minutes. 
  5. It was at this point the meat seemed to be done (the sausages skins were cracking and beautifully browned), so I removed the pieces from the stew, sliced them in thick slices, and set them aside in a large bowl to add back in before serving. I was afraid of overcooking them. 
  6. It was at this point that you could have tasted the stew and seasoned to preference with salt and pepper, sliced the meat and served dinner. However, I had time to spare and stews are always better if you let them stew longer rather than shorter time periods, so I let it continue to simmer and thicken for about another hour. I set a timer to come stir it about every 10-15 minutes and then by the end of the hour it had a beautiful gravy like sauce, not too thick or thin that tasted like the essence of awesome. 
  7. I took it off the heat, discarded the bay leaf, and added the meat slices back into it. Warmed everything right up and served it hot with crusty Italian bread. I thought it would also be very good served well over rice, but we went with the bread for this dinner. 

 We feasted like kings with this dinner : D it was wonderful. However, our consistent thought was it is so rich because of the fatty meats (which are of course tasty for that reason) it's a meal that you don't want to gorge on. Unless you want to have your heart stop during your dinner. Seriously decadent - eat with caution haha. I am still confused on how this was historically a peasant food with all the meat in it, but I guess they are the only ones working hard enough to work off all the calories so they don't drop dead from eating it frequently. David did point out you could use pretty cheap cuts of meat, or hunted game, and perhaps that is why it was peasant fare.

From all the recipe scouring I did beforehand, it seems you can pretty much use any meats you may have on hand, whether it be a form of bacon, sausage, pork shoulder, chicken thighs, breasts, lamb, duck, beef, etc. It seemed many people had gotten creative with this meal.

Anyways, it was delicious and I think you should try it and adjust it to your liking despite the weather turning warmer  :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Running Total

Since finding out we were pregnant waaaaaay back in September all I heard and read was to stay as active as I can and be healthy. So, since Liang and I had already gotten into the habit of jogging and exercising it wasn't too difficult - you know, until I wasn't allowed to run anymore. Then the walking ensued.
Once I entered into the home stretch (aka 3rd trimester) I started getting curious. What was the total I had moved to date? I looked back at my spreadsheet I keep of my exercise (yes, I am that obsessive haha) and totalled it up. I was lucky enough to have previously signed up for races that took place early on, so I accumulated a lot of miles through that front loading, and insane motivated enough to actually finish them once the race day arrived.
All in all since finding out I was pregnant to now, 30 weeks!, I have jogged/walked a total of 203.69 miles! Say what?! I did that? I essentially ran a little further past Harrisburg, PA from Pittsburgh. I don't know about you but I felt that was due a little celebration.

And that's where the Beignets come into play : D
Of course I was telling you about my exercise, gearing up, to tell you all about something tasty and not so good for you! Haha.

Beignets are New Orleans gift to the world. A Southern doughnut. I don't often like fried sweets, but once in a while I'll make an exception for something as good as this.

The dough is VERY sticky, as you can see below I needed to generously flour the counter I rolled it out on.

Using a pizza cutter was the easiest to cut these suckers out. Easy peasy.

Frying isn't the healthiest of options, but as a treat it can make a mean dessert!

Oops, these may have been on the one side frying a little too long. Oh well, you can't ruin it with crisp! 

When done remove from hot oil and let drain on paper towels, dust generously with powdered sugar and settle in to enjoy an amazing treat : D

The Cooks Illustrated recipe and method

Makes 2 dozen

  • 1 c water at 110 degrees F
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp instant or rapid rise yeast
  • 3 c AP flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • oil for frying
  • powdered sugar

  1. Combine water, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and yeast in large bowl and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Combine flour, remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and salt in second bowl. Whisk eggs and 2 tablespoons oil into yeast mixture. Add flour mixture and stir vigorously with rubber spatula until dough comes together. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  2. Set wire rack inside rimmed baking sheet. Line second sheet with ­parchment paper and dust heavily with flour. Place half of dough on well-floured counter and pat into rough rectangle with floured hands, flipping to coat with flour. Roll dough into ¼-inch-thick rectangle (roughly 12 by 9 inches). Using pizza wheel, cut dough into twelve 3-inch squares and transfer to floured sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
  3. Add enough of remaining 2 quarts oil to large Dutch oven to measure about 1½ inches deep and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Place 6 beignets in oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes, flipping halfway through frying. Adjust burner, if necessary, to maintain oil temperature between 325 and 350 degrees. Using slotted spoon or spider, transfer beignets to prepared wire rack. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining beignets. Dust beignets with confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately.

We did find that we could freeze the extras pretty successfully after they had cooled completely and to re-heat we put them in a preheated oven at 350 degrees. It took about 10 minutes to crisp up and then we topped them with the powdered sugar. I tip my cap to you chefs at Cooks Illustrated!