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Quick Breads/Muffins & Popovers!

Daring Bakers
February 2012

Hi! It’s me, Lis! *grin* Yes, I’m your host this month! Our scheduled host couldn’t be here, so I decided that it was high time I hosted a challenge myself. (Okay not really, I have no business hosting, but there wasn’t enough time to ask someone else! Shhhhh..) Smile Now keep in mind, I am NOT a baker.. cooking is my bag. I love to play around with baking, but give me some beef to braise, some veggies to roast or some fish to filet and I am in heaven. So your challenge this month is going to rely on your creative skills and not my mad baking skillz. hee!

I’ve chosen to go with quick breads!

Download printable file HERE

Epicurious’ definition is as follows:

Quick Bread
Bread that is quick to make because it doesn't require kneading or rising time. That's because the leavener in such a bread is usually baking powder or baking soda, which, when combined with moisture, starts the rising process immediately. In the case of double-acting baking powder, oven heat causes a second burst of rising power. Eggs can also be used to leaven quick breads. This genre includes most biscuits, muffins, popovers and a wide variety of sweet and savory loaf breads.

I’d like ya’ll to concentrate on loaves or muffins. I’m going to supply you with a base recipe and a few other recipes that I’ve made over the past few weeks and you can use any of them as written or as a foundation to build upon a new flavor – OR – you can use any quick bread recipe you like.. all I’m asking is that you stick to the same principles that I did:

  • No yeast
  • Can’t take more than 1.5 hours to prepare and bake through.
  • Only loaves or muffins/popovers

Recipe Source: The basic quick bread recipe is from Sara Schewe. The prune bread recipe was my Aunty Ann’s recipe. The Meyer Lemon Loaf and Green Onion, Cheddar & Asiago Beer Batter Bread were adapted from Recipe Girl. The Pumpkin Bread with Maple Cream Cheese Filling was adapted from Dana Ramsey’s recipe located on Just a Pinch Recipe Club.

Blog-checking lines: The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

Posting Date: February 27, 2012

Note: Kids.. I don’t have any specific notes, I’m not kidding when I say I’m not a baker. I don’t have the patience or the skills. My palms sweat when I have to bake. This is why I live vicariously through all of you extremely talented folks. This is why I beg many of you to send me baked goods through the mail. Hee! I’m taking over this month because I had to (and I won’t lie, it sounded fun after I went to my BFFs and told them my predicament & then got all excited while we were talking about it) not because I thought I could share with you any wise baking advice. *grin*

So all I can say is, learn from my mistakes:

  • Read a recipe twice before even gathering your ingredients.
  • Most of the recipes say to check with a toothpick.. When making loaves, I’d use a wooden skewer or a long cake tester if you can get your hands on them.
  • Always start checking for doneness a good 5 to 7 minutes before the allotted time the recipe calls for.
  • Don’t allow the dogs (especially the wee lil ankle biters) to join you in your baking adventures.. they are very trip-overable.
  • Also, pre-heat the oven and grease up your pans before you start getting your hands dirty. My husband yells when I get batter all over the stove, so this will help prevent your spouses from yelling at you. Tongue
  • Mise en place (having everything ready to cook) is also highly recommended although I can never remember to do it.. therefore I usually have a good 2 inches of flour and butter and other assorted ingredients caked on my counters because I’m fumbling over bags, bottles and cartons to get to what I need.
  • And finally, the most important tip/note I can pass along to you is.. DO NOT start cursing the Baking Gods for any mistakes or bad outcomes you may have. They don’t like it.. they don’t stand for it.. and they will cause big, billowy, black smoke clouds to waft through your oven’s door and vents. Then they laugh at you. And point accusingly. It’s embarrassing. So when you get mad (not that anyone will get upset over this challenge.. it’s easy peasy!) leave the room so they can’t hear you and rip them a new one out of earshot. Trust me on this. Tongue
  • This isn’t a tip but I’m just forewarning you.. I’m as much of a photographer as I am a baker.. so don’t be scrolling below in hopes of finding jaw dropping (in the good way) photos. Tongue
THIS CHALLENGE IS MEANT TO BE FUN – DON’T TAKE ANYTHING TOO SERIOUSLY.. RELAX IN THE KITCHEN.. DON’T START ANY FIRES AND BY ALL MEANS IF YOUR QUICK BREADS TURN OUT BEAUTIFULLY, MAIL ME A LOAF!!!! Wink xoxoxo

I was feeling that although I firmly believe this challenge should be about fun and creativity (I mean it IS quick bread after all), that it really wasn’t very informative.. and voiced my concern to Aud, who came up with what follows (bless your cotton socks, Aud! xoxo):

Quick bread primer

  • Quick breads can be sweet or savory, they are a modern innovation they became common after the introduction of baking powder and baking soda.
  • Baking powder is a combination of acid and alkaline that reacts together when moistened to form gases that raises the baked quick bread. Usage 1 to 2 teaspoons per cup of flour.
  • Baking soda (an alkaline salt, sodium bicarbonate) is used when the liquid is acidic, such as buttermilk, honey, molasses, tomato sauce etc. Usage ½ to 1 teaspoon per cup of acidic liquid.
  • Be sure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh.
  • Measure ingredients accurately, using the measuring tools and techniques suggested.
  • Preheat the oven to the correct baking temperature. Arrange racks so that the bread will bake in the center of the oven which has the best heat distribution in the oven.
  • To allow for good air circulation while baking, leave at least 1 inch of space between pans and between pans and sides of oven. Switch pan positions and rotate pans halfway through baking.
  • The two top secrets to moist, tender quick bread is 1)in the mixing always use a quick light technique so you don't over-mix the batter 2) don't over-bake since this cause dryness in the final baked product. .
  • Quick breads can be created by the following methods:

Muffin (or the two-bowl) method – The dry and wet ingredients are kept separate and then are combined quickly and gingerly by adding the wet to the dry, and folding the two together with only a few strokes. The idea is to not over-mix, basically moistening the ingredients and leaving the batter slightly lumpy, with wisps of flour showing (even small lumps are fine) so as not to overdevelop the gluten in the flour which will keep the bread tender. An over mixed batter creates tough and rubbery muffins/quick breads. Since over-mixing will cause "tunnels" – holes where the air bubbles can escape – which will make the quick bread tough.
Creaming method – The butter and sugar are beaten and creamed together until smooth and fluffy. Next, the egg and liquid flavoring are added to the butter and sugar mixture. The dry ingredients and other liquids are folded in last. This method is best when baking cakes since a lot of air pockets are added into the mixture. Folding in the ingredients creates even more air pockets to keep the cakes light and fluffy.
Cutting in method – The chilled fat is cut into the flour. The fat results in a flaky texture since the fat melts while in the oven. This method is best used when baking biscuits, scones or pie crusts.

  • Depending on the recipe and the type of quick bread, there are also three different types of batter:

Pour Batter: This type of batter has a dry:liquid ratio of 1:1. Because there is so much liquid in this type of batter, the result is very moist and dense.
Drop Batter: This batter has a dry:liquid ratio of 3:1. This batter will result in a moist but fluffy baked good.
Stiff Dough: This batter has a dry:liquid ratio of 7:1 This batter will result in a very light and fluffy baked good.

  • Lower gluten flours are best to make quick breads you can replace 4 tablespoons in each cup of all-purpose flour with cake flour in most recipes or replace 2 tablespoons in each cup of all-purpose flour with corn flour (cornstarch) if you wish to lower the gluten levels of your flour.
  • Flour should be sifted to aerate it which gives more rise therefore a lighter crumb to the final baked goods.
  • Add fruit, nuts, etc. after lightly combining the wet and dry ingredients. Then give the batter one more light-handed stir and you're done. Is the batter still thick and lumpy? That's exactly what you want
  • If you're adding dried fruit, try soaking it first. This will moisten the fruit, make it tender and juicy, and also preserve the bread's moisture. Don't sprinkle dried fruit on top of quick bread before baking, as it will burn before the loaf is done.
  • To lower the fat, for example, you can substitute some (or all) of the oil with an equal amount of almost any fruit puree (apple sauce, plum baby food, pumpkin puree, mashed bananas).
  • Glaze your baked quick breads for a nice finishing touch and burst of flavor. Make a simple mixture of confectioners' (icing) sugar and a little milk or fruit juice. Try orange and lemon juices, for their fragrant, tart zing; add curls of zest for extra color and flavor.
  • For most quick mix recipes as a general rule – less butter and sugar in a recipe makes it more bread-like, while more butter and sugar produces something closer to cake.
  • To prevent moist quick breads from spoiling, let them cool completely after baking. Then wrap them tightly in foil or plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. If your bread is made with cheese, cream cheese or other perishable foods, it should be refrigerated.
  • Quick breads such as banana, zucchini and cranberry slice and taste best when served a day after baking. Wrap the cooled bread in foil or plastic wrap; leave at room temperature overnight. Others like cornbread and coffee cakes are best served warm.
  • The quick bread is done if a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. If it is not done, test again in a few more minutes.
  • Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, unless recipe directs otherwise. Turn loaves out onto a wire rack to cool. Most quick bread should be cooled completely before slicing to prevent crumbling.
  • Using a sawing motion, cut loaves with a thin sharp knife. Use a serrated knife for quick breads that have fruits and/or nuts.

Common Problems and troubleshooting (ref http://allrecipes.com/howto/baking-quick-breads/)

Bread sticks to pan. Unless you're using high-quality non-stick metal or silicone baking pans, you should always grease the pans before you pour in the batter. The best thing to use for greasing the pan is shortening, because its melting point is higher than any other kind of fat, which helps maintain a "shield" between pan and batter while the bread is baking. A high-quality cooking spray--one that won't bake on to your pans and discolour them--is also a fast, easy fix. You can also prevent sticking by removing the bread from the pan sooner: let the bread cool for at least twenty minutes in order to set (Bundt loaves should cool twice as long) before inverting the pan.

There are big holes and "tunnels" in the bread, and/or the bread is tough. These problems are usually caused by over-mixing.

There's a big crack down the middle of the quick bread loaf. Don't worry--it's normal for quick breads. The crack on top happens when top of the loaf "sets" in the heat of the oven before the bread is finished rising. Drizzle the loaf with icing or dust with confectioners' (icing) sugar.

My blueberry muffins look green! By reacting with the alkaline baking soda, the blueberries' pigments can turn green. Toss the berries with the flour mixture before combining the ingredients; the coating should help. If you're using frozen berries, don't thaw them before using them.

The bread looks done on the outside but it's still raw in the middle. This is one of the most common quick bread problems, and it can be caused by a few different factors. The oven temperature could be too high. (Use an oven thermometer to check: they're cheap and available at most supermarkets.)

Try lowering the oven temperature and/or putting a loose tent of foil over the top of the bread so it won't burn before the middle has time to catch up.

Another cause of "raw center" syndrome could be using a different pan than the recipe calls for. One of the nice things about quick breads is that you can use the same batter to make muffins, mini loaves, jumbo loaves, or rounds. But each size requires different baking times--and some require different baking temperatures. The larger and thicker the loaf, the longer it's going to take to bake. If you're using a different size pan than your recipe calls for, adjust the baking time accordingly and check the bread often.

Mandatory Items: You must make a quick bread in either a loaf shape or muffin/popover shape. You must share your recipe so we can all recreate it after we’re done drooling over it! Smile You cannot use yeast as leaven.

Variations allowed: You can use the recipes I’ve included below or someone else’s or by all means, create your own! Go crazy with flavors, toppings, and fillings!

Preparation time: Each recipe varies, but you shouldn’t need more than 30 minutes in prep and 1 hour to bake (depending on size of loaf/muffin/popover pan).

Equipment required:

  • An oven. Duh.
  • Bowls
  • Spatulas or Spoonulas (my tool of choice.. it’s a spoon! No, it’s a spatula! It’s both!)
  • Whisk
  • A mixer – stand alone or hand held OR mix all ingredients by hands like our ancestors did!)
  • Loaf pans and/or muffin pans and/or popover pans
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Box grater or microplane grater
  • Parchment paper
  • Toothpicks, or wood skewers for cake testing.

Basic Quick Bread

Makes one 9” x 5” (23×13 cm) loaf
Recipe from Sara Schewe

2 cups (480 ml) (250 gm/9 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm/8 oz) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) fine sea salt or table salt
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk or soured milk*
1 large egg
1/4 cup (60 ml) mild- or non-flavored oil, like canola
1 teaspoon (5 ml) flavored extract, such as vanilla or almond

for the glaze
1/3 cup (80 ml) (35 gm/1-1/3 oz) confectioners’ (icing) sugar
1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to moderate 350ºF/180ºC/gas mark 4. Grease a 9×5 inch (23×13 centimeter) loaf pan with butter and line with parchment paper cut to fit the length and width of the pan, with enough overhang to allow easy removal after baking. Grease the top sheet of parchment.
  2. In large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt to combine. Make a well in the center and set aside.
  3. Lightly whisk (butter)milk, egg, oil, and extract to combine. Pour into well and stir until just mixed into a batter. The batter will be lumpy and may still show a few streaks of flour.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely before slicing. Drizzle with glaze, if desired.
  5. For the glaze: Slowly whisk confectioners’ (icing) sugar and half of the milk, adding more milk as needed to thin the glaze to the desired consistency.

Note: To make soured milk, combine 1 cup milk (240 ml) with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vinegar or lemon juice and let sit for 10 minutes.

Pictorial Guide to Making a Quick Bread:
(Photo courtesy of Mandy of What The Fruitcake?!)

1) Put dry ingredients in bowl
2) Mix with wet ingredients
3) Add additional flavorings (cheese, herbs, seeds etc.)
4) Mix to make a very sticky dough
5) Spread into a parchment lined bread tin
6) (Optional) Top with (seeds, herbs etc.)
7) (Optional) Top with (any other flavor used like grated cheese)
8) Baked!
Thank you WP2 *smooch*



















Aunty Ann’s Prune Bread

Makes two 8” x 5” (20 x 13 cm) loaves

Now I know what you’re thinking.. PRUNE bread? Ewwwwwwwwww. Seriously, it’s not a bad thing! Honestly, you can’t even really taste the prunes, they help with the moistness of the bread. What you get is a moist, sweet and slightly spicy bread that’s perfect plain or with a schmear of butter at breakfast or with afternoon/evening tea or coffee.

Ingredients
2 cups (480 ml) (450 gm/16 oz) granulated sugar
1 cup (240 ml) mild- or non-flavored oil, like canola
3 large eggs
2 small (70 gm/2½ oz) containers of strained prunes baby food – I use Gerber! (a little over ½ cup)
2½ cup (600 ml) (350 gm/12-1/3 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
½ teaspoon (2½ ml)(1 gm) ground cinnamon (okay, use 1 teaspoon if you like a lil more spice.. My Aunty wouldn’t mind. Wink
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm/1/3 oz) baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) table salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) well-shaken buttermilk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to moderate 325ºF/165°C/gas mark 3
2. Dump all ingredients in a bowl.
3. Start to mixin’! Once everything in incorporated stop mixin’!
4. Fill two greased 8” x 5” (20 x 13 cm) loaf pans about ¾ full.
5. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into middle of loaf comes out clean.

Green Onion, Cheddar & Asiago Beer Batter Bread

Makes one 9” x 5” (23 x 13 cm) loaf
Adapted from Recipe Girl’s Cheddar Chive Beer Batter Bread

Ingredients
1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil
1 cup (240 ml) (100 gm/3½ oz) sliced green (spring) onion
3 cups (720 ml) (420 gm/15 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
3 tablespoons (45 ml) (45 gm/1½ oz) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 cup (240 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup (120 ml) (2 oz) grated Asiago cheese
One (12 fl oz/355 ml) (about 1½ cups) bottle beer (such as amber ale)
¼ cup (60 ml) (55 gm/2 oz) butter, melted and divided

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F/190°C/gas mark 5. Spray 9”×5″ (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add green onion and sauté 3-4 minutes or until tender. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl; make a well in the center of the mixture. Add onion, cheeses, and beer. Stir just until moist.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Drizzle evenly with 2 tablespoons of butter. Bake for 35 minutes; brush with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake an additional 23 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Pumpkin Bread with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

Makes three 8”x 4” (20 x 10 cm) loaves
Adapted from Dana Ramsey’s recipe

Ingredients

FILLING
2 (225 gm/8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (60 ml) (55 gm/2 oz) white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon (15 ml) milk (can use whole, 1%, 2% or skim.. can even splurge and use cream!)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) maple extract* or 1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup

BREAD
3 cups (720 ml) 675 gm/24 oz)white granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup (420 ml) (425 gm/15 oz) (pumpkin purée (or 1 can (15 oz) solid-packed pumpkin – NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup (240 ml) light- or non-flavored oil, like canola
1 cup (240 ml) water
4 large eggs
4 cup (960 ml) (560 gm/19¾ oz) all-purpose, unbleached flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm/1/3 oz) baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking powder
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (4 gm) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (1 gm) ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1¼ ml) (½ gm) ground cloves (I omitted this)
1/2 cup (120 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) chopped pecans (Optional)
1/2 cup (120 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) chopped walnuts (Optional)
1 cup (240 ml) (100 gm/3½ oz) currants or raisins (Optional)

*Note: I would never ask anyone to buy an ingredient that isn’t 100% necessary for a recipe, but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND buying maple extract. You get a much better maple flavor than using maple syrup. But this bread would be delicious regardless of which maple option you used.. trust me. Wink

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Spray three 8”×4″ (20 x 10 cm) loaf pans with cooking spray.
  2. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg and milk in a small bowl until creamy, add your maple extract or syrup and blend. Set aside for now.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, pumpkin, oil, water and eggs. In another large bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
  4. Now gradually add the dry ingredients to your wet. Stir in the nuts and/or dried fruit if using.
  5. Pour half of the batter into three flour-greased 8" x 4" (20 x 10 cm) loaf pans.
  6. Spoon the filling over the batter. Use a spatula to spread it out carefully.
  7. Add the remaining batter making sure you completely cover the filling.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pans before removing the bread to a wire rack to cool completely. Store your bread in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap.

Meyer Lemon Loaf

Makes two 8” x 5” (20 x 13 cm) loaves
Adapted from Recipe Girl’s Meyer Lemon Loaf

Ingredients

LOAF:
2 2/3 cups (640 ml) (375 gm/13¼ oz) all-purpose (plain)unbleached flour
¾ teaspoon (3¾ ml) (3¾ gm) baking powder
zest of 3 Meyer lemons (regular old lemons will work just fine)
2 cups (480 ml) (450 gm/16 oz) white granulated sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup (180 ml) sour cream or creme fraiche, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (30 ml) rum (can omit – I did!)
1½ tablespoons (22½ ml) fresh Meyer lemon juice (again, regular lemons can be used)
pinch of salt
9 tablespoons (135 ml) (125 gm/4½ oz/1 stick + 1 tablespoon) butter, melted and cooled

SIMPLE SYRUP:
½ cup (120 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 ml) water
Juice from 1 medium Meyer Lemon (or regular lemon)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Butter and flour two 8” x 5” (20 x 13 cm) loaf pans.
  2. Sift together flour and baking powder; set aside.
  3. Place sugar, lemon zest, and eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat with a whisk until the mixture is a light lemon color and thickened a bit. This can also be done with a mixer. Whisk in sour cream, then salt, then rum (if using) and lemon juice.
  4. Gently whisk in the flour in four parts, then whisk in the butter in three parts. You’ll have a thick, pourable batter flecked with lemon zest.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. While the loaves are baking, prepare simple syrup. Boil together sugar and water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice.
  7. Turn the loaves out of their pans onto a cooling rack and brush liberally with the lemon syrup, repeat brushing as you feel necessary. Let cool.

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
Loaves can be kept wrapped tightly on the counter or in the fridge for approximately 5 to 7 days. Loaves last 6 months if wrapped tightly and kept air tight in the freezer.

Additional Information:

A popular blogger’s top 10 quick bread recipes
Joy of Baking’s assorted recipes and videos of quick breads
Peach Pie Quick Bread Video – sounds so good!!
A beer batter bread recipe.. doesn’t seem to be special until she pours melted butter all over it!
A great primer on making quick breads from King Arthur's flour website

Disclaimer:

The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking”. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. The responsibility is YOURS regardless of what health issue you’re dealing with. Please consult your physician with any questions before using an ingredient you are not familiar with. Thank you! Smile

Lis
Basic Quick Bread=honestcooking.com; Meyer Lemon & Green Onion, Cheddar & Asiago Beer Bread adapted from recipegirl.com; Pumpkin Bread w/Maple Cream Cheese=justapinch.com
Prune Bread=Ann Ashley; Quick Bread=Sara Schewe; Meyer Lemon & Green Onion, Cheddar & Asiago Beer Bread adapted from recipes by Lori of Recipe Girl; Pumpkin/Maple= Dana Ramsey
kellypea
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Holy COW. I can't believe I missed doing a challenge you hosted, Lis. I'm such a bad, slacker. Miss these challenges and you! xoxox