Saturday, January 3, 2009

More than you need to know!

I’ve been tagged! My good friend over at Liesl’s Confection Dissection has tagged me to share 7 interesting facts about myself. Quite frankly, I don’t know that there are 7 interesting things about me! But I’ll give it a shot.

1) For three years (2002-2004) I worked during the spring at a Prom/Pageant/Bridal shop. We arranged our dresses by size, and then by color. They were arranged in ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) order. I loved the way this looked to the eye, and ever since then I have been arranging my closet like that. The funny thing is, while working at this shop, we were required to wear black, and I didn’t own ANY black clothes. I had to go out and buy clothes specifically for work. Not long after that I went through a natural color phase, and wore a lot of tan/brown/green. Within the past year or so, I’ve been wearing LOTS of black & grey. So now, I have a closet of half black & gray, and half colors (arranged ROYBGIV of course!).

2) I’m currently dieting. 😛 I’m mainly counting calories, and trying to get back into working out & actually enjoying it. One reason is I am going to be a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding April 3. The other reason is, I want to get back to where I feel better about myself!

3) My hometown does not have any stoplights or caution lights. There are lights at the railroad crossing, and that’s it! It’s teeny tiny.

4) I love pictures, and I love looking at pictures at other people’s houses, but I don’t really like decorating with pictures at my place. I have no way to explain this.

5) I have the coolest, most unique set of friends in the world! It just sucks, that we all live in different cities, (Nashville, Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort, and one in our hometown). I’m the furthest away, so I see everyone the least. 🙁

6) No one who is friends with me here in Nashville can believe it when I tell them I grew up on a farm. I’m SUCH a city girl now! I’ve ALWAYS dreamed of what city I would live in.

7) I love love love coupons. I clip them ALL the time. I clip them WAY more than I use them, but I love that I have them in case the opportunity arises.

For this I’ll tag 7 people, if you want to share 7 facts, go ahead, and if you don’t, no big deal! 😀 These are just great blogs, so that’s why I tagged them.

1. KMAYS over at Food all Puttanesca
2. Maris at In Good Taste
3. Lovestoeat
4. Dinner & Dessert
5. Cate at Cate’s Kitchen
6. Cook Like A Champion
7. And a Cookie for Dessert

And, because I couldn’t have a post without a shot of food, here’s a pic of my dad’s Hoppin’ John. It’s a traditional southern dish eaten on New Year’s Day. The black-eyed peas are supposed to signify money, to bring you wealth in the new year. There are many different variations on Hoppin’ John. While I don’t know my dad’s recipe, I do know it has sausage, rice, & black-eyed peas, and it’s REALLY good.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

White Wine Sangria


I’m a little bit of a wino. Back in July The Boy and I threw a picnic at the park nearby. He was busy concocting a very strong, very sweet, rum punch. I decided to do a lighter, refreshing sangria. I really wanted to do a white wine sangria. I’m pretty sure I found this recipe using the Food Blog Search. I was reminded of this recipe when a friend asked for it to make for New Year’s.

I adapted this recipe just a little to suit my tastes. The best part about this sangria, is how amazing the pears taste afterwards! All the fruit is great, but the pears were the best! If you can’t find white peaches, regular peaches work fine, but I really recommend the white ones.  The best thing about this sangria is you can substitute other fruits.  The second time I made this (the version in the picture) I didn’t have the strawberries or white peaches, but I had regular peaches & blueberries.

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White Wine Sangria

adapted from Seattle Food Geek

Ingredients:

1 cheap bottle of chardonnay, white zinfandel, or pinot grigio, sweet (I used pinot grigio)
1/2 liter tonic water (I used diet)
2 oz peach schnapps
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 pear, cored and sliced (bosc or d’anjou work well)
1 white peach, sliced
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
ice

Directions:

Add the sliced fruit, sugar and 2 cups of ice to large pitcher. Muddle with a muddler or the back of a big wooden spoon. You aren’t trying to make a fruit smoothie (and the presentation is much nicer if the fruit are shapely) so just try to get some of the fruit oils released.

Add the wine and schnapps. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to server. Add the tonic water and top the pitcher with more ice. Pour into tall glasses or wine goblets, letting some of the fruit fall into the glass.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Marshmallows, Redux


I made marshmallows back in the fall for a camping trip I was going on with friends. They were so amazingly yummy. Everyone loved them, and was asking me about them when I went home for Thanksgiving. Sadly I didn’t have any then. I knew I would have to make them for Christmas.

The first batch I made I put in peppermint extract, instead of vanilla, I also swirled them with food coloring and cut them with cookie cutters. I’m glad I only did one batch like that. I felt the 2 Tablespoons of peppermint was incredibly overpowering. So when I packaged those up to give to my coworkers, I only put 1 peppermint marshmallow in the goodie bags, and filled the rest with plain marshmallows. When I was making the plain marshmallows I decided to seek out a different marshmallow recipe to see if there was one I liked better. I’m really glad I did, because I found this recipe. I ended up sort of using a combination of the previous recipe, and this one, and I think I’ve found a keeper! I ended up making 3 batches of the plain ones! These are just oh, so good. They truly melt in your mouth.

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Marshmallows II

adapted from Slashfood & RecipeZaar

Ingredients:

.75-oz unflavored gelatin (3 envelopes of Knox gelatin)
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Line 13 x 9-inch pan with plastic wrap and lightly oil it. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Soak for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Clip on candy thermometer and bring temperature to high. Cook syrup WITHOUT STIRRING until temperature reaches 244° (firm ball stage).

Immediately remove pan from heat. Using whisk attachment, turn mixer onto low, slowly pour the boiling mixture into the softened gelatin. Add salt, and turn mixer onto high; beat until mixture is very thick and white and has almost tripled in volume, about 12-15 minutes. Add in vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Using a lightly greased spatula (this part is very helpful!), pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan, and spread evenly. Take another piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap and press lightly on top of the marshmallow, creating a seal. Let mixture sit for a few hours, or overnight, until cooled and firmly set.

When you're ready to cut the marshmallow, on a smooth work surface (I used newspapers), flip the marshmallow pan over (so the plastic that was on top, is now on the bottom). Peel off the top layer of plastic. Grease a pizza cutter and cut marshmallows into squares. In a bowl combine equal parts cornstarch & powdered sugar. Toss the marshmallows in the mixture, and dust off excess powder. Eat & enjoy alone, or in s'mores or with hot cocoa!



Packaged up and ready to go!
Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gingerbread White Chocolate Blondies


I’m still drooling over the Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook I checked out from the library. I made a long list of all the cookies I want to make. I know I won’t get to them all, sadly. I did make one batch of cookies, and they were yummy. This was another recipe I knew I HAD to make. YUM! They were a perfect Christmas season treat. It makes a huge amount, so I brought some into my work, and sent the rest off with The Boy to his work potluck. And honestly, if I had anymore molasses left, I’d be making these again!

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Gingerbread White Chocolate Blondies

from Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook

Ingredients:

Vegetable-oil cooking spray
2 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
10 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 17-by-12-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment cut to fit, and coat parchment. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

Beat butter and brown and granulated sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs and yolk, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Stir in white chocolate.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake until edges are golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 2-inch squares or desired shape. Blondies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Graham Cracker Candy


While at my parents over Thanksgiving break my sister wanted to prepare a dessert to take to our grandmother’s house (we call her Mammy). She kept asking me if I remembered the graham cracker dessert Mammy used to make. I didn’t remember at all. Then she started making it, and the smell was a little familiar. Once she finished making it, and it cooled, I ate one (and later ate many many more), and instantly knew I had eaten it once long before. Funny how the sense of taste can trigger a memory.

Anyways, this is a very very simple, but very addictive treat. I would guess this recipe is probably on some kind of website somewhere, so I apologize if someone thinks I plagerized. This is just what my sister emailed me, and our Mammy used to make it long ago (before there even was the internet!). You should definitely try this treat! It smells SOOOO good while baking!

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Graham Cracker Candy

from my sister & my Mammy

Ingredients:

Graham crackers (enough to fill up two cookie sheet, so just start with a whole box)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans is what she used, but walnuts would be good too)

Directions:

Line two (or just one large) cookie sheets with foil and cover the entire bottoms with graham crackers in squares (not crushed). Boil butter, and sugar for 3 minutes. Pour over the top of graham crackers. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool, then break up into pieces. Store in airtight container.