Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Homemade Marshmallows

Last week I introduced a new series called The Outer Isles. This is my first attempt at making something from the middle isles of the grocery store. I should add that all the things I make won't necessarily be any healthier, but homemade. When Will and I visited Knoxville for an interview we were looking for a coffee shop. We picked the one that advertised homemade marshmallows (easy choice). To our disappointment the owner hadn't made them in a while. I have thought about these marshmallows on and off for the last couple of months. How hard could they be? I am going to be honest it never occurred to me to make marshmallows I just assumed they were something factories invented. I thought it would be pretty labor intensive and not worth it. I mean how good could homemade marshmallows be? I was wrong. Like everything I have ever had homemade these were pretty magnificent.

Here are the ingredients and the recipe I used.

A little plain gelatin and water.
Lots of corn syrup and sugar.
Boiling of the sugars
Pour into the pan.
Let it sit for 5 hours or until it gets firm.

Dump it out.
Cut away.
And serve.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Baby Bean Blurb Book

It finally came! I have been working on this blurb book for almost a year. I started it last February while waiting to have Vivi. You may remember my weekly posts from Zambia. I decided to compile them in a book. Each week I took a picture and wrote something about the week. Here are a few of the pages.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sewing-ish Project

This year for Christmas we drew names. Foz got my name and he gave me a fabric cutter and some material {which I suspect was his wife Kristen}. Well only a few weeks earlier I spotted some chairs at Will's parents house and asked if they were getting rid of them. They didn't have any place for them so they gave them to us. I was so excited because they had a fun retro feel to them. The only thing they needed was a little TLC. There were four of them and four pieces of material it was all so perfect.

I love these patterns!
The old foam was pretty rotten and by the time I finished scrapping it off my hands were black.
Lindsay and I played around to figure out how to get the material tight.
There was lots of hot glue involved.
Lots of rusty screws.
The finished product.
A little coffee nook.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Outer Isles

In the last year and a half food has become an increasingly important topic. It started mainly when I was pregnant. One soda here and there became a couple a week. I was craving sugar and eating very few vegetables. When it came time to get screened for gestational diabetes I was ready and it never occurred to me that I would be at risk. When my results came back it showed that my numbers were high. My doctor thought it may be an inaccurate test, but I didn't care I couldn't stop hearing those words gestational diabetes. She talked to me about my diet. I realized I was snacking on nothing but crackers and an occassional piece of fruit. I decided right then that I had to change how I ate. I had already started making more food from scratch due to the limited amount of prepackage/prepared food that was available. Cooking took longer, but there was a sense of satisfaction from cutting and sauteeing that was therapeutic. When we headed back to the States we both wanted to continue cooking from scratch but we knew it would be hard with the convenience of home.

When we got back I was talking to a friend about food and she said, "We usually shop the outer isles when we go to the grocery store." I must have had a quizzical look on my face because she went on to explain what she meant. In most grocery stores fresh produce, dairy, and meats are all located on the outer perimeters. The processed foods and sweets tend to be in the middle.  By keeping to the outer edges they are able to eat healthier (this doesn't mean they don't sneak a bottle of coke or other fun items from time to time).

I am not saying that I am swearing off the middle isles all I want to do is have a little experiment. Before I go to purchase an item on the middle isles I have to at least try and make it first. I am not committing to making that item from scratch from here on out. I just really want to see if I can make tasty food from scratch. I don't know how often I will get to post so I am not making any kind of regular promises. I would love it if you would join me. I will take tips or any reasonable requests for food to try and create. Here's to cooking!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Weekend Wrapup

This past week was filled with lots of good food and snow. Here in Alabama we get snow once every three years so you can imagine it is a big deal. It was Viola's first time to see snow and touch it. She was very curious. She poked at it here and there, but had no real interest in being friends. She readjusted herself at one point and lost her balance. She didn't face plant,but I think she got more acquainted than she ever wanted to be.

We tried some new recipes from this blog.

Broiled grapefruit with sugar and spices, yogurt, and granola.

We headed to Montgomery on Saturday to see a friend who I haven't seen in years. I would have taken a picture, but I was too busy catching up on her life and meeting her 4 months old little girl. Afterwards we decided to go to the Children's Museum. We took a walk around the park while Viola napped.

I think we may have had more fun.
I love all the different images I got.
Will put on a puppet show and Viola squealed in excitement.
We then headed to celebrate Matt's (my brother in law) birthday at Mugshots. Everyone from Will's family came and we enjoyed stuffing ourselves with food and the most delicious cake.

On Sunday we had some friends over for huevos rancheros. They are our new favorites if you couldn't tell. It was so nice to sit and chat. We were so busy in the fall with interviews that we kind of fell off the map with friends. It has been nice to get back into our old routine.

A little hot chocolate to go with Downton Abbey.

Did I mention those are homemade marshmallows? More on that later. I told you there was a lot of food involved.
We had so many leftover that we had to make smores.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

This year has gotten off to a faster start than I would like. I wanted to take some reflective time to set personal goals and goals as a couple. That hasn't happened quite the way I envisioned. I more or less looked at last year's goals and rewrote them. Kind of like when you would check your math answers in the back of the book before actually finishing the problem. There is still time, but I feel so out of sorts when I don't take this time.

Here is what we have been up to these last several weeks.

Starting new projects.

Trying my hand at a small sewing project.

 Mikey and Lindsay made everyone cazuela. It was delicious.

We took my nieces rock climbing for their Christmas.

Started up a new season of Downton Abbey which we also coined Drunkton Abbey.
Celebrate Epiphany with huevos rancheros and king cake.

The said king cake.

Lindsay found the baby. On Fat Tuesday she gets to be queen for the day.
We started the king cake tradition last year. The Hannons brought us back a porcelain baby like the ones that used to be in king cakes years ago. I have been waiting all year to hide that baby. I am so excited to see what Lindsay has planned. She is so creative and loves to celebrate i.e. it is going to be awesome.