Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Good. Lord. This one might kill me. Fortunately, I am firmly committed to my resolution of eating healty and working out through the whole holiday season.
Salted Chocolate Caramels
2 cups heavy cream
10 1/2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
2 teaspoons flaky sea salt such as Maldon
Vegetable oil for greasing
Special equipment: parchment paper; a candy thermometer
Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch straight-sided square metal baking pan with 2 long sheets of crisscrossed parchment.
Bring cream just to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, then reduce heat to low and add chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat.
Bring sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, uncovered, without stirring but gently swirling pan occasionally, until sugar is deep golden, about 10 minutes. Tilt pan and carefully pour in chocolate mixture (mixture will bubble and steam vigorously). Continue to boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until mixture registers 255°F on thermometer, about 15 minutes. Add butter, stirring until completely melted, then immediately pour into lined baking pan (do not scrape any caramel clinging to bottom or side of saucepan). Let caramel stand 10 minutes, then sprinkle evenly with sea salt.
Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours.
Carefully invert caramel onto a clean, dry cutting board, then peel off parchment. Turn caramel salt side up. Lightly oil blade of a large heavy knife and cut into 1-inch squares.
Friday, November 14, 2008
But they make a lovely treat to give away, and last a good while, well-wrapped, in the refigerator. So you can pre-bake treats for teachers, co-workers, and any other deserving folks.
Knock-Off Cranberry Bliss Bars
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup diced dried cranberries
6 ounces white chocolate chips
1/4 c diced candied ginger
4-ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
1/4 cup diced dried cranberries
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Make cake by beating butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt and beat well. Gradually mix in flour until smooth. Mix 3/4 cup diced dried cranberries, white chocolate, and candied ginger into the batter by hand. Pour batter into a well-greased 9x13" baking pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges. Allow cake to cool.
3. Make frosting by combining softened cream cheese, 3 cups powdered sugar, lemon juice, zest and extracts in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread frosting over the top of the cake.
4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of diced cranberries over the frosting on the cake.
5. Whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and shortening. Drizzle icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion or use a pastry bag with a fine tip to drizzle frosting across the top of the cake.
6. Allow cake to sit for several hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle. Slice the cake across the width three times making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.
Makes 16 bars.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
4 things I did today (I'll count "day" as "24 hours"):
- Finished a twirly skirt.
- Comforted a nightmare-ing child.
- Donated to WUWM's fund drive.
- Drank coffee and wrote code (this one is cheating, I realize)
4 things on my to-do list:
- Renew my license plates.
- Get passport pictures for the monkeys.
- Nail down Christmas plans.
4 of my guilty pleasures:
- heavy cream in my tea
- sleeping in on a rainy day
- Rachel Ray
- The Order of the Stick
4 random facts about me:
- I don't have a belly button.
- My little fingers are bent inward on both hands. Both of my girls ALSO have bent little fingers.
- I was a member of a nationally-ranked parliamentary procedure team (DORK!!)
- I am so conflict-averse that I can't watch Jerry Springer/Montel/any of the talk shows with yelling and screaming. I get too stressed out.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The new tradition. . .
The "thankful thing" before dinner
Dinner with candles, even if it's just boxed mac 'n' cheese and hot dogs
The old tradition. . .
Antipasto, cheese, and wine on Thursday nights
I'll be really glad when. . .
All of the various financial garbage is sorted and I know where I stand.
Not liking. . .
Missing my German.
Being sick for so long and not being sure what's going on.
Liking. . .
The anticipation of making pumpkin bread
The girls falling in love with "yogurt sundaes" (Greek yogurt + apple butter + Fiber One cereal)
Chilly nights for sleeping curled up under the quilts
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Actually, I love all of these kiddos to pieces, and am super-excited that I get to watch them grow (well, not the sweater-baby. I haven't even met her three-year-old big sister yet. Am suck virtual auntie.)
However! I am a good virtual auntie to the future owner of these woollen socks. They look much less hoopty and messed-up in real life -- I'm not sure if it's the resolution or the color changes or what, but this photo looks like they were knit by someone vaguely deranged.
Anyway, they were knit for a Little Miss Allison, who just turned one, and is setting off on many new walking adventures. Since shoes are not so good for new walkers, but we live where it is already QUITE freakin' cold already, I thought some festive footies would be just the thing for her.
My favoritest part is the green patches that showed up on the bottom of the heels.
Knit top-down on size 1 needles, using a smallified version of Silver's sock recipe.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I have kind of a freakish love for French knots. I think it might be because I was never able to do them until, oh, the last six months or so? I think I finally learned from a link off of the Alabama Stitch Book flickr set -- one of the women in the group knots off the end of her thread with French knots. Her explanation just clicked for me, and voila! Now I can do the knots!
I'll try to get a good picture of the finished product before I send it off later today, but since I finished after 1:00 this morning, I kind of just fell into bed and figured I'd let the pictures take care of themselves later.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
When I tracked down the maintenance guy, he informed me that it was because the mortgage on the building was held by Freddie Mac, and now that the government had taken it over, everything needed to be OSHA compliant, and the location of my coat rack wasn't acceptable.
There was also something about WaMu and Carl Kasell.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
YOU were born for success and many of you enjoy the limelight. Smart and
capable, you don't like to wait for anyone else to give you permission to do
something. You are intellectually active and your mind works overtime. Physical
activity is important for your well-being. Your personal color intensifies your
shining spirit. Wearing, meditating, or surrounding yourself with Golden Nugget
helps you balance your emotions and keep your moods on an even keel.
I'm so incredibly lucky to be the mom to two beautiful, charming, silly, and deeply, deeply WEIRD girls.
Trinity is six. Genevieve (Vivi) is three.
They love books, baking, art projects (especially the messy kind), ballerinas, black beans and rice, and bathroom humor.
They are my reasons for being. They make me want to be the best role model as a mom and a woman that I can be. They are my guinea pigs and my muses and my super-demanding and more-than-occasionally-micro-managerial boss ladies.
They are my rotten snugglemuffilicious Monkey Faces. And I am the luckiest in the world that they love me right back.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
With the creativity came a renewed sense of joy and purpose and excitement.
Since there is far too little joy and positive purpose and excitement in the world, I thought I'd share a little of mine.