Wednesday, March 5, 2014
A little taste of spring: rhubarb jam bars! Made from this recipe (I halved the oat mixture because it makes way too much) using this rhubarb jam I made last May.
We have to put in an effort to eat all the jam I make in a year. I usually end up with at least 20 jars--a lot for 3 people to get through. But the process is so enjoyable that I just keep making it. Pickles, on the other hand: I just opened my last jar. Noooo! Once they're gone I'll be longing for the zingy, so-vinegary-they-almost-choke-ya spears until cucumber season is upon us once again in July.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Friday, February 28, 2014
Winter slump continues! It seems I've been whistling the same tune for the past few months: It's cold outside so we've been holed up inside, Elliot hasn't been napping so I'm playing with him nonstop all day and dealing with his increasing crabbiness, and I have a 2,000-page job that I'm working on whenever I have a spare 3 minutes. Not much inspiration or time for creativity at the moment, but that's okay. Things happen in seasons; this is simply my season to work.
This has also been the season of garbage. Literally. Elliot's favorite thing to play with is wadded-up paper. He has a little bag of garbage that he totes from room to room and he makes up elaborate processing systems that involve his trucks, marble tracks (compacting chutes), closet doors (rock crushers), and the fourth wall of his old crib (conveyer belt). He can do this all. day. long. I certainly can't complain about his ability to focus!
For the first time this season, it really does feel like spring is right around the corner. It's still bright out--and increasingly blue-skyed!--when Jason gets home from work. The snow is melting bit by bit. It's getting easier to stay inside because I know that soon we'll be outside. There's a lot coming up to look forward to.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Happy Valentine's Day! This morning I made one more batch of lollipops to hand out to friends at my old office. I made this recipe for homemade lollipops using butterscotch oil and yellow food coloring and it turned out pretty good! Making suckers is much easier than I thought it would be, but I still had trouble with the syrup hardening quickly in the pan and there were lots and lots of stringies everywhere when I put the syrup in the molds. But that's okay--Elliot liked the stringies. :)
Thursday, February 13, 2014
If you've read this blog a few times you know I love holidays and can't let one pass without making something to celebrate. For Valentine's Day, salted caramel-chocolate lollipops from Sweet Confections! First you caramelize sugar, then you stir in a cream-butter-corn syrup mixture, then you you add chopped chocolate and cook to 274 degrees, and finally you put the syrup in lollipop molds and sprinkle it with salt. (I had a lot of syrup left over after filling the molds and it was hardening fast, so I poured it into a pie plate and made a 6-inch sucker. Elliot claimed that one.) This is the first time I've made lollipops, and figuring out how to fill the molds without making a mess was a little tricky, but it worked out. Tasty and festive. :)
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Some of my fondest memories of elementary school are of the holiday parties, particularly Valentine's Day. Spending the morning decorating a shoe box and spending the afternoon exchanging cards, cutting out paper hearts, and eating pink frosted cupcakes? As an adult, I just don't get to do that as often as I'd like.
Homemade valentines! I carved the stamp from a motif in Making an Impression. I then stamped the heart on white cardstock, cut that out and glued it to some houndstooth scrapbook paper, and trimmed the paper with pinking shears. Elliot stamped "to" and "from" on the back with other stamps we already owned. Easy (once the stamp was done, that is) and very cute!
They're in the mail. Maybe I'll get some in my shoe box in return.
Monday, February 10, 2014
It's funny how central making things is to my sense of well-being. If I go too long without creating something I feel dissatisfied and a little empty. I honestly cannot recall what we did this past week--all the days of watching The Brady Bunch and eating cough drops blurred together. Yesterday, the first day I felt well enough to be active, I wanted to make something tangible. First was Elliot's pillow. Then, brownies.
One of my favorite cookbooks, and one I mention on here often, is Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook. I've cooked the heck out of the main dishes in the book but never made a dessert, until we made these Cocoa Brownies. I like my brownies fudgy, and brownies made with cocoa powder tend to be dry and a little bland for my tastes, so I added some chocolate chips to make things a little gooier. I was pleasantly surprised that the brownies came out moist and slightly fudgy and just the right level of sweet. Thumbs up, brownies!