Thursday, December 23, 2010

Why Z got a new bed

Last night, as Z was getting ready for bed, he was discussing his racecar bed with his daddy.

"Daddy, I didn't always have a race car bed, right?"

"No, mommy and I bought this big boy bed for you."

"Right, we got a new bed because my old bed looked like a cage, and you didn't want me to sleep in a cage."

Yes, son, a crib does resemble a cage, doesn't it?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Homemade Marshmallows

Several of my friends have made homemade marshmallows this Christmas season. I decided to give it whirl. I decided to use Alton Brown's recipe.

Alton Brown's Homemade Marshmallows


  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray


Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

For regular marshmallows:

Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Smoothing the marshmallows into the pan was surprisingly difficult because I'd prepped the pan so well. It wouldn't stick at all. I finally had to sprinkle some of the cornstarch/sugar mixture on top and pat into place.

Here's S & Z, ready and anxious to help me cut them out.

Cutting them into snowflakes turned out to be a major pain, so after doing the plate full, I decided to use a greased pizza cutter and cut the rest into squares.

The kids all agree that these taste MUCH better than storebought marshmallows and have a better texture.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Orange Tree

My uncle and grandmother found an amazing deal on potted orange trees, so they bought a couple, and gave me one.

Imagine my excitement a month later, when it started blooming! It smelled heavenly and looked gorgeous.

A couple weeks later, I looked at the faded blooms, and could see tiny little oranges forming. I was now practically incoherent with joy.

Then, a few days ago, my little kids decided to play with the tree. 3/4 of the leaves are gone, and all of my bitty oranges have been plucked off as well. While I didn't cry, I was pretty disappointed.