Sunday, February 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Around the same time I fell off the blogging bandwagon I also took a dive off of the menu planning train.  My sanity and my pocketbook have suffered.  So I'm back on the wagon 24 hours sober tomorrow!

Monday - Pulled Pork Burritos

Tuesday - Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner at St. John's - Swing by for great pancakes and other fat Tuesday goodies and watch your very own Domestic Delinquent Sling hash...or pancakes or whatever

Wednesday - Slow cooker italian meatball soup (Can I avoid burning in the fiery pits of hell if I don't eat the meatballs?)

Thursday - leftover soup (I have to get to eat it eventually!!)

Friday - Tuna Noodle Casserole.

So, I do try to be observant during Lent.  I TRY not to eat meat on Fridays, but this presents certain challenges.  My kids are all under the age of 14 and are therefore (technically) exempt from the rules of fasting, my husband is not particularly religious and is also therefore exempt.  So, in the end, I'm the only one fasting and there are times where something's got to give and I end up with a meal of bread and cheese.

Also....I try to give something up for lent.  Generally that something is chocolate.  I've never made it.  One year I made it to the very last week...but then my birthday fell about 5 days before Easter and someone bought me a chocolate cake.  Now at the best of times when you put a cake in front of me I'm going to eat it.  Couple that with the fact that I was turning 30 (yes the big 3-0) and I didn't have a chance.  I ate that bugger before I knew what I was doing.

I'm not sure what to give up this year.  I'm considering sleeping or oxygen, just so long as I can have my chocolate.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day

So....I may have gone a little overboard on Valentine's day this year, which is totally unlike me!

I thought that it would be fun to make a bunch of homemade candies and whatnot and get the kids all whacked out on sugar. 

I ended up making raspberry truffles, chocolate dipped marshmallows and meringue hearts.   I bought the kids a bunch of Valentines-y stuff and did up the dining room for is the result.

The paper heart garlands were made by cutting up a cheep book from the dollar store and then sewing the hearts together on my sewing machine.  There is something very satisfying about sewing paper, it makes a very appealing crunching sound as the needle pierces the paper. 

and yes...that is the selvage edge on the tablecloth...I'm not freaking Martha Stewart.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pink Marshmallows

In preparation for Valentine's day I tried to make homemade marshmallows seemed like such a good idea at the time.

The basic principle is fairly simple.  You add a hot sugar solution to a gelatin solution and mix the bejeebers out of it.  But, as always, the devil was in the details.  Here is the recipe that I used (from NBC Washington) .

Pomegranate Marshmallows
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
½ cup pomegranate juice
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup corn syrup
½ cup water
Sprinkle the gelatin over the pomegranate juice in the bowl of an electric mixer. Let sit 5 minutes. Place over a double boiler (a pot that has water boiling) to heat & dissolve the gelatin.
Place the sugar, corn syrup and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer or until you can place a small amount of the mixture into cold water and when you squeeze it, it has the feel of chewing gum.
Using caution, pour the hot syrup into the mixing bowl with the gelatin and juice. With the whisk attachment, whisk on high speed until cool, about 15 minutes. Place into a well oiled dish and let sit for 4 hours. Cut into desired shapes.

 I'm not going to say that they were a total failure...but they ain't stay-puft.  I learned a few things that I will now graciously share with you.

  1. It takes for freeking EVER to get a sugar solution that last 10 degrees.  I know that it's vital to have my sugar solution at the correct temperature...but I'm not known for my patience.  I tried so so hard, but I may have been a degree or two short.  This may have been my first mistake.
  2. This concoction will expand in your mixer.  I made a double batch, and my mixer was very nearly overwhelmed.  She photographic evidence below.
  3. Before
  4.  Marashmallows need to breath - in an attempt to keep dust, pet hair and small children out of my marshmallows I covered them as they sat.  I think that this was a mistake, I think that they sort of needed to dry out a little. 
UPDATE:  After cutting and allowing the marshmallows to dry out a bit they became much more marshmallow and learn!

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    Surviving the pending Zombie Apocolypse

    I was chatting with a friend the other day when I asked him, in the event of the inevitable zombie apocalypse, who would he eat first, me or a mutual friend of ours. Without hesitation he replied "you". NO hesitation, not even a courtesy pause! At that moment it became clear to me that my post-apocalyptic survival skill set is severely lacking.
    Now, truth is, I'll probably never learn to weld, make my own shotgun shells or fashion working generator out of discarded bicycle parts, but it seems only prudent to pick up a few worthwhile skills.

    It was time to take stock. I made a list of the practical real world skills that I currently posses:
    • Knitting - should survivors need socks and be willing to wait a few years.
    • Canning - I could probably put up enough food to last for the winter...though I can't necessarily promise that some survivors won't succumb to botulism.
    • Soap making - ok...I don't really know how to do this, but I read a book once.
    • Childbirth - ok, so I'm sort of pushing it at this point, but there will be the need to repopulate and I have some past experience is this field.

    So, clearly there are some holes in my apocalyptic planning so I've made a list of skills to acquire.
    • Sewing - just because zombies are roaming the streets doesn't mean that the survivor shouldn't sport the latest in brain smashing fashion.
    • Gardening - an apple a day keeps the brain eating undead away. 
    • Chicken keeping - Gotta have protein!
    Hmmmm..ok, so that's all I have for now.  I'm open to suggestions. 

    I'll keep you updated on my progress.  In the meantime, here are some pertinent links to help you too be ready for the zombie apocalypse:

    CDC - Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse
    The Undead Report
    Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse