Thursday, November 24, 2011

Indiana's 1st Thanksgiving

Indy got lots of cuddles and rides on Daddy's shoulders for Thanksgiving.

This morning, Casey, Dad and I ran the Turkey Trot through downtown, while Casey's mom, Cindy, watched Indy. Then we all went to my parent's house for Thanksgiving.
Dad did most of the cooking: smoked turkey (it looks burnt and scary, but it was delicious!), salad, green beans with bacon, molasses sweet potatoes and twice baked potatoes. Yum. I made sausage and sage dressing and dessert.
A sweet potato tart, with a gingersnap crust--FAIL. The crust stuck to the pan and was gummy. And it was too vegetable-y. Yuck. And an old fashioned pecan pie--SUCCESS! Seriously, amazing. The recipe uses maple syrup and molasses instead of corn syrup (and I added extra pecans). Best pecan pie ever. And the fresh bourbon whipped cream just gilded the lily. :-)
Caught in the act! I love that both my mom and I were licking our fingers here. It was a delicious meal...and we went home, and all three of us took a nap. Now, that's a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Homemade Marshmallows

Yes, you can make marshmallows at home. And they put to shame Jet-Puffed. Honestly, other than being slightly time-consuming on the cutting apart and dusting with powdered sugar, they're rather easy. And absolutely delish. BUT do not attempt this with a light-weight mixer. It will burn up the motor (RIP Sunbeam), but with a good heavy-duty mixer like a Kitchen-Aid, all is well. This recipe is a combination of Alton Brown's, Barefoot Contessa's and another I found online. It makes about 80 good sized marshmallows (which is a huge amount...but how often do you make marshmallows?).

5 Tbls. unflavored gelatin (or 5 packets)
2 cups cold water (1 cup for the gelatin and 1 cup for the sugar syrup)
3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbls. vanilla extract
1 package of shaved coconut, lightly toasted and cooled
Powdered sugar & Cornstarch, for dusting


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

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1 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, CAREFULLY 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.
Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch 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 for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with toasted coconut. 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 or knife 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.
Casey loves marshmallows. And, he did the dishes. Isn't he cute in my apron? Love that man.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The last few weekends...

The last few weekends have been super-busy, but very nice. Two weekends ago, my Mom-in-law came in to town to watch Indiana, and Casey & I went to Ft Worth Saturday evening to see the ballet, Giselle. It was lovely. We had a really good meal beforehand (6 courses!) and then stayed the night in Ft Worth. It was the first night we'd spent away from him, and it went smoothly. But I was ready to see him Sunday morning.
So sweet! We have unintentionally started a photo series: Still Life with Indiana. Some people take pictures of their child with a stuffed animal or some thing to mark their growth...we just like a little more variety! Indiana has definitely become a "sitter" and loves being in his highchair in the kitchen. He watches us as we cook and plays with his toys. He's also enjoying solids more as I'd introduced him to more vegetables: butternut squash, sweet potato, peas, and this week: avocado. So far, he's a really good eater...and will sometimes get cranky to watch others eat if he doesn't get any! But he still doesn't have any teeth, so no table food yet.

Last weekend we got a sitter to go to Tom's Halloween Party. The theme this year was hats, and Casey of course had to have a really silly one.
On Sunday, we had a larger crowd than I expected for Indiana's Baby Dedication ceremony at church, my parents: Mamie Marie-Anne and "Just" Jack, Nana Cindy and her friend Lynda, and Aunt Aubrey, along with Mommy and Daddy. Indiana is loved.I put him in a puffy little christening outfit, despite Casey's protests. My little cherub.

That same day, we celebrated Casey's birthday with Dustin & Aubrey by making Filet Mignon, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus and Caesar Salad at out house (so we could put Indy to bed and still hang out) and had a really nice time. And on the day itself, Casey wanted to stay home and hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. And we had quite a crowd. Casey would ask each one what they were dressed as and even bargained with a few kids to trade their candy for extra of ours!

This weekend, other than going to the Highland Park vs McKinney football game with Aubrey on Friday (since she went to McKinney and I went to HP), we haven't done much but lay around and read.
And play with the blue elephant. :-)