Friday, February 26, 2010

* Snow * Snow * Snow * Snow *

I don't want to be one of those people that does nothing but complain about the snow, acting all surprised when it happens, even though we LIVE IN NEW JERSEY, WHICH TENDS TO HAVE WINTER ALMOST EVERY YEAR. And do not get me started on people that stock up at the grocery store. You mean you didn't have 24 hours worth of food and toilet paper to subsist on in the house? And no shovel? By now?
But seriously. WTF, Winter? Give it a rest already.

On a cheerful note, we had another birthday around here! Happy Birthday Kelly! I made her a Peppermint Poke Cake, a recipe I got from Betty Crocker or somewhere and had forever. It's a chocolate cake mix, which you bake and poke holes in, then pour on chocolate pudding (with peppermint), and top with peppermint/chocolate frosting. It was so moist and delicious, with just the right amount of mintiness!

The words are done by holding a stencil over the cake and sifting confectioner's sugar over it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


There's nothing quite like Cream of Wheat for a cold winter's day. It satisfies your cravings for something hot AND mushy. I love the chef that looks like he's making a bowl special just for me! Apple Cinnamon especially reminds me of childhood when we used to eat it all the time (that and Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, which, if you were really lucky, would sometimes have a little glob of brown sugar that didn't quite mix in.). Lately, I've been really wanting Cream of Wheat, and today I finally bought some. Well, add it to the list of things that are just not the same as they used to be. They changed the taste, added more spice or something. Actually, yeah, it tastes like maybe nutmeg or perhaps allspice. It's a much stronger flavor than I remember. Maybe kids today need flavors kicked up a notch? Bam? Whatever the reason, I say "Boooooo Mr. Cream O. Wheat!" I liked your mild hint of apples and cinnamon. Just wait till I try the Maple Brown Sugar, we'll see what thats about!

I stole this image.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Marshmallows again. Much better this time. I went with Alton Brown's recipe from Food Network (he's usually got pretty good recipes and doesn't let me down). The process was actually pretty simple, just took some time. No egg whites this time to mess everything up!

I wanted to take a pic with snow around it, as I made these on Wednesday's snow day, but realized it would become an icy puddle really fast.

A cup of cocoa was delicious with breakfast this morning, a Dutch Baby. It's a baked eggy pancake, sort of like a souffle. I do not like eggs, but this tastes like eggs the way French Toast tastes like eggs...sort of, but not really. Below is the recipe, which is based on another version but added more flour and milk.

Terrible photos? We've got those!
3 Eggs
3/4 cup Milk
3/4 cup Flour
Pinch of Salt
3-4 tbsp Unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400°, place on a low rack in the oven a 9" pie plate, casserole, or whatever you've got handy (different sizes will just vary the thickness).

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend well, or whisk together in a bowl. Melt butter directly in the pan in the oven. When it is melted, pour in batter. Bake 15-20 mins. The sides will puff up a lot. Dust with powdered sugar and serve. It's good with fruit, applesauce, syrup, etc.

Valentine's Day

If you are looking for a nice dinner to make for Valentine's Day, try anything you can make heart-shaped, such as grilled cheese, pancakes, toast, fried eggs, pizza, hamburgers, cookies, soft pretzels, cake, lasagna (in a heart pan), brownies, gnocchi orrrr....
My Heart Ravioli from last year!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Reading Update

I am now 150 pages into Infinite Jest, and there are some points that I would like to make regarding it in general, in no particular order:
  • New characters are still being introduced. Some do not have names and there are not many hints as to locations and context.
  • I have no sense of time, since all years are named instead of numbered, and the narrative jumps around.
  • There are no chapters, just lots of sections.
  • The footnotes are funny. Well, there's a lot of humor in the whole thing.
  • Some sentences (not to mention paragraphs) can be almost a page long. And very rambly. It is all written as stream of consciousness, and I think Wallace just forgot to re-read before it was published. This style of writing is probably the reason a lot of people who try to read it begin and fail.

In other book news, today I had a "Blind Date With a Book." Clifton Library had a display of wrapped books; you pick one at random, and it could be anything. I got a biography of the women that created Nancy Drew. Should be nice after 1000 pages of rambling. Would have been cool if they then let me pick a book to wrap!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

It Happened Again

Complete Baking Total Failure. Yes that's redundant. No, I don't care.

I have always wanted to make my own marshmallows. Homemade marshmallows are so cool, they are fluffy and big and just yummier than store-bought. It's one of those recipes that looks hard to do, but really isn't. So naturally, I thought my skills were up to the task. Apparently not. Here's the basic process:

Cook sugar and corn syrup until 240 degrees, then add plain gelatin. While cooking, whip up egg whites. Mix the two. Pour in a pan. Cool, enjoy.

Now here's how mine went:
1. Cook sugar and corn syrup, measuring with a thermometer that only goes to 200. Hope for the best.

2. Whip up egg white that is a few days old because it was from the babka (which only needed yolks).

3. Wonder why the whites don't look as fluffy as they usually do, but go ahead on anyway.

4. Pour in a pan, and assume they are 1/4" thick now, but will magically puff up as they cool.

5. Realize the substance turned to rubber, and throw it out.

So there, you go! That's all it takes to make homemade marshmallows! Try it yourself in the future! Please don't involve me.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Are you ready...


Acme is!

Acme is a grocery store around here. They are having a huge sale on Pepsi this week (got us some Throwback!), and the entraceway had this neat display. It does say the whole word Superbowl, XLIV (complete with goal posts), it just didn't fit in the photo.

I left Acme pondering who would take the time to do that? Some crafty Pepsi delivery guy? Does he put up giant Superbowl Pepsi displays at every stop? It must make his route very long.

Or maybe, it's the manager, and he's an overly demanding guy who made the college students who work there stay late one night to put it together, because dammit, we have all this Pepsi, we might as well USE IT!

For more grocery store-football oddities, check out this post from Cake Wrecks. Enjoy the big game everybody! Go Team of Indeterminate Origin!