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Feb. 22nd, 2011

From Daily Prayables, today's made me smile:

Thanks be to You
for semi-colons,
for m-dashes, ellipses, and commas.
Glory be in the languages of Earth,
in Morse code and Braille,
in Swahili and Portuguese.
You made us social beings,
then gave us the gift that binds,
that brings us together
in conversation, chatter, exclamation.
Joy comes from communication,
as does peace.
Help us to use our words wisely and well.

- Lori Strawn
Raffi got a whole ball of silly putty in his hair. *sigh* It's gonna be fun.
As anxious as I am by the multiple chaotic things going on right now, I am having a moment of profound gratitude to be surrounded by my loved ones. Tonight I got an email letting me know that one of the fathers in David's Hebrew school class died suddenly yesterday. All I can do is bring them some food, pitifully insufficient. Those poor children, their poor mom.
http://alchemybaking.blogspot.com/2011/01/easy-blueberry-cream-scones.html

I want to make these with big chunks of chocolate and maybe some toffee chips instead of blueberries. Plus maybe some others that aren't quite as evil for you, maybe raspberry with sliced almonds? The pan they ask for are between 64 and 80 square inches. If I use a 9x13 pan, that's 117, so I could double the recipe and make squares to make it quick & easy. I'd probably do 24 instead of 20 to cut them more easily.
Pay it Forward 2011: I promise to send something handmade [in my case, probably something edible] to the first 5 people who leave a comment. They must in turn post this and send something they made to the first 5 people who comment on their status. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 5 people sometime in 2011. (Stolen from Kimberly Bobrow Jennery)

And to further quote Kimberly: "I think I'll be silly and do this. Also, I will only commit to the first 5, but if you aren't one of them, and you comment, I might manage it anyway - especially if you're local."

Meal planning

I'm biting the bullet and doing it, this is just ridiculous. Tomorrow I'm going to take inventory of my pantry and two refrigerator freezers. After that, I'm going to see if I can come up with meals for a week that require little to no purchasing. I've got lots here, it should be possible! Heck, it should be EASY.

ETA: http://orgjunkie.com/2007/07/how-to-menu-plan-theres-really-nothing-to-it.html
ETA: http://www.itsfrugalbeinggreen.com/30-quick-green-and-frugal-meal-planning/
ETA: Check stick blender to see if it works.
ETA: http://orgjunkie.com/2008/12/quick-and-easy-homemade-pizza-crust-recipe.html
ETA: http://www.yourhomebasedmom.com/best-big-fat-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies/

ETA: Goal- 7 dinners
1. Make your own pizza w/ crudites
2. Soup with veggies, kind TBA later & some sort of bread/roll/muffin
3. Tamale pies with salsa verde (white bean & veggies for them, poultry & veggies for me)
4. Pasta with cheese & veggies (something meat on the side for me)
5. Breakfast for dinner -- eggs, pancakes or waffles and fruit
6. Rice, dal, veggies, yoghurt & crudites (lamb for me)
7.

Other:
Roasted chick pea "nuts"
Hard boiled eggs
Homemade yoghurt
Homemade crackers

Writer's Block: Conversation starters

Are there any subjects you either embrace or totally avoid talking about when you meet someone new?

I'm in love with Eileen's marshmallow book.  I'm in love with the detailed recipes and the full page glossy photos.  I'm in love with how generous and open she is with advice both on her web site and facebook

Making marshmallows is awfully easy. 
Take a 9x13 pan, spray with oil and then dust with potato starch or a powdered sugar/starch combination.
In a bowl you "bloom" (rehydrate) powdered gelatine with cold liquid. 
In a pot, you bring water, cane sugar and Eileen's fabulous corn syrup substitute (or use light corn syrup) to 250F. 
It's as easy as it sounds and once you get to 250, you mix them together. 
Whip like cream and when it's tripled in size and fluffy, you pour it into the prepared pan.
Wait four hours (SOMEHOW!!!) and flip onto a surface liberally sprinkled with your dusting mixture.
Use a pizza cutter or scissors to cut into your desired size cubes, then toss with more dusting mixture to prevent sticking together.

You can see more details on making plain (vanilla) marshmallows here at Eileen's web site.  But today I made her espresso fluff and had to share a sample of her fluff recipes since I couldn't find any online to link to.

Espresso fluff
Makes about 7 cups (seemed more than that to me!)

(I'm too lazy to type it all, but you'll get the idea.  If you want the detail, ask me what's missing or check your local bookstore or library!)

Additional flavoring:  2T espresso powder mixed with 2T hot water
Bloom: .5c H2O, .5c Marshmallow syrup or corn syrup and .66c granulated cane sugar
Egg foam: 3 lg egg whites or equivalent in rehydrated powdered egg whites with .25t salt

1. Start egg whites beating in stand mixer, leave beating until fluffy.  If using powdered eggs, leave running until base is ready.
2. Start base cooking. When it boils, cover for 2-3 minutes, then remove lid and insert thermometer. 
    WITHOUT STIRRING, let it come to 240F and remove from heat. Cool 3-4min.
3. Mix in espresso mix.
4. Slowly drizzle base into egg along the side of the bowl, then increase speed to high and beat 8 minutes.

Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or longer in the freezer but I'm not sure how much longer.  I filled a new pint canning jar and a used clean quart sized spaghetti jar for David's teacher's gift and to bring to the inlaws' for Christmas and still had a good bit in a jar to keep in the fridge for myself.

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