Monday, December 28, 2009

Marshmallow Madness



Photo: Country Living Magazine

Now that the eye of the holiday storm has moved past us, the days seem long and a bit empty. Especially with the frigid temperatures that are keeping us from setting foot outside! The kiddo loves all his new toys and is perfectly happy watching his videos and staying in his room discovering, pretending and being amazed that Santa brought him exactly what he asked for. As for me, I am a little glad that I can get back to creating and filling the holiday void with some homemade tasty treats!
Did you know that you can make your own marshmallows? I always thought these had to be made by some big fancy machines - in some factory far far away in a town that no one has heard of - with ingredients that the FDA approved of by only a narrow margin? How else could they be so good?! I recently found this recipe on the Food Network site and the 100+ ratings were mostly 5 stars! Now, where did I put my hot cocoa?


Ingredients

  • 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 extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray
Directions
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 for 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.
For miniature marshmallows:
Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and dust with the confectioners' sugar mixture.
Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip. Pipe the mixture onto the prepared sheet pans lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch between each strip. Sprinkle the tops with enough of the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture to lightly cover. Let the strips set for 4 hours or up to overnight.
Cut into 1/2 inch pieces using a pizza wheel or scissors dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to a week.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Doll Up Your Kicks!

I just can't resist any kind of embellishments these days! If there is a garment donning a ruffle, lace, bow or frill of any kind, you can bet that you will see me standing there, holding it, loving it, all with just a small amount of drool dripping from my lips!
Shoes are no exception! However, when designers and shoe companies add flair they also add a heavy price tag to go with it. Here is a great way to garb up your plain shoes with very little effort and very little cash...if any at all! If you have any left over scraps laying around the house, this project is for you!




Materials you will need:
-any kind of lace, trim, or ribbon
-needle and thread
-bobby pin (preferably a higher quality, sturdy pin that will hold it's form)
-broach, old earring or button





Measure the toe of your shoe to see just how long and wide you want your lace or trim to be. Fold it in half and tie a piece of thread around the middle...


You should have something like this when done with this first step.




Next, sew on your first piece of trim with a basic stitch, attaching it to the top of your lace where you have just gathered it.
hint: slightly folding the end of your trim over your lace will provide a more finished look.




After you have attached your trim, move on to your next piece of trim, placing it how you would like it. You can do ruffles, folds, or just leave them flat as I have done! The great thing about this project is that you can customize it to fit your personal style and color preference!




After all your trims or ribbons have been sewn on, you can now attach a cabochon of your choice! I chose some vintage earrings that had lost their backs. A little bling never hurts anything!




Now you can sew your embellishment onto your bobby pin. Make tight, close stitches so that it doesn't slip off the pin.




The last step is to slide your pin onto the toe of any of your shoes that are feeling a little "left out". Bring them back into step at your next party or holiday gathering with a little pizazz and panache!

You are now the bell of the ball!

Since I used materials I already had on hand, this project didn't cost me anything. I figure if you were to go and buy trims, bobby pins and a broach of some kind, this project will set you back about $10.00 is all!

Total time to complete project: 20 min.

Check out these great embellished shoes for some inspiration:
J. Crew Ballet Flat
Anthropologie Sewing Notions Flats
Pour la Victoire Janise Flat
Oscar de la Renta Embroidered Flats
Rafe'e Emmy Embellished Flat

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Beehive Bazaar Bliss!

The time has come once again for the most fantastic artists and crafters along the Wasatch Front to come together and showcase their amazing handmade talents! The Beehive Bazaar begins Thursday evening and will run through Saturday evening. This is a must hit event and a VERY good place to do some Christmas shopping! For a lineup of vendors and a sneak peek at the magic they create, just click here and feast your eyes on some delicious eye candy creations!

P.S. If you stop by on Thursday p.m. for the big opening party, I will be working the check out table so please stop and say hello! I would love to see all you pretties there!


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