Saturday, March 28, 2009

eye spy...a discovery

snowdrops with visitor!

Here's something we discovered recently -- a bee nosing around the one small stand of flowers (snowdrops) we've got in the garden right now. I went to take a photo of the flowers, and while snapping...out from one of them popped this little guy! Every little sign of spring is welcome right now.

This week's eye spy theme brought to you by Megan of The Byron Life!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

winter's last hurrah

hot chocolate

There is our last mug of hot chocolate (unless we get some crazy weather!) for the season...and the ultimate mug-full! After a few years of trying various homemade hot cocoa recipes with no success (I mean, they all made hot cocoa, but none of us really liked any of the results) I finally discovered the secret. Don't mess with cocoa! Go for the's so simple, but so much better. Why I never thought of it (and why everyone keeps pushing the cocoa) I do not know. Here's how we like it:

For each mug, put 1 cup of a rich whole milk into a small saucepan (got so-so whole milk? make your cup up out of 2 ounces of cream and 6 ounces of whole milk) and heat until just bubbling. In a larger saucepan, put 1 tablespoon of water and 35 grams of a decent milk chocolate and melt together over low heat. Add heated milk and stir until smooth. Dark chocolate would probably be good too, but milk chocolate works for us. (I use the 99 cent bars from ikea, you need 1/3 of a bar per mug.)

And to top your chocolate? Homemade marshamallows!

freshly cut marshmallows

I have wanted to try making marshmallows for years, and only now finally got around to trying it. So easy -- if you have a candy thermometer, a stand mixer, and the patience to leave the pan of marshmallow along overnight. I used the Alton Brown recipe and they are ridiculously good. (Vegetarians -- from what I have read online, you can sub 1 T of agar-agar for each packet of gelatine.) We'll definitely be trying flavored ones in the future.

And they melt amazingly, witness the result in Emily's favorite dessert, Pixie's Delights (basically, baked s'mores, from a vintage kid's cookbook we have).

pixies' delight

I cannot wait to toast these! And....while I can wait for next winter, when it does come back around I will be well-prepared.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

eye spy...a slacker!!

Well, actually, this week's theme is "something beautiful in my back yard", although I'll have to cheat with an out-of-season photo here:

my favorite dicentra

But, time for my confession of guilt, I enthusiastically signed up for eye spy but I have not been playing along, sorry to say. Things have been very hectic and my online time is slashed to a minimum. It all started with the theme "Eye Spy ... My secret (Food) Shame", because I was totally stumped. When it comes to food, I have no shame and no secrets! Maybe things that aren't common knowledge, because how often does "do you like milk?" come up in conversation? But I didn't have an answer. And then it just snowballed from there. So here's a quick summary of what I didn't spy.

Wait, actually, it all started with "Eye Spy ... Something Delicious", because I couldn't find the photo of our favorite cake that I wanted to post. This isn't the photo I wanted, but it is our favorite cake:

we love cake!

That's Japanese-style strawberry shortcake, which at Xmastime comes with lovely decorations on top. We get one every year!

Then after "something delicious" and "secret food shame" came "Eye Spy ... Love" and "Eye Spy ... Something that makes me Happy" and "Eye Spy ... Something that make me Laugh", and really, the answers are Emily, Emily and Emily, and you see enough photos of her, right? But now you know the answers.

And then last week, I actually had a few moments and worked on a post...then my server went down and I couldn't post it! it was "eye favorite color". And the answer (for purposes of this meme) is:


Emily's sweater - detail

Actually, the entire cool part of the spectrum is what I like (pink, purple, blue and green), but pink's been a constant. Plus, Emily has declared it my absolute favorite and who's arguing with her? She has also declared Evam's favorite to be red, and hers to be orange. And she's not kidding about the orange, it's been her favorite long as I can remember, really. She loves orange like crazy.

And look! I'm all caught up! So, eye spy someone who will try harder to stay on top of things she signs up for!! (Just don't mention any "year in color" or anything to me right now, 'kay?)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

an explosion of cute!

so, I've been trying to blog for weeks, but time has been even more limited than usual. twitter is about all I have spare time for! instead of trying to finish any of my pending posts, let me just race through a few quick things:

ichiban kan package!

check out that box of cuteness! I treated myself to a load of stuff from ichiban kan, where you can get all the cute little bento-y things you've seen on ebay for about $1 a piece (instead of $5 or so on ebay!) Favorites so far are the ultraman forks and the silicone pancake rings (they work amazingly!)

Also amazingly cute -- this little pegdoll I won from one of my favorite blogs, creative breathing. She's on my desk right now, and the only thing bad about her? She looks like she needs company!!

Final cuteness? Emily, who is now cooking at the stove. (Don't worry, closely supervised.) She is so proud of herself, it kills me!

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