Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Gift Idea: Homemade Marshmallows & Cocoa Mix

My love affair with homemade marshmallows began years ago, when my husband was in grad school, we were living in Oregon and I made a ridiculous purchase of marshmallows at Williams-Sonoma.  I still, to this day cannot believe I paid so much for those marshmallows, but they were good and I figured I would give it the o' college try (errr, grad school wife try, rather) and see about making them myself.  I did, with great success (cutting them into shapes that first year.  Trees for Christmas, hearts for Valentine's Day), and have never looked back (well, I do still look at the back of the box, when I pop into Williams-Sonoma, to see the price climb each holiday season).  Here are two recipes that will make you feel like a gift giving champ!

Find my recipe, for fluffy marshmallow perfection in a blog post 
from several years ago.  Marshmallow link.

See all those delicious flecks of vanilla bean?  Be still, my heart.

You'll see the full step by step on the old marshmallow post, but 
I cannot get over how much I love cutting huge, square marshmallows!

I bought cute little paper 'fruit' crates at the craft store (they were
labeled as food safe, FYI) and then popped the filled crate
into a clear cello bag and tied with hemp rope.  I decided I needed
to send hot chocolate with the homemade marshmallows, so I filled 
large Ball jars (they were narrow, yet rather tall...a style I had never
seen before, but am now obsessed).  To create this hot chocolate
concoction of love I put the grater attachment in my food processer
 and shaved big bars of dark chocolate (I bought the large bars
from Trader Joe's).  The shavings yielded quite a bit, but I decided
I wanted to gift more hot chocolate so I did equal parts dark chocolate
shavings, unsweetened cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar and a
pinch of sea salt. 

On the back of the little label I attached to the 
hot chocolate mix, I placed the directions of
1/3 cup mix to 1 cup hot milk.

I think this is a gift that should extend well into the New Year!
Who wouldn't love to receive this from their Valentine?


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Maple & Bacon Spiced Almonds


I always make spicy candied almonds (or pecans) for salads,
but the addition of bacon...oh my!!!  I just know you will 
love this one!

What you need:
2 1/2 cups raw almonds
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5 strips of  center cut bacon, chopped up
Generous cracks of sea salt
Use kitchen shears to rough cut 5 strips of bacon and place in
a pan over medium/high heat.  

Separately:  preheat oven to 325

 Brown the bacon bits thoroughly, then remove the bacon 
from the pan. Center cut bacon does not render much fat
so there will be about a tablspoon of bacon fat in the pan. 
Leave it in the pan.  


Add the raw almonds and maple syrup to the bacon fat, in the
pan over medium/high heat.

Stir and coat.  Allow the maple syrup to bubble and reduce, 
while stirring constantly for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, all of the almonds should be coated in thick
maple syrup reduction. 

Turn off heat and return the bacon bits to the pan, along with
cayenne pepper (if you want a bigger kick, add more), and
a very generous dusting of sea salt. Stir to incorporate.

Pour the mixture onto a parchment paper lined sheet tray and
spread the almonds and bacon out into a single layer
Place the sheet tray in the preheated oven and cook for 7-9 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven and allow the coated almonds 15-20 
minutes to cool.  Then, try not eating them all.
Allow to cool completely, at least 1 hour before packaging up.

I am packaging up the almonds to give as gifts.  
This time of year you can find adorable containers in every store, 
otherwise, store the almonds in a sealed container or bag at room temperature.


Friday, November 20, 2015

All I Want For Christmas!

With age comes loads of practicality...am I right, or AM I RIGHT?  Dreams of  a new blender, maybe a good book (or 20 minutes of quiet to read said book)...grown up problems.

I never need for anything, but I am sharing a few things I am obsessing over, as you might want to add one or two of these treasured ideas to you list of wants!!  That is, if you make the good list!

Beauty is the Inner Fire

I am OBSESSED with the works created by artist
 Adam Swanson. His talent is beyond measure, sprinkled
 the the perfect (lots) amount of quirk. I just haven't been 
able to decide which one I covet the most.  This is one of my
favorite paintings of the aerial lift bridge in Duluth, MN.  
Fantastic, right!

Here are a few more that I just love:

Building Blocks 

 Rhythm and Wind 

 Headed Home

Let's be real, I want so so many!  Like nothing I have ever seen!
Someday, a few of his pieces will be mine.

When am I not going crazy for a throw blanket?
When am I not going crazy for Faribault Woolen Mills creations?
And...in a classic buffalo check plaid, sign me up!

Two of these chairs, please.  I mean, for reals.

 These boots.  Glacy Explorer by Sorel.

I think I might actually ask Santa for this, as I have now officially
wanted to have this for far too long.

I really want a little succulent 'garden' for my kitchen counter this winter.
I have one from last spring, in a Mason jar on my counter and it makes
me so happy.  I want a few more.

Big Dreams Here, People!!
Ho Ho Ho.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Throw Pillows

I think I am going to update some throw pillows.  I like these patterns and textures together, but...does anyone else agree?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

2015 Sundance Film Festival, Part 3

I mean for reals, can I get a holla!!!  No, for reals, holla I am finishing up our Sundance Film Festival adventures from...ahem...just a tiny bit ago...Whatever, Amanda...next year I will make you help.  I feel certain this morning started with a stop for lattes at our most favzy little coffee shop in Park City, The Java Cow and as usual we hit the ground running in search of all things celebrity! 

Adam Scott.  I was super excited to ask when
season 2 of  Tell Me You Love Me, would premiere 
even though it hasn't been on for like 8 years, I just 
hopefully assumed it was on hiatus.  He had to break
the news to me that the show was canceled.  Womp Womp.
Netflix season one (assuming it is on Netflix, no clue)

Anyhoo, I know my homies love him on Parks & Rec.
He was at the festival to promote the buzzed about film,
Sleeping With Other People.

What the heck is Chris Pine in?  Who cares, he 
was annoying.  I am not going to even Google him.

 Connie Britton.  Stunning.  Her hair was flawless. 
I do not watch Nashville, but I hear she's on it.
I also hear she was on Friday Night Lights. I actually
didn't hear that, I totes read it in US Weekly at one point.

In town to promote Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.

Gina Rodriquez and Hailee Steinfeld
Besties, I assume.

 Zoe Kravitz.  Of course she is flawless, look at her
parents!!  Just...please don't...look at her dad's 
too tight pants split on stage, that shiz went viral.

Jason Sudeikis.  More often than not, it's the SNL
alums that prove to be our favorites at Sundance,
and that was of course true with him.  Presh.

Yes, he was our favorite.  Hands down.  Even in this most wildly
overexposed photo, are you wondering why my chin is buried in all
things scarf?  The world's biggest zit.  Like, it is being researched
by the doctors who brought us Proactiv.

 James Franco.  Freaks and Geeks was a favzy!

Man, I don't think I like anything Tobey Maguire
has been in either.  This is sure turning negative.

Although his hat is about the stupidest thing I have ever
seen in my whole life  (I swear, I am about to change
my tune), who doesn't love them some RHOBH
husband Mauricio!  Amanda and I were so excited
to see him and ask where Kyle was at (shopping, of course)
No worries, we saw them that night at a party (Amanda
wouldn't let me bring my camera to the party...she's
def the brains of the operation) but we talked all things RHOBH
with pint size Kyle Richards at the party, and it was fabulous.
Then at the end of the party we thought they were nearly as
stupid as this here hat, when they cut the line to hop a shuttle out.
We were totally on their shuttle (so, yay for cutting) and
got to listen to them argue the whole ride down.
This my friends, was heaven to the ears of two 
Bravo TV sluts Amanda and me.

 Thank the good lord above I DO LOVE KEVIN BACON.
May my negative spin take the effing back seat instead of
the wheel for a bit. Of course, I wanted to footloose for
him...but I didn't.  Instead I told him that I once saw him in
Costa Rica and that I told my husband I was thinking about
footloosing for him and that my husband informed me
he would leave me at customs, without a passport,
if I did. This was clearly snapped before I shared
that story (from my honeymoon, ahem...nice husband)
as I am certain he was rolling on the sidewalk after
my storytelling.

We geeked out!  Then, we googled his name.
We loved him on Homeland, but then after
googling him realized he acted in Life of Pi.

Love Love Love
Jeffrey "there's money in the banana stand" Tambor.
He is a legend in my books.

I also love Kathryn Hahn!!!

 Peter Sarsgaard. I may have been eating an ice
cream cone when I snapped this.  That garnered
the thumbs up.

 Lena Dunham!  I think most straight men think
she is the most ridiculous thing to grace HBO
(opinion, clearly not fact...other than my 
research subject: husband)

I looooove her!

Mindy Kaling! She is brilliant!

Scott Mescudi "Kid Cudi" is clearly one
dapper dude.

Molly Shannon.  Once again, SNL alums are
always the nicest!!

Rashida Jones.  I think she is brilliant.  We saw
her later that night at a party and while we roasted
1300 marshmallows she had zero.  This my friends,
is why she is the size of my 6 year old.  Who on
earth, in real life, can sit by an open fire, with a
ginormous s'mores bar set up with absolutely
anything you could ever imagine smushing between
two graham crackers...and have not a one!?!

 Toni Collette

If you didn't heavily quote Muriel's Wedding in the 90s,
we probably weren't friends at that time.
Tom Cavanagh.
I haven't a clue what he has been up to since Ed and
Scrubs left the airwaves...but those shows super boss.

A late night out and a next morning early screening
a coffee to go, on the theater shuttle.
 Ryan Reynolds. No comment. Well, actually...he
did look a wee bit manorexic.
 Be still my (college) heart.  Ewan McGregor.

As much as I adore Lena Dunham, homegirl
needs a stylist.  She looked a wreck.
Johnny Knoxville, producer of the documentary
Being Evel which was award winning, at the festival.

I excitedly snapped this pic of a pirate man, who is
called Jason Momoa because some of my girlfriends
love him on a show.  Fun fact: in googling the spelling
of his name, I come to find out he is married to
the one and only, Denise Huxtable. Which then
makes him stepdad to Zoe Kravitz. Here's me 
guessing he is closer in age to his stepdaughter, than
he is his wife???
 Sarah Silverman.  I'd be waving too, if I was wearing
two (because one down jacket would just be absurd)
new-free of charge-jackets.

Well, that's a wrap!  I will try (no I won't) to be
more timely with photo sharing next festival.