By now everybody is getting ready for the holidays. Christmas is huge in my world! Probably because my birthday is in December. Shhh…..don’t tell anybody, it’s today!!! Most likely because I still believe in Santa Claus. Definitely because of the birth of Jesus and the true reason for the season. There are so many reasons to be happy and smile this time of year.
Lord knows I love a Christmas tree and love to decorate the house. I also love to bake and make goodies for family and friends. I have been in the kitchen non-stop for the past few days. I make all sorts of cookies, dip pretzels in chocolate and bake bread. One of the things I love most is making marshmallows. I have a friend who is a chef. He said, “how do you do that? I don’t even know what’s in a marshmallow!”
I will admit my first attempt was scary. Now it’s just old hat. It still amazes me every single time. Just watching those few simple ingredients make magic. Once you have had these, you will never buy store bought again. They are little pillows of perfection. Light and airy and melt in your mouth.
I choose to dip mine in chocolate. I mean why not? A little more decadence to an already delicious little morsel never hurt a thing. Wether you choose to keep them plain or cover them in chocolate; they are marvelous in hot cocoa. Trust me….this I know to be true.
After posting pictures on FB I got several requests for the recipe and how to. So on my birthday I would like to share a gift with all of you.
HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS DIPPED IN CHOCOLATE
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 2 T plus 1/2 t unflavored gelatin
- 2 C sugar
- 1/2 C light corn syrup (Karo)
- 1/2 C hot water
- 1/4 t salt
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 t pure vanilla
- 1/2 C cornstarch
- Candy Thermometer (most groceries and Walmart carry them)
- Lightly spray a 9×13 inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Put 1/2 cold water in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin on top and let it stand to soften.
- In a heavy saucepan, mix the sugar, corn syrup, hot water and salt together. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.
- Place the candy thermometer on side of the pot, being careful not to let the tip touch the bottom of the pot. Continue cooking without stirring until the mixture reaches 240 degrees (soft ball stage) on the thermometer.
- Remove from the heat and add the gelatin, stirring gently to dissolve; set aside.
- With a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites on high until stiff peaks form.
- With the mixer running on low, slowly add the sugar mixture. Add the vanilla and continue beating for approximately 10 minutes. (I use a timer and do exactly 10 minutes and it comes out perfect every time)
- Transfer to your prepared 9×13 dish. Spread evenly. Spray a piece of parchment paper with non-stick spray and place it on top of your mixture smoothing it out with your hands gently.
- LET IT STAND OVERNIGHT (some people find this difficult…LOL)
- Remove the parchment paper, invert the marshmallow to a sheet of waxed paper or a plastic cutting board that has been sprinkled with cornstarch lightly. You may have to gently go around the sides of the pan with your fingers to help it come out of the pan.
- Trim the edges to make a straight line. (these peices I save and give to my grandson to put in hot chocolate or on ice cream or just eat).
- Cut into squares. In a plastic baggy toss with the cornstarch remaining.
- At this point it’s your choice, plain or dipped in chocolate. I use dark chocolate melting wafers that I get at Michaels or Hobby Lobby (directions for melting are on the package). I use skewers to dip and help me remove them from the chocolate. The melts come in all colors and flavors. Totally up to you. When done I allow them to sit out for the day and then put into a tin and keep in a cool place.
I hope you have fun with this recipe. The oldest daughter said “thanks for ruining us Mom, I can’t eat store bought any more”. Oh well, what are mothers for?
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay safe, love and keep the ones dear to you close. Be kind to everyone. If all of us do these things “WE CAN” make the world a better place
Until next time,
We have spent most of the Spring and Summer in Ocean City, Maryland. The majority of our time was spent on re-vamping an old mobile home. It belonged to my husbands parents for years. In fact, it’s been 20 years since they sold it. I can tell you it’s a good thing walls can’t talk! So many memories and happy times were spent there. Fixing it up and bringing it back to life has been a lot of fun. We are, quite cozy there.
Ocean City is an attraction known to many. We are fortunate enough to live close by. Both my husband and myself, spent our summers there when we were younger. I worked there a couple of summers in my teens. Sun, surf, and sand, and lets not forget about the famous boardwalk. It also has some fantastic restaurants with delicious and creative foods.
We were on our way out to dinner and got sidetracked with a project. Needless to say by the time we were done it was “LATE”. We stopped at a place called “Ropewalk”. They were closing in 10 minutes. The hostess was gracious enough to tell us to “come on in, there’s still time”. Am I ever glad she did. Tired and cranky at this point, I perused the menu. I was trying to find something that wouldn’t be a lot of trouble because of the late hour. Under appetizers was a Crab Egg Roll. That was it for me, I was intrigued and hungry.
That egg roll has haunted me and my taste buds for months. So much so, we have been back several times just to have them. So….I bought a pound of crab meat and some egg roll wrappers. I made them last night and all I can say is “I put my foot in this one”. (an expression one of my work colleagues uses) They were as good as I remember and so easy to make.
Here is my crab cake recipe. I also concocted a Chili sauce for dipping. The restaurant serves theirs with a Thai Chili Aioli. Mine is similar and both the hubster and I think it was perfect. I encourage you to try this one. You can thank me later!!!
CRAB CAKE EGG ROLLS
Crab Cake Sauce:
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 T Mayonnaise, (I use Heinz) just make sure it’s a good one
- 1 1/2 t Dijon mustard
- 2 t of Old Bay seasoning
- 2 t Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 t salt
- Chohula sauce (or hot sauce of choice) I used two good shakes, use to your taste
- 2 T fresh chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 C plain Panko (you could also used crushed saltines, but omit the salt)
- 1 lb of fresh picked crab meat (pick through to remove any left over cartilage) Pasturized crab meat will also work well.
- 1 package of large Wonton or Egg Roll wrappers. (Usually found in the produce section near the salad fixings and salad dressings)
- Small dish of water
- Peanut oil for frying
- In a large bowl combine the egg, mayo, dijon, Old Bay, Worcestershire, salt and Chohula sauce. Mix together with a whisk until it is well combined.
- Add the parsley and stir.
- Add the crab and the panko and gently fold into the sauce.
- At this point unless you are cooking them right away put this mixture in the fridge until ready to use.
- When ready to assemble and cook: cover a sheet pan with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornstarch. Have a dry towel at the ready to cover the egg rolls once made.
- Have your Wonton wrappers read, keep covered to prevent them from drying out, and a small bowl of water.
- Prepare your fryer by bringing your oil to 325 degrees. I used a deep cast iron skillet. You can also use a wok, or a fryer if you have one.
- Take your crab mixture and place in the center of the wrapper at a diagonal. (see above photo). I used about a 1/4 C of filling leaving about 1 inch of wrapper on both sides. Fold up the bottom corner over the filling and roll half way then fold the sides over. Dip your finger into the water and coat the top corner of the wrapper then seal and press to close. Place them on your prepared baking sheet and cover with a dry towel. (DO NOT REFRIGERATE OR THE WRAPPERS WILL CRACK)
- Fry the rolls until golden brown all over, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels, cut in half on a diagonal, and serve warm with dipping sauce.
*Note: Egg roll wrappers are the same as Wonton wrappers. The difference is really in the size. You can use either! It depends on how large you would like them!
- 1/2 C mayonnaise
- 3 t sweet chili sauce
- 1/2 tsp siracha sauce or to your taste
Mix all together and serve on side of your egg rolls for dipping.
Til next time,
The last time I wrote I mentioned our new venture. Believe it or not, that’s why I haven’t written. We have been busy polishing, painting, prepping and cleaning up an old memory. All the while still trying to have a life and some down time. I have to say, this has been a labor of love.
About nineteen years ago, my in-laws sold this mobile that stands in Ocean City, Maryland. My husband and I recently bought it back. Lot’s of memories and reminiscing and thinking of the man we called Pops. He is no longer with us, but never forgotten. My husband and his sister tell some tales about the OCM. Some I would never repeat, nor could I. All in fun, I assure you! Even I had the opportunity to make some memories here. One in particular………uhhhhh, never mind that one. All I can say is, we were all young once.
There were some things that were immediate. I’m sure you are familiar, cleaning, scrubbing, moving, and all that goes with that. Once she had her bath, then it was time for some cosmetics. We still have plenty to do, don’t get me wrong. The projects we have taken on have really made a difference. The kitchen and bathroom were the worse, so we started there. Now I feel confident enough to have company and don’t have to apologize so much. There are more projects to come, but for now, it’s time to enjoy and have fun. Here are a few before and after pics.
With that said, company is coming!!!! Everyone that is going to be here has been part of this place at one time or another. Bagels and meatballs have been a long standing tradition in the family. My father-in-law taught me how to make them, and I am going to re-share that recipe with you. I know a lot of people that have turned their nose up at them. In the end, once you’ve had one, your a fan for life.
Here is the link for the recipe MEATBALLS AND BAGELS
I am wishing you and your family and friends a wonderful fourth of July. Please stay safe and cool. Most of all enjoy the freedom that we are so fortunate to have. God bless you all.
Til next time,
We just purchased a home away from home in Ocean City, Maryland. Both my husband and I grew up having fun in OC. It’s all fun when your a kid. Amusements, rides, sun, sand, and surf; what more could you want? Even at our age, it still calls to us.
We bought a mobile home, with a bit of a history. It used to belong to my husbands parents 27 years ago. It was sold because they decided to build a home outside of OC. We offered to buy it and his father refused to sell it to us. When we asked him why he said “I want to get paid”. We laughed, truth was, they wanted us to stay with them and not at the beach. I must admit, we weren’t in a position to buy it back then anyway. So here we are, back at the old vacation place.
It’s going to take some love and elbow grease to get it the way we want it. Picking out paint, repairing and removing to make it ours. Hopefully it will be just as fun and memorable for our family and friends as it was for us years ago. Time to make new memories!
So here it is. Two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, and one bathroom. Oh the stories this place could tell if it could talk. Here are the before pics. I will post our progress on my FB page Around the Butcher Block. One room at a time with some time off for sun and fun. Let me know your thoughts. I am open to thoughts and ideas to maximize our tiny space, all constructive ideas are welcome.
I hope you enjoy our transformation. If your in the area, stop by with a paint brush. We can certainly use a few more hands to get the job done.
Til next time,
It’s been a while since I’ve written! Believe me when I tell you a lot has been going on.
We are getting ready to embark on a new venture. One that I can not wait to share with you. So look for some new recipes and some cool and creative stuff very soon.
In the mean time; Spring is here! I couldn’t be happier! It’s time for flowers and my herb gardens. Digging in the dirt is therapeutic for this chick. How about you?
Anyway, I’ll be back real soon with some goodies. I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter holiday. Be happy and enjoy your life. Tomorrow is never promised, live for today and live your best life.
Til next time,
We are invited to a friends for brunch today. I hate going to somebody’s house without taking something. Are you like that too?? I mean, I was told not to bring anything. I just can’t help myself. Both of them are trained chefs. One, a pastry chef and the other, an all round amazing cook. Crazy, right!!????
Anyway, I woke up this morning thinking to myself, “what can I bring”. As luck would have it I ran across this recipe on Pinterest. It’s been sitting in my kitchen all week staring at me. I had all of the ingredients so why not? By the way, this was 6 o’clock this morning. My sleeping habits are obnoxious.
Anyway, nonfat Greek yogurt, eggs, a box of sugar free, fat free, cheesecake pudding, some vanilla and sweetener of your choice, and your off. Seriously, you just throw everything into a bowl and whip it with a whisk. The batter tasted amazing. It is tangy from the yogurt but I thought it was great. Bake it for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and let it cool.
It is crustless! My favorite part of cheesecake is the sugary, buttery, crust; alas, too many points. I have, what I think, is a good solution. One square of graham cracker smashed into crumbs. I took the crumbs and sprinkled them over the fat free cool whip and strawberries. I’m so excited, I just want to eat dessert.
So here’s to a wonderful Sunday with family and friends. I hope you enjoy your day too! If you’re looking for a Sunday dessert, this whips up quick. I’ve shared the recipe below.
- 3 C plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 small box of sugar free fat free pudding mix, cheesecake flavor (you could easily use other flavors to change the taste)
- 2 Tbsp Splenda (or your favorite sweetener) taste the batter and adjust for more or less sweetening.
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan (or cake pan) with foil. Spray lightly with a nonstick cooking spray.
- Whisk all the ingredients together. (it is very thick)
- Pour the batter into a prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Cool completely at rom temperature and then keep chilled.
Note: you can use any toppings you like. Just remember to calculate the points.
Til next time,