Sunday, January 8, 2012

Homemade Marshmallows

After hearing on NPR just how easy it is to make homemade marshmallows, I decided to give it a go. I went with one of Alton Brown's recipes on FoodNetwork, but most recipes are about the same - heat up some sugar and corn syrup to 240-300 degrees, add to gelatin and water along with some flavorings (salt, vanilla extract...) and beat in a stand mixer until the whole thing turns white and puffy. Then pour the entire thing onto a silpat or sprayed non stick pan and let it cool for a few hours. The marshmallows can be easily cut into squares with a pizza cutter then rolled in powdered sugar. The result?

Delicious. Fresh. Marshmallows.

They taste just like regular marshmallows, but maybe a little creamier. In any case, I'd call this recipe an easy win - great in hot chocolate or for making s'mores. Imagine if you made your own graham crackers and THEN made s'mores...amazing...


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Food Stamp Challenge

In total, I managed to follow the Food Stamp Challenge rules about 2/7 days. Not the greatest track record. It's hard when you work long hours and don't have extra money for snacks. It's also hard to stay on track when working at a job where they all but throw free food in your face. Even so, the exercise was an interesting one. On $31/week one can either eat very unhealthily (ramen every meal) or spend all of your time planning ahead with a slow cooker (rice and beans every meal). In order to have a well-balanced diet it helps to have more than one family member to pool resources (allows the flexibility to buy fresh fruits or vegetables).

At the very least, I have a better appreciation for just how well I can eat. I love being able to walk downstairs to the cafeteria in order to buy a bag of swedish fish or a latte now and then. I love going out to dinners with friends and family and not having to worry (too much) about my budget. Most of the world does not eat the kind of variety of foods we enjoy in the U.S. As someone who likes to eat something different every meal, I'm definitely spoiled when it comes to food.

And now, about that latte...


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Food Stamp Challenge: Day 3

So I'm going to go ahead and say that today's attempt at adhering to the Food Stamp Challenge rules was a total bust. We met family at the Tabard Inn in Dupont circle for brunch. The Tabard Inn, by the way, is a fantastic place - adorable, in an old-fashioned-slightly-off-kilter kind of way. The food is fantastic (the homemade donuts are killer).

Day 3:
Brunch - Basket of baked goods (muffins, banana bread etc...) Poached eggs, fried oysters, cheese grits, pork belly confit. Lots of hot coffee.

Lunch - Grilled cheese sandwich.

Dinner - Tomato and butternut squash sauce with poached egg on spaghetti.

Dessert - TBD.

So far my batting average isn't that great. We'll see how things go tomorrow...


Friday, October 28, 2011

Food Stamp Challenge: Day 2

Today was tough. There were pastries at a morning seminar, munchkins in the break room, and cookies at a going away party. I'll admit, I had a scone during the seminar (they were homemade...) Otherwise, I stuck to the plan.

Day 2:
Breakfast - Oatmeal with milk and brown sugar, spiced with cinnamon and ginger. Hot tea.

Lunch - PB&J (all store brand items).

Snack - banana and second PB&J.

Dinner - Tomato sauce with poached egg on spaghetti.

Dessert - Bananas foster on yogurt.

I have to say, the pasta dish was particularly good...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Food Stamp Challenge: Day 1

This week, my husband and I agreed to enroll in the Food Stamp Challenge:

The SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge gives participants a view of what life can be like for millions of low-income Americans. Most participants take the Challenge for one week, living on about $4 per day worth of food – the average food stamp benefit. Challenge participants are forced to make difficult food shopping choices, and often realize how difficult it is to avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods, and stay healthy.

We started our week with a shopping trip and $30 each. Our goal was to stay within the rules (~$1.50/meal) while still eating healthy.

Day 1:
Breakfast - Oatmeal with milk and brown sugar. Hot tea (Lipton was cheapest).

Lunch - PB&J (all store brand items).

Snack - banana and second PB&J. Hot tea (I brought a thermos of the stuff to work).

Dinner - Lentil soup (blended with sweet potato and a little apple).

In the end, my first day of the Food Stamp Challenge was a fail. I succumbed to a bacon wrapped date stuffed with blue cheese at a reception event (the rules specifically say no free food at receptions!) Ah well. Tomorrow is another day (of oatmeal and PB&J).

Wish me luck!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Baked and Wired

Having just moved house, my first order of business was to stake out some good espresso. After two years of Java House glory I wasn't sure that DC coffee shops would be up to snuff. Fortunately for me, a fantastic shop can be found right in Georgetown.

Baked and Wired is pure delectable heaven. Walk into this hippie/hipster style coffee/bake shop and look to your left - gorgeous baked goods abound - from enormous and creatively flavored cupcakes (I had the "Tessita", a vanilla cake with dulce de leche filling and chocolate hazelnut satin icing) to an impressive assortment of bars and hand pies (the Bee Sting is a perfectly crisp shortbread topped with just the right amount of honey caramel and sliced almonds). As if that weren't enough, look to your right and you'll find a fully equipped coffee and espresso bar. Baked and Wired takes coffee seriously, sourcing their beans via Direct Trade from Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Intelligentsia Coffee. Their organic milk comes from Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, PA. I love a place that tells me exactly where they source their food, don't you?

I ordered an iced latte to go with my pastry treats - it was fantastic. The true test, of course, will be the quality of their cappuccino. Is it up to Java House standards? I'll just have to go back again to find out.

Until next time,

Baked and Wired
1052 Thomas Jefferson Street NW
Washington, DC 20007

Image from