a list

1.  Long time no type.  Buried in schoolwork and life.  Not necessarily in that order.  Attempting to force myself to come up for air.

2.  Chemistry is hard.  Like, fail-out-of-class hard.  (Not me, but you know what I mean.)  I knew there was a good reason to fear it back at Penn State!  Anyway, I’m doing alright, but a recent bombed quiz has shown me I need to devote more time to Chem and less to Anatomy.

3.  In all my busy-ness today, I decided I needed to make bread.  That’s so like me.  Why?  I had to “revive” my starter that’s in the fridge.  And have I forgotten about the GAJILLION things of bread we brought home from our Thanksgiving trip?  (No fewer than 1.5 loaves of rye bread, 10 bagels, 8 onion rolls, plus crackers.)  Our house is carb central!

4.  My Thanksgiving pumpkin pie was the ugliest thing ever (thanks to my impatience with store-bought crust), but tasted great.  Get the recipe here.

5.  Speaking of recipes–I just managed another blog post for the co-op.  It’s about cranberries and I included the cranberry brisket Andrew loves so much.  Read it here.

6.  I am now “officially” a New Yorker; I took care of getting a new license and registering the car.  License should be here in about a week!  It’s kind of exciting, in a really anti-climactic sort of way.  I think if we’d moved into a house we were excited about, everything would feel different.  Instead, everything still feels very temporary.  But, nonetheless, it’s still neat to see the Pilot with its new yellow and blue license plate.

7.  We named our plants.  Well, I named our plants.  Andrew just went along with it good-naturedly.  My dear friend, Emily, inspired me.  She has such beautiful, healthy, vibrant house plants.  I am so jealous.  She and I recently traded some plant clippings and she mentioned one of them was named ‘Stella.’  Now, I’ve heard of people naming their plants before, but I just never have.  I mean, mine don’t normally last that long…it was never a good idea to get attached.  However, I do have one that has lasted FOUR years now!  Andrew and I were in disbelief when we realized it.  So, on the way home from our Thanksgiving holiday, I used my phone to look up names and their meanings (again, such a ‘me’ thing to do–we’re talking the significance of the names of HOUSE PLANTS) and we decided to call the big, four-year-old one “Gerard” which means ‘hardy.’  (We’ve been calling it ‘hardy’ since I hadn’t killed it yet, so we figured why not?).  I have one other plant, an orchid Andrew bravely got me for Valentine’s Day this year.  (I don’t know what he was thinking.)  Anyway, it did alright for awhile, then the blooms fell off, then I panicked until I found out that was normal, and just when it was growing another stem and bloom, one of the movers bumped into it on our table and broke it off!  I was heartbroken.  I looked up ‘long-suffering’ and ended up with “Patience.”  She’s been through a lot, that one, and just the other day I noticed a tiny bud getting ready to sprout from the moss–hurray!  And now, I have Emily’s purple one to re-pot, who I have been calling “Stella 2.”  Between the animals and now anthropomorphic plants, we have one full house!

8. I’m supposed to be working on psychology homework.  Must hurry!

9.  Hadrian has been down for the count all day today–GLORIOUS!  I’ve been so productive.  (In case you’re wondering, any time he returns from ‘puppy camp’ he sleeps 24/7 for about two days.  Totally normal.)

10.  We have 7 pints of ice cream in our freezer, plus the remnants of two Jeni’s that Emily and Dan brought us, plus a tiny bit of homemade Jeni’s vanilla.  SEVEN unopened Graeter’s and Jeni’s pints.  That’s like $45 in ice cream (hey, don’t judge my expensive taste in ice cream!).  My brilliant plan: tiny scoops, both to make it last and keep it off my hips.  I’ll let you know how it goes, but I’m not terribly optimistic…

jeni’s sorbets

I’d been salivating over waiting to use my new Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams cookbook (thanks Susy!) until I was ready to make their classic Salty Caramel as my first foray into the book.  That, or their Ugandan Vanilla Bean, because I love my husband.

But, as you know, in my never-ending quest to empty our teeny-tiny freezer (you’re probably wondering how it keeps getting full again.  All I can say is, I manage to do it…over and over again), I found I had the exact ingredients for not one but TWO different sorbet recipes.

So, Cranberry Royale and Watermelon Lemonade it was!

You make the cranberry sorbet much like you’d make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving…cranberries, water, sugar and maybe some citrus.  Jeni’s recipe calls for grapefruit juice and zest, which you can see in the photo.  Her sorbets also call for light corn syrup.  She goes into detail in the first sections of the book about how to make ice cream “scientifically.”  I tried to follow, but the basic gist of it is the challenge of getting everything to bond with the water molecules.  Unbound water molecules = icy ice cream or sorbet, not creamy.

After making grapefruit/cranberry sauce, you puree the mixture (if you’d like) and set it aside to chill.  She recommends putting it in a ziploc and setting it in ice water; I chose to leave mine in a bowl in the fridge for a couple hours.  Mine got a lot thicker, although I don’t think it hurt the finished product.

Every time we open the freezer, Hadrian thinks he’s getting a treat.  Ice cubes.  He loves them.  I do, too, since they’re free (essentially) and always available.  And free.  And the only mess they leave is a little water here and there.

Here’s the watermelon lemonade sorbet.  A relatively decent shot, if I do say so myself.  Taking into account the poor lighting in the kitchen and the fact that I was holding the camera directly above it and snapping blindly, I DO say so!

A word about the watermelon sorbet:  It didn’t turn out very well.  Very icy.  But it’s my own darn fault.  I used sub-par watermelon (that I’d already frozen–because it was SUB-PAR), and bottled lemon juice.  So, yeah, I knew this one wasn’t going to be spectacular or anything.

Finished cranberry sorbet…in a ball jar.  I’m getting all fancy here with my food styling.  The cranberry is AWESOME. Perfect creamy texture–how did that happen, there isn’t anything creamy in it???  I guess it’s all that water-bonding Jeni was talking about…  And it’s got that back-of-your-tongue bite to it that is reminiscent of cranberry sauce.  In fact, my first bite made me feel like it was Thanksgiving!

I’m a busy girl today with NO BREAKFAST!  Had to fast for a blood-draw this morning for a health-screening appointment (so we can get extra points or something for a discount with Moog’s health insurance…), but I’m packing a Luna bar and a banana to fuel me up so I can hit up Wegmans before a run.  Then I’m computering here at the hotel, meeting a friend (I have a friend!) for coffee, making cookies at Andrew’s parents’ house, then mad packing for our trip to Dayton tomorrow!  Can’t wait 🙂

sugar high

I didn’t sleep very well last night; it was as if I could FEEL the sugar running through my bloodstream!  Seriously…I think I’ve become so used to a “whole foods diet” that something like a giant sundae with all the fixings will totally throw my body for a loop.  Rule of thumb: extravagant desserts are for super-special occasions, single-scoops are for treats.

I fueled up this morning with the last two slices of my Great Harvest cinnamon raisin bread, fruit and yogurt before pilates and kickboxing.  My lunch, however, was worth writing home about:

YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM.  I’m trying to finish off my quart of plain yogurt before our trip this weekend to Dayton, so I decided to build a meal around it.  I spooned about 3/4 C into a bowl, swirled in some Trader Joe’s Mango butter to sweeten it up, and topped with granola, shredded coconut, flax seeds, flaxseed meal, dried cranberries and blueberries.  It was almost TOO sweet!  And at 485 calories, it better keep me full for AWHILE.

I’m going to be a busy girl today–LOTS of phone calling, computering and perhaps a trip to the mall.  I have TWO freebie coupons from Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works–can’t wait!