Monday, January 17, 2011

The Newest Members of the Family

There are two new family members since December - one is a fish and the other (and more importantly) a nephew - so, no, I am still NOT pregnant. So, for the fish ...Micah and I went to a Christmas party where they had a white elephant gift exchange. I took home a goldfish and a bag of fish-fry. I thought I was a winner since I knew Daisy would love having a pet at home, even if it wasn't pettable or make any sound. Sure enough, she was thrilled until the next morning when it died and she saw me dispose of it in the toilet. As my brother Eric would say, I have a cold heart, so I didn't think Daisy would be attached or know what was happening. Well, she cried right after and waved at the toilet and all day said "bye - bye fish". And when I mean all day, I mean all day, at random times, and especially whenever we passed by the bathroom. So, that night, Micah surprised Daisy and I by coming home with a new fish - a beta, and one we named "brother". We were tossing around names, and we said "brother" and it was the first name Daisy repeated, so it was decided - she has a "Brother". Every day Daisy still likes to go feed brother, kiss the bowl, say "hi" to brother, hug the bowl, give Brother a nickel or penny, and point at his nose and eyes. Some might say this is torture that I have not given the girl a dog, but I say it is teaching her patience and gratitude! (or really I just don't want the added responsibility or mess or expense)

The other family member, not to be second to Brother in the slightest - is our new precious nephew born to Micah's sister Sarah and her partner Justin. They had quite the labor and delivery story, which has given us a new appreciation for the miracle of birth and the knowledge and tools of modern medicine which certainly saved both Sarah and her sweet baby boy, Hero's lives. We are thrilled he is here and that they are both now healthy and on the road to recovery, and of course the more cousins and kids, the merrier!

I bet you wish you worked with me

I realize how late this is, but I think I should save my breath on apologizing for the delays between postings because, well, I just get to it when I can and who needs more guilt in their life? So, with that said, I do think after reading this, you will wish you worked with me and here is why... I made peppermint patties for our co-worker's Christmas gifts. The recipe is from the November issue of Family Fun - a magazine I found in my doctor's office.

2 tblspn plus 1 teaspoon water
1 tblspn light corn syrup
1 tspn fresh lemon juice
1 tspn peppermint extract
1 1lb box confectioner's sugar (3 3/4 cup)
1 tblspn shortening
10-12 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
6 hard mint candies crushed in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the water, corn syrup, lemon juice, and extract. Then sift in half the sugar. Add the shortening and beat on medium, then slowly sift in the remaining sugar until the mix is well combined.

2. Knead the mixture into a ball (it will be very stiff, add 1/2 tspn water to make workable if necessary). Use the bottom of a glass pie plate to apply firm even pressure to flatten the ball between sheets of waxed paper into a circle about 9 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Lay the waxed paper- covered disk on a cookie sheet and freeze until it's firm - about 15 minutes.

3. Place the frozen disk on a cutting surface and remove and reserve the waxed paper. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment. With a small round cutter, cut out circles from the disk, then place them on the cookie sheet. Gather the scraps into a ball and use the pie plate and waxed paper to flatten it again and cut more circles until the entire disk is used up. Freeze the circles for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, melt, the chocolate in the top of a double broiler over barely simmering water. Coat the patties one at a time; balance each on a form and dip it, then shake off any excess chocolate before returning the coated patty to the parchment. Sprinkle each patty with a bit of crushed mint candy. Add more chocolate to the double boiler as necessary until all the patties are coated.

5. Harden the finished patties in the fridge for at least an hour, and preferably overnight. Store them in an airtight container int he fridge, layered between sheets of waxed paper, for up to one month. Makes 5 dozen (approx, depends on the size circle you cut).

Tip - I used two cookie sheets and would rotate them in and out of the freezer during the chocolate dipping stage. If they would get too warm or room temp, they would tend to fall apart a bit in the chocolate. So, I tried to only dip them if they were still pretty cold from the freezer.