Homade S’mores sans the fire!

marshmallows
marshmallows

Today the kid had a bake sale at his school and I was going to make marshmallows.  I realized I didn’t have any sticks to make them like lollipops so I was going to change to cookies.  Then I saw some straws that looked like chocolate chip cookies and I decided on chocolate chip marshmallows.  Once i decided on that, I figured ohhhhhhhhh, maybe I should cover them in graham cracker crust and that is exactly what I did.  This recipe is adapted from http://www.thekitchn.com

ohhhhhhhhhh chocolate chips
ohhhhhhhhhh chocolate chips

Here is the recipe

Ingredients

gelatin:
3 tablespoons (3 packets) unflavored gelatin powder
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

marshmallows:
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup sugar cane syrup or corn syrup
1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips (you can chop them if they are to big)

graham cracker crust:
10 graham crackers
1/4 cup cornstarch or rice flour

grahm cracker crust
graham cracker crust

Equipment
Bowls and measuring cups
Fork or small whisk
9×13 baking pan or other flat container
4-quart saucepan (slightly larger or smaller is ok)
Pastry brush (optional)
Candy thermometer, one that can clip to the side of the sauce pan
Stand mixer with a wire whisk attachment (See Recipe Note)
Clean kitchen towel
Stiff spatula or spoon (as opposed to a rubbery, flexible one)
Sharp knife or pizza wheel

Instructions

  1. Prepare pans and equipment: Spray the baking pan with cooking spray. Use a paper towel to wipe the pan and make sure there’s a thin film on every surface, corner, and side. Set it near your stand mixer, along with the kitchen towel and spatula. Fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
  2. Bloom the gelatin: Measure the gelatin into the bowl of the stand mixer. Combine 1/2 cup cold water and vanilla in a measuring cup and pour this over the gelatin while whisking gently with a fork. Continue stirring until the gelatin reaches the consistency of apple sauce and there are no more large lumps. Set the bowl back in your standing mixer. (Alternatively, you can bloom the gelatin in a small cup and transfer it to the stand mixer.)
  3. Combine the ingredients for the syrup: Pour 3/4 cup water into the 4-quart saucepan. Pour the sugar, corn syrup, and salt on top. Do not stir.
  4. Bring the sugar syrup to a boil: Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring it to a full, rapid boil — all of the liquid should be boiling. As it is coming to a bowl, occasionally dip a pastry brush in water and brush down the sides of the pot. This prevents sugar crystals from falling into the liquid, which can cause the syrup to crystallize. If you don’t have a pastry brush, cover the pan for 2 minutes once the mixture is at a boil so the steam can wash the sides. → Do not stir the sugar once it has come to a boil or it may crystallize.
s'mores marshmallows
s’mores marshmallows
  1. Boil the syrup to 247°F to 250°F: Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the sauce pan and continue boiling until the sugar mixture reaches 247°F to 250°F. Take the pan off the heat and remove the thermometer.
  2. Whisk the hot syrup into the gelatin: Turn on your mixer to medium speed. Carefully pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin. The mixture may foam up — just go slowly and carefully.
  3. Increase speed and continue beating: When all the syrup has been added, cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and increase the speed to high (the cloth protects from splatters — the cloth can be removed after the marshmallows have started to thicken).
  4. Beat marshmallows until thick and glossy: Whip for about 10 minutes. At first, the liquid will be very clear and frothy. Around 3 minutes, the liquid will start looking opaque, white, and creamy, and the bowl will be very warm to the touch. Around 5 minutes, the marshmallow will start to increase in volume. You’ll see thin, sticky strands between the whisk and the side of the bowl; these strands will start to thicken into ropes over the next 5 minutes. The marshmallow may not change visually in the last few minutes, but continue beating for the full 10 minutes. When you finish beating and stop the mixer, it will resemble soft-serve vanilla ice cream.  Very carefully mix in chocolate chips.  Do not stir to much or they will melt.  Some will melt regardless so don’t fret.
  5. Immediately transfer to the baking pan: With the mixer running on medium, slowly lift (or lower, depending on your model) the whisk out of the bowl so it spins off as much marshmallow as possible. Using your stiff spatula, scrape the marshmallow mixture into the pan. This stuff is very thick and sticky, so don’t worry about getting every last bit out of the bowl. Just get as much as you can.  You can add some more chopped chocolate chips here if you’d like.
  6. Let the marshmallows set for 6 to 24 hours: Spray your hands lightly with cooking oil and smooth the top of the marshmallow to make it as even as possible. Let the mixture sit uncovered and at room temperature for 6 to 24 hours to set and “cure.”
  7. Prepare the marshmallow coating: Put crackers and flour into a food processor and pulse until crackers are a powder or very, very, small bits.
  8. Remove the marshmallows from the pan: Sprinkle the top of the cured marshmallows with some of the powdered sugar mix and smooth it with your hand. Flip the block of marshmallows out onto your work surface. Use a spatula to pry them out of the pan if necessary. Sprinkle more powdered sugar mixture over the top of the marshmallow block.
  9. Cut the marshmallows: Using a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut the marshmallows into squares. It helps to dip your knife in water every few cuts. (You can also cut the marshmallows with cookie cutters.)
  10. Coat each square with graham cracker
  11. mix: Toss each square in the powdered sugar mix so all the sides are evenly coated.
all done!
all done!

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have a promotional item of some sort on there:)  I closed the marshmallows with the book promo stickers.

Conversations between me and the kid
Conversations between me and the kid
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Meatless Mondays – Happy Fries Edition

I saw this recipe in the Vegetarian Times and thought this would be an awesome after school snack or a great side to go with black bean burgers.  This would go great with any burgers actually.  If you have kids I would add potatoes to the mix as well so that the kids have something familiar if they are picky eaters.

Rosemary Garlic Carrot and Green Bean Fries
Rosemary Garlic Carrot and Green Bean Fries
Stave off cravings for crunchy, salty fried foods with these oven-fried vegetables.
  • 4 Tbs. grapeseed oil, divided, plus more for greasing baking sheets
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced, divided (2 Tbs.)
  • 1½ lb. carrots, peeled and cut into long, thin sticks
  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed
1 | Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets with oil. 2 | Stir together 2 Tbs. oil, 1 Tbs. rosemary, and 1 Tbs. garlic in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Add carrots, and toss to coat well with oil and seasonings. Spread carrots in single layer on one prepared baking sheet. 3 | Combine remaining 2 Tbs. oil, 1 Tbs. rosemary, and 1 Tbs. garlic in same bowl, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Add green beans, and toss to coat. Spread green beans on second prepared baking sheet. 4 | Roast green beans and carrots 20 to 30 minutes (depending on thickness), or until vegetables begin to turn deep brown in spots. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cool 2 minutes, then serve, or cool on baking sheets, and serve at room temperature.

Great article on co-sleeping!

Dr. Bergman advises pediatricians to educate parents on the benefits of safe co-sleeping
Dr. Bergman advises pediatricians to educate parents on the benefits of safe co-sleeping
sima dimitric on Flickr

The doctor responsible for spearheading Sudden Infant Death Syndrome funding and education since the 1970’s is calling for doctors to stop saying that co-sleeping is dangerous.

Dr. Abraham B. Bergman, who was the first president of the National SIDS Foundation, published an editorial in JAMA Pediatrics,“Bed Sharing per se Is Not Dangerous.”

In it, the respected doctor calls out the American Academy of Pediatrics for making unfounded claims against bed sharing with babies, and calls for consistency in how infant deaths are classified. He writes:

“Since 1998, it appears that medical examiners and coroners are moving away from classifying deaths as SIDS and calling more deaths accidental suffocation or unknown cause, suggesting that diagnostic and reporting practices have changed. Inconsistent practices in investigation and cause-of-death determination hamper the ability to monitor national trends, ascertain risk factors, and design and evaluate programs to prevent these deaths.”

He goes on to say:

“The National Center for Health Statistics receives its information about causes of death from a potpourri of US coroners and medical examiners in 2185 different death investigation jurisdictions. This lack of uniformity means that the personal beliefs of coroners and medical examiners determine the diagnoses written on death certificates.”

Dr. Berman notes that these coroners and medical examiners often mislabel SIDS deaths as accidental suffocation because many of them don’t believe that SIDS is an actual disease entity, and don’t take into account “the devastation this terminology inflicts on the surviving family members.”

He also notes that many doctors themselves practice bed sharing with their babies, writing:

“I detect a note of irony in the AAP’s position. Are we advising our patients against a practice that many of us follow? Colson et al show that bed sharing is reported among 12.2% of caretakers with some college education and 9.2% of caretakers who have graduated from college and/or had post-baccalaureate education. Many pediatricians’ families seem to be among those who ignore the AAP recommendation, with or without guilt.”

Dr. Bergman wrote the editorial in response to advice published elsewhere in the same issue of JAMA Pediatrics against co-sleeping, noting that there was no evidence that co-sleeping was dangerous:

“Elsewhere in this issue, Colson and colleagues report that from 1993 through 2010, the overall trend for US caregivers to share a bed (also known as cosleeping) with their infants has significantly increased, especially among black families. Because of their belief that bed sharing increases infant mortality, the authors call for increased efforts by pediatricians to discourage the practice. I find the report disquieting because evidence linking bed sharing per se to the increased risk for infant death is lacking.”

Bergman ends the editorial with a plea for pediatricians to recommend safe bed sharing, writing:

“Equal time in counseling should be given to the benefits to bed sharing, such as more sleep for the parent, easier breastfeeding when the infant is nearby, ease of pacifier reinsertion, and the intangible satisfaction of skin-to-skin contact. In its admonition against bed sharing, the AAP has overreached.”

There are many benefits to co-sleeping with your children. If you decide to co-sleep, Attachment Parenting International has information on how to do so safely here.

Want to stay in the loop? You can subscribe to my column to be updated when I post articles.

You can also find me on Pinterest and elsewhere on examiner.com on the topics of homeschooling, green living and more attachment parenting.

You don’t make friends with salad.

On Tuesday night at around 8:34pm the kid told me that he needed snack for his whole class tomorrow.  I said that I wasn’t familiar with that request and I hadn’t gotten any correspondence from his teacher.  Our conversation went as such:

Tk: mom, I have to bring snacks for the class tomorrow.
M: I didn’t see any correspondence about that? Do I need to call your teacher?
Tk: yes, she said who wants to bring snacks so I raised my hand.
M: oh I see. Well I have carrots.
Tk: no, it doesn’t have to be healthy mom, it can be junk like candy or something.
M: I’m not buying junk, and if you need it tomorrow all I have is carrots.
Tk: that’s gonna be the worst!!!!
M: well stop volunteering me for stuff and not telling me till 8:34pm

I posted this conversation on my Facebook page and all my friends laughed at me and the kid and told me not to send him to school with carrots or he was going to get made fun of.  I had no choice, I had nothing in the house that I could send to school for 23 kids.  I was not going to bake anything at that late hour either. My baby was already mad that she was up past her bedtime.

salad1 salad2

In an effort to not send my kid to school with a bag of baby carrots, I went to the kitchen to jazz them up.  I don’t even buy baby carrots as I find them offensive.  I don’t understand them.  I had them because a homeless woman asked me to buy her some vegetables on my way into the grocery store that morning and I figured these were probably the best for snacking.

I added some honey, cinnamon, lemon juice, raisins, cranberries, and vanilla to the carrots and put them in the fridge overnight to marinate.

I sent him to school with his carrots and 24 biodegradable cups to put the carrots in.  When I dropped him off I said a quick prayer that he would not come home angry because all the kids called him carrot boy.  It reminded me of a song that my sister used to sing called You don’t make friends with salad.

Fast forward to school pickup and the first thing he said was that his friends loooooooooooooooved the carrots and they want to know if I can make some more.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh the sweet taste of victory.  Mommy wins with carrots!

Earth Day!!

Today is Earth day and my family plans to celebrate with lights out as we do every year.  The goal is to turn the lights off at 6pm and to not turn them back on until 6am the next morning!

This can be great fun for the kids because you can eat dinner by candle light and do bath and story time with a flashlight!  My son loves it, however, with two kids this year may be a bit more challenging lol. Wish us luck!

Earth Day!
Earth Day!

Meatless Monday Lentil burger edition!

Lentil burger yum!!!
Lentil burger yum!!!

Recipe

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1 cup(4 ounces) shredded smoked cheddar cheese (I would use smoked provolone or mozzarella)
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 teaspoons stone-ground mustard
  • 8 (2-ounce) whole wheat sandwich buns, toasted
  • 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
  • 2 cups trimmed arugula

Preparation

Place first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender; drain. Discard bay leaves. Place lentils in a large bowl; partially mash with a potato masher. Cool slightly.

Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly.

Add onion mixture, cheese, and next 8 ingredients (cheese through egg whites) to lentils; stir well to combine. Cover and chill 45 minutes. Divide mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.

Heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add half of patties, and cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Repeat procedure with remaining patties. Spread 1 teaspoon mustard on top half of each bun. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun, and top each serving with 1 tomato slice, 1/4 cup arugula, and top half of bun.