I’m moving!

I have some exciting news! I’m moving to a new blog: Marshmallows and Margaritas. I’m keeping this blog up, so you will still be able to access all my previous recipes. But I’ll be posting new recipes and photos, along with some other fashion and fitness stuff, on marshmallowsandmargaritas.com. Please do click over and let me know what you think — and please consider following the new blog.

Coincidentally, I’m also moving to southern California this summer. We’re going to look for a place to live this weekend. So. Excited. But you’ll have to read the new blog for more on that!

xoxo
Jen

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beer and fish cookies

Y’all. I totally forgot to share these cookies with you, and for that, I’m sorry.

Here’s the story: My former neighbor’s sister was getting married to a guy whose last name is Weintraut. Naturally, he called the fiance “beer catfish.”

And so, for her wedding shower, I made these cookies:

beer-cookie

and these:

fish-cookies

A little random, I know. But just in case you ever need to make beer mugs or fish cookies, I’m here for you.

The beer mugs were pretty easy — I got the idea from the amazing Bridget from Bake at 350.

outline fill

Just outline with black, fill the glass part with yellow flood icing and the foam and handle with white flood icing. Once that’s dry, pipe some white swirls in thicker (outline consistency) white icing on top of the dried white foam. (I kept some of that white thick icing for fish eyes)

icing

For the fish, outline in dark gray, then fill in a few of them with dark gray flood icing. Draw a few vertical yellow stripes on them. Take a toothpick and drag through the yellow stripes horizontally to create the swirly scale effect. Finish with white dots for eyes once the gray is all dry.

fishes

I always use this recipe for sugar cookies and this recipe for royal icing. If you have questions about how to decorate the cookies, Bridget has a lot of awesome tips on her blog, or you can email me at eatswimshop (at) gmail (dot) com!

Posted in baking, eating | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

George Washington’s cranberry pudding

I grew up in a state that didn’t even become a state until 1912. The history there tends to be of the native American or Mexican variety, and there aren’t any bars that can boast of hosting a founding father.  

So it’s a little weird to me that I live just a few blocks away from a farmer’s market where George Washington sold his produce, that we live down the street from a house where he ate dinner at least seven times, and that I used to work in the Maryland State House, where Washington resigned his commission. Not to mention that I can see the Capitol and Washington monument when I run on the trail near our house or drive to work. 

But it’s cool to have so much history around — the obvious and the not-so-obvious.

Anyway, when I saw this recipe in a collection of recipes from the presidents, I had to try it. I love cranberries, after all, and I feel like GW is everywhere.

whole-cranberries halved-cranberries

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this recipe, and the results were… different. It is definitely more like sticky toffee pudding than a Jell-O pudding cup, but that isn’t terribly surprising.

mixing cooked-pudding

I thought the molasses was the most prominent flavor, with bursts of cranberry in every bite. But the key to the deliciousness is the sweet, buttery sauce you pour over the top. So unhealthy, but so good.

magic-sauce

So, if you’re up for something different, give this a try. You can even make it in a rice cooker, if you have one. And, it’s wooden teeth approved.

cranberry-pudding

George Washington’s cranberry pudding (Adapted from Capitol Hill Cooks. Serves 6 to 8)
Pudding
1 1/2 cups cranberries (frozen is fine, just make sure you let them thaw first)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/3 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups flour (sift it if you have time)

Cut the cranberries in half.

Beat the eggs and stir in the sugar, salt and molasses. In a separate bowl, add the baking soda to the boiling water and mix. Add the boiling water mixture to the egg mixture. Stir in the sifted flour and cranberries.

Butter a rice cooker or heavy saucepan and add the pudding mixture. Steam or cook, covered, on low heat for 75-90 minutes. Serve warm with the magical sauce.

Sauce
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup half-and-half

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low to medium-low heat, then add sugar and half-and-half. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved. Spoon liberally over pudding to serve.

Posted in baking, eating | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Cooper River Bridge Run, and tips for your first race

My grandfather recently turned 90, and my family decided to go celebrate with him in Charleston, S.C. And, since it happened to be the same weekend as the Cooper River Bridge Run (a 10K that includes a two-mile bridge connecting Charleston to Mount Pleasant), we decided to run it.

IMG_20130406_065246 IMG_20130406_082102

My brother, Scott, was in the seeded category, and he finished in a little over 36 minutes. I was in a non-seeded category and it took me… longer.

IMG_20130406_085106 IMG_20130406_100134

I did have to walk a bit on the long, long uphill slope of the bridge, but I still finished faster than I did in the Marine Corps marathon 10K. So that was good. Toby also did well (and finished much faster than me, of course).

IMG_20130406_104113 IMG_20130406_103853

Also, I ate an avocado-coconut popsicle and Scott and I got our photo in front of the Wienermobile.

IMG_20130406_163059

Anyway. I noticed some things that I thought might be helpful if you’re participating in any races soon — especially if you haven’t done any before.

1. Get there early. I know it sucks, but parking and transportation usually take a while, there are usually lines for the port-a-potties and it’s way less stressful if you’re lined up in the right place ahead of time.

2. Those lululemon pants aren’t the only workout bottoms that give you a feeling of coverage but actually leave very little to the imagination. I’d recommend checking your rear view if you aren’t trying to show off your striped, polka dot or G-string undies (not to mention any naughty bits left uncovered by said undies) to 40,000 fellow racers.

3. If you’re going to walk, sign up as a walker or at least line up in the walker corral. That’s why they have a walker category. It’s totally fine if you have to stop and walk briefly (I did) or use a run-walk method throughout the race, but it is not fine if you sign up as a runner and line up with the runners and then proceed to slowly walk the entire race. The same goes for time categories — don’t line up with a way-faster-than-you-actually-are category if you can help it.

4. Pay attention to other people. Don’t randomly stop to walk or tie your shoe without checking behind you. Try not to walk (or slow jog) six abreast, unless there is plenty of room for other people to pass you. Don’t leave a person-sized gap between you and a wall and then suddenly lunge closer to the wall when someone attempts to pass you. I think you get the idea.

5. Relatedly, if you’re going to pass someone, try not to cut people off or hit someone with your elbow, etc.

6. Don’t kick anyone in the head while stretching before a race. That may seem kind of obvious, but I saw it happen right next to me on Saturday.

7. Arrive hydrated, and try to stay hydrated. Water stops are annoying and you will likely have to slow down to avoid slipping on discarded cups (I also can’t drink and run at the same time, but you may be more talented than I am), but it’s better than getting dehydrated.

8. Check the rules, and follow them. Sometimes you can run with a stroller, wear your headphones or bring your dog. Sometimes you can’t.

9. Don’t stop as soon as you cross the finish line. You should probably walk a bit to cool down anyway, plus you’re less likely to get knocked down or run over if you keep moving.

10. Have a plan for meeting up with friends or family after the race, particularly if it’s a big race. It can be a lot harder than you expect to find each other, and if you don’t have a plan (or your phone) you may be wandering around aimlessly for a long time.

Posted in how to, randomosity | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Southwestern butternut squash saute

I have a really hard time getting dinner on the table every night — particularly a well-balanced, homemade dinner. Do you have this problem? It seems like it always turns into a thing. What do we want to eat? Do we want to try to eat something healthy? Do we have anything in the fridge? Is the kitchen a mess?

And then we end up ordering something, or going out to eat. Or, if Toby’s not around, I heat up a can of Joe O’s.

However, Internet friends, I am working on it.

squash cut-up

One way to get some vegetables on the table in about 30 minutes? This butternut squash saute. You probably will want to have it as a side dish, but we just ate big bowls of it as our main dish.

spices cooking-squash

There are several things I liked about this recipe. One is that I already had all the spices and such that it calls for, so I only had to buy a butternut squash and some crumbled goat cheese. Another is that, while it takes about 20 minutes to cook, you don’t have to babysit it the whole time. So you can wash dishes or work on something else while it’s cooking. But the best thing? It’s delicious!

southwestern-squash

Southwestern butternut squash (Serves 2-4, adapted from Fast, Fresh & Green)
1 medium butternut squash (about 4 cups diced)
1 medium yellow onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chile powder
2 teaspoons maple syrup (NOT “pancake syrup”)
fresh lime juice (about 1 teaspoon)
Fresh cilantro (optional)
1 ounce crumbled goat cheese

Chop the butternut squash into small pieces (roughly 1/2-inch cubes). Cut the onion into smaller pieces.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the squash, onion and the salt and stir to coat. Cook the squash for about 20 minutes, stirring infrequently at first and then more often once the vegetables start to get brown.

When the squash is almost done, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the coriander, cumin and chile powder. Stir and cook for a minute or so, then add the maple syrup and simmer for 15 to 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and squeeze in the lime juice.

Drizzle the spice mixture over the squash and stir gently. Garnish with chopped cilantro (if desired) and sprinkle with goat cheese. Allow to sit for a minute or so, then serve warm.

Posted in cooking, eating | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eastergrams

I hope y’all enjoyed your weekend! We went to Ft. Thomas, Kentucky, where I managed to fall while running and bruise/scrape the heck out of my knee on Saturday morning… which resulted in me hobbling around the church for the baptism of Toby’s cousin’s baby girl. I also forgot my camera battery for the baptism, so that was awesome. But we do still have some photos.

IMG_20130330_130929 peeeeppppsssss

IMG_20130330_193716 IMG_20130330_193042

bunny-photo

bow-shoes IMG_20130401_211830

bunny-cake mint-julep

lamb-cake

Posted in baking, eating, fashion, photos of cute stuff, randomosity | Leave a comment

Peeps s’mores pie

You may recall that I love Peeps, which disgusts my friend Aaren and delights my normally uber-healthy friend Olga. In 2011 and 2012, I combined my love of baking and my love of Peeps to create a Peepcake and Peep cupcakes. Both were totally awesome, obviously. This year, since I (sadly) live farther from Olga and was not planning on presenting the Peep creation to her (she’s allergic to chocolate), I wanted to try something a little different: Peep s’mores pie.

peeps

The idea was partially inspired by a s’mores tart I had several months ago and the Peep s’mores in Jessie the CakeSpy’s cookbook. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out quite as I had hoped.

before-broiling

burned-peeps

Oops. Turns out Peeps are very flammable.

Anyway, it still tasted good (I love burnt marshmallows), but it looks like some kind of Peep horror movie. So if anyone wants to try this, I would recommend not putting the Peeps too close to the broiler and keeping a VERY close eye on them — they may only need to be under there for 30 seconds.

peep-pie

All I did was make a simple graham cracker crust (mix together 1 1/4 cups crushed graham crackers, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter, then press into a pie dish and either bake for 5 minutes in a 350F oven or refrigerate for an hour to set). Once the crust is cooled/set, spread a jar of Nutella (or something similar — I used cocoa-almond spread from Trader Joe’s) into the crust and top with Peeps.

At this point, you may want to put the pie in the fridge to “set” the filling a little. Then put it in the oven under a pre-heated broiler and watch it very closely (without burning your eyebrows off, please). Remove when the Peeps are slightly melted and browned, or when there are flames shooting from them, whichever you prefer.

If you’d rather try CakeSpy’s Peep s’mores pie recipe (it involves ice cream), please let me know how it turns out! You can als make your own Cadbury eggs, ala Hilary from Genuine Joy. Or get super fancy with some homemade chocolate-orange egg truffles. Happy Easter!

Peep-cake2

Posted in baking, eating | Tagged , , | 5 Comments