Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Run Lauren, Run!!!

Disneyland, California

I am PROUD to say I had the pleasure of being in California this past weekend to cheer my daughter on as she ran the Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon in Disneyland!!! She walked/ran 13.1 miles in 3 hours 25 minutes... which isn't too bad for her very first (of many more to come) runs. 

Our hotel was located at the 7 mile mark... so I was able to catch her as she ran by... with a smile still on her face. Considering the start time was 5:45 AM and we were in the park the whole day before and stayed until 9:45 PM... I was stunned she was still standing!

I painted her T-shirt with wings and her url... www.bitofpixiedust.com for advertising purposes. Next stop is Disney World in Florida at the end of this month. One thing I learned on this trip was that I am a slacker as far as support cheering goes. So many other moms, husbands, boyfriends, etc made signs, blasted "Rocky" music and more for motivation. I can assure you... I can fulfill my duties with gusto at the next run... unless I decide to run myself. Hey... ya never know!


I hate having my picture taken... so here I am in shadow. Yup... I'm wearing my Mickey Ears. Black and red sequins make them dressy. I fit right in with the rest of the tourists... he... he.
We rented a FIAT. Zippy, fun, and fuel efficient. Driving on the 101, 110, 405, 105, & 5 was certainly an experience I will never forget. My destination may have been 35 miles as the crow flies, but consistently took 1 1/2 hours travel time. UGH! I never thought I would be happy back on the New Jersey Turnpike.

I met up with an old High School friend for dinner... and hung out with my son (who lives out there) for 2 days. Sleep??? Oh... was I supposed to sleep while there? I knew I forgot to plan something!
At least I got to work on my tan :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Many, many moons ago Martha Stewart Living magazine did a spread on homemade marshmallows. I was intrigued. At the time, my friend Rennie said... "Why would you go to all that trouble when you can buy them at the store for under a dollar?" Since I was a busy wife and mom with 3 kids, a business, a girl scout troop, and running the PTA at the time... I put the idea of making these tender little puffs of sugar out of my head. Besides... other than Rice Krispy treats and S'mores when did I really eat marshmallows?

Now that I am much older (and wiser?) I have decided it's time to tackle the candy thermometer! It has been hanging out in my kitchen drawer unused long enough. It's time that thing earned it's keep.

With recipe in hand I grabbed my equipment, ingredients, and dug out the thermometer. Turned off the phone, cranked up the music, rolled up my sleeves and turned to the stove. Let's do this!!!

Well... it was so easy! I was ready to do battle... and there was no battle to fight. Everything went so smoothly... Amazing! The hardest part was waiting overnight for the marsh to mallow... to set up enough to cut into squares. Don't worry... there was enough on the beaters to lick :-)

So... to reply to Rennie's comment (even if it is over 10 years or more delayed)... "Because they are absolutely delicious and taste like no other marshmallow you have ever eaten... and it was FUN!!!"

Marshmallow Recipe


  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin... like Knox
  • 1 c cold water
  • 1 1/2 c regular sugar
  • 1 c light corn syrup
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c confectioners' sugar
  • Butter


Pour gelatin in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Add 1/2 c cold water. Let sit.
In a small saucepan combine remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes... don't peek. Uncover, clip the candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until thermometer reads 240 degrees F, about 7 to 8 minutes. 
Remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix another minute.


Butter bottom and sides of a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar to coat.
When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Spread evenly with a buttered spatula. Sprinkle top lightly with confectioners' sugar. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.


Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel or knife dusted with confectioners' sugar. Roll each marshmallow gently in the sugar. Store in an airtight container up to 3 weeks.

1. Butter is your best friend. It keeps the mixture from sticking to everything. Some people sprayed their pan with cooking spray... you can too... however the oil pools in the corners and makes your marshmallows a little slimy looking and grayish. 
2. Adding a 1/4 c cornstarch to the confectioners' sugar is in a lot of recipes. I didn't like the flavor so omitted it with no problem. Add it if you wish... or not.
3. Think of all the flavor combos you can do!!! Switch the vanilla extract with peppermint. I actually have Chocolate extract... hmmm... a little cocoa powder... some chips... I think I have the makings of Chocolate marshmallows!!!
4. Water is your next best friend. Let your sauce pan, mixing bowl, beaters and all soak in warm water. It makes clean up fast and easy. 

In anticipation of our first nasty weather tonight... I am going to make hot chocolate squares to combine with the marshmallows and deliver them to all of my neighbors tomorrow. Watch for that post!!
Stay warm!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Year... New ME!

Hello everyone!! It's a NEW YEAR... and a NEW ME! I hope you all are just as excited about 2012 as I am. The end of 2011 was a bit rough for me, but I took stock of my life and decided that I was better off than a lot of other folks in my area... so I slapped a smile on my face... made a bunch of New Year's Resolutions... painted a sign to hang on my wall as a constant reminder... took a deep breath and leapt forward with a new outlook on life.

Here's the sign. 
It gets a little crooked towards the bottom, but I was in a rush to finish it and hang it up. 
Oh well.

#1. Be Happy... I don't think this needs an explanation. Right?

#2. Use Up Craft Supplies... Hence the card photo at the top of this blog. I have enough craft supplies around this house to create anything I want at any given moment. I've made a conscience decision to NOT purchase another thing without figuring out how to use what I already have on hand. I look at things in a whole new light and have been much more creative about thinking 'outside the box'. Try it... you'll see what I mean.

#3. Sit Down To Eat... A lot of my 'meals' (if that's what you want to call them) are eaten standing at the kitchen sink. It's time to grow up and be an adult. So what if I'm eating by myself... that doesn't mean I can't be civilized. 

#4 Reach Out To Family & Friends More... Yeah, that's a good one for me. I tend to 'hole up' and shut out the ones who know me best. I need to remember that others need a phone call, a shared experience, a little shot of happiness as much as I do. It keeps people connected and makes life more interesting.

#5 Make Lists... I should have added 'and don't leave them on the kitchen counter when you leave the house' to this one. I get annoyed at myself when I return home and realize I forgot to run that ONE errand I so desperately needed to do. I get distracted easily.

#6 Eat Breakfast... Slamming a piece of toast in my mouth doesn't count. Start off the day with a clear head and a full stomach and things will go smoother.

#7 Shop Independents... Let's keep the Mom & Pops open!! They have mouths to feed too. Yeah I know, it's cheaper to shop at the chains, but every town is beginning to look the same and have no personality. Spending a dollar more for an item at an independent can be compensated for by purchasing less overall. In the long run your outgoing expenditures will be less, and the small independents will still be around to serve you.

#8 Moisturize... Some days I feel my skin is as rough as a crinkled old dry leaf. Especially my hands. UGH! 

#9 Pack A Healthy Snack... Every time I leave the house I make sure to pack a healthy snack. It keeps me away from the fast food and junk until I can get home to make something more nutritious. Most of the time it works; however every once in a while I just HAVE to have Peanut M&Ms, Reeses Peanut Butter Cup, or Snickers Bar. My wallet thanks me, as well as my heart and waistline.

#10 Create... Duh! I live and breathe to create... how about you?

So.... Did YOU make any New Year's Resolutions?? Are you still following them?