Thursday, December 6, 2007

ear bling, good smells and a shopping fix

My Christmas shopping is done.

I actually finished last month. For those of you who know me, or are close enough to our little circle of friends to receive a Christmas gift from us, you know that I love to spend, spend, spend during the holiday season. I love to give gifts, I love wrapping them (for real) and I love to arrange them ever so carefully under the tree so they look picture perfect before giving them out. I'm anal, I know. So, seeing as how I'm done shopping so early in the season, I'm tremendously depressed about not having anyone left to shop for. What's a girl to do? Buy for myself, of course! I scored the most adorable pair of earrings on etsy from the wonderfully talented curlygirlglass. I can't wait to pop them in. They remind me of the really cool earrings for stretched earlobes that I drool over at the piercing place. So seeing as how I'm too chicken to actually stretch mine, I went for these:

I'm also in the process of planning my Christmas baking for this year. The people who don't get store bought gifts from us get baskets of cookies and other various baked goods. Last year's truffles were a tremendous hit so I think I'll go for those again. They're incredible easy to make, and I'll post the recipe here in case you want to give it a try. For some reason the idea of making truffles at home seemed incredibly daunting but it turns out that washing the dishes afterward was harder than the entire building process. It's one of Ina's recipes so it can't be bad. I love experimenting with the coating for the outside of them. I used powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and ground espresso beans last year and the espresso truffles were everyone's favorite. I'm trying to come up with some new coatings for this year. Any ideas? Here's the recipe:

3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon prepared coffee
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract

Chop the chocolates finely and place in a bowl.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it boils. Immediately pour the hot cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the bowl with the chocolates. With a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolates together until the chocolate is completely melted. (If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir for a few minutes just until it melts.) Whisk in the coffee and vanilla. Cover and chill for 45 minutes to 1 hour until pliable but firm enough to scoop.

With 2 teaspoons or a 1 1/4-inch ice cream scoop, make dollops of the chocolate mixture and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes, until firm enough to roll into rough spheres. Chill again. Truffles are best when they're allowed to set overnight in the refrigerator.

So, that's that. Other than truffles, I think I'll be making my famous PMS bars (if you're interested in this recipe, let me know and I'll post that, too), peanut brittle, cookies and some caramel corn. On the savory side I'm considering making homemade bread and perhaps I'll can some homemade tomato jam. This is another recipe I'll post if anyone wants it. I'll have to dig it out. I got it from a cooking class I took a while back and this stuff is incredible on meat, fish, veggies, and I'm willing to bet it would make a roof shingle taste pretty darn good, too. And the smell....ooh, it makes your house smell wonderful.

Oh, one more thing...I scored a really great book that's full of vintage purse patterns and I have to take them to the copy shop to have the patterns blown up 165%. What a pain in the ass. I have no idea how much this is going to cost me but I think it'll be worth it because these bags are amazing. I'll post pictures when I make them.

No comments: