Today is National Spinach Day. I have always been a fan of spinach. One of my guilty little pleasures is canned spinach at room temperature, straight from the can. I don't know why I love that so much, but I do.
When we were kids, my sister and I would be reminded of Popeye and his love of spinach every time that we would eat spinach. I don't think either of us needed to be persuaded though, because we both liked it a lot.
An easy breakfast for me is to take two egg whites, beat them until frothy and add a handful of spinach and a handful of cheese. I will make up a half dozen of these and cook them in the skillet. In less than 5 minutes, I have a breakfast and a few leftover meals.
I also love spinach salad made with almonds, cranberries, feta cheese and poppyseed dressing. Delicious! Share your favorite spinach dish below!
If you are in the United States, Thanksgiving is a holiday that you most likely will be spending with family. The holiday lends itself to a nice family feeling, so it can be an important time to get some research done.
Prepare a small questionnaire and have your guests fill it out. For those that seem too busy, offer to fill it out for them.
Here is the email that I have already sent out to my family near and far. Those who will be with us, and those who are too far away:
Happy Thanksgiving to My Family!
I am working on a small project for our family and I need the help of each and every one of you. Please read this letter, fill it out and email it back to me. I will compile everyone's and get a copy to each and every one of you.
If you have a family tree completed, either send me the link or send me the info so that I can include it in the family database.
Please include place and date of birth and death if you know it.
I would love to have a copy of all of the family members that you have in your tree. Include little ones and those who have passed away, too.
Houses, Cars and Food! Thanksgiving is all about going to someone's house and eating food! I would love photos of home exteriors and interiors from time gone by. Cars that our family drove. Houses. Let me know who and when. Who's house this is, if there is anyone in the frame, who are they, and about when it was taken. Details are always awesome. Food photos! Send those photos of the table weighed down, groaning with food. The photos of people sitting in the living room with plates of food. All of it. Mama in her mini-skirt, balancing food. Send the photos via email. If you don't have access to a scanner or similar, take a photo with your camera of the photo and email it to me.
Recipes are also great. If you want to share some of the family cooking goldmine, then please, share all of the details with the recipe and it will be shared with the family.
I look forward to hearing back from all of you!
That email is constructed to be happy and family oriented. If you want, you can copy and paste it straight into an email for your family.
Share with me the details of success that you have. Happy Hunting!
This recipe is actually an accident. An accident that is delicious. An accident that runs around in your mouth, saying "Hello! I am amazing. Have another bite!"
Here we go. Part One.
The ingredients you need:
1 bag of semi sweet or unsweetened chocolate chips. A minimum of 24 ounces. (You are going to end up making a few batches!)
2 hen egg sized hunks of marshmallow fondant. (No, I don't care which size. I guess the huge hen egg.)
Candy Flavoring of your choice, whether extract or candy flavoring oil. Choose a delicious flavor you really love, though. Because chocolate! I chose Pumpkin Spice.
The tools that you need:
1 plastic bowl.
1 wooden spoon
One paper plate.
One rolling pin.
One cutting board.
Here we go! Part Two.
Pour in about a cup of the chips onto the microwave safe plastic bowl. I burned a hole through one of these like an idiot by super heating the chocolate. I would have taken photos, but no need to record that moment in history, now is there?
Anyway, pour in about a cup of the chips and microwave for a minute. Take them out and stir. The chips should be about the consistency of cake frosting. Not cake frosting yet? Place the bowl back in the microwave for another 30 seconds and stir again when they come out. They should be really close at this point. If they are still not like cake frosting, another 15 seconds will have you there. Don't overcook the chocolate. It smells so gross and your house will smell like dead chocolate. No one likes the smell of dead chocolate. It is the smell of angels weeping. Don't do that to yourself and to your family. Watch the microwave.
When you finally get to the point where it spreads like frosting, spoon it out onto the paper plate. go all the way to the lower edge with this, not the edge of the plate or you will be cleaning melted chocolate off everything. Put this in the freezer. If your freezer is stinky, cover it or this will stink like your freezer. Be safe. Save the chocolate.
Now. While the chocolate is chilling out, get that marshmallow fondant. Yum, yum, yum. Pick a candy oil flavor or an extract. I went with Pumpkin Pie spice because YUM. Roll the fondant into a ball shape. When it is about body temperature, you are done rolling into a ball shape with your hands. Press your finger in the fondant to the first knuckle.
Here is where the ingredients vary a little bit:
If you use the extract, which comes in a super small bottle, don't use more than 6 drops per egg shaped dollop or else it won't stick to the chocolate and it will look ugly. People will call out your name as the person who ruined the chocolate. Don't do that to yourself. If you are using the extract, it comes in a larger bottle. Pour in half as deep as the hole you made in the fondant. Pour slowly. Don't mess this up. Too much flavor is going to mess up the mix that you are creating for people's palates.
Knead the fondant with your hands. Some of the flavoring will get onto your hands. Ignore it and keep kneading for at least one minute, folding the dough flat and then smashing it with your hand over and over.
When your fondant dough is like warm taffy, pulling into elongated teardrop shapes, mash it together into a ball again and roll it out thin. It should be about the thickness of 2 credit cards put together. (Such amazing technical terms. Why didn't I become a recipe writer?) If there are wrinkles in your fondant, that is fine. Don't sweat that. It will be beautiful.
Make sure that there are no holes in the fondant where you can see the surface below it. It should be rolled out slightly larger than the plate or even the cookie sheet if you were feeling ambitious that your melted chocolate was spread out on.
Remove the chilled chocolate. It doesn't matter if it is completely set or not. Lift the fondant onto the plate or cookie sheet. Place it over it and take either a knife or scissors and cut out the outline of the plate or cookie sheet. If your fondant tears when you are setting it in place, don't worry. That leftover fondant? Patching material. Fill in the gaps or holes with the extra fondant. Overlap a bit? Does not matter. Chocolate showing through the holes? Who cares? Cover it with your patch fondant. You don't even have to press the 2 pieces of fondant together. Drop some fondant on any gaps and move on. You are making magic here. Now, guess what? Here is where some more magic is going to happen.
With your finger or the handle of the wooden spoon, gently push down in random places to lock the fondant into a marriage with the chocolate. Don't press too hard or you will pierce the fondant. If you do pierce it, repair it with the fondant you have left over. Seriously, don't stress this stuff.
Use the same bowl that you melted the first chocolate chips in, and melt about the same amount as the first, with the same instructions. Don't burn the chips! When it reaches a frosting consistency, add the same amount of flavoring that you added to the fondant to this part of the chocolate. It does not have to be the same flavor as long as it is complementary. Go wild. Have a good time. Don't over flavor. You already have a flavor punch happening here.
Now spread this over the top of the fondant using the back of a spoon to make beautiful texture designs. I made swirls by making circles over and over. Make sure you completely cover the fondant so that no fondant shows. Place this in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Clean the dishes you just dirtied and wash your hands and face of all of the places that the chocolate made it to. Wipe down the counters. Sweep the floor. Now, take out the little tempter. Shake some sea salt into your hand, not directly onto the chocolate. (I use coarse grind sea salt or Himalayan coarse grind)
Sprinkle this over the top of the chocolate. Place it back in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Done. Just like that. You are a miracle worker.
It is gorgeous. Like magazine with recipes in it gorgeous. You can tint the fondant if you want a pop of color, I did not, but, hey, maybe you want a pop of color. Next time I make mine, I will be doing that.
So when these come out of the freezer, break them into smaller pieces either by hand or whack them with something like a hammer or a wrench. I broke mine by hand. Where the corners are, it will be thicker. Look at the gorgeous shapes of curls and swirls. You made that! Cooking genius!