Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2 Shy of 400

So I'm now in Austin, Texas, getting ready for graduate school to start. Moving 1500 miles from my home, I was limited by what I could fit into my car. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to use up my entire stash of yarn before I left, which is mostly in these blankets (they each use 3 strings of yarn at one time). With these items that I'm donating to ARC, I am now 2 items shy of 400 items donated. 

-15 pairs of socks
-3 pairs of booties
-1 cat bed
-5 cat/dog mats

-5 baby blankets


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Decadent Strawberry Fudge Recipe

This is my favorite stove-made fudge to make. Although I've never tried it (because I don't like chocolate), I've been told it tastes a bit like strawberry sherbet. 

Preparation – 10 minutes
Cooking – 20 minutes
Cooling Time – 3 hours to Overnight
Yields – 24 servings (2 pieces per serving)

·      2 ½ cups granulated sugar
·      ⅔ cup (5 oz. can) evaporated milk
·      ½ cup (1 stick) butter
·      2 cups (11-12 oz. package) white chocolate chips
·      1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow crème (or fluff)
·      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·      ½ teaspoon imitation strawberry extract
·      3 drops of red food coloring

Cooking Preparation – Line a 9" x 13" baking dish with foil, extending over the edges of the dish.

Cooking – Combine the sugar, evaporated milk, and butter in a heavy-duty saucepan. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, making sure that the bottom of the thermometer does not touch the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to boil at a moderate, steady rate without stirring until the thermometer reaches 238°F (softball stage), about 15 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil. Once the mixture has reached softball stage, remove from heat. Stir in the chocolate chips, marshmallow crème, vanilla, and strawberry extract until the mixture is well combined. Add the 3 drops of food coloring and stir until the color is swirled, not completely uniform. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan. Cool until firm (3 hours to overnight).

Final Preparation – Lift the foil from the pan. Remove the foil. Cut into 1-inch square pieces. Store tightly covered.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

369 and Meeting Jee Jee

Last night I met Jee Jee Kim, the amazing woman in charge of ARC, the charity I support. She is easily the sweetest person I have ever met and you can tell that she is truly sincere in everything she does. I am honored to support her charity and hopefully I can continue to do so when I move to Texas.

Last night I also donated 45 items to ARC, bring the total to 369 items donated since 2009. The breakdown of the 45 follows:

-1 baby rattle
-1 baby blanket
-1 cat bed
-6 hats
-7 earwarmers
-13 pairs of mittens (one is not pictured)
-7 pairs of booties
-3 pairs of socks
-1 pair of long (knee-ish high) socks
-1 enfant pinafore
-2 scarves

-A camera and a snail

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Quick and Easy Fudge Recipe

I want to try something a little different and share a recipe I love making. Since I don't like chocolate, I can only go by the words of my friends, but they swear by my fudge. It always disappears soon after I reveal it to them. The recipe is easily adaptable and adjustable to different tastes. I'm going to give you the variation of the recipe that my friends seem to like the most. 

Dark Chocolate and Orange Zest Fudge

Time: a few minutes
Rest time: a few hours to overnight
Makes about 20 1" x 1" pieces

One 10 or 11 oz. package of dark chocolate chips (either size will work)
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (one 14 oz. can is actually 1 and 1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
The zest of a medium orange (about a tablespoon, although you can decrease this for a milder taste)

Line an 8" x 8" pan with aluminum foil such that you can later easily lift the foil (with the fudge) out of the pan. Combine all ingredients into a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for one minute. Use a spatula to stir all ingredients to combine. If not all of the chocolate has melted, put the bowl back into the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until all the chocolate has melted (I've never had to put it in for anything more than 1 minute 30 seconds total. Usually, the chocolate has melted with the first minute.). Quickly pour the fudge into the prepared pan and spread it out with a spatula to an even layer. Let stand on the counter for a few hours (3-4 or so) or overnight (I prefer this option) to let it set up. Once it has set up, lift the foil out of the pan. Use a knife (doesn't need to be sharp; a butter knife would work) to cut pieces. Enjoy!

  • I would advise against putting the fudge in the fridge in order to hasten hardening. When I have done this, it has resulted in a fudge that is almost too hard to cut. Also, I would be concerned about condensation possibly forming on the fudge, which would not be a good thing.
  • A pizza cutter also works very well for cutting pieces.
  • If you decide to use white chocolate chips for this recipe, use a little LESS sweetened condensed milk. Don't fill the 1/3 cup all the way to the top. It has been my experience in the past that using all 2/3 cup produces fudge that will not harden up.
  • Since one can of sweetened condensed milk is double what you need, why not make two batches of fudge!
Variations on the recipe:
  • You can swap the dark chocolate for milk or semisweet chips and ditch the zest for plain chocolate fudge.
  • Lightly roasting about a cup of almond slivers and using white chocolate chips gives a nice nutty variation to the recipe. 

Use your imagination for more variations. Cheers!  :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

324 Donated Items!!

Life has been busy lately, with finishing graduate applications and the last fall semester of my undergraduate career not to mention the massive holiday rush on etsy. But since that has calmed down, I've had a bit of time to do some charity crocheting. Here are the spoils of my labor of love.

But I'd like to say some more things. One: If you are a bit of a math nerd (no shame in that :3) and tallied my donations from this and the last post, you'll find that it comes to 323. I converted my paper tally of my donations into an excel one and in doing so, discovered that my donations were actually 324. So I basically discovered that I can't count. All my 5s on the calc and stat AP exams and calc III in college have failed me. *hangs head*

Two: Crocheting for the next several months may be difficult given the amount of work I put on myself for this last spring semester. *sad panda*

Donated Items:
-1 baby blanket (the white one since in previous pictures)
-4 bibs
-3 earwarmers
-1 cat bed and cat mat
-2 stuffed animals
-7 pairs of mittens
-1 pair of booties
-4 scarves
-13 hats
-6 10" x 10" squares for a blanket

Also seen here are the four items my mom donated to ARC.