A new room

Through the years of having a business, one that went hog wild in it’s first year, I have always worked in our dining room. Oh it’s changed throughout the years – at one point housing all my fabric and sewing needs. But when I decided to focus more on photography, the things on my dining room table changed from fabric and onesies, to, cameras, a scanner and film. Now, the kids and I will have our own creative space in the basement. My husband has been hard at work in our basement for a year and a half. The end is almost here – just a few more of the little details – and it will be done. And I am pretty excited.

My goal is to have a room that is multi-purpose and free of clutter. Everything will have it’s place. While we have a hutch I stripped and painted right before our oldest was born,which will be used for storing many things, there are a few other pieces I am trying to find at second-hand stores. Here is a sampling of inspiration pieces that model what will likely go in this area:

From Home Decorators – two of these pushed together would be great. Each kid would have their own drawer to mess up.

Ironworks28672 on Etsy – adjustable stools – a must with kids.

CathodeBlue on Etsy – I have always wanted an old school pull-down map. How fun is this?

And I am still debating about the light – these from West Elm are awesome.

And so is this one from IKEA.

I’ve also amassed a huge amount of prints through the years, so there will be no shortage of artwork to display. Hopefully I’ll be sharing the completed room soon. Yippee!

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This is no ordinary sorbet

Sometimes on the weekend, I turn on PBS. Because for most of the day on Saturday, I can get my fill of cooking shows. For some reason the kids and I watched Joanne Weir a week ago. I’d never seen her show before, so I was intrigued when she was teaching this pretty boy how to make pineapple sorbet and some veal dish. Then I had to explain to the girls what veal was. See, we pretty much were stuck on the pineapple sorbet from the beginning.

It is such an easy thing, to make sorbet. For every four cups of puree, you will need one cup of sugar. So whatever fruit you use, you can go by this golden rule and be OK.

I began with a whole pineapple. And I cut it up. There is no special way to do this. I usually chop the top and bottom off and then slice away at the peel. Cut in quarters and slice off the top of the triangle part, which is the core. You don’t want that in your mixture. You all know why. Chop up the remaining pineapple and place in the blender.

Oh yes, blend that pineapple up.

And then strain it. Pieces in your sorbet are not desirable.

Use a spoon to push the good stuff through the strainer.

Then one must add sugar. Again using the ratio 1 cup of sugar per 4 cups of puree. Our puree came out to be around 3 1/2 cups. So I added about 3/4 of a cup of sugar. I am not a fan of super-sweet. Pineapple can be sweet enough, so this is an entirely personal thing, this sugar addition.

Place a little puree in a pot with your sugar. On medium heat, melt the sugar into the mixture until it looks clear. Use a spatula or, your finger, to see if your sugar has melted. If it comes out looking grainy, then it’s not quite done. Return this sugar mixture back into the other puree and stir well. Let it cool in the fridge for 1 hour before putting it in your ice cream machine.

We are almost there. Making ice cream or sorbet is a painful process for us impatient people. After many, many minutes, about the time your ice cream maker sounds like it’s struggling to get through, it’s time to stop.

You will have very soft sorbet. Beautifully sweet, pineapple sorbet.

And now you have to put it in the freezer another hour or two for it to firm up. Which sucks. But this process will reveal why this step is necessary when we finish up the whole ensemble.

But if your freezer is like ours, you will not have nice, firm sorbet.

Oh well.

So, the end part. The part that got my oldest and I wondering. When Joanne drizzled olive oil and sprinkled fleur de sel on her pineapple sorbet. And the guy she was teaching looked in horror at her. WHAT? You put olive oil and salt on your sorbet? Yes, yes she did.

And let me tell you. It’s good. Very good. My eight year old liked it as well.

Pineapple Sorbet with extra virgin olive oil and fleur de sel

from Joanne Weir

Ingredients

1 pineapple

1 cup of sugar

Olive oil

fleur de sel

Method

  1. Place the pineapple in a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing down on the solids to extract the puree. Discard the solids. Measure the puree and allow 1 cup (220g) sugar for every 1 litre (4 cups) puree.

  2. Place about 1 cup (250ml) of the fruit puree in a saucepan over medium heat. Add all the sugar and bring to simmer, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Combine with the remaining pineapple puree. Chill for 1 hour until cold.
  3. Pour the mixture into a shallow container and freeze until frozen at the edges. Remove and beat with an electric beater. Pour back into the container and refreeze. Repeat 2 or 3 times, then freeze until firm. (Alternatively, churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions.)
  4. To serve, scoop the sorbet into bowls, drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over each bowl and sprinkle with sea salt flakes.

What happened

Doing long distance triathlons is no joke. It’s dangerous at times and until this point, I really didn’t see it that way. You hear stories of people falling dead during races. But like anyone, I never think the worst. Or naively, I never think the worst will happen to me. And then you begin to find out it can.

The weekend before my race, I was sick – throwing up sick. I only began to eat again on Wednesday. My race – The Eagleman – a 1/2 Ironman – was on Sunday. I thought I would be fine. But early in the morning, I knew I wasn’t my normal, crazed self before the race. I was actually tired and I remember telling my friend, “I am tired, I need to wake up.”

The water was 82 degrees – which is like bath water when you are swimming a hard 1.2 mile swim. But when the air temperature is 90+ degrees and you have a 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run on an open road, with no shade, it is brutal. Couple that with my previous bought of stomach issues and this race was going to be a fight. I was actually hauling on the bike for the first 48 miles. And then it started. Some weird pain in my foot and the spinning in my head. The pain in my foot couldn’t be consoled. I got to the transition area and started to cry a little. I knew I wasn’t OK. I even debated going on to the run, which I have never done, ever. My lips were puckered, I was a bit confused. I fumbled. I was crying some. I ran out of the transition area annoyed and doubting I was going to make it back.

I gave myself two miles. My heart was racing. Literally, I could not calm it down. I walked. I was dizzy. I got to the first water station and thought “I can’t believe this!” I kept going. All I was tasting was salt. My lips were still puckered. And before I reached mile 2, I really contemplated stopping. I was upset I wasn’t going to do well, that I wasn’t going to make my goal time. All that work and sweat and pain, and I was going to flop.

But I kept going. Running and walking when my heart would race. Getting to each water station. Drinking some and then finally peeing. My lips weren’t puckered, but I was still not normal. By mile 11 – I was annoyed. I was annoyed my body failed. It just hit it’s limit that day. Unfortunately – there was nothing I could do but be smart. I got to the finish line. My time was horrible – but I didn’t give up.

Stupid? Um, yes. Later realizing I was dealing with hyperthermia. But my thoughts are, this is what I train for. To deal with these times. And to learn from them. I’ve had two great races prior to this one, with PR’s made. To complain and dwell on a race you’ve trained intensely for is hard not to do. It’s hard not to cry about it. But. There are other races to do. And one can only hope it will be better next time – that the reality is your body has it’s moments. But it’s a blessing to be able to do these races. To be healthy and functioning. The little bumps along the way make you realize it that much more.

This is where I impress you (not really)

 

I kind of felt like Cher in “Mermaids” making these. A friend of mine made these for a brunch last week and wouldn’t you know it, my son’s first grade room parent was there and assigned me to make them for the end of school year party.

OK.

But instead of melting chocolate, I made dark chocolate ganache. I gave the kids their own supplies and for one moment this week, they did not fight, or whine, or drive me nuts. I am not sure what is happening this week other than the end of school, super hot weather, sort of stuff. But the kids are especially crazed.

And now they are high on chocolate.

Ingredients

Marshmallows

Pretzel Sticks

Chocolate chips

Heavy whipping cream

Sprinkles

And now I will leave it up to you to figure out how to put these together.