Friday, April 15, 2011

friday fixations

{pamplemousse} I totally forgot about diet pink grapefruit pop. We used to have it around the house all the time growing up, but it was usually just mom's drink unless I had run out of root beer (my absolute favourite). I managed to kick the pop-drinking habit to the curb a few years ago, and I would only drink gingerale as a treat or if I wasn't feeling so well. A couple weeks ago we were looking for a substitute for orange Fanta (Idle Husband's favourite) when I spotted good ol' pamplemousse again. It's even better than I remembered.

{bossypants} Tina Fey has written a memoir! Get thee to a Chapters!

{photoshop elements} Idle Husband uber surprised me with this for my birthday. I'm not going to say that I haven't gotten frustrated with it or wanted desperately to go back to Picnik, cuz that would be a complete lie. I'm just trying really hard to learn and figure out how to do all of the things I used to do but better. So I've been working with the help window open and with Idle Husband helping on the weekends, and I've discovered a lot of amazing things Photoshop can do that Picnik could not. Like, impossibly amazing, I-feel-like-I'm-cheating things.

{flowers on black backgrounds} I just stumbled on this beautiful photo set, and then I spotted this one at Design Files. I love the look of a cheery object on a dark background. It's mysteriously beautiful.

{macarons} I hadn't made a single batch in this house since we moved, and truthfully, I was kind of scared to even try. The more you read about macarons, the more it sets you back and scares you right out of the idea. The new oven had already proven itself to be different than the old oven (hotter, perhaps? I still can't pin it down), and this house has carefully regulated humidity, a kind of macaron plague (so I read) whereas the old house was bone dry at least during the winter months. And then I read a rather inspiring post about macaron making (it's just a cookie), and I thought, yeah. It IS just a cookie. Who the hell is this stupid confection to tell me what to do and how to do it? So going on that post with that recipe, I've been diligently making at least two batches of macarons a week. Admittedly, the very first tray of macarons that went into the oven, came out without feet and terribly cracked tops, and I very nearly threw up my hands. But Idle Husband pointed out that I had three more pans to put into the oven, why don't I experiment with them. Change the temperature; change the rack position; let them air dry. Oh yeah. Duh. Now I'm experimenting with changing the recipe and practicing my macaronage and, you guys, I have yet to buy any gel paste colouring. I have used liquid food colouring in a macaron and lived to tell the tale (and show the pictures, cuz I'm not ashamed of the result at all). I've also started trying out different flavours in mini batches and I even made ganache! I fill them properly and age them in the fridge for a day, and oh man. Nothing's better than a fresh macaron straight from the fridge. I mean, bakery shop bought is good, but when I really break the recipe down, like really break it down, making a macaron is easier and quicker than making a batch of chocolate chip cookies. And I'd much rather have a macaron (most days, at least!).

{house cleaning} Blog house cleaning, that is. I have a bunch of draft posts leftover from February and March, and I just realized I hadn't posted them because they feel less me and more, please let this be accepted by a foodie site! I'm not really a foodie blog, but (like everyone in the blog world, I'm sure) I really don't mind the exposure, I'm just starting to feel like it's not worth it. Everything posted there is really feeling cookie-cutter to me, and I'm getting tired of trying to bend myself into that mould. I mean, don't get me wrong. Those who do, do it well and I was completely inspired by them when I first started trying to get those kick-ass foodie pics. But I've just started feeling as though those conglomerate websites have really sucked all of the individuality out of food blogging. The photos they choose are so staggeringly similar that they no longer inspire any new photographic points of view (in all honesty, they don't even inspire me to cook or bake anything new anymore). At any rate, I still have these foodie posts that I worked long and hard on, so I'm still going to post them. I'm just going to go in a different direction from now on.

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