Friday, February 26, 2010

Marshmallow Icing

Do you ever have those times when you're out shopping for one thing and you see it in a package with a whole bunch of other things that you don't even need but because it's such a good price you want to buy it anyway? Yah, well Matt and I were in that situation last night, except we were looking to buy furniture.
Our basement has a very awkward layout. It's a very long, narrow room with a fireplace in the middle of the room. So since this is our TV room we've tried probably 10 different furniture arrangements to make it work for us by now, including getting rid of my sectional (mine because Matt hated it) and getting another couch from Matt's parents. Well, the way we have it arranged right now works really well except for one thing: the way the couch sits it actually divides the room, which wouldn't be so bad, except that it's so long you can hardly walk past it. So last night Matt and I went to a furniture store in town that had a good sale on so that we could look into buying a loveseat. A loveseat. So $400-$600 for an average one, $700 - $900 for leather, etc. Well, while we were in this store we found a full three piece sofa set (sofa, loveseat and chair) for $1000. It was the floor model of a discontinued set and it was gorgeous. It was microsuede but it was made to look like worn leather. Matt and I had actually checked out that style almost 2 years ago when we bought Matt his recliner. Anyway, the only problem with us buying that set would have been that we only really have room in our house for a loveseat. That is, unless you like furniture lining every inch of your walls, which we don't. We went home, talked it over, even considered just giving the sofa to someone else and storing the chair, but at last we finally decided against it. We hadn't been thinking long about getting a loveseat - it was a spur of the moment shopping trip to be honest, and to come home with a full living room set when we already have a house full of gorgeous couches seemed silly. I'm proud to say that we resisted the temptation of a good price and walked away.
There, I got that off my chest. Now I can tell you about my cake!
Well, I did get around to making Matt's belated birthday cake yesterday and since it was so very late I wanted it to be more grand than just a 9x13 pan cake. So I decided on a devil's food layer cake. 4 layers actually. And two different types of icing. And chocolate curls on top (I always keep some in my freezer for just such an occassion). The first icing was for between the layers and it's my mom's coffee icing, except I tweeked it with chocolate (all the girls in my family are allergic to chocolate, including myself, however my mom's allergy is much more severe than mine) The icing I made is simply 6 parts icing sugar and 1 part cocoa, 1 tsp margarine mixed in and then the liquid is 2 parts coffee and 1 part milk. It's really very yummy. The second icing I made was my Grandmother's Marshmallow Icing. I messed this one up though. The part I messed up about it was what I did with the cake after I iced it - I covered it. The marshmallow icing is made with stiff egg whites and like a meringue it needs to dry to get good and sticky. Well, I tried doing one layer of this marshmallow icing inside the cake but because the cake still had some warmth to it, that pretty much melted into goop (yummy goop, but goop all the same) and then I iced the entire exterior of the cake with the marshmallow icing and covered it, so instead of it being this gummy, sticky, beautifully fluffy icing, it lost its texture, it deflated and basically just didn't look as good. However, as I mentioned before, it was still yummy. Well, since Matt is the type to appreciate food for the fact that it is food, (he can't identify individual flavors in foods such as salsa. He doesn't taste the tomatoes, the peppers, the onions and the cilantro, he just tastes salsa) Matt just loved that it was cake. Big cake at that. And it was yummy. And since it was his birthday cake and I made it specifically for him, that's the best that I could hope for :)
Have you ever had Grape Nuts? You know, that small box of cereal that sits in your grandparent's cupboard? I love 'em! And no, they don't really have grapes in them and when I found that out at the age of 7 I was sorely dissappointed. They do however have that lovely malted flavor that I find so good. I highly recommend trying some, particularly if you enjoy those healthy flavored cereals.
Oooh! Going back to furniture now! So Matt and I went to Fairmont Hot Springs for our honeymoon a year and 10 months ago and we drove there in our little 2 door Chevy Cobalt. We brought skis and golf clubs (because who knows what the weather will be like in April) as well as a weeks worth of luggage. On our way home from Fairmont we stopped over in Canmore for the night and since we got to town before our hotel room was ready we went shopping down the mainstreet. We came across this adorable little shop called Barnyard Sticks that sells barnwood furniture. They were just moving to a bigger location down the street so they were having a clearance sale. Matt, in a moment of excitement and over-confidence, decided that we'd be able to fit a side table into our car somewhere between the skis and the golfclubs. So we bought it, and we did fit it eventually, and now that's one of our favorite stores to shop at. This year for our anniversary we're getting a joint gift for eachother. We did this at Christmas too and we ended up buying a numbered print of our favorite painting (Ocean View by Fred Buchwitz). So this anniversary we have two ideas for what to buy: a frame for that painting, or more barnwood furniture. To be honest, I think it will end up being the frame. We just redid our living room and with the more simple and clean design in that room a frame would really make the picture stand out. Having it unframed right now, the picture that looks most spectacular in our house is the framed mountainscape that my dad bought for us for $5 at a garage sale. Hopefully though, we'll find it in our budget (somewhere between buying frames, replacing flooring and putting in new countertops) to buy more barnwood furniture this year :)
Well, now to close off and leave a recipe (which I haven't done in quite some time)

Grandma Chapman's Marshmallow Icing:

3 egg whites
6 tbsp sugar
1/8 c corn syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla

Beat the egg whites till they are stiff. Gradually beat in the sugar, one tbsp at a time. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and beat till fully blended. Ice your cake and let sit UNCOVERED ;) Even better the next day FYI

That's all for now! TTFN

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

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