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Happy Mother’s Day!

Thank you to all the wonderful Mothers in the world who make life sweeter for everyone.

Lilac Sugar

To keep the sweet aroma of lilacs after their bloom is done, and around our house that happens quickly, gather some lilac flowers now and layer them in a jar with sugar alternating sugar and flowers. Set the Lilac Sugar in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks and then you will have a lovely scented sugar to use in tea, baking or sauces! I think using the sugar to make cupcakes with candied lilac flowers would be superb!

Whistler me 2010  Rachelle Weymuller @ Caramelize Life
Making Life Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community

Can You Cook With Dry Ice?

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Dry Ice with a Green Laser

The 4 pints of ice cream that we received yesterday is almost gone. No, really. You may be thinking, “How can this be?” Sad though we are… there are only a few spoonfuls left, but our bellies are smiling. The dry ice the pint containers were shipped to us in has completely evaporated into thin air...poof!

Green Laser Light, Water & Dry Ice

The good news is, the magic of this May Day gift hasn’t dissipated into the either just yet. Thoughts about how much fun the dry ice was are still kicking around in our heads. Yes, we know it’s not a toy and every precaution needs to be adhered to, to be safe. But we are not the only ones who find the stuff FUN!

Dry ice-foggy, my memory begins to clear.  One of my favorite gifted recipe books (which I have yet to produce anything from, but adore drooling over the ideas within) is The Fat Duck Cookbook written by the British self taught kitchen wizard Heston Blumenthal. A mad scientist in his culinary circles, he’s pulling at the ears of the scientific world through his unrelenting curiosity (I think this is the wish that nearly every parent has; to keep curiosity alive through adulthood) he creates works of art such as his Radish Ravioli of Oyster (pg.340-341)…for those of you who don’t have this beautiful book you’ll need to close your eyes… no…tighter, so your thoughts are pitch black.

Now construct an image of a space aged glowing globe, with walls made of vellum thin sliced radishes. This glowing radish globe is suspended weightlessly against the black background. Envision a single ring of sliced radishes mimicking a Saturn-esque planet.  I have read that if this work of art radish dish were ordered in his restaurant The Fat Duck, it would be accompanied by a single iPod to further set the mood and complete the experience of the senses. I imagine this to be an encounter that memory never forgets.

Further research shows that Mr. Blumenthal also enjoys the use of liquid nitrogen when cooking. In an article from the Independent he offers a few recipes  to those of us less mad, home-cooks where he can extend his restaurant goal; to invoke the feeling of excitement in his patrons [The Fat Duck History pg 113]. I am sure one could create the mood of excitement in the kitchen if one were inclined to whip up fresh ice cream in 90 seconds!  I know I could (and possibly earn a few cool mom awards as well. ;)

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Dry Ice and Food Coloring!

Still curious? The list is long for dry ice uses, some I would never have thought of but one I might try is the method of flash freezing fresh fruit. I could see this speeding up my current process of freezing fruit overnight on a cookie sheet and allowing for more garden time!  I found this handy site if you would like to learn more.

Happy Weekend to you!

<img src= Width="604" height= "401" alt= "rachellekweymuller weymullerphotography" title= "rachellekweymuller weymullerphotography"/>   Rachelle @ Caramelize Life
Making Life Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community!

Parfait! A Perfect May Day Surprise!

The tradition of May Day is celebrated around the globe. Each culture has its own take but the traditions boil down to spreading kindness to another.

As a kid I remember leaving little bouquets of hand picked flowers at our neighbors door and enjoying the anonymous aspect of it, or at least I thought I was being sneaky, I’m sure they knew.

Hand picked flowers Hannah WP

Now a quarter mile from my next adult neighbor and further from those with children, no flowers land on our doorstep and well we haven’t a doorbell either, no fun meter here. Yes, life is hard here in the countryside. However, due to modern technology we no longer hike up hill both ways in a snow storm to get to school, we drive and thankfully so does the UPS truck.

Image 30 no logo WP Parfait

You see May Day surprises are still possible. May 1st I found a peculiar box at our front door. Yes, I know who physically left it and so does my dog who is now enjoying his treat.

Image 31no logo parfait box WP

I look really surprised

Peculiar because it had ICE CREAM printed all over it. Could it really be? You gotta hand it to today’s transportation system. I knew you could ship live baby chicks but ice cream too? Parfait I say, well not really but that too was printed all over the box as well.

Image 28 no logo parfait WP EVA

Giddy with curiosity that someone would send us ice cream and full of excitement my family opened the box. Front and center we find a “caution dry ice” letter. All of a sudden this gift has an added bonus, ice cream and a learning opportunity/science experiment!

Image 29 caution parfait WP

Image 25 Eva no logo WP Parfait Image 26 Image 32

Image 34 Parfait no logo Eva ice WP

Finding out what happens when…

Image 37 Eva, dry ice Parfait

Dry Ice mixes with apple juice

Image 33 Eva Dry Ice Parfait WP

The excitement begins!

Image 36 Eva Dry Ice Parfait WP

pretty fun…

Science!

Science at it’s best…and fun to watch too!

Image 14 May Day Glo WP

Or, in the sink with water!

Upon further inspection we found the packing slip which spilled the beans on the delicious flavors within.

~Meyer Lemon
What they say it tastes like: Imagine the same sweet and tangy goodness of lemon curd frozen into a smooth and creamy ice cream. We use Meyer lemons, which are thin-skinned and delicately perfumed.

~Mint Stracciatella
What they say it tastes like: Our mint doesn’t taste like candy canes, but rather fresh mint, straight from the garden. That’s because we steep our custard with real organic spearmint leaves from Marigold and Mint. Our delicate, chocolate flakes are made using TCHO organic chocolate and traditional Italian methods.

~Fleur de Caramel
What they say it tastes like: A traditional French caramel with a silky texture and beautiful amber color. We use just the right amount of genuine Fleur de Sel to bring out the deep caramel taste. Neither overly salty nor cloyingly sweet.


~ We also found out who the sender was…Thank you Ira and Courtney for sending such a fun and yummy gift!

funny factoid:

For all those who have spontaneously declared some sort of resolution and broken it before it began…I’ll add I too can sympathize. Not just 2 hours before that peculiar box arrived I had spurted the words ” I think I’ll give up sugar for the month of May”

…maybe the second half of the month of May.

Bon appetit!

Head Shot RachelleRachelle @ caramelize life

“Making Life A Little Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community”

Re-remembering To Focus On What Matters Most

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Kids Watching Impending Weather RKWeymuller Photography

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Keeping the outside world in perspective must have been what I needed to learn these past few weeks. This month my computer gave up and died.  So, I went from the autobahn of internet functionality to a small country road and, truth be told, my phone’s keyboard was not a joy to write from, hence my absence this last week from posting.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Red Tulip Lanes RKWeymuller Weymullerphotography

I’m gradually inching my way back, configuring my new computer and merging from the slow single lane dirt roads back to pavement and the fast pace of the online freeway. Somewhere along the way, I realized that sometimes an unexpected diversion, as maddening as it may be, is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Seeds got started,

Garden Snap Peas with Innoculant

Inoculated Garden Snap Peas!

games were played,

Life Size Chess Game Won RKWeymuller Weymuller Photography

Wahoo!

Focus shifted and family life was highlighted.

RachelleKWeymuller Caramelize Life Weymuller Photography  Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

“Making Life Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community”

It’s A Garden Work Day Today!

It's A Garden Work Day

It’s A Garden Work Day

We’ll be out in the garden working as hard as the ants do this weekend, our family is just a wee bit smaller than theirs. Happy weekend to you!

Head Shot Rachelle
Rachelle Weymuller @ Caramelize Life
Making Life A Little Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community”

Staycation-Mango Spring Rolls

RKW Spring roll wrap Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are happily in the process of switching our mindset and culinary menus from the thick layers of Winter warm to Spring layers and lighter, fresher fare. It’s at this time when I eagerly await the first bulbs to emerge from their sleep and buds to pop from the trees.

Afternoon walks linger when the warmth of the sun’s rays replace my winter down coat. Our living room view becomes its own Planet Earth series time-lapse moving from once black and white to muted grays and browns and now the Technicolor slowly pours on with vibrant shades of green and yellows.

The song birds are back and I half expect Julie Andrews to burst out from the greening fields with the “Hills Are Alive”. But I don’t think this crosses everyone’s mind like it does mine; all those car rides with my 5-year-old requesting to hear the sound track over and over again, could be the reason for my Spring memory replay.

But Spring is a time to hit the refresh button. Spring cleaning, depending on who you are, can invoke a number of ideas. First the house comes to mind but next my cravings begin to change from rich hearty foods to those that are lighter and fresher. Not much is growing for us yet, and I am aware that mangoes are not “in season” (are they ever here in the Pacific Northwest?) But I know many who traveled south…way south, for Spring break. So, for those of us who didn’t hit the Southern Hemisphere, but rather, enjoyed our staycation; here are mangoes for you!

Staycation- Mango Spring Rolls- makes 6 -10
This recipe was inspired from The Solitary Cook‘s recipe found at Food 52 made with a good friend one afternoon.

RachelleKWeymuller/Caramelizelife.com Mango Spring Rolls

Ingredients For Shrimp Steam Bath:
(this might be the spa part of your staycation, lean over to indulge in a steamy facial ;)

3 cups/24 ounces of water (enough to cover mango skins, limes and shrimp)
2 mango peels – washed (use the fruit for sauce and spring rolls 1 each)
1/2 sweet onion- quartered
1 lime- sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon sea salt
black pepper to taste
2 dried japonés chiles – chopped (add more if you like more spice, my kids don’t)
8 ounces shrimp uncooked, washed and deveined ( go for wild caught spot prawns, rock shrimp or US farmed shrimp if possible)

*Have ready a bowl of ice water  to immerse the shrimp and keep them from overcooking
For The Shrimp Steam Bath:
In a stainless steel pot add all ingredients but the shrimp and bring to a boil.
Once water is boiling add the shrimp and reduce heat to medium.
Cook until shrimp are pink about 3-7 minutes.
Drain cooked shrimp and immediately place in bowl of ice water to keep them from overcooking.

Shrimp Steam Bath

Shrimp Steam Bath

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ingredients For The Mango Sauce:

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (we were out so we used Bragg’s Amino Acids and it worked well)
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
2 Tablespoons Sesame oil
2 limes (zest from 1 lime and juice from 2 limes)
1 mango fruit – (from the steam bath) pit removed

For The Mango Sauce:

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth
Place in serving a dish and set aside until ready to eat

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RKW Spring Rolls

Ingredients For The Spring Rolls:

8 oz Vermicelli Noodles (Beans Thread)
**************************************
1 mango-(from the steam bath) pit removed, small cubes
1 bunch cilantro (20 stems and leaves) – chopped
1/2 a cucumber – peeled, seeds removed, chopped
1/2 cup  green onions – diced
All the cooked, now cooled shrimp – tail removed and chopped
Juice of 2 limes
*************************************

8-10 rice paper wraps (spring rolls skin)
9 inch cake pan (for softening rice paper wraps)
1/4 inch hot water (for cake pan and rice paper wraps)

RKW_0097 noodles for spring roll

Cooked Vermicelli Noodles

 

For The Spring Rolls:

Soak Vermicelli 3 to 5 minutes in hot water then drain and set aside.
Combine; mango,cilantro,cucumber, green onions, shrimp and lime juice to a bowl and toss.

Prepare rice paper wraps:
Add hot water to 9 inch cake pan
place 1 rice paper wrap at a time, submerged in hot water, for 10 seconds to soften.
*Keep hot water handy to add when water in cake pan cools.

CL-mango-spring-roll RKW_0082
Build your Spring Roll!
Place softened rice paper wrap on your work surface
Put a small amount 20 or so Vermicelli noodles down the middle of the roll/wrap
Place 2-3 Tablespoons of filling(mango, cucumber, green onion etc) down the middle leaving room on the sides to fold
Begin to wrap the spring roll (similar as you might a burrito) starting with the side closed to you, then fold each end and finish by rolling the last over the opposite side ( the only one left) and seal.
Set on a serving platter with the seam side down, I like to use a chilled metal one (Yay, a wedding gift I am happy to use).
Repeat.
I have found that if there are left over Vermicelli noodles the kids love it plain or topped with a little extra mango sauce is a great left over snack.

Mango Spring Rolls

Mango Spring Rolls

Enjoy!

Head Shot Rachelle
Rachelle Weymuller @ Caramelize Life
“Making Life A Little Sweeter Through Food, Travel And Community”

Have Stomach Will Travel

It seems that traveling with a car load of people especially the majority under the age of 18, means stops are not to fill up the gas tank but rather the kid tank. I confess, I don’t meet the under 18 rule but I do get an honorary membership to this club when traveling. I make it my scavenger hunt to find new restaurants while on the road. These little glinting gems are the carrots to keep me going during long days in the car.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

Yesterday we found one such sparkling gem tucked away in the Old Town of Anacortes- The A’Town Bistro.

Kids Menu-Grilled Cheese, Fries and Salad

Kids Menu-Grilled Cheese, Fries and Salad

If you find yourself cooped up in a car this Spring Break and happen to be anywhere near this sweet little town, a stop in will be a treat for the senses.

Stacked Eggplant And Beet Salad

Grilled Eggplant Stack And Beet Salad

YUM!

Tuscan Angel Hair Pasta

Tuscan Angel Hair Pasta

Le Sel De Table

Le Sel De Table

Cheers!

Head Shot Rachelle
Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

“Making Life A Little Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community”

Bunny Eggs Because It Is Not The Easter Chicken

I don’t usually post on Sundays but I couldn’t resist. This morning my 10 and 13-year-old were discussing the reason behind the Easter Bunny and his connection to hiding eggs. Our conversation wandered up and down hills and back again with my youngest declaring that it should have been the Easter Chicken!

Easter Bunny

But she might be partial to chickens :)

Halloween 2011

Happy Easter to you!

Head Shot Rachelle

Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

“Making Life A Little Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community”

A Spring Morning Routine

Spring is here and my late morning routine begins again!

Favortie Morning Routine rachellekweymullerphotography.com

Carrot + Apple + Ginger

This week we’ve been busy behind the scenes planting, cooking, tasting, planning and working on the site. We are looking forward to sharing with you soon!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday weekend…

Head Shot Rachelle

  Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

“Making life a little sweeter through food, travel and community”

 

The Little Things In Life Are The Best

planet earth

What do these things have in common?

bubbles

Many thoughts come to mind…

Old Friend

A Dear Old Friend…

Mud Season tennis

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and maybe you’ll go on a walk with a dear old friend.

Rachelle@ Caramelize Life

“making life a little sweeter through, food, travel and community”

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