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Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 Christmas Letter

It's true. I've hopped on the bandwagon and am doing an electronic Christmas letter.

2010 has been a pretty busy year for us. We moved from Logan to North Salt Lake and changed jobs a few times.

In January of this year, Brent was working for Utah State University part time and going to school full time. M'Recia was also working for the University as a Undergraduate Teaching Fellow, but VERY part time. M'Recia looked for a job all semester, but wasn't able to find one in isolated Logan. In March we heard about a Job opportunity in Salt Lake and decided it was time to move back to Davis County.

We found an apartment in North Salt Lake we really liked and moved in Mid-April. About 3 days after we'd moved in, we recieved a call from my parents informing us that my Grandma was in the hospital. We were able to visit her a few times before she passed away on April 22, 2010. We had our family come to visit for the funeral and enjoyed the time we spent with them.

In the meanwhile, Brent and I were both working for Platinum Protection. It's one of those security companies that sells alarm systems door to door. I was working in the office and Brent was knocking on doors. It was a pretty challenging summer. Brent worked Monday-Friday from 11:30 am to 10:30 pm and Saturday from 9:00 am to 10:30 pm. Needless to say, Brent was pretty exhausted all the time and wasn't really making any money. After 3 months, Brent started looking for another job and ended up working for AT&T. Brent's been with AT&T since August and has enjoyed selling cell phones for the most part.

M'Recia worked for Platinum over the summer in the office. She took phone calls and scheduled installs for the salesmen. In August, her hours got unexpectedly cut and she was back on the job market. In the meantime, she decided to go back to school. After a lot of coordinating, she enrolled for her senior year at Utah State and attended class at University of Utah. She is doing an internship at South Davis Community Hosptial , a nursing home that specializes in people with spinal cord injuries, tramatic brain injuries, trachs, and ventilitors. M'Recia loves working there and leaves each day feeling very grateful for her own health and the health of her family.

When she's not working at SDCH, M'Recia works at Kneaders as a cashier. M'Recia enjoys working for the nice management and the yummy food. She plans on sticking around until May when she graduates with a Bachelors Degree in Social Work. At that point she'll start looking for a social work job as well.

Brent and M'Recia are both enjoying their callings. Brent is the Elder's Quorum executive secretary. This ward is really strange because it has a tiny elder's quorum. Brent has enjoyed the close-knit dymanic of it.

M'Recia is serving as first counselor in the primary presidency and really enjoys it as well. She loves running into the primary kids outside of church and realizing that they actually know who she is.

We're just keeping ourselves busy and trying to get through school. We're looking forward to 2011.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Baking and Baking and Candy Making

I was a pretty busy baker tonight, and I think I made quite a dent in my neighbor gifts.

First I made gingerbread biscotti. Biscotti is one of my favorite things and I am making three different kinds this year. I followed a suggestion in the comments on the recipe and used butter instead of oil. I think they turned out pretty great.

 I also made a batch of deep dark chocolate biscotti.

My proudest achievement of the evening had to by the candy cane marshmallows.

I read a lot of the comments below this recipe too and made a few adjustments. I used a 9x13 pan as suggested by a reader and sprayed it with cooking oil and coated it with powdered sugar. When my marshmallows were set, the came right out of my pan.

Another reader mentioned that when the gelatin is mixed with the sugar, it has quite a reaction. This is true. I used a large pan and was glad I did. There was a lot of gelatin/sugar erupting when I poured the two together.

Another reader suggested mixing a little food color in the marshmallows when mixing in order to get more color distributed. I tried this and I am happy with the results.

When it came time to cut the marshmallows, I followed the advice of a few more readers. I lifted up the edge of the marshmallow blob and cut out rows using kitchen shears dipped in shortening.

It was a pretty slick process. I dropped the marshmallows right into a bowl of powdered sugar to coat the outsides a little bit and keep them from sticking together.

Making these marshmallows is quite the process, I had the gelatin in a double broiler with the sugar water heating next to it while my mixer was whipping egg whites. I had to monitor three things at once. To top it off, I was watching my biscotti in the oven too.

They're pretty tasty. And they look nice too.

I also packed up a few things I made the other day:
Hot Chocolate on a Stick
I added a little crushed candy cane to the bottom of my ice cube tray. I think it turned out cute.


Peppermint Soap!

 Here's to a productive evening!

PLUS: My Kitchen doesn't look that bad! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Look at what I made tonight!

I followed this recipe for caramels. I was a little freaked out because I've never done candies before, but it ended up being fine. I made the mistake of using waxed paper to line my pan when I poured the caramel into my pan and the heat of the caramel melted the wax paper to the caramels. Needless to say, there was a lot of wax paper/caramel thrown away, but I feel pretty successful for my first time.

Every time I finish up something that came in a glass jar, I wash it out and keep the jar. I usually line my cookie pan with tin foil and turn candle jars upside down in the oven to get ride of the wax. Over the months, the jars add up, and now I have a cute neighbor gift. :)

Check out the tags for everything else I'm making.

I don't know I'll actually make all those different kinds of things, but I hope too. I think I'm so excited that I finally have an excuse to bake that I'm going crazy.

For anyone who cares, I used this picture to create the texture of my tags.

And the treat font is south pacific

The tag font is syphon spritz.