Fresh Raspberry and Meyer Lemon Macarons

On Friday while Peanut was at school I took the boys raspberry picking. We went to the McBride’s Briar Patch which is the same place we went last year. Since we live in Salt Lake and McBride’s is in Mapleton it’s quite a drive but it’s so much fun and the McBride’s are so nice it’s worth the long trip.

Wingnut had his own little bucket tied around his waist and happily filled it with raspberries. Once he had enough he sat himself down and gleefully ate every last one. Baby Cashew spent most of the time on my back in my carrier and squawked whenever he was ready for me to hand back another berry so he could gobble it up. If he ever got close enough he’d just pick them himself. Needless to say, we are big fans.

Picking raspberries today. Even the baby is getting in on the goodness. #mcbridebriarpatch

I ended up bringing home about 7 pounds of raspberries. I’m not sure what to do with them all but while I was picking I knew I wanted to work at least some of them into macarons somehow. I perused my favorite macaron recipe books but couldn’t find anything that sounded just right so I started looking around at what I had on hand. I happen to have a small bag of Meyer Lemons at the moment and when I saw them it hit me. Raspberry lemonade!

Something tasty is happening here!! #experimentalbaking

I whipped a batch of Meyer lemon shells together and while they set I mashed together a raspberry filling. It all came together so nicely, I was quite proud of myself for coming up with such a tasty combo.

Can you believe they taste even better than they look!?

Fresh raspberry and Meyer lemon macarons

Raspberry Lemonade Macarons

For the shells:

  • 200 g powdered/confectioners sugar
  • 100 g ground almonds (mine still had skins so you can see the brown flecks in the shells but if you don’t want the more rustic look go with slivered or blanched almonds)
  • 120-125 g egg whites (about 3 eggs) aged on the counter for at least 24 hours
  • pinch of salt
  • 40 g granulated sugar
  • zest of 1 unwaxed lemon (I used Meyer but if you must you can use a regular lemon)
  • 2-3 drops lemon oil (flavoring oil is fine but I used a doTerra food grade oil I had on hand)
  • yellow food coloring
  • yellow sprinkles (optional)

Sift the powdered sugar and ground almonds together in a bowl and set aside.

Place the egg whites and pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until they become foamy like bubble bath. Add the sugar about a teaspoonful at a time until it is all thoroughly blended. The meringue will become thick and glossy like shaving cream. Add your zest, lemon oil, and yellow food coloring and combine well. Don’t overmix or the meringue will be too dry.

Remove the bowl of meringue from the mixer. Unceremoniously dump the entire bowl of powdered sugar and ground almonds into the meringue and use a rubber scraper to incorporate it a bit. The meringue will deflate a little and that is okay. The stiffness needs to relax a little so it can eventually self-level. Don’t be too rough, though. There still needs to be some lightness to the meringue. Fold the sugar/almond mixture into the meringue until it is well combined. The mixture should melt back into itself after a few seconds when a spoonful is drizzled back into the bowl.

Scoop the shell mixture into a piping bag (I use a big Ziploc for easy cleanup) fitted with a large, plain tip. Pipe small circles onto a parchment-lined jelly roll pan. If you want to add a bit more fluff and frill, you can scatter some sprinkles on the shells at this point. I added some to about half my shells and in the picture above you can see some with and some without. Allow the meringue circles to set for at least 15 minutes (or up to an hour) to form a firm little shell. After it has set it should no longer be sticky.

Preheat the oven to 325*. Bake the shells for 10 minutes, one tray at a time. Allow to cool completely on the tray.

For more detailed step-by-step instructions with lots of pictures you might want to check out this how-to post I did a while ago.

For the filling: Keep in mind, these are rough estimates as I was just making it up as I went along.

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 2-3 Tbsp sugar (or more to taste)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

Place the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the raspberries are soft and easily mashable. Working one small spoonful at a time, scoop some raspberries into a fine mesh strainer that has been placed over a bowl. With a spoon, mash the raspberries against the strainer, reserving the juices in the bowl below. After each spoonful, scrape the good stuff from the underside of the strainer into the bowl and discard the seeds and membranes.

Return all the juice and good pulp to the saucepan and heat until it boils. Scoop cornstarch into a mug or small bowl and make a slurry by whisking in a few spoonfuls of the hot juice. When it is well combined add the slurry to the saucepan and whisk until it becomes thick and jelly-like. Pour the raspberry mixture into a bowl and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator.

When both the shells and the filling are cool, spread a bit of raspberry filling on the bottom side of one macaron shell and sandwich it with another shell. Lick your fingers and enjoy!

They’re a little bit tart, a little bit sweet, and completely melt-in-your-mouth good.

Raspberry lemonade macarons

Mornings

And just like that a new school year begins. Also please note, this is how my children pose themselves.

For as long as I can recall I have never been a morning person. Despite waking up sometime in the 5 o’clock hour for most of high school and even into college because of various obligations, I never enjoyed being an early riser.

Starting when we moved to California I was finally able to sleep in as late as I wanted for the most part. Even when Peanut started preschool it was only two or three days a week and if Wingnut and I couldn’t manage to get ready, too, it was no big deal. This school year I have two kids who both need to be to school at 9. They both need to be dressed and have their hair done and have eaten breakfast. It makes for stressful mornings. Especially since Wingnut is also not a morning person and resists every prod to move it along. I end up yelling a lot.

Have I mentioned I’m a yeller? I wish I weren’t but I am. I think, perhaps, it’s part of my Blue personality. Blue’s feel it’s very important to be understood. When my kids ignore me after telling them for the 6th time to *insert mundane instruction such as eat your food or brush your teeth* I start to think that obviously they aren’t understanding me and maybe it’s because they aren’t hearing me. So I speak louder. And louder. And LOUDER. Before I know it, the 30th time I repeat myself I’m yelling so maybe, just maybe, my voice will pass into their ears, pinball around their brains and actually be comprehended.

As a result, our school mornings don’t really start off on the right foot and after one full week of getting everybody out the door on time, more than a little worse for wear, I’m in need of a change.

Tell me, how do you make your morning routine work? Are you a morning person? Are your children? Also, I’m wondering, are you a yeller, too? How do you deal? Let me know.

The Sound of Silence

Do you hear that?

Do you know what that sound is!?

It’s the sound of my two oldest children at school and my baby blissfully napping in his crib!

After my prolonged silence in the blogosphere this last summer, I’m back! And there are going to be some big, exciting, scary changes coming up! More on that later.

Right now I’m reveling in the face that it is still daylight and I am able to type this meager post without needing to get up to every couple of minutes to get someone a drink, change a diaper, or break up a fight! This is big, people! BIG!!

Last snow cones of the summer! @cuposno
Our last snow cones of the summer. *sniff*

In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m not one of those mamas who weeps when her children all go back to school. Unless it’s, perhaps, a tear or two of joy. Please don’t get me wrong. I love my children. I adore them. In fact, the reason I was absent around here all summer was because I was spending time with them. I must say, though, that 3 months of nearly uninterrupted time with all three of my children makes for a crazy mama. School is a happy thing for everyone in the family and Peanut and Wingnut are just as excited to not be home with me as I am for them to not be spending quite so much time with each other. Plus, there’s the loveliness of routine. Ah, knowing, more or less, what each day will bring makes things abundantly easier on our little family.

So, yes, now that school is back in session and I still have a morning napper I’m hoping to get back to this poor, neglected blog of mine as well as working on some fun surprises. Stay tuned!

A Bit of Spring/Summer Catch Up

Apparently, now that I have children in school, I am back to having spring fever. From early April through to the end of school it’s all I can do to just make it through and keep it together. I read Jen Hatmaker’s post about being the worst end-of-school-year mom ever at the beginning of Peanut’s last week of school and just about died laughing because that’s pretty much where I was. Seriously, if you haven’t read it yet you really should. I’ll wait for you here. I was nodding through my tears of laughter at almost everything. For the most part I gave up on baggie books at the beginning of May. Peanut wore shoes with holes in the toes for the last month and a half because it was so close to summer I couldn’t bring myself to buy new ones. We won’t even mention my kids’ hair and clothing. At least they were wearing clothing. And they were usually mostly clean. Yeah.

The day after Peanut finished school I sang in a concert. It was part of the Temple Square concerts in the park. Four other ladies and I sang a few songs each, then we all sang a piece together at the end. It was all musical theatre music and was really fun. Since it was outdoors and more casual my kids were able to come. It’s the first time they’ve ever seen me really perform and I’m glad ODD brought them. A bunch of family and friends came too and it was fun to see familiar faces in the audience. ODD managed to get a couple of my songs on video while keeping a squirmy Baby Cashew on his lap. It isn’t great quality (taken with a point and shoot) but you get the general idea.

I turned 31 in May. I had a pretty chill day. The kids and I hung out, ODD brought home some take-out, and we opened gifts. The following weekend we got a sitter and went to the new Star Trek film which was great. One of the gifts ODD gave me was tuition to a calligraphy class from Melissa Esplin. I’ve been wanting to go to one of her workshops for a couple of years but just haven’t been able to work it out when they come up. A while ago she set up an online workshop so for the last few weeks I’ve been doing that. Back in 2001 while I was a nanny in Mass I picked up a stylus and some nibs and ink at The House of the Seven Gables in Salem. I’ve played with them over the years and even done some traditional gothic calligraphy but I’ve wanted to learn copperplate, which is what Melissa teaches, and it has been so much fun! Now I’m always looking for reasons to pull out my pen and ink, even if it’s just to practice.

Calligraphy

Instagram has kind of killed my blog. I keep mulling over the idea of just closing up shop. It’s been seven and a half years and I’ve had a great run. I just can’t bring myself to do it, though. So much of my life is recorded here and I’m not ready to let it all go yet. So I’m keeping this little blog of mine going. Feel free to check in once in a while (or just grab my feed) for anything new.

AHOOO – Spring

When we first saw the Mini Dew Ranch last fall the outdoors were still hanging onto some green from the summer. The trees still had a lot of leaves and they were still mostly green but as it was the end of the season there was not a bloom anywhere on the property. Not long after moving in, winter struck hard and by the beginning of March I was beginning to believe I would forever need to wear snow boots just to get to the car.

IMG_0007

IMG_0009

Spring at the Mini Dew

After a few days of rain most of the snow melted and when things finally warmed up we found some excellent surprises in the yard. There is a small patch of crocus behind the house that had me singing “Clusters of Crocus” for days. Of course, they didn’t last long as the kids ran around the yard and picked them.

Spring at the Mini Dew

Spring at the Mini Dew

IMG_0029

One day I took Baby Cashew out and let him crawl around the yard while I looked for new greens. The grass was still brown and muddy in spots but Cashew loved free-ranging and watching the bigger kids and their friends run all around.

IMG_0039

IMG_0045

IMG_0043

IMG_0050

IMG_0052

When ODD came home later that evening we walked around and speculated about what might be coming up. We recognized iris but that’s about it. We have a ton of leafy shoots that look like tulips but we’ll just have to wait and see. We also have quite a lot of some kind of onion.

Spring at the Mini Dew

Spring at the Mini Dew

Spring at the Mini Dew

Spring at the Mini Dew

In the back, beyond our grass, we have a few different kinds of leafy moss stuff. They all look like they belong under water.

Spring at the Mini Dew

Spring at the Mini Dew

Spring at the Mini Dew

Then, the other day, ODD mentioned seeing a new flower on the side of the lane. I went out to find a lovely little white flower. Not knowing what it was I posted it to instagram/facebook/twitter and was told the flowers were snowdrops.

Spring at the Mini Dew

This is so cool, finding all these new things in our yard. Such happy surprises! I love where I live!