Monday, October 10, 2011

Scenes from this weekend

• Buffalo chicken sandwiches on Friday night. So good & so easy.

• I stuck a pot roast in the slow cooker Saturday morning. Yummy.

• Connor & I stayed in our pajamas until WAY late on Saturday. & then we took a nap!

• Even though I felt a little disheveled I had to get out of the house for a minute. Connor & I went down to Top Foods & picked out some very large pumpkins. I think I brought home 60ish pounds of pumpkin. We’ll probably carve them this coming weekend or the next.

• Garrett woke up at 7 (he works graveyard) & we had the delicious pot roast that had been cooking all day. I put extra carrots in this time. I love roast carrots. Yes, that’s a dorky thing to love. Deal. & Garrett doesn’t like cooked carrots so, more for me!

• We hung out & played with Connor for the rest of the evening. Out of the blue he brings us his potty chair & asks to sit on it. We take his diaper off & he sits down & goes potty for the FIRST TIME! I was so proud of him.

• After the boy went to bed, Garrett & I enjoyed the first hot tub of the fall. We haven’t used it since it started to get warm earlier this spring. It was nice to relax & enjoy uninterrupted conversation.

• Sunday started with a shower & some Eggos. Then a trip to the fabric store. On the way to the fabric store we stopped at Starbucks. A pumpkin spice latte for me & a kid’s vanilla steamed milk for my boy. I stuck a straw in that puppy & he had it chugged in about a minute flat.

• Once the Starbucks was drained we got onto shopping. I had a coupon to use at JoAnn’s & there was a great sale going on. I guess they were celebrating Columbus accidentally finding North America. I found 100% cotton batting at $5.99/yard (90” width). With my 20% off coupon that made the batting $4.80/yard, down from the normal price of $13.99! I also got the backing fabric which was on sale for $2.99/yard. The coupon was 20% off everything, even sale items!

• I found a pattern that I really liked for my Christmas quilt. I decided to forgo the subway tile idea for now. For whatever reason writing the pattern was stressing me out. I’m just going to follow this pattern & enjoy the pretty fabric stress free.

• On the way home I knew Connor was tired. I had to keep saying, “STAY AWAKE!” Which he always thinks is funny. I got him home, got a tuna sandwich in him, watched a few minutes of “Toys” (Toy Story) & then put him down for a nap.

• I picked the specific fat quarters I would be using. I need 20 out of my 32. Then I ironed them flat. Then Garrett woke up & we watched some House Hunters International.

• We got Connor up from his nap, made dinner & headed out to Home Depot. I’ve wanted to redo an armoire we inherited. It is a dark cherry color that has several scratches & outdated hardware. I want to turn it into a statement piece. I got some primer & 2 coordinating dark blue shades. This primer is serious stuff. I can’t get it off my hands. Rubber gloves for the next round of primer. I did one drawer last night but hope to get some more done on it tonight.

• Connor went to bed & I finished up the night by cutting 3 of my 20 fat quarters & watching this last week’s episode of America’s Next Top Model.

• In bed too late.

• It was a full, happy weekend of minimal stress. I need to do this more often.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


The house isn't perfectly clean, I'm not wearing a perfect outfit & I don't have the perfect physique. However, I literally have no words to describe how perfect this moment was.

Quilting update

I haven’t done a proper job of updating this blog. I told you guys awhile back that I was working on Connor’s tie dye quilt. I finished that several weeks ago. A long while after I had said I would. Whatever, it’s done! It’s not my very favorite thing I’ve ever made but that’s probably because it’s loud & kid like. Hello Natalie, that was kind of my goal all along to make it loud & kid like. I guess I hit the nail on the head. I didn’t make it for my tastes, I made it for Connor. And guess what??? The kid loves it! He sleeps with it over him every night. Although, he’s lucky he got to keep it. His father almost stole it from him because he loved how minky soft the back is. It’s ok Garrett, I’ll make one for you soon. Although I do detest working with minky fabric. It stretches, the “fur” gets EVERYWHERE & it just kind of has a mind of its own. But I do love my husband. Maybe I’ll be willing to work w/ THE MINK one more time, maybe.

After the tie dye quilt, I had something a little different in mind. A fun little quilt for a very wanted baby boy due on Halloween. I gave myself an obvious deadline of 10/31/11 for this quilt. Although in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to have it done before Mom’s baby shower. I immediately fell in love with this quilt & finished it 2 weeks before the baby shower; about a month and a half before the ultimate deadline. I simply couldn’t step away from this one. My original inspiration came from this tutorial for an easy charm pack baby quilt. Just rows of 5” squares. I used the mom’s registry as my color inspiration. Just looked at the bedding that they had registered for. It ended up a little brighter than the original inspiration but I still love it. I wanted to start with a color in one corner & then have it fade into another color. One corner started taupe which faded into orange, which faded into yellow which faded into green. Once I had decided on the fade idea I knew the squares needed to be smaller to achieve a more gradual fade. I decided to cut those 5” squares down to (4) 2 ½ “ squares. The added seam allowance made the quilt a few inches smaller but still big enough for a tiny babe. I backed it with a really subtle white on white fabric & used some random bamboo batting I had in my sewing stash. This is the first quilt that I spray basted. The others quilts were basted w/ safety pins. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that I’m a spray basting convert. It works so well! It sticks together like it should but is easily adjusted, no more pulling out pins as you’re quilting, NO SHIFTING, & washes out very easily. I quilted diagonally through each line of squares; corner to corner. I then bound it with a simple quilt binding. After a quick wash & dry it came out with the perfect amount of pucker. I really wanted to keep it but knew its true home was with Mr. Halloween. Can’t wait to meet him!

What’s up next you ask? Well, this self-proclaimed Christmas Nerd is making a quilt from Moda’s Jovial fat quarter collection. 32 different Christmas prints in the most yummy colors imaginable. I’m planning on doing a subway tile pattern. It’ll be a large lap quilt. One that I plan to put out every Christmas season. I am making at least one of these quilts but I have enough fabric to make at least 2. I’m thinking maybe a Christmas gift is in order. I’m giving myself a deadline on the 1st quilt of Thanksgiving. That gives me 7 ½ weeks. I’m thinking that’s pretty doable. The deadline for the Christmas gift version will obviously be Christmas Eve. I’m planning on doing all the cutting in the beginning so the 2nd quilt shouldn’t take me as long as the 1st. I’m super-duper excited for this quilt. We’ll see how excited I am in the middle of cutting 32 fat quarters into little subway tiles. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ten Things Tuesday (I'm alive)

1. It’s been awhile since I’ve done this.

2. Someone brought in WAY too much Halloween candy into the office. The butterfingers keep calling to me.

3. Garrett & I have set an end date for my job. As of July 1st 2012 I’ll be a stay at home Mommy.

4. I have finished 2 quilts in the last several weeks. A post documenting said quilts will be up shortly.

5. I need to order new checks. Mine (which are packed somewhere…where are they???) still have my maiden name & parent’s address on them.

6. Connor is 2!!!!

7. I made pot roast in the slow cooker on Sunday. It was delicious! I think I’ll need to make this more often.

8. It’s October! I love the fall. October through the end of December is my favorite time of year. Cooler weather & holidays make me a happy girl.

9. Connor picked out 2 pumpkins this year. Such a big boy.

10. Halloween is coming!! I can’t decide what we’ll dress Connor up as. Last year he was a frog prince & was so so so cute. I want to top last year’s costume.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Forced Upgrade

Hey guys. I stepped away for awhile. Too much was going on in my life & blogging was an easy thing to drop. A coworker of mine gave a great analogy about life’s “balls”. Everyone juggles balls. Some are glass & some are rubber. If you drop the rubber balls, they bounce back. If you drop the glass balls, they break. These last several months, my blog has been a rubber ball. My family has been a glass ball. Great analogy right?

This weekend started out like any regular weekend might start. My sister & I love to go to movies together. We had already seen Harry Potter 7.2 but we hadn’t seen it in Imax 3D. Hello, I’m there! It was awesome. Never watching regular 3D again. We got home around 10:15 that evening & I went to take my phone out of my purse. It’s not there. I dig & dig (because my purse is mostly a black hole although I usually keep my phone in one spot) but the phone is nowhere to be found. I check my car, no phone. At this point I know exactly where my phone is. I had heard a thump when picking up my purse at the end of the movie. I thought it was my keys hitting the outside of my purse. Nope, it was my phone falling out. I call the theater (within an hour of leaving the theater) & it’s gone.

The next morning I started the day off by going to get my emissions test done (on the last day before my license expires; story of my life. I’ve got to work on that). Surprisingly it took all of 20 seconds for them to do the test. Stuck a cord into my car & I passed. Sweet! No fussy toddler in the back seat for 30 minutes while I wait in line on a Saturday. I’m out of there! Then I stop by the DOL to get my license renewed. It’s inside the Fred Meyer so I bought Connor a new pair of tennis shoes while we were there. Whoever said buying clothes for boys isn’t fun was wrong. They may not be frilly but they’re still cute. Tiny Nikes? Yes please! Got the tabs renewed then went back to the movie theater to double check on my phone. Still not turned in. I gave him Garrett’s number to call if it’s turned in. It’s Tuesday as I’m writing this & I haven’t been contacted. It was an expensive phone. Some jerk hit the lottery that night. Julia had found a coupon to Black Angus. So we took our classy selves to Black Angus & used a coupon at a sit down restaurant. No shame in that.

When we got home I noticed that I’d received an email back from a guy on craigslist that had an iPhone for sale. He wanted to meet tonight. When your husband works nights & leaves you alone with a baby with no phone in the house (Julia was at a friend’s house) you kind of feel nervous. Not a single kind of working phone. What was I supposed to do if I had an emergency? Email 911 from my spotty wifi? I packed Connor up & we drove down to meet Mr. Craigslist & get ourselves a phone. You see I’ve been pining over an iPhone ever since I had to give mine up when we switched to Verizon. Garrett was mad at AT&T for how he’d been treated as an employee so he decided to take his business elsewhere once his employee phone line was taken away. When we switched to Verizon, they didn’t have iPhones yet so we had to go with droids. I know some people (my husband included) that love their droids. Me, not so much. I find the apps to be cheesy & the fact that they’re SO customizable stresses me out. I have enough decisions to make in a day. Customizing my phone is not one of them. I just want something that works well. The iPhone is just that. It just works. I am never, ever going back! So, we’ll call this weekend a blessing in disguise. For me that is. My husband is less than happy about having to fork over the money for a new phone. Thankfully I didn’t have to pay the full retail price of $650!!! The phone was used for about a month then Mr. Craigslist started working at Microsoft & they required that he use a Window’s phone. Practically brand new & I saved quite a bit of dough!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weigh in #3

Blair is awesome. Thanks to her I now have 2 Aha! moments to share…

#1. I need to recommit myself I can handle a day. I have a hard time w/ long drawn out goals. If I put an end date of a few months out my mind figures I have plenty of time to finish. “Let’s slack while we can.” Classic procrastinator’s mantra. But, if I treat each day with the same intentionality of the 1st day it’ll (hopefully) turn into a habit.

#2. Food journals are a must! I was catching up on “Shedding for the Wedding” this weekend. In it there were 2 girls that didn’t lose any weight at all. It came down to the fact that neither was food journaling. Everyone else was. I know that I lose more when I’m journaling. Somehow I’ve just fallen out of the habit. Well we’re going to marry these 2 aha moments. Every morning I’ll resolve to food journal.

Ok update on weight.
Starting Weight: 163
Current Weight: 156.6
Goal Weight: 135 (I may reevaluate later. I’m unsure what my body will look like at this weight)

Specific goal for this week: I want to weigh in on Saturday at 154.8 or lower. That would put me at 20 pounds lost since I started this weight loss journey last August.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quilt Schedule

I have the necessary materials to make my next quilt. I just haven’t made the proper time for it. I could give you lines about being a full time mom & a full time employee ::I JUST DON’T HAVE THE TIME!!!:: but truthfully I just made Academy Awards Fashion Police more important. I can’t help but laugh myself silly & feel a little embarrassed (although I’m sure the woman has NEVER felt embarrassed for something she’s said) for Joan Rivers. The cooky woman

Anyway…I think maybe if I put a schedule up here WITH DEADLINES that I’ll finish it. It’s a simple quilt so I want to have it done by the end of this coming weekend so I can show my mom when she gets home from Ireland.

Tonight 3/1/11: Wash cotton. Finalize pattern. Iron tie dye squares & cut to size. Iron washed cotton. Set up sewing machine area (this has been neglected since our move).

Wednesday 3/2/11: Cut all cotton pieces & sew front together.

Thursday 3/3/11: Trim back piece & “the guts” down to size. This will have to be a quick evening. We have bible study at a friend’s house & probably won’t get home until late.

Friday 3/4/11: Pin all pieces together. Decide where I’m “stitching in the ditch” (I haven’t figured out “pretty” quilting yet; in time) then start sewing. I imagine I won’t finish that night.

Saturday 3/5/11: Continue “stitching in the ditch”. Sew on buttons.

Sunday 3/6/11: Bind quilt. I haven’t decided if I’ll just buy blanket binding that I like or if there will be enough fabric left to make bias tape. I suppose I’ll find out Wednesday when I cut the cotton. I think I have enough extra. I had a 40% off coupon!

There, that seems doable. It feels good to have a timeline written down. Maybe that’s something to keep in mind for future projects. Expect pictures along the way. Sorry that I’ve been neglecting on the photos for so long. Guess it’s time for some more.

Monday, February 28, 2011

McFatty Monday: My 1st Weigh-In

McFatty Monday-1st Weigh-in

I had my first weigh-in on Saturday 2/26/11. I knew I’d lost some weight. I could feel it. My stomach was flatter & my hips felt less “fluffy.” For some reason I still felt nervous stepping on that scale. I shouldn’t have felt nervous because…..I lost 4.2 pounds…in one week!!!

I’m not dumb enough to think I’ll continue to lose 4 every week but I’m off to a good start!

This weekend I bent the rule a little bit. I’m a firm believer that there needs to be a balance of general rules but still allowing yourself to budge from time to time. I’d go crazy if I was constantly saying no to my favorite indulgences. I went out to breakfast on Saturday morning. But this time instead of getting a big waffle w/ strawberries & whipped cream w/ a side of sausage I had a low fat egg dish w/ a side of whole wheat pancakes. I only ate to the point of feeling full. I didn’t feel bad about leaving food on my plate. I had a latte this weekend but got an 8 oz. version instead of a 16 oz. Plus last night I had a small champagne cocktail while watching the Oscars. I feel like a spun a little out of control but I am now back on track. I know that those small indulgences are nothing compared to the way I was eating before I started Nutrisystem.

I rushed out the door this morning. My mom is out of town so we have a friend watching Connor this week. Thanks Steph! I had to make sure the house was in good enough shape to have someone stay all day in it. Cat litter changed, unused bathroom cleaned. I was a mad woman this morning. I flew all over the place. I managed to have a Nutrisystem breakfast but didn’t manage to get my lunch made up. I’m planning to go over to the grocery store salad bar. I’ll get lots of nice veggies, a hardboiled egg & a little cheese. I’ll grab a piece of fruit too. A well balanced lunch. Then I’ll keep on track w/ a Nutrisystem dinner & my Nutrisystem dessert. Speaking of dessert, I LOVE the peppermint cookie patties they offer. When my next shipment goes out I think almost my entire dessert portion of my order will be peppermint cookie patties. They are SO GOOD. And not like “diet good” but like “real world good.”

Here’s the rundown of my weight loss so far.

Starting weight: 163

Current weight: 158.8

Total Lost: 4.2

Left to lose: 23.8

Until next time. Here’s hoping for another good week.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My 1st McFatty Monday Post

How about some honesty?!

I like the smell of play dough. The store bought variety. No, not that kind of honesty. Weight loss honesty.

Having a baby puts your body through the wringer. My journey started more than 2 years ago when I found out I was expecting our little bug. I weighed in at my first gyno appointment at 159 (yikes, I just posted a number for everyone to read disclaimer: I am 5’8” so you can put that number in perspective. Not technically overweight but getting close). I started the pregnancy much higher than I’m really comfortable at. I can’t blame pregnancy on that number, I can only blame myself. From what I’d read the healthy weight gain in a pregnancy is up to 35. Leave it to me to gain exactly that. I ended my pregnancy at 194!! You don’t know how happy I was to just not see a 2 as the beginning number.
Two weeks into mommyhood I was down to 171. I didn’t do much & it slowly went down to 164 (December 2009). Then early 2010 came, a battle w/ post partum anxiety, a husband working night shifts, full time job, cranky colicky (still at 7-9ish months!!) baby, I let the stress get to me. I drank way too many full fat (we’re talking whipped cream people) lattes, Pepsi & whatever the hell I wanted. I was in a haze & didn’t even realize that none of my pants were fitting anymore. How’s that for honest?
Summer came & I was starting to feel better but the damage to my body was evident. I was pushing 175 when I finally forced myself to step on a scale in July. I started making changes (mildly following weight watchers) and got to my lowest in a long time of 158 (below pre-pregnancy weight!) by late October. Watching those numbers get lower & lower felt AWESOME!
Unfortunately I let myself forget how AWESOME it feels to be happy with the number on the scale. I let the holidays get to me. I indulged WAY too many times in my favorite Peppermint White Mocha from Starbucks. I crave them every year. There’s just something so Christmasy about them. I made way to many cookies. And….I gained the stereotypical 5 holiday pounds and now clock in at 163 .
However, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. My recent holiday slip up taught me that it HAS to be a lifestyle change. I can’t just lose some weight and then go back to my old ways. The weight WILL come back if I don’t continue to stay within a healthy calorie intake. I know that a 5 pound slip up isn’t a big deal, it was Christmas, I can indulge but it’s not getting back on the horse that can make it a big deal. If I hadn’t realized soon enough I would’ve been right back where I started in no time. I decided, after many months of watching Blair have success, that I was going to try Nutrisystem. There are the haters out there but even after just 2 full days, (I started Saturday morning) I can tell that it’s teaching me how to eat. It teaches me how to add healthy proteins, veggies & fruits. It teaches me how much is enough for my main dish. Hate all you want but it’s teaching me how to meal plan & it’s taking a ton of the guess work out of it while I’m learning. Plus, THE FOOD IS ACTUALLY GOOD. It’s not as good as my mom’s homemade sweet & sour chicken or freshly baked pound cake; but I’m pretty sure if it was, it wouldn’t help me lose weight. I had a chocolate muffin w/ my breakfast on Sunday & it tasted like a Costco chocolate muffin. Moist & sweet. But, it was portioned properly & full of good for me fiber & protein.
I’m having a hard time not jumping on that scale to see if any progress has been made. I’m forcing myself to wait the whole week. Saturday can’t come any sooner! For more than 1 reason (yeah, holiday Monday & I’m at work ). I’m going forward with optimism. I’ll check in w/ everyone next Monday.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Some random thoughts

Why do they never have changing pads in men's bathrooms? Do men not change diapers? Mine does.

I got my first bloody nose tonight. Didn't happen until a wild, wonderful little boy came into my life. It hurt but I enjoyed getting it. Who can say that except a mother?

I finally found my camera's battery charger. In a random box in the garage. Moving stinks but I'm glad we're here.

Even when I know a package is coming in the mail I still get giddy when it arrives. It's like getting a present!

A photo of mine (picture was of my sister's dog Dolly) was shared (permission was given :) ) by my sister to a small business who sells dog collars. She posted it on facebook & random strangers were complimenting what a nice photo it was. It was nice to get compliments from people I don't know.

Speaking of photography, I'm craving sunshine. It's dark when I leave for work & dark when I return. I want to take photos outside again. Natural light rocks!!!

Asta la pasta!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Much Needed Update

Hello to my handful of readers. I haven’t recapped what’s going on with Connor for a few months (bad blogger, bad!). So, here we go….

He’s still small for his age. About 21 pounds & 32 inches (as of last appointment at 15 months). 4th percentile & 80th percentile respectively.

He wears size 3 diapers. I think it’s coming up on a year that he’s been in size 3’s, close anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised if we made it through potty training in size 3’s.

He wears size 12 months pants for the length but would really be better off in a 9 month waist size. I told you he’s small. I might need to start sewing him pants (add that to my large to do list). 9-12 month shirts are a good fit for him. He’s still wearing mostly 12 month pajamas with a few pairs of 18 month sizes. He has grown out of one pair of size 5 shoes ::gasps:: & still fits in another pair of size 5’s. Size 6 just sounds WAY to big. He’s growing, growing, gone (I can see him driving away to college, NOOOO).

He’s still incredibly active. He’s running now (has been for several weeks). He can walk backwards too. He’s getting pretty good at walking up the stairs if he holds onto the wall. Bompa (my dad) is impressed. He can walk downstairs if he’s really careful about holding onto the wall or if he’s holding someone’s hand. However, he usually just prefers to slide down on his tummy, backwards. It’s much faster for him. He climbs on couches & bath tubs & dining room tables. Pretty much anything available for climbing, we’ve found him on. One of his favorite games is leaping off the ottoman into my arms. Thankfully he hasn’t tried it with no one to catch him. He also does karate kicks. Probably the cutest thing ever.

His language skills are coming along slowly but surely. He doesn’t say a huge list of words but I know he understands a HUGE amount of what I’m saying to him. I’ll recap his language development. Around 9 or 10 months he started saying Mama & added in Dada around 11 months & then Bompa (he says Ba Pa) around 14 months. He has since gone on a Mama strike & refuses to say the word, ::tear::. In the last few months he’s added a few more words. He now says Dada, Bompa, Dodo (my mom), door (so cute, sounds British when he says it), Cat (sounds like Ah). Those are the only ones he says consistently at this point. I know he knows how to say Mama, dog, duck, milk & ball. He also quacks & barks.

He finally can put himself to sleep at night. This is a huge weight off our shoulders. We used to have to rock & pat & shhhh him to sleep & it took 30-60 minutes each time! Plus, he would then usually wake up 4 times before he would really settle in for the night Of course that’s expected of a newborn, I’m not complaining about that age. It was when he was 12 or 13 months old & was still having trouble going to sleep. Now, you get him ready for bed, turn out the light, give him a little milk (we’ll break that habit later, I’m just happy he’s falling asleep on his own). When he’s done we put him in his crib, cover him with his blanket & he falls asleep himself. It’s wonderful.

He’s still blonde, blue eyed & as cute as ever. I adore the age he is right now. He’s still rather clingy so I don’t feel like ,”ahhh, this is so much easier,” but he is SO FUNNY. He does crazy things that make me crack up like nothing else can. And when he laughs, my heart melts. He has the most incredible laugh. I’m smiling right now just thinking about it. He gives big boy kisses now which are so sweet. He’s just growing into this little person now & I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Sorry I don't have a photo with this update. Things have been crazy around here. Moving is tough for me. Soon, I promise.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Chocolate Macarons w/ salted caramel buttercream

I guess you could call me stubborn. Not all the time. If a friend and I are going to lunch I'll usually let them pick, even if it's not my favorite. But if there's a super hard song on guitar hero that I've failed at 12 times, there's no way I'm giving up & letting Garrett pass it for me (no WAY). Or, if there's a cookie that is notoriously finicky & bakers greater than myself shy away from, you better believe I'm on the quest to perfect. I've tried probably 5 or 6 different recipes and have come up w/ what seems to work best for me, a combination of several recipes/methods.

These are mostly based from the macs on Annie's Eats.

The variation I'll show today half happened as an accident. A batch of caramels never set up but still tasted divine. What to do? Mix it into some butter cream.

Recipe for Chocolate Macarons

200 grams powdered sugar minus 2 T.
110 grams ground almonds (almond meal)
2 T. Cocoa powder
100 grams egg whites (room temp)
50 grams granulated sugar

Pulse powdered sugar, almond meal, & cocoa powder in food processor until combined. You can use blanched, slivered almonds & grind it in your food processor instead of purchasing almond meal. I seem to have trouble getting it fine enough though so I do like the almond meal route.

There are different schools of thoughts on the egg whites. Most blogs I've read say to age the egg whites on the counter for 24 hours before using them. I've tried both ways & seem to do just fine with freshly cracked room temp eggs. I sometimes even cheat by separating the eggs & then warming them up to room temperature by putting the bowl in a sink of warm water .

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites. This can be done w/ a hand mixer (Booo. I'm in this boat because I don't have a KitchenAid) or in a stand mixer (I wish). Beat until quite foamy (30-45 seconds on high speed). Start very slowly adding the granulated sugar. Keep beating until stiff peaks form. If you lay your beater sideways a "beak" should form.

Mix in your dry ingredients by hand. It's a little easier if you do this in 2 batches. You want to deflate the egg whites but not all the way. The batter should look like this. (this photos is from a different day when I was making plain macs).

Put into a piping bag fitted w/ a large round tip. You can do this in a gallon size zip lock bag too if you don't have piping tips, they just won't come out as round. They'll be a touch wonky. Make sure you don't do too many on a sheet or make them too close together. The batter will run some. On a large baking sheet I usually get 6 rows of 4. Make them aprox. 1 1/2 inch circles. I bake them on Silpat baking mats but they can be baked on parchment paper if you don't have Silpats.

Macarons need to rest before they're baked. This helps create the smooth shiny shell & ruffled "feet" on the bottom. Usually a half hour will do but on really humid days they can take longer.

I bake them at 310 degrees for 9-10 minutes. When they come out of the oven place the baking sheet on a wire cooling rack for 5 minutes. Then move the Silpat off of the pan & directly onto the cooling rack. After the cookies have cooled 15 minutes total you should be able to peel them off the baking sheet. Do so CAREFULLY! They can easily get stuck & rip themselves apart. Push from the back of the sheet, don't pull.

You can fill with any type of buttercream, ganache or other filling you like.

I chose a simple (VERY) recipe for this buttercream.

3/4 C. unsalted butter
2 C powdered sugar
1/3 C failed caramel

Beat together until smooth.

Hope you enjoy! If you try these & they don't turn out, don't get down on yourself. Try again. I've had many nasty fails but seem to be getting the hang of it.