Saturday, July 30, 2011

Our Version of.... Frog Eye Ambrosia Salad

We've been enjoying this salad for years. It's a messed up version of Frog Eye Salad meets Ambrosia Salad. I'm afraid it's probably very bad for you, but it is delicious and it has a texture that only a mother could love. A conversation starter at parties for sure. If you like a good tapioca pudding, this salad is for you.

Frog Eye Ambrosia Salad

Ingredients to build the salad:

2 cups of uncooked acini di pepe pasta
2 cups of whipping cream
3 tbsp of sugar
1 cup of vanilla yogurt
1 tin of mandarin orange segments
1 tin of pineapple segments
1 cup of sweetened coconut
3 large handfuls of coloured mini marshmallows

Add the sugar and whipping cream to a large bowl.

whisk until stiff peaks form

fold in the yogurt until blended

this is the package of acini di pepe I used. It's teeny little pasta balls, smaller than regular tapioca by about half the size

Boil the acini di pepe noodles as you would any pasta. Cook them until they are just a little bit firm in the center, about 8 minutes.

Drain the pasta and rinse it in cold water to stop it cooking. Let it remain in the colander until it has drained completely. Make sure to use a colander with small holes.

Put the pasta into a large container. Drain the liquid from the orange segments and add them to the pasta.

Drain and add the pineapple

Add the marshmallows

and the coconut

now add the whip cream and yogurt mixture and fold it in until everything is combined.

serve and enjoy it right away or store it in the fridge covered until you need it.

I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine does.


Lighting and Using the $13.00 Light-box.

We went to Canadian tire and picked up some clip lights. I had some in the garage for the dart board and wasn't going to spend the money for new ones but they were under ten dollars each so I splurged. I guess you could say this makes my $13.00 light-box into a $43.00 light-box........ But it's still very inexpensive to make (even better if you already have clip lights) and it works like magic.

Here's how it went.

I am using an old tv stand to hold the light-box. The clip on lights hold nicely onto the stand frame. You could use directional desk lamps with goose-necks also. I just happen to like me a good clip lamp. Use what you have around the house. The only important thing to remember is you want to use a warm light. The curly bulbs give a much warmer light than an old school solid bulb. Having three lights, one aimed at each of the three tissue paper windows has eliminated most of the nasty shadows. I played with the light angle and layered and un-layered more and less tissue paper to adjust the shadowing.

Keep the light bulbs away from the issue paper. They get warm and could start a fire if you leave them on and walk away. I only light the lamps when I'm right there using the light-box.

There is still some shadow in this shot, but overall I like what I'm seeing in the picture as far as detail and correct colours. I can see loads of fingerprints in this project. Something I'll have to watch in future if I'm going to be taking clean shots like this.

It's hard to get good shots of clear anything. So I threw a plastic bead bracelet in the box to see how that would work. Once again I'm pretty pleased with the results. I used the macro setting on my little digital camera for most of these shots. I'm still getting some shadow here and will have to play a bit more with filtering the light.

Here is another clear item. It's really hard to get the detail inside resin pieces. It's a leaf inside the resin with loads of gold sparkle. I'm not very happy with this shot and will have to practice loads more with resin pictures.

Some of the shell pedants I made after our vacation. Thought I would try to get some professional looking shots with these. It was tricky. Propping successfully without seeing the prop is difficult. I used a black twist tie coiled up to prop the piece up a bit and give some interest with the angle.

These next shots show how different a piece can look on a different background. I tried a few different pieces of scrap-booking fabric. I'm not sure what one works best. I may be partial to the plain white.

Let me know what you think about the whole homemade light-box thing. I'm really interested to know if you have used one and how dealt with it.