The Zen of Candy Cane Marshmallows

The holiday season has this way of stirring things up. I’ve really been quite pleased so far with my Sanity plans—I’ve only bought things I’ve really wanted and waited 24 hours, I’ve avoided “baking binges”, I’ve been meditating…and then I ran *smack* into the ghost of Christmas past.

Last year I was making Candy cane marshmallows for the first time. Often the first time when I make something, I get tense because I want to do it perfectly. Whenever you use a candy thermometer, there’s a lot that can go very stickily, goop-ily wrong. I got all fussy when the gelatin glopped, but it all worked out. I gave them to E, and I proclaimed them perfect. He, of course, said, well, they’re tasty, but they’re pink. Aren’t they supposed to have candy cane swirls?

You can feel the stink eye he got from here.  He’s not mean-spirited, just a very literal person with brain/mouth filter that sometimes leaks. This year, I asked what he wanted, and indeed, it was the candy cane marshmallows.  And I felt my body tighten, thinking about how I had to do it right this time.

So they swirled. Not 100% perfectly, but they’re not pink, either. And once again I’m amazed at how I hold my breath, basing my sense of accomplishment on whether I can manage to swirl food dye adequately. Because I’ve got to do it RIGHT. It’s a theme that shows up in all sorts of places.  If I get good feedback, I can exhale and it’s all okay. It’s a good day. When I get negative feedback, it tends to really sink in and touch me deeply.

I wonder why I give up so much of my power to situations that simply matter very little.

The good news is that I usually see it for what it is nowadays, even when I fall into the same old habits.

During this holiday season, lots of cakes will fall, lots of cookies will burn, and lots of pies will flip over into lots of laps. And Aunt Ida will probably make snide comments about your clothes, or weight, or hair, or something else trivial.

We just need to keep remembering each of us gets to decide where to put our attention. We get to choose what matters.

Choose joy.

About Cheryl Harris

Life played a funny trick on me. I've studied nutrition for years, and much to my surprise, found out that I could manage many of my health issues via diet. I've been GF for years, and I've got a bunch of allergies and sensitivities. But it definitely doesn't keep me from cooking, baking and enjoying my food. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in cheryl's musings, December Sanity Challenge. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Zen of Candy Cane Marshmallows

  1. What a terrific post, Cheryl!!! Hehe on the “stink eye”! Totally get that, too. This post will resonate with many … it certainly does with me. Now you know why I don’t make anything that requires a candy thermometer. 😉 And I’m glad your candy cane marshmallows came out close to what the hubs wanted. Even if logically you know it shouldn’t matter, it does matter to us so it’s a big relief when it works out. Aunt Ida might have to be shown the door though, or at least not be given the best piece of turkey, pie, etc. LOL Btw, I did have a great aunt Ida. She was a super lovely person and never said anything mean. 🙂


  2. Devona Sherwood says:

    Sounds delish, but where’s the recipe?

  3. Hi Shirley,
    Thanks–the whole feeding people I love evokes the perfection part of my brain rather than the logical parts. And I’d never met someone with a real Aunt Ida!

  4. Devona, generally I only share recipes that are sugar free and healthy, and this is definitely NOT. I’ve always enjoyed making candy, and E has always enjoyed eating it! I used a modified version of this recipe, using many of the suggestions in the comments. I strongly suspect that it wouldn’t work well as written.

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