Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Goodiness



Our goodie bags this year are stuffed with a couple new recipes.  I went to allrecipes.com and found recipes for peanut brittle (ya ya, it has corn syrup in it!) and peppermint fudge.

Since I was new to candy making I tried a couple different peanut brittle recipes.  The first was Mom's Best Peanut Brittle.  With my first batch I didn't have a proper thermometer and didn't cook it long enough so it never hardened.  BUT today my dad dropped off a deep fryer thermometer that went beyond 300 degrees and the final product resembled what I knew to be brittle.

Here are a couple pictures:


It gets a darker shade of brown as it gets closer to 300



Finished product




I don't know why it says to use a large cookie sheet when it doesn't fill it.

I also found a Microwave Oven Peanut Brittle recipe. It was WAY easier and tasted just as good, if not better (since it has more peanuts).  The big difference?  No added water and a little vanilla.

If you're gonna try a peanut brittle, here are a couple tips:
  • Make sure your thermometer goes up to 300 before starting.  I figured we had a meat thermometer, what's the difference?!  well, that only goes up to 220.
  • It took like 16 mins. to get the sugar/peanut mix up to 300 degrees.  It went a little faster  going up in temperature near 250 after dragging on at 200. 
  • Have things measured out beforehand.  This was a tip on one of the recipes that definitely helped.

The next recipe, Peppermint Chocolate Fudge, was super simple.  I used Lechera instead of the brand mentioned and, of course, it's still delicious.


Along with the new recipes we're putting in a few family favorites, including a block of Abuelita's chocolate, a candy cane, some homemade chocolate chip cookies (my grandma's recipe), pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and a kit for making holiday wassail.

Note the burnt chocolate chips cookies in the background...hence only a few in each bag...


Wassail kit: spices (1 Tbsp cloves, allspice, redhots, and 2 cinnamon sticks) in a cheesecloth, a bag of tea, and a recipe card - just add equal parts apple cider and pineapple juice!

I can't wait to share all of our homemade goodies with our friends!  WAAAY better than some expensive sweater they'll never wear, right?!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Too Smart?

Monday was a long day for the kids and I...or at least it felt that way at the end.  We didn't go anywhere, but stuck around the house to get laundry and stuff done.

Sometime after the sun went down and the rain died down a bit, I stepped out into the garage to change the loads of laundry out, closing the door behind me to ensure the little ones didn't get in and utilize their curiosity in daddy's garage.  After putting the diapers in the wash I turned to go back in the house and...it was locked!!  Low and behold my daughter had used her new found habit of dragging her chair/stool around with her and getting up to do mommy things...like locking the door to the garage.

Luckily we have a little kitty door so I could see the kids and knew they were safe and sound (or should I say sounding?) on the other side.  Screaming Rusty kept attempting to get through the little doorway, but didn't fit.  After yelling at Karrots to unlock the door didn't work I attempted to calmly talk her through undoing what she'd done because if she could figure out how to lock it then she should be able to unlock it, right?  But, "stand on the chair and turn the nob, honey!"  was translated "sit on your chair and scream and cry" in her little head.  Poor girl!  I know she had no clue that doing something so simple would separate her and her brother from mommy.

Red was on his way home at this point, but wouldn't be home for like an hour.  So I grabbed his hiking boots (the only shoes I could find) and ran across the street seeking any help they could give.  "Anyone here know how to break into a house?!"  One of the guys came over and with the help of an extendable mirror and stick was able to unlock the door.  The whole time, whenever he pulled his arm in from the kitty door, poor Rusty would push his head against it screaming.  It broke his heart.  Our neighbor wondered how I could be so calm...(well, I already went through the frustration phase, I guess.)

Praise God the kids were okay and that we have helpful neighbors!!

I think I'll be hiding her stepping stools from now on...

New Sewing Project

Lately Rusty's been extremely clingy.  Whether it's teething or something else, it's getting difficult to get things done.  I trip over him in the kitchen, get pantsed by him when getting ready for my day, and my wrists are acting up. 

Thus, a new project.  Over at Raising Arrows Amy had a post on the homemade wraps she's made and I noticed she has a baby on her back with the Mei Tai.  Perfect!  Thankfully she linked to the website with the pattern she used.

Now to find the perfect fabric and test my skills...

I'm also working on making some throw pillows for my SIL for Christmas.  I found an instructional online for the cases and another one on making them on a budget and have already made three of them.  I'll try to remember pictures after she gets them for Christmas...