Saturday, December 19, 2015

Handy Fudge and the BEST Bark!

I can remember in third grade, my right hand hurt a-l-l the time.  My teacher made me write these awful cursvie sentences:

I will not talk, or my hand will hurt.

I had just moved to a new school, and I don't even remember being especially social that year.  My teacher was so mean.  (I even had a nickname for her I've never, ever said out loud.)  I even got paddled that year.  Yes, ME!  If you didn't turn your work in, you got paddled.  Boy, did a swift whipping on the heinie work wonders for assignment completion.  I even did turn my work in, and a little boy named Ricky erased my name, and wrote his name in the Name___________ blank.  I could even see my name through his crappy erasing job.  I kinda sense she could see it too.

Anyway, my hand hurt all year.  I guess I was making friends, so it was totally worth it, haha!  Which brings me to why I brought up my sore hand..

I've been making candy, treats, and little gifts for teachers, neighbors, and friends.  I have the best fudge recipe ( will make your hand sore!)  It always turns out perfectly..and I love a recipe that is consistent (especially if I'm giving it to someone else!).

Would you like the recipe (and a sore hand, ha!)?  Here it is:

Fantasy Fudge
   3 cups sugar
   3/4 cup butter (1 and 1/2 sticks)
   2/3 cup evaporated milk (1 small can)
   12 oz. (bag) Nestle chocolate chips or Reese's peanut butter chips
   1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
   1 cup nuts-optional (pecans or walnuts in chocolate fudge is delicious!)
   1 tsp. vanilla

   Prepare 9x13 pan.  (I use butter and lightly coat the entire dish, but you can line with foil if you want.)  Then, I get all the ingredients ready.  Cut open the chocolate or peanut butter chips.  Open the marshmallow creme, peel off the paper top, and set out a big spoon for scraping the jar.  Set out the vanilla and the teaspoon.  (I even set a timer on my phone for five minutes, so it's ready to hit start when my mixture begins to boil.)
   Bring sugar, butter, and evaporated milk to a full rolling boil (this means lots of bubbles coming up, not five, haha!), stirring nonstop so it doesn't burn.  Start the timer, keep stirring, and boil for five minutes.  This is when it's making c-a-n-d-y!
Don't start your five minute timer till it looks like this.

   Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate or peanut butter chips until melted.  Stir in the marshmallow creme, nuts if you want, and the vanilla.  Pour into your prepared pan, and spread until level.

   Cool completely, and cut into squares using a plastic knife (it's a much smoother cut!).  I cut a 9x13 into ninths, wrap with wax paper, red striped baking string, and add a plastic knife to add to a box for a gift. Yum!!

And I have another NEW favorite recipe..Chocolate Cookie Bark! (and no pain, haha!)  My friend, Corinne, brought this to our latest Junque2Jewels Bunco painting party Tuesday night, and it is SOOO good!  She let me take the rest home, and I've already made MORE!  Here is one more easy recipe for you:

Chocolate Cookie Bark
   8 oz. Baker's Semi-sweet baking chocolate
   6-8 oz. Baker's Premium White baking chocolate (it calls for 6 oz, but what do you do with the
                         extra 2 oz?  ..How can you have too much chocolate?  I throw it all in!)
   2 Tbsp. peanut butter
   10 Oreo chocolate sandwich cookies
   Line a baking sheet with wax paper.  (I use clothespins on the corners since the darn paper wants to roll up!)
   In two separate dishes or pans, melt the two chocolates.  (I melted one on the stove top and one in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time..the microwave was much faster!)  Add 2T. peanut butter to the white chocolate and stir well.   
   Crumble five Oreos into each bowl of melted chocolate and mix well.  Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate mixtures onto the prepared baking sheet, alternating colors of chocolate.  Cut through the chocolate with the back of a butter knife (don't want to cut your wax paper!) to create a marble effect.

   Refrigerate at least one hour, and break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.  (If it lasts that long.)

Here is how the little gifts turned out:
I ordered the cutest wooden monograms, and spray painted them white to add to the bow!
Yes, I was up until 3:30 this morning.  So..making them all cutesy takes time.  Or I'm super slow and can't focus with the kids awake.  ..Or I went to see Star Wars at 10:26pm, and didn't start putting the tins together till after we got home last night!!  and it was soo worth seeing Kylo Ren, love child of H__ S___ and P________ L___!!  He wasn't even scary with his mask off. (yay!)  I loved seeing the Millennium Falcon and X-wing fighters again, the re-creation of the Death Star destroyed, and meeting the new characters: Poe (the Luke-like pilot), Rey (new girl Jedi/pilot/hero), BB-8 (small orange-white droid), and Finn (rebel storm trooper)!

Make your friends some candy, and go see Star Wars, The Force Awakens! : )

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

In DC, Filled with Insulin and Just Enough Faith

I watched the sun rise on a plane today, and I've watched the sun set too.
Every day feels like a dress rehearsal, like a lesson in living (but the years keep passing!).  I've really been (intentionally) practicing faith lately.  Today at 6am (I was running late), circling the economy (code for way far) long term parking, trying not to lose my joy.  I released control, and a spot finally revealed itself.
As I boarded the first plane, there were no valet tags to hang on my bag.  The lady said there were some "below".
Come to find out, that's code for if you walk away from it to have it valet-checked, you'll have to exit the airport and pick it up at baggage claim.  And go through security again.  To make the next flight.
I did, and learned a lesson.  I went into a bathroom stall, had a cry, turned it over to God, and kept going.  An employee on the phone shooed me away when I was trying to find the baggage claim desk (your tsa-possible bomb bag doesn't just go onto a rounder, y'all).  I finally found the office, waited, and it showed up.  She just handed it to me. No ID, no ticket stub, nothing. ? Guess bombs don't come in purple suitcases.
Then at the next exchange, I only had 42 minutes to make it to the next flight.  Guess who made my plane ten minutes early?  And the next plane only 6 gates away?
Prayer works, friends.  I've only got a tiny mustard seed, but I'm flexing it.  Trying, and somehow making it smoothly.
Even spilled the coffee I had time for (from a Starbucks right next to my final gate!), and had time to wash my hands.  Again.
I'm now circling Reagan (DCA) in a holding pattern.  Pilot doesn't know why, weather is good.  But I know.  God has a little something He's working on, so we need to hold on.
I changed both kids sites last night before I left town, and filled an extra reservoir in case one of them runs out of insulin before Saturday.
I'm trusting my parents, my kids, and my very big God to watch over them all.
Thankful and blessed even in the midst of stress, 3.5 hours of sleep preparing for this exciting little getaway with my honey, tears, the purple bag I can see and not touch outside a window, a micro-layover, my little girl's friend problems, a dying phone and missing my littles already.  If this is the dress rehearsal, I'm excited and nervous for the real thing!
God, please let me be a blessing! ❤️