Archive for 2008

Dec 28 2008

No power, angry cats.

Published by under Pets,Travel

We lost power at around 6 AM. We sat around the house all day, reading books and wearing out the batteries on all of our electronics. We were supposed to be going up north today, but with no showers, and no idea when the power would be back, we decided to wait for a day. At 5 PM, we finally got through to Consumer’s, only to hear that by their best estimate, power would be back on by noon. . . on Tuesday.

We’re in a hotel right now. There was no way I was going to sit around a dark house for three days, getting stinkier and staring at the walls. On our way into town, we saw about eight trucks working on the lines near our house, which we believe is the source of the problem. We’re hoping the Tuesday estimate was a gross exaggeration and that power will be back by tomorrow, but if not, we’re staying here for another day.

The cats are really, really unhappy. They are prowling around the room, tense. But at least I can keep my eye on them. This is like a little adventure. An annoying little adventure, but an adventure nonetheless.

One response so far

Dec 24 2008

Christmas (or anytime) Fudge

Published by under Recipes

Yesterday, I ventured into the world of candy making for the very first time.  I decided to make fudge.  However, I didn’t have a candy thermometer, which most fudge recipes in my books seem to require.  Lucky for me, the Better Homes and Gardens NEW Cook Book came through with a recipe that didn’t require precise temperature monitoring.  It’s a fudge recipe tailor-made for someone like me, who can’t read thermometers.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, but, as you’ll soon see, I was stirring for a long time, and besides, I didn’t know if this was actually going to work.  This recipe makes about four pounds of fudge.

Equipment

  • a 13x9x2 pan, lined with aluminum foil.  Make sure the foil goes up and over the sides for easy extraction later.
  • a heavy, 3 qt. saucepan.  I used a ceramic glazed cast-iron dutch oven, because I didn’t have a 3 qt. saucepan.
  • a stirrin’ spoon.  I used a wooden one, for that authentic, candy-making feel.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 2 5-ounce cans evaporated milk
  • 1 cup butter (plus some extra for buttering your foil and saucepan)
  • 1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 7-ounce dark or milk chocolate candy bar, cut up.  This is totally optional, but why not add more chocolate if you have an opportunity?  I went to the World Foods aisle of my grocery store and grabbed two 3.5-ounce Milka bars from Germany.  I figured if I was adding a candy bar, I wanted a good quality one.
  • 1 7-ounce jar of marshmallow creme.  It’s sticky!
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts.  Also optional.  I hate nuts in my fudge, so I left them out.
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Line your 13x9x2 baking pan with foil.  Butter the foil (make sure you get the sides, too) and set aside.

Butter the sides of your saucepan (or in my case, glazed dutch oven). In the saucepan, combine sugar, evaporated milk, and butter.  Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils.  This is going to take awhile, so bring a book or something.  Once mixture boils, reduce heat to medium.  Continue cooking and stirring for 10 minutes.  When it’s boiling, it will look like the dense head of a good beer.

Remove pan from the heat.  Add chocolate pieces, cut up candy bar (if you’re using it), marshmallow creme, walnuts (if you’re using them), and vanilla.  Stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is combined.  I kept stirring it until the streaks of marshmallow were gone and everything looked uniform.

Now for the hard part:  Beat by hand for one minute.  This means, take that spoon and stir the crap out of that thick, gooey, chocolate mixture, as hard and as fast as you can, for one whole minute.  One minute isn’t really that long…unless you happen to be beating fudge by hand.  Ow.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Allow to cool at room temperature; DO NOT COOL IN THE REFRIGERATOR.   If you put it in the fridge at this point, condensation will form and ruin your candy.  While the fudge is still warm (about 1.5 – 2 hours into cooling) you can score it into 1-inch squares.  I would only do this if you plan on serving it all at once in bite-sized pieces.  If you are making it to freeze and eat later, wait until the fudge is totally cooled, lift it out of the pan (using the handy foil that you made sure went up and over the sides), and cut it into blocks for freezing.  It will store better in larger chunks than in bite-sized pieces.

If you’re going to eat all this within a week, you can store on the counter in an air-tight container.  Just put wax paper between layers of fudge.  For longer storage (2 – 3 weeks), store in the fridge in an air-tight container, again with wax paper between layers.

One response so far

Dec 22 2008

I just don’t know what to write.

Published by under Holiday Magic,The Fam,The Man,Travel

I feel like I need to be writing, but there isn’t anything I can think of to center one post around.  It feels like we’ve been running around for the past few weeks, and not accomplishing much.  This past Sunday was a good example of our running around:  We left the house at 9:50 AM and didn’t come back until 7:00 PM.  We only went three places, but we picked the WORST day of the year for high adventure: blowing snow meant whiteouts, or at the very least, low visibility.  The new truck earned its keep.

Oh, we got a new truck, too.  That’s because The Man finally broke his car to the extent that he decided it would be much less bother just to get a new vehicle.  Thus: the truck.  It’s nice to have a vehicle with four wheel drive and something that can haul more than one board at a time.

We’ll be going up north to Dr. Mom and Moll’s at the end of the month.  And then, later in January, we’ll be going to Nashville.  The Man is going for work, and I’m going along for fun.  I have no clue what there is to do in Nashville other than the Grand Ole Opry.  I guess I’ll have to look in to that.

I have to make three Christmas treats yet:  one batch of fudge for Christmas Eve, one pound cake, and one batch of Jezebel sauce to take up north.  I’m wary of the fudge.  I’ve never made candy before.

Speaking of Christmas Eve, that is the official start date of what The Man calls “Christmas Madness”.  We have to be three places that day: The Man’s stepdad’s during the day, my grandma’s in the evening, and church at 10:30 PM for what they’re calling ‘Festive Choral Eucharist’.  We were told FIVE TIMES on Sunday that if we didn’t get there by 10:30 PM, then the Lutherans would snatch all the parking spots (‘our’ church shares a parking lot with the Lutheran church across the street. I say ‘our’ church because we’ve only been there twice).  Then Christmas Day we go to Grandma’s in the day and The Man’s parents’ at night.  Then on the 27th we go to my parents’.  Then on the 28th we head up north, where presumably we will not have to do any more running around, but rather stay at Dr. Mom and Moll’s and relax.  Or, work our butts off, depending on how many trees they want us to cut up.

I’m trying to use the time before the 24th to get the house into a semblance of order.  I cleaned the kitchen today.  Tomorrow is the living room and the bathroom.  And I have to do a heapin’ helpin’ of laundry as well.  I really don’t know where most of my clothes have gotten to, but I suspect some of them might be in that huge pile of laundry on the chair in our bedroom.

3 responses so far

Dec 14 2008

In the car.

Published by under Friends,Snippets,Stupidity

Mackers:  You know what I got you at Subway?

Princess Precocious:  No, what?

Mackers:  Guess.

P.P.:  Meatball and marinara.

Mackers:  No.  Guess.

Me:  Bzzt!  Try again!

P.P.:  Um. . . I don’t know.

Mackers:  I got you a Spicy BMT with only oil.

P.P:  Really?

Mackers:  No.  Not really.  Guess.

P.P:  How long are we going to do this?

Mackers:  How long you got?  There’s a lot of items on the Subway menu.  Guess.

P.P.:  What did you get me?

Mackers:  I got you a meat. . . salad.

P.P.:  A meat salad?!

Me:  You know what’s on it?

Me and Mackers:  Meat.

P.P.:  You guys are dorks.

2 responses so far

Dec 11 2008

Totally unreasonable.

Published by under Dreams/Nightmares

I woke up from a dream this morning in which The Man and I were shopping at Wal-Mart, because I was looking for a puzzle to work on.  We were having a really hard time finding where they hide the puzzles at Wal-Mart, finally finding a rack back by the cheese section.  After we grabbed the puzzle, we started to head to the registers, but halfway there, The Man just laid down on the floor.  I was hissing at him to get up, what are you doing?  but he wouldn’t.  He was just chilling on the floor of Wal-Mart, telling me that I always nag him about the smallest things and I never let him do what he wants to do.  I was pretty embarrassed, because he was laying right in the middle of the aisle, and people couldn’t get by.  He wasn’t budging, though.  So, I went on to the registers, where a girl I used to work with at my old workplace was apparently moonlighting.  She checked me out and made fun of my puzzle.  When we got home, The Man told me he was leaving to go to Alaska, since he didn’t have enough money to divorce me properly.  Needless to say, this freaked me out, and he told me that that was the reason he was leaving – because I was always freaking out.

I guess I’m a little worried that I’m too critical.  Or else my subconcious is just screwing with me again.

5 responses so far

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