Thursday, March 24, 2011

Delicious Chewy Caramel

Caramel- such a heavenly invention! First of all, let's talk about the elephant in the room. Do I pronounce it "ka-ra-mel" and "car-mul?" I actually use both so you can't judge me for one or the other- my opinion is, I'm sure there is a correct one, but whatever floats your boat is fine with me!

I got this recipe from a girlfriend of mine and made some caramel apples during Christmas. With holiday hallabaloo and school madness I just never got around to posting.

This recipe is easy and extremely versatile. It can be used for individually wrapped caramels, dipped pretzel sticks, dipped marshmallows, and caramel apples. Unfortunately, I only have pictures of the individually wrapped caramels. I will update the post when I do caramel apples again (They are definitely a repeat- Casey's family devoured them!).

2 c. sugar
1 c. butter (2 sticks)
2 c. cream
1 3/4 dark corn syrup (some people use light corn syrup but the dark has better color and flavor in my opinion)

1) In a large pot add butter, corn syrup, sugar and 1 cup cream.
2) Stir constantly on high heat until the mixture comes to a rolling boil.

3) Slowly incorporate the remaining cup of cream while retaining the rolling boil.
4) Reduce heat until the mixture comes to a simmer.
5) Let simmer for 30-40 minutes, scraping the bottom every 15 minutes.
6) Once it starts to thicken you can begin to test the caramel using the *cold water test (I have instructions on this below if you've never done this before).

Once the caramel has reached the softball stage it is ready! It is really important to not let it cook past the softball stage- otherwise it will be too hard to eat! Take the caramel immediately off the heat and either poor into a greased pan or begin your dipping!

These are the individual caramels that I wrapped for my Christmas plates.

This picture turned out a little fuzzy, but I wanted to show how chewy the caramel is!

This caramel recipe gets 5 stars from me!

*Cold Water Test

Fill a cup with cold water and pour a small amount of caramel into the cup. Dump out the water and catch the caramel in your hand.

If you can form a ball with the caramel and it holds its shape the caramel has reached the softball stage.

If the caramel forms a firm ball that holds its shape even when pinched slightly, it has reached the hardball stage which is more desirable for brittle.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Going Bald

I know what you are thinking- and no, this is not a post about my handsome husband. ;) (Sorry hunny, those are the facts of life!)

I am talking about myself. For the past 2 months I have been losing hair in DROVES! My shower wall is covered with the stuff, I can't stick my hand under my pillow at night without getting it caught in my fingers, and it even strangled the belt on my vacuum cleaner so it wouldn't turn anymore (the fact that I was vacuuming at all is an oddity in itself since the sound of it kind of scares me ever since I was pregnant with Sander- yeah, I know I'm weird).

At the rate of my hair loss, I should be completely bald in another two months, I would say. Luckily, as I was perusing, I noticed a tab about hair loss. It turns out that I AM losing hair at an abnormal pace-- in comparison to the last 13 months.

Turns out, the hair on our heads grows for a certain amount of time and has a "rest phase" where the hair just hangs around before it moves onto the next phase- falling out. When a woman gets pregnant the "resting phase" for hair follicles gets longer. This is why pregnant women have such thick, lustrous hair, and around four months after baby arrives the husband gets to tease her about how she must be going bald with the amount of hair she is losing. The hair has resumed its normal resting phase time and hair starts falling out much more quickly than a woman has been used to for the past year+.

To make matter worse, my hair is very long due to my husband urging me to fight the "mom's cut their hair short" stereotype and (here's a teaser), I'm growing my hair out due to a possible film opportunity . . . . more on that later. ;)

So, with the masses of my hair around the house, in all of the garbage cans and vacuum cleaner bins, it is quite possible that there is enough of it to have the hair clumps take on a life of their own, forming a life-sized mass to terrorize me and make my house into a modern day horror story.

I'll keep you updated on the details of that situation- meanwhile, what an awesome idea for a children's book. "MOM'S HAIR MONSTER" . . . catchy.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Absurd Things My Husband Says Sometimes...

First of all, sorry for the lack of blogging lately. My life has been a little more than I can handle with my student, mother, wife, and athlete roles all vying for my time everyday. There have been so many times when I think, "Oh! I should blog about this!" and then never manage to put it high up enough on my priority list. BUT, something happened yesterday that I really wanted to document.

Second, a little prologue to my tale:

Last Wednesday, February 23, my son got his first sickness. Just a runny nose and a cough- no big deal- he was still happy and eating and sleeping.
Then, on Friday, February 25, my husband gets sick and hence, completely incapacitated.
Then, on Saturday, Sander gets a little more fussy and starts eating and sleeping less
... oh no... I can feel the trouble coming on...
Then, on Sunday, Sander starts running a fever. He stops eating and sleeping altogether. He is SO tired and SO cranky and the only way he can sleep at all is if I hold him against my chest and try to comfort him back to sleep immediately after he wakes up for no apparent reason to cry and scream. Needless to say, I'm in the doctor's office first thing Monday morning to find out that pobre Sander-boy has a double ear infection. Casey (who has been a trooper all weekend by taking care of himself since I was COMPLETELY consumed with Sander) takes Sander to get his prescription filled, and then watches him at home for a couple of hours while I run to campus to get to the two classes I really couldn't miss before coming home again.

Now, this experience was hectic and draining in and of itself, but the pressure is tripled when I factor in the fact that I usually use every spare moment I have to do homework so I don't get crushed under the burden of reading/papers/exams/etc. and this weekend, I had no spare moments to spare. This has left me frantically doing homework to make up for lost time while also trying to finish my online religion course before midterms hit again in two weeks.

ALSO, today is Thursday and I will be missing school again tomorrow so that we can go down to St. George this weekend so that Casey can participate in a mountain bike race down there. I'm super excited for the warm weather (it is going to be cold and rainy up here- Suck it Provo!) but, this trip means that I need to clean my house today (I am OCD about leaving a clean house when I go on a trip- it feels so much better to come home to!), pack up our car, take Sander to the doctor's again for his six month check-up and to get shots, and go to a preparation meeting for a Relief Society event that I am participating in later this month - and please don't forget the ever present need to do homework, make dinner, and fulfill the daily tasks of taking care of Sander.

Now, here comes the funny part...

Yesterday, we had tacos for dinner and at the end of the meal we had finished the tortillas but still had plenty of leftover meat, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, etc. Looking at the leftovers I commented, "Oh, good! Looks like we will have enough for leftovers tomorrow! I'll just need to swing by the store to pick up some more tortillas." Then, Casey turns to me with his big, hopeful, blue eyes and says, "Or you could make some!"


I know he loves my homemade tortillas and everything and I'm glad, but, no.

Ah, the absurd things my husband says sometimes...