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The winds of change are blowing my way (yet again!)

Some of you may have noticed that over the course of the last few months the frequency of post and the content of this blog has been changing.  There’s a reason for those changes.  My whole world has been undergoing something of a metamorphosis.  Not a Kafka-esque one, cause eww who’d want to turn into a nasty cockroach, but a series of huge changes none the less.  As some of you may remember I recently lost my dad, moved to middle America, bought a house (that needed a lot of TLC and some serious renovations), found a few job, and made some fantastic friends!  That’s a lot of stuff, right?  but that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s been going on in the last few months…  I’ve also ended a marriage, lost a bunch of weight, mostly finished renovating the house, found a job in my field, found even more great people, met a great guy, expanded my previously shrinking family, and decided to move (again)!  With all of that going on behind the scenes, I have to apologize for slipping with the frequency of my posts.  I am trying to keep up with as many of the topics as I can, but as my move to the southwest gets closer (and more of my stuff got packed – the craft supplies went 1st, then the books, and finally the kitchen equipment) it became increasingly hard to keep up.  I hope to be back up and running very soon, but just in case, please don’t forget about my out there in the blogosphere, I’ll be back with even more projects, adventures, reads, and recipes!

Now I wonder if you can make it from Ohio to Arizona by way of New York, Walt Disney World or Mount Rushmore…  We shall see!!!

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Filed under bucket board, check-it-off-the-list, family drama, hunting for a new home, mixed up crazy world, self improvement

Tasty Tuesday – Salted Caramel Bark

This week’s kitchen experiment was a first for me…  You see, I’m not a big fan of sweets, but almost everyone around me is and it is the holiday season so we’ve been having more company than usual, which means I need to have a couple of desserts on hand.  So I went searching Pinterest for ideas for quick and easy snacky type stuff, and found this recipe for salted caramel bark.  (I also found a new blog to follow in the process!)  It was crazy simple!

First I gathered the supplies:  a jelly roll pan, parchment paper, a cup of brown sugar, 2 sticks of butter, a spatula, a medium saucepan, a bag of chocolate chips, sea salt, and about half a bag of mini pretzels.

bark supplies

Once the pan was covered in parchment, I put down a layer of pretzels across the bottom of the pan.  It works best if they are in a single layer, and not overlapping.

photo 3 (14)

Then I headed over to the stove and melted the butter and the brown sugar to make the caramel.  How ridiculously simple is that?  I’m never buying those stupid little wrapped caramels again!

making caramel

Once the butter and sugar were melted, and had come to a boil (which makes the mixture thicken) it got poured over the pretzels.  Don’t stress if not all the pretzels get covered, they caramel spreads in the oven.  Once the pretzels are covered, the whole thing goes into a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.

caramel covered pretzels

After the longest 5 minutes ever, pull the pan out and spread out the bag of chocolate chips.  Then stick it back into the oven for another minute to melt the chips.  Once they are melty use a spatula to spread the chocolate out.

spread the melted chocolate

Then add a generous amount of sea salt.

photo 4 (14)

Then comes the hardest part of the whole process… waiting.  Let it set (and cool) on the counter for about 10 minutes before you stick it into the freezer for a couple of three hours.  Once it’s cool, break off some pieces and enjoy.  We broke up the rest and stored it in a cookie tin in our fridge for holiday visitors.

salted caramel pretzel bark

Who wants to try some?  We are looking forward to visitors, so just drop us a note and come on over!

 

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Filed under check-it-off-the-list, Christmas Gifts, tasty tuesday

Quest to Read Them All – Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded

As you know, I’m on a quest to read every book I own and this week’s book was quite a departure from my normal reading selections.  I actually couldn’t remember where I got the book when I first started reading it.  I tend to read romance, contemporary fiction, the classics, with a bit of young adult and fantasy thrown in, oh and the occasional mystery to break things up.  This book didn’t fit into any of those categories, but I still enjoyed it.  I should probably mention the title and author of the book before I get any further into my description…

This week’s book is:  Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded by John Scalzi.

I must have picked it up in the every book is a $1 clearance section when Borders was going out of business.  (I bought something like 100 books during the last few days that our local store was open, not just for my own personal library, but as gifts and as donations to one of our local hospitals.  It was a very sad moment for me, I was friends with almost everyone who worked at our local store and would be sad to see my favorite shopping destination empty.)  I can honestly say that the book was well worth the price, and has turned me onto a new blog to follow.  I love “Whatever” – the irreverence, biting whit and apropos social commentary is remarkable.

The book is a compilation of blog entries spanning a decade of Scalzi’s writing.  He takes on everything from Star Wars to Dumbledore, with a helping of politics and parenting thrown in for good measure.  While I don’t agree with all of the author’s sentiments, he and I do side together on some of the more important issue.  One of the points that stood out most to me was his stance on an author’s awareness of their own character’s back story, even if it isn’t overtly included in a book.  He pointed out that the author created the character and they are the only one that has a right to judge the history that was or wasn’t included in the initially published work.  As an English teacher I am in the minority when I say to my students that we can only attempt to interpret what the author meant and the meaning behind what they have written.  The only sure way to know is to ask them and while Shakespeare lives on with us always, you can’t just shot him a text and ask what the subtext of a play within a play was all about.

I am looking forward to following along with Mr. Scalzi, through his blog and perhaps some of his other works, on his continuing adventures.  Hopefully if I should every write he won’t consider my correspondence to trite and will make it to the end of the letter.

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Filed under books-books-books, check-it-off-the-list, read them all