Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Opposite Day

Yesterday was Opposite Day so I did the opposite and didn’t write a post yesterday. However, I got it all wrong. Opposite Day was meant for you to try things you haven’t tried before, or do things you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t. Here’s what I attempted yesterday:

  • Try to be different - was subdued and acquiescent. For all of 15 minutes. Not gonna happen.
  • Try a new route to work – got lost.
  • Wear a color you’ve never worn before – pea green was hideous.
  • Don’t have your usual lunch – lots of hot spicy food was a bad idea

Didn’t get a whole lot done in the afternoon, which is a complete 180 for me. More than likely had something to do with the atomic bomb I had for lunch. Try something new today – you’ll probably have better luck than I did!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Yummy Recipe

Today is National Buttercrunch Day!  Hooray!  Buttercrunch is caramel coated in chocolate and ground nuts.  Sounds heavenly!  In honor of such an auspicious day, here's a buttercrunch recipe.

It comes from Stonewall Kitchen Winter Celebrations: Special Recipes for Family and Friends by Kathy Gunst, Jonathan King and Jim Stott.  You can double the recipe if you like, but if you want to make more you shouldn’t try to multiply the recipe by three or four -- simply keep doubling the recipe.

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light Karo syrup
2 tablespoons water
2 large (about 7 or 8 ounce) chocolate bars*
About 1 cup very finely chopped walnuts**

*Buttercrunch can be made successfully with regular grocery store milk chocolate or chocolate chips, but you can also splurge and use fabulous bittersweet or semi-sweet 60% cocoa chocolate. The choice is yours.

**You can use walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachio, or any type of nut but it must be finely chopped to adhere properly to the chocolate.


Line a cookie sheet with a piece of well greased aluminum foil.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, sugar, Karo syrup and water over a low heat, stirring frequently. The mixture will caramelize and is ready when it hits 290 degrees on a candy thermometer. Watch it carefully, particularly toward the end of the cooking process. It will take at least 15 to 20 minutes to reach 290 on low heat. The mixture can burn easily; reduce the heat to very low and stir constantly if it seems to be cooking too quickly or turning darker than pale golden brown.

When the candy hits 290 remove from the heat and carefully spread it out in an even layer on the sheet of greased foil. Spread with a spatula to make a fairly thin layer. Let cool and harden. (If you are really impatient you can place the cookie sheet outside in the cold in a protected place so it will harden more quickly.)

While the buttercrunch is hardening melt the chocolate in a saucepan over very low heat, stirring until smooth. IF you choose to let the buttercrunch harden outside or in a very cold spot you must bring it back to room temperature before spreading with the chocolate. If the buttercrunch is too cold the chocolate won’t adhere properly.

When the buttercrunch is hard to the touch (you shouldn’t feel any soft spots), use a soft spatula and spread a thin layer of chocolate over the entire thing. Sprinkle with half the nuts, pressing down lightly so they adhere. Again, if you are the impatient type, you can let the chocolate harden in a cold spot. The chocolate should be fully dry—no wet spots to the touch. Carefully remove the foil with the candy from the cookie sheet; place the cookie sheet on top of the foil and candy. Gently flip the candy over onto the cookie sheet and peel away the foil. Spread the remaining chocolate on top of the other side of the buttercrunch. Sprinkle with the remaining nuts, pressing down lightly. Let the chocolate harden and set in a cool spot.

When the buttercrunch is dry and hard break it into small pieces. You can keep it in a cool, dry tin or tightly sealed plastic bag for up to two or three weeks.

Serves 6 to 8 (or one if you keep conducting quality control tests - ha).  Once you taste it, it’s hard to stop!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Answer You've Been Waiting For!

An interesting article in Parade stated that scientists writing in the Medical Journal of Australia have an answer to an age-old question: should Band-Aids be ripped off or slowly pulled off?

Faster is better they say.  Sixty-five medical students at James Cook University had medium size Band-Aids applied to their skin on three different parts of the body: upper arm, hand and ankle (no knees?).  Two volunteers were given the job of pulling the Bankd-Aids off - one with a quick yank, the other with a slow and gentle peel back (just reading the second one sound torturous).

Subjects were then asked: On a scale of 1 to 10, how much did each removal hurt?  Zero for "no pain" and 10 for "the worst pain imaginable."  Fast came in below 1 (.92) on the scale, while slow scored 1.58.  Neither was a big deal, but fast clearly hurts less.

They should have tried that experiment on screaming toddlers to see which way worked best.  The answer would be neither!  Try holding a toddler still while you either rip or peel.  You have to soak off as much of the Band-Aid as you can in the bathtub, then let if flap around until the next time they take a bath.  In the meantime, when you mention "Let me take the rest of that thing off," you're met with wails of protest and a protective hand over the limp and sagging Band-Aid.  My teenagers now soak off their own Band-Aids.  Maybe one day they'll graduate to the rip or peel method.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What Am I Doing??

Today is National Nothing Day.  So what am I doing writing a post?  Well, it isn't National Do Nothing Day, so maybe Nothing Day means nothing will bother me (snicker), nothing will get done, the kids will bicker over nothing (likely), or nothing good will come of what I'm going to do this afternoon (sounds intriguing).

On the romance side, there's "I'm nothing without you darling." Or I'm wearing nothing but a ... never mind.  Nothing good is coming from that (harhar).

However you celebrate National Nothing Day, be sure to do it enthusiastically!

Monday, January 11, 2010

That Many?!

I know Trivia Day was last week, but I just learned another interesting tidbit.  Each person eats an average of 35,000 cookies in his or her lifetime.  I think I'm already over my limit!  I wonder who didn't get any cookies?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's Time For Some Snuggly Flannel

Because today is Cuddle Up Day!  Now flannel may not be your fabric of choice for snuggling, but it is mine.  Nothing says cuddly goodness to me like being in my flannel jammies and snuggling with my husband.  What great timing that Cuddle Up Day is in January and not July.  I guess then it would be called Stay The Heck Away From Me - It's Too Hot Day.

Happy cuddling!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone has a blessed 2010.  Happy Back To Work Day too.  I'm sure after sitting around watching bowl games and eating leftover Christmas cookies, everybody is bright eyed and rarin' to start a productive 5 day work week.  Hey, don't throw rotten tomatoes at me - I'm just trying to be encouraging! :)

To get your mind off of the 7,000 emails that have lingered in your in-box over the holidays, I'll let you in on a little secret: today is Trivia Day.  Hooray!  I know you've waited 7 weeks to hear that.  And here's some trivia to amaze and impress your co-workers: the prickly pear cactus is the only type of cactus that grows in Yellowstone National Park.  Isn't that remarkable?  Now you're ready to be a game show contestant.

Stay tuned for more interesting "holidays" throughout the year!