Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

On this night . . .

I wish you peace and joy.

Merry Christmas


Jennie Lynn

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Caramel Popcorn

For this I used my oven but I'm still not sure if it qualifies as baking. I am not myself a fan of caramel popcorn but my husband and sons adore it and I think it's even easier to make then the fudge.

A few words of advice. I usually separate the popcorn into two batches and coat separately. It's easier to stir that way. I also place them in two baking dishes so that there's only one thin layer of caramel popcorn in each. Also, unless you enjoy soaking and scrubbing for hours, line the glass baking dishes with parchment paper.

Now the reason these two recipes tend to be made on the same day is in making the caramel topping for the popcorn you have also essentially made toffee. Now go ahead and add a little of that caramel to one of your batches of fudge!

Edit: Ooops! I forgot to mention that the measurement is for unpopped popcorn but it does have to be popped before it's coated in the caramel and baked in the oven. Thank you Teri for pointing that out to me :)


Jennie Lynn

Holiday Fudge

I took the day off from stitching today to do a little holiday baking. Can it be called baking if you don't actually use your oven? I believe it can be called baking when the end result is delicious and adds a few inches to your waistline. I make fudge every year for the holidays but other than the basic fudge in the photo I never make the same kind twice.

That's the basic fudge recipe I have used for years but who can really stop at just one batch? This year I made white chocolate almond fudge. I used 2 cups of white chocolate chips with 1 cup condensed milk and 1 tsp almond extract. I poured that into the square pan and then added on top of that 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips that had been melted with the butter, vanilla extract and remaining condensed milk. I topped it with sliced almonds. I also made peanut butter fudge using 2 cups peanut butter chips in place of the 2 cups white chocolate chips. I added mini Reese's candies to the top of that one. I also made mint fudge by using mint chocolate chips and orange chocolate fudge by adding a little orange zest.

I hope a few of you try the recipe. It's embarrassingly simple. Trying to convince my sons to eat dinner instead of the fudge will be much harder!

Happy Holidays!

Jennie Lynn

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On the 12th Day of Christmas

We went searching for our tree.

We visited one of our local tree farms. It was a beautiful day, in the sixties, sunny, windy but it always is here. The farm is a bit of a maze, no straight path between any two points. We occasionally got separated from one another as each of us went off in search of the perfect tree. The only way to find one another was to play "Marco Polo" which I have to admit was my favorite part of the day. I think towards the end the boys were running off and hiding just to be able to holler at one another.

After much debate we did all end up agreeing on a tree. That shadow there to the side of my daughter, Emma, texting. Ahh, family time. I don't know much about types of evergreen trees and the farm grows several different breeds. All I know is that this particular tree had soft needles that didn't poke at you when you touched the branches. The children wanted to continue to search but it was getting late and as soon as I informed them there were candy canes waiting at home to be put on the tree suddenly it mattered less to them exactly which tree came home with us.

Here's David and Benjamin taking the first cut. Both boys had a turn but tired quickly of using the little hand saw so Daddy did most of the work. Of course we picked one of the trees farthest from where we parked. I did mention there was no straight path through the trees. Navigating our way through the fields back to the farmhouse was a feat, especially given that most of the trees in that field were taller than both I and my husband. With our boys acting as guides we managed to make it out to the road. With the amount of jostling that tree sustained I'm surprised there was a needle left on it by the time we got it home. We managed to get the lights hung and I decorated around the house with a few of the trimmings from the tree. Leftovers were on the kitchen counter for the kids but dinner consisted mostly of candy canes and hot cocoa.

With the tree up it truly feels like Christmas. Last night, my husband said the tree was perfect. We spent over an hour searching for that perfect tree but I think that any tree we picked, once we got it home, saw it all lit up and the children gathered around it carefully selecting what flavor of candy cane to eat, would look perfect. It's not the tree after all, but what it represents. The moment the tree becomes a part of our family's holiday celebration, a part of our memories, it becomes perfect to our eyes :)


Jennie Lynn

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Anniversary Woes

Hanging on the wall of my living room above the stairs is a canoe oar. It belongs to my husband and might seem an odd bit of home decor . . . but there's a story behind it. I first noticed it while my husband and I were still dating, tucked in a corner of his apartment. The handle is inscribed "D. Lopez, 1980". I asked after it and this is what he said:

"I made that [said very proudly]. I carved it at boy scout camp. We all did one. It was June of 1980, the month you were born. I was 15. That summer I was chased into a lake by a moose [apparently moose can be quite aggressive] and had my tent washed out in the rain [for your sake I edited out the bit about correct placement of a tent at a campsite]. Still, that whole trip is one of my favorite memories. The best part was one night we all laid out and watched a meteor shower. It was beautiful, even then, but more beautiful in my memory now. It took twenty years for me to realize it, but that night I watched the soul of my true love fall to earth. It was there for a second and then it was gone. It took awhile, but I finally found her again."

Not bad, huh? It worked on me :)

It's moments like those that I try and remember on days like today . . . when he forgets our anniversary. He said he knew that December 6th is our anniversary but forgot that today was December 6th. I understood the distinction but it mattered little to me. I stomped around the house in a huff most of the day. Still, he stayed home with me and followed me about the house . . . at a safe distance, of course, since I have been known to snap at him for hovering. Eventually, I was won over and the early afternoon found us snuggling on the sofa with Mina trying to wedge her way between us.

"What God as put together, let no man put asunder." I believe that, truly. Not even my husband, with his absent-minded ways, can make me forsake the wondrous gift I was blessed with through him . . . a gift that is made precious by days like today as much as by any other.


Jennie Lynn