Friday, December 27, 2013

{Recipe} 15 Minute(or less)Microwave Salted Caramels

We made these to give out at Christmas but they would make a great sweet for you Valentine too.
This was my first attempt at caramels and when I found this recipe using the microwave, it seemed less daunting if I could do it all in the microwave.  
And it was!
To make one batch of caramels, you'll need:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter, plus 3 TBS for buttering the pan
1 can sweetened condensed milk(14 oz)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
fine flake sea salt (I used French sea salt but I think Kosher would be fine)
Parchment paper 
Candy thermometer (I ended up using my digital meat thermometer because I didn't think the candy thermometer was working)

Start by buttering the sides and bottom of  pan. I used a 9 x 13 Pyrex pan.  
 Cut two sheets of parchment paper to overlap in the pan (for easier removal have the paper extend over the sides.  Place first sheet down and butter it, then layer second piece in the opposite direction and also butter that.  Basically butter every surface (except the outside of the pan).
Place butter in a  2-3 quart microwave safe bowl, microwave until just melted. Add the sugars, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk, stir well with plastic spatula. 
Step 1: Microwave for 3 minutes.
 Remove bowl from microwave and stir.
 Keep repeating the steps of microwaving for 3 minutes, removing then stirring.
 Do this until the caramel's temperature is 234 F. Mine took about 12 minutes.  
You can see the color changing as well.  
 Whisk in vanilla and pinch of salt.
 Immediately pour into prepared pan.  Tap the pan gently to remove any air bubbles.
 Allow to cool completely elevated on a wire rack. (3-4 hours)
 When the candy has cooled completely, sprinkle with sea salt and remove from pan with the parchment paper.
 Cut into pieces with a sharp knife (running the knife through a stick of butter helps!).
 I got about 60 pieces out of this batch.
 Wrap the individual caramels in wax paper squares ( I found this cute gingham wax paper at The Container store).   A good size to cut the squares is 4 x 3 inches.  Roll up, then twist the ends. 
 They would be a fabulous gift all packed up like this in a tin.
I packed them up in smaller containers and bags to give out to friends and family.  
They are very rich, soft and buttery and will melt in your mouth.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

From our family to yours....
I hope your Christmas is warm and magical!
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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

{Recipe} Stuffing Muffins

Happy Christmas Eve!
I made these savory stuffing muffins for Thanksgiving but they would be good any time of year!
I started with this recipe and adapted it. I used Trader Joe's cornbread stuffing mix minus the seasoning mix, vegetable stock, Trader Joe's stuffing starter (chopped celery, onion and spices), dried cranberries and a Granny Smith apple.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Saute the veggies in olive oil and apple in olive oil until soft (about 5 minutes). Add 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and salt & pepper to taste.
Add the cornbread stuffing mix to a large bowl then pour in the sauteed vegetable/fruit mixture.
Add 2 1/2 cups of vegetable stock and mix gently.
Grease muffin tins with olive oil and use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin cup with stuffing.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
*Tip-let them cool before taking out of muffins tins and they will hold together better.*
Enjoy as a side dish or by themselves.
Linking up with:
Saturday Night Fever
Thrifty Things Friday
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Friday, December 20, 2013

{Insta Love} November

November seems so far away already!
It was a busy month and my phone was full of photo-fun for the month.
 Double happiness:Starbucks RED cups and Christmas merchandise at Target.
 When the leaves were still changing and my huge green fern from Mom.
 Roasting our jack-o-lanterns pumpkin seeds a few days after carving it up (I just washed the seeds and kept them in the fridge until I was ready to roast!)
 A quiet morning with a book in bed by the fire.
 My "gym" for the day, stacking and hauling wood.
Where I scrap.

 Getting Photoshop CS6!
 I didn't know I had ordered the kids grilled cheese at our favorite sandwich shop. 
So good!
 The day I discovered West Elm & Hobby Lobby.
 Visiting College Girl for parent's weekend.
 Getting ready in the hotel/checking the outfit for dinner with her sorority.
 After dinner drinks and party mix at a favorite spot.
 Driving home in the rain.
 SO happy when Christmas music started on SiriusXM!
Miss Middle School got this gorgeous bracelet in the mail from her grandmother (ordered on line) and I took a pic to show my mom.
 A favorite Friday activity (and date!)
 Happy Hour with some high school pals.
 Back at the ice rink, reading this book and drinking coffee from my uber chic Tori Burch (for Target) thermos.
Finding these at Trader Joe's!!
 Helping her grandma with some piano questions.
 Final Thanksgiving chalk art in the kitchen.
 Trying all of the seasonal seltzers. This was our favorite!
 Lunch at the mall with the hubs--salad and Five Guys fries. :)
 Partying like a rock star with Elmo and friends for a very special 2 year old's birthday.
My holiday tea collection

 This captcha code cracked me up.  You have to watch Parks & Rec to get the reference. 
Sad day when one of my favorite bowls broke. 

 Waking up to this on Thanksgiving morning!
Working out by the Disney tree makes it a little more fun.
Made this amazing Vegan Chocolate Truffle Pie.
 Mashed potatoes for days....
 While the masters were at work on the taters.
Making stuffing muffins. Yum!
 My plate(s) on Thanksgiving.
 Getting our tree at the farm.
 What I wore to my class reunion.
 At the bar after our class reunion.
 Getting in the holiday spirit with candy canes and mistletoe.
Cozy toesies by the fire with some wine in a holiday wine glass(won the glasses last year at our annual cut throat Christmas).

Are you still with me?
That was a lot of photos..thanks for sticking with me if you did! 

Linking up with:
Oh The Places I've Been

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