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Thursday 23 February 2012

Recipe of the Day - Homemade Snickers Bars

I found this recipe on Pinterest and just had to see if they were as easy as they seemed.  Snickers are Ryan's (that's my husband btw) all time most favourite chocolate bar, which is saying a lot since he LOVES chocolate.  He normally goes for a piece of nice dark high quality chocolate (like anything over 60% cocoa solids and he's a gonner) but when its time for a candy bar this would be his pick.  He liked this version a lot... it makes a 9x13 though so be warned, it might be in your households best interest to half the recipe or freeze half the recipe... just saying.

I love you Ryan and I am committed to keeping your chocolate intake at a healthy level :) To see the original recipe in all its glory head to: PS - I did make a few small changes, I just can't help myself :)

Homemade Snickers Bars
yield: one 9x13 inch pan

Bottom chocolate layer
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
Thoroughly grease you baking pan. Melt ingredients together in a saucepan or microwave, then pour into the baking dish and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely.

Nougat layer
1/4 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cup salted peanuts chopped, roughly chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in sugar and milk, stirring until dissolved and bring to a boil. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in fluff, peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Turn off heat and fold in peanuts, then pour over bottom chocolate layer. Let cool completely.

Caramel layer
1 14-oz bag soft caramels
(Werthers = uh-mazing!)
1/4 cup whipping cream
Combine ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Let melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth – this took about 10 minutes for me. Pour over nougat layer and let cool completely.

Top chocolate layer
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
Melt chocolate in a saucepan or microwave, then pour over caramel and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely.

Refrigerate the whole mess for at least one hour before serving, then cut as desired. These can stay at room temperature, but they do get gooey. I like them refrigerated best! Note: These will keep for several weeks in the fridge or several months in the freezer, just be sure they are in a nice airtight environment so they don't absorb other flavours.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Tricia's "first" third Birthday!

Lanterns over the birthday table - a family tradition
For those of you who are new to this lil' blog of mine, it is actually Tricia's 3rd birthday but its her first birthday with us.  Tricia is adopted so it is extra fun and exciting to celebrate this birthday for so many reasons. Not the least of which is that T knows it is her birthday and has been prancing around the house for weeks singing "Happy birthday Tri-SHA".  I am particularly excited because she is such a girly girl (for now) so I get to have all the hearts, pink and glam my heart desires.  The theme?  Obviously hearts and rainbows... I will post more pics as the parties unfold.
T helping Daddy "paint the box"!

The main reason for this post though is to share the excitement Ry and I are feeling as we just finished and set up our homemade play kitchen... This is the kitchen I dreamt of all my life and while T may not appreciate it fully right now, we are hoping that all our kids and their friends... and our friends can enjoy it for years to come.

Check out our before and after shots below and come over to play anytime!!  Funny thing about all this... Tricia still has no idea what we have been building in the basement.  She calls it the "box" and was more than happy to help prime it :)

PS - tomorrow the baby chicks come (1 day old) so that is the other exciting thing this week and I will get posting about them too, there is just no time when so much fun happens all at once!  Ok, here are the photos.

Cabinet #1 - the Fridge

Cabinet #2 - the Stove/oven
Cabinet #3 - The Sink

Starting to take shape :)
Looking like a kitchen, but too serious...
Tada!  It's my dream come true!  Oh the meals we will make together!

THe dishes are a combo of collected Asian grocery finds, Costco from Mimi, Ikea dishware and the dollarstore

The oven and sink cabinets are painted with magnetic paint, I just have to find some more fun magnets I have stashed somewhere... why can't I ever remember where I put things to keep them organized??

6 burner gas range just like her mamas!!

Utensils ready at hand
I want to freak out with excitement over this bread pan inspired "icemaker"

So there you have it.  The results of many hours of marital bliss enjoyed in the basement complete with fumes, cold beer and the intense thrill of having so much love for a little gal that this labour of love was as fun for us as we hope the kitchen is for her...

Saturday 4 February 2012

For all my Indian feast students - Masala Chai!

Masala Chai As with every spiced dish, once you read this, the recipe is yours to do with as you wish, so experiment and enjoy! 

1 x 3" piece cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
8 whole cloves
8 whole green cardamom, lightly crushed
6 whole black peppercorns
4 slices fresh ginger
2 cups water
2 Tbsp loose black tea or 4 x tea bags (Darjeeling is preferred)
2 cups milk
1-2 Tbsp Sugar or more to taste (sugar is traditional and helps bring out the complexity of the spices)
1 tsp vanilla

1.  In a stove top tea pot, medium saucepan or tea kettle combine the dry spices, ginger and water.  Bring to a boil.  Add the tea and continue cooking for 1 minute.

2.  Reduce the heat, add the milk and simmer on low for 10 minutes in order for the spices to infuse and the tea to get good and strong.

3.  Remove from heat, stir in sugar and vanilla and if using a glass kettle, serve.  If using a saucepan use a small strainer to carefully lift the larger spices out of the pot and them pour the whole mixture into a tea pot with a built in strainer small enough to catch the remaining spices (don't worry if you don't have the right tea pot, the tea I was served when I fell in love with this drink always had spices floating around). If using a tea kettle, place a small strainer over each cup as you serve the tea in order to catch the spices as they pour out (be prepared for a little spilling).

4.  Gather sweet friends or neighbours and enjoy one anothers company over a cup of chai!

Note:  You can also turn this recipe into a spice syrup you can then just stir into hot milk when you feel like it.  To adjust the recipe, just omit the milk and all but 1/2 cup of water and increase the sugar to 2 Tbsp. Cook to dissolve sugar, strain, chill and keep in a squeeze bottle for easy access.  You will likely use about 2 Tbsp of syrup for a nice big cup or a small pot of masala chai.