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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pinterest {Better than Twix Bars}

Tonight we have a college & career get together and I decided to try making these "Better than Twix Bars" off my recipes board on Pinterest.

Better than Twix Bars

Shortbread layer:

2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour


FOR THE CRUST:

1) Preheat your oven to 300°F. Line 9" x 13" pan with nonstick foil.
2) In a bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour. Mix till it comes together.
3) Press it evenly into the pan.
4) Prick the crust all over with a fork {I found that the dough was too soft, so I baked it for 10 minutes before pricking and it was fine.}
5) Bake 35-45 minuets until the crust is lightly golden brown on top and the edges are deeper golden brown. {This step fluctuates with different ovens so watch carefully; remember you want to go with the lower time adding as needed. Also, convection ovens bake/cook foods in less time.}
 Remove from the oven and immediately run a knife around the edges to loosen the crust. Set it aside to cool completely. 
 

Caramel layer
20 ounces Kraft Caramels, unwrapped of course! (I bought some from our local Bulk Barn--MUCH cheaper!)
3 tablespoons heavy cream (I used Neilson's fresh Whipping Cream 35% M.F.}

FOR THE CARAMEL LAYER:

Melt the caramel and cream over low heat in a small saucepan {I sat a metal bowl onto a pot for use as a "double boiler"}. Pour the caramel over the cooled crust and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill and firm up.

Chocolate layer:
18 ounces milk chocolate, melted (I used 2 bags of chocolate chips)
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (if chocolate is too thick for pouring--I used sunflower oil)





Now, you have two options for the placement of the chocolate.

EASIEST OPTION:

Melt the chocolate slowly in a double boiler or over very low heat. If it seems very thick, add a tablespoon of shortening to thin it. Pour evenly over the chilled caramel layer and spread to cover all of the caramel. Return to the fridge until the chocolate is well set. Cut into bars or squares. It's best to store these bars in the refrigerator but take out a few minutes before serving.


Yummiest OPTION:
Cut into bars once the caramel has chilled and dip each bar individually into the melted chocolate. Lay on wax paper in fridge until set.


Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Giving Thanks {Education}

The Fall season would not be complete without a "thankful" post! Today, I'm thanking God for my education.

When we moved to Canada, my siblings and I attended a public school. I don't remember too much of my time in the system--I remember my older brother struggled in his class and my younger brother didn't learn to read until the middle of second grade {the teacher did not do a thing about this--as ESL kids, we were naturally going to struggle with learning a new language, but communication between the teacher and my parents about his reading problem was nil until the middle of the school year. And, even then, my brother only learned to read because my parents and us older siblings made it a priority.} but me? I remember being with a group of kids smacking a ball that was tethered to a pole; I remember having a cake for my birthday {in each grade--and I specifically remember making one in class in 3rd grade}; I remember having to sit out at a class party {halloween? Christmas?} because I had tons of math pages to finish {it must have been Christmas because the teacher saw them when we were all dumping out desks to "clean" it out and take things home. I hated math as a kid because I didn't understand it and my remedy was to shove it in my desk...until the end of the school year! That was the only time I remember being reprimanded/asked about math.}; I remember we had to learn a square dance and lots of the kids wore cowboy/girl boots/outfits...I remember thinking it was all a little strange!; I loved--and remember her fondly--my third grade teacher; I popped my bottom tooth out in her class while trying to separate Lego pieces...on my birthday :); in third grade we were in a portable classroom; I remember thinking my 4th grade teacher was just GORGEOUS and was so disappointed when she went on maternity leave after Christmas break; and then we got Mrs. Acresh...a French teacher...she was the one who made me do all my math homework in a little secluded room down the hall...no, of course I'm not bitter--why do you ask?

Anyway, the summer before I went into 5th grade, my parents decided to send us to our church's academy. We got tested and each one of us had to go back a grade or two {I'm not sure about the boys}. Back then we did Landmark and although super different from what I had done up to that point in my education, it was not too difficult. Basically it is like ACE in which you do the work yourself with just a monitor in the classroom but instead of paces, you have a book for each subject that is divided into 36-week lessons. I remember still struggling with math, but doing well in everything else because the fundamental tool used was reading skills and I was a really good reader.

Eventually our school changed over to A Beka and BJU curriculum and by this time I was back in my grade and although I still had some trouble in my math, I feel like I received a very good education. My English, literature, and history classes were above par because of the teacher I had--seriously, Mrs. Fountain is the BEST. I've always loved reading, but with her, literature came alive and I was introduced to so many good classic novels and writers. And, English. I had so much fun in that class and because of her, my love for it was born.

I have been blessed. I have been privileged enough to attend  Bethel Baptist Academy and then get a bachelors from Fairhaven Baptist College. I know this post is getting quite long, but ever since I began watching some girls after school, I've been exposed to the in's and out's of school in the public system...and it has made me ever so grateful for the education I've received. And, especially after having taught K4 &K5 for 2 years I have so much pity for these poor girls and anger at the system and those who just want to push their agenda along not even caring about the kids they are hurting. The youngest of the three just turned 6 today and she doesn't know how to read; the 10 year old twins have a 3rd grade understanding of math--they're in 5th grade. The methods employed by their teachers...is incomprehensible. And of course, 'NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND' is their motto...no matter how much a child struggles. And I could go on {which I will in a future post :} because there's no end to the discrepancies in the public system.

So thankful we have Christian schools and teachers...so thankful for the education I received!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Song of the Week {Silver Bells--Instrumental}

The song of the week today is a Christmas song! I've already been singing as well as listening to Christmas songs since the second week of October--after Monday of course ;). It has been so great not getting ribbed about it being too early for Christmas songs by my American friends. :)

You know I still love you ;)

Anyway, lights are popping up all over making houses glow with soft Christmas colors and anticipation for the season has begun!

The only thing lacking is snow! This past weekend was super windy, but it seemed to be coming from the south! It was pretty warm for being the second week of November! This week I want to get the last of my "fall" things done and then it will be time to get ready for Christmas!

Now for the song...

video

Friday, November 11, 2011

11*11*11 {Remembrance Day}

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army



uh...

*Clears throat* So. The last couple months have been pretty shaky for this here ol' blog. One part was due to Internet access, another to busy-ness {that more recently}, and a big chunk to not having very much to say [no motivation]. I hope you few faithful readers forgive me for deserting ship! Thanks for being patient.

So. I'm back. I now have a more reliable Internet connection, I've settled into a routine, and I'm not sure how interesting my posts will be, but I've missed writing and posting pictures {my camera is still dead so I stole borrowed my parent's camera (they hardly ever use it--yay for me :); and I'm still saving to get a Canon (not easy to narrow down to 3 choices!)} and being on a schedule. And, well, here I am :)

I'm sure Pinterest is not new to anyone, and I really like the site. Before, my favorites bar was filled to capacity with things I thought were interesting and wanted to make/remember. Now I use Pinterest! It is really neat, and opens up lots of possibilities.

From this site, I ran across a recipe for Reece's Cheesecake Brownies. Since this weekend I needed to make desserts for church functions, I decided to try it. I must say I'm sorta disappointed in the final result, but I'll chalk it up to be my fault: I'll have to try it again using Canadian measurements in (...). I used this calculator for this post.

Ingredients:


One 19.5-oz. (552g) box chocolate fudge brownie mix
One 8-oz. (226g) package cream cheese, softened
One 14-oz. (396g) can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup creamy peanut butter
12 oz. (340g) Reese’s Pieces candy
One 12-oz. (340g) bag milk chocolate chips
3 tablespoons whipping cream
12 large Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

2. Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions. Spread the batter in pan and set aside. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with hand-held mixer until fluffy. Add condensed milk and peanut butter and beat until smooth. Stir in the Reese’s Pieces candies. Spoon the mixture over the batter. Spread evenly.

3. Bake for 40 minutes or until cheesecake layer is set and edges are golden brown. Cool for 30 minutes and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. In a small microwaveable bowl, microwave the chocolate chips and whipping cream for 1 minute, or until chips are melted. Stir until smooth. Spread over cheesecake layer. Sprinkle Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup pieces over top. Store covered in the refrigerator.


A single bite satisfies any sugar craving you might have :p


It was SO, SUPER sweet--bleh. I do want to make it again, but with my variations :) But for sure it is not very high on my list of yummy treats.

Have a great night!