December 25, 2008

merry christmas!

merry christmas everyone!
we're spending the day at home enjoying hot chocolate, eggnog lattes, fresh scones and opening presents from santa... as well as the most awesome turkey dinner (i hope)!

December 21, 2008

gingerbread village

we spent a good 3 hours last night building our gingerbread houses to give away. it was a lot of fun with all 4 of us making the 6 houses (including one for us). we got pretty inventive with the candies making trees, logs, and even a sled!

check out last year's houses... and here's the link to the recipe.

snow day

this is our third snowfall and it's been going steady since last night. it's not supposed to snow and stick here, but the kids sure do have fun in it!



December 19, 2008

it's cold in here!

it's a crazy time of year and we just got whallopped with some snow. if you don't already know, the lower-mainland of BC (or pacific north-west if you're south of the 49th) is a rainforest and if it snows, it usually doesn't stay for very long. i think it's been 4 days now that we haven't seen the green grass and "they" are calling for more on sunday. i've also been very busy with work and our kids' school and trying to find time to get all the shopping done without having to go to when everyone and their aunt harriett is there, too. o yeah, and both kids have been sick or grounded at some point this week. not fun.
last night derek helped me make these lovely peppermint icicles (found in december's issue of MS living). they were very easy to make, look good and they definetly stick to your teeth! we didn't have the proper gloves, which i'm sure would have made all the differnce since it was so freakin' hot to handle! whew!

Ingredients

Makes about 16 icicles

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 1 drop blue gel-paste food coloring
  • 1 drop violet gel-paste food coloring

Directions

  1. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Bring su gar, corn syrup, and water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until sugar dissolves. Cook, undisturbed, until mixture registers 305 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and stir in lemon juice and peppermint extract. Working quickly, pour hot sugar mixture onto prepared sheet. (Be careful not to touch hot mixture.) Let cool until bubbles subside, about 30 seconds.
  2. Coat a metal spatula with cooking spray, then fold 2 edges of mixture inward, toward center (pictured, above left). Continuously fold candy in half on itself with spatula until it is cool enough to handle, about 1 minute (it will still be very hot).
  3. Wearing rubber gloves and working quickly, pull candy to a length of 1 foot, then fold in half on itself. Repeat, twisting and pulling until candy starts to turn white. Remove a golf-ball-sized piece, and add food colorings to the smaller piece. Continue to stretch and fold both pieces separately. When candy is almost cool, and the uncolored piece is white, pull each piece into a 12-inch-long rope.
  4. Place ropes side by side, and fold in half together to layer colors. Twist pieces together. Starting at 1 end, pull and twist until rope is 1/2 inch thick. Working quickly, twist and pull end to taper slightly, and cut off a 6-inch length with scissors. Continue twisting, pulling, and cutting icicles until candy becomes too hard and can no longer be pulled. (There will be some left over. Reserve for another use, such as crushing over ice cream or cookies; see Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies, recipe page 240.) Transfer icicles to a baking sheet to harden. Store, covered, for up to 4 days.

Helpful Hint

The peppermint candy is very hot initially, so be sure to work quickly wearing protective rubber gloves. For the best results, at the beginning of the pulling stage in step three (pictured, above), two people should divide the candy between them. Use any color you prefer to tint these minty sticks.