Saturday, December 03, 2011

Peanut Brittle

Of all the Christmas treats, I enjoy peanut brittle the most.  Good peanut brittle, that is.

My friend Sue makes excellent brittle.  It is because of her that I’ve haven’t made it much over the years.  When I was carrying mail, I had a customer who gave me a bag as well. 

With all the family here during Thanksgiving, I decided to try making a batch, remembering the way our neighbor who lived a mile west of where I grew up.  Their names were Roy and Pearl.  Each holiday they made peanut brittle and it was absolutely the very best—thin and tender.  One year they invited us over to help make some.  I was young, but I remember they cooked it slowly in a cast iron pot and poured it out on a granite slab that they took outside to get cold, then pulled it out into thin pieces. 

I have a bunch of Mom’s old recipes and I thought sure I would find a peanut brittle recipe with their name on it.  I did not, but this is the one I used.  It turned out very good.

Peanut Brittle

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 pkg (16 oz) raw peanuts
  • 1 teas. salt
  • 2 teas. butter
  • 2 teas. baking soda
  • 1 teas vanilla*

In a 3 quart heavy saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and water.  Cook & stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils.  Reduce heat to low and continue boiling at moderate rate stirring occasionally until candy thermometer reaches 250F; about 30 min.  Stir in peanuts & salt. Cook until mixture reaches 295F about 30 minutes. Remove from heat; quickly stir in butter and baking soda (I use a teas. vanilla as well)  The mixture will foam. Immediately pour mixture onto baking sheets or whatever you have.  As it cools, pull and turn over.  (It works best to have plenty of soft butter to smear on the surface as you mess with it)    Note:  be sure not to let it cook too fast.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Blindsided by a Petty Crime

Here is the deal.  I am gathering items for a silent auction.  The theme, no surprise here, is mail.  I have stamps, blank greeting cards, a small Priority mailing box filled with homemade peanut brittle, KSU and KU emblems all to put on and in a new regulation mailbox.

Although we had a moderate list, it is the mailbox that prompted the 32 plus round trip to town today.   We found an inexpensive metal mailbox,  packaged in a box secured at both ends--$15.99.

To preserve the box for whoever purchases it at the auction,  Dan carefully opened the end later this afternoon.  As we pull it out of the box, it is quickly obvious we bought an old, dented, rusty mailbox.  Someone purchased the mailbox, carefully pried open the end, took out the new one,  replaced it with their old one and glued the ends back down.  The store will stand behind the purchase, but it will mean yet another 32 plus round trip to exchange it, a loss of time and gas for us, not to mention the store’s loss.

Our sister-in-law works in the returns area for a popular retailer in Olathe.  When we get together, we always ask about the latest scams used to steal merchandise.  These people are clever.  In the end, it is still a crime—one that is probably seldom prosecuted.

Of course I know none of my family and friends who read this would do such a crazy thing.  I am really at a loss to know what actually can be done about these shoplifting type of crimes.  All I know, it costs the retailers plenty, which then costs all of us. 

In case it isn’t obvious, right now, I’m plenty mad about it, too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Important information

This is the time of year when insurance/Medicare decisions have to be made. I try to review what is covered.  However,  we don’t always know about the medical secrets.  It might pay to read the fine print.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Sing Off Finale

Dan and I were vegetables in front of the television tonight.  Partly because of a let down from a fun week of family.  And, partly because it was the finals of the Sing Off competition. 

Hands down, we have enjoyed this show more than any we’ve watched in a while.  The talent among these groups is phenomenal.  It is difficult to tell that it is all without accompaniment.  I’ve felt for several weeks that Pentatonix from Arlington Texas would win it.  I was right.  This isn’t one of my favorite songs they performed, but it is an example of their talent.

The runner-up was the Dartmouth Aires.  They have said in interviews during the show that they are just a class at their college.  They always were fun to watch.  I think this Queen compilation is one of their best performances.

Urban Method from Denver was the third place group.   Their music was called “rappella.”  As far as I know, a new name describing their music.  Rap and cappella is an unlikely mix, but they were very good. 

Next Monday night some of the groups will be performing for a Christmas Special.   We’ll be watching.