Saturday, December 22, 2007

Baking and Bucks

Thursday was my last day of work for the year. It was no small task to get things into a semi-finalized state so that I could leave the office for over a week. End of the year activities left me incredibly busy.

Despite the work craziness of last week, I did manage to do a little Christmas baking. I wish I had completed more...

The boxes (a la Martha Stewart Crafts) for the neighbors.

Goodie Boxes - Christmas 2007
Clockwise from top left: Peanut Butter Cup Tarts, Chocolate Mice, Chocolate Caramel Tarts, and Cheater Turtles.

I have to say that these are all really easy. The recipes:
Peanut Butter Cup Tarts (psst... I cheated and used pre-made refrigerated dough - don't tell.)
Chocolate Mice (a second pair of hands makes these a cinch)
Chocolate Caramel Tarts (I make this dough, and then place balls of the dough in a mini-muffin tin; once removed from the oven, I immediately place an upside down Rolo into each)
Cheater Turtles Literally take 5 minutes.

Not shown is the English Toffee (the second batch worked)and the Pralines. My mom used to make toffee every Christmas with varying degrees of success. I know there were years that we went through pounds of butter before getting a perfectly prepared batch. The recipe card in my mom's recipe box says this, "1 cup sugar, 1 cup butter, 1 T water; Heat to a hard crack." That's it. Well a little internet searching led me to this website that seems to have it right - a little salt and a very low starting temperature to melt the butter definitely helps.

Last night, Rykert and I saw "The Golden Compass." I won't do a detailed review, because this is really not my kind of movie - I don't love the fantastical and I have a really hard time with talking animals. However, I do not understand the criticism that this movie is receiving from certain sects. Or maybe I do understand the fascism that is hiding behind the bans and criticism - but the critics have likely never seen the movie nor read the books. I'll stop before I really get on a soapbox or into any of the underlying themes of the movie. If you are interested, I'd encourage you to see it yourself (or read the book) and develop your own opinion.

This morning, look what was greeting me in my backyard:
Out my back door 12-22-07

4 comment(s). Tell me what you think!:

janna said...

Thanks so much for the links to the recipes -- I need some new Christmas cookies!

And what part of Iowa City do you live in? Because I miss seeing deer -- I used to see them all the time in San Antonio, but haven't seen a single one since I moved here!

Debbie said...

I haven't seen the Golden Compass, but I have read the books -- they are indeed a bit blatant about the anti-catholicism. I've heard the movie doesn't address it in any way. I suspect you're right, the "critics" have simply been told what it's about and haven't seen the movie or read the books because they can't think for themselves.

The candies and cookies look yummy.

Wool Winder said...

The cookies look yummy! The deer is a beauty! He's smart to stay in town where the hunters can't get to him.

Knittripps said...

Your holiday baking looks lovely! That is a very good looking deer. I remember there being a lot of deer in the Iowa City area when I lived there. Happy Holidays!

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