Welcome to my crazy world!

Hello and welcome!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Home Made Confectionary for Teachers Gifts!!!!

Whew!!!!  I got through another end of year, with three kids, 3 home room teachers, and ANOTHER 26 rotary teachers, after care and lunch care staff, and office staff!!!!

After the round of Christmas time gift cards, I cannot possibly afford end of year gifts, but always feel that most of these people truly deserve a kind gesture of thanks for all they do for my kids and myself and husband throughout the year.

This year I decided to try out a few candy recipes I'd collected/seen over the last few months.  As my #1 son is anaphylactic to tree nuts and peanuts, we LOVE homemade candy!  We can never buy those yummy treats we see in gourmet candy shop windows (but thank heaven for companies like Gimbals, Divvies, Dare, Chapmans Ice Cream -  without these companies, my son couldn't be like any other kid!).

Anyway, a few of the schools teachers also have these allergies, including my #2 sons teacher.  So, these home made candies, made in a real peanut/nut free (except me) facility (my home) would be appreciated by many!



1. Chocolate fudge with marshmallows and pretzel pieces.  We used the Phat Cow Fudge recipe from the Blog The Girl Who Ate Everything  but we substituted Pretzel pieces for the walnuts in her recipe. Its a great easy recipe but is a bit soft.  Its gets a bit harder in a couple of days, so I shouldn't have made it 'fresh'.  Next time I gift this fudge, I will make it a couple of days ahead.


You don't really see the pretzel and the marshmallows are a bit chocolatey here…I must explain, this was the VERY LAST MANDHANDLED PIECE!!!  It did look great, and the pretzel is a nice salty addition to the sweet fudge.

White chocolate fudge with cranberry and lemon Zest:  This recipe was from the Readers Digest Website - this recipe isn't bad but you REALLY have to like white chocolate as its quite sweet, and I substituted lemon zest for the orange zest in the original recipe.  Kids gave it two thumbs up!

The third recipe was for Pretzel Beer Brittle from Guy Fieri at The Food Network.

We omitted the peanuts and doubled up on the pretzel pieces.  Now, I have to admit, I made this three times.  The first time I didn't use a candy thermometer.  I couldn't find it, and I tried to 'guestimate' 305*.  Well, it didn't look great, but it tasted very good.  It had a dull sheen (as in none), and was more like pretzel beer fudge, but no one lost a tooth!

The second time, I used a thermometer, and waited the half hour it takes to get to 305*!!  I added 3/4 of a teaspoon of baking soda at the end, which most brittle recipes have.  It made it pale and opaque.  It probably was sweeter (in my imagination???) but again, no lost teeth.

The third time I did it EXACTLY like the recipe said.  Reached 305* and let it cook for a few minutes at this temperature.  Even after sitting on a counter overnight, it was chewy (yank out your teeth chewy).  I had to freeze it so I could cut snap into pieces.  I hope I don't get bills for dental repair!!!!

This is a finicky recipe, but tasty!  I would recommend the 'fudge' not the brittle.  Easy to eat and yummy!  Perfect when you have men folk around!!!

The last recipe was the Coconut Ice recipe from the March/April/May issue of 'Where Women Cook' magazine.

Don't you love these magazines?!?!
I wanted to try this recipe for months, but I didn't really want a ten pound tub of coconut ice!  This was the perfect opportunity to try it out!  If making for myself, I would probably halve the recipe.

Also I must add that I finally found a brand of shredded coconut which is peanut free!!  I know what you're thinking…Coconut isn't a nut, and doesn't have peanuts in it!!!  Unfortunately, the companies that bag/package coconut usually import and bag other items like nuts, and when you actually read the ingredients, they state that 'they may contain' or 'manufactured/packaged on equipment which also packages nuts'.  If you don't believe me, next time you shop, check it out. Anyway, finally found that Sobeys private label doesn't have this warning.  I called them and they confirmed it was safe!  Great!  On with the recipe!

COCONUT ICE (from Where Women Cook) by Koralee Teichroeb:

8 cups icing sugar
2 1/2 cups condensed milk
6 cups shredded dried coconut (WARNING-dont use sweetened!!)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pink food colouring

  • combine sugar, condensed milk, coconut, and vanilla in a big bowl.  Use your hands and mix/knead together until all ingredients blended well.
  • Knead lightly on a icing sugar dusted board.  Too much handling makes it stickier.
  • Divide into two, and cover one half.
  • Add a couple of drops of gel or liquid (I used gel) food colour and knead until its evenly blended.  THIS IS HARD ON YOUR HANDS!!
  • Press uncoloured half into bottom of a 9" x 11" baking dish covered with parchment paper and  greased.
  • Now add the pink in handfuls on top of the bottom layer.  Place pats of the pink next to each other like a patchwork quilt, until the top is covered.
  • Push down until top is covered and seems are invisible.  
  • If you are going to use sprinkles, add quickly and push down onto pink so it sticks.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Cut into SMALL pieces as they are VERY SWEET but good!

  • Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Next was the fun part!!  Package them up in the mason jars, label, and pack up for school!!!

These were the three big jars for the home room teachers (1 litre jars).  I used 500 ml jars for the other 23 jars!  The smaller jars looked nicer!

Here they are ready to go!

Who wouldn't want a jar with a tasting of these sweets?  All peanut/tree nut free! 

I'm sharing with these lovely lovely blogs:

French Country Cottages' Feathered Nest Friday 

Inspiration Friday at The Feathered Nest

a href="http://romantichome.blogspot.com/">



Monday, June 18, 2012

White Upstairs Hallway

My house is overstuffed with furniture, so every time I buy a new piece I feel even more guilty because I know its being squeezed in somewhere just to accommodate it.  Sometimes it doesn't even fit in, but it has to go somewhere…

Such was the case with this buffet…

It was brown, but not so nice, so I sanded/stained/varnished the top and painted the rest in Anne Sloans pure white chalk paint.  I very lightly sanded it, but haven't yet waxed.  I'm not convinced I'm waxing yet…just living with it for a while…looks like it still needs something…Any suggestions?

Here it is with the chippy white columns I bought at the last Christie antique show.  

I need something on top of the pillars.  Maybe I'll cut some of my hydrangeas and make an arrangement.  Only, I hate to cut my hydrangeas!  I love the big floral bushes so much.

Each head is its own bouquet!  So lovely!  I have to wait till they start to age before I can cut them!  They are just too amazing!  

Have a great day!!

Sharing with these great blogs:

SixSistersStuff.com Come "Strut Your Stuff" with us EVERY w

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hallway Revamp OR How to use up all those old mirrors kicking around in your basement!

Here are some 'before' photos of my long, narrow hallway…

I know you are all thinking that surely this is just a transitional photo, but to my horror, this is EXACTLY (minus ladder and propped mirrors on floor) how this hallway has looked for the last 5 years!!!  

I know it isn't an excuse, but its just so narrow, that there isn't any room for a bench or even a ledge of some kind.  Even sconces would protrude too much.

I'm sure all you stylish ladies and gents would have found some sort of creative way of giving my hall a makeover.  After all, it has such good bones!  Lots to work with!  There is beautiful 18" baseboards, a character filled staircase, and lovely light fixtures, but so blah…

(don't look at the smoke detector wire hanging…just look at the pretty pretty lights)

It was a nice blue coloured hall with a lovely Venetian mirror which was a gift from my late Grand Mother.  IT WASNT EVEN CENTRED ON THE WALL!!!  I wanted it in a stud, so it was off balance.  Who would believe I own at least a HUNDRED HOME DECOR BOOKS!!!!  

I'm ashamed of myself, but I've been sooooo busy!  I mean I shower regularly, I brush my teeth at least 3 times a day, I even cook on occasion!  There is only so many hours in a day!

Anyways (I think I say 'anyways' at least once a post!)I just couldn't take it anymore. My basement had also become the island for misfit mirrors, which I would stumble across at thrift shops or antique shows.  So I NAGGED (I'm not ashamed of that!) my husband for about two months, until he relented!  Up came the mirrors, up came the power drill (I can't touch it, its made of Kryptonite), up came the raw plugs (do they even use this term in North America?), and Voila!!!  One by one, the mirrors were hung!  I was on the look out for some smaller mirrors at the recent antique shows, but could only find one decent mirror at the whole show!   

This is the original Venetian mirror…

My Concave mirror from Craigslist.

This ISNT one of my favourites, and if it was hung anywhere else, it would have probably been painted, but as was trying to stay with a mainly gold theme, so I left it!  The Union Flags were hung to celebrate the Jubilee, but as my husband is Irish, he wasn't thrilled, just tolerant!

This mirror isn't 'old' but was cheap at the Salvation Army (check), and small (check), and gold (check), so up it went!!


This is the mirror I bought at the last antique show.  It is quite pretty and the owner was closing her antique business in favour of a wholesale costume jewelry business, so I got it for almost half price. 

Big Huge round mirror, but it has some of the plaster missing at the bottom.  Chippy, broken, is good isn't it?

Maybe too rustic?  It adds to the eclectacism of the wall, and I ran out of mirrors!!  In fact, I'm still looking for about 2 or 3 more to really fill in the wall.  Its a bit bare it a couple of spots.

See?  You can see the big empty spot over the first mirror on the left.  BIG GAPING HOLE needs me to go antiquing!!!  I'm sorry I don't have a better photo of the 'after', but its so hard to get a good shot without acrobatics!  Anyway (see, I did it again!), I love it and in my humble humble opinion, its much better than before!  Have a great day!

I'm sharing this post with these great blogs!!!

Savvy Southern Style Wow us Wednesdays

shabby creek cottage

Strut your Stuff Saturdays at Six Sisters

Funky Junk Interiors' Saturday Night Special Party!!!