Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Almost forgot the Cajun Peanut Brittle Recipe!

Cajun (or not) Peanut Brittle

Adding the cayenne is totally up to you and your tastes, but it really gives a nice finish to the sweetness of the brittle and the saltiness of the peanuts. It also really sets it apart from the typical store-bought kind.

2 cups peanuts
1/2 cup light Karo Corn Syrup
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp vanilla

This is a quick dish so have a buttered cookie sheet ready to go to pour mixture on.
Heat the corn syrup, water, sugar and nuts over medium heat until the mixture is melted and "stringy" when the spoon is lifted out of the mixture. Remove the mixture from the heat and immediately stir in the baking soda, pepper and vanilla. Stir briskly until the mixture is clear and then immediately spread thinly onto the buttered cookie sheet and set aside to cool completely. When completely cool, break into pieces and put into airtight containers for gift giving or to save for parties. Tip: don't over stir before pouring or there will be too many air bubbles in the finished brittle.

Cajun Gifts for the Neighbors....Spiced Pecans and Peanut Brittle

This is the time of year when I usually start some holiday baking and making sweets to box up for the neighbors, mail carriers, etc. The only problem is that it happens to be 80 degrees this week and the last thing I feel like doing is baking! However, I will work on some nutty sweets because they're easy and I don't have to turn on the oven. They also bag or box up well for gift-giving and stay fresh for mailing.

Cajun Spiced Pecans Recipe

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
optional: 1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups pecans (can also use walnuts, peanuts, etc)

Place all ingredients into heavy skillet stirring constantly over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Reduce heat and continue cooking, still stirring constantly until mixture is in a fluid state. Remove from heat and immediately pour the nut mixture onto a large ungreased baking sheet. Separate carefully before they harden. Cool thoroughly and place in a decorative tin, jar or bag for gift giving (if you haven't eaten them all!)

Leaving out the cayenne gives you that traditional cinnamon-sweet ones, but with the cayenne you get that extra cajun "bite" with the sweet/spicy combination.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bathroom Renovation Bad Timing...

What did I do 2 days before Thanksgiving when I came home to find my guest bath ripped out? I freaked out, of course. We were having Thanksgiving dinner at our house for about 25 guests and my bathroom was ripped apart!

My dearest husband thought this would be a great surprise and a great time to do a renovation. We had talked about doing it over the holidays and I did have all of the materials (well, most), but I assumed we were on the same page of doing it after the big day. Wrong!

1 day before party

Well, it all worked out after a few dozen trips to Lowe's and Home Depot (even begging them to let us in at closing the night before t-day to just get "one little thing") to get things that he just happened to need even after I thought he had everything. There are a few detail things that still have to be done, but it was up and running for the big day and it looked great! Now, after the fact, after my blood pressure has returned to normal, after a major "freak out" session, I am soooo happy with the outcome.
I am also so thankful that my dear hubby worked such long hours (past midnight) even after working all day. And, I'm so thankful that my neighbors didn't call the cops when he was using the tile saw at 8 am on Thanksgiving morning! All in all, I have much to be thankful for...
Here's the results:

the day of the party: