Today was the birthday for both my brothers: Trav and Luke. They are two years apart, but their birthdays fall on the same day. Here is an undoctored picture of what 26 and 24 years of living on the edge can do to a person:
Monthly Archives: August 2008
We had a fun day celebrating Travis’ & Luke’s birthdays today. Travis turned 26 & Luke turned 24. Aunt Maggie and Cousin Beth were up from Chicago, and with John and Sarah, Luke & Nikki, Travis & Jennie, and Justin and I, we were quite a ruckus group! We all met and John & Sarah’s around 1 pm and had a nice afternoon of visiting, running to the fireworks store, and watching old home videos of the boys from 1987. Then we had a wonderful meal of grilled chicken and brats, corn on the cob, fresh green beans, baked potatoes, homemade crescent rolls, chips and dip, etc. And if we weren’t stuffed enough, we followed it all up with Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. I saw this cake on the smitten kitchen blog a couple of weeks ago and immediately decided I needed to buy the book that the recipe was in. When Travis saw the cake, he asked right away if I would make it for his birthday. Sounded great to me! And yesterday, after the cake was made, he also requested Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Crunch Bars to line the plate. Yes, it is completely over the top, but it was definitely a fun birthday treat. After we were packed to the gills with food and dessert, the guys opened their birthday gifts, and then we headed out to John & Sarah’s land in the country and the guys arranged quite the fireworks display. It was a fun way to end the evening, even though there were several times of running for cover while laughing hysterically!
Justin and I spent lots of time in the car today, but as it took us over to Hudson, WI/Minneapolis, MN, it was time well spent. We got to Hudson right about noon, stopped for a quick bite to eat, and then I dropped Justin off at Troy Burn Golf Club. His dad had to work in the area in the morning, so they decided to meet up there for their afternoon round. They both agree that it is a very nice, but very challenging course.
To make up for yesterday’s lack of anything worth writing about, I’ll give you two recipes for the price of one today.
I think Storm has the memory of a goldfish. ”What is this fantastic little house for me to sit in? So comfy!” She doesn’t remember for a second that the only time these carriers ever come out is to take them to the vet so they can get shots. As you can see from the picture, Norm remembers. He remembers VERY WELL. As soon as Justin brought these out of the basement closet, Norm ran down to Travis’ room and hid under his bed. And as soon as Justin let him out of the carrier upon arriving home, Norm ran down to Travis’ room and hid under his bed. He is there as I write this, several hours later.
Mmmm….dulce de leche. Or in english, sweetened condensed milk (goat’s or cow’s) heated to produce a wonderfully thick, rich caramel. I’ve made it in the past by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk, completely submerged in water, for 3 hours. This is an incredibly easy method with incredibly tasty results. However, recent warnings against this method (namely, that the cans can explode) and the fact that our house was like a sauna for several hours because of the steam, have led me to find alternative methods. The first of which is the easy way – just go out and by it! Well, as this product is not quite in the mainstream of grocery items available in Stevens Point, we drove down to Plover’s Mexican grocery store, La Guadalapana. And Hooray! They actually carried two different types – one made with cow’s milk and one from goat’s (I had read about both on the internet). So I happily scooped up both in order to make Alfajores this weekend, which is a Peruvian sandwich cookie, made with almond cookie dough and dulce de leche (or a similar product, manjar blanco, which I’ll never find in Wisconsin unless I make it!) sandwiched in between.
What an absolutely beautiful day outside! It finally rained last night after a week of ridiculously high humidity percentages, and the sky was clear and sunny. Gorgeous. After Justin and I got back from the gym, Travis and I went downtown to the Farmers’ Market. What a spread! I always forget to take my camera there, and that is exactly where I wanted to take all sorts of fantastic pictures to post. Ripe tomatoes, green beans, sweet corn, peppers, potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, flower bouquets, and on and on. I had to hold myself back, and we still came home with a bag full of goodies, including beans, carrots, corn, and yellow and purple fingerling potatoes. I love summer.
So I have this new recipe for Key Lime White Chocolate Chip Cookies, and I am rather torn about it. They were incredibly easy to make, and the flavor is really good – especially if you like lime. But the texture is off a bit. I think they needed another full cup of flour to give a bit more substance to them. And maybe some macadamia nuts… maybe add more lime zest and back off on the lime juice… and something else… just not sure at the moment! But honestly, I am not sure if I want to take the time to make something that is just “really good” and not “fantastic.” Though maybe they could become fantastic! And as I write this, Justin thinks I should make them again. And maybe my slight disappointment comes from the fact that I really just want another pan of those Peanut Butter Fudge Crunch bars…
My day had been going by, quite uneventfully. A morning jog around the Schmeekle Reserve, a trip to the grocery store (needed a new jar of peanut butter, as you can see), a quick easy lunch (warm french roll with Havarti Cheese – mmmmm) and then making a new recipe. And now my day is fantastic and wonderful and I have a recipe that will be with me until, well, until I have a heart attack from eating too many of these bars!!!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Crunch
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 sticks + 1 tablespoon salted butter
1-16 ounce jar creamy peanut butter
3 cups crispy rice cereal
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Directions: 1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with heavy duty foil. In a medium saucepan, melt half of the chocolate and 1 tablespoon of butter over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in 1 cup peanut butter, then 2 cups rice cereal. Spread mixture evenly in the prepared pan; refrigerate until set, about 15 mins. Wash out the saucepan. 2. In saucepan, combine remaining 2 sticks of butter and salt; melt over medium heat, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in remaining peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar. Spread half of the peanut butter mixture over the cereal layer. Top with remaining 1 cup cereal, pressing cereal into peanut butter layer. 3. In a small bowl, microwave remaining chocolate at medium power until melted, 1 ½ minutes. Stir into the remaining peanut butter mixture. Spread evenly on the cereal-topped peanut butter layer; refrigerate until set, about 45 minutes. 4. Cut into 16 pieces and enjoy!