Monday, September 19, 2011

Caramel Wonder Bars

Let me start by telling you that if you are looking for a waist friendly dessert, this is not your recipe.  However, if you are looking for something that makes you throw your arms up in rapturous abandon, then this is most definitely a dessert that will not disappoint.   
I got this recipe from my friend Carmel.  Not spelled the same so no pun intended...  
Carmel is a cookie diva!  Her hands are incapable of making a bad cookie.  Her cookies are always moist and delicious, unlike  mine that often turn out flat and greasy!  When she made these for me the first time I crowned her Queen Carmel of Enchanted Cookie Land.  I am sure there is such a place...

Ok, I'll get out of my own head and tell you how to make them.

For the Crust/Bar you will need Quick Oats, Flour, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, Salt & Butter

In a large bowl add 1 1/2 c. Oats, 1 1/2 c. Flour, 1 1/4 c. Brown Sugar, 3/4 tsp. Baking Soda, & 1/4 tsp. Salt.
Mix all dry ingredients together.

Next, melt 3/4 c. Butter and pour into dry ingredients.
Mix together until well incorporated and you have a crumbly mixture.

Set aside 1 cup of this delicious mixture.

Pour the remaining mixture into a 9x13 Glass Pan (spray/grease the pan prior)

Press down so the mixture is evenly distributed in the pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, melt a 1 pkg (14 oz) bag of caramels and 1/2 whipping cream together in the microwave.  

Do this in one minute intervals, stirring in between intervals.
*Note: if you buy caramels in bulk like me you will need approximately 40-50 caramels to equal 14 oz pkg.

Now you need 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 1/2 - 2 cups if you like bulk).

When your crust is finished cooking, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top evenly.

Then pour the melted Caramel mixture over the top of the chocolate chips.

Finally, sprinkle the reserved Oat mixture over the top.
Bake an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Cut into bite size squares and be thankful these are not a sin to eat!

Caramel Wonder Bars
1 1/2 c. Quick Oats
1 1/2 c. Flour
1 1/4 c. Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
3/4 c. Butter, melted
1 pkg (14 oz) or 50 individual Caramels
1/2 c. Whipping Cream
1 pkg Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

In a bowl stir 1st five ingredients.  Stir in melted butter.  Set aside 1 cup of mixture for topping.  Press remaining Oat mixture into a 13.9.2 pan.  Bake at 250 degrees for 10 minutes or until light brown.  Combine caramels and cream in sauce pan or microwave bowl.  Cook over low heat until melted, stirring often.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over hot crust.  Top with Caramel mixture.  Sprinkle reserved oat mixture on top.  Bake an additional 15-20 minutes until top is golden brown.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Back to School - Boys vs. Girls

My first child was a girl.  When we found out our second child would be a boy my mother told me I would notice a difference in the way a baby boy cried vs. a baby girl.  She even told me that my sister had called her and told her she was right about this.  I never noticed it.

Fast forward to now and I am noticing a big difference between my girl and my boys...this is not a personality difference, it is definitely gender difference.

Last week my sweet live-ins started school.  At the end of each of their days I ask them how their days went, what was their favorite thing, do they like their teacher, what they played on the playground, did they eat all their lunch, etc...

My sweet girl is happy to tell me all about her day, in colorful, vivid detail.  A moment by moment recollection.  When I ask her questions she answers happily and thoroughly.  This process takes quite a while.  Just when I think I have heard it all, we have dinner and I hear it all again and then some.

In contrast, trying to get any information out of my boys about their day is like trying to pull teeth with no hands.  This is how this conversation usually sounds:

How was your day? Fine
Do you like your teacher? Yes
What was your favorite part of the day? Recess
You can't pick recess.  Then nothing.
What did you learn? Nothing
Did you do math?

It is a this point that Live-In #2 pretty much stops answering and Live-In #3 makes a loud sound of frustration.  This is when I realize I like all the colorful vivid detail.  I am used to 13 years of colorful vivid detail. But, my precious boys are not going to give it to me.

I can sum it all up...My girl is her mother's daughter and my boys are their father's sons.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Enchilada Sauce

Not long ago, on a day when I needed to throw together a fast dinner, I decided to make chicken enchiladas with some leftover chicken.  As I often do, I waited until the last minute before beginning my dinner preparations, only to find out that I had NO Enchilada Sauce!

To make matter worse, I had NO gumption, get up and go, mojo (or whatever you want to call it) to get myself in the car and drive to the store.  There wasn't even an effort on the part of the 'little voices in my head' to try and convince myself to go to the store.  So, I was forced to improvise.

This is not the first time I have had this happen, but luckily for me the last time it happened I was on the phone with my mother who walked me through making a homemade sauce.  It was good, but I didn't write down what I when it happened to me this time I had to reinvent the wheel.

I checked my pantry and found that I at least had the ingredients to make a sauce - the only thing I had to do was get-r-done!  This is what I came up with...

Pantry Ingredients you will need: 
Tomato Sauce, Green Chilies, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Chili Powder & Cumin
(I love Cumin...but I don't want to marry it)

Place all ingredients in the blender.  Liquefy!  (Oh, I like that word!) 
Let me say it again, LIQUEFY!
Finish it off with a little salt & pepper.

When it is finished liquefying, it will be Enchilada Sauce.
If you are weird like Live-In #3 & Live-In #1 you will think it should be salsa...taco sauce maybe, but salsa no.  If you want Salsa click here.

I must say, this sauce is very easy to make and I like it way better than the canned sauce at the store and the seasoning packets which require me to sit over the stove and stir.  I think I will be out of enchilada sauce in my pantry more often!

Homemade Enchilada Sauce
1 29oz can tomato sauce
1 4 oz can green chilies
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients in blender

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back to School Letter

Dear Sweet Babies:

I cannot believe another summer has come and gone.  I am am not quite ready for you all to go back to school, but I am so excited for the adventures you will encounter as an 8th grader, 4th grader & 3rd grader!   You are growing up so fast and I am so proud of each of you.

Live In #1: you are growing up to be such a lovely young lady.  I am so proud to be your mother.  I am in awe of your strength of character and your confidence in yourself.  You are inspiring.  I am looking forward to the new experiences you will have at your new middle school and the stories you will tell at the dinner table each night!

Live In #2: you are an amazing boy.  I am honored to be your mother.  You have a absolute sense of yourself.  I have no doubt you are destined to be and do great.  I am eager to hear about all the new wonders you will learn about.  I love learning about our world and the things in it through you!

Live In #3: you are a wonderful boy. It is an absolute delight to be your mother.  You amaze me with your unwavering character and sweet spirit.  The mommy in me wants to keep you as my little baby, but I know you are growing up to be a spectacular young man.  It is a joy to watch you grow and experience new things.

I love you all so very much.  Best wishes for a grand school year!

With All My Love,

Friday, September 2, 2011

Goodbye July, August & Summer

My Life - July & August 2011

Summer at our house involved as much boating as possible and the months go by so fast...too fast!  So here is my list of 'happenings' for what began as a dud summer (weather wise) and ended up being no to shabby.

  1. Live-In #2 figured out surfing and got up for the first time.  He yelled 'YEAH' so loud I think my right ear drum broke!.
  2. Live-In #3 started tubing, not just tubing - but crazy tubing...the kind of tubing where you end up making several summersaults on top of the water before you finally fall in.  He yelled 'THAT WAS AWESOME' so loud I think my left ear drum broke!
  3. Live-In #1 proved to herself that last years surfing expedition was not a fluke...that girl can surf!  
  4. I/We camped at our favorite campsite for not 7 but 8 nights and 9 days.  Yes, tent camping.  I survived.  I loved it.  I was ready to come home.  I kissed my bed upon my return.
  5. Lover has finally accepted my obsession with Fried Chicken while boating.
  6. Live-In #2 started football practice.  10 hrs a week...did I mention it's tackle football???  I hope nobody smashes my boy.
  7. Live-In #3 started football practice.  1 hr a week...this is flag football.  He is such a sensible boy.
  8. I took Live-In #1 school clothes shopping. We still love each other.  The end.
  9. Declared one Saturday afternoon to be a 'girls day' on the boat.  No boys allowed!  Confirmation: 1 boat, 1 surf board & 8 girls = some very good times!
  10. I went on a scavenger hunt...I felt like I was 13 years old all over again, except afterwards I got to drink something more fun than chocolate milk!
Such is a couple summer months in the course of my lifetime.  I wouldn't trade a day.  Happy to be the Lover of my Lover and the Mother of my Live-Ins.