Thursday, December 29, 2011


When I worked as a bakery manager I loved their no-bakes...maybe a little too much :) They were the best thing we had in that place (along with the maple creamsticks). And even though I made 1000's of dozens of them, I never got tired of them. Of course everyone likes them some chocolate and peanut butter mixed up with sugar and butter and oats. It really is just one big piece of candy. Along with the other few different varieties of cookies and candies I also made Chocolate No-Bakes for Christmas this year. I'm sharing the recipe here. Hope you enjoy!

4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 sticks margarine
1 1/4 cups milk
2 cups creamy peanut butter
6 cups rolled quick oats
2 tsp. vanilla
*First...Make sure that all of your ingredients are measured out before cooking the no-bakes. Timing is of the essence when making them, because they can be too soft or too overcooked if there is any wait in the process of mixing them due to measuring things out after the mixture cooks.
*Second...In a large saucepan, mix together the sugar and cocoa till cocoa lumps are broken up well. Mix in milk and margarine. Cook over med-high, stir often and watch mixture closely. Bring to a boil and once you have a ROLLING BOIL start a timer for 2 1/2 minutes. Leave the mixture to boil and get your peanut butter, oats, and vanilla close by.

*Third...once timer is done, turn off heat and take saucepan off of stovetop. This is where you make your work fast with no interruptions until the no-bakes are scooped out. Mix in the peanut butter and vanilla. Stir peanut butter in till melted pretty well with just a few lumps left.
*Fourth...add oats. You may not need all of the oats here. Mix in enough to so that it still looks a little bit soupy, but not too much to make it look like a thick oatmeal.
*Fifth...scoop out no-bakes onto wax paper with clicky scooper whatever size you desire. Let the no-bakes cool and firm up. Eat and Enjoy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree...

Its a funny thing being in a state with no real "winter" conditions during the Christmas season. We've been having moderately cold weather, but I have yet to see any ice or snow. It rained for a few days and reminded me of a nice spring day in Ohio, with the overcast sky and cool rain. But nothing like the snow and ice that normally prevailed over the entire winter each year in Northeast Ohio.
Needless to say, I miss the snow and inclement conditions some days. I miss looking out the window in the morning to see how much snow we got overnight. I miss laying in bed and listening to the cars driving to work in the morning and trying to figure out how much snow is on the road by listening to their tires as they drive by. Lots of snow meant you could barely hear them as they snuck by the house. Or if the roadcrews had already been out you could hear the slushy snow underneath the tires. Here, I don't have cars drive by that much since I live in a gated apartment community, and there are no major roads right out my window (although within 1/4 mile there is major highways everywhere). Plus, I know that if I look out the window, it is probably going to be sunny and beautiful out. Of course no snow or ice to suprise me though.
Last night my Baby and I finished putting the Christmas lights on the tree, and it looks absolutely amazing.  He says that there are between 1600 and 1700 lights on it. He did most of the work of putting the lights on and I think there are 9 strands of lights added along with the 600 prelit lights that came with the tree. It is it's own source of heat in the living room as I watch it twinkle and flash and make this Christmas season somehow brighter. Christmas is his favorite time of year. His mother and him would decorate their Christmas trees with as many lights as they could fit on it and cover it with all the decorations they had stored away. They shared a love of Christmas together, and now that his mother is no longer with him, he continues the traditions that she gave to him.
So here are a few pictures of our tree pre-decorations. Enjoy :)

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Memories in Insomnia

Last night I layed in bed unable to sleep and dealing with some insomnia. It's funny how thoughts past and present come to mind when you least expect them in the quiet and stillness of the night. When there is nothing else jumping in to take over thoughts and actions.
My mind went back to the hardware store by our house that my Uncle Steve worked at during high school and after called Rural Supply. We would often go there to visit and spend some time there, we went quite frequently because it was when Mom and Dad were building the log house and there was always some small item that they needed to get to finish something up. This hardware store was an old dusty store that smelled like man and tools, and rubber belts and dirt. I loved going there. What made it especially exciting was the big white rusty deep chest freezer right by the door of the store. I think it was to the left of the door when you went out even. What was inside were all kinds of ice cream treats. Popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, ice cream cones, orange pops, you name it. I don't know if the owner had a sweet tooth, or if he liked to see the smile on peoples faces when they took something from that freezer. My brother and I would literally open the lid and lean into that rusty wonder, letting cold frosty air cover our faces, looking for what we wanted when Mom or Dad gave us the go ahead.
I'm sure that Mom and Dad made us wait for the treats in the rusty white icebox till the end because, for one, that meant that we would be good until the end of the trip there. Plus any kid thinks that they will just eat up that treat, but in all reality every kid on the face of the earth makes a mess eating and inevitably Mom and Dad didn't want us dripping sticky ice cream on the ground or wiping grimy chocolate fingers on something on the shelf.
That rusty freezer caused such a warm and exciting memory. Amazing how life as a kid was filled with so much fun from a simple ice cream treat.