Peanut Brittle & a Loud World.

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It’s loud out there, folks.Not “you dang hooligans turn down your music cause yer wakin’ the neighborhood!” kind of racket. But it’s loud with opinions & theories & the “always” & the “nevers” & the “shoulds.”

The “should” of life could kill ya. At least, that’s what my dad always says. And he is a wise one.

I find that this is the case more oft in some areas of life; for instance, food (what you should and shouldn’t eat), exercise (always do this and never do that),  and parenting (not that I have experienced this yet, but I’ve definitely seen some strong, judgey opinions!). I think we are past some areas, like what to wear and what not to wear-

What? You’re telling me that someone cares if I’m wearing a flannel I bought few years ago?
Oh jeesh, I’m so passe . . .

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I have seen it as a claiming of one’s identity, in some cases.”The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.” -Joe Fox, You’ve Got Mail

Maybe this isn’t Starbucks. But in everyday life, we hear another’s case for their theory, decide whether we want to end up on the path that person is on, and decide to take on that theory for ourselves, hoping & praying that we will become as awesome as we think they are. And there is always such a persuasive case, isn’t there? Vegetarian, Atkins, South-Beach, all-grain, no grain, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, raw, vega, raw-vegan, only what I have caught or grown, organic, all-natural, sugar-less, fruit-less, no red meat, all-red meat . . . !!!*

See what I mean? LOUD.

I’m not saying that those whole live by one of these diets is wrong-if you feel great, more power to ya! I have also tried many of these; some are great, some aren’t. But I don’t want to be preached at and take on someone else’s opinion as identity just because.

That’s my rant, & I’m stickin’ to it.

  *I know there are those who have allergies & restricted diets due to health problems, & please know that I am not chastising you!* 🙂

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Also? Peanut Brittle. Yussssssssss . . .In my crazy getting-ready-for-Thanksgiving menu planning madness, I thought peanut brittle completely appropriate. It reminds me of my childhood, of going to an amusement park and watching the grown-ups dressed in colonial period clothing stir a giant cauldron of a sticky, sugary, peanuty mass, then pouring it onto a large, chilled table. Soon after it was spread, it would be broken and passed out as samples to all the kids who eagerly had their noses and small hands pressed onto the railing.

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Here we go!First, boil that sugar goodness like it’s nobody’s business.

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This part requires that you move quickly like a cheetah, so there are no pictures of me adding peanuts & nonsense. But here is the beauty all spread onto a lightly oiled baking sheet.
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So yum! The first batch (pictured above) is a cinnamon peanut brittle. The second batch I decided to make a classic brittle, but cover half of it with chocolate. Duh.
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So here’s to the kicking off of the holiday season. May it be merry, bright, cheerful, joyful, grateful, generous, peace-giving, and Christ-centered.Cinnamon Peanut Brittle

1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups roasted salted peanuts
1 teaspoon baking soda
Directions
Combine the water, sugar, cream of tartar and corn syrup in a medium-size heavy saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. Bring to a boil over medium heat. After it boils, stir the mixture occasionally. Boil the mixture until it reaches 320 degrees F. The color should be deep golden brown. Remove from the heat and, working quickly, stir in the cinnamon with a wooden spoon. Stir in the butter until melted, then the peanuts and baking soda.

Pour the mixture onto the oiled cookie sheet with sides and spread it out a bit with the back of a wooden spoon, to about 1/4-inch thickness (it may not fill the whole pan). Let harden, uncovered, in a cool place, 30 to 45 minutes. (To wash the saucepan, soak it overnight.)

Using your hands, break the brittle into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Source: adapted from Food Network

Classic Peanut Brittle

2 c. shelled raw peanuts
2 c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1/3 c. water
2 T. butter
1/4 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla

Spread nuts in a 15×10 pan, bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring once – set aside.

Combine next five ingredients in a dutch oven, cook over medium heat stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until it reaches hard crack stage (300 degrees). Remove from heat. Stir in nuts, soda and vanilla. Working rapidly, spread mixture onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. To make chocolate brittle, spread 6 oz. chocolate on the brittle while still hot and then spread when the chocolate melts (I spread 6 oz. onto half of the brittle). Let cool. Break into pieces.

Listening to: Blake Shelton’s Christmas album

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