There are a lot of things (especially sweets) that Chris will eat and enjoy, but one thing that tops them all is toffee. Especially around the holidays. Not so much because it is the holidays, but more because you tend to find more options with different stores (Trader Joes for example) that bring out these specialties around November and December. I am also always on the lookout for good toffee recipes.
My mom used to make toffee, caramels, hard candy, divinity, and many other types of candies during the holidays. Often they were as gifts to friends, teachers, especially since we could not afford to purchase gifts, this was her way to share with others. I, however, do not have her toffee recipe, and well Chris is picky. So this one looked easy enough, and these days I need easy (I am 39 weeks preggers today)!
I will say it is super sweet – if you make it, add more pretzels for a better salty/sweet mixture!
Salty Sweet White and Dark Chocolate Toffee Bark
14 ounces dark chocolate
¾ cup broken pretzel pieces
¾ cup Heath toffee pieces
8 ounces white chocolate
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and stir until smooth. Stir in ½ cup of the pretzel pieces and ½ cup of the toffee pieces saving the rest for later. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
3. Melt the white chocolate and stir until smooth (just like the dark chocolate). Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator and spread the white chocolate on top of the hardened dark chocolate layer. Sprinkle the remaining pretzel and toffee bits and press them gently into the white chocolate. Return the pan to the refrigerator for an hour.
4. Cut or break the bark into pieces and eat up (or share if you’re nice).
My mom did not drink Tab (that I can remember). Tab was too expensive. My mom drank Faygo. The cheap woman’s soda. A bottle was about 10 cents. She could purchase more bottles if she purchased Faygo. Besides, it was basically carbonated sugar-water of sorts. With such high amounts of sugar, why would it matter what it tasted like? As someone who no longer drinks soda, I can only imagine what my future kids will think of me. Hardcore? Mean? Boring? I will not let them drink that syrupy substance that has so much sugar they will bounce off the walls. Hell no. I have gone from being a child who hated her vegetables, to being a hardcore vegetable addict. Not only for the taste, but for the nutrition. Probably more for the nutrition and what that means for my health and energy.
I think we had Kool-Aid, but from what I can remember, it was “fake.” Some other knockoff brand. From what I can remember it still tasted fine. Again, it was just drinking sugar-water. Along with those frozen Fla-Vor-Ice quasi popsicles. They were basically sugar-water. No wonder we loved them. Sugar was few and far between in our house!
I really doubt my mom worried too much about us. She was too busy (when I was really young — before she got sick) trying to make sure we were fed, and that she made it to one of her many jobs on time. If she was not working, she was planning many months in advance how to get us Christmas presents via the longest ever layaway plan. This was before credit cards were so common and that is how you eventually owned products. She was the queen of figuring that out. Going each week to a list of grocery stores to get the best deal, and to a few other stores (such as Target) to pay that week’s installment of layaway. Her Friday nights were a scavenger hunt of sorts from store to store in order to get the best sales and purchase price. Sometimes she had us in tow. It was exhausting. These days we go to different stores not for the deals, but because of the assortment. You know those items that you can only get at Trader Joe’s!
In the summer she spent her spare moments not figuring out her layaway plans, but taking care of our vegetable and flower gardens. While I will never know, I think it was her favorite time of year. She was working with her hands, out in the sun, and most likely it was therapeutic for her. Any of her other waking hours were spent helping us with homework, and giving whatever time was left to her church. Thus why this line resonated with me from this Today.com Parenting blog:
“She said get the hell outside, and we did. We made up games and rode our bikes and choreographed dance routines and drank out of the hose when we got thirsty. I swear, my mom did not know where we actually were half the time.”
We did just the same. I do not remember telling her where I was going or what I was doing. I never really got into too much trouble. I was either on my paper route, riding around, at a friend’s or neighbor’s house, or snuggled somewhere with a book. Harmless. Today I bet life and freedom is not so easy to come by. Thank you, Mom, for the freedom.
I am a fan of tortilla soup. After seeing the movie, Tortilla Soup, I became quickly interested in trying tortilla soup. Can you believe I had never had it before watching that movie? Now I am addicted. It has been a while since we have made some at home. For a long time we made it religiously. Recently I found a crock pot version and thought it might be even easier than the version we made in the past.
2 1/2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth (4 1/2 cups)
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic crusher
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
tortilla strips or tortilla chips
shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
diced avocado, diced roma tomatoes, sour cream (optional)
Pour chicken broth and diced tomatoes into a slow cooker. Add onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken breasts then cover with lid and cook on LOW heat 6 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.
Remove chicken and shred, then return to slow cooker along with black beans, corn, cilantro and lime juice, stir. Allow to cook until heated through.
Serve warm with tortilla strips and cheese and other optional ingredients.
Note: We did not have raw chicken breasts, we had Trader Joes pre-cooked chicken breasts. Near the end of cooking we shredded them up and mixed in. You could probably use rotisserie chicken in the same way.
I will just say that I had two full bowls. Between Chris and I, we ate the entire crock pot. Oops. Probably too much to have in one night, but it was oh so good.