Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, the joy of home ownership and the occasional rant!

life in the fast lane…. NOT

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I am really sore… I worked last night, then, when I got home after 9 p.m. instead of going into the house, I decided to clear the top of the driveway of snow… then instead of stopping I cleared the whole driveway.

The sidewalks had all been cleared by our local quad-man with a blade!  He usually clears all the neighbourhood sidewalks  which is great!

And I don’t have access to my recliner which is upstairs wrapped in plastic to protect it from the construction dust.  So am restricted to sitting at the dining table or laying on the bed – it is like a hotel room in the basement, nice but not the most comfortable place to be.

The contractors have laid two rows of the bamboo – glued and nailed, from one end to the other in a continuous row upstairs!  Our house is amazingly straight – it all lined up without having to be scribed to match curves or bumps.  They will be back on Monday to continue.

We also FreeCycled two bookcases, our TV stand and the mats that we were using for “coasters” for our furniture.  The bookcases were heavy and solid, and darker than the floors will be and we decided to move a lighter bookcase and sideboard into the living room instead.  And the TV stand was a corner unit for the old style TV – now we have a nice HDTV flat unit so did not need that large heavy base for it to sit on.

On an up note, I was vote Second Place in the Snazaroo Bird Contest 2009 for my Rockhopper Penguin design.  This is one that I’ve included as a step-by-step in my book, The Business of Face Painting.

I still am having a hard time processing that today is December FIFTH… I need to get busy or there will be no candy for anyone this year!

Here is one of my best candy recipes – adapted from one in an old cookbook of mine.  This is the most popular candy I make… and it really is really really good!!

English Toffee/Almond Roca

Heavy bottom pot, heat-resistant spoon, candy thermometer
baking sheet lined with baking parchment

1 1/2 cups of milk chocolate (candy coating or choc chips)
2 cups of chopped toasted almonds (or more!)
1 1/2 cups of butter
1 3/4 cups of sugar
3 tablespoons of light corn syrup
3 tablespoons of water

Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and sprinkle half the almonds over it evenly.

Add the sugar, butter, water and corn syrup to the pot and place on the stove on medium heat. Attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Stir constantly until the thermometer reads 300F (hard crack) – make sure the thermometer doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot!

Remove from heat and pour over the almonds in the baking sheet, pouring gently and evenly over the whole surface, spread out to make it even. Sprinkle the milk chocolate over the top of the hot toffee, and wait a few seconds, then spread it with a spoon or knife to cover the surface. Sprinkle the remaining almonds evenly over the top of the hot melted chocolate. Let it cool completely. Break up and store in airtight container.

I usually use about 4 cups of almonds – I like LOTS of nuts.  All the loose stuff falls off when you break it up to pack, and you can then use the bits in another thing – using for ice cream topping is excellent!

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