what does yours look like? meaning, your "to-do-before-it's-entirely-too-late" list. mine was full of things to bake and share, places to go, things to get, people to see.
then I took a breath.
you know, the kind that you take when you realize you've barely been breathing at all. I saw from another perspective that I was filling my time with good things, but things that were taking me away from what I love most about this season, the moments I get to share with my two favorite people in the world. Moments that, if I allowed myself to be consumed with my to-do list, I would miss. It happened just in time for a big snow storm that came through our town yesterday. Just like the yards surrounding our home, I was given a clean slate. Or rather, the chance to create one.
I looked at my list, eliminated the things that would only be taking me away from that handsome devil and sweet + sassy mini-him, and took another breath. This time one that cleansed, one that enlivened. Instead of spending my time in the kitchen, craft room, wherever it was I thought I needed to be, I was outside making a snowman in 12 inches of the best packing snow you've ever seen. It was an unconventional snowman, with cranberry eyes and an old granny-like knit hat, but it was a perfect early morning on the first day of winter. Pans and pans of peanut brittle can't compare to the happiness that wet snowboots and damp socks hanging near the heater vent can create; my love tank was overflowing.
But that doesn't mean I'm not going to share my granny's peanut brittle recipe with you.
granny stephenson's peanut brittle
2 cups natural cane sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups raw unsalted peanuts
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon butter or coconut oil
Butter a 10 x 15 jelly roll pan/cookie sheet with raised sides, set aside.
Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup in a 4 quart saucepan. Over medium high heat, and without stirring, bring mixture to a boil. While it is heating, measure out the other ingredients, the salt and soda in one small bowl, the vanilla extract and butter in another.
Clip a candy thermometer onto the saucepan and keep the tip submerged in the mixture. Add the peanuts constantly stir over high heat until you reach 300 degrees fahrenheit or hard crack stage.
Remove from the heat, immediately add the pre-measured soda, salt, vanilla and butter. (this is much less intense if you have an accomplice, sous chef, or husband to help.)
Stir quickly and thoroughly (the mixture should change to a milky hue), then pour onto the greased cookie sheet going from corner to corner rather than dumping it all in the middle. As you wait for it to cool, feel free to pick and nibble at the wooden spoon, spatula, saucepan (careful, it's sharp!). when the brittle is completely cool, break it into desired sizes and shapes, and try to share.
- you can use salted peanuts, just omit the extra salt called for.
- you can substitute the peanuts with any other nut, pine nuts, almonds, roughly chopped hazelnuts, try what you like.
- need some inspiration to refocus on what matters most this holiday? here are some words that uplifted me