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Salted Caramels

Hello. My name is Tonya. I’m a Pinterest addict. I blame my cousin Shannon for getting me hooked. She is pure evil. Perhaps some of you have had a similar experience. One of your friends suddenly has all kinds of interesting crafts, baked goods and ideas for fun activities for children. You make the grave mistake of asking where these ideas magically materialized from and then you hear a word. Just one. Pinterest. And that one word suddenly transforms into a time-sucking overwhelming need in your life. If you are reading this wondering how to pronounce this word you’ve never seen before. Run away. Run away from your computer right now. Save yourself while you still can. It is too late for me. But you may still be able to escape. Oh no. You’re typing it into your search engine now…aren’t you. I’m so sorry. Tell your husband and children I’m sorry too. They’ll come looking for you in a couple days and find you, eyes glazed over, index finger cramping from all the mouse-clicking – but with 1000 new ideas for dinner, desserts, home decor and party ideas. I have become a woman obsessed. You see, I have no good ideas on my own. But I’m very very good at stealing them from other people. Pinterest has given me unlimited access to the genius of others. It’s a sickness. That I love. [Read more…]

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Life In The Way & Crispy Peanut Butter Balls

I’ve been hearing from many of you about how long it’s been since I posted anything. First of all, I appreciate being missed. You make me feel so loved. Second. I’m sorry. I was shocked to look back and realize it’s been almost 7 months. For shame for shame!! I wish I had some amazing excuse. Some reason that would be forgivable in any reasonable world – unfortunately, I do not. I suppose I could blame it on the fact that I have a son who just turned three, and the past few months have felt particularly draining with him. But, my little man is (mostly) remarkably well-behaved and I only think he’s trouble until I hang around other three-year-olds.  Reality check! He’s really quite delightful. I really don’t feel right blaming him. I don’t have any debilitating ailments or horror stories of massive trauma in my life (thank you Lord for that!). Basically, life has just gotten the better of me. Do you ever feel that way? Like it’s a chore to just get through each day? That adding anything beyond keeping your children breathing and out of the ER is too much to ask? Well, that’s been my state of mind for a while. Can’t pinpoint exactly why. Just, life.
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Rocky Road Clusters

These should have an aka after the title. Also known as “pieces of heaven”. When I read this recipe I started drooling after the first two ingredients. Chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk. Yeah. You really can’t go wrong when those two things are going to be combined. I’ve never been a fan of rocky road ice cream because the good stuff is surrounded by chocolate ice cream – which I despise. I’ve finally found a version of rocky road that I love. These are a fudgy base filled with marshmallow and pecans. You all know how I feel about nuts, but in this case, it just works. These candies are super quick to put together and make for perfect camping food in my opinion. Throw them all in some tuperware and off you go. I love food that travels well. And to top it off, they are gluten free! Yippee! [Read more…]

Double Chocolate Raspberry Truffles

This is one of my favorite recipes. It requires practically no skill at all, the time commitment is very short and the payoff is HUGE. Your friends will think these chocolates belong in a fancy boutique somewhere. Where people handle things with white gloves and there’s soft music playing in the background. The smell alone makes me think I’m in an old-fashioned chocolatier. (inhale deeply) Oh, it’s so decadent. I’ve made hundreds & hundreds of these truffles in various flavors and they are all fabulous. I always put them in little mini-cupcake liners. Somehow, everything looks better when wrapped in a crimped paper shell. This newest variety I put together for my end of year MOPS tea tomorrow. I can’t wait to share them with my gals! [Read more…]

MOPS Round-up

I had a wonderful group of ladies over tonight. We enjoyed sharing our ideas, passions and experiences and talked about next year’s MOPS group. We also had food. Lots of it. For those who were there, thank you for your servant’s hearts, enthusiasm, questions and support. I am so excited to take this journey with you next year! Here’s the round-up of treats so you don’t have to go searching all over Bakerlady-land to find them. 🙂

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Perfect Meringues

Meringues sometimes seem a bit daunting, but with a couple of tips you can whip out a batch of melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness that are puffy clouds of perfection. I always make these after baking cookies it seems. I just cannot bring myself to waste the egg whites when some other recipe has only used the yolks. Poor little whites – getting left out of delicious cookies. Besides, mother’s day is just around the corner and my Celiac sister (I know, that’s a horrible name to give her…she’s so much more than that. It’s just an easy distinction since only one of my three sisters lives gluten-free.) will be here for momma’s day lunch. She probably won’t be able to eat whatever the guys cook up as a dessert (yes, the guys are in charge on Mother’s Day). So I’ll just keep some of these in a baggie for her until Sunday. [Read more…]

Peanut Butter Easter Eggs

Happy Easter! These little candies are perfect for giving to some-bunny you love. They also make egg-ceptional Easter basket items! Hop some over to your neighbors, they’ll love you forever! Oh, I crack myself up…ok, enough with the egg jokes. The peanut butter mixture is very crumbly, add the milk until you can pick up a handful, squeeze it and have it hold its shape.  I would suggest making them no larger than about an inch and a half long – they are VERY sweet! [Read more…]

Peeps

It’s Peeps season! Spring is here, the sun is partially out, Easter is just around the corner & the cherry trees are blooming. Which, incidentally means my poor hubby’s allergies have kicked in. Poor guy. Every grocery store has boxes and boxes of Peeps lining their featured shelves. Yellow! Pink! Purple! Bunnies & chicks…there they are with their little mournful brown eyes. Begging, seeming to plead with me “eat me, eat me!”. I found out in a recent meeting that my pastor at church LOVES Peeps. Who knew!? Somehow I figured he was too intellectually and spiritually deep a person to enjoy what is essentially puffed up sugar. Topped with more sugar. But what am I saying? Peeps are one of my favorite treats on the planet, and I’m practically a genius and I totally dig Jesus. So maybe Peeps are just the sweet of choice for those who are truly mentally gifted. Or maybe Bible reading stimulates the sugar receptors in our brains? Yeah. That must be it. 🙂 [Read more…]

Oh Almond Joy!

Anything that’s recreating a candy bar at home I have to try. Finding this recipe was no exception. I found this recipe on a blog, who took the recipe from another blog. Both these blogger ladies seemed to have no trouble with it. But I did. Maybe it’s because I used sweetened coconut and the recipe called for unsweetened. I had a bag hanging around that I wanted to use. Plus, several of the comments on the other blog were about the difficulty finding unsweetened coconut. Apparently you have to go to a gourmet organic type store for it…which I’m not going to do.  So, I thought I’d just try the sweetened kind. After a couple of trial and error things, I think I figured out my issues and will be able to make them perfectly the next time. The candies are delicious – I just had a some things not go great with this first batch. I really dislike talking about baking that doesn’t go well, but I don’t want any of you to make these thinking I did it perfectly with no trouble, have the same issues and think it’s just you. I hate when that happens to me. And I love you guys, I couldn’t do it to you! [Read more…]

Almond Roca

This is probably my most favorite Christmas baking item. It’s also the most difficult to get done. Not because the recipe itself is particularly hard, but because candy making is a little bit of a science.

In the area that I live, the weather is my biggest obstacle when trying to make almond roca. When making any candy, you have to bring your ingredients to a certain temperature in order for it to set properly. On rainy (or humid) days, the cooking time for candy can increase substantially. Candy making requires the perfect ratio of sugar to moisture and since you’re boiling the mixture longer to get the temperature up, you may lose all your moisture in the process. And you get a completely opposite problem once the candy is done and cooling. Because sugar attracts moisture, your cooling candy will absorb all that humidity in the air, making the finished product softer than you want it. [Read more…]

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