Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Peanut Brittle, a new experience

We knew there would be changes in store for us when we moved!  We changed our address, and our neighbors -- but, of course, not our friends.  We had to change our vehicle when we discovered that a one ton "dually" truck is not ideal for city driving.

We've had to change our eating habits because Mexican restaurants -- especially good ones! -- are few and far between in the middle of Ohio.  And, of course, we've had to make some changes to our wardrobe as winter approaches.  We are already taking advantage of the warm gloves and knit hat we got at Walmart.

But we never dreamed we'd have to make drastic changes in the skills we contribute to our volunteer service. Pulling weeds, caulking windows and painting window frames at the church we knew how to do.  But, the major fund-raising project for our Columbus-area church, is making peanut brittle to sell!

It took us most of our ten years in south Texas to learn how to roll enchiladas, the main ingredient of the fund-raiser at our church in Edcouch,  I think we were getting pretty good at that.  But making peanut brittle required a whole new set of skills from us.  Major changes like that are difficult for us septegenarians to master!  But it was sure fun -- and yummy! -- trying!

The next time you chomp down on a piece of homemade peanut brittle, please appreciate the complicated and exacting process it takes to make it.

It starts with the peanuts, large bags of them!

Then, someone more knowledgeable than we are, mixes the proper amounts of  sugar, syrup and a little water (as in the front skillet above).  And that's where we novices can help: at the entry level of stirring.  When the syrup is just the right color, baking soda and peanuts are added, and the constant stirring continues (as in the skillet at the back).  At this step, it takes someone a little more experienced than we are because with the addition of the peanuts the stirring gets more challenging. 

Again, when the color of the mix gets just right, it must quickly be poured out into a flat, buttered pan (back left), and rapidly be "forked" out as thin as possible with buttered forks (front, right) before it cools and gets set.

Then the pans are set aside to cool thoroughly.  Once cooled, the candy mass is broken up into small, bite-sized pieces which are packed into plastic boxes for sale.

And there, neatly stacked, was one Saturday morning's work.  But there would be at least two more opportunities to practice our newly developed skills! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Welcome to our house: a virtual tour

After only two and a half months, we are finally settled in our new abode and ready to welcome visitors!  So, come on in and let us show you around.

We don't expect to get much use of our small front porch in the coming few winter months.  But a couple of porch chairs from a near-by used furniture store prepare it for next spring.

Come in and make yourself at home.

The living room is small -- but bigger than the RV offered!

The larger -- and unmoveable -- living room gives us space to appreciate some of our "pretty things" that have been in storage for ten years.

This glass door curio cabinet has been cared for by my great niece while we were on the road.  We reclaimed it when we settled down and it gives us space to show off some of our souvenirs and remembrances, including my Vietnamese tea set there on the second shelf,

and my lovely lacquer and mother-of-pearl in-laid photo album.

The dining room, which opens from the living room, is large enough for us to display a beautiful quilt made by Bruce's mother and several of our favorite scenes from our decade of RV travel.

The kitchen opens off the dining room, has lovely granite counter tops, and a dishwasher,

stove,microwave, refrigerator,

and a HUGE pantry cupboard!

The short hallway from the living room leads back past the guest bath (on the right) to the bedrooms.

Our bedroom gives us a chance to enjoy the "friendship quilt" that was Bruce's retirement gift from the last church he served as pastor.  And the corner is just big enough for my desk, printer table and bookshelf that were all in storage for the past ten years.

The quilt is as warm with memories as it is with weight!

As you can see, we have plenty of closet space.  It's a good thing because now we have to have different wardrobes of clothes for four seasons of weather!

The "necessary room", of course.  It's so close to the bed I can find it in the dark of night!

Lots of space, but we had to add more storage units so we could find things in the wide open spaces!

Bruce's private work space is in the "guest room": desk, bookshelf, computers, printer.

This quilt, made by my grandma 70 years ago, makes a unique wall hanging in the "guest room."  It provides an interesting backdrop for our Sunday evening live stream worships.

Bruce's study doubles as the "guest room."  So, if you come for an overnight visit, this couch will be turned into your bed,

and there will be plenty of storage places for your belongings!

The hallway back out to the living room gives us lots of space to hang favorite family pictures.

Located between the entryway and the garage, the laundry room is great!
"Free at last, free at last,. from laundromats I'm free at last!"

The garage, too, is a real blessing.  Whoever heard of a condo having a two-car, enclosed garage?   There's room to store file cabinets, bicycles, and lots of junk, plus one small car. 

Our little house is one of twenty units in our small village.

We are gradually getting acquainted with our neighbors.

There's a tiny amount of green space in our village.  But just beyond that wooden fence in the distance is the Ohio-Erie Bike Trail.  What a treat to walk or bike it.  But winter is coming, we know, and it won't be nearly as much fun to bike or walk in the snow and ice!

So, in picture and description, that is our humble abode.  We'd be delighted if you could come and see it for yourselves.  Call ahead to make sure we are home, but you are welcome anytime!