|A sunny November day in the Black Hills|
We had a great crowd at our house on Thursday, and the meal was successful - - even though my oven is still on the fritz! (see last week's post here!)
One of our traditions every year is to sing the hymn, "Let All Things Now Living," before we give thanks for our meal. We're not all great singers, but praising our Lord is foremost on this holy-day. Enjoy!
The next day was - of course - Black Friday. It's been a few years since we've participated in the Black Friday frenzy. It used to be fun to get out in the morning, chat with the other crazies waiting in line, and end up at IHOP for our mid-morning refueling. Things have changed a bit since those days, and now we avoid Black Friday shopping.
But that doesn't mean we didn't go out!
This year for Christmas, hubby and I decided to buy each other a print from one of our favorite artists.
(That didn't come out right...we bought one print to share, not one for each of us!).
Jon Crane is a local artist and his gallery in Hill City has an open house and signing every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving. So instead of heading toward the mall on Friday morning, we headed up into the Hills.
So, now that Thanksgiving is behind us, and Black Friday is a done deal, it's time to look forward to Christmas and Christmas baking!
Without an oven, I decided to try a new candy recipe over the weekend. I developed these peanut clusters after trying the "Pay Off Day Candies" from Trim Healthy Mama. The original recipe is made with a stevia sweetener blend, but my version is made with sugar.
The batch is small, but I don't recommend doubling it. The caramel candy mixture cools quickly and becomes hard to handle. But since these only take about 10 minutes to make (total!), you can make as many batches as you want to in an afternoon.
Jan's Peanut Caramel Clusters
ingredients (makes 9 candies)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon caramel flavoring
2 teaspoons peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup roasted and salted peanuts
1/4 chocolate chips or chocolate melting wafers
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar and stir until it's combined, then add the cream and caramel flavoring.
Heat until it starts boiling, stirring occasionally (2-3 minutes), then boil, stirring frequently, for an additional 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, or until it barely reaches the soft ball stage. I don't test the "soft ball," I go by time and eye. Every 30 seconds or so, I let the mixture drip off my spatula. When the drips start to string together, then I know it's ready. (Since this is a small batch, the mixture cooks more quickly than a batch of fudge - don't overcook it!)
Remove from heat, then add the peanut butter and salt. Stir until smooth.
Add the peanuts and stir until combined.
Now you need to work quickly. Drop the coated peanuts onto parchment paper, a tablespoon at a time.
Once they have begun to cool, melt the chocolate according to the package directions. Drizzle over the candies.
Next week? The Annual Great Christmas Tree Hunt!
Now let's talk about you! How was your Thanksgiving? Did you go out shopping on Black Friday?
Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing family. When she isn't writing, she loves hiking in the Hills or satisfying her cross stitch addiction.
You can find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan Drexler.com.