Country style, country love, country life. Sharing my inspired, vintage, rustic DIY designs and decor on my blog.
I’ve been sick these past few+ days with some sort of flu or cold or whatever is “going around”. Sick as in I couldn’t go to work, couldn’t attend the annual neighborhood Christmas party and essentially just found myself lying on the couch for hours watching Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathons. This week so far has been a total frustrating fail for me. I kind of felt like this guy-agghhh!
No big DIY projects, no blogging, no nothing, other than trips back and forth from the couch to the fridge to the pantry to open yet another can of soup or box of crackers. Coach would leave saying “my poor darlin'” and come home hours later with me still in the exact same position on the couch and say “really??”-lol-he’s not used to seeing me doing nothing, and I mean nothing-not a paint brush or sandpaper in sight-for days. But, you know, it hasn’t been all that bad. This little forced break given me an opportunity to step back and take stock of what I’m doing with this blog and the barn shop and start implementing a plan moving forward that doesn’t result in me being so run down and exhausted that I end up lying on the couch watching endless Castle reruns and stocking up on kleenex tissues whilst staring at a large, dark green evergreen in the corner of my family room.
The house is not even close to being decorated, because I just didn’t have the energy to open up all of the giant bins and sort them out, never mind actually placing the items somewhere decoratively. Coach and I finally got a tree Monday night (good thing I’m not part of any of those blogging holiday house tours…) & it finally has lights but no ornaments.
I’m on the mend and ready to add some holiday spirit to our home : ) In the meantime, I figured I’d share this yummy recipe for Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel Bites I used for the cookie swap. (And I assured my co-workers that I did not breathe on them and repeatedly washed and disinfected my hands before handling!) The original recipe for Salted Caramel Pretzel Pecan BonBons
was via BakerByNature...but mine didn’t come out exactly as the photo (aren’t these gorgeous?!?), but they were still pretty tasty, if not a bit extra chewy! Here’s the how-to:
1. Assemble ingredients: Bag of caramels, bag of pecan 1/2’s, bag of mini pretzels (these I did not have in my pantry),
some melting chocolate, sea salt, holiday sprinkles (these I had on hand). I didn’t have any of the main three ingredients at home, so I ran over to Walgreens since that is the closest store to my home, and I figured they would have the basic snack bags the recipe required. Which they did, which made me happy, so I didn’t have to trek all the way to the grocery store. And they had more kleenex and cough drops too, which made me healthy (sort of). And that is why they are at the corner of Happy & Healthy. So that was a win.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. Or a small one depending on the # of bites you wish to make. The beauty of this recipe is that you can make small batches as you go.
3. Place the number of mini-pretzels equivalent to the number of bites you wish to make. 12 makes a dozen. 24 makes 2 dozen. Simple math.
4. Unwrap the caramels…meh, not fun. When my kids were little and I needed unwrapped caramels, I used to have them race to see who could open them all the fastest-worked every time!
and unwrapping caramels is near-impossible without opposable thumbs, unless you want caramels with drool and bite marks. Place an unwrapped caramel on top of each mini-pretzel. The recipe mentioned above called for chocolate mixed with coconut oil and vanilla, so I skipped that step by buying caramels that were coconut and vanilla flavored. Right?!?
5. Place in oven and bake just until they soften. Now the original instructions said 7-8 minutes, JUST TO SOFTEN. But, I left mine in a bit too long (I swear I was watching them, but then I got distracted and…they over-melted. So I scrambled to put the caramel back onto the pretzel by taking a small knife and scooping it back up.
6. Quickly place a pecan 1/2 on each one. These look pretty messy because I was placing pecans and scooping up oozing caramel lava as I went along.
If you melt them correctly, you won’t have this problem. Lightly sprinkle each with sea salt. Good thing sea salt is a thing right now, because I have this giant cannister full that will probably last me forever!
7. While they cool, you melt the bag of chocolate in the microwave according to the directions. These are the bags of Wilton Candy Melts you can get at your local crafts store. They have many flavors and colors, but I happen to like my chocolate dark, especially when mixed with salted caramel.
I always use a heavy bowl and cook in the microwave on high, the first go round for 30 seconds, then take it out and stir.
Then every 15 seconds until the chocolate is drippy and all the little disks are melted.
8. I dipped the bottom of the cooled pretzel in the chocolate, then flipped them over on the parchment to let them dry.
then drizzled it over the top,
10. Allow to dry, then store in the fridge or a cool, dry place. Like my family room. Because we don’t turn the heat past 55. Sweaters, folks!! Unless I’m sick, in which case I got to turn it up to 60-lol! Then you share the goodies with friends and family, because you can’t eat all of them yourself. Or could you….have a sweet Thursday everyone! Susan
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Meet Sue from “Little Shack on the Hill”
Bio: Hi! I’m Sue from the Little Shack on the Hill! Wife, mom to 5, Nana Sue to 3 (with #4 on the way!) and now living full time in our RV. The Little Shack is still our home base, but retirement has taken us on a new path. Come visit me and join in the fun of cooking, crafting and trying to fit it all into a small space!
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Recently, I had heard of a contest sponsored by Black & Decker called Your Big Finish!
Their goal is to get America to finish what they started-“It’s All For Done…And Done For All”! You know all of those projects you have started along the way that are in different stages of completion…like my Hall of Shame...and my mom’s thrifty kitchen makeover? Well, those were not eligible because they are still (unbelievably) in the works. BUT, there is one finished project that I am super proud of…my HI! Rusty Bedspring Marquee Sign.
What?!?! Now, since I don’t live in NYC, I have no way of actually seeing my face in lights (ugh, I hope it’s not high def so you can see all those wrinkles), but I am told that it is on the CNN billboard on the corner of 46th and 47th street. So, if anyone happens to be in Manhattan between now and December 27th, could you take a peek? Just look for the giant HI! that is rotating along with the 100’s of other featured projects. You can check out some of the others here (you’ll note that the Times Square featured projects have a little green street sign in the top right corner : )
Like my friend Sarah, from Little Red Brick House’s beautiful Fireplace Makeover.
Because that’s a little of what I am feeling right now : ) Thanks to Black & Decker for sponsoring this contest and allowing everyday folks the opportunity for their 15 minutes of fame. And for encouraging all of us procrastinators to finish what we started!! You, too can enter for the chance to have your photo plastered on a billboard in Times Square, but also for some great prizes like some new Black & Decker tools and a grand prize of $10,000!! (which I could then use to buy the new cordless drill that I have been coveting-Santa, are you reading this?!?) Have a great finish to your Friday everyone!! xoxo Susan
My new favorite “country” read! Because I AM a little bit country (but mostly a lot suburbia), I love getting country style magazines in the mail.
Flipping through the pages of Country Woman Magazine takes me to that happy place where can I dream about owning a farm in the country. Big ol’ front porch, a couple of dogs, maybe a horse…
which I probably never will, but it is fun to dream…Every month the cover girl for this mag is a real person who makes the country their home. Some are famous…hello Country Music Legend Dolly Parton…
and some are just women (like you and me) who decided to abandon their city life and make a new life in real country style. Meet Susan Gibbs,
who was a TV exec but now makes her home in rural Virginia breeding sheep at Juniper Moon Farm.
Inside the glossy pages of Country Woman Magazine, you’ll find all sort of DIY projects…these two are super cute for the holidays. A cookie sheet tray to make into a Santa Style Checker Board and
… and these DIY Peppermint Candy Candle Holders.
Of course, no country-inspired magazine would be complete without recipes. Loads of yummy, scrumptious recipes. This Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle...yum.
How about these super cute Meringue Santa Hat cookies for your cookie swap??
And where are you going to make all of these amazing goodies? In some of the most inspired country kitchens you will ever see! Can you imagine baking in this beautiful space?
So, if you are a country woman at heart, or just want to have a glimpse of what living in the country is all about, check out Country Woman Magazine, and tell them Sue from Country Design Home sent you!! Have a down-home, country-style Thursday everyone! xoxo Susan
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