Tuesday, December 19, 2006


So, the funny thing is, now that I'm on winter break I start wondering, "Can I do it? Can I handle nursing school? Am I tough enough? Do I *really* want to be a nurse?" And, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking: idle hands are the work of....Aw, you just need to keep busy during the long break...etc. No. I'm making a quilt for each of my kids (that I want to have finished by Christmas, ho, ho, ho, uh), I'm planning to make five different kinds of candy for the neighbors (plus Christmas sugar cookies the kids can cut out and decorate): almond toffee, peppermint bark, homemade crackerjacks, chocolate-walnut fudge, caramels (I've been wanting to make caramels out of honey for a while. Have you tried it?). I have Christmas shopping to do. I'm in desperate need of a new pair of shoes and some new bras. Have you seen this house? I'm having the family over for brunch on Christmas morning and there are books and notes and clipboards and other finals-studying detritus that are strewn across every horizontal surface waiting to be shelved in shelf-spaces that don't exist or burned (depending) in a fireplace I don't have. Sigh. So, no, it's not that I've suddenly been granted all of this time and head-space to contemplate nursing school and nursing and what do I think I'm doing. It's..

just not fair. I turned in a group paper (remember the Constipation project?) and it was marked down to a C. And points were taken off for things that were included in the paper. And this was by the instructor who (pretty much) put smile-y faces and "great job" on very other paper, who told me, "Don't worry about it." when I asked about the mysterious "Appendix B" in the rubric (I want to spell that w/ a "k" instead of a "c". Is it just me? Is this-the rubric- a new school thing. I don't remember rubrics twenty years ago. Does it have something to do with Powerpoint, also a non-thing twenty years back...). Word on the street: Smiley-face teacher gave everyone 100 on the paper and was told she needed to be more critical. My guess: she took random points off rather than re-read the paper. Stopped reading any emails from students. My group has turned to the head of the program for a re-grade. Someone, I'm told, who worries a lot about "Appendix B".

So, who cares right? Let it go. Because of this paper I got a B in That Class. The one I barely endured. And I got an A on the final, but only because my friend, "S", made excrutiatingly detailed notes and gave me a copy. And, the other sucky thing= I was responsible for finishing up the paper and I deemed it "good" (that should read "B" to anyone taking notes, but was "Great Paper" and smiley faces for that instructor). So my group goes down with me. And that leads me to the peppermint bark. Pictured up there is the toffee. I'm not going to get into the toffee with you. It's good, real good, but if you haven't already made toffee before I don't want you to curse at me. You'll be stirring the sugar-y goo and it will take twenty minutes to get to the hard-ball stage rather than 10 and, if you're an idiot like me, you'll be using a meat thermometer to take the temp (it has a 5 inche pointy probe so you have to hold the thing with one hand and stir with the other and that thermometer hand is hovering pretty close to a goo that is registering 300+ degrees and it's bubbling like a mud pit in Yellowstone NP), and it's a rainy day which, apparently, in the candy-making world= potential for doom markedly increased because it's not the heat it's the humidity. sigh.

Anyways, we're on break here, people! We're not doing science. We're not measuring anything! We're stirring something up and slapping it down and letting it cool and eating it.

Here. Peppermint Bark.

About a pound of white chocolate broken into pieces(I know what I said about white chocolate, the peppermint counterbalances its evil) - not the chips, they melt funky

around half a pound of semisweet chocolate, small pieces- chips are fine

two or three splashes of cream (I dunno, 6 Tbsp)

one lid's worth of peppermint extract

10ish smashed candycanes or 30 or 40 crushed up round peppermints

Line a cookie sheet with parchement paper
melt white chocolate in double boiler (mine is a random saucepan at a crazy angle in another random saucepan with about an inch of water in it over medium-low heat)
pour half of it onto parchement spread it out with a spatula (but not all the way to the edge) add about half the crushed candy, spead evenly,and chill 'til firmish in fridge.
melt chocolate combined w/ peppermint extract and cream in "double boiler" and combine 'til smooth. Working quickly, pour the chocolate over the white chocolate, spread w/ spatula and fridge 'til firm (um, half an hour?). Re-melt the rest of the white chocolate and working even quicklier (I was slow and the top layer of white chocolate melted some of the real chocoalte and turned my top layer light brwon, but still tasty) pour and spread white chocolate over real chocolate layer and spread. Add the rest of the crushed candy. Fridge until firmish. Use the parchement to lift it out of the cookie sheet and put it onto a cutting board. Remove parchement. Use a sharp knife to cut it into pieces (keep it right side up or you'll make a mess).
This is sooooooooo goood.

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