Friday, December 18, 2009

Some Like It Hot!!

My son, Justin, daughter, Shawna and my brother, Bob, are all chili heads. They like EVERYTHING hot, hot, HOT! I am not kidding. I've seen Shawna put hot sauce on popcorn. And she wouldn't think of eating mashed potatoes without cayenne in them and more hot sauce poured over the top. So, with that thought in mind, and the fact that I just happened to have some are some South of the Border spiced pecans!

4 C Pecan halves

Tequila Glaze
6 T Tequila (I don't need to tell you to not use crappy tequila, right?)
3 T Unsalted butter
1 T Brown Sugar

Spice Mix
3 T Sugar
1 T Kosher Salt
1 t Cinnamon
3/4 t Ground Cumin
3/4 t Ground Coriander
3/4 t Cayenne (less of you're a bit timid...more if you're a freak like some of my family members!)
3/4 t Garlic Powder

Follow instructions below for Rum Spiced Pecans.

Rum Spiced Pecans

They are amazingly addictive. I usually need to make 3 batches so no one feels deprived!

4 C Pecan halves

Rum Glaze
2T Dark Rum
1T + 1t. Vanilla (try to use the real thing as imitation gets bitter when boiled)
2t Brown sugar
2T Unsalted Butter

Spice Mix
1/4 C Sugar
2t Kosher salt (the large crystals work nicer, if you only have table salt reduce the amount)
1t Cinnamon (I always heap my teaspoon cuz I love cinnamon!)
1/2 t Cloves
1/2 t Allspice

Mix together Spice Mix in a medium bowl and set aside.

Toast pecans in a preheated 400° oven on a lined cookie sheet for 7 to 10 minutes or until they smell nutty. Rotate and shake the pan half way through.

Bring Rum Glaze to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stirring well.

Using liner (parchment paper works best) as a funnel dump toasted nuts into rum glaze stirring well to coat. Continue to stir over the heat until all the liquid is absorbed and the nuts are shiny.
(lean over pot and take a deep breath! It is amazing!)

Dump into bowl with Spice Mix and stir well to coat. Transfer back onto cookie sheet to cool and air dry.

Now make another batch to share with someone as you've just eaten most of this one!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thanks Santa!

Dear Santa,

Thank you for the time off! I made some beaded leaves. The process
was more about enjoying the colors than what the final outcome
would be, but I had beautiful dreams last night on what I can
do with these leaves, so they may end up becoming a piece of jewelry.

The therapeutic process of beading never ceases to amaze me!
I've shared with many of my friends in the beading community,
the story of my Grandmother beading. It fits here so well.

When I was young I would spend my summers with her. My parents
both worked full time and it was easier to just send me to stay
with her. I didn't mind. She taught me so many crafty things
as well as how to cook with bacon grease! ;o)

She knit, crocheted, did paper quilling, made knick-knacks out
of seashells, made apple faced women, made toilet seats out of
resin with seashells and other inclusions, whittled, you get the
picture, right? But most of all she beaded with seed beads!

It was when she would pick up her seed beads that I would notice
a calm come over her. As is evident from all the crafts she dabbled
in, her mind was restless and she was always striving to occupy
it with busy work. It was only with the beading that I would
notice this change in her.

So, being a curious eight year old, I asked her once, "Nana,
how come when you play with your beads you get so quiet?"
She called me over to her side and said, "Look down here
at these beads. See those little tiny holes?" I remember
leaning over her arm and looking down as clearly as if she said
this to me yesterday. She had on a blue shawl and I can still
smell her if I close my eyes and breathe deeply. I nodded and
said, "Yes, I see the little holes". She said, "When
I am beading, I climb inside that little tiny hole and there is
no room in there for anyone else, or anything else. It is just
me and the beads, nothing to bother me or worry me, no noises,
no cares."

It was at that very moment that I fell in love with beads and
my love has only grown as I've gotten older. There was no greater
gift she could have passed on to me.

And now, when my life becomes too stressful, I reach for my seed
beads. I sprinkle them into a dish, gaze into the little tiny
holes and climb in. There is not another place more peaceful
and comforting to me.

To me it explains a LOT about why beading can be so addictive. Who wouldn't want to find that place of peace!

Thank you Nana!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dear Santa,

Can I please have a day off? How about 1/2 a day?

I am feeling over worked, under paid and frustrated. That is no way to enjoy the holidays!
Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love the colors of my tree (Burgundy & Gold), the food, the smells, the smiles on my families face when they open a special present. But right now I am just feeling stressed out. I need that feeling to go away!

Maybe I need to bead! Yes, that is what I need to do! I think I'll go to work this morning and get the ball rolling and then just sneak out and head back home. Maybe build a fire, put on some comfy slippers, make a cuppa tea and BEAD! If I accomplish this wish, I'll post my results!

In the meantime, I hope your holiday season is much less stressful than mine!