Saturday, December 20, 2008

The (First of Many) 2008 Lists. What did we learn?

Inspired by the folks over at MentalFloss, here is my list of questions for you. Feel free to reply in the comments.
1. What's the most interesting book or article you read in 2008?
2. What's the best food you tried for the first time in 2008?
3. What's a new hobby you picked up in 2008?
4. When you look back at 2008 five years from now, what's the first thing that will come to mind?
5. Forget New Year's Resolutions. What is one thing you are currently doing that you plan to continue doing in the next year?

My answers:
1. Fodor's Guide to New York City. (The fact that I can't think of any off the top of my head makes me think that writing books down would be a good idea.)
2. Roasted Eggplant Pizza at John's Pizzeria in NYC.
3. Knitting
4. What is....Jeopardy?
5. blogging of course!


I'm not sure where "Martha Washington Candy" got its name, but I think George would have been proud. Note: I used chocolate candy coating instead of the chocolate+paraffin combination. I also experimented with a melted chocolate chip coating, but it's not drying as nicely. According to Kevin "Delicious!"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Martha Washington Candy

Patti asked for this recipe. While I don't have my grandmother's, this one found on the internet sounds similar to what I remember. Mom, if you have a better version then chime in on the comments.
Most recipes I found called for paraffin added to the dipping chocolate. Hmm....think we could make it without the wax? Surely it's possible to dip in plain chocolate chips?

Thanks for the request, Patti. How appropriate that the first posted recipe should be a chocolate one!


  • 2 pounds sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 stick butter or margarine, melted (4 ounces)
  • 3 cups chopped pecans
  • Dipping Chocolate (below), melted


Mix all ingredients together, shape into balls, then chill until hard. Dip chilled balls in dipping chocolate and let cool.
Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
Dipping Chocolate
Use melted chocolate almond bark or purchased dipping chocolate, or the mixture below
  • 1 cake paraffin wax
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
Melt wax and milk chocolate chips together in double boiler. Dip candy in mixture then cool.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm a tad late with these pictures, but before I post the Christmas festivities, it seems only right to update you on our Louisiana Thanksgiving. My mom was in heaven: All the kids, grandkids, and assorted spouses were present. It took 2 houses and 2 hotel rooms to house us all, but by golly we fit everyone around 2 tables for the meals and it worked!

Dad likes to plan a project for our get-togethers, something for the kids to remember, and this year was the Year of the Sausage. (Not to be confused with the Year of the Pig Butchering and Sausage Making. We're scaling back. ) The minor project involved trying to get 17 people posed for the annual family picture. Were we successful? I have no idea. As soon as I get a copy, I'll make some introductions.

Here you can see the first step of the process. Men with knives gather round the table and trim the pork roasts very carefully. We are all about quality control! To the left you can see the kitchen aid mixer fitted with the grinder attachment. After grinding the pork, Dad mixed in the spices. My younger brother adds green onions to his sausage and my oldest son experimented with something called "bacon salt." (That seems a little redundant doesn't it?)
I got in on the action by helping untangle and wash casings. Do you really want to know where they come from? Probably not. At any rate, remember...quality control! Once the sausages were stuffed and tied, they were trucked down to my uncle's house where they were smoked in his smokehouse.

Oscar Mayer eat your heart out! Ready for bagging, labeling, and freezing.

The Red River in all its fall glory, viewed from the River House. This was the site of family picture taking, part 1.

My dad, in his usual stance.

Not the finished product, but a glimpse at some of us. Katie doesn't look very pregnant yet, but look how we are standing. Like mother, like daughter.

Silly kids, tired of posing, take matters into their own hands.

After a full morning of sausage making and an afternoon of picture taking, we made an executive decision to postpone the turkey and dressing until the next day. Who says we can't be just as thankful on Friday? Besides, we had a fridge full of brisket and ribs planned for the weekend. We adjusted our timing and took the rest of the day off. More time to play Rock Band on the Wii, knit scarves and baby blankets, play with the dog, drink copious amounts of coffee, and visit around the table.

Turkeys? We fried 3 of them. (No they are not greasy. No I won't give you the instructions. Frying turkeys is my brother's specialty but he doesn't have a blog yet.)As you can see, turkey-frying involves all the menfolk doing what they do best:

Dinnertime! Let's see...can you spot the green bean casserole? The sweet potatoes with marshmallows? How about the homemade cranberry sauce? Certain traditions just can't be tampered with. (Notice the paper plates and plastic cups? We were all very thankful for fewer dishes to wash.)

This and That...

The background is new thanks to Nikki. I first heard about her "Blogs for a Cause" from my friend Ellen (Howell Quints, see link below). Figured that if I'm going to write my little heart out, I might as well enjoy the look of this thing. It's a bargain and if you're a blogger, I can't recommend her highly enough!

My other site,, is still active but I plan to use it more for communicating with my students and their parents. Posts over there will relate more to reading, writing, homeschooling, PREP, and the books we are studying.

Posts here, on the other hand, will probably include everything from recipes (this is me we're talking about!) to observations on exterior Christmas decorations. (Please don't make Santa twice the size of the manger scene. Thank you.) I'm really much too sweet to be curmudgeonly, but gosh darn it, if I want to decorate my little corner of the web with raspberries and hearts, well....oh wait. I did that already!

Welcome, welcome!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

More What?

One of my favorite cookbook authors says the best way to improve any recipe is to simply double the chocolate and add bacon. Probably not at the same time.

"Honey, I'm not sure what to call this blog. For some reason I keep coming back to 'Add More Chocolate' but maybe that's too food-oriented."

The Urban Cowboy reminded me that the description pretty much fits me to a T. Ok, chocolate it is then. Shall we lay out a few general principles to start?

Sometimes, to quote one of my favorite singers, "Too much of a good thing, is a good thing!" God has blessed us richly and that includes, among other things, chocolate! Sometimes it makes sense to splurge when life calls us to celebrate. Sometimes the dreariest of days can be made richer by the smallest of actions. Why be stingy? Add more!

Sometimes, before we add the chocolate, we have to get our hands dirty and the kitchen messy. Then the squares, chips, or bars have to be softened, grated, melted, chopped, or shaved. All in order to be fit for use. Miraculously it seems the ingredients come together, making something beyond the mere sum of their parts.

I've got more than a few recipes to share, along with whatever else happens to strike my fancy. I don't imagine that I'll stick to a one-topic blog any more than I would stick to only one way of baking a cake. There is too much out there to enjoy!

Find the recipe, follow it if it helps, but don't be afraid to step out bravely. Go ahead! Add some more chocolate.