Fun Times With The Beckers

All the fun, even if it's not always blogged…

humble pie — October 7, 2015

humble pie

I make toffee for a living.

…okay, maybe not quite for a living – more like for “fun” and I earn a little bit of “fun money” by doing it.

Yes, I would love to one day wake up and realize that it is actually my sole income which allows me vast amounts of time to actually SPEND with my boys, instead of spending my full-time salary for them to be cared for by others while I work full-time (see the circular reference of guilt there?)…. (and side note: I really do like my corporate job!)

… I digress.

I have made a lot of toffee in my years…it was my grandma b’s famed recipe, and when she stopped making it (about 15 years ago), I took it up and worked on perfecting my technique. Fast forward about 12ish years when I realized that people might pay money for this stuff. Two Holiday Seasons later, and I am now gearing up for the 3rd! I really love making it, and seeing the absolute JOY it brings to those that taste it!!

I lost count in how many batches of toffee I made last year around the holidays, but the number is somewhere in the mid-hundreds, for sure.

And the one true thing I have learned, is that toffee has a way of keeping you honest and humble.

Just as I think I’ve got this down, and I can multi-task while a batch is bubbling away on my stove… nope, I burn it.

Wanna know a secret? I’ve had two of those batches this week!!!

I guess it’s The Toffee’s way of reminding me to slow down. I have prided myself in the fact that this little business relies on a small-batch process, and I need to continue to be true to that. I need to remember why I am doing this: for the fun of it, for grandma’s memory, for the dream….

And you would think that two not-quite-right batches within a 48-hour period would be enough… but apparently not.

Tonight, I took some time to finally transform those black bananas into banana bread, and then, while that baked, the plan was to try a new recipe with those peaches taking up space in my fridge.

Now, with all the toffee making this week, most of my measuring cups were tied up in a wash cycle. so I trudged ahead with my trusty 1/4 cup measure. This worked well, until I had to count out three-and-one-half-cups of flour, as per recipe, and I mistakenly thought i was measuring with a 1/2 cup…. to which, I didn’t realize until the banana bread was half-way cooked…. thus, I resign myself to the fact that we have entered the “Science Experiment” zone. Let’s just see how this turns out.

THEN, i soldier on and attempt the peach thing. some interesting steps, and I was trying to track the recipe on my phone… I sliced the peaches. I made the batter, I blended the sugar topping and I even added the boiling water before sliding it into the oven (on the rack above the bubbling-over-banana-soup-bread). Next step, tidy the kitchen…. oops, there on the counter is the melted butter that was supposed to be mixed into the cobbler batter….

SON OF A….

soooooo… what’s that make me: 0-for-4 this week? shall I quit while the universe is ahead?

Cooking with the Four-Legged Becker’s — December 16, 2008

Cooking with the Four-Legged Becker’s

Monday nights, AJ works late… and I tend to fill my time with being crafty. Last night, I turned on the Music Choice Traditional Holiday Favorites and began a’mixing.

The plan was to make two batches each of dog biscuits and Grandma B’s Toffee… The dogs is usually quite “helpful” in the kitchen – meaning that THOR mostly watches me from the doorway, and Lucy chews on a bone in the other room… but last night, they must have known that i was making something specifically for the dog world! None of the ingredients are any different than what you would most likely already have in your cupboard, and honestly, people could eat this stuff (though, i probably wouldn’t, but i’m picky like that)… but somehow they knew this was for them! Their noses were all sorts of up in my business. they were applying for “official taste testers,” for sure!

too cute.

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Here they are, “helping” me roll out the dough

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sitting so politely – hoping for a nibble… but did i give in? oh, no sir!

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after sampling from their handy work, they smothered me with kisses

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here is a batch of Grandma’s Toffee…. but then, this morning, i found this link and it makes the whole process look so much easier– i just may try it and see… but as my mom says- Grandma’s way is so special– you can’t give that up… no, i won’t… fully.

and then i took some time to fill the pepper mill… and two peppercorns fell out — looking oddly reminiscent of mouse droppings– of which, if you have been reading along with me, is NOT something that makes my day…
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Cue: shivers down my spine… uggh!… but, you can see some of the cooling dog biscuits in the background. yea us!

and then, since i had the camera out, i decided to take some photos of some of the latest crafty projects, thanks to my friend, Brooke!

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After making a larger version of this one for the Blonde Sister-In-Law’s birthday (and after AJ thought i had made it for us, and asked why i was giving it away), i decided to make a mini version for us… 😉

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And then, i found these colored balls at the Hobby Lobby (my obsession continues) and couldn’t resist. so this one was made for the Brunette Sister-In-Law… she know’s she’s getting it — I am just the slug that hasn’t taken it to her yet…

Oh, so much fun with the glue gun lately…

and finally — i’ll let you in on the first stages of my latest craftiness… (thanks to Meghan!)… but i can’t tell you any more because it just happens to be an xmas present for The Cutest Niece In The Whole World… and i would hate to ruin the surprise!!!
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ahh… fun times, indeed!

Happy Holidaze From The Becker’s — December 1, 2008

Happy Holidaze From The Becker’s

December is here – and i am excited because:

– i was finally allowed to pull out our tiny stash of holiday decorations. (i was waiting on The Boy to help, and rightfully so– not two minutes in to his trek into the basement did i hear, “Don’t Come Down Here!”… no, he was not stashing a surprise holiday gifty for moi… he was disposing of another rodential intruder! I SWEAR, PEOPLE!!! THE MADNESS HAS TO STOP!)

– I can fully and openly listen to my holiday tuneage… of which i have been secretly consuming since two weeks after halloween…

– and i have already made one full batch of Grandma’s famous Toffee… of which, i do not like, and thus is the perfect candy to make, batch after batch. (last year i made 56 batches between turkey day and new years… that’s a lot of sugar and butter, people!)

I am pretty proud of myself – on Wednesday, i mailed all the holiday cards and most, if not all, should be delivered by today, at the latest. For your holiday viewing pleasure, here’s what we sent (with the handy-dandy “what is this picture” feature):

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We wish you and yours a joyous holiday season!