Monday, July 16, 2012

A Potential Direction?

For those of you who haven't been in the job search in more than 5-7 years, you might be surprised by what I'm about to say. It is really hard to find a job even with a Bachelor's degree. Years ago, people were saying that as long as you go to college, employers would be ecstatic to have you. Not so much now. Because a college education/degree has become so common, every job wants you to have a specific education and if you don't have it, don't even bother applying. I have 6 years of teaching experience and I might as well be a high school graduate, because that's about all I qualify for. 

So, here are some jobs that I *do* "qualify" for... 
1) teaching English classes in Asia (China, South Korea) or other foreign countries
2) fast food
3) maybe working at a grocery store (even there, people want that specific experience)

Yes, I am frustrated... as enticing as China is, it isn't. I can't imagine moving across the world ALONE for a minimum of a year. The only advantage would be that I have some dear friends who are in the adoption process in China and they'd most likely be making the trip to China while I was there. If I had a friend or husband to go with, then I might be more open. I'm just not adventurous/outgoing/confident enough to do that. 

That being said, I'm considering pursuing my Master's in Math Education... now, you might be going back to my first post that said I don't want to teach anymore... I've been toying with the idea of teaching math for about 5 years... it was something I should have done when I went for undergrad... but I can't live with regret... anyway, it is a better option than trying to find a job that doesn't require a specific level of education or having to pursue a Master's in something that is totally off from where I'm at right now. I know there are a few companies out there that don't have a lot of requirements and pay well, but I can't put all my eggs into one basket that any of those will work out. 

I'm going to consult with God regarding this idea, but if it is what he wants, then I'm going end up doing whatever I can to make ends meet then looking into this plan... 

So, yes, your prayers are greatly appreciated. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Peanut Butter Cups, Seriously?!

I had a friend tell me once that peanut butter and chocolate is the best combination for candy. Then, all of a sudden, a candy company started using that for part of their slogan/advertising... hmmm 

Anyway, my niece is just starting to enjoy peanut butter. (She likes this chocolate silk pb that someone makes and also nutella, though.) She has enjoyed peanut butter cups longer than peanut butter itself. My mom, brother, and sister all like peanut butter cups. If you haven't figured it out yet, I like sweets. My fabulous grandpa gave me that gene... candy & baked goods & ice cream... I could survive. 

I found this recipe Peanut Butter Eggs and knew I had to try it. Once I tried it, I knew I had to make more. The first time that I made these, I only had chunky peanut butter. I also didn't have the stuff to make the chocolate. My mom has this amazingly large slab of chocolate that she won at an auction. She has barely used 1/4 of it, so I used some to make some delicious treats for her. I followed the recipe with the pb, powdered sugar, and salt. Then after I waited entirely too long for the pb chunks (didn't have the egg shape, just more of a ball) to harden, I melted the chocolate in a glass container in the microwave. I dropped the pb pieces in the chocolate, then stuck them back in the freezer. These turned out delicious, so I knew I had to make some more. 

So, let me tell you what I did to modify the recipe. 

1/4 C creamy peanut butter 
1/4 C powdered sugar 

I mixed these together. I found that I liked the mixture to be a bit more sticky because it made the pb taste a bit better. I know that I added a bit of each until I got the right consistency. 

2 T cocoa powder
3 T melted margarine (we use Fleischmann's which is basically just oils solidified) 
Agave nectar 

I mixed these together. I wanted the chocolate coating to have some sweetness to it, but didn't want to use a bunch of agave, either. I mixed the cocoa powder and margarine together. If it seems dry, you can add more margarine. I added the agave to help make it more wet. I found that it worked well even though it was still thick. You don't want it to be liquid like melted chocolate. 

Made with cocoa powder mixture
I smushed the chocolate mixture on the bottom and sides of some mini muffin pans. (In the future I'd use liners.)  After I let those set for about a half hour, I used a cookie scoop to put some peanut butter mix in the chocolate. Then I scooped the remaining chocolate on top of the peanut butter. 

For this recipe, I found that I had extra peanut butter, so I melted some milk chocolate for the rest of the family. 

I let the cups freeze for about an hour before carefully removing them to a plastic bag. 

Lessons learned: 
1) Use mini muffin liners 
2) Let the cups get really frozen
3) When you want to remove the cups from the pan, if you don't have liners, make sure to let it sit a few minutes, then carefully remove 
4) Mini muffin pans are rather large for a pb cup... 

Made with melted milk chocolate

 My niece liked the bitter taste of the candies made with cocoa powder. I thought it tasted good, but the chocolate was rather thick. 

Overall, no one has complained about these peanut butter cups since I've started making them. Maybe I'll make a HUGE one for my niece's birthday since cake is out of the question. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Extra Special Oatmeal Cookies

Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - found on


1/2 C plus 6  T butter, softened
3/4 C firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
2 eggs 
1 t vanilla 
1 1/2 C flour 
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon 
1/2 t salt 3 C quick oats 1 C raisins
Oven: 350
Cream butter & sugars. Add vanilla & eggs, beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add dry mixture to wet mixture, mix well. Add oats & raisins, mix well. 
Cook 8 to 10 minutes. 

So, that's my basic recipe. I made a few modifications. These WON'T be tummy friendly, because I don't have the right butter. I used 1/3 C agave nectar + 1/8 C sugar instead of the 1/2 C granulated sugar. I also cut the vanilla in half because I have very strong vanilla. I used 1/2 C plus 4 T of butter. I used 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 t salt. I wanted a mixture of oatmeal cookies, so I used butterscotch, chocolate chips, M&Ms, raisins and walnuts. I ended up using butterscotch and walnuts together to balance the two tastes. I also combined M&Ms with chocolate chips. If you divide the batter evenly, you can do about 1/4 C of the mix-ins. Or just add as much as looks good. 
All About Agave said that the agave might make things brown a bit quicker. I don't want to ruin the cookies, so I set the oven to 325 (also good because my mom's oven runs a little hot). 

I cooked each batch for 11-12 minutes. My favorite of all the batches I made were the oatmeal raisin (go figure!). But, my favorite cookies of all time are oatmeal raisin.