Sunday, September 20, 2009

Toffee Cheesecake Drops

OK...I have tried...I can't get past it. I am on the Bon Jovi tangent again. After this summer I will never be the same again.

In June, I got to live one of my lifelong dreams. It was to go with Wanda to see Bon Jovi in concert...something we have wanted to do since we were teenagers. It has been a lifetime of music, and happy memories and road trips and air guitar and so much more!

So, we nabbed Laura to come along with us. I am pretty sure she wasn't as excited as we were, although she IS a fan. To make the day even more perfect it was Wanda's birthday. The concert gods were shining on us!

It started out with about 140 kmph drive, courtesy of Laura to Moncton! It was insane..with my JBJ cd collection in tow, we cruised and sang and made signs for the window of the vehicle! The weather was warm and perfect!

OK...let me tell you...there are no words to describe the noises and actions that came over my body when I saw that cavalcade of impressive black vehicles pull up in the back of the stage. I. LOST. IT. Worse than any 12 year old at a Jonas brothers concert. I was screaming, bawling and jumping like a crazed lunatic. It was the bet day EVER!!! And I hadn't even SEEN Jon yet! I think I body-checked the guy in front of me....I sure hope he was ok after they took him away on the stretcher.

When Jon walked out on stage with that beautiful caramelly toffee hair and those shiny white teeth, every song and memory came over me. It was like my whole life flashed before my eyes and it was wonderful! **sigh*** The concert was everything I hoped it would be. I, with my laryngitis and all, screamed the words to every song and never sat down the entire night. Ohhhh, the adrenaline coursing through my body that night!

The best part of the night was when they played Dead or Alive. I took one look at Wanda and we were hugging, singing and looking in disbelief at the band that sang out the one song that carries us through to this day. Richie ripped it up with that guitar riff like nobody's business!

There was some disappointment, tho with being too friggin' far from the stage. Andddd...I didn't get to touch his arm, make eye contact, catch a guitar pick or hurl my bra onto the stage. BUT, alas! This will not be our last trip to BonJoviworldland. Oh no...this is just the beginning. **Insert evil mwwaaaahhhahahahaa***

"WE ARE COWBOYS (ok, cowgirls), and on our steel horses (aka: my next rental car when I visit) we will ride"...right into the VIP section of his next concert! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! **Throwing my cowboy hat into the air!**


Toffee Cheesecake Drops
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

40 min | 15 min prep

SERVES 24

* 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
* 8 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1 egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup chopped chocolate-covered english toffee bar (I used Skor Bits and bars)

1. Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Set aside an ungreased baking sheet.
3. Place flour,baking soda and salt in a small bowl and whisk to blend well.
4. Place brown sugar, cream cheese and butter in a medium sized mixing bowl and beat with a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed until dough is lighter in texture, about 20 seconds.
5. Add egg and vanilla, mix briefly to blend.
6. Scrape down sides of bowl and add flour mixture.
7. Beat on low speed just until dry ingredients are blended inches.
8. Stir in chocolate-covered toffee with a wooden spoon.
9. Drop cookie batter by rounded tablespoons into twenty-four mounds onto baking sheet, spacing them 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart.
10. Bake until cookies appear dry and are golden, up to 20-25 minutes.
11. While cookies are baking, lay waxed paper on wire rack.
12. Remove baking sheet from oven and immediately transfer cookies to waxed paper.
13. Let cookies cool completely.



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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Struesel Muffins

Today is a beautiful one. The kind where there is just enough warmth to make you think summer might last a bit longer. But...taking another look out in my front yard, I can see the leaves on my trees are turning yellow. They are even starting to fall to the ground. Sigh....fall is here.

With fall comes the age old tradition of the annual trip to the Annapolis Valley for the Pumpkin Run. This year I am missing out and so wishing I was there to go with Wanda. We would get in the car and go, and amazingly enough with Wanda's stellar directional skills (note the sarcasm), we would make it to my grandmother's house. Yes, Wanda...you really DO have to turn off at exit 15. ;-)

No matter what vehicle we took, somehow at the end of the trip, we would always manage to have it crammed full of fall produce. We would drive all around the valley looking for the biggest, baddest pumpkin we could carry between the two of us. Short of Dill's giant pumpkins, we came up with some pretty good ones over the years. Pumpkins were the most precious of cargo...they had to fit in first, and all other stuff crammed in around it. That is the official law of the Pumpkin Run.

Road trips are always fun. Wanda and I never have a dull moment when we travel together. There are Tim Horton's stops, yard sales, music blaring, wrong turns (once again with Wanda's driving) and LOTS of picture taking.

There are the faithful walks back to the old house in the pasture behind my grandmother's house, too. No matter what the weather, we make that trek. We'd don the most dazzling rubber boots that we could find in the closet at Gram's and grab some doe skin jackets and off we'd go! I think we go every year just because we are scared that the next time we arrive there the old house may be gone.

Trips to the valley, walks in the woods, the spicy smell of the leaves on the ground..these are all the best part of fall. It is funny how in a world of constant change, there are some things that you just never want to change. This is one of them.

So, on that note, I whipped up some delicious muffins. These, too are a tradition. This is the 3rd variation of this recipe I have tried. The original came from Kim, the next one was one I found, then this one is compliments of Wanda. Bring. On. The. Muffins!!!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Struesel Muffins
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1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brown sugar

4 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons white sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons chopped pecans

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin (I actually used pumpkin pie filling PLUS the spices)
1/3 cup olive or veg oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:
~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour 18 muffin cups, or use paper liners.
2. To make the filling: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until soft. Add egg, vanilla and brown sugar. Beat until smooth, then set aside.
3. For the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Add butter and cut it in with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.
4. For the muffin batter: In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and add eggs, pumpkin, olive oil and vanilla. Beat together until smooth.
5. Place pumpkin mixture in muffin cups about 1/2 full. Then add one tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture right in the middle of the batter. (I made a little well in the center of the batter with a spoon then filled it with the cc mixture). Try to keep cream cheese from touching the paper cup. Sprinkle on the streusel topping.
6. Bake at 375 degrees F (195 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Deely Bobs

This morning I was tucking away a few stragglers from Christmas decorating. Yes, I know it is long over with...but somehow a few decorations managed to not make it in the box. So as I packed these away, I found in the mix some little knitted stockings, about 4" long that I had made when I think I was around 10 or 11 years old. As I held these in my hands I was taken back in time, seeming just like it was yesterday, to when I made these.

I was at my Gram MacDonald's house (where we spent half our childhood), and she was doing her usual knitting and crocheting. She showed me these cute little stockings and how to make them. I was hell bent on them because I think I must have made around 40 of them over those next few days.

My grandmother had to be the least fussy person I know. She never wore make-up, never bought anything expensive for herself and was super frugal. But she had a passion for creating and always had some new craft supplies on hand. I think craft supplies and candy were her indulgences in life.

Gram would take me up the stairs to the landing where she had a buffet cupboard that held all the goods. There was yarn and glue, knitting needles, all different types of paper, fabrics and my MOST favorite of all, GLITTER!!! There were little vials in red, blue, green, silver and gold. The best part is the buffet cupboard now sits in my living room. It reminds me of how she would open that cupboard up and ALWAYS share its contents with me.

I still have 2 of the little vials with just a bit of glitter left in them. I refuse to throw them out. Not only do they hold the glitter, but they hold the memories of knitting with Gram, cutting out cookies on that White Tupperware baking sheet, playing school upstairs with my sisters and sewing for hours on the treadle sewing machine.

I was talking this morning with my sister Wanda about memories and the past. We cannot go back in time, but if I could magically for one day go back, I would choose to be with Gram. Her and I were kindred spirits. Most of my creative abilities I KNOW comes from her...right from the cooking, baking and crafting. She knew how to make something from nothing and was darn good at it. She had a strong will and was as stubborn as hell. That is why I loved her so much. I see her in me...I now know to be proud of that.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

These yummy treats are so simple to make and taste like the most gourmet of confections! My Gram MacDonald used to LOVE Macintosh toffee bars! She used them for a special recipe at Christmas time, called Cornflake Toffee Drops. If she were here today I know she would love this recipe as well.

Deely Bobs
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
4 MacIntosh Toffee bars, whacked hard on counter several times to break up
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
whole large marshmallows, one bag should do
Rice Krispies to roll the goods in (I used Vanilla Rice Krispies this time and they ROCK in this recipe)

Over low heat, melt Toffee bars, butter and sweetened condensed milk until bars are thoroughly blended. Dip marshmallows in toffee mixture, then in Rice Krispies. Let cool on parchment lined cookie sheets.

***Just a note...I prefer to keep mine in the freezer. I like them better frozen..they are super chewy and crispy!!!***

Otherwise, refrigerate after cooled.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Double Chocolate Macadamia Nut Caramel Bars

My sister says I am high maintenance. She even went as far as to warn my husband before he married me that I was trouble. What exactly did that mean?? Crikey...

I think as a person I am pretty self sufficient. I have come to the point in my life that if I decide I need to have something, that I had better come up with an ingenious way of getting it. On my own. **cue in Pussycat Dolls, "I don't Need a Man".

Yes, I like the indulgences life has to offer...who doesn't?? Like that leather couch I had to wait almost 20 years of marriage for because we couldn't afford anything more than second hand?? Or the Kitchen Aid Convection dream oven that also was 20 years in the making. ***Fond memories of my avocado green double oven**. Good things come to those who persevere.

Also topping my "List" are gourmet food stores, kitchen gadgetries, shoes (insert heavy sighing here), clothes, skincare, hair products and purses (more sighing, only heavier). **Pausing to think of a few more**. Oh yes...Ikea is now on the "List". Man...that place is LETHAL!

But, through all of this love of life's GOOD THINGS comes one basic, simple and unadorned favorite. Where cosmetics and perfumes and Christian Louboutin's never existed. A place where the only good smells that you will find are when you walk out the door. This wonderful place is the GYM!!

I have always enjoyed the weight training part of working out. Yes, the running and walking and elliptical stuff is good, but what sets my heart on fire are the weights.

This all started about 13 years ago, when my neighbor, a power lifter, convinced myself and a few friends to come work out at his gym. Since then, I have had my on and offs with the weights, but now I am feeling the love once again.

It is a feeling of empowerment, not just for your body but for your mind. I never...even back in high school, wanted to be thought of as one of those weak, simpering, helpless types. I always wanted to feel strong and sure that I could do anything. I have decided that life has so much to offer...why not go out and get it??? !! That is how I roll!

I have also decided that the next time my sister comes to visit (love you, N), she ISN'T getting any of that stuff she calls high maintenance. Nope...not one oooey, gooey square will touch her lips....not one bite of the meal that cost a weeks worth of groceries (not often, but is does happen). Zero....ZIP!!! I will snatch it from her faster than the Grinch does the Who's decoration's. OKkkkkkkkkkkk...so only in my mind will this happen, but it was a nice dream while it lasted.

What REALLY will happen is I will cut her some of my Double Chocolate Macadamia Nut Caramel Bars, make her some hot chocolate and I will listen to her tell me yet one more time how she warned Scott about me.

To quote the wise rapper, Kanye, "N-n-now th-th-that don't kill me,
Can only make me stronger".


Double Chocolate Macadamia Nut Caramel Bars
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Crust Layer:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into pieces

Macadamia Caramel Layer:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 cups whole macadamia nuts, toasted*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate layer:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1 1/2 bags of Special Dark Chocolate chips, melted

DIRECTIONS:
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Make the crust:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Place flour, cocoa, brown sugar and butter in food processor bowl. Cover and pulse until fine crumbs form. Press firmly into bottom of 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

3. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan on wire rack.

Make the macadamia nut layer:
Combine butter, sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk in medium saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until mixture turns golden. Remove from heat and stir in macadamia nuts and vanilla. Pour over crust.

Make the chocolate layer:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium (50% power) for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave 30 seconds more or until chocolate is softened. Stir until smooth.
2. Spread melted chocolate evenly over macadamia nut layer. Refrigerate until chocolate sets. Cut into bars.

*To toast macadamia nuts, spread on baking sheet. Bake at 350°F. for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.
**I used President's Choice Bag on Macadamias, which I might add are the size of footballs, so I snapped those bad boys in two on the seam. If you use smaller ones, keep them whole.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

White Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

All right it is time for props. President's Choice rocks!! Can I get an AMEN?? With my obsession of Caramel, I had to buy the Dulce de Leche. OH. MY. GAWD. If sin can be bottled, then this is it. Really. It is THAT good. The ultimate in creamy, super thick and you can just spoon gobs of it out of the jar. It reminds me of something, too. It has almost that Kraft-i-licious kind of underlying flavor. Only better.

At one point in my life I thought, hey maybe I will be Cryogenically tucked away, but now I am thinking of being entombed in the PC Dulce de Leche. I am sure there must be some similar effects that could lead to future revival.

I am a product-a-holic...a slave to what's hot and new. I jump for joy when I see the new Insider's Report. I know it is a bit weird, but what is better than finding a new product that turns out to be the best thing since bread came sliced??? New food items too, are the shiz. They can revive cooking and baking and bring a new twist to a recipe.

As I shop this Christmas season, though, I have to say it is not quite the same experience as Superstore at home. I haven't quite achieved that lovin' feeling when I walk through the door. There is no one to greet me in every department. Like sweet Brown Sugar in the bakery and Mr. Kraft in the cheese aisle **le sigh**. I know it will take time...but I have to say I sure do miss it.

I also miss the late night shopping sprees for more Eagle Brand milk or marshmallows with Wanda. I swear, we get the urge to bake at the most ungodly hour. But yet, up to SS we would go...a trip that should have lasted 10 minutes, but somehow was about an hour. We always seemed to get sidetracked in the kitchen gadgets aisle...seeing if we could score a deal on a professional grade cookie sheet. Yep there is many a memory centered around the Antigonish Superstore!

So, as I give it up one more time to the President, let me just say that I won't back down. I will find the love in Superstore in Medicine Hat if it kills me. Maybe, just MAYBE it might be in the Dulce de Leche aisle.


WHITE CHOCOLATE DULCE DE LECHE CHEESECAKE
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ingredients:

* CRUST
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
* FILLING
* 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) white chocolate chips
* 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
* 2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 1 1/2 cups (President's Choice Dulce de Leche

Directions:
FOR CRUST:
PREHEAT oven to 300° F.

COMBINE butter, sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add crumbs; toss until crumbs are moistened. Press onto bottom of ungreased 9-inch spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

FOR FILLING:
HEAT 1 2/3 cups morsels and cream in medium, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Cool for 15 minutes.

BEAT cream cheese in large mixer bowl until fluffy. Beat in morsel mixture and vanilla extract. Stir in eggs. Remove from heat. Heat 1 cup Dulce de leche dip in small saucepan over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or just until slightly softened. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup cheesecake mixture. Alternately spoon cheesecake and caramel mixtures into prepared pan, ending with caramel. Swirl gently with knife.

BAKE for 55 to 60 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly. Turn off oven and let cheesecake stand in oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven. Let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes. Run knife around edge of cheesecake. Cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

**At this point I also made a whipped white chocolate ganache topping for my cheesecake. I thought it just needed something smooth ans creamy on top!! You HAVE to add this...it is silky smooth!! The recipe follows:

WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
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1-1/2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces white chocolate chips

In a saucepan combine 1 1/2 cups of the cream and bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat. Place white chocolate chips in a large bowl and pour hot cream into the bowl containing the white chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Transfer to the refrigerator to cool, stirring occasionally.

When mixture is cold and thickened, beat with an electric mixer to soft peaks, then beat the last few strokes by hand with a whisk until thick and firm. (Be careful not to over-whisk, or mixture will become grainy.)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

French Chocolate Cheesecake

I can remember being a kid a pouring over the pages of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I was fascinated...drawn in by the complete escapism the book lent to me at that early age. I was probably in grade 4 or 5 and I remember my teacher asking me if I could return the book (I was a Chocolate Factory hog) so other kids, too, could have a chance to read it. I wanted it all to myself. Why, why, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy do I have to give it back???? **having a Veruca fit**

I had visions of walking through that factory...my mind was filled with Everlasting Gobstoppers, Fizzy Lifting drinks and Rainbow Drops galore!! My favorite part was when Violet chews the magic stick of gum. The one that gives her a full course roast beef dinner with all the trimmings, and that she could taste every last bite, right down to the blueberry pie for dessert!! I couldn't possibly imagine the technology behind THAT stunt.

My dad always says, "If Wendy made it, then it has to either be made of chocolate or cream cheese". And that is a bad thing how????? Yes, it is true. I admit it. And I will fight tooth and nail to be the one to make dessert. I feel just like Bree on last week's episode of Desperate Housewives...not to be outdone by someone else's prize winning Lemon pie. I try not to be so dominant, but it just happens. See what you have done, Charlie????

Most of what is good in life somehow is related to chocolate. When chocolate melts in our mouths it produces feelings of pleasure. That in itself is a bonus. When winter comes and stays for 6 months...hot chocolate helps warm our bones. Seriously...we have national holidays that would seem somehow violated if chocolate was not involved. I mean, what would Easter be without the eggs and bunnies??? Valentines day?? What would happen if all the pretty boxes contained icky hard candy?? Or worse yet...licorice?? **shudder**

To quote Martha, it is a Good Thing. If we can have just one pleasure in life, it should be good chocolate. No cheap-it-looks-like-it-was-Turtle-waxed stuff. I mean go NOW to Godiva. Make it worth every bite. Or, go to your kitchen and make this cheesecake. It might not be Godiva, but it runs a close second. It melts like a magic elixir on your tongue. Just like Violet's magic chewing gum. Only better.


French Chocolate Cheesecake
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Crust:
~~~~~~~~~~~
1 1/2 cups ground pecans
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Filling:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3-8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all crust ingredients. Press in bottom and up sides of greased and parchment paper lined 10" spring form pan. ***DO NOT USE SMALLER PAN...the filling comes right to the top of the 10" pan**** Set crust aside.

Filling:
~~~~~~~~~~

HEAT cream in medium saucepan over medium heat just to boiling. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until chocolate is melted. Cool for 15 minutes.

BEAT cream cheese and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl on medium speed until smooth. Add chocolate mixture; beat on low speed until just combined. Add eggs; stir until just combined. Pour into prepared crust. Place pan on baking sheet.

BAKE for 55 to 60 minutes minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes; run knife around edge of cheesecake. Cool for 30 minutes. Remove side of spring form pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Cover; refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Garnish as desired. This makes one massive and heavy cheesecake!! Dig in!! And don't forget the caramel sauce!!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bon Jovi Squares

I am in a tizzy. A full blown fit where there is hair pulling, bodies being thrown to the floor (mainly mine), and excessive high pitched squealing.

I have a problem, you see. It is this whole Bon Jovi concert that has set me right off. He is coming to Calgary, which is only 3 hours from my house. But here it gets complicated. My sister Wanda and I made a pact. The pact was that we were going to get to one of his concerts before we die. But TOGETHER!! I can go, she can't. This just isn't right. I refuse to go without her.

The reason for this whole kafuffle started way back in the 80's. There was this album called 7800° Fahrenheit that started my obsession. It goes on from there through the permed and teased hair, the leopard print leggings, rubber bracelets and the leather jackets. Right into my bedroom, where the walls were barely visible through all the posters of that caramelly highlighted hair. **Insert light bulb moment** Talk about juxtaposition: my love of caramel = my love of his caramelly hair. I feel so deep right now. ;-)

There were songs that seemed to fit through every phase of my life. There was Silent Night...the tune that my first love, Fabian, made into our theme song. Then came Livin' on a Prayer...the song that got every hardcore 80's girl through the day. There was some Bad Medicine...the only prescription ever needed. Bed of Roses, Never Say Good bye, I'll be there for you...classic ballads for those moments when chocolate and wine is just not enough. Now that I live in Alberta, "Who Say's You Can't Go Home" rings true.

My all time favorite song is Dead or Alive. One day, I will rip into Richie's guitar riff and make it look effortless. You may laugh but this is what I aspire to be. This is also the song that I tell my children over and over I want played as they carry the casket out at my funeral. We will have none of this weepy business. Just a good quality final exit from life. Gone out in a Blaze of Glory. ( For those who have read my previous posts, this happens right after the sprinkling of the body glitter)

I remember a few years ago..back when Lauren was in her mid teens. There would be many an occasion where we would be traveling in the car, or just listening to music at home and Bon Jovi would come on. There would be screeching and running to crank the stereo up (Wanda and I). Then the air guitar and singing would commence (Wanda and I, again). Lauren and her friends would take one look at us and practically run like wounded animals from the room. Now today, after many years of never giving up and subliminal messaging in her sleep , Lauren has also developed the love for his music. Obviously a sign of stellar parenting skills.

Anyone who knows me, knows me as his Biggest Fan. I will never deny it if asked. So when you get in my car and Bon Jovi comes on the radio, don't ask me to turn it down.

So, I cannot entertain the thought of going alone to this concert. When we go...and we will someday...know there will be 2 girls, front and center whose lives were forever changed because of his songs. Words that take us back to exact moments..and to the future, where we will Make a Memory.

**Going to resume position back on the floor**

As a tribute to the Caramel Hair...I give you this recipe!

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Caramel Shortbread Squares
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2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup whole sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 bag milk chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. In medium bowl, mix together 2/3 cup of butter, white sugar and flour until evenly crumbly. Press into a 9" square pan, sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake until light golden brown.
3. In medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and Sweetened condensed milk. Over med-low heat, bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring the whole time. Remove from heat and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes, until thickened. Pour over baked crust. Crust can be either warm or cool.
4. Put chocolate and veggie oil in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute, then stir well. Continue for 20 second increments until totally melted. Pour over the caramel layer and spread evenly. Chill. Cut into squares.

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