Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Buckeye Candy

Buckeyes, the name brings to mind several things. First, Buckeyes are the state tree of Ohio. They are a deciduous tree, related to the Horse chestnut. The fruit is said to resemble the eye of a buck (deer), hence the name. Carrying this smooth, chestnut brown seed in your pocket is considered good luck. Then there are the Buckeyes, the name of the sports teams from that school out in Columbus, Ohio. Being from Pennsylvania we tend to pay to much attention to them. And finally, the most delicious of the Buckeyes, that delectable peanut butter and chocolate treat made to resemble the buckeye seed. These candies are very popular in both Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. The homemade ones are much better than the packaged ones you can sometimes find.

I make these every year because they are the favorite of my husband. Also in their favor is that a batch makes a lot, and they keep exceedingly well when kept in the refrigerator and can even be frozen with no ill effects. I haven't made mine yet this year, but will probably do so in the next day or two. This recipe comes from a postcard I bought years ago, at an Ohio rest stop along the turnpike.

Ohio Buckeye Candy
Mix together 3 cups (28 oz. jar) creamy peanut butter, 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cups) softened butter, and 2 lbs. confectioner's sugar.
Form into small balls.
Place on wax paper and refrigerate.

Using a toothpick, dip balls into melted dipping chocolate (recipe calls for 16 oz. although it always seems to take me 32 oz.) until almost covered, leaving some of the peanut butter mixture exposed on the top.

Refrigerate and Enjoy!

Bee at From the Desk of Bee Drunken has started a virtual candy exchange. Go to her site and you'll find candy recipes that will give you a sugar high just reading about them. It's also interesting to see what candies are considered the traditional holiday must haves in different parts of the world.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Blogger Book Boost

'Tis the season for giving and receiving, and what better gift to give or receive than that of a book. In the age of over-consumerism and economic meltdown, a book is a gift that will be cost effective as well as entertain, transport, and be thought provoking. Books are the perfect gift of the young and the old and everyone in between. Even my one year old is a book lover and will sit and page through a book by herself. Of course, she also sometimes likes to eat her books, but we're working on that.

Sarah, at Sarah Laurence Blog, has come up with a great way to share book recommendations this holiday season. Click on the link to her blog and you will find her recommendations. Be sure to read the comments as well, because they are filled with more info and links to other Blogger Book Boost posts. If you don't know what to buy, this is a good starting point.

As I mentioned, I have a young daughter and so most of my book buying of late has been for her. One of her most beloved books and one that is very engaging is "Baby Says Peekaboo!" by DK Publishing. This was her favorite book when she was between six and nine months old, and she still picks it up at least once a day.

One of her current favorites is "One Snowy Night" by M. Christina Butler and Tina Macnaughton. This is a touch and feel board book with a winter gift-giving theme. Lillian loves the different textures.

I recently had the good fortune to acquire the garden book "Planthropology" by Ken Druse. This is a great choice for any plant lover or gardener on your list. Not only are there beautiful pictures, but there is so much information about the history of plants, the mathematics in plants, and plants in art.

These last two selections are novels that I enjoyed, although I read both of them some time ago. The first, "Ocean Sea" by Alessandro Baricco, I read so long ago (probably eight years), I can't even describe to you what it is about. I just remember that I loved the language of this book and it was one that I saved to re-read some day.

The second is a book I bought because I love Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and thought it would be an interesting companion book to P&P. It is "Mr. Darcy's Diary" by Amanda Grange. I loved reading about the characters I had come to know and love from a different perspective and would recommend this to all Austenite's.

Thus concludes my list. Although I would also like to mention one book that is on my list to receive this year. "Hello, Cupcake" by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson is the foodie book I must have. Cupcakes seem to be the hot item these days and I love the artistry of cake decorating. This book just looks fun to me.