September 20, 2009

caramel in a can

So I've heard things about turning sweetened condensed milk into caramel, while it's still in the can. I googled my little heart out and found times ranging from 2-4 hours so I did a little experiment on the rainy afternoon we had here in the Chicago area. First I went to Jewel, they were all out of their store brand and I refused to pay $2.59 a can for something that may or may not work so I headed off to Aldi and the $1.39 price tag for an experiment was easier to deal with. Yes, I'm cheap, get over it!

The basic instructions are that you boil the can in a water bath for a specified amount of time then allow to cool and when you open it radiates sunshine and does that little, "oahhhhh" sound like you've struck gold.

I first came across the link on 2 peas and decided my ass couldn't be left out of the widening party which is what sparked my little experiment.

The results? OMGWTFBBQ?! This is like the holy grail of all that is right with the world!

The 2 hour was the best one for pouring, this one is the perfect consistency for drizzling over ice cream, dipping, or even to pour in some coffee. Lighter in color.

The 3 hour is what I call the "all-purpose" version. It's still got a nice drizzle to it but it's a little thicker so you can decorate a plate with it, drizzle it on top of a dessert, use as a filling for chocolate candies, or dipping. Typical caramel color.

The 4 hour one is the one I'm on the fence about. I didn't care for it, it tasted a little burned however after adding some vanilla it was better, needs a little more vanilla than the other two to get rid of the burned taste. This one is a lot thicker than the 2 hour one and would be great for pies or cake fillings. Not for drizzling. Color is darker.

I tried each one with and without vanilla. I preferred them all with the vanilla added however the 2 hour one had the best 'naked' taste to it.

So, from L-R we have the 2 hour, 3 hour, and 4 hour.

**PLEASE TAKE NOTE** When you are boiling these you MUST keep a watchful eye on the water level, take a peek every 30-45 mins, it evaporates quicker than you think. If the water drops below the level of the top of the can it could explode. And no, I'm not responsible if you blow up cans caramel in your kitchen. Mines messy enough without having to clean yours! :p

Wanna freebie? Here are download links to the instructions and some labels:


September 11, 2009

forever in our hearts

I remember 9/11/01 like it was yesterday. I was a senior in high school and was in my 3rd period class which ironically enough was Current Events. My high school had something called the musical minute which is where a minute of music from the radio plays during the last minute of passing period telling you to haul ass to class. My 2nd period class was gym so there was no hurry to get to the locker room and as I was listening to the musical minute the DJ on the radio said very casually there have been reports of a plane hitting one of the WTC towers in NYC. My thoughts were wow, that sucks, thinking it was a small plane with engine trouble.

Our classes were 45 minutes long, by the time I made it to my 3rd period class it was just in time to see the 2nd plane strike the other tower. The rest of the day all the TVs in the school were on and regular lesson plans were put aside. Classmates that had family members who were pilots were hysterical, those with family living and working in NYC were panicked, but everyone remained in a state of shock. The juniors and seniors were allowed to leave for lunch each day but not many did, myself included.

Later that day I had to work. I was a waitress at Steak n Shake. I was the only waitress, of the 4 that were scheduled to work, that came in. It turned out to be a good money day, nice and steady, the mood was very somber and for a full restaurant it was eerily quiet. My manager that nite gave all the employees a free meal and when it was quiet the 5 of us that were working that nite all sat down and ate dinner.

When I got home I fell straight to sleep and waking up the next day was very odd. It seemed so surreal, like waking up from a dream but in reality it was anything but. We had no clue what this meant for our country, we were still reeling from the events the day before. After school and tennis the day after 9/11 me a few friends all went out found a spot in the grass to lay and we talked about how we felt. There were no planes in the sky and that's when it really started sinking in the magnitude of the prior days events. We were close to 2 large airports and 2 smaller airports as well as a little municipal airport, so eerily quiet without the hum of a planes engine.

I will never forget. Thank you is simply not enough to all the men and women who have died for our freedom. I have nothing but respect for the military men and women who serve and protect our country. My sisters boyfriend is in Iraq now and we all want him to come home safe.

I'd like to dedicate this post to Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan W. Collins. He was a year younger than me in high school and was always the life of the party. I didn't know him too well but other friends did, he gave his life in the fight for our country. Photo from this article.

September 4, 2009

wahoo! all my blocks came in

I joined the modernjax Christmas block swap and I got the last 4 blocks today! YEAH! I'm so excited, tomorrow I'll have to slap it all together :p They turned out beautifully and I can't wait to use them. I'm going to add white borders on all the blocks to make them all the same size, some are slightly smaller, some slightly larger. Maybe shoot for 18 inch blocks? We'll see, I have all day tomorrow to think about it!

September 1, 2009

I have NO clue what happened last nite

I know where I was at and for what purpose but can I tell you that I learned anything? Nope. Quite possibly one of the driest and worst classes to date. We're not at a college, in fact our classes are held at an elementary school the academy rents space from. The paramedic class room is 2 classrooms with the wall between them removed and it's quite a large space. If you're a person who doesn't know how to project your voice then those that are NOT in the first 2 rows will have a very hard time hearing you.

Yesterday's lecture was shock. All about shock. Cardiogenic, neurogenic, hypovolemic, anaphylactic, and septic. Let's throw in some acid/base balance and how pH is controlled and maintained. Now, I've had A&P, chemistry, and microbiology before, how the hell this person managed to make my head spin I'll never know. First she didn't know how to break down bicarbonate into it's proper form. She kept adding an extra particle and it was never consistent which really irritated me. Normal pH of the human body is 7.35-7.45 if you're curious.

I did learn *some* things, like when you start an IV using a crystalloid solution you replace at a ratio of 1cc of fluid lost:3cc of fluid replaced, if using just a colloid you only do a 1:1. NS is a crystalloid and blood is an example of a colloid. Another thing in a patient who's in cardiogenic shock, you only run fluids at a TKO (to keep open, not total knock out ;) ) rate because they're already experiencing some stage of pulmonary edema and you don't want to make it worse.

I'm still not fully understanding the buffer system as presented in our books but I do know that acidosis or alkalosis can happen quickly when the body's pH gets either above or below the its normal pH. Sounds like a good question for my science nerd sister.

On to other things, CLINICALS have begun!! We have to do a precepted rotation in the ER before we're set loose to start doing rotations on the 'bolance, dispatch, or ER so I get to do that on Thursday night and then I can start riding, SCORE!! I pass the station I'll be riding at when I do clinicals on my way home from school and I saw them rolling out totally green I wasn't on the rig :(
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