Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Who dunnit?

For the record, I did NOT make the recent changes to this blog! Don't have a clue as to what happened to my background or who altered the colors of my fonts & such. Where my "banner" went is beyond me, too. Darn it all anyway.

*grumbles about boring appearance of blog*

Workin' it!

A couple of months ago, right after school began again, I signed up to be a substitute teacher. There were a few snafoos with the FBI background search, but all is finally cleared. Yesterday morning, I was called by the school secretary & offered a class to cover, since the regular teacher was feeling kind of pukish. So, I accepted the challenge, gleefully, and hopped into the shower. No sooner did I get out of the shower, when the phone rang and my old job as cashier at the grocery store was being offered to me. So, I arranged to meet with the boss after I finished at the school for the day & went into town for a fun day of social interaction & adult mentoring.

I have a completely new-found respect for teachers!!! The class I taught was in the 5th grade and what a great group of children! They taught me some things and were, for the most part, very helpful. Yes, there were some challenging kids, but I adored each child for his/her uniqueness. *contented sigh*

After school was over for the day, I went to the old job & spoke with the boss. He is willing to work with my schedule at the school, but can also offer me all the hours I want. I let him know that I won't be able to do the floor mopping in the future, because of how hard & painful that is for my back & he was willing to work around that. It would be nice if he were able to pay me more, but I do know there are some benefits offered to employees, after a length of orientation. What I shall save on fuel costs, by working close to home & the benefits should help offset the shameful wages the store pays. Plus, I will be able to go home to let Chikki & Muffin out to go potty, either during my shifts at the school/store &/or between jobs, if I happen to work both jobs in one day.

Yeah, it's well passed time for me to rejoin the planet, on a local level & get back to work. Who knows, with the extra income, I just might be able to purchase little extras each month... like groceries! :)

Home baked goodness!

A couple of days ago, I finally found my beloved recipe for biscotti and made a batch. Oh yummness galore! A couple of friends requested the recipe, so here goes... and don't blame the calories on me! ;) I made some changes to the original recipe & have noted them in italics for the reader.

Hazelnut-Almond Biscotti

Almond-Macadamia-Coconut Biscotti

1 1/2 cup blanched whole almonds *I used a small bag of almond slivers*
1/2 cup Hazelnuts *I used a small bag of macadmia nuts*
*1 cup sweet, flake coconut*
4 cups flour *make it 5 cups, to accomodate the extra ingr. of the altered recipe*
2 teaspoons baking powder *3 teaspoons*
1teaspoon cinammon *1/2 teaspn. cinammon, 1/3 allspice, & 1/3 ground ginger*
5 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted & cooled
2 cups sugar
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or almond extract, if desired*

Preheat oven to 375*F. *preheat to 350*F if you are using the cheaters recipe!*
Toast almonds until lightly golden. Cool. Grind 1/2 cup of the almonds fine. Toast the hazelnuts & rub off skin, coursely chop. *or cheat, like me & buy the nuts already skinned! Ground 1/2 of the almonds & 1/2 of the macadamia nuts finely, then coursely chop/grind the remaining nuts & coconut. When all is ground & chopped, you should have 3 cups total of the nuts & coconut. Feel free to fudge these ingredients as far as quantities, as long as the end result is the 3 cups total.*

Reduce oven temp. to 350*F. *you know... ;)*
Butter cookie sheets. *butter flavored spray works just dandy & is less harmful to the hips! I lightly sprayed the sheet & then spread with a paper towel. This helps to eliminate excessive burning on the bottom of the biscotti*

Combine flour, baking powder, spice(s). Add nuts. *and other goodies, as long as it's 3 cups combined total* Whisk eggs until frothy, add melted butter & sugar, mixing until combined. Add to flour/nut mixture. Dough should be mixed thoroughly & just slightly sticky to the touch when just right. Adjust the amount of flour to achieve this consistency for your altitude.

Shape four (4) 12" long X 2 1/2" wide X 1" high logs. Place 4" apart on cookie sheets, smoothing tops. Bake 25 minutes or until firm when pressed in center. (I sometimes use the toothpick to determine how done the loaf is.) Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly. Cut loaves diagonally into 1/2" slices. Stand pieces upright on cookie sheets. Bake an additional 20 minutes longer, or until sides of biscotti are a light golden brown. Remove from oven & allow to cool COMPLETELY before storing in cookie jar or ziplock bags.

Enjoy with a lovely cup of tea or coffee! BTW, this recipe makes a LOT of biscotti, so it's a great way to fill a void on the holiday gift list. It travels well, too, so you can mail it to friends & family!