Thursday, December 14, 2017

Awesome Life Friday #141

Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

This is our favorite part of this party each week - the FEATURES !  If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!

Mini Christmas Stocking Ornaments // KBB Crafts & Stitches
"These mini Christmas stockings are super simple to sew from felt, embroidery floss, buttons, and trims from your sewing basket. They make adorable ornaments, obviously, but you can also use them to decorate packages and brighten your holiday place settings."

Angel Ornaments Made From Burlap // The Country Chic Cottage
"Angel ornaments are easy to make and can be a rustic addition to your tree when made with burlap."

Minion Marshmallow Pops // 5 Minutes For Mom
"These Minion Marshmallow Pops are a fun and easy treat that will delight your kids as much as the movie itself!"

Chili Cheese Dog Chili - Pressure Cooker // The Bearded Hiker
"Guys, it’s like…a chili dog in a bowl.  Low-carb if you will.  Maybe Keto, maybe Paleo.  I have no idea what I’m talking about – I have no clue what any of those diets are all about!"

How to Make a Rustic Christmas Wreath // The Boondocks Blog
"This year I wanted to try my hand at a rustic wreath but with items not normally used in a wreath."

Mocha Peppermint Cookies // Cook with Sara
"Coffee and peppermint together in a cookie. And also, chocolate. This was a brilliant idea. Not only that, but they're dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with crushed candy canes. Beautiful, festive, delicious."

If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!

Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!

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Peppermint White Chocolate Fudge #improvcookingchallenge


One of my favorite family traditions for Christmas comes from my time as a child, when my Grandma taught me to make fudge! We would spend a full day making all different flavors and make up big trays to hand out to all of our family members.

It was something that everyone looked forward to each year. Grandma's peanut butter and chocolate fudge became a staple in the kitchen for about a month (unless you had a crazy sweet tooth and ate it all fast).

It can be such a tedious process to make a good fudge. It is so much easier if you have a partner to help you with the stirring (which I will get to later).

This is something that I plan to pass down to my kids when they are old enough. Right now they are only 7 and 4, and I am not comfortable with them working on the stove for this process. I cannot wait until I can teach them what my Grandma taught me.

So, this month, we are again collaborating with the Improv Cooking Challenge, and this month the two ingredients are Peppermint and Chocolate! Perfect for the month of December!!

I decided to stick with my traditions, but give it a little twist by doing Peppermint White Chocolate fudge, yum! I mean you really cannot think of Christmas without thinking of Candy Canes, right?

(Honestly, I personally do not like candy canes, but boy do my kids!!)

This recipe is pretty easy, ingredient wise, but does take some muscles when it comes to stirring the ingredients together.

Peppermint White Chocolate Fudge
Makes approx 50 pieces

1 Can Jet Puffed Marshmallow Creme
3 cups of white sugar
3/4 cup of melted butter
1 small can of evaporated milk (2/3 cups)
1 package of Hershey Candy Cane Kisses (unwrapped)
1 tsp vanilla
2 aluminum trays

So to start, you want to make sure that you are using a large saucepan (like the ones you use to make a huge pot of noodles). Mine got damaged, so I ended up using my Wok!

You want to make sure that all of your ingredients are ready to use before you start. Take the lid off the marshmallow, have the chocolate ready, vanilla measured out.

The process once you remove from the heat is something that needs to be done right then, no time for breaks.

Combine the sugar, butter and evaporated milk into  the pan, and bring to a boil. You need to constantly stir the mixture to make sure it doesn't burn.

When it comes to a full, roiling boil, set a timer for 5 minutes and vigorously stir while it continues to boil, continuing to stir.

Once the timer ends, remove from the heat.

Immediately stir in the marshmallow creme, and stir until it is completely melted in.

You then want to add in the chocolate kisses, and then the vanilla. continuing to stir stir stir.

(This is about the time that I hand it over to my husband to help me stir. My arm gets tired so he gets his man power into it and makes sure it is completely mixed.)

Once you have it all completely combined, you want to immediately pour this mix into two 9"x9" aluminum trays and get them into the fridge.

Let it set up in the fridge for about 3 hours. If you take it out sooner then it won't set correctly, which means that it will be crumbly and/or will turn too soft. You want to be able to cut it up with a butter knife.

To give as gifts, you can make up some platters with your favorite holiday cookies and fudge and hand them out to your family and friends, or pass out little treat boxes of the fudge to those who stop by. They are bound to fall in love with this yummy treat, as I am sure you will too.

Happy Holidays everyone!!

Don't forget to check out what the other Improv Cooking Challenge folks are doing:

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Stars My Destination: Blind Date with a Book (GIVEAWAY)


I took a Blind Date with a Book a while back, a book service that is pretty unique in the way they deliver their product. On the front page of their website you'll see books wrapped in brown paper with nothing more than a few words to describe them. You don't know the title or the author. You don't get to peek at the cover art. The only thing you get is a few words. Quite literally this is a blind date with a book.

I love to read but I have a seriously hard time finding books that keep my attention. I find that even if the subject matter is up my alley, I often times have trouble staying interested because of the way the book is written.

It's nothing against any specific authors. I am just very likely to drop the book after a few chapters if I don't like the way its written.

For example, in the famous Lord of the Rings series Tolkien has a tendency to go so in depth with the description of the scene that I find myself falling asleep before the action picks up in the chapter.

That being said I have read the entire series, including The Hobbit.  So I think it's safe to say I prefer books where the action is steady enough to keep me interested.

After being disappointed by so many books that I spent my hard earned money on, I kind of gave up on being a reader.

That was my situation when Blind Date with a Book helped me out. They offer tons of books but you have no idea what they are. You pick them solely on the few words they use to describe them.

I have to admit, I had quite a bit of anxiety picking my book. Luckily their selection isn't too large and they are constantly rotating titles.

The last time RCHReview looked at Blind Date with a Book, we gave the concept and the words describing the book that was chosen, but were careful to not disclose the book.

This time we chose to take an opposite path. Lets take a look at the book I received but we won't spoil which book it was, so that you can explore what they offer without losing the suspense of selecting your own Blind Date with a Book.

After some careful consideration I chose the book I thought sounded best to me based on my interests.

That book turned out to be The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester - a futuristic sci-fi novel written in 1956, about an average man who was wronged and left to die and his search for revenge among the stars.

Gully Foyle, uneducated, great at nothing with no real desire to be better than he already is, is a crew member aboard a star ship called The Nomad. The ship is attacked and the entire crew is killed except for Foyle.

He spends months scavenging the wreckage floating in space collecting what leftover food and supplies he can, find until one day another ship happens upon him. Foyle sets off the beacons in an attempt to signal the passing ship and be rescued. The ship examines the wreckage then turns away and leaves.

Foyle notices the name stamped on the side of the ship "Vorga". Knowing that there is no way they didn't see the distress beacon he becomes enraged and filled with the desire for a swift and brutal revenge.

Foyle eventually makes a crash landing on a populated asteroid, after rigging the ships engines to fire for a short period.

When he comes to, he finds that his face has been hideously tattooed, an ancient and primitive way of marking the body.

The men and women of the asteroid colony have indoctrinated him into their society and even assigned him a wife.

But Gully's hatred fueled desire for revenge is too much. He finds his way off the asteroid and embarks on a journey to find the pilot of the Vorga, find out why he was left to die, and make them pay.

Gully learns the art of "jaunting", a means of teleportation that is done using nothing more than the human brain, and continues his hunt, eventually finding himself in prison. The burning desire in his soul for revenge drives him to team up with a woman in the prison and attempt to escape.

Will Gully Foyle escape the prison and find the Vorga? Why did they leave him to die? Will he exact his revenge?

Well, there's only really one way to find out. Read the book!

I have to say that even as nervous as I was regarding choosing a book this way, it worked beautifully for me. This quickly became one of my favorite books and I would certainly recommend it to anyone interested in the Sci-fi genre.

I was so pleased with the way that my choice worked out that I plan to try out other books from Blind Date with a Book in the not-so-distant future.

Have you read The Stars My Destination? Let me know what you thought of the book (without giving too much away, of course).

If you are interested in checking out Blind Date with Book for yourself you can find them at the links below.

And keep reading - we are hosting a second Giveaway! Two of our readers worldwide will win a Blind Date with a Book of their own!

Two winner will each receive a Blind Date book of their choice from among those available online at the end of the giveaway.

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment in this entry as instructed by the Giveaway Tools Entry Form below. This will open up additional optional entries to increase your odds of winning. (If you don't leave a comment, any additional entries will be void.)

This giveaway is open WORLD-WIDE and will end just before midnight ET on 12/28. 

The winner will be notified by email 24 to 48 hours after the end of the giveaway by email. In order to claim the giveaway prize, the winner will need to respond within 24 hours of notification, or an alternate winner will be selected.

Good luck!