crunchy bars

A few years ago I was watching a Nigella cooking show and she made these sweet and salty chocolate bars with salted peanuts, melted chocolate, and smashed up Crunchie bars. I know, right? Some time later it was Christmas time and we did not have a lot of money to buy everyone gifts so I decided I would make little goodie bags instead. I filled each bag with homemade sugar cookies, honey cinnamon butter, and these crunchy bars. I tied an ornament to the bag and called it a day. We gave bags to our neighbours, friends, and relatives. Every single person commented on the crunchy bars. They are to die for and super easy. Here is the original recipe.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/sweet-and-salty-crunchy-nut-bars-recipe/index.html Sorry my link tab is not working at the moment!

I made it to the letter the first time I made these, but over the years I just kinda wing it now. You really can’t go wrong!

Here are the ingredients you need. I have made it with expensive chocolate, and the cheap stuff. It kind of all ends up tasting the same so just use what you would like. Special occasions I use the good stuff, random Sunday’s in April I use the cheap stuff! Just make sure you use salted peanuts. Trust the salted peanuts.

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Adjust the recipe based on how much you would like to make. 3 chocolate bars (300g total), 4 Crunchie bars, and a handfull of peanuts gives me 25 bars.

Start by breaking up your chocolate then add a heaped tablespoon of butter. I have added a splash of cream before too when I had run out of butter. Fool proof. Then we put our Crunchie bars in a freezer bag and I give the girls a pot to smash it all up. I melted my chocolate in the microwave for 30 sec, stir, 30 sec, and so on until it was melted. Dump in the smashed Crunchie bars and peanuts.

Stir it up! Line a baking tray with baking paper and dump your chocolate heaven mixture out. If you are quick with the mixing it will still be runny and melted. If you have children ‘helping’ then it will have started to set. Cause everyone needs to mix forever of course. Either way it is fine just smoosh it all out in the rough shape of a rectangle and pop it in the fridge!

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Let it chill until set then cut it into bars. I put ours into a freezer bag and in the fridge. I recommend keeping them in the fridge. The chocolate becomes almost fudge like, the sweet honeycomb from the Crunchie bars melts when it hits your tongue and the salted peanuts intensify the chocolate flavor making these bars addictive. They are amazing. Make them. Less than 24 hours after making ours we have 6 left. You have been warned.

sunday afternoon

We have been busy bees! Here are some pictures of what we have been up to, and posts you can look forward to this week.

The kitchen floor is done! Hooray! Every time I walk in I pause and sigh. It is so nice. I even made french toast this morning for the girls breakfast. Anyone who knows me will know this is odd. Anything involving more than pouring milk in the morning is usually beyond my mental capacity. Actual cooked breakfast would not appear until I have been awake for at least an hour. I think I just wanted to feel the floor on my bare feet for a bit.

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We made crunchy bars. I will share the recipe this week. It is super easy and the girls do half the work. Score. Don’t mind my coffee. It was 2pm and needed.

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A sneak peek at what we are up to today. The mystery will be revealed. We are super excited about this one, and crossing our fingers and toes it works.

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Better get back to the mystery project oooooooooo 🙂

The wheels on the bus…

Knocked me down, knocked me down, knocked me down! Oh me oh my. I did not count on getting sick the week after I started this little blog. And it hit me like a bus. Sudden. One minute I was fine, laying down our new floor in the hallway, and the next I needed to immediately go to bed. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Being thankful for living in a place where I can have a doctor come and visit me at home, I was soon on the mend and now I feel human again! Hooray!

So yeah, I mentioned that we laid our floor in the hallway. And I took one picture. One! See?

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I don’t know what my deal was. We were bored. And we decided to do our floor. With no experience, not even a rough idea of what on earth we were doing. How hard could it be right? Oh hahaha those words…

I think I was so terrified by what we were actually doing that I could not even focus on documenting the event. I just kept a ‘don’t screw this up’ mantra in my head on repeat. That and ‘just keep swimming’ which lead to many a (an?) eye roll.

But! We did it! And without fighting, snappiness, or throwing anything! High fives and fist pumps all around are expected. I’ll wait…

Sorted? So how did we do it? I have no idea. I don’t like measurements. The rulers and measuring tapes of the world are my enemies. The bullies on the playground. They see my dyslexia weakness and use it to their advantage. It’s not pretty. So I used cardboard. Yup. I cut a piece roughly the size of a wide ruler and I placed it where I needed to measure and I marked a line on the ‘ruler’. I would use a level to make sure my lines were straight and hand it to Alex to cut. With this technique (if you even want to call it that) we only had one miss measurement. We just used another board and cut it right. And we loooove our new floor! The girls started running around screaming ‘yeah! No nails!’ Oh my heart.

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It took us four hours just to do the hall, and we probably did it the longest and most backward way but I don’t care cause I got a floor I want to make out with. We did the same technique in the bathroom but we lifted the toilet and the sink so we didn’t have to cut circles. That would not have been a pretty sight!

We have a friend who is meant to come help us put down the same floor in our kitchen this weekend. Moving appliances, laying down floor, and watching two littles does not a fun time make! I am hoping to be able to document this floor for you so I can give you a more detailed step by step and with someone who knows what they are doing!

For now, I am going to go cuddle my floor

Update: .This is the floor that we purchased from B&Q

grow grow grow

We have been a diggin and a plantin! A few weeks ago I asked Alex to build me a raised bed in our back yard for veggies and whatnot. Within minutes he shared his plans that included 6 beds, a wooden walkway, lights, and benches. I would not have been surprised if he also included something motorised, but I am glad he didn’t. 

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As you can see our yard is long and narrow. It also sports a lovely speed bump right smack in the middle. We decided to build or beds right after the bump with the intention of building the walkway into the bump for a smooth transition which will be safe for the kiddies. Who am I kidding? Safer for me too. 

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We started by edging the entire thing with wood that is 3.6 meters long. There are also 5 of the same under the walkway for support. We used slats that are 90cm long and 10cm wide for the walkway. We just cut down the longer pieces to fit in and divide up the bed into three sections. It worked out that the two outside beds measured in at 90cm and the middle bed is 2.1 meters.  Alex did all of this the old fashioned way as well with just a tape measure, hand saw, and hammer. 

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We dug out the left side before dividing it and then realised this made big gaps under the wood. I just grabbed a bunch of dirt and smooched it together to fill in the gaps. So, we decided to separate the right side first this time and then dig. We also popped in some solar lights. I got these at Wilkinsons for £1 each. I didn’t want anything to fancy until we know it doesn’t look like a run way all lit up 🙂 

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Then I started planting! Here I did spinach and broccoli. I have a few things that need to be started indoors and we are still waiting on them sprouting. We still need to dig up the right side and then plant everything else. Also we will be building the walkway out into the ground and creating some benches on either side with hinged tops to store our garden tools and provide extra seating.

Big plans ahead for the garden! We are hoping to have a seating/dining area with a grill by the back door, then a fire pit and seating area before the garden, kids area after the garden, and we need a shed too. Hopefully more pictures of the finished garden will be up soon!

Are you guys planting anything this year? Would you like more technical details about how we built our garden? It is not even summer yet and already I am dreaming of potato leek soup from ours mmmmm!

 

us

How do you take your tea? Or are you a strict coffee drinker? I like my tea with sugar and milk. Here, have some. Yum no? 🙂 
 
So you want to know a bit about us? Glad I got us a cuppa first! This is the short story believe it or not. But I wanted to give you some background so you kinda know a little about us.
 
I met my husband online. I know. It is not so odd these days to hear people say that, but it is still weird for us. I was wanting to study abroad as the college I went to was all of, oh I don’t know, five minutes away from where I lived with my parents. Scotland always fascinated me and I have some scottish heritage. That is when I decided to go online and try to meet Scottish people. Logical conclusion. Speak to Scottish people=fit in with Scottish people. HA. 
 
The first person who spoke to me and didn’t make me feel like I needed a shower afterwards was Alex. We spoke for hours and hours, months and months. I finally came to Scotland to go to school and I went back to Chicago engaged. We married in Chicago and decided to make our home in Scotland with the intention of traveling Europe before settling in the states to start a family. Two weeks after moving here, I found out I was pregnant with Emma and the rest is history! 
 
 
Our dream is simple. We wanted a home. One with plenty of rooms, but not to many. We wanted a garden that our girls could play in. A nice street in a nice town with a nice school. Basically what anyone would want. We lived in a small two bedroom flat for years dreaming of our future garden. Eventually things became, I don’t know, overwhelming? Frustrating? Uncertain? And during all of this we were being told to come home. Move back to the states. Start over. So we did. We sold everything we owned and arrived with four suitcases. All of our belongings in four measly suitcases. 
 
It was quickly apparent that Scotland is home. Was home. We didn’t belong in the states. It was unfamiliar and awkward. It is funny that everyone expected Alex to struggle most, but I found myself crying and him being my comfort. Scotland is where our hearts were, where our children were born, and where we wanted to grow old. Once again we packed up those four suitcases and with every last penny we had, we came home. To nothing.
 
We were lucky that Alex went back to work quickly after our return and we lived in a house close to our old flat for a few months. And then we saw our house. I knew it was our house. It just wasn’t our house yet. It was just up the street from Alex’s dads. The town he grew up in. Right next to the school that he went to as a child. The only town I felt a sense of community in as it was where I met Alex. So we fought long and hard and we got our house. 
 
Awkward story: the moment we were told we got the house I immediately burst into tears and the poor guy who was in front of me delivering the news had no idea how to react. After a few tense moments for him he asked if I was happy and all I could do was nod until I started screaming and asking if I could call Alex. I felt embarrassed later, but I was to happy to care.
 
I am not sure why we went through such a hard year but it has made us very great full for what we have now. We had to get everything again. Things like towels, plates, silverware, sheets, beds, a sofa, appliances, kids toys, winter clothes…everything! And we still have a lot to get, but we have what we need.
 
We have been in our house a few months now and we are beginning projects to make it our home. And that is where you come in! I want to share it all. Ups and downs, projects, our path as we learn DIY, and how we are doing it all on the cheap. There will be food here and there as I love me some food! 
 
 I am so excited about what we have planned. Many ideas are being scribbled late at night (possibly while under the wine cloud) and then axed in the light of day. We are currently working on garden beds for veggies and whatnot. We are painting everything, and I mean everything. And soon we will be laying our floors. So a lot of fun things ahead for us to share.
 
Soon I will do a house tour to show you the glory that is our building site and share our plans for each room. But I want this blog to be much more than just our DIY journey. I want it to be a place to bare all, guts and glory. Which is why I would like to include food posts, things I like posts, and kiddie posts. Anything you would like to see? Just let me know! 🙂 
 
Have you met your spouse online? Moved to another country? Or just started some home projects of your own? Let me know what your story is 🙂 

the beginning

Well hi! It is a funny thing starting a blog. You have this idea that lives inside you for awhile. It gets louder sometimes, and then quieter others. There are things that will stop you. Thoughts. Doubts. What ifs? 

Today I pulled the trigger. I have no idea where I am going. I just know that I want to share it. I want to archive our lives, our diy projects, favorite foods, and our girls years growing up. 

We recently moved into our house. The one where I will grow old. Ya know, the forever one. So excited! However, it needs some work. And by work, I mean years of tears and blood. And then maybe we can get to the paint and the pretty. I live for the pretty! I cannot wait until I can add pompoms to some curtains and not more plaster to some walls. Side note: Ugh why oh why are houses in Scotland made of plaster? No no not stone like, oh I live in a jolly stone cottage lalala. I mean plaster, cement…pop a nail in to hang a picture and end up with a chunk of hello! Wall!! in your hand. Now that I got that out of my system, I can tell you how excited we are to finally have a home. I will get to our long story one day, but for now welcome. Next time lets have a cuppa tea and a chat, k? 

Oh and by the way, I am not a ‘know it all’ about anything. We will show you the things that work and the many things that may not. Also, I love to write but in no way am I a grammar queen. There will be mistakes. Mostly during writing in excitement, or brief minutes between the demands of little people. Just sayin!