Ode to Home-Ec (plus recipe)


When my son came home and told me he started his home-ec quarter, I was surprised.  I had no idea they did that anymore.  My daughter missed out because we lived somewhere else during this grade.

“Do you like it?” I asked.

“You’ll see,” he answered.


I think I know the answer now.  I’ve had 4 mugs of orange julius (copycat recipe) in the last 3 days.  And every single one has been made by my son without me asking (and without him asking, for that matter).  As long as you have the ingredients, you can enjoy it too!


2 c. milk

6 ice cubes

6 oz. orange concentrate

1/3c. sugar

2 c. water


If on the fourth batch, you get a little careless in measuring (because you’ve become an expert by now), you can expect a sort of volcanic reaction with the foam and blender lid.  The kids will likely volunteer to lick it up.


P.S. Tip from Sam:  ”Don’t buy the kind with added calcium.  It doesn’t taste as good as regular orange concentrate.”

Salt Water Taffy Gone Wrong


One of my husband’s favorite childhood memories comes from a taffy pull.  Having never experienced this myself, I thought this would be the perfect ending to a spring break week.

So we looked at several salt water taffy recipes and they all seemed relatively straight forward.  Essentially sugar, corn syrup, and flavoring.  We swung by Hobby Lobby with coupons in hand, and to my delight, found butter rum and raspberry flavoring oils in the candy section.  The thought of butter rum taffy still makes my mouth water.

salt water taffy gone wrongThe whole family assisted in preparing ingredients, buttering pans, and readying waxed paper.  I inserted the candy thermometer, followed the directions and started stirring.  And kept stirring. Thirty minutes later, I begged for respite.  Then I provided respite for the respite-provider.

Forty-five minutes later the candy thermometer finally, mercifully reached the temperature the recipe instructed.  I now suspect that my candy thermometer is a worthless piece of glass.

DSCN9097We quickly poured the hot liquid into three different bowls waiting with flavorings (vanilla, raspberry, and the oh so good smelling butter rum).Within minutes, I picked up the “taffy” but it started snapping as I pulled.  I enlisted hubby and the kids to pull.  Snap, snap, snap.

DSCN9098Turned out we made delicious hard candy.  Very large chunks of hard candy.  That would likely break your teeth if I let someone try to eat it.

Sigh.  It smelled so good, it looked so good, and it tasted good if I gave someone a hunk to lick. “Don’t bite it! You’ll chip a tooth!”

Turns out that there is a science behind salt water taffy.  Once the sugar is crystallized, you don’t stir anymore (my arms are so mad at me for not knowing this), and you let it bubble until you reach the appropriate temperature, assuming you have a trustworthy candy thermometer.  Others seemed to stir with good results, but used the cold-water method.

So, if we try again, I’ll try this recipe.  Feel free to join us for the taffy-pull but be prepared for it to turn into a stick-candy pull.

Have you made it successfully?  Offer us some tips!