Microwave Caramels – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe.

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Microwave Caramels, found over at Food.com. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

Robyn’s Take:

You know? Just… you know? You see a recipe, and you think “Hey, I like caramels! This looks easy! I’ll see if Nance wants to make them!” and then Nance is all “I didn’t even bother to look at the recipe, sure, sounds good, WHATEVER” and off we go.

I’m pretty sure this can all be blamed on Nance for not saying “Are you out of your goddamn mind, idiot?”


So, yes. To recap: I saw the recipe, I had some sort of aneurysm that made me think it would be a good idea to give that motherfucker a try, and then Nance approved. Nance’s fault. JUST SAYIN’.

Caramels (1)

Ingredients: half a cup each of brown sugar, white sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup of butter. The recipe didn’t state whether the butter should be melted first, so after extensive consultation with Fred, I decided to melt it.

That’s probably where it all went wrong.

Mix everything together in a microwave-safe bowl

Caramels (2)

Pretty, right?

Microwave that shit for 6 minutes, stirring after every 2 minutes. I took no pictures of this part. Y’all just use your imagination.

When the six minutes is up, pour that hot hot hot stuff into a buttered dish. The recipe didn’t indicate the size of the dish (SLOPPY RECIPE) so I used my 8×8 Pyrex. Which I buttered the SHIT out of. There was a ton of butter coating the inside of that dish, believe me. I know I’ve covered my hatred of things sticking to things. (FORESHADOWING.)

Caramels (3)

Cool the hell out of that stuff. I let it cool on the counter for six hours, and then I put it in the fridge for another couple of hours. And then I tried to get it out of the dish.

Caramels (4)

I tried a little piece of it, and the flavor was good, but it was so fucking sticky I had to scrape it off my teeth with a butter knife.

Caramels (5)

This is the part where, while having a temper tantrum, I almost tossed the whole goddamn dish in the trash. But I like that dish – it’s so HANDY – that I scraped the dish clean(ish), tossed the shitheap of sticky fucking caramel in the trash, and let the dishwasher clean the dish the rest of the way.

I’ll just buy my damn caramels at the grocery store. Hmph.

(If you point out that caramel is supposed to be sticky, I will hunt you down and set fire to your car. Yes, caramels are sticky. NOT THAT STICKY.)


Nance’s Take:

This quick and easy recipe actually took me 3 days to make.

On the first day, I laid everything out to start making it when my son, Alex, called. By the time I got off the phone, I had to put everything away because it was time for bed. I thought I would make it quickly on Wednesday morning, write about it, and have a post up by Wednesday afternoon. I had a plan.

On Wednesday, I laid everything out again to make it when my aunt called. Next thing you know, Shirley and I were making a mad dash to clean up the house because hello, we’re getting a visit from the family! I ended up emailing Robyn from my late afternoon doctor’s appointment (I just made it there in time!) to tell her that I was not going to have an entry up until much later that evening. She covered my ass with her sweet potato casserole and said to just post the entry on Friday. I may be stupid about some things, but I sure know how to pick good friends (aka: procrastination enablers)!


Felina does not approve of these shenanigans.


On Thursday I got everything out again, decided that I was going to make a double batch and dumped it all in the bowl.  I had been having problems with my left ear and it picked this exact time to get the best of me.  I walked the hell away from everything so I could put a heated pad over my ear for some relief. That’s when Shirley stepped in and took over while Rick snapped pictures. Which is why there aren’t many pictures of this process.  Ahem.


Since I doubled the recipe, Shirley doubled the time in the microwave. It took 12 minutes, with stirring at 2 minute intervals. Not bad.


I covered an old cookie sheet with foil and buttered the hell out of it. I also keep butter in the refrigerator just for buttering dishes. It’s handy. Robyn does it. Everybody does it. Well, maybe not Amanda.  But she should.  And could.  If she really wanted to.  But there isn’t much of a recipe to it.  You just throw what you don’t use in the refrigerator so you have it for buttering dishes.  See, not much of a recipe at all.  I’m probably going to get the Official Seal of Non-Approval by Amanda now.  Sigh.


Action shot!


We covered the top with plastic wrap and left it in the refrigerator overnight because it was taking forever to harden up.  This is the next day.  Some people (Shirley!) cannot leave well enough alone. She picked and picked at it and that’s why it is missing a huge chunk and the foil is ripped up.


I put parchment paper over the top and flipped it over on to the counter (the plastic wrap had been taken off and thrown away by my impatient mother-know my pain) and I was out of wax paper.


The buttered foil peeled away easily.


We had no idea what type of utensil to use to cut this with. I was the one that picked the pizza cutter. All of them were a pain in the ass. Caramel is sticky.  Go figure.


I decided I was going to wrap these in parchment paper since I was out of wax paper and had no interest in going to the grocery store.


There’s a reason I never rolled my own joints (marijuana, Mom) in high school.


This big ol’ knife worked pretty good. On the right side you can see where I told Rick to sprinkle some sea salt because I wanted to try salted caramels. Um, yeah. Apparently Rick thought I was trying to cure a ham.  Maybe next time.


My mother was cutting while I was wrapping (the pizza cutter ended up working well for us). She was just tossing that shit over at me and working my last nerve because it was a sticky mess to deal with.  Look at what she did up there.  Right on the edge of the plastic wrap.  Grr!  I can only assume that wax paper would have been the way to go, but dammit, I said I was NOT going to the grocery store!


Felina inspects Shirley’s wrapping technique.


As usual, she’s willing to take one for the team.  That’s her long ass tongue on the left side of my thumb.  She’s the Gene Simmons (KISS) of the chihuahua world.  She’s such a rock star!  And also an artist (Van Gogh).  Where’s your other ear, Felina?


Sadie also gave it a shot. They both found it to be quite tasty.


We all really liked it, but it was a pain in the ass to work with.


It’s a quick and easy recipe just like it says. My mom did stir in a few teaspoons of vanilla right before she poured it out on the cookie sheet.  The next time I make it I’ll double the recipe, but I think I’ll use a 9 x 13 pain pan so that it’s a little bit thicker. And I’m hoping you guys have some good cutting and wrapping techniques for me because I didn’t have a clue!

Microwave Caramels - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe.
Original Source/Author:
: Snack, candy
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup light Karo syrup
  • ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
  1. Mix all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave on high for six minutes, stirring every two minutes.
  3. Stir and pour into a well greased dish (Robyn used an 8x8 Pyrex)
  4. Let cool.
  5. Cut, wrap in wax paper (good fucking luck with that), and store in an airtight container.


Brown Sugar & Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin (Robyn & Nance)

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Pork Loin with a Brown Sugar & Balsamic glaze found over at C & C Marriage Factory.  Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

Nance’s Take:


Truth Game: Robyn always takes the heat for finding recipes that involve a crock-pot, but I am all about using one when I can.  The convenience of being able to walk away from meal preparation for hours at a time is just perfect for a flaky person like me.

When it’s my turn to look for the recipe of the week I always pick something that involves food I already have in the freezer/house.  I buy pork tenderloin at Sam’s Club in the big huge log and cut it into 3-4 separate chunks before freezing.  Truth Game:  I have never in my life remembered making a pork loin that hasn’t been dry as shit and inedible.  My mother throws it in a casserole dish with sauerkraut and it’s fabulous, but my shit is dry, dry, dry.  Let me put it another way:  The dogs really enjoy it when I make the pork loin because they think they’re living high off the hog (yes, I did just write that).


Here’s my thawed pork loin. Impressive, no?


And here it is after I added the seasonings. Please note that I a) do not even bother working with garlic in the raw and b) my pepper is fancypants cracked pepper that comes from a grinder. Truth game: I use minced garlic from a jar because I do not have the time or patience to mess around with garlic cloves and my fancypants cracked pepper is one of those disposable deals that you buy at Sam’s Club or even better, Aldi’s. There’s no shame in my game!


This is what it looked like 1 hour before it was finished. I admit to being a bit concerned because it appeared to be swimming in a shit-ton of grease.  That needed to go.  The recipe didn’t mention it, but I saw no purpose in having a grease-filled balsamic glaze.


I pulled it from the crock-pot, threw it on a plate and decided to slice it because I wanted to make sure the glaze went everywhere. Truth Game: I thought it might help out with any potential dryness that may occur considering it was me cooking the pork.


The glaze was pretty uncomplicated and I was, as you can see, pretty sloppy about it. A true food blogger would not let you see that her corn startch blew every where when she was dumping it into her pan. She also wouldn’t let you see one of her favorite spoons in the entire world.


Red rubber spoon brought to you by KitchenAid. This damn spoon cannot be destroyed (yet) and I’m pretty sure you will not find this bad boy at Williams Sonoma. Just saying! I cooked the shit out of this stuff and it didn’t get as thick as I thought it should be.  But I didn’t mess with it as I wanted the recipe to be authentic (and that way Jane couldn’t call my dumb ass out for not doing the recipe right).


Action shot! I put the meat back in the crockpot, poured the glaze over it and walked away for an hour. Truth Game: I really did walk away, but that’s only because I had shit to read on the Internet (trainwreck blogs, FTW!).  My mom and Rick were in the kitchen so they handled brushing the meat with the glaze every once in a while.


This is what it looked like when I came back.


And this is what it looked like when I threw it on a platter and set it down on the dinner table.  I could have made it prettier and put the extra glaze in a bowl, but we’re a typical family that doesn’t really plate our meals and fuck that noise, we were hungry!  Truth Game: Because we are a bunch of starch eaters we had baked potatoes and corn with this meat. It, of course, was a fabulous dinner. FABULOUS. Truth Game: We had the baked potatoes (huge restaurant variety) because I did not have faith in the meat coming out right. I fully intended to make the potatoes a complete meal if needed. We had leftover potatoes for a week. Heh.

Truth Game: This meat was moist and delicious. It will most definitely be going into the menu rotation.


Robyn’s Take:

When I saw what Nance had chosen for this week’s recipe, I was THRILLED. Not only because it’s a crock pot recipe, but also because it was a pork roast recipe. Since we raise our own pigs, I end up with a LOT of pork roasts in the freezer, and I’m never quite sure what the hell to do with them. This looked like it was going to be easy enough, for sure.


RoastPork (1)

To start with, all you need is a roast, sage, salt and pepper, crushed garlic, and water. I had minced garlic on hand, so used that (I see no need for mincing your own garlic when you can buy the pre-minced stuff. Nance and I are clearly on the same page in this regard). Also, the recipe called for a boneless pork tenderloin or regular pork loin. When we have our pigs processed, the loin goes into chops, so I had no pork loin in the freezer. I did, however, have a shoulder roast, so I used that.

RoastPork (2)

Basically, you make a rub with the sage, salt and pepper, and garlic, and rub it all over the roast. Then you throw it in the crock pot and ignore it for 6 or 7 hours. If you’re me, you might open the lid and stare in at it from time to time just for the hell of it.

Do I know how to party, or what?

So I had to put the pork in the crock pot at 7:30 am because I had a morning full of errands ahead of me, and I was pretty sure that if I waited ’til I got home to start it, we’d be eating dinner at 6. Fred Anderson would eat dinner at 3:30 in the afternoon every day if I allowed it – you think I’m kidding, and I am so NOT – so dinner at 6:00 wasn’t going to work for me. The recipe instructed to leave it in the crock pot for 6 – 8 hours, but an hour before the roast is done, you combine glaze ingredients and then brush it over the roast two or three times during that last hour of cooking.

I had all kinds of math to do – how long did I want to cook the roast? It was a small one, so probably 7 hours. Except that when it comes to crock pot recipes, I tend to go with the longest time, so okay 8 hours. Which meant that at the 7 hours point I needed to mix up the glaze ingredients. And then I had to think very very hard to decide that the 7 hours point would be 2:30. Then I forgot. Then I had to figure it out again. Then I forgot that I’d decided 2:30, and at 1:30 I went into the kitchen to gather the glaze ingredients.

And it’s a good damn thing I was early. Because one of the ingredients was balsamic vinegar. I’d checked in the cupboard to make sure I had a bottle of that stuff before I ran my errands (because one of the errands was to the grocery store, and if I’d needed a bottle, I could have picked it up. But I didn’t, because I had a bottle in the cupboard. God, is this reasoning fascinating, or what?)

In the gathering of my ingredients, I realized that the bottle of balsamic vinegar, which had been sitting in the cupboard for god knows how long, had solidified.

RoastPork (4)

And it looked really, really gross.

RoastPork (5)

I mean seriously, what the HELL? GAH.

RoastPork (6)
Totally solid.

I thought maybe, perhaps, possibly, that the dollar store (which I can see from my front porch) might have a bottle of cheap balsamic vinegar, but alas it was not to be. Luckily I’m only about 10 minutes from the grocery store AND I was an hour ahead of schedule, so it wasn’t a big deal.

And the glaze ingredients are:

RoastPork (3)

Brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, water, and soy sauce.

Mix everything up in a small sauce pan, then heat and stir ’til it thickens. Or if you’re me, put the sauce pan on the stove on medium heat, wander off, and then remember about five minutes later that OH SHIT, I’ve got something on the stove! It was bubbling quietly by the time I got back to the stove and was ready to come off the heat.

RoastPork (8)

Brush the glaze over the roast 2 – 3 times in the course of the next hour. Which I did! Then save the rest of the glaze to serve on the side.

Then I let it cool and THEN I cut it up, and I might have taken a bite or two while I was cutting it up, and wow. It was REALLY good!

RoastPork (10)

RoastPork (11)
Gratuitous cat pic!

But what would Fred think? He’s not super crazy about soy sauce, would he like it or not? WOULD HE LIKE IT? WOULD HE NOT? Oh, I was on pins and needles, I really was.

(No I wasn’t.)

RoastPork (12)

Turns out, Fred thought it was really damn good, too! My only complaint is that it didn’t make much (I used a 2 1/2 pound shoulder roast, but a large part of that was bone), we were barely able to get two meals out of it. Which actually, now that I say that, doesn’t sound too bad. But I would have liked to get a lunch or two from it as well, so maybe next time I’ll do two smaller roasts at the same time. There was certainly room in the crock pot!

We will definitely be having this again. Two thumbs up!


Brown Sugar & Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin
Original Source/Author:
: Main
  • 1 (2 pound) boneless pork tenderloin (or regular pork loin)
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup water
  • Glaze
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  1. Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over roast. Place in slow cooker with ½ cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side.



Red Onion Marmalade

The name fooled me for years because I just assumed it was some funky jelly and I couldn’t imagine someone putting onion anything on their toast.  And then I had it in a restaurant (it came in a chicken wrap I ordered) and I was blown away.  OMG, so freaking good!  It made such a huge difference in the flavor of my chicken wrap that I was determined to figure out how to make it.  This is when I googled the living shit out of it and spent endless hours reading about all the different ways people make it.

This is my version and we eat it on salads, in wraps and on sandwiches.  Those of you who have had it know exactly what I’m talking about.  Those of you who have never heard of it, really need to trust me on this one.  Onion marmalade, even if you are a hater of onions, can be a real game changer.


This is everything you’ll need to make it. Obviously I was trying to be like Robyn. But I don’t have her fancy hand-drawn masking tape labels, so I’ll probably not do it again. heh.


This is butter. That is melting. If you got to this part, you’re doing it right.


This is what my sliced onions look like. One of these days (very soon) we’re going to feature simple “how to do it” entries. There is a very important reason for this, but we’ll talk about it another time. Right now, I just want to get these damn onions made!


Brown sugar rocks my world, man!


Add Salt & Pepper. Did you notice that my Salt & Pepper grinders came from Aldi’s? They are HANDS DOWN the best salt & pepper grinders I have found. I have used a lot of different ones and it is amazing to me that my favorite is one of the cheapest ones out there.


When they start to look like this I add a little bit of my red wine vinegar.  This helps to deglaze the pan as the onions are cooking down.  Keep adding the red wine vinegar as needed until you use it all.


When they look like this, they’re done.




My favorite salad ever: lettuce, chicken breast, cheese, bacon, onion marmalade and barbecue sauce.


Red Onion Marmalade
Original Source/Author:
: Condiment/Relish
  • 3 medium red onions, sliced
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  1. Melt ¼ cup butter in large skillet over medium heat
  2. Add the onion slices
  3. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the onions
  4. Add Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  5. Stir occasionally. Do not turn the heat up higher. These are meant to cook slowly!
  6. Add the red wine vinegar a little bit at a time (it helps to deglaze pan)
  7. When the onions resemble a deep wine color and look like marmalade (see photo above) they're done.
  8. Can be put on just about anything - salads, sandwiches, etc. Hot or cold.