I have had a week that has been pretty full in activity from work and home. Our granddaughter, Liliana Mae, had to go to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) on Tuesday to make sure the ear infection she had hadn’t spread to the bone. We are so blessed that CHOP is only 40 minutes and we know that there is no better place for any child to receive the care and love they need. All ended up being fine, and I went over to spend the night so that my daughter-in-law could sleep in after an exhausting long day and night. My son was working and was unable to take off.
As some of you know, I work for CHOP in their fundraising department as a project manager. We are totally committed to raise money from our wonderful donors, potential donors and community, so my days and my colleagues days are full from 8 – 5 and then some! This week I was to present at what we call a “Lunch & Learn’ where every month we come together to learn about each other’s programs and activity so we can all gain additional knowledge and understanding of our businesses within the Development department.
So, my presentation was about Project Management and how best practices can be applied across all workstreams in the department. I related the three components of the framework (Plan, Execute and Deliver) to food. There’s a surprise! Again, when I talk about the principle of “threes”, it was easy to relate that to project management. When you think about what you’re having for dinner each night, think about the planning, the executing and the delivery! Plan is your shopping list, ingredients you’re going to buy, what equipment yo need, and the meals you want to prepare, The Execution component (executing sounds very harsh in the business world) is the actual cooking of the meal. And the Delivery is serving and eating the meal! It’s the experience!
I urge everyone to spend the time planning so that when you go to cook and serve, you don’t waste time, get stressed or give up! But then I thought about this differently. What about the spontaneity of the experience, the ability to get those creative juices going, and experiment with your ingredients, how your meal could come out with a whole different taste and experience that you intended!
When was it that we decided to put salt on sweet things? When did the sweet and savory concept come about! I had experimented with the Peanut Butter Kandy Takes and made a Salted Caramel Tandy Kake version with caramel, dark chocolate and Malden Salt instead of the peanut butter and milk chocolate version! What a hit it turned out to be!
So, as I was visiting my dear Aunt Mary and Uncle Joe in Virginia a couple weeks ago, I stayed with my cousin Terri and her husband, Paul, As Terri and I were having a heart to heart conversation in her kitchen, she brought out this little box of fudge. Now Terri is athletic, in GREAT shape, and looks like a teenager! She watches everything she eats to stay in such good shape, and when I saw her indulging in a piece of fudge, I thought this MUST be out of this world! And it was! Terri is a great cook, and finds simple, straightforward recipes that are easy to cook and easy to enjoy! I, on the other hand, try to keep it simple, and yet find myself always trying to improve upon what I’m cooking or baking! My concept of “threes” is my foundation, but I try to bring it up a notch or two whenever I can! I guess I feel it isn’t fair to just prepare a recipe as is, but in order to make it special, I’ve got to put a “Madeline” spin on it.
Well, this time, I kept it simple and by the book. And it worked! I felt guilty that it turned out so delicious and didn’t take all that much effort! So, is it ok to do something easy, and accept the compliments for a job well done when you know the effort was minimal and not monumental? Is it ok to stick with the basics, and just sprinkle a little salt on it for that “pizazz” and call it a day?
I’m thinking it is ok! In life, there’s a time for gourmet, and a time for modest with a little “pizazz”, and both can easily satisfy and even exceed the expectations of your critics! A wise manager I had when at Vanguard once told me, “Don’t always try to be a hero.” You can be just as successful but looking to the toolkit you have, following some simple ideas that have worked well in the past, and maybe just put a little spin on it…or maybe you don’t! Either way, it’s ok to humbly make it yours!
Have a great week!
Let’s Get Cookin’
Salted Caramel Fudge
- Medium Size Saucepan
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk 14 oz
- 1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
- 1 cup White Baking Chips
- 1 tablespoon Sea or Malden Salt
- 1. Line an 8”x8” baking dish with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.
- 2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
- 3. Stir in sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, and corn syrup.
- 4. Cook over medium heat until sugar is melted, and mixture comes to a simmer.
- 5. Simmer10 minutes, stirring constantly until mixture begins to thicken
- 6. Remove from heat, let stand 30 seconds or until bubbling stops
- 7. Stir in baking chips; let stand 2 minutes.
- 8. Stir until melted and smooth
- 9. Pour and spread into baking dish.
- 10. Sprinkle with Malden or sea salt. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.
- 11. Cut into pieces sized to your preference.