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November 12, 2010

A life-changing discovery

Food and cooking

So there was another part of that conversation with my mother yesterday that I didn't tell you about. (Well, okay, there were several parts, but I assume you don't want to hear about the intense discussion of when we're going to put up the Christmas tree. Will I tell you about that eventually anyway? Probably.) But as soon as she answered the phone, I told Mom that I had made a life-changing discovery that afternoon. She was skeptical, as you might imagine. But not for long . . .

As I mentioned yesterday, we do a tailgate/potluck thing after my brother's football games, and I generally bring a dessert. This is partly because I like making desserts and partly because most desserts are conveniently meatless to start with, so I run no risk of inflicting my Weird Vegetarian Food on unsuspecting football players. Early this season, I was hunting around for a new recipe to try, and I came across this chocolate-covered Chex mix. It's really simple to make and pretty basic, but everyone loved it, and I've ended up making it almost every week. (Also: now planning on sending tins of it as Christmas gifts, so let me know if you want to be on my gift list.) It's simple, that is, except for one thing: The recipe calls for unwrapping and then chopping a bag of caramels. Have you ever chopped caramels? They're, uh, sticky. That's kind of the point. Chopping them is not any fun. At all. I've realized that in order to get through it, I need either really good music to sing along to or a very patient friend who is willing to amuse me via Skype.

They are also, it turns out, somewhat difficult to find. The grocery store doesn't have them. Walmart usually has them . . . until, this week, they didn't. After I failed to find them during a Walmart run at lunch on Thursday, I started making a list of other places to try. During this process, I started trying to explain to someone exactly what sort of caramels I needed, so I went to the Kraft site, and there I discovered the life-changing thing . . .

They now make CARAMEL BITS. They are a) already unwrapped and b) really little, so do not require chopping. So they would basically cut the preparation time of the whole thing by at least 2/3, if not 3/4. And it was the most annoying section that would be gone. Amazing. Of course, I had never seen these magical items in a store, but a clever friend suggested that I check Amazon. They had them - but you couldn't just buy a bag. You had to buy a 12-pack. On the one hand, buying 12 eleven-ounce bags of caramels seemed insane. On the other hand, I make this a lot, and I was REALLY sick of unwrapping and chopping. Not to mention how I was not looking forward to driving all over creation trying to find the regular ones in a store. So . . . I ordered them. Of course I ordered them.

Now, this all happened Thursday afternoon, and I needed them today, Friday, to make Chex mix for Saturday. So not only did I order a case of caramels from Amazon, but I overnighted a case of caramels from Amazon. It's pretty awesome living in the future, huh? I have Amazon Prime, so overnight shipping was only $4. Amazing. When I got home, I called my mom, and once I described the whole situation and the unwrapped, small caramels, she said "Oh. You weren't joking. That is a life-changing discovery." We take our desserts seriously, as you can see.

I was a little worried that something would go wrong with the overnight shipping, so I checked the package tracking pretty religiously, and those of you who follow me on Twitter were lucky enough to get constant updates on the caramels' location. Indianapolis! Tennessee! Now on their way! Around lunchtime today, I saw that the tracking site was claiming that the package had been delivered. And sure enough, when I got home from work, this was waiting on my porch. (And sorry about the quality of all these pictures. It was dark.)
Caramels waiting outside.

Inside the box, there was another box:
Opening the box...

That box was, in fact, a case, packed up by the folks at Kraft themselves. So when I was joking about ordering a case of caramels . . . it really wasn't a joke.
A case of caramels

I opened the box to reveal this happy sight:
12 Bags of Caramels
I know you can only see about five bags there, but I promise, there are twelve.

I have already used one of the bags to make Chex mix for tomorrow. Here's a bad picture of it setting:
Chex mix
I promise I'll get a decent picture of it for you tomorrow, posed in its cute football-shaped bowl and everything. If I can get a picture before it gets eaten. Stay tuned.

Posted by Kat at November 12, 2010 10:54 PM

*steals some* Nom. Blood sugar levels rising just looking at this... O_O

What function does the TARDIS have in your kitchen?

Posted by: Red at November 12, 2010 11:29 PM

MUST FIND THESE. I too know the pain of chopping caramels, because I make caramel brownies with bits of chopped caramels AND melted caramel on top. I've tried freezing the dang things, spraying the knife with nonstick spray, you name it, and it's always miserable. Yay! :)

Posted by: Rachel at November 12, 2010 11:36 PM

You have a Tardis in your kitchen!

Amazon is an amazing place...

Posted by: sprite at November 12, 2010 11:57 PM
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