Hi all – This week we have a guest-blog from our super-star regional manager Keri! I hope you enjoy – Grizzle!
You might not think we do much in the off-season, but your Regional Management team is busy year around! We pour over evaluations and find solutions to any problems we might see. We fine tune and test new curriculum. We create new systems to better the camp experience for all! We also spend time working with our university partners. In some cases the planning for 2011 started on the last day of camp in August!
Our university partners are an invaluable part of our success each summer. You may not see them while you’re at camp, but trust us, they are always there! They make sure that our campers have great accommodations, that meals are provided as scheduled (sometimes they give up their own 4th of July to make sure we have meals when all other campus departments are closed), they make sure we have fields to play on (and that we aren’t sharing the field with the football team) and every once in awhile, you can talk them into sharing the top secret, highly coveted water key to the outside faucets (you know, when it’s so hot and you just need an afternoon of water games).
Don’t tell them, but this year we are sending them some homemade goodies to celebrate the season and say “Thank You” for all of their hard work. Sharing is caring, and since we care about you we thought we would share our recipes for yummy treats and some other great HoliDay gift iDeas!
My nieces are almost old enough* for camp so guess what they are getting for Christmas? A WEEK OF iD TECH CAMP! Wrap it up in a bow, hide it on the tree, stuff it in a stocking, whatever you do, it is sure to be the best gift ever! When you give the gift of camp, you really are giving a gift that keep on giving.
Why iD? Mom and Dad, you are sharing cutting-edge technology education with your child. You are introducing them to a college atmosphere and maybe inspiring them to attend one of our great universities! You are giving them tools that they can use at home, at school and beyond. What can the gift of iD Tech Camps do for your child? Check out our Do Something Big stories…Your son or daughter could be next!
For our staff who might be working on their third degree in computer science and a little low on funds, or our campers who are looking to give a few gifts to family and friends, our team has the perfect gift iDea: food. Here is a little tutorial on how to make fun and cute holiday gifts for all:
Keri’s Fancy (Super Easy) Chocolate Pretzels
Step #1: Gather your tools (You don’t need fancy candy-maker supplies, in fact, I love using red plastic cups for dipping – the ridges are perfect for “twisting” off excess chocolate).
- Microwave safe glass bowls or Measuring Cup
- Assortment of Utensils: Plastic Spatula, Wooden Spoons, Metal Spoon, Whisk
- Parchment or Waxed Paper
- Plastic squeeze bottles
Step #2: Select your supplies. You can use pretzel sticks or twist. If you decide to get a little crazy, you can also use biscotti, graham crackers, or popcorn.
Beginners Shopping List:
- 1 Bag Large Pretzel Sticks
- 1 Package Dark Chocolate Chips
- 1 Package Milk Chocolate Chips
- 1 Package White Chocolate Chips
- Assorted toppings: Nuts, sprinkles, crushed candy or cookies
Step #3: Set-up your work space. I like to use non-coated cooking parchment paper (found at most stores). You can also use waxed paper. I lay out the paper so that I have plenty of space for my finished product to set-up. Tape down the edges so that your surface doesn’t slide around.
Step #4: Melting chocolate. A lot has been written on melting chocolate and fancy pastry chefs spend years perfecting a technique called tempering, but we are keeping it simple. Pour chocolate chips into microwave safe glass bowl. Melt in 15 second intervals. It’s going to take a few minutes, but trust me, don’t try to do it all at the same time. Melt, stir, melt, stir, melt, stir. One great tip I found was to keep about ½ cup of chips aside and add to your last “stir” cycle. It helps to set the sugar and cocoa butter molecules so that your chocolate is smoother and coats nicely. (DO NOT GET WATER INTO MIX).
Step #5: Pour chocolate into red plastic cup for dipping. There is no right or wrong here folks! I use a bit of a dip and twist to get excess chocolate off the pretzel.
Step #6: Roll or sprinkle pretzel with your favorite toppings. I’ve used everything from sprinkles to nuts. You can use different kinds of crushed candy or cookies. Just make sure to do this step while the chocolate is still in its liquid state. If you let it cool too much your toppings won’t stick.
Step #7: Do you want to step-it-up? Add a fancy drizzle! I like to drizzle in a contrasting chocolate (so white chocolate drizzle on dark chocolate), but you can use whatever flavor you like. I use a small squeeze bottle filled with melted chocolate. You can get two bottles for about $2 from most stores. Just squeeze lightly from right to left and over again until you have the amount of drizzle you like.
Step #8: Packaging! There are a million options for packaging your yummy pretzel treats. All it takes is a little imagination. You can find candy bags in the baking section of most stores. There are also aluminum tins all over the place this time of year. Take one of our graphic arts courses and next year you could start your own online candy label business! (I like using my craft supplies – Rotary Cutter with Pinking Blade, Craft Tissue Paper, Ruler and Self-Healing Cutting Mat – to make fun box stuffing).
No matter what you celebrate this time of year, On behalf of the entire Regional Management Team, I would like to wish you, your family and all of iD Nation World a safe, fun and happy HoliDay!
*My oldest niece will only be turning six this year, so she will have to wait one more year before going to camp, bummer. But trust me, I’m sending her! We have great instructors and iD is a great place for girls to gain an advantage in technology education!