Monday, April 29, 2013

Hulless Carmel Corn

Hulless Carmel is on my honored "Favorite Recipes" board on Pinterest. It is a twist off of my Nan's recipe. I can remember her making carmel corn my entire childhood. I vividly recall someone would get the "carmel corn bowl" out, someone would pop the popcorn in the Whirley-Pop popcorn popper (Can you smell it? There really is no other way to pop great popcorn!) and someone would begin making the carmel. The family fun would begin the moment the baking soda was sprinkled into the boiling hot carmel and the carmel would come screaming to the top of the sauce pan. It was all giggles getting the carmel to the carmel corn bowl and pouring it over the fresh popcorn. The adults, my big brother or older cousins would stir the carmel and popcorn to coat each piece of popcorn. As the carmel began to cool, this became a chore (a chore indeed worth every single ounce of effort). With my family, however, chores somehow became entertaining- still productive, yet always entertaining. My Dad still prefers a large bowl and stirring method. Since I do not have an "official carmel corn bowl", and I'm all about less dirty dishes, I use a (clean) brown paper bag to coat my popcorn. Yes... A brown paper bag. I keep a special stash for making carmel corn.

You will need:
3 qt sauce pan
Measuring cups and spoon
A lg spoon (plastic or wooden)
A brown paper bag
Lg pan
Storage container

2-7.5 oz bags of hulless popcorn
2 sticks (1 c.) Butter or margarine
2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. Karo syrup*
1 t. vanilla*
1/2 t. baking soda*

* not present on the day the photo was taken

Place the two bags of hulless popcorn into your brown paper bag and set aside (I find it easier to place mine on the kitchen floor so I can see where I am pouring the carmel.)

Preheat oven to 200*.

Over medium heat, melt 2 sticks (1 c.) butter or margarine, 2 c. brown sugar, 1/2 c. karo syrup, I omit salt from my recipe because hulless popcorn is lightly salted.

Bring the ingredients to a low boil. Stir this boiling mixture for about 5 minutes.

Remove pan from the heat. Add 1 t. vanilla and 1/2 t. baking soda, use caution and be prepared for the carmel to rise quickly.

Pour carmel over the hulless popcorn.

Roll the brown paper bag down a few times and begin shaking and rotate the bag so the carmel will completely cover all of the hulless popcorn.

Optional;  Pour the carmel corn onto a large baking pan, I do this in two batches to avoid losing carmel corn all over the kitchen. Place the pan of carmel corn in the oven, turning every 10-15 minutes for about 30-45 minutes.

Cool and store in an airtight container.

ENJOY!!! :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Oreo Truffles? Yes, please!

Ok... These little guys??? Incredible! You MUST try this recipe. Just three surprising ingredients! You will be delighted how quick and easy you can crank out a batch! The variations are as endless as your imagination.

I would have NEVER guessed Oreo cookies, cream cheese and chocolate (baking chips or your fav dipping chocolate) could work this well together never mind how decadent! I can't stop thinking of different flavor combinations; chocolate cookies dipped in white chocolate? peanut butter and chocolate? raspberry? I'll have to experiment there- but with dark chocolate for certain!

Here we go! So exciting!!! 😁

Oreo Truffles
1-16 oz pkg Oreos
1-8 oz cream cheese
16 oz Semi sweet baking chips (or dipping chocolate)

Drop the whole package of (choice flavor) Oreos into the bowl on your mixer. Turn the mixer on the lowest setting to avoid missile Oreos attacking! Manual option, transfer cookies to a plastic baggie and wacka-mole! Let off some steam! We are aiming for crumbled cookies.

Mix the creme and wafers together until all the cream disappears.

Fully incorporate the cream cheese with the cookie crumbs.

Shape into 1" balls.

Dip in melted chocolate.

Chill for about an hour and ENJOY! 😃

What flavors will you try???

Friday, April 12, 2013

Nuts for noodles-

My family LOVES homemade noodles! For years, I purchased store bought noodles for our meals because I simply had no idea how easy (and fun) making my own could be. I can't remember if my first attempt making my own noodles was trying to trim the grocery budget or I was possibly mid-recipe when it occurred to me I didn't have store bought noodles on hand (most likely the second). I am not sure of the exact cost comparison per unit, but noodles are not the first place to go to save lots unless you are buying organic or gourmet.  So, it costs less, tastes better and I feel great knowing all the ingredients (including LOVE) going into my family's food.   Once the first batch of noodles were served at our dinner table, they became a common request.

I use Better Homes and Garden's noodle recipe- SUPER easy!

Ok... Here we go!!!

In my mixer, I add the dry ingredients (the flour and salt). Then, in a small, separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (the eggs, oil (I use Bertoli's EVOO) and water).  I love the dough hook on my mixer for my noodles, the mixer does all the work.  Add your wet ingredients.  If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of water, slowly or if the dough is too wet, add a little bit of flour, slowly until the dough forms a ball in the mixer.  Turn your dough ball out on your floured workspace.  If you are not using a stand mixer with a dough hook, you will need to work your dough for a bit at this point.  Let your dough rest for a few minutes. 

You can see I sprinkled flour over the doughball before I started rolling the dough out for the noodles.  This will keep your dough from sticking to your rolling pin.  I never wash my rolling pin in the dishwater (nope, no automatic dishwasher for this girl, 3 manuals in this house are enough maintenance, lol).  I wipe mine down w/ a damp towel.  The folks over at e.How food use this method.  

I split my dough into a couple dough balls before I start rolling it out to make my noodles more manageable.  Make sure your are getting your dough evenly rolled out and thinner than you think you need them to be.  These little guys swell back up when you are boiling them.  See below how thin? You'll get good at it with practice, I promise!

My husband's genius idea... the pizza cutter to cut my noodles. :)

They don't have to be perfect, just make sure they are relatively the same size or you will have unevenly cooked noodles.  I have never actually "dried" my noodles as the recipe "suggests".  Ok, they may sit on the counter a few minutes while I'm preparing the rest of dinner.  You can, also, make your noodles ahead, dry and freeze them for up to 8 months.  (I always think about it, but never do this.)  I have no idea how well the freezing then cooking goes, but you do need to cook them longer than the fresh, dried noodles. 

So, now we want to throw our noodles in the boiling water for a couple minutes, literally. You will see them rise to the top of your pot when they are cooked.   I use a small colander with a handle to scoop them out of the boiling water, any type of a slotted spoon works but it is a lot of work fishing them out and they like to "jump" off the spoon back into the water.  You will understand after you sneak your first taste just why you would want to make homemade noodles vs. the store bought, I promise!  Enjoy!!!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Multiplication facts

We have been plugging away at multiplication facts for so long I can't even remember when we started.  We have tried all the tips and tricks like at Math is Fun, made up songs like this and shouted the facts as loud as we can... Ultimately, children will learn at their OWN pace.  Kate is ready for two more tests tomorrow and that leaves two tests to go before on to division.   She just needed a little time at her pace. I had a discussion with a staff member at her school and she reassured me Kate will be just fine. I finally feel some reassurance this is true and I'm not certain who is more proud of Kate, me or herself. 😊