Monday, November 19, 2018

5 Delicious Popcorn Ball Recipes







Popcorn balls is a fun holiday treat that just about everyone loves.  There are so many different flavorings that you can put in them, there is something for everyone!  I like to make popcorn balls around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  They make a good snack, and you can wrap them in plastic wrap and give a bowl of them as a hostess gift.  They are always a hit!  

Below you can also get a diabetic friendly recipe for popcorn balls and a source for gluten free, nut and peanut free, vegan and organic popcorn, so now everyone can enjoy your balls!


Regular Popcorn Balls


Ingredients 

  • 7 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:


Place popcorn in a large baking pan; keep warm in a 200° oven.

Over medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water and salt. 

Heat until a candy thermometer reads 235 degrees, them remove from the stove

Add the butter, vanilla and stir until butter is melted. 

Remove the popcorn from the oven and dump into an extra large bowl

Dribble the sugar mixture over popcorn, continually turning it until it is evenly coated 

When the coated popcorn is cool enough to touch, butter your hands and shape into balls


Carmel Popcorn Balls


Ingredients:


  • 8 -10 cups popped popcorn
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 cup butter



Directions:


Place popcorn in a large baking pan; keep warm in a 200 degree oven

Combine both sugars, corn syrup, water, vinegar and salt in a medium pan. 

On medium heat, stir the mixture till it boils

Boil till a candy thermometer reads 250 to 260 degrees (hard ball stage)

Reduce heat to low and stir in butter until melted. 

Remove the popcorn from the oven and dump into an extra large bowl

Dribble the sugar mixture over popcorn, continually turning it until it is evenly coated 

When the coated popcorn is cool enough to touch, butter your hands and shape into balls


Marshmallow Popcorn Balls


Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 5 cups regular marshmallows (8 marshmallows is a cup)
  • 2 qts. popped popcorn


Directions:

Place popcorn in a large baking pan; keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

In a large pan, melt the butter, add the marshmallows and stir until melted. 

Remove the popcorn from the oven and dump into an extra large bowl

Dribble the sugar mixture over popcorn, continually turning it until it is evenly coated 

When the coated popcorn is cool enough to touch, butter your hands and shape into balls


Cinnamon Spice Popcorn Balls


Ingredients:



Directions:

Place popcorn in a large baking pan; keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat.

Stir miniature marshmallows into melted butter

Constantly stir until marshmallows are mostly melted

Add molasses, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the marshmallow mixture stirring constantly until it starts to boil

Add crushed peanuts into the mixture and stir to mix

Remove pot from the stove burner

Remove the popcorn from the oven and dump into an extra large bowl

Dribble the marshmallow mixture over popcorn, turning it until it is evenly coated 

When the coated popcorn is cool enough to touch, butter your hands and shape into balls


Diabetic Friendly Popcorn Balls


Ingredients:



Directions:


Place popcorn in a large baking pan; keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

In a saucepan put jello, sugar substitute, and corn syrup, and stir over medium heat

Let mixture come to a boil then remove from heat

Remove the popcorn from the oven and dump into an extra large bowl

Dribble the sugar mixture over popcorn, continually turning it until it is evenly coated 

This mixture gets really sticky as it cools, so mix quickly, butter your hands and shape into balls as fast as you can


Make some popcorn balls for your family or guests this holiday season, I gurarantee everyone will love them, kids and adults!


I hope you have a great week and enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Jade    :)

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My Favorite Popcorn for Popcorn Balls
Amish Country Corn


Amish Country Corn is home-grown on the Lehman family farm and made with no added ingredients or preservatives. Why settle for manufactured, chemical-drenched popcorn when you can get pure, flavorful, high-quality popcorn for a comparable cost?

• Non-GMO
• Gluten-free
• Tree nut-and peanut-free
• Dairy-free and lactose-free
• Vegan
• Kosher






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Image Credit:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/87777282@N00/285056629/sizes/m/


Friday, October 26, 2018

How to Make the Perfect Cookie Cutter Cookie






The holidays are almost upon us!  First Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and then my favorite Christmas!  All these holidays have one food in common.  A food that is made and served all during the holiday season.  


Cookies!

Everyone loves cookies.  There are so many different types there is something for every taste.  One of the most favored of all cookies is the sugar cookie.  The best thing about them is they can be decorated.  Decorating cookies is a tradition in many households during the holidays.  Some decorate fancy, some decorate wild, whichever way you decorate, I can guarantee you will have fun!

When making cookies to decorate, the dough has to be fairly stiff, so the cookie cutter can trace a clean image.  If the edges are not straight and cleanly cut, when the cookies are baked they can lose their shape, and your cookie cat will come out of the oven looking like a toad!  The main problem with this is that many times a dough that is stiff enough to make great cookies will have a hard consistency  and taste like sawdust.  This is not what you want!


Through trial and error, I have come up with the perfect recipe for sugar cookies to be made with cookie cutters.  It is stiff enough to make nice, crisp edges, but also tastes delicious and you won't break your teeth eating them.


The Perfect Cookie Cutter Cookie Recipe


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (two sticks) cold butter, cubed
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg (this is optional, but I love it!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Beat the sugar and butter until smooth
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium,  then add the flour, salt and vanilla 
  4. Lower the mixer spead and add the cornstarch
  5. Mix about 4 or 5 minutes until the dough forms a ball. If it doesn’t form well, you may need to hand knead it.
  6. You can roll the dough out on a floured counter, but I have found that if too much flour is added to the dough, the cookies are kind of dry, so I lay out parchment or wax paper and lightly spray it with cooking spray and use that to roll out the dough. If the dough sticks to your rolling pin,  spray it lightly with cooking spray too!
  7. Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and get out your cutters!
  8. Press the cutters down fully, all the way around for clean edges.
  9. Spray the cookie sheets with cooking spray and lay out the cookies at least a 1/4 inch apart Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, keep an eye on them so they don't get over done and the edges turn brown.
  10. Remove cookies from the oven and carefully place on a cooling rack
  11. Don't decorate until the cookies are completely cool, but do not refrigerate.
Icing is very easy to make.  The icing I use has only three ingredients, four if flavoring is added.  I usually make my icing a bit thicker because it is easier to handle.

Cookie Icing

Ingredients:


Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. 
  2. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
  3. Put the icing into separate bowls, add food colorings to each
  4. Dip cookies, paint them with a brush, or use an icing bag or condiment squirter.



One of my favorite cookies to decorate is a skeleton.  I found this cookie cutter and stamper on Amazon and I have had so much fun with it!  First you use it to cut out the shape, and then you can press the cutter into the dough and it stamps on a design to help you in decorating!




Don't you love these?



I hope you have fun this holiday season making and decorating cookies!

Have a great weekend,

Jade    :)
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Image Credits:
https://pixabay.com/en/cookies-skeletons-pastry-love-dead-2220291/
https://www.amazon.com/Fred-GINGERDEAD-Cookie-Cutter-Stamper/dp/B005LGUWUQ/
https://pixabay.com/en/spiderweb-cobweb-spider-s-web-152117/


Friday, October 12, 2018

Festive Crockpot Mexican Casserole





Who doesn't love crockpot meals?  Easy to make, and delicious to eat, I think you will find this is one of the best.  I really love Mexican food, but it usually takes a lot of effort to make and serve, so I decided to try making a crockpot Mexican casserole that I could toss together and just let it cook all afternoon, and be ready to serve at dinner.  This is what I came up with, and it was instantly loved by my husband, who loves Mexican as much as I do.  Give it a try!


Ingredients:


  • 1 pound lean hamburger
  • 1 3 1/2 ounce can green chiles
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans
  • 1 15 ounce can whole kernel corn
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 14 ounce tomatoes
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups 3 cheese Mexican blend  or cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups water


Directions:


Fry the hamburger until it is no longer pink (do not overcook!)
Pour uncooked rice and water into the crockpot
Add hamburger in an even layer
Add black beans, corn, chilies, garlic, pepper and onion and stir to mix.
Crush bouillon cube and sprinkle over mixture
Add 1 cup cheese spread evenly
Pour in tomato sauce
In a small bowl, mix the black pepper, chili powder, paprika, salt, and cumin till well blended
Sprinkle spices over the mixture in the crockpot
Turn the crockpot on high and let cook for 4 and 1/2 hours
Remove lid and sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and re-cover
Cook for another 1/2 hour or till melted into the casserole


I serve this with tortilla chips, sour cream and non alcoholic sangria.  It never fails to please! If you have never made non alcohholic sangria, below is the recipe.  I make it because my husband is diabetic and cannot drink, but it is also great for households with kids.  Enjoy!


Non Alcoholic Sangria Recipe


Ingredients:


  • 1 apple, peeled and cut in slices
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 lime sliced with the rind on
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 orange, sectioned
  • a handful of rinsed Maraschino cherries (or pitted fresh)
  • 3/4 cup cranberry-grape juice frozen concentrate, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 3 cups seltzer water


Directions: 


Place apple slices, cherries and lemon juice to the pitcher and stir.
Add the orange sections, and juice, the lime slices and the cranberry-grape frozen concentrate and the sugar.
Refrigerate for two hours and then add the seltzer water and stir to combine
Serve immediately

This makes a great dinner on any night, and it is guaranteed to please.  You don't even have to worry about a hangover!

Have a great weekend.


Jade    :)   

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I love serving Sangria in a clear pitcher and clear glasses, it is so pretty!  This is my favorite Sangria serving set:





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Image Credit:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/13470115@N08/5152902373/sizes/l

Monday, October 1, 2018

Unbaked Cake - A Strange Old Recipe






I inherited a box of cookbooks from my mom when she passed away.  Some of these books are really old.  I mean REALLY old.  So old they call it "fat" instead of oil and "sour milk" instead of buttermilk.  My favorite one of all of them was a church cookbook that was run off on a ditto machine.  (yes a ditto machine, if you don't know what that is, Google it)  It is so old that the covers are gone, so there is no date or name of where it came from.  But I will tell you one thing......the recipes in it are delicious and they are made with the real things.......flour, sugar, eggs, etc.  You will not find any chemical additive junk in these old timers.


Let me share one of my favorites:  The Unbaked Cake


Ingredients:


  •     1/2 pound crushed graham crackers
  •     1 pound bag of small marshmallows each cut into at least 4 pieces
  •     1/2 pound raisins (half gold, half dark)
  •     1 cup pecans very finely chopped (can use walnuts)
  •     1/4 cup of strawberry preserves
  •     15  Maraschino cherries
  •     1/2 cup of cream
  •     1/4 teaspoon salt
  •     1 tablespoon grated orange peeling



Instructions:


Mix everything in a large bowl, other than the cream.
When thoroughly mixed, add the cream and stir to make a dough consistency
Press into an oiled pan (I use cooking spray) and frost with white boiled frosting (recipe below)
Chill for 24 hours before serving.  Keeps for about a week.


White Boiled Frosting


Ingredients:


    2 cups sugar
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 cup white syrup
    1 teaspoon vanilla


Directions:


Heat until the liquids spins a thread when dropped from a spoon.
Beat two egg whites, stiff, add vanilla and sugar
Pour in the hot syrup and beat until the right consistency for spreading and is cool


This is really a funky cake, but I really love it.  It kind of reminds me of fruit cake, but it tastes much better.  Sometimes I skip the frosting completely and just put a dolop of whipped cream on it or nothing at all.  Give it a try, I bet you will love it!


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Image Credit:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/llstalteri/5521134064/sizes/m/


Friday, September 21, 2018

Old Fashioned Caramel Frosting







This recipe has been in our family for a long time. It is really delicious on chocolate cake or vanilla cupcakes. It is the perfect topping for fall bake goods.



Ingredients:


  • 1 and 1/2 cup white sugar (i use coconut palm sugar)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon real butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla



Directions:  


  1. Heat sugar and milk to a soft boil.
  2. Add butter and remove from heat.
  3. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Add vanilla and beat with an electric mixer until creamy.


Makes enough to frost a three layer cake, between layers and the exterior
I usually sprinkle the top with nuts or mini chocolate chips. A cake with this frosting is especially good served with butter pecan ice cream. 


If you want the cake to be caramel as well, I found this recipe in my Mom's cookbook, but I have to confess, I have never made it.  I prefer this caramel frosting on chocolate cake!


Caramel Cake


Ingredients:


  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter (two sticks)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs 
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


Directions:


  1. Put butter out until it is room temperature
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Spray three 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray and set aside
  4. With an electric mixer beat butter on low for a couple minutes until fluffy  
  5. Add brown sugar and beat slowly then add white sugar and beat for about 5 minutes
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat till combined
  7. Add half the flour and then the buttermilk and then the rest of the flour
  8. Add vanilla and beat until thoroughly incorporated
  9. Divide among pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Do NOT overbake!
  10. Turn out of pans onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely.
  11. Frost with the delicious caramel frosting!




I hope you enjoy this tasty delight for fall.



Jade    :)


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Image Credit:  
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ebarney/5298585575/sizes/l

Friday, September 14, 2018

Spicy Potato Corn Soup







Spicy Potato Corn Soup is one of my favorite foods for fall. Not only is it beautiful and colorful, but it is hearty and you can make a meal of it. Just serve it with cornbread or crackers and some celery and carrot sticks and you're done. All the colors of fall on your table, and it's delicious too! It can also be made vegan, if that is your preference.



Ingredients:



  • 4 cups of cubed potatoes (peeled or unpeeled, your choice)
  • 1 15 ounce can of creamed corn
  • 1 15 ounce can of whole kernel corn
  • 1/4 cup of diced green chilies (canned or fresh) minced
  • 2 cups of water or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup milk (soy milk for vegan)
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped small
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup green or red bell pepper, chopped small
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (optional, but I LOVE this stuff!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash of black pepper



Directions:



Peel and dice the potatoes and place them in a pot with the water or stock.
Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
In a skillet, saute the onion, garlic and peppers until soft.
Add the basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and cumin and stir to mix.
Take half the potatoes and put them in a bowl with the creamed corn and mash (or use a food processor).
Add the onion mixture to the mashed potatoes and corn mixture with the cup of milk and stir to mix.
Add drained whole kernel corn and drained chillies to the remaining unmashed potatoes and stir gently
Add the mashed mixture to the unmashed mixture and stir. Add more milk if you prefer the soup to be thinner.
Simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently so it does not burn.


If you prefer less spice, you can omit the chilies.  Sometimes I add more vegetables to this soup.  It is great with sliced carrots and celery.  Just about any vegetable that you like can be added.  My husband is a big meat eater, and he likes to put meat in this soup.  It's really good with smoky ham, bacon or shredded chicken.  Any type of meat you like can be added and I bet it would be delicious, this soup is just that versatile!

This soup is wonderful comfort food for lunch or dinner on a crisp fall day.  I hope you enjoy it!


Jade    :)


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Image Credit:  
https://www.flickr.com/photos/chiotsrun/4884744029








Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Thai Chicken Soup






Do you like spicy food?  Then you should cook up a pot of this Thai soup.  It has a deliciously unusual flavor with a spicy bite!


If you want more spice and heat, leave the seeds and ribs in when you cut up your jalapeno peppers.  Much of the heat of a hot pepper is in the seeds, so leaving them in or removing them is an excellent way of controlling just how hot you want a dish.  If it isn't hot enough for you even with the seeds in, then you can use habanero peppers, but take my advice and be careful; habanero peppers are dangerously hot, so wear gloves when slicing and seeding them.


Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup green onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger root, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
1 cup carrots, chopped fine
1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced and seeded
1/3 cup green bell pepper, julienned
1 pound chicken, cubed
4 cups chicken broth
1 14 oz can of coconut milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup sugar snap peas, sliced long ways
1 lime, juiced and half the peel zested
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:


Lightly salt and pepper the chicken cubes and set aside
Saute green onions, garlic, cilantro and ginger in olive oil until soft
Mix in carrots, peppers and mushrooms and saute all for 3 minutes
Pour in chicken broth, add soy sauce, and then slowly add coconut milk
Bring to a boil then then lower heat to medium
Add chicken cubes and cook on medium heat about 15 or 20 minutes until cooked through
Toss in peas, lime zest and juice and heat on medium for 5 minutes
Serve hot immediately with wheat crackers, pita chips, or torn bread pieces

If you want to make this soup into more of a dinner entree, simply serve it over noodles or rice.  It is a delicious addition to your  recipes to make regularly, because once you make it, you will want to make it again and again! 


Have a great week!


Jade    :)

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If you like this recipe and want to try other Thai recipes, I recommend this book! 
It has some of the most delicious Thai recipes I ever tasted 
and they are very easy to make!


Simple Thai Food Cookbook



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Image Credit:  http://tinyurl.com/kstgrrf