Thursday, December 6, 2012

Candy Cane Popcorn!!

Every Christmas I make a lot of gift baskets filled with food. I stuff them with cookies, candies, and nuts, and sometimes I add sauces, like BBQ or hot fudge. The process of putting it all together, deciding what recipes to make, and how to package the goodies is a source of great joy to me. When I see how happy recipients of the baskets are, it really is a present ~ for me! This year I have an abundance of glass jars (remnants of my biscoff obsession) that I wanted to put to good use. I wanted something that would look pretty and taste great. That's how I came up with this Candy Cane Popcorn!
Candy Cane Popcorn
16 cups popped Popcorn
12 squares of Vanilla Almond Bark
20 Candy Canes
Pop your popcorn and chop up your almond bark.
Let it melt slowly, stirring and using low heat.
Meanwhile, line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
 Crush your candy canes into small pieces.
Pour your popped corn in to a large bowl. 
You will need a large bowl for extra mixing room.
 Add your melted  almond bark. Mix thoroughly.
Distribute the wet popcorn between the two
baking sheets.
Sprinkle with your crushed candy canes.
Let dry.
Here is a close up to see how it sticks to the
popcorn with the help of the melted bark.
To make the jars I tied bakers twine around the lid,
 stuck a mini candy cane in the bow, and.....
 decorated the top of the lid.
They will be the perfect addition 
to the gift baskets!

Thanks for joining me today!

I will be partying at these fun spots!:
Wicked Good Wednesday 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Jingle Bars, Jingle Bars!

I was in the mood to try a new sweet the other day, so I dug around my stack of "need to be organized" recipes, and found this one. I am so glad I tried these incredible Jingle Bars. I made a few changes to the recipe, and I think it tastes even better! I am not a lover of coconut, no matter what it is mixed with, so I thought about what to use as a replacement, and as I was looking though my cupboard, the answer fell in to my hands. Literally! The package fell off of the shelf and I caught it before it hit the floor, and that's how Heath Pieces came to replace coconut, and make these Jingle Bars better than ever!

Jingle Bars, Jingle Bars!  
(adapted from tollhouse)
1 stick  Butter
1 1/2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
2  8ounce bags Heath Pieces
1 cup chopped Peanuts
1  14 ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 2/3 cups Nestle Toll House Holiday Morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
I love a nice, clean cut for my bar cookies, so I 
lined the 13x9" pan with foil, making sure I went
over the edges. The foil will make it easier to
remove from the pan.
 I had graham crackers, so I made my own crumbs 
in the food processor.
Place your butter in the baking dish, and put it in the
oven until melted. 
Add the graham crackers and mix together.
Press the butter mix onto the bottom of the pan.
Add your bags of heath pieces 
by sprinkling them evenly over the 
graham cracker base. 
I chopped my nuts in the food processor, and.....
then sprinkled them on top also.
Pour the condensed milk evenly over the mix.
Sprinkle the Holiday Morsels over the milk.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
 Cool completely on wire rack.
Lift foil from pan, open up foil and cut into bars.
Serve and.....
Enjoy! 

Thanks for joining me today!     

Here's where I am partying today:
Show Me Your Plaid Mondays 
Thursday's Treasures
What's in your Kitchen Wednesday     
Your Creative Time Out 
Creative Thursday Link Party 
Tuesday's Table-Countdown To Christmas! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Stove Top Potpourri~A Pinterest Find!

 One of the things I have been shopping for lately is some type of candle, or anything, really, that would smell like Christmas through the entire house. Well, wouldn't you know, I was clicking my way through Pinterest the other night, when I came upon this Holiday Stove Top Potpourri Mix. It is exactly what I was looking for! It smells amazing, and it will last all season long, with very little upkeep. You gotta love it!!
Holiday Stove Top Potpourri Mix
1 Orange (or just the peel)
1/2 cup Cranberries
1 tablespoon Whole Cloves
3 sticks Cinnamon
bit of Grated Nutmeg (if desired)

Quarter the orange. Put the orange and all the other ingredients into your saucepan. 
Fill the pan with water.
Place on the stove, on your smallest burner, on a low setting. 
Refill water as needed.
Don't let the water completely evaporate. It's a good idea to just fill
the pot everyday when you turn it on.
This one mix will stay good for weeks. It will turn brown 
from the heat, but it will still smell incredible!


My Pinterest Find came from Calli at Make It Do.
Check out her site to see the creative ways she has
 to package this potpourri mix as a gift!

Thanks for joining me today!



Monday, November 26, 2012

Crunchy and Sweet Candy Cane Divinity

This holiday season I seem to be hooked on candy canes! Cookies with candy canes, a front door wreath with candy canes, even wrapping paper!! I don't know why, but for some reason, they are my thing this year. So, I thought I would start off with some Candy Cane Divinity. I haven't had divinity in years, and I don't know if I have ever made any. I think I may remember making some when I was a little girl, but I kind of forgot about it. That was, until I saw this recipe. I make a lot of Christmas food baskets, and this will definitely be in them!
 Candy Cane Divinity
(adapted from Country Living)
4 cups Sugar
1 cup light Corn Syrup
3/4 cup Water
3 large Egg Whites
1 1/2 teaspoon Peppermint Extract
6 drops Red Food Coloring
1 wooden Skewer
10 Candy Canes
Using pan spray or oil, grease a 9"x9" pan. Grease
a spoon or flat spatula also. Set aside.
Combine your sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan.
 Add water.
Cook over medium heat until the mix reaches
260 degrees on a candy thermometer. This should
take about 20 minutes. Notice that I am using
3 different thermometers? It is not necessary, of course.
But, I have had problems with some candy
thermometers not being calibrated correctly, and I
just want to be triple sure the temp is correct.
Once your sugar mix is cooking, beat the egg whites
to stiff peaks. Use the medium high speed. You will
know they have stiff peaks when you can dip the edge
of your spatula in the mix and as you pull it out, the
beaten egg stands tall, and does not fall back into the mix.
Once your sugar mix is to temperature,
reduce your mixer speed to medium, and slowly
pour the sugar mix into the bowl of egg whites.
Be careful, it is very hot.
Add the peppermint, and continue to beat until the mix
becomes very thick and fluffy. This should take about
12 minutes.
During the 12 minutes, open 10 candy canes and
place them in a small plastic bag. Break the candy canes
into small pieces by hitting them through the bag
and cracking them. A hammer or meat cleaver works well.
Once your mix is fluffy and thick, immediately
transfer it to the prepared pan. Using the back of the 
prepared spoon or the flat spatula, smooth out the
divinity so it is flat. 
Take the red food coloring, and dot the top of the divinity
with it.
Use your skewer, and swirl the red food coloring
through the divinity to create a marbled effect.
Sprinkle the top generously with the crushed
candy cane pieces. Press down so they adhere to
the divinity. Here is something I learned while doing
this: I love the look of the small and large candy cane
pieces, but the large ones are in the way when we go to
cut the divinity into pieces. Smaller pieces work better.
Let the divinity sit for 2 hours at room temperature,
to become firm.
I cut my divinity  into 4 rows, and then I turned the
pan, and cut row rows that way. I still thought the pieces
were too large, so I cut them again, but not until I took the
larger pieces out of the pan. It seemed to be easier that way,
and they held their shape better.
Enjoy!

Thanks for joining me today!
Stop by again for more candy cane and other fun holiday recipes!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Oh, so good.....Apple Pumpkin Brown Betty!

I have heard of the Brown Betty for years now, but this is the first time I have ever made one. It is so simple, and good, I can't believe I waited this long. I was curious about the origin of this fabulous dessert, and I did a little reading. Did you know that the brown betty has been around since colonial times, and is one of the oldest known desserts? It was basically designed around the fact that bread gets stale, but you don't throw it away, and voila!..... the brown betty was born! I am thinking it was born into a nice family too, because the recipe is a mix between a cobbler and bread pudding. Sounds like they may be cousins! Whatever it's heritage, this Apple Pumpkin Brown Betty is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving meal.
Apple Pumpkin Brown Betty
(adapted from Food Network magazine)
1   2-3 pound Sugar Pumpkin
3 tablespoons Butter
1 cup cubed Bread
2 Gala Apples
1/4 cup light brown Sugar
1/4 cup Golden Raisins
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
pinch of Salt
Maple Syrup (for drizzle)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Slice the top off of your pumpkin.
Scoop out the seeds and the stringy pulp.
Peel and cut your 2 apples into 1/2" pieces. Set aside.
Over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in your skillet.
Add the bread cubes, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about
4 minutes and until golden in color.
Transfer to a bowl.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan,
along with the apples, brown sugar, and raisins to
your pan. Cook about 4 minutes. The apples
should be crisp tender.
Stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
Add the bread back in, and mix together.
Put your pumpkin in a small baking dish.
Fill the pumpkin with the apple mixture.
Add approximately 1" of water to the dish.
Cover the pumpkin with the pumpkin top, and
cover the top, loosely, with foil.
Bake until tender, about 1 hr, 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Then remove the foil, and let the top brown by
baking it for approx. 10 more minutes.
Transfer to your serving plate, and drizzle with maple syrup.
To serve, scrape the pumpkin flesh and stir into the apple mixture.
 Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!