Monday, July 21, 2014

Crunchy Caramel Popcorn



Ingredients
4-5 quarts of popped popcorn
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 Tbsp molasses 
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Step 1: Heat oven to 225 degrees. Place popcorn in cake pan. set aside

Step 2: Mix together brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, molasses and salt in a thick-bottomed, 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from heat... stir in baking soda. The caramel will foam up a little and turn a lighter color when you add the baking soda.

Step 3: Carefully pour the hot mixture over the popcorn in a large pan. (If you would like peanuts with your popcorn, sprinkle the salted peanuts over the caramel sauce at this point.) Using a wooden spoon, stir until all popcorn is coated. (Be careful not to let the caramel touch you... it's very hot.) Place in oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Stir to more evenly coat the popcorn with the caramel sauce. Immediately spread caramel corn out onto waxed paper.
 Let cool completely. 



Hope you Enjoy!!! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chocolate Caramel Oat Bars

Okay, I've already given you the recipes for the oh-so-scrumptious Peanut Butter Bars and the Chocolate Coconut Dream Bars. Now it's time for the final recipe of the bars we served at my brother's graduation party! Though my little sister decided that her favorite ones were definitely the Peanut Butter bars, these Chocolate Caramel Oat bars were MY favorite. Let's see what you choose. :)

Drum roll please...


Ingredients

1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 c. flour
2 c. old fashioned rolled oats
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. butter, melted
2 c. chocolate chips
64 caramels, unwrapped
1 c. heavy cream


Directions

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine brown sugar, flour, oats, and baking soda in a large bowl.
Pour melted butter over the mixture and mix until well combined and crumbly.
Press half of the mixture in an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
Place pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
While the crust is baking, pour the cream over the caramels in a microwave-safe bowl.
Melt in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until smooth and creamy.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the baked crust.
Pour the caramel evenly over the chocolate chips.
Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the caramel.
Bake another 15-20 minutes or until edges are slightly golden.
Let cool completely before cutting.
Store and serve at room temperature.


(Directions with Photos)

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine brown sugar, flour, oats, and baking soda in a large bowl.


Pour melted butter over the mixture and mix until well combined and crumbly.
(Sometimes you may have to use your hands to combine it all well enough. Just sayin'...)


Press half of the mixture in an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.


Place pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.


While the crust is baking, pour the cream over the caramels in a microwave-safe bowl.
Melt in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until smooth and creamy.


Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the baked crust.


Pour the caramel evenly over the chocolate chips.


Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the caramel.
(You can just sprinkle it over the bars. However, I like "oat chunks" on my bars, so I usually grab a handful of the mixture, give it a good squeeze, then sprinkle it over the top.)


Bake another 15-20 minutes or until edges are slightly golden.


Let cool completely before cutting.
Store and serve at room temperature.







Monday, July 14, 2014

Chocolate Coconut Dream Bars

A couple weeks ago, I posted the Peanut Butter Bars that I made for my brother's graduation party. It seemed only right that I give you another recipe that we made for that particular celebration. 

 There are many similar versions of this recipe with a whole slew of names for them. 
Hello Dolly Bars, Magic Cookie Bars, Seven Layer Bars,  Magic Layer Bars....

I call them Chocolate Coconut Dream Bars.

And, yes, they measure up to their name! You're actually supposed to wait until they're completely cool before cutting them. I got a little anxious to put them in their storage containers (mostly so I wouldn't eat them all!) so they look a little sloppy. If you actually let them cool, they should look a little neater. :)



Ingredients

1/2 c. butter, melted
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 1/2 c. shredded coconut
1 c. pecan pieces
1 can sweetened condensed milk


Directions

Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter and mix well.
Press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan.
In a medium bowl, combine chocolate and butterscotch chips, coconut, and pecans.
Sprinkle over graham cracker crust.
Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Let cool completely before cutting.

*******************************************************************

(Directions with Photos)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter in microwave-safe bowl.
Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter and mix well.


Press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan.


In a medium bowl, combine chocolate and butterscotch chips, coconut, and pecans.


Sprinkle over graham cracker crust.


Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top.


It will seep in a bit...that's okay! :)


Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.


Let cool completely before cutting.


If you get impatient like me, yours will probably be a little messy like these.
They are still delicious, just not as pretty. Hehe! :)




Friday, July 11, 2014

Perfectly Grilled Sweet Corn



I found out this past weekend that I take grilled sweet corn for granted. It just ends up on your plate and you enjoy the fruits of someone else figuring out how to make it "just right".

Grilled sweet corn is so simple... or so I thought.  After 6 of us standing in the kitchen, going back and forth deciding if Bobby Flay or AllRecipes.com would be better, we decided what we would do. 

I am not so much sharing this with you because it's so hard to do (you probably know how to grill corn), I am doing this so that I remember the next time. :)  I don't want to waste time discussing when I could be enjoying this yummy summer treat. 


Here it goes:

1. The first thing I did was clean out the silk.  Carefully pull the husk back.  
After removing all the silk, replace the husks. 


2. Soak in salt water for an hour. After about 45 minutes of soaking, start the grill. 

3. Open and spray (or brush) olive oil on the corn. 

4. Sprinkle with the seasonings of your choice. Good ol' salt and pepper for me.


5.  Replace the husks again, and tie the corn shut using a small strand of husk. (You could also use kitchen twine if that's really not working for ya.)


6.  Put aluminum foil on the grill. (FYI...we started a fire because we didn't do that at first) :)


8. Cook for approximately 45 minutes, turning frequently.



                                                                            AMAZING!




Thursday, July 3, 2014

"Daily Planner" Printable

I don't know about you...but I am a 'list' person!  My kids can tell you stories about their mom, and her obsession with her "Daily Planner." I am just about sure it will put a smile on each of their faces when they think of this. :)

I realize there are organizational apps available on smartphones and computers, but I still prefer a nice pen and paper!  I have made many planner pages throughout the years. I have changed them time and time again, but I have found that this page has worked best for me. 

 Being a homeschool mom and the secretary for our parish (I have a separate planner page made especially for when I go to the office!), I need to organize my time as best as I can.  I need all the help I can get, and this page gives me a sense of accomplishment. Especially, when I can check off the boxes! :-)





I wanted to share this with you and I hope you can use it to help organize your life! 

Take Care and God Bless your Day!



Monday, June 30, 2014

Peanut Butter Bars

My brother's graduation party was last month, so I went to my parent's house beforehand to make the bars for my Mom. She was pretty busy getting everything else ready, I figured I could help her out with the baking. Among other types of bars, I made these peanut butter bars that were a big hit with the family!
My little sister, Clara, told me they were her "FAVORITE!" :)


Ingredients

BASE:
1 c. butter, melted
2 c. graham cracker crumbs, finely ground
2-3 c. powdered sugar
1 c. creamy peanut butter

TOPPING:
1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips


Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter and 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Stir until well combined. (Mixture should be thick and moldable. If it's too runny, add more powdered sugar until you achieve desired consistency.)
Press into an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
In a glass bowl, melt the chocolate chips and additional peanut butter in the microwave in intervals until smooth and creamy.
Spread evenly over the top of the graham cracker mixture.
Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until fully chilled before cutting into bars.


***************************************************************

(Directions with Photos)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter and 2 cups of the powdered sugar. 


Stir until well combined.


Mixture should be thick and moldable. If it's too runny (like shown above), add more powdered sugar until you achieve desired consistency (shown below).

Press into an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.


In a glass bowl, combine the chocolate chips and additional peanut butter.


Place in the microwave for 45 seconds, stir, then continue in 15 second intervals.


Continue melting until smooth and creamy.


Pour over graham cracker mixture.


Spread evenly.


Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until fully chilled before cutting into bars.


Scrumptious! :)






Friday, June 27, 2014

Veggie Pasta Salad


I can only say how many times that my husband and I are trying to watch what we eat!  For fear of really boring you, I will steer away from that line of thought today. :)

Instead, I will say that we have been focusing on quick meals.  This meal is definitely that... especially if you have another "chopper" in the kitchen. :)  My husband and I agreed that it is a really nice, light tasting pasta, but it needs a "little something". Because we were both really hungry, we didn't bother trying to figure it out.  Let me know what you would do to give it a little "mmmff".  

So for a quick (and healthy ;) meal, give it a try.  Don't forget to comment on how to make it better.  I love suggestions!!! :)


VEGGIE PASTA SALAD

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
16 ounces of whole wheat fusilli, cooked
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
3 kosher pickles, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup grated carrots
2 T. dijon mustard


DIRECTIONS

1.  In a bowl, whisk white wine vinegar and oil.  Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, add fusilli, vinegar and oil mixure, and dried spices.  Mix with a large spatula.
3. Add chopped veggies. 
4. Add 2 T. mustard.  Mix well.  Chill and serve!

EASY!!!