Monday, June 17, 2013

Nutty Caramel Popcorn

This Father's Day I knew what to send for my Dad's gift! Caramel Popcorn they once loved when I made it 11 years ago. So I pulled this recipe out and gave it a whirl again. Now I have changed the original recipe a little, I've added more popcorn and lots more nuts and doubled the caramel sauce. I'm glad I made a big batch because we couldn't keep our hands out of it. See a quick video of me making this on keek (sorry I don't have Vine).

Happy Father's  POPS Day Dad, we hope you enjoyed your treat! :)

Nutty Caramel Popcorn
adapted from

2 cups popcorn kernels, freshly popped
2 cups lightly salted, roasted peanuts
2 cups pecans
2 cups cashews
2 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Generously butter heavy large baking pan (I just used my silpat liners in two large rimmed baking sheets). Mix warm popcorn and nuts in prepared pan. Place in oven while preparing syrup.

Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves and butter melts.

Attach clip-on candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat to medium-high and boil without stirring until thermometer registers 255 degrees F, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush, about 4 minutes (mine took just a little longer, watch it!).

Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract, salt and baking soda (mixture will bubble). Gradually pour syrup over popcorn and nuts completely. Stir popcorn and caramel together a little.

Bake until caramel feels dry, stirring frequently (about every 25 minutes), about 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Using metal spatula, scrape mixture from bottom of pan to loosen. Cool completely in pan.

(Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

hot air popped plain popcorn

almost finished baking away

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Carrot Rice Pilaf

Here's a great side dish to go with your favorite entree. It's a nice change from boring plain rice. Mr. loves this rice, the carrots naturally sweeten it up and make it extra tasty. It's one I can make often since the ingredients are simple and almost always on hand.  Give this recipe a try this week!

Carrot Rice Pilaf
slightly adapted from Grimmway Farms 

1 cup shredded carrots
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup long grain rice, uncooked
1 (14.5–oz.) can low sodium chicken broth (gluten free)
1 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning

In a large skillet, saute carrots and onion in butter until tender. Add rice and stir to coat. Stir in broth and lemon pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Candy Cookie Bars

Summertime has come to our home and these colorful fun cookie bars would sure add smiles to my kiddos faces. We've got a busy summer ahead, as we move homes/towns and change schools (never really fun) but here we go! Cookies to cheer us up I think! They loved these, actually they loved the huge sheet of cookie! This would also be fun to decorate and write in frosting for a birthday cookie-cake.

Candy Cookie Bars
slightly adapted from Fearless Homemaker

2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 12oz bag M&M’s, divided

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line (with foil or parchment) an 11x17" edged baking sheet and set aside. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in 1 cup of M&M’s and  turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Sprinkle the remaining M&M’s on top and press in slightly. Bake 20-25 minutes, until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan. Cool completely before cutting.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gluten Free Beef Stroganoff (GF Cream of Mushroom Soup & GF Gravy)

This is one of our go to meals, it's budget friendly using ground beef instead of pricey cuts of steak. My family loves this and really loved it last night, they ate it all! This recipe may seem familiar because I have blogged it back in the day but today I am sharing it with you again, gluten free style and with homemade ingredients. Don't be scared, it's really easy to make, and the soup and gravy are done in no time at all, they could also be made ahead of time and chilled. Make up a batch of that gluten free flour blend to keep on hand, you'll need a little for this recipe. Feel free to serve over gluten free pasta if you wish. 

Gluten Free Beef Stroganoff
adapted from Mommy's Kitchen, serves about 8

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, diced
Salt & pepper (to taste)
1 TBL crushed garlic
1 tsp onion powder
Cream of mushroom soup (gluten free recipe below)
Beef gravy (gluten free recipe below)
1 cup sliced fresh portabella mushrooms
1/4 cup sour cream
3 TBL parsley
Cooked rice (I would cook up 2 cups of rice for 8 ppl)

Brown & cook ground beef with chopped onion, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder in a skillet.  Drain of excess grease, return meat to pan. Add the cream of mushroom soup, gravy and mushrooms, mix together and simmer over low heat about 10 minutes. Add the sour cream and parsley, mix until thoroughly blended. Serve over cooked hot rice.

Gluten Free Cream of Mushroom Soup 
from my blog

3 TBL butter
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, diced
3 TBL gluten free all purpose flour blend
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1-1/2 cup milk, warmed

Melt butter in large skillet add in mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in flour and seasonings. Cook over medium heat for just a minute. Add milk slowly, stirring with wire whisk. Cook until just about thick. Makes 1 1/2 cups or 1 can of condensed soup. Use all this in this stroganoff recipe.

Gluten Free Beef Gravy

1 cup water
1 tsp Better Than Bouillon beef base
2 TBL gluten free all purpose flour blend
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 TBL parsley
1/2 TBL butter

In a large skillet, heat the water and beef base. Whisk in flour and seasonings and heat until it thickens up. Add in butter and let it melt. Use all this in this stroganoff recipe.

made in no time at all!

add in the gravy, soup and mushrooms, simmer away

I steamed my rice with some chopped garlic

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