Marshmallow Popcorn

PopcornI’ve got an ooey gooey treat for you today!

It’s a perfect snack to enjoy while watching the Olympics! (Opening ceremonies are Friday night!)

But you might need to make a practice batch or two before then  – just to make sure you have the technique down! 🙂

Marshmallow Popcorn

3 bags of microwave popcorn – popped (or just pop up about 2/3 cup of regular popcorn) 
2 sticks of butter
16 ounces of mini-marshmallows
1 cup of brown sugar

Pop the corn and set aside.

Put the butter, marshmallows and brown sugar in a saucepan and melt over medium heat, stirring until everything is melted together.

Pour melted mixture over popcorn and mix it up.

It starts out very warm and sticky and delicious – but hardens up as it cools.

There might be just a few calories in these – but that’s okay – you’ll burn them off watching all those athletes!

Let the games begin!

Brownie Batter Dip

Do you remember the Brownie Batter Dip I told you about last week?Dip

The one that was so good we couldn’t stop eating?

The one we dipped our strawberries and pretzels in?

And spoons.

And our fingers.

And even twizzlers?

Yep – that one.

Here’s the recipe.

Your welcome. 🙂

Brownie Batter Dip

8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
2-3 cup powdered sugar
5 tablespoons flour
5 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat cream cheese and butter. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. Mix well.

Add flour, cocoa, brown sugar, vanilla and another tablespoon of milk. Mix together.

Add powdered sugar and/or milk until the dip is the desired consistency.

Serve with pretzels, sugar cookies, strawberries, fingers or spoons.

Granola & Granola Bites

There’s two recipes in one blog post today. But since you can’t make one without the other – you get a two-fer day!

Watching my teenagers down an entire box of cold cereal in 2 days, caused me to re-evaluate breakfast.

We needed something that would be more filling – and more cost effective. It was time to dig out the granola recipes.

This one has become our new favorite. It’s perfect with some yogurt and sliced fruit.  It does makes a bunch, but around here it goes fast!

GranolaGranola

10 cups oatmeal (I like to use the old-fashioned)
2 cups barley flakes (can just use more oatmeal)
2 cups coconut
2 cups peanuts
2 cups slivered almonds
2 cups sunflower seeds
3/4 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter
1-1/2 cup brown sugar or honey

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a saucepan and cook until dissolved.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix until everything is moistened.

Pour out on 2 large baking pans. Bake at 275 degrees until golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring twice.

Now that you have your granola made – it’s time to take some of it and make our new favorite snack – granola bites.

I got the original recipe from my friend Jami at An Oregon Cottage.  These little gems are not only packed with protein and whole grains – they taste great! They make the perfect snack for a teenager who can’t make it to the next meal!

Granola BitesGranola Bites

1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cup granola
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla in a bowl. Add the granola and chocolate chips.

Refrigerate for 3o minutes before shaping into balls with a cookie scoop and rolling in more granola, chopped peanuts or coconut. (This helps take away some of the stickiness)

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

You can experiment with different nut butters and add dried fruit or different chips.

Enjoy!

Poppers

popperTomatoes best friend- the peppers – are finally starting to really produce. We’ve been waiting all summer to start feeding our popper cravings!

Now I know some people get really fancy with their poppers – with breading and bacon and the whole nine yards.

Personally – I really love them that way, but just can’t justify the time or extra calories several times a week.

So we’ve come up with a much simpler version that allows us to each poppers 3 or 4 nights a week – which is a very happy thing!

We wash the jalapeno peppers, cut off the stem end, and slice them lengthwise. Then we use a metal measuring spoon to dig out the seeds and fill the cavity with cream cheese.

We put them on a foil lined baking sheet and bake them at 350 for about 30 minutes. When they are soft and the cream cheese is brown and bubbly – we just put the entire pan in the middle of the table and feast!

And I do mean feast! It’s every man, woman and child for themselves! We call it the “popper roulette” because you never know whether the one you choose is going to be a hot one.

Every once in a while the chef may leave a popper with the seeds and membranes in it so that one unsuspecting victim will get a a real kick! 🙂

As we shoveled them in tonight, Dagmar wondered if there were any other crazy families out there who sit at the supper table and pop poppers like candy?

I sure hope so! It’s one very tasty family tradition!

I’ve linked this post with Tasty Tuesdays at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

Fresh Salsa Memories

SalsaMy family has it’s share of traditions – some crazy, some fun, and some tasty.

Fresh salsa is one of our most addicting tasty ones.

Every year we gather at my parent’s house Labor Day weekend for an early Christmas.

And since my folks, sisters and I all have gardens, every year we bring whatever happens  to be producing at that time.

Tomatoes and peppers dominate.

So the fresh salsa tradition began. Every morning as the breakfast dishes are cleared, someone starts chopping for that day’s batch.

The recipe is simple – chopped tomatoes, chopped green peppers, chopped onions, chopped garlic. A little vinegar, or lime juice or lemon juice, some cilantro, salt and pepper and you’re done.

The proportions depend on the chef and the produce available. Once the ingredients are mixed, we all grab a chip and sample. A little more cilantro. Too many peppers, add a few more tomatoes.  Maybe a touch more salt.  Several samples later – we declare it perfect!

This tradition – however –  is not without it’s controversies.

Personally – I don’t need any extra sugar in my diet or my salsa- but my sister Sandy does. Whenever I made the salsa – she would always try to slip some sugar in it when I wasn’t looking.  I finally decided that if having sugar in her salsa was that important – she could make it the way she wanted.

She’s been doing a lot chopping ever since! 😉

Then, we discovered this trip that there were <gasp> certain members in the family who didn’t care for the taste of cilantro in their salsa.

I know it’s shocking – but true.

So Sandy made two bowls – one with for those of us with refined and discerning taste buds who appreciate the robust and wonderful taste of cilantro and one for the poor souls who don’t understand what they are  missing.

But the most shocking controversy is that of the missing salsa. One morning a few years back, we had made our daily bowl of salsa, Sandy had slipped her extra sugar in, and we left it on the counter while we “aunts” all headed out to the thrift store with Nana.

When we returned the bowl was empty, save for a stray onion bit floating in a little juice in the bottom!

Horrors! Our daily bowl of salsa was gone! All of  our efforts – the chopping, mixing and tasting were for naught.

The “aunts” were not happy.

All fingers pointed to little Lydia, my three-year-old niece who was sitting at the counter on her daddy’s lap with an empty bowl of salsa in front of them.

Lydia ate that entire large bowl of salsa? How could she – she’s only three years old?!

She had to have had help. There was someone sitting in that room with a bad case of salsa breath and a guilty conscience.

We all have our suspicions on who her accomplice was – but the culprit was never punished for his crime.

While we continue to wait for a full confession – we have learned to never leave our salsa unattended. 🙂

Fresh salsa is just one of those traditions that we take seriously. Very seriously. 😉

Caramel Snack Mix

Chex MixHere it is!

The super yummy – diet busting snack mix I promised you – just in time for swimsuit season! 🙂

Dagmar entered this mix as her entry for the annual family Iron Chef competition and won second place in the “Yum” category.

It was first place in my heart! It’s an addicting sweet and salty combination – think Chex Mix meets caramel corn.

I literally couldn’t stop eating it.

Frosting True confessions here – if you look very closely at the picture of  Butterbuns Iron Chef entry that I posted last week – you will see a pink arm in the background.

That arm is mine.

It is in the bucket of Caramel Snack Mix – where it spent the weekend.

My nieces and nephews had to wrestle it out of my hands just to save me from myself.

It’s that good.

I hope my family enjoyed it – ’cause I’m not sure the scale will allow me to ever make it again! 😉

Caramel Snack Mix

1 – 12 oz. box Crispix
1 cup peanuts
1 cup almonds
1 cup cashews
6 ounces mini pretzels or sticks
2 sticks butter or margarine
1/2 cup Karo syrup
2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix together the Crispix, nuts and pretzels sticks in a large bowl. (We used 3 cups of mixed nuts in ours.)

In a 3 quart saucepan combine the oleo, Karo syrup and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add 1 teaspoon soda. Stir. It will foam up.

Pour over the cereal mix and stir.

Bake in a 300 degree oven for 15 minutes stirring every 5 minutes.

Dump out on the table to cool and harden.

Now – I dare you not to eat the whole thing!

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post up at Tasty TuesdayTempt My Tummy Tuesday, and Tuesdays at the Table.

Cheesy Chili Dip

Dip It’s graduation time again and it’s time to start making the rounds of all those open houses!

Think sheet cakes and cream cheese mints. 🙂

Our first graduation of the season was my niece Lexie’s – who graduated last weekend from a small Christian school.

It was so small there were only 8 graduates – and each one had in a part in the ceremony. It was a fun evening with hands-down, no questions, the very best graduation address I have ever heard!

The next day at her Open House, my sister-in-law served some really yummy chili dip. People were raving over it as they went back for seconds and thirds and fourths.  Many a diet was busted that afternoon- including mine.

The great thing is – it was super simple! It has – are you ready for this – 2 ingredients. Yes, two!

8 ounces cream cheese

1 jar Hormel chili (no beans)

Just heat them together and serve with tortilla chips.

My sister-in-law just dumped them in the crock pot and stirred them together.

Super simple and super yummy – which left us all free to spend time together making special memories.

Perfect!

I’ve linked this post up with Tasty Tuesday and Tempt my Tummy Tuesday.