Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spook Popcorn~ A Halloween Treat

Graphics available at pccrafter

Spook Popcorn

5 quarts (20 cups) popcorn (already popped)
2 cups salted nuts (nixed nuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews...whatever you like)
3 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup butter or margarine
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, combine popcorn, nuts and marshmallows. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour over popped corn, nuts & marshmallows. Stir until marshmallows are melted and popcorn is well coated. Can be rolled into popcorn balls if desired.
This is a recipe I got from my mom. She used to make this and share it with the neighbors. It makes a big batch! Make sure you use a big bowl and a sturdy spoon.

My Notes:
*This stays nice and soft & gooey.
*I used cashew pieces and it was so yummy! My mom usually uses peanuts & they are good too.



Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I can not make Jell-O. It is a culinary skill that somehow escapes me. I'm a pretty good cook, a reasonably decent baker, but when it comes to Jell-O, all bets are off!
Blame it on my mom...she doesn't like Jell-O, so my childhood was pretty much Jell-O less.

Oh, I can throw together some Jell-O masterpieces. Cottage cheese/Orange Jell-O salad is my specialty! Sometimes, just to shake things up, I use different flavors of Jell-O and fruit. Really, I am that daring!

I can make Cookie Salad (okay, not really Jell-O, it calls for pudding) and Frog-Eye Salad. Who doesn't love that? (Although I think it involves pudding too, hey if the box says Jell-O it's good enough for me!)

I can even make plain Jell-O...sometimes I even like to throw some Cool-Whip on top!
But if a recipe involves a set Jell-O with anything added to it...Well, it's just a disaster waiting to happen for me.

This knowledge, however, does not stop me from ocassionally thinking I can actually make Jell-O. Two weeks ago, such an event occured. Rick's parents were celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary, and somehow I thought I could make the Jell-O for the family dinner. To be fair, I originally was going to make the previous mentioned Cottage Cheese salad...but lots of people don't like that...so I started trying to come up with something else...

My first idea? A lovely Orange Creamsicle Jell-O that was served at Rick's grandma's funeral. Everyone loved it & so I got the recipe. Please note, I have made this before, and it did not set up. Really, you would think a previous failure with this recipe would serve as a warning...but no...I decided I would make it!

Here's the recipe:
1 large box vanilla instant pudding
2 small boxes orange Jell-O

Make pudding according to package directions. Allow to set.
Make Jell-O using quick set method. Add prepared pudding, stir together and set.

Please, please, please, if you make this and it works~I don't want to know about it! Because it was a dismal failure for me! I will never make this again...EVER! On a positive note, Rick's mom froze it and took it to another family gathering on Sunday. I made everyone swear not to tell that it was mine! It looked gross! As it thawed, it became a semi-frozen, soupy mess...which many people loved! Go figure. Rick's cousin thought it was Awesome! Well, at least it tasted good. Maybe it would work for frozen pudding pops?

The second recipe I decided to make (why in the world would I try out a new recipe? Why, why, why?) Was also an Orange Creamsicle recipe...thankfully it turned out a little better.

Orange Creamsicle Jell-O
2 (3 oz) packages instant vanilla pudding
1 (3 oz) package orange Jell-O
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 (22 oz) can mandarin oranges (with juice)
1 (16 oz) container Cool Whip

Combine pudding, Jell-O. Pour boiling water over top and stir to dissolve completely.
Add the mandarin oranges (with juice). Fold in Cool Whip. Chill

This one turned out okay. I would make it again...Some reviews of the recipe said to leave out the juice from the oranges, as it can get kind of runny after it sits out for a while. So, I left the juice out...so it was pretty thick and sticky. The consistency and texture was a little like a thick, sticky paste. Next time, I'll use the juice... It did set up and it tasted good (as long as the texture didn't make you gag!) So I can happily add it to my Jell-O aresenal!

I have instructed my sister -in- law to hit me up the side of the head with a brick lovingly remind me I can't make Jell-O the next time I get the hare-brained idea that I can! She readily agreed. :)

At least we all got a good laugh from my Jell-O debacle & everyone now knows I can't make Jell-O!!!

On a more postive note. Today I am making this Apple Pudding, from Connie, who probably can make Jell-O.
Happily for me, no Jell-O (or pudding) was involved. It was super good & my family must have liked it, because they all came back for seconds. (Shhh, don't tell them I used walnuts! Even my most picky walnut haters didn't notice!). Yummy stuff!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Shane was only 4 when we moved to Arizona. As a result, he really doesn't remember much about Utah.
These are just a few of the things that are fascinating to him right now...

This is a "park" in the middle of our neighborhood. In AZ, we would call this a greenbelt. When we say that here, we get confused, blank stares! Most the kids call it "the field". Fascinating also, is the fact that he can just run outside and there are tons of neighbor kids to play with...and more fascinating still? That he can play outside! (AZ = either too hot...or not safe!)

Heater. Vents. Hours of fascinated play for an 8 year old boy! Yes, yes, we had these in AZ too, but they were in the ceiling, not the floor. I've already had to fish several toys out of the vent in his room. Awesome hiding place for action figures.

Grass. Green. Soft. No further explanation needed.

Our (ugly) mailbox. We had a community mail box in AZ. (The ones with all the little individual boxes). He loves to get the mail. Thankfully, this fascination has died down somewhat as he usually just brought the mail up to the front porch and left it there!

Mountains, mountains and more mountains! And if you look closely, you will see there is snow on the top of this beauty! He can't wait until it snows in the valley! He does think it's cold here though! (He ain't seen nothin' yet!) :) Awww, he's such an Arizona boy!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Speaking of Chickens

When Emily was in Kindergarten, she learned a cute little song about a Silly Chicken.

I Had a Little Chicken
(Tune: Turkey in the Straw)

"Oh, I had a little chicken
And she wouldn't lay an egg.
So I poured hot water
Up and down her leg.
And she giggled and she giggled,
And she giggled all the day.
Then, the silly little chicken
Laid a hard-boiled egg!"

She sang this song at the ward talent show. I can still see her, standing up on the stage in front of the microphone...shimmying up and down and flapping her elbows like a chicken! The 2nd verse was just a series of "bock, bock, bock, bock-bock...bock, bock, bock, bock"...she was such a cutie! She has always loved to sing and perform, and has never suffered from stage fright.
She is, however, afraid of chickens, as evidenced in this video:

(Both girls are, in fact, named Emily. Scaredy-cat/ "chicken" Emily is the one wearing her hair down...)
(And does she really say, "Those are hens, not chickens!")?
On the other hand...Shane is kind of shy and does not like to perform in front of others. He doesn't even like to be in the yearly Primary program. You would never catch him performing in a ward talent show!
But, he is not afraid of chickens!
He and a few of the other boys in the neighborhood, have been going to the Smith's house to help "pick" (gather) fresh chicken eggs. (These are very patient and kind neighbors!)

Last week, he brough home a dozen fresh eggs. He is fascinated with the variety of size, shape and color.

He also enjoys the whole process of "picking" the eggs. And is quite disgusted that, in his words;

"Chickens eat their own babies!" He dropped an egg that he had gathered and the chickens flocked right to it and gobbled it down. He thinks that is pretty gross!

He asked me to scramble some of his eggs for him. He told me exactly how to wash them off before cracking them. The first batch of eggs, he took 2 bites and said they "tasted weird". Later he admitted he was just thinking about where they came from & was worried that there might be baby chicks in the eggs and he didn't want to eat a baby chick! This was partly from a family conversation the night before, wherein Rick and I recounted instances of cracking fresh eggs...and finding forming chicks inside...and from his sibling's constant, "Ewww...that's gross, I'd never eat a fresh egg" comments.

He is now over the squeamishness and has eaten (and enjoyed) fresh scrambled eggs. I'm still working on my squeamishness!

When I was a kid, my grandma had chickens. I have fond memories of staying at her house and helping with the chickens. I got to help shoo the chickens in to the coop at night, and also helped gather eggs from the nests. I wasn't as brave as grandma, she would have to shoo the hens away for me to be able to snatch up the eggs. Those hens peck! (yeah, I might have a chicken phobia myself!)

Below is a picture of grandma's chicken coops. If I remember correctly, the large one was the "Hen House" and the small one was for the Roosters. They have not been used in a good, long time. (The coops, not the roosters...well, those too!)

I remember too, a few times of witnessing a Rooster meet his demise on the chopping block! It's a funny (and slightly disturbing) sight to see a Rooster running around the pasture with no head!

And, we (the grandkids) liked to chase each other with the chicken feet. After they were chopped off, you could pull the tendon and make the foot curl up. This really grosses me out now!

Chicken Coops in Grandma's Pasture

My grandma used to make the best chicken and noodles!

I tried this recipe for Lion House Chicken Noodle Soup a couple of weeks ago. I didn't use the dehydrated ingredients. And I added 2-11 oz pkgs of "Grandma's" brand frozen homemade style egg noodles. Oh, it was beyond delicious and totally reminded me of grandma's chicken and noodles. There was very little "soup" to it! But it was oh, so good!

And that is all I have to say about that.

For today.