Saturday, December 31, 2011

We're off to Utah again

We've had a death in our family, expected but always a shock when it happens.  Anyway I'll be off line for a week or so.   May you each have a blessed New Year! 


Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas- something to think about

Christmas Eve is just a few hours away and most of us aren't thinking about survival at all.  But a couple thousand years ago Mary and Joseph were faced with survival.  In their sudden trek to Bethlehem and then their sudden fleeing trek to Egypt, they had to "bug out" both times.  Here is a site that goes through their bug out and how we can plan our own bug out kits. 

I tend to think I'm the bug out location so I don't need to have a bug out kit.  But what if we had an economic collapse  and that lead to war in our nation.  So many places have had sudden unexpected war and the horrors that go with it.  They never thought it would happen to them but it did.  We should always be ready to leave with 10 minutes notice.  Bugging out might come or it might never come but we should be prepared just in case. 

Here is a short read you might enjoy just in time for Christmas.   I hope you each have a blessed Christmas with your family this weekend!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Cinnamon Popcorn Recipe

I wasn't totally happy with the cinnamon popcorn recipe I had so tried this one.  Not totally happy with it either.  the other one stay's in the oven for a whole hour and dries the corn totally out.  This one doesn't totally coat the corn so I tried heating in the oven until it melted and got re-tossed to fully coat it.  So thinking both recipes would work well just bake until corn is fully covered instead of doing it a full hour.  I liked the color of the 1st recipe better than using the paste coloring in this recipe, turned more pinkish instead of bright red.  Anyway just thought I would share the recipe and my thoughts on how to make both work better.  I bought a 4 oz bottle of cinnamon oil online at from a company called Olive Nation.  It came very fast.  I ordered it late Monday night and had it on Saturday.  They shipped it Fed-Ex to my post office so I could of picked it up Friday afternoon if I had needed it faster from my post office.  Both recipes tasted very good, just the 1st one was to dried out from baking a whole hour and the 2nd one needed to bake about 15 minutes to get it so I could get better coverage.

Candy Coated Popcorn
Using 1-dram (.125oz) bottles

4 quarts popped corn
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 dram (1 tsp.) LorAnn Gourmet Flavoring (any flavor) (flavor amount can be increased as desired)
LorAnn Liquid Food Coloring (as desired)


Keep freshly-popped corn warm in large baking pan in 200°F oven.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt and cream of tartar in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Cook to 250°F without stirring.

Remove from heat. After boiling action ceases, add flavoring and color. Add soda and stir in quickly but thoroughly. Pour at once while foamy over warm popcorn; mix gently to coat corn. Shape into balls or spread onto cookie sheet and break into pieces when cool.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Can you believe it!

1 week from today is Christmas Day!  Every year when it gets close to Christmas day things seem to go crazy!  Every day this week is booked solid.  I only have a few things to get done.  I'm so grateful for the change in my life!  My babies turned 18 this last summer so now all the kids are adults.  They requested that our holidays go to a pot luck dinner.  I didn't care much for it at Thanksgiving but gee whiz it sure is growing on my now!  I'm down to provide the meat for Christmas dinner and everyone else is bringing everything else.  What a stress buster for Mom!  I'm not even thinking about the big dinner now!  Go ahead and surprise me!  New Years Eve thing I am making my cheese ball and providing 3 boxes of crackers.  I don't even want to think about all the stuff I used to do for these meals! 

So a great big thank you to my kids for helping me make things simple!   Now I have time to do all everyone wants me to do without getting stressed out.  I'm already thinking about next years Christmas gifts and plan on getting started on them in January and seeing if I can be done by this summer!   I've topped off the pop corn cans and party mix so should be ready for the coming weekend!

Now I have time to remember the reason for the season.  I know Jesus Christ wasn't born on December 25th.   Any Bible scholar knows he was born in the Spring time but it is the day that has been set aside to remember his wonderful birth.  Although I tend to think more about his life mission and his sacrifice that made it possible for me to return to my Father in Heaven one day.   I am truly grateful for his life here on earth and how he made it possible for us to obtain forgivness and return home.

May God bless each of you and may you have a wonderful Christmas with your family this year.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's been awhile!

I've been so busy here sewing up things for Christmas gifts and making Christmas goodies that I have hardly even looked at my computer!   I am here well and alive even if I haven't posted for a whole week!  

Today I'm making up party mix to fill our big can to go with the popcorn stuff I've already made up.  I've made up my Mom's fudge and will do up my cream caramels as soon as dinner is done.  So today I give you candy recipes.

My Mom's Million Dollar Fudge

4 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 can (13 oz.) evaporated milk
18 oz. milk chocolate bars
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 jar or tub marshmallow cream
2 cups walnuts (optional)

Break chocolate bars into little pieces and put into a bowl and set aside. Put sugar, butter and milk in a large pan.  cook to boiling on high heat, stirring constantly and let boil 5 minutes.  Turn to low and add all the chocolate and marshmallow cream and nuts.  Stir until melted and well blended.  Pour into a lightly buttered pan (about 13"x 9")   Makes 7 pounds.

My Mom's Peanut Butter Fudge

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 jar Marshmallow Cream
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar and milk in large saucepan.  Cook to soft ball stage (234 degrees)  I cook it a little longer because it ends up very soft and on the runny side at 234 degrees.  Add  remaining ingredients stirring until blended.  Pou into a buttered 9" square pan.  Cool.  Cut into 2x3 inch bars and wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper.  Yields 2 pounds.

Cream Caramels

Many years ago I bought a cookbook called "the Holiday Candy Book" by Virginia Pasley.  No ISBN listed.  It's long out of print but I bought 5 of them a couple years ago and got each for $1 plus shipping online. I gave them out for Christmas gifts.  It is the best candy making book I have ever found!  If you are into candy making it is worth tracking it down and getting your own copy.

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
2 cups heavy cream, warmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

Measure 2 cups sugar and 1 cup corn syrup into a 4 quart saucepan.  Blend with a wooden spoon, and place over low heat, stirring continuously until the thick mixture begins to dissolve.  Continuie stiring until mixture boils, then put in your candy thermometer and boil without stirring over high flame until the thermometer registers 305 degrees.  Have ready 1/4 cup butter which as been broken into small pieces and the warmed cream.  Remove the candy from the stove for only a moment and put in the first bit of butter and return to the stove.  Continue cooking and stirring well and adding bits of butter.  The mixture will bubble up and steam.  Add the cream slowly, never allowing the candy to stop boiling hard and continuing to stir vigorously so that it will not stick or burn.  Continue cooking until the thermometer registers 246 to 250 degrees depending on how hard you wish it to be.  This whole process  should not take more than 30 minutes and will take less if the heat is kept high enough.  When the desired degree is reached, remove from the stove immediately.  Let stand 5 minutes and then add the salt and vanilla.  Stir only enough to blend and pour into a lightly buttered pan- 8x11 inches is a good size- and allow to cool for several hours.  Turn out of the pan, cut into squares or oblongs with a heavy knife.  wrap in waxed paper or cellophane and store in a tin box.  Caramels keep well for weeks in a cool place if they are not exposed to other types of candy.

You can make chocolate cream caramels but using this recipe but reducing butter to 2 Tablespoons and after the caramels are cooked stir in immediately 2 squares of melted bitter chocolate. 

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Great site to visit and explore!

I recently heard about this web site and I discovered lots of great info there.  Have fun exploring all they have!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fresh Produce as the winter moves on in

Years ago while living in a tiny High Rise apartment in Japan I used flower pots to grow lettuce in, along with a few other things like carrots.  Growing cold crops in window sills is pretty easy to do.  I confess I did this before anyone had a chance to tell me that I couldn't or it was stupid.  A friend also told me not to pick the lettuce, just pick a few leaves from each plant and it would keep growing. 

I learned a few years ago that you could take stuff you buy at the store and cut off the root ends and plant them and they would regrow.  Green onions are the easiest to do so you could try those first.  Just cut about 1/2 to 1 inch above the roots and plant it.  I keep a window box full of them growing all winter long.  You can grow these same ones up to 5 times.   Romaine lettuce and celery are other ones you could try.  

I usual start these seeds in August in their container in the garden area.  That gives them time to get going good before we'll need them late autumn.  You can start seeds inside later but they seem to start much slower inside in the winter.  The ones we start from roots we bought at the store can be started any time. 

It's a good skill to learn in cause we ever go through a time we can't get fresh produce.  We appreciate it during the winter when the roads are bad and we just want to stay put.  I also keep milk in the freezer to be used when we can't get out. 

I hope today's tip will help you enjoy free fresh produce this winter!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Making your own Holiday Popcorn

I got tired of the can's of popcorn they have out there.  The really good stuff is so very expensive and the rest is so tasteless.  So I make my own.  I fill those can's I got from thrift stores and washed good.  So today I am going to share my recipes with you. 

 Making Cheese Popcorn
We love cheese popcorn so we make a a can full of that and it's so very easy!  We just make up regular popcorn and put it in a big bowl with a lid and sprinkle cheese powder thickly on it and then shake it up.    You can also add different spices to make nacho cheese corn or Italian cheese corn, ect.    As it sits in the can the flavor goes into the corn so after a couple days it's really good stuff!

Cinnamon Candied Popcorn

Things You'll Need:

  • 6 quarts of popped popcorn. (pop in a Stir Crazy or on the stove, do NOT use microwave popcorn.)
  • 12 ounces of cinnamon red hot candies
  • sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. or 1 dram of cinnamon oil. You need oil, not extract, you can find it at


1 Preheat the oven to 250ยบ. Butter a large roasting pan and add the popcorn to it. If you want you can put the popcorn in the oven to warm while you are preparing the candy coating, but it's not necessary.

2 Pour the red hot candies into a 2 cup measure and then start adding sugar to the candies, stopping to shake it down into all the nooks and crannies until the sugar reaches the 2 cup line.

3 In a heavy skillet, bring the candies, sugar, butter, water, corn syrup and salt to a boil. Boil, stirring constantly for five minutes.

4 Remove from heat and add the baking soda and cinnamon oil. Stir well and stand back to avoid the steam that will come up from the oil, some people are sensitive to it. I like to add the oil outside if possible or open a lot of windows so that my house doesn't smell like cinnamon forever.

5 Pour over popcorn and toss quickly with a buttered wooden spoon to distribute the candy coating evenly.

6 Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
7 Remove from the oven and pour out onto parchment paper or a clean granite or marble counter. Break up the larger clumps as it is cooling and then store in ziploc bags or a plastic container once completely cool. If you like cinnamon, watch out, this is addictive!

The Best Caramel Popcorn

Things You'll Need:

  • popcorn
  • sugar
  • corn syrup
  • butter
  • vanilla
  • toasted almonds
  • toasted pecans

    Measure 8-10 cups popped popcorn into a large bowl. Try to made sure there are no kernels.

    Use unsalted nuts. You may use 2 cups toasted almonds, or 1 cup almonds and 1 cup pecans or peanuts. Just make sure they are toasted. You can either buy toasted, or toast yourself. Put oven on broiler. Arrange nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Put in until darkened a bit on one side. Stay close by and pay attention so you don't burn them. OR Microwave nuts on a microwave safe plate for 1 minute intervals, stir after each minute or less until nuts are darkened and smell toasted. (2-3 minutes total)
        Pour nuts on top of popcorn.

    To make the caramel, in a medium size saucepan, combine: 1 1/3 Cup Sugar (all white or 1/2 white 1/2 brown) 1 Cup Butter 1/2 Cup Corn Syrup.
    Melt above ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes.
    Add 1 tsp vanilla.
    Pour mixture over popcorn and nuts.
    Toss by lifting the popcorn and nut mixture with a spoon, or two spoons until all coated and rotated.
    Pour onto a greased cookie sheet and let cool.
    pull apart and place in airtight container or cellophane gift bags.

Popcorn and Chex party Mix are items my family expects to see setting around all during the holiday season.  I actually store what I need for making our Christmas popcorns!

Hope your you and your family are getting ready for the Holidays and enjoying each others company!