Friday, January 28, 2011

Do you like to cook?

I come from a long line of good cooks.  I can remember going to my Grandma's house and having her homemade pancakes. They were so light and fluffy, with my grandpa's home made sausage on the side. Yummy. Or fresh homemade waffles with chicken gravy (If you've never tried that - you should! Delicious!)

Grandma used to come down to our house on Saturday morning, and in return for my dad working on her car, would turn a 50 pound bag of flour into  homemade bread, rolls, cinnamon rolls, and donuts. Grandma's donuts were a treat, even if we were still frying donuts at 2:30 in the morning. Sadly, now,my sweet Grandma has Alzheimer's, and can barely remember me, let alone how to cook.

Of course, my mom shares Grandma's passion for cooking.  When we go to visit, she always asks us what we want to eat, and you never leave the table hungry, as she makes enough to feed an army.    Everyone has a favorite dish of Mom's that they request when they go for dinner.

I love cooking. To me, it is relaxing. I can come home after a busy day, and  the chopping, and mixing, and stirring is all therapeutic for me.  I also love trying new recipes, and Hubby is a very willing taste tester, so we compliment each other well :)  I have a 3-ring binder full of  recipes I have found on the internet or copied out of magazines. And with hubby's beloved Packers plying in the Superbowl, I've been looking for  recipes for Superbowl snacking. We have always gone elsewhere for Superbowl parties - but this year we are hosting the party. It's a challenge for me to find healthier options for snacks, as football party fare is usually anything but healthy.  Are you having a Superbowl party? Are you trying for healthy or just going with favorites menu items that might not be healthy? Do you have a favorite dish that you always make?

I always seem to fall short on the (healthy)dessert items though. A die-hard chocoholic and sweet addict, the chocolate-y-er (I know - not a word), the richer, the sweeter - the better in my opinion. I am known for my delectable desserts  - chocolate truffles, fudge, white chocolate raspberry cheesecake, etc. I figure if I cook healthy for all the other meals, then it won't be so bad when I don't go healthy on the desserts. Not great reasoning, I'm sure.

A recent find in the snack recipe search is this yummy little popcorn recipe.  The proper title is  "Cinnamon Caramel Corn with pecans and white chocolate".  Too long a title for me - I'd say just call it Cinnamon roll popcorn, because it tastes like cinnamon rolls. Really quite addictive. 

Cinnamon Caramel Corn with Pecans & White Chocolate
12 Cups popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup kernals)
1 Cup pecan halves, roughly chopped.
1 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup light corn syrup (honey makes a good substitution)
 1 stick real butter
 1 teaspoon vanilla
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
 3 squares almond bark (about 4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Place popcorn and pecans in a large bowl and set aside.
Combine brown sugar & cinnamon in a 2 liter capacity microwave-safe bowl. Chop butter into chunks and place on top of sugar mixture. Pour corn syrup over the top of everything. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir to combine. Return to microwave and heat for 2 minutes. Remove & stir, then micrwave for 2 more minutes.
 Remove from microwave and add vanilla and baking soda. Stir to combine. Mixture will foam and rise. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pecans, stirring gently until everything is coated.
Spread popcorn mixture onto a foil-lined jelly roll pan. place in oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

 Remove from oven and spread on a large piece of parchment, waxed paper, or tin foil. Melt almond bark according to package directions. Drizzle over popcorn mixture.  When almond bark is cool and hardened, break apart in to smaller chunks and enjoy. Store in a airtight container.
* You might want to hide it somewhere if you are saving it for a Superbowl party - it's very addictive and will disappear before you know it. :)

What is a favorite dish you are making for you Superbowl party?



  1. I'm sorry to hear about your Grandmother. My Grandmother had Alzheimer's too. It's such a horrible disease and is hard to watch. I hope you've preserved some of her recipes so that you can carry them on for generations to come! I'm like you - LOVE LOVE LOVE chocolate and hate "healthy" desserts! I am making a big nacho dish for Supebowl Sunday, but hadn't thought of desserts! Maybe I'll give your popcorn a try!

  2. Hi there! I LOVE to cook, but hate to bake. Cooking is therapy to me. I am making Oreo truffles today (no baking involved) for my daughter's pre-k teachers. They are fantastic!