Friday, November 26, 2010


Alchemy was an ancient practice focused on the attempt to change base metals into gold. Or this case, popcorn into caramel corn.

The base metal, freshly popped corn. Not from a microwave bag. Way more fun to make, btw.
Turned into...GOLD! I am an alchemist.

To make your own absolutely delicious gold, follow the recipe below.
And package them up as gifts, to spread the wealth!

Moose-Munch Remake, aka Golden Caramel Corn
(adapted from

5 to 6 qts. popped corn, from 1 c. unpopped white corn
1 c. butter
2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 container mixed nuts
1/2 bag chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 250°.

After picking out any unpopped kernels and hulls, spread freshly popped corn in two large, shallow sheet pans. Put in the oven to keep warm and crisp.

Combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Place on medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue to boil to the firm ball stage (248°), about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Syrup will foam.

Take popped corn from oven and pour hot caramel mixture over it, in a fine stream. Sprinkle over nuts. Stir with two wooden spoons to mix well. Return to oven for 45 to 50 minutes, stirring and scraping up caramel from pan bottom every 15 minutes.

Drizzle chocolate over the cooled caramel corn while it is still in the pans.

Cool and serve or store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Happy Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving began as usual, with the Turkey Trot, an 8-miler through downtown.
We look sleepy because it's early. The weather was cold and windy but generally great running weather. Casey ran with me, which was fun. My favorite part is looking up at the big buildings downtown while running through them and coming back across the Trinity River bridge, back into downtown with this amazing view of Dallas.

We then had family Thanksgiving at our house. My parents brought two smoked turkeys, my mom-in-law did the mashed potatoes and gravy, my sister & brother in law made the dressing and salad. So, all I had to do was the dessert, vegetable and bread. My kind of gathering.Yes, I photographed the food. I felt like my grandmother, who every year made the family pose around the loaded table, salivating through our posed smiles. At least this is drool-free.
There was cranberry sauce too. As a child, I would sneak canned cranberry sauce straight from the can. I am not ashamed.
If you look closely, Dad's cup says "Cindy." Cindy is my mom-in-law. Just thought I'd point that out.
My mom, actually playing nice and posing for a picture.
Dustin is excited about turkey.
And the lovely floating cheesecake that Casey was sweet enough to photograph for me. Yummy. It's a shame the leftovers didn't last past dinner. Must make more dessert next time.
And, of course, the after-Thanksgiving football and nap. I think Aubrey was savy to Casey's picture taking, though.

It was a good day.

Homemade Marshmallows

Every Christmas, Williams Sonoma sells the best marshmallows ever. They come individually wrapped and are "homemade." They make hot chocolate sublime. But, they cost about $1 each. So, I thought, I can do better than this.

So, I did. Alton Brown can give you the recipe, but they're just gelatin, sugar, corn syrup and water. Soak the gelatin, cook the syrup, add the syrup to the gelatin in the mixer and mix and mix. Pour onto a powdered sugar/cornstarch lined pan. Top with more powdered sugar/cornstarch. Let set. The absolute hardest part is cutting them, as they stick to everything until you roll them in powdered sugar.

The flavor is just the same as you'd expect from marshmallows, but the texture is much softer. Nice. And when dipped in semi-sweet chocolate, divine.

Sadly, though, as much as I liked the marshmallows, my stand mixer did not. It has departed this world. Now I know what I want for Christmas!

Next project: Homemade Moose Munch! (Aka Carmel Popcorn)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Indiana Jack

It's a boy!

Yesterday, we had the 19 week sonogram, and the baby's a boy. They measured everything and we got the blood test results back too, and everything's normal, and we're really happy. It was amazing to get a glimpse at our little person. He could even see that he had hiccups! It was darling. Our precious baby boy is due to arrive April 12th or so...and I can't wait to meet him, to watch him grow up, to see the man he grows up to be. What a privilege I get to be part of helping form a human being! And I'll always be his mother, and he'll always be my son. Wow. How challenged and exciting!

P.S. Yes...we're planning an Indiana Jones theme for the baby room. Why not? I have had to make a stand on no bull whip on the baby room, though. Little boy + bull whip just has to equal trouble, sooner or later!