Friday, April 15, 2011

Caramel Corn/Cracker Jacks

Ya... I haven't cooked all week. It's been awesome. I have eaten tunafish, granola, smoothies, salad, went to sushi with Maren, Chinese take out with g&m, and had a tandori chicken sandwich from Cosi. Do you like it when I post my food diary? hahah I have managed to make some more popcorn! This time I went with caramel. It's so so way good!

Crunchy Caramel Corn


  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking sheet
  • 10 cups plain unsalted popped (from 1/2 cup kernels or a 3.3-ounce bag microwave popcorn) popcorn
  • 1 cup cashews/peanuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • Coarse salt


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a large rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Place popcorn in a large bowl; if using cashews/nuts, add to bowl and toss to combine. Set aside.

  2. In a small saucepan, bring butter, sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons water to a boil, stirring constantly. Working quickly, drizzle popcorn with sugar syrup, and toss.

  3. Spread popcorn evenly on prepared baking sheet. Bake, tossing occasionally, until golden and shiny, about 30 minutes. Transfer hot popcorn to parchment-paper-lined baking sheet; let cool.

*If you like REALLY caramel-y popcorn, make more caramel than this, but this amount was perfect for me!

I swear there are cashews and peanuts in there, they just went straight
to the bottom. I haven't mastered the whole "clustering" thing.

Thank you, Martha Stewart, you genius. -

Monday, April 11, 2011

Kettle Popcorn

SWEET AND SALTY That is what my life is right now. My husband decided to go to Spain for a bit, and I am missing him dearly. How did I live without him before we were married?? He is so fun to have around. And easy. He's clean, doesn't complain, listens when I speak (when he isn't reading something about Jimmer on his iPhone of course.... understandable), AND he's really nice. I know I'm being vague, but that's me for you. So I miss him a lot. SALTY. Tonight, in my lonely apartment, I made Kettle Popcorn which is sweet and salty. Even though I miss Mr. Mark, it's kind of nice to mess up the house, watch what I want on TV the WHOLE time, and eat dinner at Whole Foods' salad bar -YUM-!!! And other things. SWEET! My kettle corn was mostly salty tonight, though. Kettle Popcorn (with cinnamon!)

  • 1/4 C popcorn kernels

  • 3 T. canola oil*

  • 2 T. sugar

  • 1/4 t. cinnamon (or more, if preferred)

  • salt, to taste
Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a little tiny bowl. Heat the popcorn kernels on med-high heat in a 2 quart saucepan that has a lid and pour the oil over the top. Shake it all up. The oil will start to sizzle. When the first couple of kernels start popping, pour the cinnamon sugar mix over the top and swirl around. Keep those kernels moving every once in a while so they don't BURN!!! Wait until the popping slows, then dump it all in a bowl. It'll be H-OOO-TTT. Then sprinkle with salt, the amount depending on the sweetness/saltiness of your day. I like this way of popping popcorn, because even though I love my whirly popper more than almost anything (so does Mark), the stove make a lot more half popped/almost popped kernels. Those are my favorites! My mother in law calls them the "Old Maids"... she likes them too. :) Oh, and you can easily half this. I did. It worked. *ONE last thing: Use less oil. That is all.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Meat Loaf with Bacon

Heat oven to 375.

  • · 1 small onion
  • · 1 rib celery
  • · 2 small carrots
  • · 1 T minced garlic
  • · 1 t salt
  • · 1/8 t pepper

First, whirl the onion, celery and carrots around in a food processer/bullet blender type deal. Then, sauté/sweat vegetables and garlic with salt and pepper for 5 minutes and let cool.

  • · 1 C plain breadcrumbs
  • · ¾ C milk
  • · 2 eggs, beaten
  • · ¼ C ketchup
  • · 1 T worstershire sauce
  • · 2 T grated parmesan or more (up to ½ C)
  • · 1 T spicy/grainy mustard
  • · 3 T chopped fresh parsley
  • · 1 t dried oregano or more
  • · A couple splashes of hot sauce
  • · 1 lb ground beef
  • · ½ lb ground pork

This is the grossy part. Mix everything together with the cooled onion mixture. With your hands until well combined (side note- I know I’m a better wife now than I was when I first got married, because I used to not want anything to do with any kind of ground up meat. Now, look at me mixing raw meat with my bare hands!*)

  • · Red pepper flakes
  • · Slices of bacon

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or something, and shape a loaf with the meat. Don’t make it too big, or it will take forever to cook. I only baked half of the mixture because it makes a lot, and I’ll just make meatballs with the rest later. Before you put it in the oven, sprinkle red pepper flakes on the part you want to be spicy :) :), then lay slices of bacon on top, if you like, or your husband likes. (I did it in sections: my section had red pepper flakes and non fatty bacon pieces. Mark’s had no spicy stuff and a lot of bacon, because he can get away with that sort of thing) Now put the meat in the oven and cook for about an hour or so, or until the meat is done.

* I wouldn’t recommend bare hands. Please use gloves, and remove all rings, especially beautifully polished diamond rings.

I don’t know what to serve on the side of this… mashed potatoes??? Salad for sure. Rice? Toast? Anything works, I’m sure.

Meatballs: 350 for 20 minutes

Monday, April 4, 2011

Shrimp Fried Rice

Fried rice is Mark's favorite thing I make. It's funny, because when I told Mark I was going to be making fried rice for dinner the other night, he looked so confused and kept asking what else we were having. I thought, "ya... just fried rice... does that need anything else on the side??" Mark wouldn't stop asking me what else I was going to make, and so finally I was like "Mark, I'm having fried rice for dinner, you can have whatever you want." He was still confused, and now mad.

I cooked.

He came.

After one bite he said it was the best thing I've ever made!! Then he proceeded to explain that where he comes from, fried rice is a small, side dish type food with just the rice and veggies. I told him that where I come from, the fried rice is the main attraction, full of big veggies, eggs, and meat... a full mean in itself! haha anyway, it was delicious, and a learning experience, as are many of our meals together. :)

Shrimp Fried Rice

1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 eggs, beaten
2 stalks green onions or white onions, minced
4 cups leftover rice (NOT FRESHLY COOKED)
¾ cup frozen veggies (peas/ carrots/corn), defrosted
1 tbsp. soy sauce or more


Make sure the shrimp is de-thawed, de-veined, and shell-less. When you’re ready to start, begin to sauté the shrimp in a wok pan thing in some oil. Don’t overcook the shrimps. Just about 30 seconds on each side. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Lower the heat on the pan to medium. Add the beaten eggs to the pan and stir quickly, to break up and scramble the eggs. When the eggs are almost cooked through but still slightly runny in the middle, remove from the pan and move to a plate. (Maybe the same one as the shrimp).

Wipe the pan out with a paper towel and return to higth

Use paper towels to wipe the pan clean and return the pan to high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, swirling to coat. Once the oil is very hot, add the green onions to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the rice to the pan and mix well to combine with the green onions. Spread the rice out evenly over the pan and let cook without stirring, until you hear the rice grains sizzle, about 1 to 2 minutes. Toss the rice a bit with your spatula, and again spread it out over the cooking surface.

Drizzle the soy sauce all over the rice, and toss again. Add the peas and carrots, the cooked shrimp and eggs, and the sesame oil to the pan. Toss to combine all the ingredients well with the rice. Let everything heat back up again until the rice grains are sizzling again. Add additional soy sauce to taste, if needed. Serve.

There's my fried rice, all ready for lunch the next day!

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

I am at a sister's retreat this week. We are making TONS of delicious food and sharing recipes and it is SOOOO much fun!! Each of us have a night to plan the menu, and everyone helps cook.Tonight was my night, yay! I will blog about the other things we made tonight later. This is what we had for dessert: Peanut Butter Brownie bites! :) :) :) Were they good? YES. Easy? The EASIEST.

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites
1 box brownie mix, plus amount of ingredients the recipe calls for (oil, eggs, water)

2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 C peanut butter

1. Make brownies according to package instructions. Underbake them by just a few minutes, so they're really soft... not runny or gooey. Just really soft.

2. Allow them to cool completely. Once they're cooled, using a cookie scoop, scoop sections of brownie and roll them into balls.

3. Place on a wax paper covered baking sheet and refrigerate or freeze until completely chilled. I left mine in the freezer overnight.

4. Melt chocolate and peanut butter together in the microwave or in a double boiler if you're anti microwave.

5. Dip brownie balls into chocolate/peanut butter mixture, covering completely. You can do this with 2 spoons, toothpicks, fingers, or all of the above.

6. Place dipped brownie ball on a wax covered cookie sheet and allow to cool completely or put in the freezer for a bit. Embellish as you please, with sprinkles, drizzled chocolate, nuts, etc. and enjoy!

Here are everyone's comments:
very rich
8 of 10/ 4 of 5
very chocolate-y
for peanut butter chocolate lovers

in short, we loved them!