Sunday, February 9, 2014

gourmet white chocolate popcorn party!

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If you like expensive gourmet popcorn...THIS IS IT! This is an old favorite treat of mine & the recipe is in my family's cookbook that we compiled many years ago. Our family cookbook is one of my special little treasures. It has recipes from my mom, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins & grandma. I have to say that I think my family rocks in the cooking department. There are other recipes from our family cookbook mentioned HERE, HERE, HERE & HERE.
 This popcorn is all of my favorite things: quick, easy, delicious & beautiful! You can adapt it to be seasonal by changing the color of white chocolate and m&m's. Today I made a Valentine version & I only made half a batch. The recipe is very easy to half, double, triple, etc. This is the popcorn I used.

Gourmet White Chocolate Popcorn


2 bags of microwave popcorn, popped (light butter flavored)
2 cups party peanuts
2 cups pretzels, small twists or mini sticks
2 cups m&m's
1 lb. white chocolate or vanilla candy coating like CANDIQUIK 
Sprinkles, optional

*I colored my vanilla CANDIQUIK pink by melting about 6 little disks of THIS red candy coating with it. Or you could just use white Candiquik or any colored candy coating. DO NOT use water-based food coloring with candy coating. Candy coating may be colored or flavored using oil-based or powdered colorings or flavorings.


1. Combine popcorn, peanuts, pretzels and m&m's in a large bowl. Stir to mix well.

2. Melt candy coating according to package directions. I always melt it in the microwave. Color candy coating, if desired.

3. Pour over popcorn mixture in large bowl and stir until all is coated.

4. Spread on wax paper or cookie sheets. Immediately sprinkle with sprinkles, if desired, before it sets up.

5. I had a tiny bit (less than a tablespoon of each color) of extra candy coating from making these pretzels so I drizzled it over the popcorn.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

homemade granola party!

 I’m not going to fool you into thinking this is health food but it sure is delicious! My husband eats old-fashioned oats for breakfast every morning with a sprinkle of cinnamon & a drizzle of honey. He LOVES having this homemade granola to stir in for crunch, sweetness & extra nutty flavor! I love it mixed with yogurt and it also makes a great to-go snack when I’m running late for an early appointment. 
My daughter first discovered the recipe. I’m not sure where she got it but I’ve changed it up a bit & we all love it. You can customize it with any combination of nuts and dried fruit. All ingredients besides the oats are optional. I add the wheat germ but if you don't have it, feel free to skip it. If you don't like walnuts, leave them out. My daughter has been known to stir in some m&m’s or chocolate chips after it’s cooled. It makes a TON & the recipe can be halved.
 Today I added dried craisins, dried apple chips & banana chips. I loved these golden delicious crispy apple chips. YUM!
Homemade Granola


8 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup wheat germ
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup pure  maple syrup
¾ cup honey
1 cup oil (I use coconut oil but you could use vegetable or canola)
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups of your choice of dried fruit, cranberries, raisins, banana chips, dried apple chips, etc. to be added after baking

1.     Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

2.     Combine oats, pecans, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds and wheat germ in a large bowl and stir until mixed well.
 3.     In a small saucepan, mix the brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt. Bring just to a boil then pour over oat mixture. Stir well to coat. 

 4.     Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets. If you like the big granola nuggets like the picture above, press it down into the pan a bit. Bake until toasty about 25-30 minutes, stirring half way through. Granola may appear to be wet, but will crisp up as it cools. 
 5.     Allow to cool completely, then stir in dried fruit.

Friday, February 7, 2014

mexican pizza party!

I grew up in such a small town that we had NO fast food restaurants, except a walk-up Dairy Queen. Plus my mom didn't really believe in eating out. So I was pretty much deprived of fast food until my older sister turned 16 and got her driver's license. She would occasionally take me to the next town and treat me to Taco Bell. We both loved the Enchirito with that famous Taco Bell sauce and an order of cinnamon crispas made with flour tortillas for dessert.
Now I completely understand my mom's preference to cook dinner instead of going out. This recipe was inspired by Taco Bell's Mexican pizza. It's easy to adapt the recipe to serve from 2 to 10 people. Or it makes a great appetizer. I made mine vegetarian and my husband loved his with the delicious seasoned ground beef. I printed a similar recipe years ago from that I used as a rough idea. I just checked that websight so I could link you to it but it no longer exists.

Mexican Pizza
click HERE to print recipe only
makes 2 pizzas


4 flour tortillas
2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup refried beans
1/2 cup salsa
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
sliced black olives
sour cream & cilantro, optional


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Brush tortillas lightly with oil and heat them on each side in a skillet over medium heat until barely browned. Watch closely so they don't burn.
3. Cook ground beef in a skillet with onion until browned. Add garlic and cook for another minute or two. Drain grease, if needed. Season meat with chili powder, cumin, black pepper and salt.

4. To assemble pizzas, place 2 tortilla on a cookie sheet, divide the beans between the 2 tortillas and spread to the edges. Divide the meat and sprinkle it over the beans on each pizza. Cover each with 2nd tortilla.  Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.

5. Spread quarter cup of salsa over each pizza. Top with cheese. Return to oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and toasty.
6. Top with tomatoes, green onions and olives. Slice & serve.

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