Caramel popcorn deliciousness

food

Photo by Danielle- It’s as good as it looks!

How do we celebrate getting braces off? With caramel popcorn and other gooey delights that are prohibited for two years. This recipe is a family favorite. It tastes better when it cools and hardens, but we can hardly ever wait!

We copy recipes passed on by friends onto large index cards. We write the year and friend’s name so we’ll remember through the years. This beloved treat came from the kitchen of our friend Pam Gaddis several years ago.

Ingredients:

5 quarts popped popcorn. Tastes better if you use real, fresh popcorn and cook on the stove instead of the microwaved stuff.

Stir in medium pot together:

1 cup butter, melted

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 tsp salt

Stir above ingredients constantly, boiling for 5 minutes

In a few minutes, you’ll add:

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

It starts to caramelize after a few minutes. Set the timer so you don’t overcook and exceed 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp baking soda & 1 tsp vanilla. Keep stirring, and your caramel will begin to poof up! So fun to watch, but careful not to touch. It it sticky and will burn intensely if it touches your skin.

Baking soda added at the end

Stir well until baking soda and vanilla are mixed in well, then carefully pour over popcorn.

Careful not to touch the hot caramel. It will burn! I speak from experience….

Stir the caramel into the popcorn, quickly and thoroughly. Be sure to stir up popcorn from the bottom of bowl to evenly coat it.  Caramel deliciousness!

Pour onto a cookie sheet sprayed lightly with Pam. Then let cool, break apart, and enjoy. (If you can wait that long!)

Caramelly goodness. The best way to celebrate no braces!

A week of milestones and red velvet cake

food, Parenting

Here’s a sneak peek!

It’s a bittersweet week of milestones in our family. Our fourteen-year-old daughter had her braces removed.

Here she is happy to show her newly smoooooth teeth

This is a sarcastic “I’m smiling, so hurry up and get the camera out of my face” look. Note that she is much happier and not as sarcastic with her braces off in the first photo.

You might be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal?” Well, it’s a milestone. Our baby is entering high school in a few short weeks. She’s too tall at 5’11” to sit on our laps for over five minutes, she doesn’t need her mommy to do ponytails anymore, she makes her own breakfast, does her own laundry, and now has teeth without braces. Which only accentuates to me how beautiful she is. I already knew that, but for some reason when I looked at her without braces the day that we left the orthodontist, I got teary each time. I was suddenly jarred to this reality: She is growing up. Can you tell I’m sad?

It’s a good thing, I know, and I celebrate with her all of the big and little things about growing up. But I’m still a little sad.

Milestone number two: Our son turned twenty years old. How did that happen??? He is passionate and funny. He’s a deep thinking intellectual and philosophical type who loves to debate. He loves people and is very into music. He’s also a good photographer. Unfortunately, because he’s twenty, he isn’t here too much lately. Since our son barely sat still for his birthday pizza lunch today, I only got a picture of the pizza. Again, I’m a little sad!

Christian’s birthday lunch. Sadly, no birthday pic of Christian until we have his celebration dinner in a few weeks when he heads off to college.

However, we took some great pics of the siblings for Father’s Day last month.

Sadique, Christian, and Danielle

Overall, I think having these joyful milestones is cause to celebrate. Knowing that our son is no longer a teenager and going to college soon, coupled with braces removed and high school starting, makes me a little melancholy. I think that’s pretty normal, and I promise to journal all of the really gross sniffly parts in my private journal so you don’t have to see all of that.

Sadique is our son for the summer and holidays. He was classmates with Christian when they were in junior high in Nigeria. He also had a birthday recently, so this week we made a red velvet cake. He was eager to enjoy it because the last time he’d had a cake for his birthday was eleven years ago. (since he’s lived away in boarding schools for the past decade or so)

Happy Birthday Sadique!

Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting

Sooooo moist!

I give this recipe 5 stars. It’s very moist, rich, and calorie-laden. Here’s the scoop if you want to try it.

Decadent Red Velvet Cake

Yes, I made up the name. Credit goes to our previous neighbor, Lisa Brown, who originally gave me this recipe. I just swapped out red velvet cake mix for chocolate.

Preheat oven to 350.

1 box red velvet cake mix

1 small chocolate instant pudding mix

4 eggs

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup water

8 oz sour cream

6 oz mini chocolate chip morsels

Blend dry ingredients in large bowl. Add oil and water to dry ingredients and mix well. Add eggs, stir in sour cream & chocolate chips. Pour into greased and floured pan(s), and bake according to times specified on cake mix box. You can use bundt, circle pans, or 9 x 13; use whatever you prefer.

I used 8 inch circular pans & baked for about 35 minutes, then cooled 10 minutes and inverted to remove from pan. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8oz) blocks cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

In medium bowl, cream together butter & cream cheese. Blend in vanilla and gradually add powdered sugar, then frost cake.