Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The recipe tutorial you never knew you needed

My parents & I have been in the kitchen all day long making massive quantities of Praline Popcorn. I've posted about our popcorn before, but I never shared the recipe. It is super yummy, and is usually well received so I thought you might enjoy the recipe. Because it's not enough just to make 18 - 1 gallon bags of popcorn, I decided to take pictures along the way so that you could see the process step by step. Now, we were making that large amount for a specific reason, but for normal folks with more sanity than I possess, one batch will yield a little more than 2 full gallon bags.

First: The Recipe
Praline Popcorn
3 sticks of unsalted butter
1 c. of corn syrup
1 32 oz. bag of brown sugar
1 t. salt
2 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
9 qts. of popped popcorn
2 c. chopped pecans
2 c. dry roasted peanuts

Here's how to do it, along with a few things we've learned along the way.
The easiest way to get started is to pop the popcorn; and the best way to do that is to use an air popper. [There is no way to tell you how much unpopped popcorn will make 9 qts. of popped popcorn, because it depends on the brand of popcorn and the method in which it is popped - for
us, it's about 1 c. of unpopped corn]
Then we split the popped popcorn into two large metal bowls. We've found that if you warm the metal bowls and spray them slightly with non stick spray it will make it easier for you later. Next, add 1 cup of both types of nuts (pecans and peanuts) into each bowl. Set aside. You will pour a liquid candy coating over this popcorn, and it must be mixed in quickly before it hardens. So, be sure to have the popcorn and nuts ready.
Next, melt 3 sticks of unsalted butter in a 30 qt stock pot (or just a taller pot). Add one bag (32 oz) of brown sugar and 1 c. of corn syrup with 1 t. of salt. Stir continuously until it comes to a boil. After it comes to a boil reduce heat and let boil without stirring for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. After the 3 1/2 minutes are up, add the vanilla (2 tsp) and baking soda (1 tsp). Stir well.
Then pour half of the mixture into each bowl of popcorn and nuts and mix well being sure all the popcorn is covered well with the candy mixture.

Then divide popcorn out onto some cooking sheets and bake on 225 for 15 minutes. When you take them out, loosen the corn with a spatula to break up the pieces and let cool.
Once cooled, It is ready to eat. But, you can also put it in freezer bags to freeze. It freezes well, but when you take it out of the freezer, place back on cookie sheets and back in the oven to heat and get crunchy again.
This is what it looks when crazy people make a ton of it. But it sure is yummy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We all need our heads examined

Up until last week, I've always thought I had a pretty good handle of who my family (extended family included) is. In fact, I would describe us as a normal family who is down to earth with a good helping of common sense and decent dose of fun. We're certainly not flashy or even overly fashionable, but we have at least an average amount of style (some of us like Shelley & Mom have been blessed with more style than others). However, last week two significant occurrences happened that seriously make me question the sanity of the Lingerfelt/Farmer clan.

The first 'incident' was that my parents finally received their anxiously awaited for Snuggies. I can not even begin to tell you how shocked I was that they ordered these. They are just not the 'as seen on tv' kind of folks. Trust me, this incident alone has provided more comic relief to my siblings and I than any other of recent memory. And daddy can't say a thing, because he is the one that bestowed on us the lovely facetious/sarcastic gene that we have practically worn out from overuse these last few days. And before you go and feel sorry for them, just know that they are both as happy as little larks in their oversize bathrobes worn backwards. Upon viewing Dad in his newly acquired Snuggie, Scott said that he expected to be served communion immediately, so he dubbed Daddy the "Snuggie Monk." And, Shelley said that the reason they send the darn lights with them is because something is bound to get lost in that vast expanse they call "sleeves." Probably the funniest thing to me is that the snuggie is apparently insanely popular. My parent's snuggies were back ordered for 4 weeks. And, so was Beth Moore's . And, what's worse, much to Shelley's chagrin, is that you can even get them accessorized. Which, I'm sure even to Shelley's perfectly accessorized self is just wrong.....all wrong. But, without further ado, let me introduce you to the Snuggie Monk:

By the way, he may look all monk-ish there, but don't let the appearance fool you. You are looking at a man that can build and fix anything. Be watching for a post soon about what he built the kids for Christmas (I'm only 2 months behind). I'm going to devote a whole post to the Snuggie monk and his wares.

The next incident was what I saw in my own back yard upon a casual glance out the window. Apparently, my husband had a temporary lapse in good judgement and decided to wash the car wearing a bear head hat. I have absolutely no idea what possessed him to do this, but it got so much attention that our neighbor had to come over and say hello. So, just the other day, in my own back yard, to grown men were having a grown up conversation and one of them was wearing a bear head on his head. Mind you, this is the same hat that my then 4 year old son wore to his first dentist appointment.

What's more is that both of these things happened on the exact same day. I commented to a friend that I needed to go find a rock to hide under until all the insanity stopped. However, it just continued to rear it's ugly head. The very next day, I walked by our poor beagle and noticed that she looked especially bright and perky. Upon further inspection, I discovered that Sara Kate had gone all Mary-Kay on her and had given her some lovely pink rouge on her furry little cheeks. But one should never just don blush and forget the eyelids and Sara Kate would never break this cardinal make-up rule, so she also got above Gigi's eyes as well. I suppose with a Parisian name like Gigi, Sara Kate just assumed she would be a fashion forward kind of dog.

I know the actual make up is a little difficult to see in this picture, but I just had to show this picture because it looks like she's in prayer. And that prayer probably goes something like this, "Dear Lord, I have no idea what I did to deserve this cruel and unusual punishment, but I do hereby solemnly repent and swear to never, ever do it again, if you will make this little girl leave me alone. - Amen."

Again, the make up is sort of hard to see. But, have y'all ever tried to take a picture of a dog whose still in shell shock from all the beauty torture she just endured. I honestly, don't know how in the world Sara Kate got her to be still to get all of it on her, but make up was all over both of their faces.

So, it seems that Bryce and I are are the only sane ones remaining. But, even if he does go all wacky like the rest of them, I believe I'll leave him alone. 'Cause look what he can do:

Yep, that's my 6 year old breaking a board.