Thursday, October 29, 2009

Popcorn Balls-Happy Halloween

I had plans to write something fun, witty, spooky, "Halloweeny"...but my brain is exhausted and I can't think clearly enough to write something worth while. My plans were foiled when my popcorn popper decided to bite the dust in the middle of making these great treats. So I'm reposting an entry from my family blog site. I hope you make these for your little ghosts and goblins!

Original Post: Seven Wonders Of The World, October, 2008.

Happy Halloween. . . well almost. Popcorn balls have a special place in my heart. My Nanny always made them every Halloween and yes it was exciting to go to her house to show off our costumes but it was equally (or more) exciting to sink our teeth into the sugary, sweet, crunchy and sticky goodness known as the popcorn ball.
This first recipe is for the traditionalist. It calls for a sugar syrup poured over freshly popped popcorn and formed into baseball sized balls. I use an aluminum roasting pan to avoid clean up.
Grandma Anderson's Popcorn Balls:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup white syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup water
3 qts. popped popcorn (9 tablespoons of unpopped kernels)
  • Boil sugar, syrup, salt, vinegar, vanilla and water to soft ball stage or 250 degrees on candy thermometer
  • Pour sugar mixture over popcorn that has been placed in aluminum roasting pan (let cool before forming with buttered hands)
  • Shape into baseball or small softball sized balls
The second recipe is for the kid in all of us. It has a marshmallow base, rather than syrup and has a hint of caramel from the brown sugar. Oh-and chocolate! How bad can that be?

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
4 T. unsalted butter
1 ten oz. bag miniature marshmallows
1/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
3 qts. popped popcorn
1 c M&Ms

  • Place popped popcorn and M&M's into an aluminum roasting pan.
  • Melt butter in heavy pot over low heat. Add marshmallows and brown sugar, stir until melted. Remove from heat. Let cool for 2-3 minutes
  • Pour over popcorn and M&Ms; toss well. With buttered hands, shape into balls.
*I found that spraying your hands with non-stick spray works really well when shaping balls. Keep it on the counter and spray as needed.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes & Pumpkin Smoothie

Hmmmm???Which pumpkin shall I pick???

My 13 month old is a picky eater. But then again, I've come across alot of moms with finicky toddlers, so I know I'm not alone. From the beginning he immediately snubbed his nose at jarred food, refused any type of meat and only ate Tyler Florence's Sprout baby food. Tyler was a saving grace, though I have prepared many items that Eli just L-O-V-E-S. So, I thought I'd share them with you since they are very "fall"-after all!

I've been playing around with pumpkin and adding it to many of Eli's dishes. He loves pumpkin mac-n-cheese (and I admit I do too!), slurps down pumpkin smoothies and chows down on these beautiful pumpkin pancakes. Toddler approved, but I'm sure any adult can enjoy them too! And why not? Pumpkin is a super food...super food for a super boy. (Sorry, I had to throw that in...I just love my baby boy!)

Pumpkin Pancakes
yields: 2 dozen silver dollar pancakes
1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. allspice
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 1/3 T. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. pureed pumpkin
1 t. vanilla
2 c. milk
  1. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg into a medium sized bowl.
  2. Add sugar, eggs, pureed pumpkin, vanilla and milk and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add spoonfuls (I used my trusty cookie sized ice cream scooper) to a lightly oiled and heated griddle. Turn pancakes over once bubbles have formed and tops look like they are drying.
Autumn Smoothie
yield: one for Mom and one for Baby!
1/2 c. vanilla yogurt
1/2 c. vanilla soy milk
1/4 c. canned pumpkin
1/4 c. applesauce
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
dash of ginger
1 frozen banana
  1. Combine in a blender and blend until smooth.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pecorino And Bean Salad

First of all I know what you're thinking...what??? a salad??? I love salads and I have no idea why I never feature them on the blog. Probably because I end up chowing down on them immediately after I make them-therefore no picture to display.

I saw this recipe as I was watching the beautiful Giada one morning and was intrigued. The colors are so beautiful and the salad does look rather elegant for beans and cheese. Every component in this salad appeals to my senses, therefore I had to make it right away.

I love edamame still nestled in its pod, dipped in salt and ready for it to be popped into my mouth. I adore creamy cannellini beans and my kitchen is never without garlic, parmesan or pecorino romano cheese. (My husband would tell you we live off of parm!) But never would I have thought to combine them together. And I must say with the creaminess of the cannellinis, the tender bite of the edamame, saltiness from the Pecorino and the woodsy aroma of is a match made in heaven.

Pecorino and Bean Salad

Source: Giada At Home


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 cups (9 ounces) shelled edamame beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 ounces pecorino, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper


In a small, nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, but not brown, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rosemary. Set aside.

Combine the edamame beans, cannellini beans, cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper in a serving bowl. Add the garlic mixture and toss well until all the ingredients are coated.