Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sweet & Salty Poppycock!

Here's a yummy treat that I've been meaning to share with y'all for a little while!  I made this a couple of weeks ago and ate on it all week long.  It's called Poppycock, and it's like a delicious nut filled, toffee-caramel glazed popcorn!
This snack is incredibly addicting!!!
The nuts provide saltiness that's delicious along with the caramel-toffee sweetness for a perfect balance for your cravings! It also has that crunch factor everyone loves so much. I like when I find a big cluster of popcorn and nuts held together by the caramel...it's almost like the best little popcorn ball you've ever had!

There are a couple of things about the recipe I feel like I should explain:
I did half the entire recipe, but added an extra cup or so of the popped popcorn (13ish cups).  Since I added extra popcorn it looks like the popcorn isn't completely covered in the caramel.  It was still so sweet and delicious, but if you don't want really any white showing on the popcorn, follow the recipe exactly if not make a cup of popcorn less.  Does that make sense?? (Sometimes my explanations can be confusing! :P )
Also, I found that most of the nuts just fell to the bottom of the pan (because they weigh more than the popcorn) before I had a chance to pour the caramel over them, therefore they never got a good coating.  So!  The next time I will pour the popcorn out on the pan, pour the caramel over top, then sprinkle the nuts over it all and stir it together.  I think that way the nuts will have a better chance of getting coated and clustered with the popcorn.  Small changes but good either way!
Poppycock would be a perfect treat to take along to share on the family hayride, a long car ride to Thanksgiving dinner or while at a Christmas parade!  I think it's especially good with a glass of cold milk but also apple juice would be delicious. 
There's a thing in our family where we love to eat homemade popcorn with apple juice or cider in the fall!  They just seem to go so well together. :)  You should try it sometime!
I'm going to enjoy this blustery and cold October day, and I hope you do, too!
 Adapted from: Noshing with the Nolands
24 c. Popped Popcorn
2 c. Brown Sugar
1 c. Butter
1 c. Corn Syrup
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Baking Soda
4-5 c. Mixed Nuts, Roasted
 (Or just use your favorite nut!)
Salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. 
Place popped popcorn in two large roasting pans. 
Divide nuts between the pans.  (Here is where I would hold off on putting in the nuts until the caramel has been poured.) 
Salt the popcorn.
 In a large saucepan, bring butter, sugar and syrup to a boil, stirring constantly.
Let boil 5 minutes on medium heat without stirring.
Remove from heat and add vanilla and baking soda. 
 Quickly and carefully pour the glaze over the popcorn. (Now, I would add the nuts.) 
 Stir until coated.
 Place roasters in the oven.  If they don't fit then place one in and then the other or half the recipe. 
Bake for 1 hour, but stir every 10 minutes so the mixture doesn't burn and everything get coated. 
Cool completely and store in Ziploc bags, tins or plastic containers sealed tight.
Enjoy with your loved ones! 
 I'm linking up with friends at:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall Around Our Home

 The Cozy Little Kitchen is in full-strength fall mode around here, and I love it!!!  These pictures were taken last week, but now my yard truly looks like a beautiful calico carpet of leaves!  I'm not one to quickly rake them up or blow them over.  Not until I get tired of seeing them on the ground, or tired of them trailing in the house on our shoes.
But that hasn't happened yet!
They fall so delicately and whirl in the wind.  They land on my windows and catch in sticky spider's webs.  Leaves pile along my roof, on my steps, and in my flowers.  They dance around and crunch under my feet as I walk through the yard. I love them! 
 Being our first fall in this house, we were anxious to see what colors our trees would turn.  My vivid sugar maple turned a gorgeous golden color! Our dogwoods were cranberry red, but most of the leaves are off them already.
 Mr. Cozy took some great pictures under our maple in the front yard.  It's so pretty that pictures don't seem to do it justice!
Our neighborhood trees so lovely, and I have a great view from our bedroom window.  These were taken on a clear morning as the sun was starting to show it's face.
I put a simple grapevine wreath accented with a plaid ribbon on our lamp-post by the back door and patio.  I think things like this add a welcoming touch!
 Inside the house things remain warm and cozy on the mantle with my clock, candles and pumpkins! 
We've been sipping on a lot of hot spiced cider that I like to keep simmering away over the stove.  It's the perfect thing to have on hand when a loved one comes over for a visit or a special night just me and my husband!  Cinnamon and spice warms my heart.
I know these candles look kind of dangerous lit with the raffia around them, but I basically just lit them for the pictures. hehe 
I have the fireplace on most of the time now!  The mornings are just so chilly, and it's the perfect way to start the day.  I'm thankful we have a fireplace in our home!  That was one of those "must haves" when we were house hunting!
Little plump pumpkins and fall leaves decorate the mantle.  I really like having real pumpkins around!   I tried to be creative with how I used them here, like putting this one atop a candle stick instead of a candle.  I wanted this mantle to be unsymmetrical for a casual look, while the one in the dining room is more formal.
 Mom and I like using raffia to accent things in the fall.  We appreciate the natural element it adds.  I think of Autumn decor as being a little more rustic and unpretentious.  I will add more elegance to my dining table for Thanksgiving, though!
love this painting called "Aspens in the Fall".  It's by a local Kentucky artist, and I think it truly captures Autumn in the country ...old barn and all!  It had to be showcased on the mantle in front of the big mirror.  It's one of the first things you see when walking into our house from the side door.
Here I am with my Honey on our anniversary!  We were taking a drive to Bernheim Forest --with coffee in hand--which was alive with wildly vivid colors this time of year! 
He was so thoughtful to take me there for the first time on such a special day!  I always have the best time being with him, my Love and my best friend!
This is just a little bit of the beauty we were surrounded by there.
 I'm trying to get my Poppycock recipe posted to share with y'all today.  It's delicious and perfect for a hayride in the fall! 
I hope you all enjoy the beauty the Lord gives us this time of year, even in the smallest of ways!
(My friends on the East coast, I'm praying for your safety enduring Sandy!!!)
 I'm linking up with friends at:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Spiced Sweet Potato Fries & Homemade Apple Butter

Thank you for the precious comments you left on my Anniversary post!  My husband means the world to me, so it was a pleasure of mine to open up that window in my life and share with you about our wedding.  I think by now, you can tell that family means so much to me!  My husband, my family and the family I married into (which is now mine!) are all blessings in my life.
First of all, I wanted to let you know that today Inspired By Family is publishing my recipe for canning easy and scrumptious Slow Cooker Apple Butter!!!  I love this stuff! 
 I thought, what better a time to make some homemade apple butter, but when the leaves are falling, the air is crisp, and biscuits are a little more frequent in the kitchen!  Please, check out this recipe at Inspired By Family.  I love being able to contribute to a wonderful magazine with such inspiring, honest women behind it!  I'm sure if you love apple butter, you will really love this recipe and if you don't... you will love this recipe!! :)
Right now I'm sharing with you the recipe I contributed last month to Inspired By Family magazine.  Sweet potato fries are a delicious side--especially in the fall--with flavors like cinnamon and a bit of chili seasoning when roasted in the oven!  These are healthy but taste so decadent!  Roasted at a high temperature they become a bit crispy and almost candied yam tasting with the caramelized natural sugar.  So, why not give a try at something a little different with your burgers or pork chop dinner tonight?!
Here's my own little recipe we love to eat! 
Spiced Sweet Potato Fries
2 Sweet Potatoes
2 heaping Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tsp. Salt
Smoked Honey Recipe
Honey (I prefer raw honey)
Smoked Paprika
(Mix a couple Tablespoons of honey with a pinch of paprika for a delicious drizzle over the top or dipping sauce!)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the potatoes in half width-wise, then half length-wise.  Proceed to slice potatoes into small wedges.  Please be careful-sweet potatoes are more difficult to cut than white potatoes.
 In a small bowl, combine the spices.  I use a heaping scoop of the chili powder because I like the contrast.  Feel free to adjust to suit your family's taste.
In a medium sized bowl, drizzle olive oil on fries and sprinkle with seasoning mixture.  Stir until combined. 
 On a pan that has been lightly sprayed with oil, spread the potatoes out where they're not crowded. 
Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Stir. Turn up the oven to 425 degrees and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until crispy around the edges.  (They will smell lovely!)
 Once they're baked, drizzle a mixture of smoked honey and finish with a sprinkle of salt.  Enjoy while hot!
Serves 4

*Best Loved* Slow-Cooked Apple Butter

Welcome to a recipe that pretty much sums up the kind of food I love, the rich flavors of the season, the way I want my house to smell, and the homemade coziness I want my blog to convey .....  

Homemade slow cooked apple butter.  

This stuff is wonderful!!!  I'm a country girl at heart, and I grew up in a house in the country with apple trees.  Picking the good ripe apples, throwing the fallen ones over for the cows to eat, and climbing the apple trees were just a part of my growing up!  Apples with cinnamon is a familiar scent, because mom baked so many apple crisps and crumbles and pies in the fall and now I do the same!  There is something about the smell of cooking apples with spice takes me away to a picturesque and safe place in my soul. :)

I love the taste of creamy apple butter, so when I found this recipe I knew I had to attempt making it.  I published this recipe 2 years ago at Inspired By Family, and I'm excited that I'm finally getting around to bringing it to my blog.

This was my first attempt at making this spread homemade, and it turned out more delicious than expected!  Making it in the slow cooker allowed the process to be a bit more relaxed than other canning I've done, and it also filled the house with a cozy aroma!  This homemade apple butter is an excellent gift for family or something good to eat on all winter long with a flaky biscuit and a steamy cup of coffee.  
Slow Cooked Apple Butter
Recipe from Cooking with K
1/2-1 cups Water or Apple Cider
8-10 Whole Apples (I used Gala) washed, cored, and chopped
1-2 cups Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoons Ground Cloves
1/8 teaspoons Allspice
1/8 teaspoons Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoons Salt
 Chop all of the apple, only leaving the core.  I left the peel on for just a bit of texture and fiber.
Place apples in the slow cooker and add sugar and spices.  Stir to combine. 
Add the water or cider. 
(If using cider, you may not want to add as much sugar as you would with water.)
Set cooker on high and bring to a bubble. 
Then turn down to low and cook for 6-8 hours, stirring every couple of hours.  If it needs to cook down even more, leave the lid propped open for a while.
The apple butter is done when it has a very deep color, apples are cooked to pieces, and it has thickened. 
Use a hand blender or food processor to cream it all together until smooth.  I had success using a hand blender right in the pot.  Easy and nothing extra to clean.
To can apple butter, you will need to buy jars and sterilize them in a boiling water bath or put in your dishwasher on "sterilize" setting.
To sterilize in a water bath, you will need to place a kitchen towel in the bottom of a sauce pot and fill halfway with water.  Turn jars upside down in the cold water and bring to a boil.  Boil over medium heat for 15 minutes.  Sterilize the jar lids, rings, and the end of your kitchen tongs in another pot the same way.  Never touch the inside of a jar or lid with your bare hands.  Use a tong for the lids and kitchen towel for the jars. 
Fill the jars to 1/2 inch from the top and take the end of a towel and dip in boiling water.  Wipe the rim of the jar very clean.  Place the lid onto the jar straight out of the water it was sterilized in, being careful not to touch it.  Take the tongs and get a ring.  You can place the ring with your hands to secure the jar.
When all of the jars are filled, place filled jars in a deep saucepan and boil over medium heat for 15 minutes.  Makes about 4 pints.
Remove and let cool on the counter over night. You know the jars have sealed with you hear the popping coming from the lids becoming vacuum tight once removed from the boiling water.  Store the jars of apple butter in the pantry, but if for some reason a jar doesn't seal properly, store in the fridge and use first. 

It won't last long!