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

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Happy 8th Anniversary To Us!

 Happy Anniversary to most beloved person in my life, my husband!!!
Today makes 8 years! 
 I can't believe it's been that long since the day we were married, yet at this point it's getting harder to remember life before.
 October 16, 2004 was and still is the most joyful day of my entire life!!!  Finally I was marrying my sweetheart.  The one God told me I was to marry.  The Lord had given me a supernatural peace as still as calm waters about marrying [Mr. Cozy].  Not even an ounce of me was unsure or hesitant on our wedding day! 
 I had the good kind of butterflies!
I remember all of "my girls" pampering me so much on my wedding day!  I didn't have to lift a finger if I didn't want to....they were all so kind and thoughtful.  They made the entire process of getting ready, a dream! 
Here's my beautiful Mom helping me push in my veil.  I remember saying, "Really get it in my hair tight!"
 I. truly. felt. like. a princess!  (Tiara and all!) 
But shouldn't it be this way on your wedding day?!   One of the most important days of your life.  Nothing is too grand! 
Seeing myself completely put together for the first time, in that church basement, it hit me that "this is real", "today is the the day!", I will leave here being Mrs. Cates!!! 
 My parents were so precious to me that day.  Papa treated me like a princess, like he always has!  I'm very blessed to have the parents I do, because we don't have a choice in that.  I am the spitting image of them both, ha.  I hear it all the time!!!
I wanted the ceremony and reception to be candlelit.  It was how I had always imagined my wedding!  In a traditional church with stained glass, candlelit, and wearing a ball gown with a tiara as I wed my real life Prince Charming! 
So anyways, our wedding decorator/coordinator had this fabulous idea of basically an elegant wall of flickering candles behind us.  Pictures do no justice to how beautiful and dramatic this was!  (Although the poor groomsmen had to light all the new candles, and I'm sure that took a little while!)
  I was so excited throughout the entire thing!  This was part of the plan God had for our lives, to marry each other and make a happy home together!  To serve the Lord together for the rest of our lives!  
God met us there in the ceremony.
(Not in a "wizard-y way)...it was a magical night!  I felt as if I were in a fairytale!
 Can you see the love in this kiss?  He's the very best to me!!!
Mr. and Mrs. Cates....I am sooo proud!
 I've always loved this picture a friend took of us.  It was just us leaving the church, with no one else around, going to the reception.  A quiet moment together between the happy-chaos....
At the reception, I remember the cake being incredible moist and delicious.  It was a gorgeous round layer cake with fresh flowers cascading down and around the side.  Beautiful! 
We were courteous...we didn't throw, stuff, smash, or rub the cake on each other! :) 
Notice: Mom's famous Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls!  Girls, I'm telling you they make an appearance at every event!  Mom made those to contribute a favorite recipe of my family.  My mother-in-love, we asked her to make her famous Percolator Punch which is a divine Christmas treat!  It's like a combination of hot cider and wassail.  Yum!!!
The rest of the food we picked out, but our fabulous wedding "extraordinaire" made it all.
 Can I just say that my husband is hot!!!  ;)
After our first dance, a beautiful song written and performed by the best man, and toasts, we left in a cloud of bubbles!  Honeymoon, here we come!
 When we left, our hearts were very happy.  It was truly the best day of my life!
Honey, I love you even more today than I did on this day 8 years ago....You are and will always be my life-long treasure!!!
 These pictures are a compilation of professional and amateur photography.  Some of the best memories are captured by family and friends.