Caramel Popcorn

We all know that time sure does fly by, although we often try to avoid thinking about it. Minutes turn in to hours, days turn in to weeks, months turn in to years. Before you know it, life has slipped through your fingers. Moments come and go, only lasting long enough for our minds to take a quick snapshot with the hopes that our memory will find it worthy enough to store away forever.

This is how I feel as I reflect on the past month; like time is flying by and all I want to do is find the remote and press pause. I want time to stand still, I want to remember everything. Where have the past few months gone? What have I been doing? How have I let a month slip in between my baking and more than a month slip in between my posts!?! Yikes!

Even though I haven’t been baking or blogging, I know I have immensely enjoyed everything I have done recently. Yet I still sit here wondering how all this time has gone by so quickly.

Reflecting back, I have actually been doing quite a lot. I have spent this time exploring the unfamiliar world of life after college, allowing new and exciting people into my life, spending time with family, traveling whenever I get the chance, and of course trying to be the best I can be– All things that I believe are time well spent. I have come to realize that I am happy to spend as much time to these things as possible, as they are the things that bring joy and brightness into my life. So I guess what I am trying to say, as I come to the end of my little reflection, is how important it is to take time to reflect on what you have been doing recently. Are you enjoying yourself? Are your recent activities worth your precious time? What, if anything, can be done differently? It’s nice to consistently look back on how life is being spent- it brings a breath of fresh air into any pressures on your life, it allows you reorganize what is important to yourself, it give your mind and memory a chance to catch up, and it allows you to see where your happiness truly stems from.

So take a moment, reflect on your life- hopefully it will brighten up your lives a little bit, and in return you could brighten up someone elses while you are at it 🙂

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One thing I love to make is caramel popcorn. This has always been the perfect thing to make when it comes to providing homemade gifts for large groups of people. Its quick, easy, can be made in bulk, and of course delicious.

This past 4th of July I decided to make it for a work BBQ I was going to. I have made it a few times for my company before so I knew it would be a huge hit.

I hope you enjoy it as much as they did! Remember, if you are going to try it you better be ready to eat a whole lot of it. Once you start is is really hard to stop!

Caramel Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8-10 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts
  • Oil or oil spray

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spray two large pans with oil and divide the popcorn and nuts between them.
  2. Over medium heat, melt butter in a medium saucepan.
  3. Once melted mix in brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil, string very often.
  4. Once the mixture is at a complete boil, let boil for 4 minutes without string.
  5. Once the 4 minutes is up, remove pot from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Stir well until mixture become a light caramel color and becomes very puffy.
  6. Pour mixture over the two pans of popcorn. Using a rubber spatula, mix the caramel and popcorn as much as possible.
  7. Bake for 1 hr, stirring mixture every 15 minutes.
  8. To cool, put parchment paper on your countertop and transfer popcorn onto it.
  9. Enjoy 🙂

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SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Try not to eat it all 🙂SONY DSCEnjoy 🙂

Carmel popcorn also makes really easy gifts or party favors. Just put some in a bag and tie a pretty ribbon around it and everyone will think it so creative and adorable!

Carmel popcorn also makes really easy gifts or party favors. Just put some in a bag and tie a pretty ribbon around it. Everyone will think it is so creative and adorable!

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Strawberry Shot Glass Cocktail (with a bit of emotional banter)

There are a few things that I absolutely love.

Of course I love my family and friends. The people that are there for you through thick or thin. You can show up to their doorstep on a Sunday morning and know you will be welcomed with an embracing hug, a warm cup of tea, and a compelling conversation. You can call them for hours in the middle of their work day just to laugh about something crazy you saw or work through the confusions of life. They walk with you on your journey of life, even though they are not compelled too.

I love the lessons I have learned throughout my life, the thought of the future, and of course everything the surrounds me today.

Although life can throw some curve balls which make you fall to your feet, I love how our bodies have this astounding ability to heal, grow, and continue to progress on. It is quite an amazing ability that is often times overlooked.

I love the warm feeling of the sun on a cozy spring day, the way the sun and moon never tire from playing chase around the earth, and of course the ways the stars look as you lay on a golf course in the middle of nowhere on a cloudless summer night.

When you think of it, when you take a moment to imagine all of the beauties, the wonders, and the satisfaction that surround us each an every day, it is hard not to find something to love.

Just take a moment to imagine the simple things in your life that you find fulfillment in, the things that are unique to your own awareness. Cherish these, never forget to admire these simple beauties that surround you each day, and hold them close to your heart.

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Now that the emotional banter is over lets get to some cocktails, as these too are things that I love (on special occasions of course). 😀

So a few weeks ago during spring break Allie, Amanda, and I decided to experiment with some cocktails. Each night we attempted to make a different one. And let me tell you, the all turned out great. Here is one that we made which I thought you would like- I mean it has chocolate, strawberries, and liquor.. Whats not to love?

I am not sure where we found the idea, I think it was something one of our friends had liked on Facebook. Either way, the second I saw a picture of the I HAD to make them! We didn’t follow a specific recipe, we just did what we thought would work.

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did. 🙂

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Strawberry Shot Glass Cocktails

Ingredients

  • Strawberries
    • Try to get the largest ones you can find
    • Make sure you wash them and the pat them dry- otherwise the chocolate wont stick.
  • 1/2 cup melted chocolate
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Vanilla Vodka
  • Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
  • Whipped Cream (optional… but highly recommended)

Steps

  1. Prepare the strawberries. To do this first wash them and pat them dry. Cut off the tops and a small bit of the bottom point to make a flat bottom. Using a small melon scooper, hallow out the strawberries. Be careful not to hallow out too much and cut through the outer flesh.
  2. Dip the bottoms of the strawberries in the melted chocolate and place them on a plate covered with wax paper. Transfer them to the freezer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Mix equal parts vanilla vodka and chocolate liqueur. Mix in some chocolate syrup to your own preference.
  4. Remove the strawberries from the freezer. Pour the chocolate mixture into them and top with whipped cream.
  5. Enjoy 🙂

If you are making these for a party I recommended letting the strawberries sit in the freezer right up until a few minutes before the guests arrive. This way the shot glasses are sturdier and it helps chill the liquid a little bit.

Preparing the Strawberries

Preparing the Strawberries

How the look like once they have been hallowed out

How the look like once they have been hallowed out

All dipped in chocolate and ready to freeze

All dipped in chocolate and ready to freeze

Mix these with a little chocolate syrup and your half way to a sugar high :p

Mix these with a little chocolate syrup and your half way to a sugar high

Yum

Yum

Cheers!

Cheers!

Decided to whip up some whipped cream a little later- Definitely worth it!

Decided to whip up some whipped cream a little later- Definitely worth it!