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Posts Tagged ‘halloween snacks’

Entering the Creepy Room A white door at the top of the stairs rests slightly ajar and tempts a young woman to enter. The floor groans as she takes her first steps into the dusty room. As her eyes adjust to the dim light, she spies dark shapes lined up under the shuttered windows. Closer inspection reveals large bags leaning against one another for support. At the tops of the bags, scrawled in cursive handwriting, are the words: Torsos, Necks, Bottoms, and Arms. Red specks cover the carpet and a cutting blade lies nearby. It’s quite a messy scene. “Mom’s at it again,” the young woman sighs. Acknowledging her mother’s late night activities forces the woman to shiver and contemplate the approaching cold weather. As she slowly closes the door behind her, she says thoughtfully, “How nice. Mom’s making more t-shirt scarves for the homeless.”

#1 – Igniting a Strand of Firecrackers
T-shirts The power of one is like lighting the fuse on a strand of firecrackers. In September, I conceived an idea that would help both the homeless and planet Earth. In 100 Scarves: Making T-Shirt Scarves for the Homeless, I wrote about making scarves and tote bags from clean and gently used t-shirts. To help me reach my goal, I solicited t-shirt donations from friends and acquaintances. To date, I’ve made over 50 t-shirt scarves and 10 t-shirt tote bags and taken them to a local homeless shelter. When a dear friend of mine saw the scarves and bags she was inspired to help. Not only did she clean out her drawers and closets, she asked her friends to do the same. Very quickly word spread and soon friends of friends were donating t-shirts. Sitting in my dining room are close to 500 t-shirts and other pieces of clothing. Items such as jackets, vests, sweaters, and long-sleeved t-shirts will be donated to the shelter as is. People I don’t even know purchased brand new t-shirts to donate to my cause. Another friend gave me scarves she had knitted which reminded me of my own bag of knitted goods. All the scarves I’d knitted, but never given away as gifts were added to the pile. Once a strand of firecrackers ignites, each individual explosion affects the next one and the spark continues.

#2 – Monster Face Pizzas
Monster Face Pizzas Monsters are everywhere this time of the year. They can even be found hiding in our food! From Rhodes Bake-N-Serv Blog comes this monstrously easy idea. Think of how much fun kids would have creating their own Monster Face Pizzas at a Halloween party!

#3 – Art That Makes The Cut
Yulia-Brodskaya10-640x808 Using a technique called quilling, Moscow-born artist Yulia Brodskaya painstakingly cuts, curls, rolls, and glues paper to create her incredible three dimensional artwork, as seen on fubiz and on her website.

#4 – Creative Ideas
Chair and Bookshelf All In OneRecipes, design concepts, storage solutions, and re-purposing ideas can all be found in Simple Ideas That Are Borderline Genius. Some of them I’ve posted about in the past, but others are new to me. Who doesn’t appreciate a good idea?

#5 – The Power of One
“First with the head, then with the heart, you’ll be ahead from the start.”
Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

NOW GO AND SPREAD JOY!

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The sweet scent of caramel corn permeates my kitchen and transports me back in time. As a young child I remember shopping with my mom at Valley Fair Mall. Back in those days it was an outdoor mall anchored by big stores called the Emporium and Joseph Magnin. While walking from store to store, we would always pass a little caramel corn shop and be seduced by the smell wafting out of the door. My sister and I would beg our mom to stop and buy us some. Having a sweet tooth of her own, my mom usually consented. Carrying a cardboard carton bearing a capital “K”  filled to the brim with the most delicately-coated, buttery- sweet, caramel popcorn imaginable, my sister and I would lag behind mom while grabbing handfuls of the treat and stuffing our faces. Valley Fair is now an enclosed mall and the Emporium and Joseph Magnin stores are long gone, as is the little caramel corn shop whose name I can no longer remember. I make my own caramel corn now and it seems fitting that this great recipe came from my sister. With butter, brown sugar, and its secret ingredient – Mrs. Butterworth’s Original Syrup – it’s almost as good as the caramel corn of my youth!

Caramel Corn
Adapted from a recipe from my sister Nancy

Ingredients:
12 cups popped popcorn
1 cube butter
1/4 cup Mrs. Butterworth’s Original Syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups Wheat Chex
1 cup cocktail peanuts

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

3. Put popped popcorn, Wheat Chex, and peanuts in a large bowl and toss to mix. Set aside.

4. Using a medium-large saucepan with high sides, melt the butter, syrup, and sugar on medium heat until bubbles form on the side of the pot. Heat for 5 minutes longer. DO NOT OVERCOOK!

5. Remove pot from heat and stir in salt and baking soda. The mixture will get foamy.

6. Pour caramel foam over popcorn mixture and quickly stir to coat evenly.

7. Spread mixture onto the two baking sheets.

8. Bake for one hour, stirring the caramel corn every 15 minutes.

9. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

10. Store in an airtight container.

Linnell’s Notes:

1. Be very careful with the hot caramel. Being hot and sticky, it can cause a bad burn! One time I accidentally got some on my knuckle and ended up with a pretty significant burn blister.

2. If you do not want to add the cereal or the nuts, use 15 cups of popped popcorn instead. Also, any type of Chex-type cereal can be substituted for the Wheat Chex.

3. Containers of this caramel corn make great gifts. When my husband and I were poor college students we often made several big batches of this caramel corn, packaged it in cute containers and gave them away as Christmas gifts.

ENJOY!!

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