Thursday, October 17, 2013

Halloween Candied Caramel Corn

Last year I made these Halloween treat bags filled with candied popcorn. (Melt candy melts, pour over popcorn, stir and let set....easy and yummy!) The treat tags use clip art by my fabulously talented daughter. You can download them here for free in my teacherspayteachers store. 
This year, I took this favorite to another level by combining caramel corn with the candy melts. I got the idea from some expensive "Zebra" popcorn we bought that had chocolate and white chocolate drizzled on caramel corn. We actually like this just as well as the commercial kind. 
First, make your caramel corn. Here's a tried and true recipe:
15 cups popped popcorn
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Cook brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat until it bubbles around the edges. Cook and stir for five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Pour over the popcorn and stir. If you like chewy caramel corn, stop here. If you like it crispier (more Cracker Jack-like), bake on sheets in the oven at 200 degrees for up to an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so. ( I bake it for about 20 minutes).
 Place about half a bag of Candy Melts in a plastic bag and microwave for 20 seconds. Take the bag out and mush around. Microwave 15 seconds at a time until just melted. Squish the bag around to make sure the candy is liquid. Clip off a tiny corner of the bag and squeeze over caramel corn.

 Stir the popcorn lightly and let it cool completely. Seal in plastic bags.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Easy Crocheted Baby Blanket

What's a grandma to do while waiting for a new grandbaby? Make something, of course. This one went camping with me, got stuffed into my school bag in case I had time between classes, and left in the backseat of my car on the day I did a triathlon in case I was there early enough and needed to calm my nerves. I had an overtime load of classes as the due date approached, but I finished it the day before Cooper was born (a week past his due date). That pattern was super simple so I could pick it up any time and start right where I left off without thinking, but I thought it was a really beautiful design. Here is the booklet where I found the instructions.

It took one jumbo skein of lightweight yarn and a size 5 mm (H8) hook. The basic pattern is a shell with five double crochets each, with a single double crochet in between each shell. I plan on making this one again. The pattern is called "first baby blanket," but it's a generous size, so it will be useful into the toddler years.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cooper is here!

 Actually, he's been here for a week, but here are the pictures of the happy parents and Lance and I visiting a day later. Hailee and Chris have a lot of family, so there is a lot of love and care surrounding them and this little guy. I'm very grateful to them for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful circle and have a grandparenting role in baby Cooper's life.
 Could there be a happier grandpa?
There's no describing this feeling.