Chocolate Popcorn

Happy New Year’s Eve!  Hubby and myself have no plans as of yet, which probably means we will either just stay put and sit in the hot tub, or make a brief stop at my daughter’s place, and then come home and sit in the hot tub.  Ha, ha.

I thought I’d share this easy recipe for a New Year’s Eve snack.  It’s not original to me, but I have no idea where it came from, and therefore can’t give any credit for it to a specific source.  It’s easy and yummy, and great for snacking on while you sit around and play games.

Chocolate Popcorn

12 cups of popped corn (I use more than this – I just fill my roaster.  I find that otherwise there is too much topping per piece of popcorn.  If you like things thickly coated, stick to the 12 cups).

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup Lyle’s golden syrup (or you could use corn syrup, if you have that in the house)

2 tbsp. butter or margarine

6 ounces (1 cup) or chocolate pieces (I use Enjoy Life)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 250* F.  In a saucepan over medium heat, melt together sugar, syrup, and butter or margarine.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate pieces and vanilla.   Pour the hot mixture over the popcorn, stirring well (but gently – you don’t want to break you nice popcorn pieces!) to coat.  Bake for one hour, stirring now and then.

When it comes out of the oven, dump it into a couple large bowls, and stir gently while it cools so you don’t get huge clumps of popcorn stuck together.

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Enjoy with family and friends.  Perfect for eating while playing games!

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Cherry Nanaimo Bars

I’m going to carry on with the Christmas theme this week – Cherry Nanaimo Bars!  These little guys are festive and yummy.  Plus, they fit in nicely with a Christmas tray of goodies with their red centres.

Monday night was our Christmas piano and vocal recital – lots of nervous students, encouraging but tense parents, and at the end of the night, a social time with goodies and punch.  However, we have one student that joins us who has to eat gluten free.  Enter….me.  I always make something that she can eat, and this time around it was these nanaimo bars.  She took extras home happily on a plate to eat over the holidays.

Next week I likely will not be posting due to holiday busyness, but please, peruse the recipes I’ve posted this past year, and let me know if there is something you’d really like to see.  I’m up for trying new things for you!

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Cherry Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer:

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/4 cup white sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 chia egg (1 tbsp. ground chia seeds + 3 tbsp. water)

1 3/4 cups allergen free graham wafer crumbs (I use Kinnikinnik)

1/2 cup coconut

Put butter/marg., sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium heat.  When melted, stir in chia egg and cook until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the crumbs and coconut.  Press firmly into an ungreased 9 x 9 inch pan.

Second Layer:

1/4 butter or  margarine

2 tbsp. maraschino cherry juice

1 tsp. almond flavouring

2 cups icing sugar

1/3 cup chopped cherries

Mix all ingredients together well.  (Dry off cherries with a paper towel before adding in.)  Drop in tablespoonsful over the bottom layer and let stand for ten minutes.  Use your hand and pat it spoon.

Top Layer:

2 tbsp. butter or margarine

1/3 cup chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

Melt together and spread over the cherry layer.  Chill, and cut.  And….eat.

Merry Christmas!

Pineapple Fruit Cake

It’s almost Christmas!  Back in the day, when my kids all lived at home, I used to make upwards of a dozen varieties of cookies and squares.  Of course, that was also before I had food sensitivities.  This year I made six different things, including pineapple fruit cake.

The original recipe for this fruitcake is an old one.  When my Nana passed away a few years ago, I found an old ring bound bunch of recipes put together by the ladies of her church.  I saved a few that looked promising.  This recipe was one of them.  I have been able to successfully tweak it to work with my food issues, and it’s really good!  Even if you aren’t generally a fruit cake lover, I think you’d like this one.  We decorated our tree on the week-end, and as tradition dictates, we had out a platter of Christmas baking.  My one year old granddaughter couldn’t get enough fruitcake – crazy girl!

 

Pineapple Fruit Cake

1 cup crushed pineapple with juice

1/4 lb. green cherries

1/4 lb. red cherries

1/2 lb. white raisins

1/2 lb. mixed fruit (I use fancy mixed fruit, to avoid some of the peel)

Put above five ingredients in a bowl, cover, and let sit overnight.

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. butter or margarine

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 chia eggs (1 1/2 tbsp. ground chia seed mixed with 4 1/2 tbsp. water)

Cream these three things together.

3/4 cup white rice flour

1/4 cup potato starch

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture.  Stir in fruits.  Bake in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper for 2 1/2 hours at 300*F.

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You’re going to have to trust me.  This fruitcake is YUMMY.  You have time to make it before Christmas – go for it!

 

Oxtail Soup

Okay – hope I didn’t lose you with the title!  I promise – this is a super soup!

We recently purchased another quarter of beef from the fabulous Oakridge Acres.  They asked if I wanted the oxtail and the tongue.  Um, that’s a definite no for the tongue, but the oxtail?  Hmmmm.  Sure.  I opened it up at home, and really, it’s just bones and meat.  A different shape than a usual soup bone, to be sure, but still, bones and meat.

So here we go!  This is a lovely richly flavoured soup, but it takes two days to prepare.  Day One, fill your house with the lovely aroma of a rich beef stock, and Day Two, add in the veggies and complete the soup.

Day One:

Brown the oxtail in a large pot with 2 tbsp. of butter or margarine. Add in two chopped onions and brown.  Add 3 cups of beef stock (I use organic boxed stock) and 2 cups water, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 2 whole cloves and 1 bay leaf.  Simmer gently, covered, for 2 hours.  Strain so you have a clear broth left, and cool.  Cut the meat off the bones and add back into the stock.

Refrigerate overnight.

Day Two:

Put 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup white rice flour in a large pot.  Stir and brown until it becomes the colour of a dull penny.

Take the layer of fat off the stock.  Add the stock into the margarine and rice flour mix in the pot.  Add 5 cups of water, 5 1/2 ounces of tomato paste, 1 tsp. vinegar, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 cup thinly sliced carrot, 1 cup sliced celery, 1 cup diced turnip, and 1/4 cup quinoa.  Cover and simmer until vegetables are softened – approximately 1 1/2 hours.  Add more water if necessary. Also, taste before serving, and add salt and pepper as desired.

(this picture isn’t very exciting, but imagine the aroma and warmth of the soup….)

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Done!  Making soup isn’t hard.  You can do it!  Trust me, it’s so  much better than anything canned you can buy.