Maple Kettle Corn

[donotprint]Thank goodness I write a food blog or I never would have taken the leap and bought a little container of maple sugar for what seemed like way too much money. But for you, my dear readers, I forked over the $4.00 and got busy making some maple kettle corn.

We picked up the sugar at the Hebron Maple Festival after we sampled maple ice cream, frothy maple milk (yum!), and maple cotton candy. The line for the maple kettle corn was too long. A long line is always a good sign. But at that point we’d eaten so much we didn’t see the point of waiting it out even if maple kettle corn was a life-changing event. So I went about making some a couple days later with my trusty maple sugar.[/donotprint]

Maple Kettle Corn Recipe

Kettle corn made with maple sugar is more prone to burn than regular kettle corn. So don’t go anywhere while you’re making it. Get all the ingredients ready ahead of time while your pot is heating. Things can move quickly, but the pay off is worth it. Imagine crunchy-salty-sweet goodness with undertones of molasses. Or is it caramel? I’m not sure, but it’s definitely tasty.

1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
3/4 cup popcorn
2 tablespoons maple sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat a large non-stick pot over medium high heat. When it is nice and warm, add the oil, popcorn, and sugar. Stir well to make sure that the sugar is well distributed. Place the lid on the pot. Shake the pot with increasing frequency once the popping begins to make sure that the corn and sugar do not burn.

After a few minutes, the popping should subside. Remove the pot from the burner (a little too early is better than too late) and stir the popcorn with a wooden spoon while you sprinkle on the salt. Stir a few more times to make sure none of the sugar burns on the bottom of the pot.

Serve immediately or store for up to a couple days in an airtight container. Be sure to give the popcorn a little extra cooling time if you’re serving youngsters. The sugar bits can be very hot.

Yield: 10 cups – serves 3 -4
Prep-time: 10 minutes

Note: My kids didn’t start eating popcorn until they were three years old. Make sure you’re up to date on current recommendations as far as choking hazards and feeding before serving this snack to children.

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Salted Apple

The other day my 5-year-old started an unsolicited brainstorming session concerning what she would be having for snack that afternoon.

“Apples with… salt mama! Ha! Let’s make that!” she said jokingly. And I said, “I think that’s actually something people do eat sometimes. Wanna try it?”

And, of course, she said “YES!” So I bought out a tiny bowl with some kosher salt and viola!

She liked it. She loves salt almost as much as she loves sugar. My other kid was not a fan though. Can’t win ’em all. My husband thinks I’m a loser for publishing this since he’s been “eating apples like that for years“. But I’d never heard of it until I met him.

In other news…

We have sprouts. Not just any sprouts either. This is the precious Lemon Basil, the herb to end all herbs. It’s the whole reason I’m starting everything from seed. I couldn’t find it at my local nurseries last year. I hope it’s a strong little plant because I have no idea what I’m doing.

The Big Rainbow tomato sprouts emerged today too. These will produce giant yellow heirloom tomatoes with red stripes. I’m salivating as I type this. Get crackin’ little plant!

In case you hadn’t noticed I’m a little giddy over the coming of spring. I can’t help it. There’s no one happier than a New Englander when spring finally arrives.

Also, in case you were wondering, the chicks are doing their best to take over the basement.

You know it’s time to move them out into larger quarters in the garage when they jump right out of the bin and roost proudly on the edge. I’m already afraid this one is a rooster because she is so brazen and ready to take on the world.

Oh, and one more thing…

If you’re looking for the best Double Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe ever, I’ve got a lead for you. This blessed cookie was made from a recipe in Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan. It’s brilliant. It’s more of a brownie than a cookie. I think I’m going to need to own a copy of the book soon because the recipe for Swedish Oatmeal Hardtack is also excellent. And the recipe/tutorial devoted to pie crust is one of the best I’ve seen.

 

Frog Eggs

I’m keeping my kids guessing as usual. I’m starting to believe that a kid who is too comfortable and knows what to expect at snack time is trouble waiting to happen.

Pictured here is a what I believe to be a Vietnamese treat from my local Asian grocery. It’s a perfect example of shaking things up in the name of fun and experimentation. One of the main ingredients is basil seeds. But they look beautifully similar to frog eggs floating in swamp muck. I just had to bring it home.

After I tasted this gelled treat myself and explained that I thought it tasted sweet and floral, with a hint of lime, my girls went for it. They both took a few bites and then decided they had enough. But my eldest actually claims to like it. God bless her.

If anyone knows any Vietnamese (?) and can translate the name on the label, I’d be much obliged. Google was no help to me on this one.

Chicks!

Well, we were supposed to be waiting until next year…

But you know how that goes. Hopefully, I’ll have more willpower when it comes to getting a dog. 

We have six Rhode Island Red chicks who are growing like wild fire. Here they are (above) at one week old fresh from the Tractor Supply Store.

And here they are at two weeks (above). Notice the wing and tail feathers already coming in!

Here are the reference books I’m using as guides.

But I still have very little idea what I’m doing. Anyone know of a rad website/blog that details raising chicks?? Right now I’m wondering how long they are going to be happy in a big box. They’re growing so quickly I just can’t picture them fitting in it a couple weeks from now.

But, luckily, so far, so good. If you’re thinking of raising some chicks, be warned that they produce a great deal of poop! It’s giving me flash backs to the days my kids were in diapers. I could share other details, but I’m such a novice I think I’ll just keep quiet for now. Fingers crossed.

Hard Boiled Quail Eggs

In my dream world, I’m busying planning a fabulous party to celebrate the coming of Spring. Actually, I’d be happy if I just bought some flowers, had the girls make a few crafts, and made a nice lunch. But more than likely, none of it will happen.

The girls spent a great deal of time last weekend celebrating in their own way by making trouble in streams of ice cold water and soaking their clothes with mud. Something was in the air that no party could ever touch. There was bare ground to run on. Coats were cast off and immediately forgotten. Canada geese honked. Life was good.

Then of course it snowed a bit this morning. But it didn’t stick! Being a New Englander teaches you so much about keeping hope alive.

Here’s a snack to celebrate the coming of Spring. A quail egg. It’s not too big or boastful, but it doesn’t have to be because it’s so darn cute. I picked these up at an Asian grocery on a busy Saturday morning for only a few dollars. To me, they taste the same as chicken eggs. With a few grains of coarse salt, they are a perfect healthy and tasty snack.

I also have some green snacks in the archives that might interest you like Smashed Avocado Toast, Mint Yogurt, Avocado and Tomato FaceRoasted Tomatillo Salsa and good ol’ Guacamole. Also, don’t forget my new favorite Joy the Baker’s Kale, Spinach and Pear Smoothie.

How to Hard-boil Quail Eggs 

Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover the eggs and an inch more. Place the saucepan on a burner over high heat. Carefully place the eggs in the water. Don’t crowd them.

Cover the pan and bring the water to a boil. As soon as the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat. Leave the pan covered on the burner for five minutes.

Immerse the eggs in cold water, or better yet an ice bath, to stop the cooking process. When they are cool, crack the shell by tapping it on a hard surface and peel. The membrane between the shell and the white is a bit thicker than chicken eggs, but not too much so. Serve with salt to taste. Store leftover peeled eggs in cold water in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Prep-time: 5 minutes
Cook-time: 5 minutes

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