Honey Caramel Corn Recipe, Plus Cast Iron and Honey Giveaways

Old Fashioned Honey Caramel Corn Recipe - This honey caramel corn is light, buttery and delicious.

When I was a little girl, one of the treats my Grandma Catherine would buy me was CrackerJacks™ caramel corn. I had a collection of all the little toys they put inside the boxes, from mini-holographic photos to magnifying spyglasses.  I enjoyed that sweet, crispy buttery caramel corn, but haven’t purchased it in years because they use ingredients that we try to avoid, like genetically modified soy and corn.

Last week when I asked for ideas about what sort of recipe I should make in cast iron using honey to promote these giveaways, my friend, Shannon, mentioned that her family always made a delicious honey caramel corn recipe for the holiday season.  She messaged me a copy of a handwritten list of ingredients, saying that she remembered they used a thermometer but didn’t remember cooking details.  A little online digging revealed a recipe that sounded similar, so I married the two together and came up with a recipe that reminds me of grandma and the way things used to taste. [Read more...]

Easy Chocolate Mint Extract Recipe

DIY Mint Extract - This easy chocolate mint recipe is a great way to use your home grown mint for cooking, baking, hot chocolate,  gift giving and more.

Do you like the taste of chocolate and peppermint together?  Then you should enjoy this easy chocolate mint extract recipe.  It’s made in a similar manner to the vanilla, almond and lemon extracts (check out the other homemade extract recipes and get the printable labels).  I use the chocolate mint plant as the basis for my extract, but peppermint will also work in combination with cacao nibs.  Homemade extracts are great for holiday gift giving, although the flavor gets stronger the longer you allow the extract to steep, so sooner is better if you’d like to gift them this year.  I haven’t purchased commercial mint extract in years.

You can use your homemade chocolate mint extract for all sorts of things – add a little to your brownies, hot chocolate or hot chocolate eggnog, ice cream, homemade peppermint patties – use your imagination! [Read more...]

How to Make Elderberry Syrups and Jellies

How to Make Elderberry Syrups and Jellies with Fresh or Dried Elderberries
My friend, Tami, saw my comment on the Common Sense Homesteading Facebook page about wanting to experiment with elderberries, and embraced the challenge with gusto.  She and her family went picking, and came home with the entire car trunk filled with elderberries.  Bless her heart, I didn’t have time to help her process them the next day, so she stuck them in the freezer overnight and tackled them herself.  In this post we’ll share how to process fresh elderberries, plus how to make elderberry syrup and elderberry jelly with those fresh elderberries, and an easy recipe for a small batch of immune boosting elderberry syrup with dried elderberries. [Read more...]

Old Fashioned Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Old Fashioned Cooked Chocolate Pudding Recipe - like momma used to make, for pudding that tastes the way pudding is supposed to taste.

When I was a little girl, it was a special treat when mom took the time to make cooked chocolate pudding from scratch.  It was so much yummier than the instant boxed pudding.  I loved it straight out of the pan (someone had to make sure it was clean, right?) or chilled with the “skin” set up on top.  (The skin was my favorite part.)

We had some extra milk on hand this week, so I went digging for a chocolate pudding recipe that reminded me of the one mom used to make.  The recipe below is adapted from the Chocolate Yummy recipe in “Favorite Recipes of America:  Desserts“, published in 1968, which was one of my mom’s favorite cookbooks.  A little less sugar, a little more vanilla, and a different thickener, and we have a gluten free dessert that my youngest said he “could eat at least ten times in a row”. [Read more...]

How to Make Pumpkin Wine

How to make pumpkin wine. Classic spices and a little creativity come together in an usual pumpkin recipe that's sure to be a conversation starter.

Did you know you can make wine out of just about any fruit or vegetable with a fairly high sugar content?  One of my foraging mentors, the late Mike Jacisin, was willing to experiment with cooking and fermenting just about anything.  One year he was blessed with an abundance of onions, so he made a batch of onion wine.  Alas, said onion wine went down in infamy as the worst brew he ever concocted, and has become a running joke in our extended circle of family and friends.

This year we’ve been blessed with such an abundance of sweet onions that I’m seriously considering a small batch of the infamous brew, since I missed out on tasting the original, but thus far my husband has vetoed the idea.  :-)  Since he won’t let me ferment onions, I’d like to share how to make pumpkin wine.  Like Mike, I’m willing to bulk up my food and beverage storage with a wide variety of foodstuffs, and it’s fun to break out a bottle of an unusual brew for friends.  I am not a big wine drinker, but I love the rich, yeasty smell in my kitchen as the wine ferments.  Wine is pretty forgiving, too.  I’ve made batches that are better or worse, but nothing completely skunky like some of my beer brewing friends have encountered. 

[Read more...]