Monday, October 24, 2011

Puffed Caramel Popcorn

In the Fall, every year, since I was a child, we join my parents and their friends with their families for a picnic.  We use to have clams and corn etc, the typical clam bake.  But with the cost of clams having skyrocketed, they have long since been out of the picture.  We all bring a dish to pass and some takes over for making a traditional chicken gizzard soup and brings the corn.  Everything else, everyone brings.

One of the ladies usually brings this dish, puffed caramel corn. It disappears in no time. It's the sweet with the salty that makes it so darn appealing and addicting.  I decided to take it on retreat this past weekend.  If you want to know more about that, click here for my Crafty Bee's Knees blog post.  It was a hit.  So here is the recipe ladies for anyone clicking in from retreat.

Puffed Caramel Popcorn
Adapted from this recipe on Allrecipes

8 cups puffed corn or popcorn
4 cups square rice cereal
2 cups pretzels
1 cup peanut
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 300F.  Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large metal or glass bowl stir together popcorn or puffed corn, rice cereal, pretzels and peanuts.  Set aside.

In a saucepan, melt together brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and pinch of salt (if you use salted butter don't bother putting in the pinch of salt). Let it boil for five minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add vanilla and baking soda.  It will bubble up but don't be afraid, keep stirring and it will not go over the sides of the pan.

Pour the melted mixture over the bowl of snack mix.  Toss to coat.  Pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven to stir.  Return to oven for seven minutes more.  Remove and cool on a rack.  Break up pieces and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Weight Watcher Wednesday: Coconut Curry Pork Satay

I have made satay before but it probably was way more calories than this.  The nice thing about having a cookbook that lists the nutritional value is that you don't have to try and figure it out for yourself. It's all there servings and counts.  I have figured out calorie counts for recipes before.  I use Calorie King and Calorie Count at About.  After a while you get to know what a cup of sugar is, a cup of oil, a cup of butter, etc.  Memorizing these calorie counts makes the job go by a lot faster. 

You also come to understand that a lot of times adding 2 tablespoons of light sour cream verses regular sour cream doesn't make a whole lot of difference in the end amount of calories.  As stated before I am really not into light things.  Often times the amount of chemicals or sugar used to make up for the lack of fat are far worse than having the regular item.  I think it is better to make substitutions with things like buttermilk or yogurt for sour cream rather than  light sour cream. I would never judge you if you choose to use those products just investigate what is in them and make informed choices. Okay there is my food rant of the day.

Coconut Curry Pork Satay
Adapted from Weight Watchers, Take Out Tonight!
If you do not have the tomato paste, use ketchup; brown sugar for palm sugar; anchovies for fish sauce; and chicken for pork. This recipe serves 6 people who are watching their weight- four people if they are not.

1/2 cup light coconut
2 tablespoons palm sugar, grated
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1 pound boneless pork tenderloin trimmed of all fat, cut into thick chunks
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
lettuce leaves, if you so desire

Mix pork, sesame oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Make sure all pieces are coated.  You want the chunks of pork to be about 1/4 inch thick and 1 inch by 1 inch.

In a saucepan combine coconut milk, brown sugar, soy sauce, tomato paste, peanut butter, fsih sauce and crushed red pepper.  Bring to a boil, whisking to combine.  Lower heat to simmer and cook for about five minutes.  Remove from heat,  but keep the mixture warm.

Place pork chunks on skewers. leaving about a 1/4 inch between pieces of meat to allow for even cooking.

Grill or broil pork about 2 to 5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the slices.

1 skewer (or 1/6th of the pork) with two tablespoons of sauce is 157 calories, 6 g fat, 456 mg sodium

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chocolate Glazed Donuts

My Mom bought me, well really I should say, my Mom bought my kids this donut maker.  You see, I rarely buy donuts.  Like maybe once a year.  I like them, I am just not into them.  It's probably the "fried" thing.  My kids however LOVE donuts.  Donut holes.  In fact they are my motivation for buying donuts because otherwise I would never go.
Enter this little machine and you can take the "fry" out of donuts.  It's pretty handy and the donuts were pretty good. A very fun thing to do with the kids.  There are two sizes out there- so if you are interested- shop around.

Chocolate Glazed Chocolate Donuts

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  In a large measuring cup or a small bowl, combine wet ingredients: buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla.  Add the wet to the dry.  Mix until just combined.  Pour mixture into a pastry bag or a plastic container with a small hole cut in it at the corner.  This will make it so much easier to put into the donut forms.  Once they come out of the donut cooker or your oven (you could easily do these in your oven in a donut pan- 350F for 10 to 20 minutes), pour glaze onto donut while it is still hot.

You could also make these donuts.
Buttermilk Cake Donuts

Pumpkin Donuts