Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Candy Corn


Candy corn. You either love or you hate it! I love it. It’s so sweet and sugary you can only eat a few at a time. Ten minutes later you want more! My sister says: I hate it. It makes me sick. I only use it to decorate with.

What’s in it? I just happen to have a bag of Blueberry Hill Brand. Sugar, corn syrup, egg whites, honey, soy protein, salt, artificial flavors, confectioner’s glaze, carnauba wax, and artificial colors. 150 calories per 16 pieces. No fats. Lots of sugar.

Where did it come from and how is it made? It was originally invented by George Renninger in the 1880s and produced by the Wunderle Candy Company. Sugar, corn syrup, and water are combined and cooked into a slurry. Fondant is added for texture and marshmallows for softness. The final mixture is then heated and colored and poured into shaped molds. (Wikipedia).

I prefer Indian Candy Corn. It has brown chocolate at the top instead of orange. There are other variations including: "Reindeer Corn" which is produced during Christmas season where the yellow is replaced with red and the orange is replaced with green. "Cupid Corn" is produced during Valentines season, in which the yellow and orange are replaced with red and pink, and "Bunny Corn" which is produced during Easter, in which many colors are made for each kernel such as yellow, pink, green, blue, purple and white.
It is estimated that 20 million pounds of candy corn are sold each year. (Wikipedia).

Candy Corn is a popular decorating theme for fall and Halloween. Candy Corn Halloween decorations are currently selling in stores like WalMart, Target, Walgreens, Kohls, etc. There are candy corn candy dishes, candles, kitchen items, cards, tshirts, and more. I am making candy corn potholders and bags. I'm working on a candy corn coaster pattern. I also have glass pumpkin jars filled with candy corn pieces in my living room.

Here is my favorite candy corn potholder pattern: http://www.crochetmemories.com/archive/october9.html

You can also make an awesome snack mix by combining candy corn and peanuts – tastes just like a Payday. Delicious! Candy corn is a wonderful decoration on brownies, cakes, rice krispy treats, and cookies. Tastes wonderful too! Betty Crocker has a recipe for Candy Corn Sugar Cookies http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/recipe.aspx?recipeId=42399 and there is another at cookingvilliage .com http://www.cookingvillage.com/cv/recipe/art/0,1684,sLang=us&iObj=9812,00.html

Candy corn. Do you love it or do you hate it?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Chilli and Hot Dogs


A busy Saturday and I need to make a quick meal. I have spent the morning at garage sales and the afternoon doing yard work. My family is starving and so am I. What do I do? I make Chili and hotdogs. Fast and easy and everybody likes it.

I have used this chili recipe for over 25 years. It is fast and easy and has many variations. It takes about 45 minutes starting with thawed hamburger. Brown 1 pound of hamburger in a large skillet. Season with 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. chili powder, and 1 tsp. onion powder (can sub ½ chopped onions). Add 1 can red beans, 1 can tomato juice, ½ can water, and 1 tbsp. sugar. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Add more seasonings if you wish. While chili simmers, cook hot dogs or you will even have time to bake a batch of Jiffy or Martha White cornbread. Mix up a green salad. Pull out some crackers or corn chips to garnish. Done in 45 minutes from start to finish.

You can start this chili in advance the day before and let it sit in the refrigerator. You can simmer it on your stove or in your crock-pot for hours. It can be doubled or tripled. If you have time, you can add fresh, canned, or frozen chopped onions and tomatoes and peppers. You can make it thicker by not adding the water and thinner by adding more water. You can make it even faster if you brown the hamburger, which can be frozen and re-thawed, ahead of time. Hot dogs can be simmered in water and served on a bun or baked in a crescent roll. Delicous!!!

I like to make this salad to go with it or even for dessert: Caramel Apple Salad. You need:
• 1 cup cold fat free milk
• 1 (1 ounce) package instant sugar-free butterscotch pudding mix
• 2 cups reduced-fat whipped topping, divided
• 3 1/2 cups chopped unpeeled apples
• 1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts
Whisk milk and pudding mix for 1 minute (mixture will be thick). Whisk in 1 cup whipped topping. Fold in apples. Refrigerate until serving. Garnish with the rest of the whipped cream and peanuts.
Quick and easy. Good and good for you. Very pretty with a combination of red and green apples!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Black Cat Craft Day


Today I made black cat crafts to sell on EBay. I bought a cat crochet pattern this summer and it makes really cute black cat magnets. I thought they would look really cute on a potholder and they sure do! I made a black cat with green eyes and an orange bow and sewed it to a cream potholder with black trim! So cute! They would also look good on sweaters, shirts, bags, towels – just about anything!!!

I also made felt black cats. You just cut 2 cat shapes out of black felt, sew a green or yellow French knot eye, and white whiskers. Tie a small orange bow and sew it to the neck. Sew both cats together – right sides out and you have a cute black cat to attach to potholders, towel, shirts, whatever.

The last black cat I made was a set of 3 small stuffed cats from a book called Holiday Touches for the Country Home. It is a Leisure Arts book that has tons of easy projects to make to decorate your home. You use a small amount of fabric, 2 buttons, stuffing, and some embroidery thread to make each cat. It is a fast and easy project. These stuffed cats would look good in a basket, sitting on a shelf, in a wreath, or sitting on a witches lap. I may make them in a Christmas pattern for tree ornaments.

I’m making penne pasta for dinner and thought some chocolate cupcakes would be great for dessert. I can’t get enough chocolate these days. I found several different recipes on the web for black cat cupcakes and finally settled on this one : http://www.kraftfoods.com/recipes/CakesPiesCheesecakes/Cupcakes/BlackCatCupcakes.html. I made Duncan Hinds Devil’s Food cupcakes and frosted them, then decorated with Oreo Cookies (a staple at my house!) and black licorice and jelly beans. The kids ate several after school and loved them!!!

I don’t always craft in themes but today was a Monday and I needed some inspiration! It made my day a little more interesting!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Garage Sale Saturday


It was another crisp, cool, sunny day. I love this weather. It is so comfortable after days of sweltering heat. The day is so beautiful it makes you happy to be alive. It was a Saturday so I was pretty much free to do whatever I wanted. I chose to go to garage sales. I love to shop at garage sales.

I enjoy browsing though other people’s junk. I like talking to people who are having garage sales because they are so pleasant and helpful and so friendly. I like to make observations about them based on the things they are selling and how they price their items. People get emotionally attached to their things. Things bring back memories of other times that you may have forgotten.

Most of the things you find at garage sales are just other people’s junk. You have to go to a lot of garage sales to find things you really want and need. Just like you have to kiss a lot of toads to find a prince!!!!!

During this particular garage sale season, I have found a coffee maker for $2.00, new bedroom curtains for $3.00, end tables for my bedroom for $3.00 each, a living room lamp for $5.00 and many books and craft supplies . All were fantastic bargains and I am extremely happy with them. I bought a few lemons too! Sometimes you just buy things on an impulse and hate them when you get them home. You can’t return them. You have to give them away to Goodwill or a friend or save them up for your own garage sale!

Today I bought a lot of craft books to sell on ebay and also to use to keep me out of trouble all winter. If I’m busy doing crafts, I stay out of trouble and I find it very relaxing. Try it. Take up a new hobby today!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fall Decorating


It is a crisp, cool, sunny day here in Springfield. It put me in the mood to decorate my house for fall. I decided upon a scarecrow theme. I made a scarecrow wreath from grapevine wreath to which I added a scarecrow pick surrounded by fall flower and leaf picks. I simply arranged them and stuck them in the wreath - no gluing! Couldn't be easier and I bought everything from the dollar store so it cost me about $8.00. It looks colorful and fall-like hanging on my front door. I hung small scarecrows (also from the dollar store) on my outside lights and put up a sheath of cornstalks from my garden with a large scarecrow next to a corner drainpipe.

Inside my house I decorated my fireplace mantle with a fall leaf swag, fall candles, and more scarecrows (also from the dollar store). I put a basket of fabric pumpkins on a fall runner on foyer table and scattered more pumpkins, candles, and scarecrows throughout the house. I love it and I love the way the house smells with the pumpkin candles scattered around!