Monday, October 3, 2016

Special Occasions: Dad's Classic Caramel Popcorn

Favorite caramel popcorn of all time!
Best General Conference snack ever!

1 1/2 cups unpopped popcorn kernels (air popped according to manufacturer's instructions on popcorn popper)

1/2 cup real butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup karo light corn syrup
1 - 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. good vanilla extract

Air-pop popcorn kernels in a popcorn popper of your choice and according to manufacturer's directions.  Place popped popcorn in a very large bowl.  Set aside and allow to cool while making caramel.

For the caramel:
In a medium saucepan, melt butter; add brown sugar, and corn syrup.  Bring to boil, constantly stirring.  While constantly stirring, add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla and cook to soft ball stage*.  *To check caramel for soft ball stage, drip a small amount of mixture into a clear cup of cold water.  If caramel forms a soft ball consistency when dripped in the water, the mixture is done.  Remove from heat.

Immediately drizzle caramel over cooled popped corn kernels and gently combine until popcorn is coated evenly.

Recipe Source:  Ken H. - My Dad:)!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Everyday Family Cookbook: Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

*Recipe Note:  This recipe has been converted from this recipe to adapt it to our need for easier prep and longer cooking times - whether in a slow cooker or baked in the oven (see simple directions below), especially when we're headed off to Church.  We have no idea how authentic this recipe actually is and typically I haven't seen the chicken shredded in any restaurant (we just do it for ease of preparation - so slice it if you prefer), but we absolutely love that it tastes incredibly similar to our favorite local Indian restaurant's version. Delicious!!!  Also, I didn't do this in the picture above, but my recommendation is you can never have enough of this amazing sauce - so if you love it as much as we do - double it!


  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs. frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4-5 large 6-7 oz. chicken breasts)
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped - optional
  • Basmati or Jasmine rice - amount as desired

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp. ground ginger (or 2 Tbsp. fresh minced ginger)
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1/4 cup butter (light butter okay)


In a large slow cooker or dutch-oven style pan, whisk together all sauce ingredients, except for heavy cream and butter.  Add frozen chicken breasts to sauce.  Cover with a lid and cook as per the following instructions, depending on which type of cooking you prefer:  Cook in slow cooker on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 7-8 hours, or bake in a 300° F oven for about 3 hours.  When cooking time has completed, remove chicken and shred or slice as desired.  Add chicken back into pan.  Add heavy cream and butter to cooked sauce and chicken.  Stir gently until well combined and butter is melted.

Prepare rice as directed on package.  Serve Butter Chicken over rice and garnish with chopped cilantro as desired.

Recipe Source:  adapted from (see their recipe for additional sourcing)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Special Occasions: Deb's Rice Pudding

Sweet Love!

Recipe Note:  This recipe is simple and delicious served warm or chilled.  It makes 8-10 cups of rice pudding.  If making the full amount, you will need to use a large pot with a tight fitting lid (if using a lid - see *note below). If you half the recipe it will fit easily in a large saucepan.


  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 9 cups water
  • 3 sticks of cinnamon (broken in half) or substitute 1 tsp. ground cinnamon (+ additional to garnish)
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp.) white sugar
  • 2 cans (14 oz. each) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk


In a large pot, mix together rice, water, cinnamon (sticks or ground), and sugar.  Bring rice mixture to a boil and reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer* for about 15 minutes until rice is cooked about 3/4 way through (there will still be a little bite to it).  *Note:  you can boil the mixture for 15 minutes uncovered on medium low or put a lid (tight-fitting) on the pan and cook rice mixture on low for 10 minutes. Both methods work fine - the pudding will be slightly thicker if you simmer the mixture without a lid.

After simmering for the recommended time above, add sweetened condensed and evaporated milks to rice mixture.  Continue to simmer pudding on medium low to medium heat for an additional 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally - until rice is al dente or cooked through as desired.  Pour cooked rice pudding into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly on top of pudding to prevent a skin from forming while cooling.  Eat pudding warm if desired, but as soon as it reaches room temperature, store in refrigerator.  Reheat leftovers as desired or eat pudding chilled.  When ready to serve remove cinnamon sticks and garnish with additional ground cinnamon as desired.

Recipe Source:  My SWEET sis - Debra T.:)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Enough Said!

This message is an all-time favorite and has made a wonderful addition to both
our Martin Luther King Jr. / Equality Rights Day Party (this year and in year's past)
and to our Family Theme this month.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Some Sweet Stuff: Eat a Rainbow Everyday!

I saw a post a few weeks ago on my friend's Instagram @healthyabundance that said "Eat a Rainbow Everyday!" and though I have seen many similar posts and pins, for some reason this time I was intrigued and inspired.  I thought about how much fun and how helpfully directing it would be each day in meal preparation and food choices, to actually challenge myself to do just that.  Heaven knows most of us could use at least a few more in our diet.  

I have known for sometime that the trick, for myself, to enjoying fruits and vegetables is in the gratitude (and perspective) to God for such wonderful, healthy, and beautiful foods that He has given us.  Truly they are gifts from a loving Father in Heaven to "...please the eye and to gladden the heart..." (Doctrine & Covenants 59:17-20).  Just look at the variety and beauty of the colors and taste something fresh from your garden at the perfect peak of ripeness!  It doesn't get much more "pleasing" and "gladdening" (is that even a word?;)) than that!  

So... combined with the gratitude I already feel and the adventure of trying to eat a rainbow everyday, I started a new family dinner tradition with my family.  It was just too much fun to not share with those I love.  We have our normal nightly tradition of going around the table at dinner and having each person says what their "Highs & Lows" were for the day, but now, in the past week, we've expanded our sharing to also include "What did your rainbow look like today?".  It's got us all thinking and much more aware of our fruit and vegetable consumption that's for sure! This is worth trying whether for yourself or with your is so FUN and is a definite cure for food boredom!!!  

As we all started thinking more about how to eat a rainbow each day I saw that it might be extremely helpful to post a list of food possibilities on the refrigerator to expand our minds and enlarge our creativity.  I'm sure the following list is imperfectly created (please remember I'm not an expert, just a mom having a good time with my family), but I scoured every list I could reasonably find for food ideas to hopefully create a pretty expansive list.  There are so many more fruits and vegetables than those listed, but I have included the most common that we personally eat in our diet and/or grow in our garden.  Also, a few of the foods listed could have been listed under multiple or different color headings, however I placed it in the box that would seem most logical to my children (i.e. a banana may technically be considered a white fruit, but my children would definitely consider it to be yellow).  Enjoy!   

For a printable .pdf version of this list, click here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Everyday Family Cookbook: Favorite Classic Chili


  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground oregano
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt (or regular table salt)
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 - 1 1/2 cups water (we use about 1 - 1 1/2 cups of water), as desired
  • 1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour, found in the Mexican food or flour/ baking section of many supermarkets)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 - 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 - 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 - 2 cups frozen sweet corn - rinsed under hot water to remove ice - optional (but we love this)
  • Shredded cheddar, Monterey jack, or Colby jack cheese, for serving
  • Tortilla chips, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving 


In a large pot coated with non-stick cooking spray, brown ground beef until crumbled and no longer pink.  Drain excess liquid and add garlic.  Cook about a minute longer until garlic is fragrant.  Pour in tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and cayenne.  Stir together until well combined. Cover, and then reduce heat to medium low to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. During simmering time, add water 1/2 cup at a time as needed so mixture does not become overly dry.

After an hour, place the masa harina in a small bowl.  Add a 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork.  Dump the masa mixture into the chili.  Stir together well.  Taste chili and adjust seasonings as desired.  Add more masa paste and/or water to get chili to your preferred consistency, or to add more corn flavor.  Add the beans and corn (if using) and simmer chili for an additional 10 minutes.  Serve with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and lime wedges.

Recipe Source:  Slightly adapted from Ree Drummond/ The Pioneer Woman at

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Special Occasions Family Cookbook: Hello Dolly Cookies

Had to post this recipe today since today is our daughter's birthday
and this is one of her all-time favorite cookies ever!

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2 - 3.6 oz. packages graham crackers (not an entire box)
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped - optional
  • 1 - 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet or milk chocolate or butterscotch baking chips (or a combo of both)


Mix melted butter and graham crackers together in a bowl.  Press into a 9 x 13" baking pan. Sprinkle nuts over graham cracker crust, if using.  Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over nuts and crust. Top with baking chips and coconut.  Bake cookie bars at 350° F for approximately 25-30 minutes or until very lightly golden brown - do burn or overcook (baking chips will not look melted when done cooking).  Cool and cut into bars.

Recipe Source:  Unknown (We've had this recipe for many, many years.  It is quite an old well-known recipe that many people have their own variation of - also known as "Magic Bars" or "7 Layer Bars". Just wanted to record it for our kids, as it is one of their all-time favorites!)
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