Sunday, October 24, 2010

FCCLA Caramel Corn and a ghost story sort of......

It is cold windy and snowing today.  A perfect day to snuggle by a fire and watch football with some FCCLA Caramel Corn to snack on.  The best part is it is made quickly in the microwave, the worst part is it is very addictive!  But first, a kind of ghost story or maybe I should say an alien type story.

A few years ago Bob and I were driving down to San Antonio through New Mexico to visit Micah's family.  I think I must have mentioned we planned to spend the night in Roswell to Ozzie, Micah and Jim Shriver.  They all commented that we should watch out for space aliens and I said of course, laughingly.

We stopped in Raton for gas just about dark and I noticed while checking the map that there seemed to be a shorter route than we planned from Raton to Roswell.  Bob agreed we should try it so off we went.  We turned off the main road out in the middle of nowhere but at least the road was still paved.  We drove for miles without seeing another car.  Finally as we came closer to Roswell, I began to notice blinking red lights out my passenger window.  As I looked closer they seemed to stretch out for miles in a huge curve.  I jokingly commented to Bob that I needed him to stop so I could get a picture for Micah but I didn't know how to take a night picture with my new camera!  As we went on it seemed the lights were in sort of a big circle like a huge space ship!  I kept saying we really needed to get a picture of this but Bob never stops for interesting stuff.  His theory is you drive from point A to point B as quickly as possible with as few stops as possible.  Anyway, I kept commenting on what we were seeing until I was sure he would be telling me to "knock off the nonsense".

   About that time I finally realized what we were seeing.  It was a huge, miles and miles, windmill farm on top of ridges all around us!  The blinking red lights were on top of the windmills!  I still wonder what it looked like from an airplane.  Even after I knew what it was it still looked like a space ship.  I'm still sorry I couldn't get a picture of it but I never could have got the whole effect.  It was so cool!

Here is my latest recipe for Halloween.  I know you can't give out home made goodies for trick or treat but it would be great for party snacks or just plain snacking anytime!  This recipe came from the FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America--the old FHA) at Elko High School. 


This is the recipe Erin used every day to make caramel corn at school to raise money to go to Chicago.   They went to school at 6 AM every day and made a bunch of baggies full and sold them for $.50.   West Wendover also used this recipe to fund raise but no one wanted to come to school at 6 AM including me!

Here's all you need for a great snack

 1 C. popcorn kernels (or 2 bags microwave popcorn if doing at home and not trying to make $)

1 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. Corn Syrup (like Karo)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 stick butter

1.   Spray the inside of a large grocery bag with Pam.
2.   Pop popcorn in air popper or Microwave which ever one you use. Pour into prepared grocery bag.

Ready for the caramel

3.   Prepare caramel--in a medium sized microwaveable bowl, place brown sugar, corn syrup,salt, and butter.   Do not stir.  

As you can see, I do cut up the butter and stir it a little.
Cook mixture in microwave for 4 minutes.   Stir in baking soda until mixture looks fluffy.

       After adding the soda, it fluffs up.      
4.   Pour mixture over popcorn in the paper bag and stir well with a wooden spoon.   Be sure to scrape the bottom well.
5.   Fold over the top of the bag and shake well.   Place in microwave for 1 minute and stir again.  Repeat this step once.
6.   Pour into a bowl, let cool or eat warm.   If you don't want it to stick together in a big bunch do the following:

I pick out the old maids and it's ready to eat!

Lay paper out on the table (like freezer paper or bulletin board paper) and pour out the popcorn on it and spread it out to cool.   Then bag it for snacks or sit there and eat it all up!
Warning this is very addictive!

Number Of Servings: Depends on how addicted you are to it.

Preparation Time:>10 minutes

1.  It's hard to find large paper grocery bags anymore so I have to use the kind of bag they put ice cream in at the store so it won't melt on the way home. 

2.  This is the basis for Meemo's Munch that I sell.  I add other home made ingredients to it and it is yummy.

I talked myself into it.  I'm going to make some right now!

Yep, it is addictive!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Trick or Treating up on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation plus a Yummy Recipe

A work in progress.  I started out to make trick or treat bags with these designs but it is too big.  I guess a wall hanging???  Any other ideas? 
You may think to yourself, "So what's the big deal, we all do it."  But no, not like it's done up there!!!!  The first time Halloween rolled around when I lived in Owyhee in the teacher's compound I was told to be sure and have enough candy.  I asked about how much that would be, having lived on a ranch where only the hired man's kids ever came to our door.  No one could tell me but just said lots and lots!  OK, so I went up to Boise and got lots and lots of bags of candy to hand out, thinking we could always eat the leftovers, hehehe.

I love these designs and I need to use them somehow!
Halloween fell on a school day that year and my first clue (which I wasn't prepared for) was when all the elementary school kids (we were a combined school and the elementary was attached to the high school) came to our classroom doors in costume with their trick or treat bags!  I was not prepared at all for that but my students were, so it worked out.  This was not the "official" trick or treat event, however!  Before school let out we were informed that trick or treating would start at 6PM in the teacher's compound.  I kind of chuckled at that, thinking how precise can you get, especially when we always operated on "Indian time".

Maybe some treasure bags for Micah's girls????
 As the 6PM starting time drew near I noticed cars pulling up all around the compound and parents and kids standing around practically looking at their watches every few minutes!  Other teachers were setting up tables and chairs outside their doors along with some decorations.  The compound was 8 duplexes surrounding a rather nice courtyard with picnic tables.  We were all within "yelling" distance of each other and there was a lot of banter about getting prepared for the onslaught and setting our watches for accuracy.

Individual wall hangings?
At 6 PM on the nose--not a minute earlier--Parents and children poured into the compound and started making the rounds!  We saw all ages from babes in arms who had no teeth yet, to our own high school students, to parents with their own trick or treat bags!  Some made the rounds two or three times!  We had no time for bathroom breaks, phone calls or anything except doling out candy!  I had gotten chocolate so I had requests for more for little sisters and brothers, cousins, etc. even though I am sure they were all going around too!  I realized I would run out so had to be pretty stingy with some of them toward the end.  At precisely 7 PM the compound emptied out and they all moved on to New Town!  We never saw another kid the rest of the night!  What an experience--and this happened every year.  Most of the trick or treat bags were pillow cases.  The older kids would hit us, New Town and then drive 96 miles up to Mountain Home, ID, and fill up their pillow cases there!  Candy is a huge addiction there, for sure!
This is called Halloween Tweet and I love it!
Here is the recipe.  I saw an article in Martha Stewart Living magazine that said instead of eating your kids trick or treat candy, here are a few more adult recipes that mimic the flavors you loved as a kid.  This one really took my eye and I tried it last night and it is wonderful!  It is reminiscent of Whoppers--you know, malted milk balls.

Malted-Milk Creme Brulee


Makes 4
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons malted-milk powder
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chocolate and malted-milk powder; stir until chocolate melts and powder dissolves. Whisk together yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt.
  2. Whisk hot cream mixture into yolk mixture. Strain into a large measuring cup.
  3. Arrange four 6-ounce ramekins in a roasting pan. Divide custard evenly among ramekins, leaving 1/4 inch at the top.
  4. Place roasting pan in oven, and fill halfway with boiling water. Bake until custards are set, 60 to 70 minutes. Remove from oven and from water bath. Let cool. Refrigerate until cooled, about 2 hours.
  5. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon sugar onto each custard. Hold a small handheld kitchen torch at a 90-degree angle 3 to 4 inches from surface of each custard, and move flame back and forth until sugar caramelizes and is deep golden brown, or broil until sugar caramelizes. Sprinkle each again with 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and recaramelize with torch or under the broiler.
  6. Baked custards can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Caramelize tops just before serving.
From Martha Stewart Living, October 2010

Read more at Malted-Milk Cremes Brulees - Martha Stewart Recipes

A few notes:  This is kind of pricey but well worth it!  It is easy to make and you do not need a small kitchen torch to make the topping.  Just put them under the broiler and stand there watching until the sugar caramelizes.  I really loved the idea of a second coat of sugar, the crunchy topping typical of creme brulee was great!

I also did not have any milk chocolate but did have a few Hershey bars leftover from our somemores events this summer so I used them instead and it was good!

Just a side note on Whoppers.  When I was about 10 or 11, my parents had a New Years Eve party for the neighborhood families.  All the kids were upstairs playing games while the parents played cards.  Sue and I decided to have a contest to see if we could eat a whole bag (I think it was about a pound) of Whoppers or some kind of malted milk balls.  I ate so many it made me sick and could not eat Whoppers for many years after that.  Nevertheless,  the creme brulee tasted wonderful to me.  

There it is.  Trick or treating at its best.  Everyone have a safe and fun time.  I doubt we'll even have 1 little one this year.......

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Race for the Cure

The ending point of the race
On October 3 I finally accomplished one of my long term goals that I wrote down on January 1 of this year!  I participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for Breast Cancer in Denver.  I had done the race in Baltimore, MD, 2 years ago with Kim and a friend, Dana, and had a great time so I have been looking forward to this for a long time!  I was hoping that Carla or Kathi could do it with me but they both were busy.  The receptionist at the Urology Center had planned to do it with me but at the last minute she had to cancel, too, so I did it by myself (well, with 50,000 other people, really).

Lots of walkers were headed to the starting line from all over downtown!
  I got up really early the morning of the race because all the streets around the VQ Hotel were supposed to be closed for the race from 4 AM until 11:30 AM.  I thought I would need to ride the shuttle from the hotel to the race starting point across I-25 and the river at the Pepsi Center.  All ramps off and on I-25 along the race route were also closed although I-25 was left open.  (It was really fun when we crossed I-25 several times to hear the drivers lean on the horn to support us)  Anyway...... I got the shuttle and the driver figured out a route for us to get close to there.  It was still dark and I didn't want to walk alone but as we started out I noticed many people (hundreds!) walking towards the Pepsi center from all the side streets around our hotel!  It is the same area people park in for the Broncos games so I guess that was all the closer they could get to park for this event, too.

Many people were writing who they were walking in honor of.
We got to within 2 blocks of where I thought the race started (on Speer by the Pepsi Center) and people were converging on the parking lot there from all over downtown.  The parking lots there were being used for vendors and registration.  I arrived just about 7 AM when the first wave of the race for serious runners and walkers was to begin.  I had chosen to walk at 8 AM so I could take pictures and not try to break any walking records!  So I wandered around and found the coffee booth, got my race number and memory signs pinned on and took pictures of some of the outfits that were interesting to me.

The info on the race said dogs were not encouraged at the race but I saw several.  I loved this tutu!

Two pink cuties!
 That lasted until about 7:30 so I wandered out onto Speer and started following all the walkers.  I figured all the people were just getting a head start on the 8 o'clock race so I followed along.  I thought it was kind of funny that they didn't have any balloons or signs at the start but didn't worry too much about it.  We also saw many, many people going the other way toward the vendors.  After about 1/4-1/2 mile I spotted the start sign just ahead of us by the bridge near REI.  Very close to our hotel!!!  Just about that time they announced for people to start lining  up at the start sign for the 8 O'clock race.

I just followed the crowd.
All the people I was following just kept going but I decided to stop and see how they would start the race.  It was fun to check out all the costumes any way.  The TV camera people were there and getting lots of pictures, too.  Just before time for the race to begin, cheerleaders lined up on the other side of the starting line and 2 big cherrypickers loomed right over the starting line banner.  Tom Martino from channel 9 and a bunch of dignitaries were overhead!  there were some speeches and then they introduced Susan G. Komen's sister who started this whole event years earlier due to a promise she had made to her sister to rid the world of breast cancer!  She spoke and then joined us for the start of the race.

Starting line.  The two arrows are pointing at the cherry pickers.  Still no one on them yet.

The cheerleaders are ready for the start.
Tom Martino and organizers of the event were overhead ready to send us off!
We were sent off by a big cheer from the cheerleaders and a band playing the Lone Ranger theme from the William Tell Overture!  It was a beautiful morning and as we ascended the hill leading up to Federal Avenue, I looked back and saw a sea of pink and white as far as the eye could see.  What a view it was,  just overwhelming!  Looking ahead it was the same.  An incredible sight I will never forget.  As I was walking, I would race from side to side taking pictures of all the people who had come out to cheer us on and to see the spectacle!  There were people sitting in lawn chairs in their yards, cheerleaders from various high schools, volunteers, bands, DJs from local radio stations and much more!

Looking back at the early morning sun and the Denver skyline and a huge crowd of walkers as the band played the Lone Ranger song!

Cheerleaders from local high schools lined the street.

Proof I was really there!

Coming up on Safeway and the water stop.
As we approached Safeway (one of the major sponsors of the event in Denver) there were tables of water for us to pick up and a mariachi band and dancers.  At the local fire house which faces on Federal the firemen were standing in front of their engines all in pink shirts!  Many of the walkers ran over and took each others pictures with them.  At the Mystery Dinner Theater the actresses were out in front in costume posing for us to get pictures of them and to cheer us on.

The band at Safeway.

The firemen in pink are posing with walkers!

Mystery actresses posed and waved at us.

I think I need to go to this theater sometime.  It looks like fun!

I love these girls outfits!  The VFW band was playing for us too!
The big jog at Invesco field.  A disc jockey was playing tunes for the walkers.
We took a jog at Invesco field and could view the sight of walkers on the Colfax overpass!  What a sight!  As we made the bend onto Colfax it was a sea of walkers with the Denver Skyline and Colorado Capitol in the background. Very inspiring.

Walkers, walkers, walkers!  Notice way down there they are turning on to Colfax.

We're on Colfax!

The capitol and skyline in the distance.  Police were to the left and a helicopter overhead!
Then we were on the most famous part of the walk.  With a helicopter hovering overhead we made our way down the off ramp at Auraria Parkway which makes a loop just like the ribbon symbol for breast cancer.  Every year they show this part of the walk on TV.  At the top of the final hill is the 3 mile sign and it is all down hill from there.  At 3.2 miles the 5 K walk was finished in the parking lot of the Pepsi Center.

I am on the loop looking up at the walkers  on Colfax.
The top of the ribbon.

 Walking up to the top of the ribbon. 

The 3 mile mark.

Anyone for flamingos, Jason?
The end.  We made it!
Then the fun began with tables full of cases of water, apples, Sun Chips and Granola Bars.  Booths with all kinds of freebies and chances for drawings, booths to take pictures, booths handing out free samples of foods and drinks.  There were testimonials from survivors and their families, speakers and entertainment.  Thousands of people enjoying a perfect day!  I finally left to walk back to the hotel at about 11:30.

Susan G. Komen's sister autographs her book.

My favorite picture!  He must have gotten up too early!  Notice his number,  getting pretty close to the 50,000 mark.

A whole set of bleachers full of breast cancer survivors.

And another set of bleachers full of survivors--how inspiring is that?

On my walk back to the hotel some ducks on the South Platte.

Even Invesco Field got into the spirit. This is still on my way back to the hotel.

Bob met me at the front of the hotel and told me about what he saw from the Skybox of the VQ Hotel.  Too bad he didn't have a camera too because he got the birds eye view of 50, 000 people walking and running along Federal from a little after 7 AM to after 11 AM in a steady stream!  It was a great day and I am ready to do it again next year, maybe with some family and friends!

Some of my "loot" from my walk

My signs

Close ups of who I walked for.

My theory is that any cancer research helps all who have it so these are direct family survivors of cancer even though it wasn't all breast cancer!