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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Recipe Week: Peanut Butter Popcorn with Guest Blogger Lu

Can I just tell you that I am thrilled to introduce you to Lorene, of I Am Just Lu.  She is simply sweet.  I always look forward seeing what she comes up with. She has proven to be skilled in the kitchen, in the craft room, and on the computer (I need the most help in this area).

I must admit that I often think of Lu when writing up my posts. If I'm unsure whether or not I'm using proper punctuation, then I always think....Lu is going to cringe when she reads this.  I appreciate that she always leaves sweet comments, and never brings up the fact that there are probably serious grammatical errors in my posts.  Her posts are always well written, and a joy to read.  Be sure to stop by her blog to see all that she's been up to.

Here she is.

Hello, Leafy Treetop Spot-ters! I am so happy to be here with you today -- isn't Tricia amazing? I don't think she's even capable of making anything that I don't love. :)

So who I am?

I am Lu, or Lorene. That's me with the dumb look on my face, and that's my handsome hubby with me. We have a one-year-old son who is every bit as handsome as his daddy and who smiles for the camera like his mommy. :)

I am just Lu

I blog over at just Lu -- my place to be just who I am: a wife and mom who is a technical writer and crafter, among other myriad occupations. I love sharing what I'm interested in and making friends through my interests and endeavors, so I hope you'll stop by!

When Tricia asked if I would like to participate in Holiday Treat Week, I responded with a hearty YES ... and then I started thinking. (It's a bad habit I have, thinking after the fact :)

I thought about sharing these scrumptious mint thins (made with Ritz crackers, of all things!) from Kraft Recipes:

image via

And then I saw this liquid heaven Almond Joy hot chocolate over at Delia Creates:

image via
And then I thought about sharing these divine Oreo creations, recipe here from the adorable Nichelle of Vintage Wannabee:

image via

But... firstly, none of those recipes are mine. Claiming them as such would be just plain not nice.

And secondly, as divinely delicious as all three are, they aren't particularly holiday-ish to me (although that doesn't stop me from eating an extra portion around the holidays :).

So then I thought (don't change that channel -- I'm almost done thinking!): what are the holidays?

And my answer?

Me and 6 of my 7 older siblings, plus my dad and his new car
I'm the cute chubby one in pink :)

So I decided to share with you a recipe that, while not inherently holiday-ish, reminds me of everything that is most important, and isn't that what the holidays are really all about?

Let me introduce you to Peanut Butter Popcorn:

It might not look like much, but it's delicious, sinfully sweet, and cheap!

I grew up the youngest in a family of 8 children (as you can see from the picture above). Cheap is important. Cheap and makes enough for everyone is the difference between living in harmony and... not-so-harmonious living. A harmonious day is a holy day and therefore a holiday, right? :)

So, at our weekly family-together nights and any other family gathering, my mom would make Peanut Butter Popcorn. It's perfect for making with a large brood because there's a job for everyone. It's actually more difficult to make by yourself than with a helper, so grab a helper or two (or six) and let's get started:

You'll need

  • Popcorn -- 2-3 servings, kernels with an air-popper are best, but the microwave bags are fine
  • A big metal bowl
  • Your oven
  • Another big bowl, in any material
  • A saucepan
  • 1 cup peanut butter -- chunky or smooth, doesn't matter
  • 1 cup granulated (white) sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat your oven to 275*F  or so. Place the big metal bowl in the oven and turn the oven off. (You want the bowl and the popped corn to stay warm because that makes it SO much easier to evenly distribute the topping.)

2. Start one helper popping popcorn into the non-metal big bowl.

3. After the first batch of popcorn is finished, have another helper shake the bowl so that the biggest, fluffiest kernels come to the top and the yucky unpopped "old maid" kernels fall the bottom.

Yup, my family togetherness memories are based on an elitist popcorn hierarchy. :)

4. Carefully remove the *hot* metal bowl from the still-warm oven. This is a good job for a parent or an older helper.

5. Enlist a helper (or two) to scoop the fluffy kernels off the top of the bowl, using their hands, and place the the fluffy, high-class popcorn in the metal bowl, being careful not to touch the bowl since it is still *hot*.

6. Dump all the old maids and the smaller lower-class kernels that are left in the bottom of the bowl. Return the metal bowl to the still-warm oven to keep the bowl and popcorn warm.

7. Employ your helper(s) in popping another 1-2 additional batches of popcorn and give those the same elitist treatment, returning the high-class kernels in the metal bowl to the oven after each batch.

8. When you've sorted the final batch of popcorn and your metal bowl is about 2/3 full (probably about 8-10-ish cups of popcorn), combine the vanilla, sugar, and corn syrup in the saucepan. (Another job for a parent or older helper.)

9. Heat the sugary goodness until it boils and the sugar is completely dissolved.

10. Remove the boiling sugary goodness from the heat and quickly add the peanut butter, stirring until it's all melted into the sugary mixture.

11. Carefully remove the hot (possibly warm by now) metal bowl from the oven and quickly pour the *very hot* peanut butter sauce over the top.

12. Stir...

13. Stir... this is a good time to have helpers. :)

14. Stir some more. Make sure that the peanut butter sauce is evenly distributed and covering every fluffy kernel.

15. Now you make a choice: keep stirring until the sauce is completely cooled OR spread the cooling popcorn onto waxed paper.

You could also form the popcorn into balls, but leaving the still-warm popcorn in the bowl sends most of the still-warm peanut butter sauce to the bottom of the bowl, making it hard to get OUT of the bowl, both to eat and to clean. :)

16. Enjoy! Share with family, friends, the UPS man (for bringing all those fantastic holiday packages), or whoever.

Thanks Lu, for sharing your great family recipe.  I love peanut butter and popcorn, so this is right up my alley.

Don't forget to link up your own Holiday recipes at the Holiday Recipe Link Party.


Amanda said...

my husband loves those ritz crackers turned mint cookies

First time I told him I was dipping crackers in chocolate he said uhhhh yukc. But now -- he loves them!

Unknown said...

Thanks for hosting, Tricia! And I have never once cringed or even noticed a grammatical error :)

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

I love Lorene, and I love this recipe:) Thanks!

Dawn said...

I'm nursing. My babies don't like it when I eat peanut butter. This recipe looks so yummy-- I have to go cry myself to sleep now; )

Mari said...

Dang...That does sound YUMMM
Thanks for sharing.

Would love you to link it up to my premier Food Fight Link party!
Happy Holidays

AllieMakes! said...

OMG! That looks crazy good! Wow!
Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!

Anonymous said...

This sounds delicious! I'm including it in my Friday Favorites this week!