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  1. Thursday, March 28

    Sweet and Salty Holiday Popcorn {Bunny Bait}…and a few thoughts on parenthood

    I’m an artist and designer, so I like things to look good. Sadly, though, I am also lazy lazy LAZY. Rarely do I pull out all the stops for cute holiday crafts and treats and such. Once in a while, though, I stumble on an idea that is super cute but also very simple and I actually do get a little holiday pizazz goin’ on.

    Bunny Bait is one of those very ideas! My friend Erin wrote about it on Today’s Mama. She got the idea from Sing For Your Supper, who got the idea from Bake at 350, who got the idea from Nest of Posies. Bottom line? Bunny Bait gets around, people.

    Here’s the thing. Bunny Bait is perfectly cute for Easter and I love the name. But the beauty of this recipe is it is so easily adaptable to any holiday or event. Just pick up the M&Ms du jour and change up the candy melt color and you have deliciously sweet and salty popcorn goodness for any holiday. In fact, this is what we will be making for our holiday gifts this December. It’s easy to throw together a large batch, the popcorn is super cute, it tastes awesome and you can dress it up with matchy-matchy baggies and bows. Done and done.

    Erin mentioned that Bunny Bait may be slightly addictive. She’s right, and here’s why. You inevitable take a bite that has popcorn and an M&M. And it’s delicious, but then you realize that you didn’t get a pretzel in that bite, so you dig back in and get a pretzel-ful bite, only to discover it was missing the popcorn. And the cycle continues until you have eaten the whole bowl. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Probably best to make this with purpose and get it bagged up and given away ASAP.

    Also, lest you look at these pictures and think we are a perfect family with a patient mother who cooks with her kids while birds flit about our heads and sing pretty songs…Anna did have a lot of fun making this with me and it was really sweet and cute. But, I must admit, towards the end a few things got me frustrated (that had nothing to do with the recipe or with Anna but everything to do with me and my lack of sleep and patience) and I ended up yelling at her for something stupid and felt terrible as she ran away crying with her blankie. I realized my mistake immediately and was overcome with regret and sadness. I hate these moments as a mom. I ran to my sweet girl and gave her a good, long hug. She quickly forgave (kids are amazing that way) and we finished our Bunny Bait adventures with smiles. But, looking at these photos of the Bunny Bait, I still have a twinge of guilt. But I also have a resolve to do better next time. This parenting gig certainly is salty and sweet, but I suppose the salty just helps me truly appreciate and seek after the sweet.

    Sweet and Salty Holiday Popcorn {Bunny Bait}
     
    From all over the place, original idea from Nest of Posies
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • ½ cup unpopped popcorn (yields about 24 cups)
    • 8 ounces candy melts (you can just use white and let the M&Ms and/or sprinkles add the color, but feel free to use a colored candy melt, too!)
    • 1½ cups rod pretzels, broken into smaller pieces
    • 1 12-oz package M&Ms (holiday themed)
    • Sprinkles to match your color theme (optional)
    Instructions
    1. Pop your popcorn (I used my Whirley Pop). Pour into a giant bowl. Add pretzels and M&Ms, but don’t stir anything yet. Melt the candy melts as per package instructions, then drizzle over the popcorn mixture. Toss and toss and toss to coat. (It takes a lot of tossing!) The pretzels and M&Ms will want to sink to the bottom, so when you serve it or put in bags for gifts, be sure to toss again and then scoop. Also, if you do plan to bag it for gifts, let it sit out for a bit to allow the candy melts to temper.
    2. For the bunny bait, I used pink and green candy melts. I poured the green first, tossed it, then let it sit for a bit before drizzling the pink, so that they didn’t mix together. The result was cute, but next time I’m just going to use one color – it’s just as cute and less effort.

     


  2. Tuesday, March 17

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day…have some corned beef!

    Happy St Patrick’s Day!  I had visions of turning all of our food green today, but Cate wouldn’t have it.  When I offered green pancakes or oatmeal this morning she replied, “I had green eggs and ham at school and it wasn’t good.  No thanks!” So much for being a fun mom.

    I promised corned beef recipes, so here we go!


    Straight-Up Corned Beef
     
    Delicious corned-beef hoagies with melted cheese!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Beef
    Ingredients
    • 3 – 3½ lb corned beef
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 12 black peppercorns
    • juniper berries
    • seasoning packet
    • mustard
    • brown sugar
    Instructions
    1. Rinse meat under cold water. Place in large pot – cover with 6 in cold water. Cover pot – bring water to boil. Pour off water. Put 6 in cold water back in pot. Bring to boil covered. Repeat if want less salty taste.
    2. Skim off scum. Add spices (p.s. I always forget to buy juniper berries, but the little spice packet that comes with the meat seems to be enough) . Lower heat, cover and simmer til very tender but still holds together, ~1 hour per pound.

     
    Corned Beef and Glaze
     
    From my mom-in-law Pat…who is a McCarthy, so I would trust her with an Irish recipe. She says this is a yummy way to get corned beef down the throats of the non-Irish.
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Beef
    Ingredients
    • 1 or 2 point cut briskets
    • large can peaches(mashed up)
    • dark brown sugar
    • butter
    • OJ
    • marmalade
    • maple syrup
    Instructions
    1. Cover the briskets with water and boil, then simmer for 3 or 4 hours. Take outta the water and save water to cook your cabbage, carrots and potatoes in. Heat oven to 425 or 450. Put brisket on a broiler pan. Mix above ingredients so they hold together as a glaze. (Add OJ last to see if too watery – and sorry there are no measurements!) Put glaze on top and baste again every 20 minutes or so. Then reduce oven to 325. Glaze some more, every 25 minutes or so, till the fat drains through the broiler pan. Total bake time is about 1-1/2 to 2 hours – a big commitment – but yummy.