Category Archives: fall

Pumpkin Pie Kettle Corn


Who doesn’t love kettle corn?  Crazy people.  There’s nothing not to love about something that’s crunchy, salty, and sweet- the triple threat of yumminess.

Nick and I regularly snack on popcorn.  We used the air popper until we woke Sam up one night with it- no snack is worth waking a sleeping baby.   Unless we want to pop corn in the basement, we needed an alternative- enter the stove top!

Making kettle corn at home is surprisingly easy, if a bit messy.  You also need to be vigilant- this is not something you can set and forget unless you want to burn down your house (or ruin a pan).  

Before I send you on your merry way, let’s discuss one more thing. Oftentimes in cooking, more is more.  What recipe doesn’t benefit from a bit more butter or another slice of bacon?  This recipe is not one of those.  I’ll leave you with this warning: if you augment the spices in this recipe, you risk having potpourri to eat rather than kettle corn.  Spice at your own risk!

Pumpkin Pie Kettle Corn

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 ground cinnamon
1/4 cup + 1 tsp granulated white sugar
 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup (6 oz.) popcorn kernels

In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin pie spice, ground cinnamon, 1 tsp sugar, and sea salt.  Stir to combine and set aside.

In a large pot that has a tight fitting lid (I use a large stock pot that I also use for cooking pasta) add the olive oil, 1/4 cup sugar, and popcorn kernels.  Using a wooden spoon, stir to make sure all kernels are coated with oil and sugar.

Place lid on pan and put the pan over medium heat.  Stand close by so you can hear the sizzling begin and the popcorn begin to pop.  As the popcorn pops, frequently raise the pan an inch or two off the heat and shake from side to side, about every 2 minutes or so.  This ensure that the popcorn doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn.  Continue to do this until the popping slows to about 1 pop per 5 seconds.  In total, the popping time is less than 5 minutes.

Once the popcorn is popped, remove the pan from the heat.   Immediately pour the popcorn into a large serving bowl and add the sugar/spice/salt mixture.  To ensure even distribution, I sprinkle half of the sugar/spice/salt mixture over the popcorn, stir to coat, and then sprinkle the rest and stir to coat. 

Makes roughly 11 cups of popcorn
Serving = 2 cups
Total servings ~5
Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving= 5

Desperately seeking autumn

I think I’m losing my Texas flair.
I’m hot ALL.THE.TIME.  And I hate it.
There, I said it.  
I’m hot and it’s only been 80 degrees this week.  I realize it’s somewhere near 110 in Dallas and that I am completely lame for complaining about a hot New England summer.  
In my defense, I must say that I am attached to a small person for at least 10 hours a day and he is a freaking furnace!  This kid sweats all the time.  I don’t know how many times I’ve checked his temperature only to find out he’s a totally normal 98.6. 
Since I’m hot all the time, the most logical thing would be to bake, no?  I realize I am a masochist, but I had a very important playdate to attend and treats were necessary.  And because I am so desperately longing for fall, I figured I could transport my taste buds forward with a well-chosen cake. 
When I think of fall, I think of cinnamon: apple pie, spice cookies, chili.  Cinnamon adds warmth to any dish.  To indulge my autumnal desires, I found the Sour Cream Spice Cake recipe in my very favorite cookbook- Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook.  I love my 1st edition- it is so charmingly retro and informative. 

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

Adapted from the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook:

For one 13×9 oblong cake:

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla (my addition)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream (I used low-fat)
3 tbsp salted butter, melted
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease the 13×9 pan. 

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir to combine and set aside.  

In a stand mixer, add eggs and beat until very thick (5 minutes).  Then, gradually beat in the sugar.

To the egg and sugar mixture, alternate adding the flour mixture and sour cream until all combined.  Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.

To make the cinnamon swirl, combine the melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar.  Stir until well combined.  Dollop the mixture on top of the batter.  Using a knife or offset spatula, carefully swirl the cinnamon sugar into the batter.  Start by putting the tip of the knife in one corner of the batter- it should be touching the bottom.  Without removing the knife, drag it in a straight line through the batter to the other end of the pan.  Move it over about 1 inch and repeat.  Do this until you have waves of cinnamon sugar in one direction.  Repeat going the other direction.

Bake about 30-35 minutes. 

2 year old approved!

Mom approved!

More scenes from the day:

I swear, someday they will be the best of friends.

They just don’t know it, yet.