Guacamole has got to be one dish we can all agree on! It’s a great snack and the perfect appetizer for any gathering. It’s also the star of any Mexican-themed dinner: without guacamole, it’s just not the same.
The recipe I’m sharing here is inspired by the guacamole served at Chipotle Restaurants. I used to make guacamole by smashing avocados, adding salt, pepper, dried basil, and some lemon juice. That wasn’t good enough for my kids and husband. They kept talking about the Chipotle recipe. Of course, everything tastes better when it’s made my someone else…I get it! But, I really wanted to understand how Chipotle made their guacamole.
For some time, Chipotle had their recipe on their website. But, lately I can’t find it. If you search for the recipe online, there are several blogs that reference the original recipe, which means it was posted somewhere, at some time in the past. The tastiest ingredient in this guacamole is the fresh cilantro. It gives this dip its signature taste. Of course, the red onion and lime add their own flavors for an overall delicious and tasty dip.
Caramel popcorn is my favorite way to eat popcorn and, thank goodness, it’s very easy to make at home! As you know, I have a very sweet tooth, and this popcorn makes it to the top of the list for many reasons.
Caramel corn takes me right back to my childhood when one of my friend’s moms used to make it and sell it out of their house. I would treat myself to it after school on many occasions. Of course, caramel corn also has a nostalgic place in my heart because it reminds me of street fairs and festivals.
To make this caramel corn, I have to admit that I cheat a little bit with the recipe: I use micro-waved popcorn. It’s just easier and you get to the end result quicker. Of course, it’s healthier and more economical to make it with fresh popcorn that you make in a pot or in a popcorn maker or air popper. But, microwaved popcorn works just as well.
The secret to making this recipe is the baking soda. It makes the caramel sauce foam up and that’s how it becomes easier to spread over more of the popcorn. It ‘grows’ in volume with the soda.
I’m kind of a plain Jane person with my caramel corn, adding sprinkles to it occasionally. You can add many other toppings like candy, pretzels, peanuts, chocolate chips, chocolate drizzle, etc. You decide!
Here’s how I made the Caramel Corn in these photos:
8 cups of popped popcorn (or one 85g or 3 oz package of micro-wave popcorn)
1/4 c butter (salted or unsalted)
1/2 c dark brown sugar
2 T white corn syrup
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 T sprinkles
Prepare popcorn and place it in a large mixing bowl, leaving plenty of room to toss the popcorn with the caramel sauce. Make sure you remove any kernels.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low to medium heat. Add the brown sugar and corn syrup and stir until everything is melted together and combined well. It will start to bubble slightly on the sides.
Add the soda and vanilla and keep stirring until the mixture foams up. Stir and let it cook for another 30 seconds.
Quickly spread the caramel over the popcorn and toss with a spoon until all the popcorn is coated.
Add the sprinkles after the popcorn is fully coated and toss again.
To ensure you separate all the kernels out, I recommend you place the micro-wave popcorn in a bowl and give the bowl a few light tosses so that the kernels settle at the bottom. Use your hands to carefully lift out the popped corn, without any kernels, and place them in your large mixing bowl.
Do NOT leave the caramel on the stove while you go do other things. It will burn. And, once you add the vanilla and soda, the mixture may splatter from the vanilla, and it will foam from the soda. You cannot walk away!
Work quickly to spread the caramel over the big bowl of popcorn.
Do NOT use your hands to toss the caramel and popcorn together – the caramel mixture is super hot!
What have you added to your caramel corn? Comment below!
Hello Dollies are the one dessert we can all agree on…as long as I make two flavors!!
You may also know Hello Dollies as Magic Layer Bars or 7 Layer Magic Cookie Bars. The Hello Dolly name seems to be a reference to a scene from Hello Dolly on Broadway. You can read more in this article here.
The classic Hello Dollies recipe includes a graham cracker crust layered with chocolate chips, coconut flakes, nuts, and condensed milk. Eagle Brand shares their recipe on their site but I’m sharing a few twists here. These bars are absolutely delicious, decadent, and soo easy to make!!
It’s BBQ season in most parts of North America, so I’m sharing one of our favorite meals: curry grilled shrimp!
Shrimp is one of the fastest cooking protein sources, it’s low calorie, and makes great leftovers for salads and wraps. (It is high in cholesterol, however, so please note this fact if you are watching your diet for cholesterol intake.)
I usually buy raw, frozen shrimp in the shell. I like them in the shell because I feel that the shell protects them in the freezer. When I make this meal, I take the shrimp out about an hour before I marinate them.
Banana Bread recipes have got to be some of the most popular breads circulating on social media right now! Spending time at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic means that many of us are cooking and baking more. I have seen many versions and recipes of banana bread, but the one I’m sharing here is truly delicious!
I have no idea what recipe I followed prior to this one – that’s how good this recipe is. My dear friend made this banana bread for me one day when I went over to have coffee with her. It’s her mom’s recipe and I had to have it right away. It’s got 1/2 a cup of oil in it and uses no butter. I have to say that I’m not a fan of cakes that uses butter because I prefer the lightness and airiness of oil-based cakes.
It’s optional to add the walnuts, but I find it tastes that much better when you do add the nuts. Feel free to add a handful of mini chocolate chips into the batter. You can also add a sprinkle of coconut flakes or banana chips on top.
Gonna brag, because my carrot cake recipe is truly world famous! Everyone who tastes it, loves it. It’s the most requested cake by my family and friends. It’s always the birthday cake of choice for my youngest daughter. And, when my neighbor found out he had to follow a gluten-free and dairy-free diet, the first thing he thought about was missing my carrot cake!
You know what they say about needing 10,000 hours to perfect something? Well, I’ve put in the hours because I’ve been making this cake since I was 15. My roommate in high school’s mom made this for us when we first visited and I had to have the recipe.
What makes this carrot cake delicious is the simplicity of the ingredients (the only add-ins are carrots; there are no pineapples, walnuts, raisins, or coconut) as well as the generous 2 cups of grated carrots. It’s also made with 2 cups of sugar, so it’s sweet and moist. I’ve tweaked the original recipe by using 1/2 a cup of yogurt and 1 cup of canola oil, instead of the 1 1/2 cups of oil the original recipe calls for. I think this makes the difference in how moist the cake is. You can, of course, use 1 1/2 cups of oil if you don’t have yogurt on hand (and, if you want to keep the cake portion dairy-free.)
There is nothing easier to make than chocolate bark, period. Chocolate bark is one of those desserts that you can make for any occasion: birthdays, holidays, graduations, confirmations, teacher gifts, office treats, hostess gifts, etc. All you need is baking chocolate and your choice of toppings. If you want to be extra fancy, you can use food coloring, different grades of chocolate, and unusual toppings.
With Passover and Easter this week, I thought I would post some fun recipes to make with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry. This Easter white chocolate bark is made with Baker’s White Chocolate, Cadbury Mini Eggs, Sweetapolita Sprinkles, and fresh pistachios. It took about 15 minutes from start to finish. The hard part is waiting for it to firm up!
Here’s how I made this Easter-themed White Chocolate Bark.
During this time of social distancing and self-isolation, some areas of our lives are getting more attention, like home cooked meals. My husband and daughter have been home for the past ten days and we are enjoying each other’s company as well as looking forward to evening meals together. One of the meals that is getting the thumbs up around here is my sheet pan gnocchi!
Sheet pan gnocchi is one of the easiest and tastiest meals to make, for several reasons. First, it’s a ‘one sheet pan’ meal, which means you’re cleaning up one pan. I line mine with foil and parchment paper and nothing could be simpler to clean up. Second, this recipe is flexible: you can add whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. This means it’s a different meal each time and it means you waste less food. Third, you can serve this recipe straight from the pan just the way it is, or you can add a red tomato sauce to it and add more protein in the form of chicken, fish, or red meat. And, lastly, gnocchi has a relatively long shelf life. Keep a few packs on hand and you can make this meal anytime you want.
My first taste of fudge was when I moved to North Carolina to attend boarding school, in my sophomore year of high school. It was then that I fell in love with this North American dessert, at first bite!
I have a major sweet tooth, and it’s satisfied by super sweet North American and Middle Eastern desserts like: Texas Pecan Fudge Pie a la mode (specifically from House of Pies in Houston), pralines, fudge, cookie dough, Hello Dollies, knafeh, baklava, nammoura, and super sweet meghli. The last four are Middle Eastern and I make most of them at home when I can. Look for the meghli recipe in the next few weeks.
Have you ever made panzanella, a tomato salad with croutons? Panzanella (a classic Tuscan salad from Italy) is one of my favorite salads because it’s made with fresh ingredients and includes bread built into it in the form of homemade croutons. Classic panzanella includes tomatoes, stale bread, olive oil, and vinegar.
Panzanella is definitely a salad that tastes best with the freshest ingredients, which means that this salad is a go-to in the late summer when tomatoes are in season. Having said that, I still like to make it all year and I like to make it when I have leftover baguette bread that has started to harden. Nothing tastes better than homemade croutons made with the best olive oil you can find.