Oven Baked Caramel Corn

Simple and Delicious Oven Baked Caramel Corn

Yum. Caramel corn! Along with our famous buckeyes, this was one of the Christmas treats that my mother baked each year. Now, I do the same because it is such a delicious treat – and really, very simple. I’ve tried other caramel corns but unless the popcorn is coated in caramel (like this recipe), it’s not caramel corn to me! With this recipe you can make your own batch of delicious caramel corn. This recipe can be made in advance of your festivities because as long as it is stored in an airtight container, it will keep. It will keep quite awhile although I think it’s safe to say you’ll eat it before too long goes by. It really is that good!


8 or 9 quarts plain popped corn
1 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla


Pop corn on the stove. Do not salt or butter. Pour popcorn in a larger roaster. (I fill the roaster with popcorn, rather than measuring out the exact quarts.)

Boil all ingredients in saucepan except popcorn and baking soda for 5 minutes, mixing well and stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add baking soda. Stir quickly. Pour caramel over popcorn, mixing well.

Place roaster with popcorn in 250 degree oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool. Store in a tightly closed container.

Simple Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies - No Mix! A simple & delicious homemade recipe for this fun fall treat.

It’s Fall which means cool weather (if you live up North), pumpkins (of course) and if you’re my husband, candy corn. I’ve never been a big fan of the actual candy corn candy so I decided to put my spin on it by making candy corn cookies. The original recipe came from Betty Crocker but I was disappointed to see it used a mix. I’m not a big fan of cookie mixes because I think homemade cookies always taste better. So, I went to my stand-by Texas Sugar Cookie recipe and adapted it to make these cookies.

This sugar cookie dough is the easiest cookie dough you will ever roll out. Even if you’re not rolling it out (like for these cookies), it still handles well and of course, tastes delicious. The nice thing about these cookies is that they become a slice and bake cookie, so you will end up with lots of mini candy corn cookies in no time at all. The other good thing? These cookies freeze great so you can make them ahead of time and serve them at any of your upcoming Fall parties! Here is the recipe.

Candy Corn Cookies


1 cup butter or margarine
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk


Cream butter and sugar in mixer. Add in eggs, vanilla and milk. Slowly add in baking powder and flour. Once you have this dough mixed, it’s time to make the candy corn cookies.

Divide the dough into three equal-ish piles. Just do your best to make it even! Leave one bowl as is. Using food coloring, dye one bowl yellow and the remaining bowl orange.

Line a bread pan with seran wrap. On the bottle of the pan, evenly press the white dough. Next, layer on the orange dough with the yellow dough on top. Fold the remaining seran wrap over the top and refrigerate the dough for 3 to 4 hours.

When the dough is firm, remove it from the refrigerator and cut the dough into slices (like bread). Then, using a knife, cut the dough into small triangles, alternating angles of cut. You can view all the steps below.

4 Simple Steps to Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

Careful place candy corn cookies onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool on a baking rack. Enjoy your candy corn!

Sally’s Baking Addiction Links

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I have a theme to my links today because I’d like to introduce you to someone. Everyone, I’d like you to meet Sally of Sally’s Baking Addiction. Sally, meet everyone! I stumbled across Sally via one of her recipes on Pinterest and one recipe quickly lead to another and another and another. Since I have so many of her recipes on my to make list, I thought I’d share a couple that are on my current list.

Starting with breakfast, I want to try this chocolate peanut butter lover’s granola. It looks delicious for breakfast – or a snack! I also want to try making Sally’s raspberry swirl sweet rolls. What a fun twist on a cinnamon roll!

I’d eat this cinnamon-swirl chocolate chip bread for breakfast or at anytime. Yum! I’m also curious to try her sky high apple pie muffins. She has lots of delicious looking muffin recipes but this one is at the top of my list. Plus, these are made with greek yogurt and applesauce which really makes them a healthier muffin treat!

Now, onto delicious looking desserts. The gorgeous pictures Sally takes of her desserts will instantly entice you to make countless of these recipes. Here are some of the desserts I want to make.

Peanut butter stuffed brownies. Need I say anything more? S’mores brownie pie looks like a fun twist on a classic s’more.

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are going on my fall baking list. I love pumpkin chocolate chip muffins so am excited to find a cookie recipe for the same flavors!

Fluffernutter cake intrigues me since it’s a combination of peanut butter and marshmallows. I’ll probably make cookie dough lovers ice cream pie first because cookie dough is another one of my favorites.

Although Sally  is known (at least to me) for her desserts, she does have other recipes – main dishes and healthy ones, too.

I want to try her honey bbq chicken fingers that are actually marinated in bbq sauce. Why have I never thought of that as a marinade before? I’m going to try her crustless 110 calorie quiche with some of our garden goodies. The quiche recipe is for me, but the cheesy garlic breadsticks for me and my husband!

You see why I needed an entire links devoted to Sally? I might have to do this with a couple of my other favorite blogs soon. For now, go check out Sally’s Baking Addiction. It’s great cooking inspiration!

More New Recipe Links

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Yes, I’m back with more recipe links because I’ve discovered lots more that I want to try. I simply can’t help myself! Don’t these look delicious?

Edie shared her recipe for best ever blueberry cake with lemon glaze. Since it’s blueberry season, it’s the perfect time to bake this.  I also want to try making chocolate covered blueberries.

Ree showed how she makes her own veggie cream cheese. Yes, it takes more work but you can easily customize it to your taste.

Jen reminded me of one of my Mom’s recipes with this no-bake chocolate eclair cake. What a perfect summer treat!

Ruth made a 5 minute ice cream cake which is another great summertime dessert.

Adriane shared her recipe for rhubarb cherry crisp. I don’t think I’ve ever had this rhubarb combination but it looks delicious!

Brenda made her take on rhubarb with her recipe for grilled angel food cake with rhubarb sauce. Another winner, I think!

Lynette intigued me with her recipe for juice pie. Yes, the frugal filling comes from juice.

Now, the ever important question. Which one shall I try making first?

5 Ingredient Cake Mix Cookies

5 ingredient cake mix cookies that can be made with any variety of cake mix. So simple yet so delicious!

I love to bake. It doesn’t matter the recipe because I’m willing to try most. Sometimes, the simplest is still the best. Growing up, we made our traditional chocolate chip cookies but we also made cake mix chocolate chip cookies.

These cake mix cookies are so simple and require only 5 ingredients. There is no mixer required because it is easy to mix these cookies in a single bowl with a wooden spoon. Less dishes after baking is always nice! These cookies also are soft and almost gooey. It’s a nice twist on an ordinary chocolate chip cookie.

This cake mix cookie recipe called for a yellow cake mix with chocolate chips. A couple weeks ago, I decided to put a twist on it and make the same recipe with a chocolate cake mix and peanut butter chips. It was a revelation! Why have I never thought of this before? There are so many possibilities for this simple recipe now. How about a spice cake cookie with white chocolate chips? Or a devil’s food cookie with butterscotch chips? The only thing you have to do is get adventurous and use a different cake mix and / or add-in.

Here’s the recipe so you can get mixing and matching in your kitchen with this recipe. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

5 Ingredient Cake Mix Cookies


1 package cake mix (traditionally yellow but any variety can be used)
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Soften margarine in a glass bowl. Stir in cake mix, eggs and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Add in chocolate chips.

Drop dough by teaspoon (or cookie scoop) on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Cookies will be soft. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies, if using a Pampered Chef medium cookie scoop.

There you have it! A simple 5 ingredient cookie recipe that your family is sure to enjoy. The flavor possibilities are as numerous as your imagination. I’d love to hear what combinations you try!

Ice Cream Links I Love

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Summer is here at last and that makes me think of ice cream. This is the time of year when I think having an ice cream maker would be fun. However, I’d probably eat too much ice cream for my own good! That said, I have been accumulating quite a few homemade ice cream recipes – all that do NOT require an ice cream maker. I want to give some of these a try this summer.

I’ve already made frozen chocolate chip yogurt. This recipe is so simple – and so delicious! Andy enjoys this recipe, too. This recipe tastes just as good before it is frozen, so good luck waiting to eat this one!

Budget Savy Diva shared her recipe for easy homemade vanilla ice cream. With only three ingredients (and one of them sweetened condensed milk), this recipe looks very easy.

This must be a good recipe because Kevin & Amanda share the same simple recipe. Then, they suggest lots of add-ins to make varieties such as cinnamon bun ice cream. Knowing this is a basic recipe gives me a lot of ideas to make different ice creams!

Not Your Momma’s Cookie shared her take with “no machine” monster cookie dough ice cream. With this one, you mix up the cookie dough mixture first before stirring it into the ice cream. Yum!

Eagle Brand has several ice cream recipes on their site. The mint chocolate chip ice cream is the first one I want to try. I think I’ve actually made a similar recipe from Taste of Home.

If you want to see more, you can view all the other ice cream recipes I want to try on my Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker Pinterest Board.

Mac & Cheese Links To Try

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Lately, I’ve found myself craving macaroni and cheese. Like so many others, I grew up with the blue box Kraft mac and cheese. It’s still nice on occasion, but I now feel like there must be a good homemade alternative. Do you know how many different variations there are for mac and cheese? I don’t know how to decide which one is best other than to try them all! Here are some of the recipes on my list.

Of course, I should start with the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Macaroni and Cheese. Ree has yet to steer me wrong on recipes so this seems like a good place to start. Plus, it seems pretty basic.

The Lovely Little Kitchen shared her version of Mac and Cheese that is created with a combination of colby and sharp cheddar cheese. I made this one already when my friend, Allison, came over for a visit. I didn’t top it with bread crumbs but it was still good.

Mandi’s recipe at Life…Your Way is unique because it calls for the addition of cream cheese. I want to try her Creamy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese because cream cheese in anything is delicious!

Shugary Sweets shared a Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese recipe that sounds delicious. It has cream and white cheddar, which sets it apart from the other recipes. I actually have never tried the Mac and Cheese at Panera but this recipe intrigues me.

I have tried Beecher’s famous Mac and Cheese in Seattle and Martha Steward shares the actual recipe with the World’s Best Mac and Cheese. This recipe does require a separate step of making a cheese sauce, but if it tastes as good as the mac and cheese we ate in Seattle, it will be worth it!

Savory Reviews shared a recipe that is supposed to be similar to the Noodles and Company Wisconsin Mac and Cheese. Again, I’ve never tried it but I like the idea of a cheese sauce with noodles and more cheese piled on it.

Have you tried any of these mac and cheese recipes? Or do you have another one I should try? Any secrets for making a good homemade mac and cheese?  I’m determined to do it! I’ve printed off all the recipes so now I just need to start trying them. I’ll let you know which recipe wins, once I’ve tried them all, that is!

Peanut Butter Links I Love

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Ah, peanut butter. Is there anything more ideal than the combination of chocolate and peanut butter? I’ve always liked peanut butter – but when paired with chocolate, I really like peanut butter! Buckeyes are proof that peanut butter and chocolate are meant to be together. Recently, I’ve discovered quite a few more peanut butter (and chocolate) recipes that I want to try. I don’t know if they’ll be as good as buckeyes (or buckeye cake) but I’d like to give them a try.

This was the recipe that started my thinking of these delicious pairings. Cathy of Lemon Tree Dwelling shared her recipe for Cookie Dough-Stuffed Peanut Butter Fudge. Yum! I love cookie dough and I love peanut butter fudge. What an novel pairing for this decadent dessert!

Lindsay of Life, Love and Sugar shared her recipe for Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownie Layer Cake. I’m not really a cake fan, but since the cake is more like a brownie, I could – and would – make an exception.

The Food Fanatic shared a simpler recipe for Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies. It’s simpler than the recipe above, but still looks quite tasty. I like the idea of a frosting on my brownie, too.

The Sweet and Crunchy Blog shared a recipe for Layered Peanut Butter Brittle Ice Cream Pops. No special molds required as they are made in simple paper cups. These look delicious for summer!

Crunchy Creamy Sweet shared a recipe for Skinny Peanut Butter Cup Dip. It’s only 4 ingredients – and uses Greek yogurt to lighten it up. Hmm. Next time I buy Greek yogurt, I’m going to give this dip a try.

Finally, Sally of Sally’s Baking Addiction shared her recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Lover’s Granola. There are only 7 ingredients needed for this recipe, too. If you haven’t visited Sally’s blog before, do! It’s the most delicious baking blog ever.

If you don’t like peanut butter, my apologies! For those of you who share my love of peanut butter, which recipe would you like to try first?

My 5 Favorite Freezer Meals

My 5 Favorite Freezer Meals

It’s so lovely to have a freezer full of meals for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking. Since I’m at home on maternity leave with the baby, it’s been especially nice to rely on frozen meals so I can focus on the baby without worrying about what’s for dinner. I’m such a believer in freezer cooking that I spent an entire month focusing on 31 Days of Freezer Cooking where I shared some of my favorites. Today, I want to revisit that series and share my five favorite freezer meals with you.

Baked Oatmeal

For breakfast, I love having baked oatmeal in the freezer. This recipe can be cooked in a pan but I prefer to make it muffin tins so I can remove one or two for breakfast. I microwave them for 30 seconds and I have a filling breakfast almost faster than I can pour a bowl of cereal.

Best Ever Homemade Crescent Rolls - Joyfully Thriving

These homemade crescent rolls are simple to make and a great bread to serve at any meal. I like to make a double batch before storing them in the freezer. Once again, you can remove as many as you like and reheat them in the oven. If you’re intimidated by the thought of baking bread, don’t be! This is a simple recipe with which to start.

Poppy Seed Chicken - Joyfully Thriving

Poppy seed chicken is a delicious recipe to serve for your family or for company. I dice the chicken ahead of time which makes it even easier to prepare. Then, I can quickly pull a pan of poppy seed chicken out of the freezer and bake it while the rice is cooking. Yum! I do love poppy seed chicken.

A basic meatball recipe for your freezer cooking - Lots of flexibility for future recipes with this one!

This recipe for basic freezer meatballs is adaptable to so many different recipes which is why I like to keep a batch of cooked meatballs in my freezer. If the meatballs are already cooked, two of my favorite meals to use them in are meatball sandwiches or sweet and sour meatballs. You can add the meatballs to spaghetti or make appetizers out of them, too. There are so many uses for a basic meatball!

Apple Pie Kits for the Freezer - Joyfully Thriving

Finally, every Fall I stock my freezer with apple pie kits. I make the crusts ahead of time as well as diced, seasoned apple filling and the crumb topping. When we have the craving for an apple pie, I can have one in the oven within 5 minutes. I love making a homemade pie so quickly!

Those are my top 5 favorite freezer meals…so far! I’m always adding new ones to my freezer and list. Do you have a favorite freezer meal?

Green Themed Food Ideas for St. Patrick’s Day

Green Themed Foods for Saint Patrick's Day

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Growing up, we did – because it is also my Mom’s birthday. When I took over cooking for her on that day, I tried to serve some green foods. Like I shared with the red and pink foods for Valentine’s Day, serving green foods for St. Patrick’s Day is a simple way to make an ordinary meal special.

Here are some ideas for basic foods that you could serve for green meals on St. Patrick’s Day. There are lots of healthy choices for this holiday!

  • Celery
  • Green peppers
  • Lettuce salad
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Kiwi
  • Granny Smith apples
  • Avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Green grapes
  • Pesto
  • Pistachio pudding
  • Mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • Lime sherbet
  • Key lime pie
  • Lime jello
  • Limeade

Finally, don’t forget the power of green food coloring! You add food dye to scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs or almost anything you can think of to create a festive meal. Do you have any ideas to add to this list of green foods for St. Patrick’s Day? Oh, and happy birthday Mom!

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