Project Food Blog Challenge #4: Snacks for the Strangers in our House

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If you’ve learned anything about Neil and I by reading our blog or following our entries in Project Food Blog, you know that while we may be complete newbs, we never shy away from an opportunity to do something we’ve never done before. Like Project Food Blog. But we’ll be honest, we were caught off guard when we found out we had made it to the fourth round. Don’t get us wrong, our lunch party was pretty sweet, and although you guys didn’t get to have any, it tasted great too. But there were some amazing entries and we figured that Challenge 3 would be our last hurrah. But we made it, and we’re so humbled and amazed at the love and support we’ve received from people we didn’t think where reading.

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This weekend presented another opportunity to do things we’ve never done before. One, we let complete strangers into our house to film a move we’ve been assured is not a porn, and two, we made homemade popcorn balls. Yes, things really are that random around here all the time. And I really did make them promise that it wasn’t a porn. They were here all weekend filming, and because we live in a tiny house that was built in 1956 (the reason they wanted to use it), we’ve blown tons of fuses, uncovered nests of spiders, and found a snake trying to slither its way into our basement. We might as well open a haunted house while we’re at it. I’m surprised the neighbors haven’t reported us for all the stadium lighting circling our front yard. It’s been crazy, but we’ve learned a lot, and who else can say they’ve done this? They’re shooting the whole movie with an uber DSLR! It was completely worth it, even if I’ve had to spend more than a few hours wrangling Clive and the cats.

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To celebrate the film we’ve been assured is not porn and the fact that Halloween is right around the corner, we decided to make Homemade Popcorn Balls. They are so easy, and they made for a delicious and easy snack for the cast and crew to nom on in between takes.

Ingredients:

High-quality popping corn seed, you will need 6-8 cups of popped popcorn (we managed to find both a local and organic variety!)
vegetable oil
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter or margerine
6-8 cups of “Goodies.” Whatever you like best. You can use many types of Halloween candy, nuts, trail mixes, or dried fruit. If you use chocolate, we recommend freezing it before using.

Directions:

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1. Line the bottom of a medium pot with vegetable oil, around 3-4 tablespoons, depending on the size of your pot. A heavy-bottomed pot is preferred, but any will work. Heat the oil on medium high heat.

2. Once the oil starts to pop, add a single-layer of popcorn to the bottom of the pan and cover with the lid. Gently shake by moving the pot slowly back and forth over the burner to cook kernels evenly. As the kernels begin to pop it may become necessary to place your hand lightly on the lid of the pot to hold it in place.

3. When the popping slows to around 3-5 second intervals, remove from heat, remove lid and transfer to a large bowl.

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5. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook over high heat until mixture reaches 255 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Stir in vanilla.

6. Pour mixture over popcorn evenly, and continue tossing with buttered hands (or gloves, it’s hot like magma) until thoroughly coated.

7. Add candy, nuts, or dried fruit and distribute them evenly in the popcorn.

8. Press into 3 or 4-inch balls and transfer onto wax paper or a non-stick surface  to cool.

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Eatch batch of popcorn will net you 6-8 popcorn balls, depending how many goodies you use and how big you make your balls. Try writing that sentence with a straight face. These were a lot of fun to make. I say that because I gleefully took the pictures while Neil sustained second-degree burns to his hands. They’ll go well with the scar from Libby biting him and refusing to let go when we tried to give her a bath.

After making these, we are so ready for Halloween, despite the fact we haven’t decided what our costumes are going to be. Halloween is always a big deal because one of our first dates was on Halloween. In the meantime, definitely give these a try! The more random the combinations, the more fun they are to make!

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Voting for Challenge 4 is happening now and the green link above to take you right to our entry. Thank you again for all your love support and let’s see if we can make it to Challenge 5!

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