Sunday, January 28, 2018

Caramel Popcorn Recipe

When the temperature drops and colder weather sets in this caramel popcorn recipe always comes to my mind. This recipe originally showed up in my phone bill probably back in the 70's and I have treasured it ever since.

I give it an 'Excellent' rating because it not only tastes great but is easy to make with common ingredients that I typically have on hand. The hardest part about making this is waiting for the hour cooking time and then allowing it to fully cool. But it's that hour in the oven and stirring it every 15 minutes that finalizes the hardening of the caramel syrup and gives the popcorn an even coating of deliciousness.

I cut the portions of the original recipe in half, so double it back up if you prefer that.
Start off with 3 quarts of popped popcorn, which is 1/2 c. of popcorn kernels. I prefer to use an air-popper but making it other ways is fine too. I pour the popcorn in my large lasagne pan, ungreased.
Next cook the syrup on the stove over medium heat. See recipe details below.

When the cook time is done this is what it will look like - sweet, crunchy goodness!

Caramel Popcorn
1/2 c. popcorn kernels, or 3 qts. popped popcorn
1 stick (1/2 c.) butter - I use salted butter
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Pour popped popcorn in a large shallow baking pan.

In a large saucepan, melt butter, then stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Then boil WITHOUT stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda and vanilla.

Gradually pour over popped popcorn and mix well. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Break apart and store in tightly covered container.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Winter Slipper Boots - FREE Crochet Pattern

Original free pattern Lucky Wanderer by DROPS Design. LINK Please visit their website for main pattern details of DROPS Extra 0-888. Below I detail the specifics of how I used the pattern.

This is a GREAT pattern! It works up fast and you will be wearing your beautiful warm slippers lickity cut! Here is a picture of the 1st pair I made.
I used Caron Pound for the yarn, Medium Grey Mix for the Cuff, Sole, Pom-Pom and Ties, and added Soft Grey Mix, holding the 2 strands together for the main body part of the slipper. I did use the L size hook, except as noted.

Because I was using different yarn then what the pattern called for, I did some adjusting to the pattern's largest size. However, after completing the boot, I realized it was way too large so I had to recalculate, tear out and start over.

Here are my changes and post project comments:
CUFF:Start with a tail long enough to seam the cuff, about 20". Work per pattern instructions for 27 rows.
SLIPPER: Using the 2 strands held together work 33 sc sts along one edge of cuff. Work per pattern instructions but make decreases at beginning, end and middle on rows 6, 8, and 10. I worked 12 total rows for the Slipper part.
SOLE / Bottom part of Slipper for Grey pair: I worked 6 rows per pattern instructions, then on last row (7) I made decreases at the beginning, end and also 1 decrease in the middle.
ASSEMBLY:Work as per pattern instructions.
POM-POM TIES: Using size I hook, ch 175. Pull the middle of the tie through a couple stitches about 1" above the Bottom part. Tie the pom-poms on each each and trim the excess yarn.

The single layer on the sole seemed to need beefing up. I wanted more warmth, cushion and durability. So I dug through my pattern notes and decided to make a separate sole to whip onto the bottom. This seemed to be very effective. But on my 2nd pair I will fine tune the process and make it a little better.

So here are my detailed instructions on how to make the sole for a size large (size 10-10.5 shoe size). I made the 2 Layer Sole - Option 2 with a size G hook:

1 Layer Sole: working from the center out. Rnd 1: ch 27. hdc in 3rd ch, hdc in same st, hdc in next 3 ch, sc in next 8, 5 hdc, dc in next 7 ch, work 5 dc in the end ch. Now work opposite side of ch – 7 dc, 5 hdc, 8 sc, 3 hdc, 2 hdc on beg. st of rnd. Join with sl st.

Rnd 2: ch 2, hdc in next st, 2 hdc in next 2 sts, 3 hdc, 7 sc, 5 hdc, 7 dc, 2 dc in next 5 sts, 7 dc, 5 hdc, 7 sc, 3 hdc, 2 hdc in next 2 sts, hdc in last st. Join.

Rnd 3: ch 2, hdc, 2 hdc in next 4 sts, 12 hdc, 12 dc, 2 dc in next 9 sts, 12 dc, 12 hdc, 2 hdc in next 3 sts. Join. Fasten off with a 3 1/2 yd. yarn tail.

2 Layer Sole – Option 1:
Make 2 separate layers following the directions for the 1 Layer Sole.

2 Layer Sole – Option 2:
Make 1 layer (outer sole) working only Rnds 1 & 2 of the 1 Layer Sole directions, fasten off. Make a 2nd layer(inner sole), but after working Rnd 2, match up the outer sole on top of the inner sole. Pull the last remaining loop of the inner sole through the outer sole. Continue with Rnd 3 working through the loops of both inner and outer soles.

3 Layer Sole: Make a 2 Layer Sole-Option 2 then make and a 1 Layer Sole. Connect them together when attaching to the top. The 2 Layer Sole will be between the Top part and the 1 Layer Sole bottom. Only leave a long yarn tail on the 1 Layer Sole.

To attach the sole to the boot, I first stuffed the bottom of the boot with plastic bags. Then I positioned the sole on the bottom, pinned it, hand basted it with large stitches, then hand whipped around the edges of the sole.
Next I was on to make my 2nd pair (one isn't enough with this pattern, trust me!) using Caron Pound Lace (beige color) for the Cuff, Sole / Bottom Part, Pom-Poms and Ties; then changing to White and Off White for the Slipper main body.

I followed the changes I detailed above until I got to the Sole / Bottom part of the slipper. On this version I worked only 4 rows with Lace color, then fastened off. Then I worked the 3 Layer Sole detailed above. The stitches on the boot were nearly twice the size of the stitches on the sole. In counting there were 48 stitches on the boot and 82 stitches on the sole. That meant I would be working almost every other stitch on the sole, matched to every stitch on the boot.

I positioned the sole(s) on the boot and tied a marker yarn at the center toe to be sure that location lined up properly. Here is the detailed instructions for attaching the piece:

Attaching sole to top:
Take your time on this step and be sure you are catching in all layers with each stitch made! Your sts should be snug but not so tight as to hide the middle layer.
Working from outside of slipper and using size G hook
Match top to sole with sole facing you.
The yarn tail should be close to the center back of the heel.
Pull yarn tail through to the slipper top side.
(Insert hook from sole through top, YO and pull through; move to next st), rep.(), making sl sts around the complete edge of the sole. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Tags: #dropsdesign #crochet #freecrochetpattern #crochetslippers

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