Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Salted Caramel Corn

I've had a few people ask me for this recipe recently, so I thought I'd share it. It's Matt's favorite treat and since I usually only make it in the fall, we've been having it a lot lately. This recipe was given to me by my good friend Jannet, baker of all things sweet and delicious. It is hands down the best caramel corn I've ever had and is severely addictive! Be prepared to inhale the entire bowl. In fact, it's probably best if you divide up servings so you don't find yourself protectively shielding your guests' hands from the bowl during a movie night at your house and then get talked to by your husband about sharing. Er, just a suggestion...
You will need:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 quarts popped popcorn
1 large brown grocery bag

While your popcorn is popping, combine the sugar, butter and corn syrup in a glass bowl for the microwave or a sauce pan on the stove top. (I usually don't have corn syrup on hand and often make it without it. It still comes out delicious, but doesn't thin out the caramel as well.)

Heat the sugar, butter and corn syrup until it boils for two minutes (around 4 minutes total in the microwave).
Stir in the vanilla and baking soda. 
Pour the mixture over the popcorn in a clean, brown grocery bag.
Fold the top down and shake it around.
Microwave the bag for a total of 3 minutes, shaking and turning over every 40 seconds.
Sprinkle sea salt over the popcorn and enjoy!

Although it seems weird to microwave the caramel corn, this step helps it spread evenly over all the popcorn. You can skip this step if you don't have a microwave, but it will be a bit chewy instead of crunchy.

This is the perfect snack to enjoy while waiting for trick or treaters! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Beloved.

It's barely 8 o'clock in the morning as I write this, and there's already dishes in the sink, wrapping paper on the floor and the faint scent of cinnamon from our pumpkin pancakes this morning. Today is Matt's 28th birthday and I can't help but reflect on the amazing man I get to celebrate. Here are just a few reasons why...

28 things I love about Matt:

1. That incredible smile. It makes me melt.
2. His love for food.
3. How sweet and wonderful he is to his family.
4. His incredible work ethic.
5. His alter ego that makes an appearance during football games.
6. His incredible knowledge of the Bible.
7. The way his southern accent comes out when he says "everybody".
8. His amazing cooking skills!
9. The way he winks at me when we're across the room from each other.
10. His fantastic book collection that I married into.
11. The way my name looks in his handwriting.
12. How much he loves dogs!
13. The way he says "yes m'am" to everyone when we're back south.
14. How he patiently re-watches the endings of movies with me when I (without fail) fall asleep during them. (Seriously, every time! He is so sweet.)
15. What a great and loyal friend he is.
16. His personal style and industrial taste.
17. How responsible and mindful he is! He does an amazing job of taking care of me and anticipating our needs.
18. What a well-rounded man he is, I swear he is good at everything he tries!
19. How good he is at planning spontaneous, thoughtful dates for us.
20. What a perfectionist he is! Things get done right around here.
21. How great he is with kids. I swear there is never a crying child if he's around! Baby whisperer. That will come in handy.
22. His great head of hair.
23. What an honest person he is.
24. His beautiful blue eyes. They give away his every emotion!
25. His die-hard loyalty to Alabama Football! (Roll tide)
26. How patient he is with all my craft and DIY ideas, especially the ones I leave half-finished around the house.
27. The amazing shape of his mouth! (Sorry darling, I couldn't help myself!)
28. How completely unfazed he is by all my ridiculous tendencies. He takes everything I throw at him in stride!

I love you Matt! I'm so glad I get to be a part of your life everyday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DIY feather mask

So far, Matt and I don't have any big Halloween plans. But, since we just moved into a neighborhood full of families with little kids, I'm assuming we're going to have some trick or treaters this year! I needed something I could throw on really quickly every time the doorbell rang. (Because seriously, how much more fun is it to receive candy from people who are dressed up? Remember?)

We'll probably be marathoning "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and feasting on caramel corn, so I figured a mask would be the easiest thing. I picked up a simple, white mask and a bag of feathers all for under $5 at Michael's.

 I replaced the elastic strap with some soft, black ribbon. Next, I cut off the tips of a handful of feathers and starting at the tip of the mask, I hot glued them in layers.

 After doing both of the points near the eyes, I snipped up small black feathers and hot glued them in layers all over, trying to keep the feathers laying in the same direction. It looked like this before I trimmed it:

Using very small, sharp scissors, I shaped the mask by trimming away all the fluff from around the edges.

I'm probably going to wear this with a black, cotton dress and some red lipstick. And if anyone asks, I'll tell them I'm a bird for Halloween!
(Although this is a very simple and affordable alternative to the expensive department store costumes, it comes with a big price: chasing after small pieces of feather all over your house! Snip the feathers carefully.) 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Trip Home

This weekend Matt and I went up to Portland to help with the annual auction Visible Grace puts on each fall. We wanted to be there to help things run smoothly since it was the first year without my sister (the founder) there, and we had secret intentions of catching a peek of Portland in it's prime time. It didn't let us down. I was in awe of the exploding colors of the leaves and the crisp air. Unfortunately, it was such a quick trip that I barely had time to absorb it! Almost all of our time was dedicated to setting up for the auction so my morning was spent running around town buying glass vases and Honey Crisp apples. And sneaking in snuggles with my estranged cat, Charles Bukowski.

Kat, faithful to Visible Grace and to me, joined me for set up while the boys slipped off to go watch football. We raced home in time to slip on our dresses and snap a few prom pictures on my parents patio before heading back to the hotel for the auction. It was a surprisingly seamless weekend and a fantastic fundraiser. My good friends Rachael & Luke played music for the event, which meant I got to sneak in a visit with them as well! Besides that and a quick visit to meet Rose's sweet baby boy Bronson, we didn't get much time to ourselves. Sorry Portlanders! Come down here and visit me once the leaves fall off and you need some sunshine. 

Below are a few pictures I took on either my phone or Kat & Luke's camera. (Apparently I'm not as great of a packer as I thought I was, as the image of the battery charger plugged into the wall back home came to my mind while on the flight to Portland.)


If you're interested in learning more about Visible Grace or catching a few of the videos shown that night, you can visit their home page here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bits & Pieces of Autumn


Smiling sun flowers from the farmer's market,
tomatoes from the garden becoming pasta sauce,
lazy Saturdays filled with football,
stepping outside to catch the sunset,
and a Saturday spent downtown.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Matt and I have been sharing a four-drawer dresser over the last year, which has resulted in a perpetually over-flowing laundry basket of clothes on the floor. So, when my friend Stacey mentioned that she was throwing out her daughter's changing table, I was thrilled to take it off her hands and give it a quick make over. After scrubbing out the drawers, touching up the paint, distressing a little here & there and replacing some knobs, I nestled my new dresser next to our closet and cleaned out that basket of clothes for good.

The dresser was missing a few of the white knobs, so I moved them around and picked up those bronze birdies at World Market for a few dollars a piece. To display jewelery & hair pieces, I'm using our wooden dessert tier. (Of course, I couldn't resist putting a few decorative touches on Matt's while I was at it....)

I finally got motivated to unpack and organize my craft stuff! For the past two months, everything has been in tubs stacked on top of that counter or spread out on the floor after I would rummage around to make something (which by the way, is the entry way to the back door, not a very convenient place to make a mess...). Now, thanks to a little help from IKEA and Martha Stewart, everything is tucked away into a compartment, basket or file. I hardly even recognize my own things!

That's a little peek of what we've been up to. We're heading up to Portland next weekend! I can't wait to see some changing leaves, visit family and get a little taste of true fall weather. (Speaking of fall, I shared a few style ideas over here today.)