Be My Valentine Snack Mix

Since my son began a traditional daycare in August (versus an in-home daycare), I’ve been quickly introduced to the world of daycare parties. Daycare parties require treats and not just any treat; the foods must be appealing to the very young and often toothless crowd. Add in the pressure of living in a Pinterest world and it can be quite stressful.

For Valentine’s Day, I was pretty set on cupcakes since I already had Valentine cupcake liners left over from years past. However, I was late to signing up and cupcakes were already spoken for. After searching the web, I settled on a Valentine Snack Mix. There were lots of options and out there and I ultimately chose one that used popcorn as the base because my son LOVES popcorn (as do I). I omitted the nuts because so many kids have nut allergies these days.

Coating popcorn with candy coating is not something I’d ever considered doing. But it turned out really good. Another mom made a similar mix with plain puffcorn rather than popcorn. If you’re not acquainted, puffcorn is not corn at all, it’s basically a puffy Cheeto shaped like popcorn. The plain variety is basically a Cheeto with no cheese. I sampled my son’s treat bag of it and found it tasty.

I also used Goldfish pretzels instead of regular pretzels because, well, toddlers…Goldfish…you know.

  Valentine Snack Mix

5 to 6 cups of plain popcorn (I used Orville Redenbacher’s Naturals as it seemed it would be the plainest)

1 tray of white candy coating (such as Candiquick) or almond bark

Valentine Nonpareils (fancy word for sprinkles, who knew?)

1 package of Pretzel Goldfish

1 bag of Valentine M&M Candies

 

Prepare popcorn according to package directions. I found that one bag yielded the 5 to 6 cups that I needed. I poured my popcorn out into a glass measuring bowl to measure it then placed it one handful at a time into a larger bowl. I did this so I could be sure to pick out any unpopped kernels that might irritate little teeth.

Next, melt candy coating/bark as directed on package. Once it’s melted, pour over popcorn and mix very gently. Too aggressive with the spoon and the popcorn will break! Spread the coated popcorn on a sheet of wax paper and sprinkle with the nonpareils. In hindsight, I would also add some M&M candies at this stage because they sort of fell to the bottom of the mix.

  Let the candy coating cool and set which takes about 15 minutes. Break apart the popcorn and mix in your candy and pretzel Goldfish. Store in airtight container. Can be divided out into gift bags for maximum cuteness.

Thanks Home is Where the Boat Is for the Pin-spiration!

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Dreamsicle Fudge

Recipes like this one are part of the reason I started this blog. One day I mentioned in passing that my husband loved Dreamsicle fudge. A beloved co-worker and friend said “Well honey, you should make him some. I’ve got a great recipe!” Now, me and candy making aren’t exactly friends. I find it very intimidating. But this recipe WAS easy. And the best part is that it came handwritten to me on an actual paper recipe card.

I love those handwritten recipes. My mom has a treasure trove of them. And one reason that I started this blog was to try to preserve some of them.

The recipe calls for orange chips. I used orange candy melts that I found at a craft/hobby store.

 

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Dreamsicle Fudge

3 1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 1/2 sticks butter

12 oz orange candy melts

7 oz marshmallow cream

1 tablespoon orange flavoring

Boil sugar, cream, and butter for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; beat in candy melts, marshmallow cream and flavoring. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Cool before cutting.

 

Peanut Butter Fudge

Here in Kentucky, we really don’t need a holiday in order to appreciate some good fudge. There are two-count ’em two-fudge shops open year around in the town where I live. However, most people I know do wait until Christmas time to start making fudge.

This is my mother-in-law’s recipe. She makes different types of fudge each year and I always wipe out the peanut butter fudge. I had never tried making it and I’m not sure why because this recipe is super easy.

I had a minor setback when I could not find my 8×8 square pan. Since the peanut butter fudge train had already left the station, I used a round 9 inch cake pan. No harm done.

Peanut Butter Fudge

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You’ll need:

2 sticks of butter

1 cup of peanut butter ( I prefer Creamy Jif)

4 cups of confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

First, line an 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan with aluminum foil leaving a bit of foil hanging over to help lift the fudge out. You’ll thank me later.

Next, sift your confectioners sugar into a medium sized bowl. You don’t have to have a sifter; just use a metal strainer like I do. This will get the lumps out of your sugar and make stirring much smoother.

Then, melt your butter and peanut butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. I like to give the butter about a one minute head start before adding the peanut butter. (Of course, you can do this in the microwave if you prefer). Once the butter starts to melt, reduce the heat so that it doesn’t scorch.

Add your nice smooth butter-peanut butter mixture to the sugar. Now is the time to add your vanilla as well.

Stir it all up until combined. It will start to look and smell like fudge. Press it down evenly into your prepared pan. It may have a slightly glossy or greasy look. That is ok.

Refrigerate for 4 hours until the fuge is set. Lift it out of the pan using your foil over hang and cut into squares. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.