Monday, September 26, 2011

Autumn Time with Honey

My autumn honey display in our store
Autumn is officially here.  And it has been unofficially here for some time with the rain, wind and coolness we've had the past week or so. 

Honey lends itself so well to autumn cooking.  I can not wait to put a ham in the oven, covered with honey and orange juice (usually 1 cup of each).  Along with that ham, I'll probably make some potato salad. You may be thinking that potato salad sounds like a summer time picnic item, but this potato salad is a cooked recipe, which can be served warm. And we had some of the absolute best potatoes from our garden this year.  Yum.

Honey Dill Potato Salad
1 1/2 lb boiled small red potatoes
4 strips bacon
1 med onion, chopped
6 T honey
6 T apple cider vinegar
1/2 t cornstarch
1/2 t water
2 T fresh dill or 1 T dried

Cook bacon until crisp, remove bacon, adding onions to bacon drippings, cooking until soft.  Add honey and vinegar to pan, bring to boil.  Blend cornstarch with water, stir into honey mixture.  Cook until thick, stir in crumbled bacon and dill.  Cut cooked potatoes into bite size pieces, combine with dressing.  

Remember, adding honey to any hot drinks is great whether it be coffee, tea, or mulled ciders.

I am sad summer is gone, I had so much more to do this year, but am looking forward to the upcoming holidays and spending more time with the family. I hope your fall is "sweet" too!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Popcorn Balls and Party Mix with Honey

Christian at the Children's Garden at Morton Arboretum (Chicago)
We had the pleasure this past week of being invited to speak at the Honey Bee Festival at the Morton Arboretum in the Chicago area and while there, we passed a booth where they were selling popcorn balls.

Popcorn balls! I always think of this time of year when I think of popcorn balls because that seemed to be the one thing that as kids we hated to get when we went trick-or-treating! We always wanted some of those miniature chocolate or snickers bars or a peanut butter cup! Do you remember?  Now that I'm older I realize whoever was giving out those popcorn balls had spent a lot of time making those and thinking they were doing us a favor by giving us something a little bit healthier, and was probably being frugal in the process, something I heartily endorse.

Popcorn Balls with Honey
3/4 c sugar
1 t salt
1/2 c water
3/4 c honey
3 quarts of popcorn

Cook sugar, salt and water to very brittle candy stage of 300 degrees F.  Add the honey slowly stirring all the while until blended.  Cook again until thermometer reads 240 degrees F.  Pour mixture over popcorn and form into balls.  Add nuts, or candy bits as desired. 

We had a birthday cake and ice cream all set for Christian this week for his 4th birthday, but then he got really sick and so we had to skip it to a later time, but meanwhile my family enjoyed eating the party mix I had set out. 

Honey Party Mix (adapted from Carol Kuehl)

1/2 c butter
1/4 c brown sugar
1 c honey
1 gallon mixed cereal (such as chex, crispex)
2 c mixed nuts

Bring to boil butter, brown sugar and honey. Pour over cereal and nuts, stir.  Bake at 225 degrees until dry, about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Let sit to finish drying and break apart into bite size pieces.  Keep sealed in bowl with tight lid. 

I believe in celebrations!  Life is hard sometimes, really tough, and I think one way to get through the difficult things is to celebrate as often as possible, even if you have to make a celebration up.  One of my favorite quotes is "stop worrying about the potholes in life and just celebrate the journey!"