My Favorite things Recap

Monday, December 31, 2012

A few days ago, I got my package from my gift swap partner for the "Favorite Things Gift Swap!"

As AG and I unwrapped each of the goodies he kept saying things like "are you sure you didn't tell her what to get you?" because it was perfect for me. I looved the package! THANK YOU!

Here's what I got:

1.  Jet-Puffed Holiday Mallows (Kraft) - Marshmallows are one of my favorite treats too!  I always have a pack in the house, also I can't resist making roasted marshmallows whenever we build a fire.  S'mores are great, but really just the roasted marshmallow part is my thing.   I can't wait to roast these on the fire and see what happens to the green trees and red stars!

2.  Essie Snap Happy nail polish - What a great color!  I have a lot of nail polish already (I'm partial to Essie too), but luckily not this one yet.  I can't wait to try it out (when I'm over my current sparkle for the holidays week).

3.  Burt's Bees Refreshing Lip Balm with Pink Grapefruit - I always need some good lip balm, especially during cold dry northeast winters.  AND mmm grapefruit!

4.  Thank You notes - Can never have too many of these!  And I know who will be getting the first one ;)

5.  Fresh Balsam  Candle - ahh smells like winter

Here's what I gifted:

1.  You may recall my Misto obsession from this post, she got one of these.

2.  Catch Phrase - a great game to play to liven up any gathering.  I first played at a friend's BBQ and my family had a blast playing this between dinner and dessert at Thanksgiving this year.

3.  Some of my homemade Caramel Popcorn from this post.

I Shariously loved my gift and can't wait to participate again next year.

Caramel Popcorn (Recipe Monday)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Caramel covered popcorn has always been a holiday favorite of mine.  Last year I decided to look up a recipe (derived from to make and it turned out to be super easy!  Such was born my go-to holiday treat to gift or bring to  friends' holiday parties.

6 Quarts Plain (no butter) popped popcorn
1/2 Cup Butter
1/4 Cup Corn Syrup
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Kosher Salt


1.  Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees
2.  Melt butter over medium heat
3.  Add brown sugar and corn syrup mixing util the mixture boils
4.  Continue to boil 4 minutes without any stirring
5.  Remove from heat and add baking soda and vanilla - the mixture will start to puff up like the picture below.
Mixture after adding baking soda
6.  Toss mixture with popcorn and place in baking pan. Top with Kosher Salt for the "salted caramel effect."

Popcorn in pan
7.  Bake for 1 hour, tossing every 20 minutes.

This weekend, I decided to try something new - I melted white and dark chocolate and drizzled it lightly over the popcorn when it was out of the oven for a chocolate covered caramel covered popcorn.  The original recipe calls for twice the ratio of caramel to popcorn, but the general consensus is that the caramel covering is just the right amount! 

The final product!
Shariously delicious Caramel Popcorn!

Blueberry Cranberry Sauce (Recipe Monday)

Monday, December 10, 2012

The second of my Thanksgiving Recipes comes from all-recipes, but I wanted to share because this was definitely my kind of cranberry sauce! I kept saying that this dish "smells like fall." I love sweet and sour combinations and this recipe is exactly that.  Because it uses half as much sugar as regular cranberry sauce it comes out nice and tart.  I might even consider using less sugar because I really enjoy the tartness.  The recipe is below and the only change I made was that i didn't "mash" up the cranberries and blueberries as much as the original recipe calls for.

Blueberry Cranberry Sauce


1 Package fresh cranberries (12 oz)
1 c Water
1/2 c Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Ground Allspice
1 pint Fresh Blueberries


  1. Wash cranberries and remove any stems.
  2. Place cranberries, water and sugar in medium saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat, stir and simmer for about 10 minutes until cranberries burst.
  3. Mix-in cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and blueberries.
  4. Transfer to bowl, let cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Try this Shariously easy variation of your basic cranberry sauce.

Favorite Things Swap

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I recently found out about the My Favorite Things Swap sponsored by Christina Izlar.

Basically - you sign up to get partnered with someone else with whom you swap 2 "favorite thing" gifts totaling $25-$50.  I think it's a great idea so I signed up. 

If you want  to sign up too, email by Friday December 7, 2012 with the info: 

  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Blog / Twitter
  • Mailing Address

And for all the details, check out her Blog Christina Izlar

Mashed Sweet Potatoe (Recipe Monday)

Monday, December 3, 2012

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  As I promised, I will be sharing some of my Thanksgiving recipes with you starting now.  First up is my all-time favorite, Mashed Sweet Potatoes (sometimes referred to as Sweet Potato Casserole).  Starting about 10 years ago I tried to find the perfect recipe to use, but after never finding exactly what I wanted in a recipe I developed my own using things I like from a variety of others.  A traditional Sweet Potato Casserole has eggs which doesn't fit in with my prep the night before but cook the day of approach and most mashed recipes are just that, mashed sweet potatoes and not much to be added.

Mashed Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients (Serves 8-12): 

8 Sweet Potatoes
1/2 c Margarine
1/2 c Orange Juice (the secret ingredient)
1/2 c Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 c Marshmallows (optional)


  1. There are 2 ways to prepare the sweet potatoes, the quicker easier way and the slightly better tasting, less easy way. Here's how respectively:
    1. Place potatoes in large pot, cover with water, bring to a boil and then boil for 20-30 min until soft OR 
    2. Place potatoes on a baking sheet in oven set to 425 degrees and bake for 75 minutes.
  2. Remove skins from potatoes and place in large bowl.  If you boil the potatoes the skins will slid right off.
  3. Add margarine, OJ, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon to bowl with potatoes.
  4. Mash mixture with fork or masher
  5. Transfer mixture to baking pan and cook in oven at 350 degrees for 1 hr prior to serving.  
  6. Optional - with 15 minutes left in the oven add marshmallows to top of sweet potatoes (sometimes I put on half of the dish since some people don't like the marshmallows).  In the picture above, I also added a cornflake/brown sugar mixture for a crunchy topping.  This Thanksgiving it was just served straight up in a serving bowl like this:
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
If you enjoy sweet potatoes you Shariously have to try this recipe!