Home Made Caramel Popcorn

I had a sweet tooth over the weekend and there was nothing sweet in the house (I got rid of all the temptations) so I decided to make a sweet, delicious snack that takes a couple minutes to put together. I raided my cupboard and found that I only had popcorn, so I decided to make caramel popcorn.

Step One:
Prepare the Caramel Sauce, here is the recipe:

Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon light-colored corn syrup (optional)
1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)

Methods

  • In a medium to large saucepan, add the sugar, water, corn syrup and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Allow the mixture to boil for 5 to 12 minutes until it turns caramel colored. Keep a watchful eye as sugar boils very quickly and can easily burn. Stir when necessary to prevent a built of crystallized sugar on the corners of the pan.
  • As soon as the sauce has turned caramel-colored, reduce the heat to low.
  • Very carefully and slowly, add the cream.  Be careful, the mixture will bubble.
  • Carefully add the vanilla and salt, to taste.  
  • Whisk until sauce is smooth and combined; allow it to boil for another minute, to allow the sauce to thicken.
  • Transfer sauce to glass jar or heat-safe. Allow sauce to cool uncovered to room temperature; sauce thickens considerably as it cools. If the sauce gets too thick, add warm water and mix thoroughly to thin it out.  
  • Sauce will keep airtight at room temp for about one month.  

Step Two:
Pop the corn. I use Goya Yellow Popcorn. You can use any popcorn you like or any plain microwave popcorn. 

Step Three:
Add Caramel Sauce to popcorn.   

Combine Popcorn with Caramel sauce

 

Step Four:
Enjoy!

My Visit to the Little Ochie Seafood Restaurant

There are many beautiful places in Jamaica that provides authentic Jamaican cuisine, but none does it better than the Little Ochie Seafood Restaurant. This restaurant is rustic and is as authentic as they come; it is nestled in a fishing community located in Alligator Pond which lies at the foot of the Don Figueroa Mountains located on the border of St. Elizabeth and Manchester.

The restaurant offers a wide variety of fish, lobster, crab, and just about anything that is edible from the sea. You choose what you want to eat from a wide variety of fresh seafood and the wonderful staff prepares it however you want, be it roasted, jerked, steamed or fried. Whichever you choose, you are guaranteed to have an edible orgasm.

When you go to the Little Ochie Seafood Restaurant, the food, as fabulous as it is, is only a small part of the package. The restaurant is on the beach and made up of several huts, most made from hulls of fishing boat and its roof made from coconut tree leaves. While sitting in your revamped boat, you are able to enjoy the fantastic view of the rough ocean, enjoying every tumble of the rough waves as it crashes against the shore. You see seagulls feeding in the ocean and the tireless fisher men selling their catch of the day. You are able to walk in the iron laced black sand and enjoy the magnificent view of crabs running in the sand, or the ruins of homes of people who once called the Alligator Pond shoreline home.

A visit to Little Ochie is a must for most Jamaicans, it is the ultimate hang out spot, ideal for dates, or just a cool place to lime on a Sunday evening.

If you ever visit Jamaica or is in Jamaica, and haven’t visited Little Ochie, you definitely must, it is a piece of Jamaica that you absolutely must experience.

 

Hope You Enjoyed 🙂

Jamaican Christmas Fruit Cake

There are many Jamaican Christmas traditions that I love, but one that I just can’t live without is the Jamaican Fruit Cake. This fruit cake is a dense cake filled with mixed fruits, currants and a lot of alcohol. I bake this fruit cake every year, when you smell this rich cake, you know it is Christmas.

This fruit cake is best served with Sorrel, it is a combination that is truly Jamaican. You however can serve it with Hot Cocoa, coffee, or any other beverage you desire.

This is a recipe is live and die by, it always produce excellent results. Go ahead, try it, it will become one of your Christmas traditions:

Ingredients

1 lb. Butter
3/4 lb. dark Sugar
10 Eggs
1 teaspoon Almond Essence
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Rose Water (Optional)
1 lb. Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 tablespoons Mixed Spice (NOT Allspice!)
2 tablespoons Cinnamon
Browning (Optional)
Sherry

Fruits

2 lbs. Raisins
1/2 lb. Prunes
1/2 lb. Dates
1 lb. Mixed Fruit
Red Wine to soak fruits
6 tablespoons Jamaican white rum

1/2 lb. Cherries – You can choose whether or not to soak the cherries. If you want the cherries to add color to your cake, do not soak, add at the time of baking.

Soak fruits in advance for as long as possible (up to a year) to give the cake more texture and body. But if you need it quickly, you can still get a nice cake the same day that it is soaked!

 Method

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Line the sides and bottom of two 9″ baking pans with a double layer of greaseproof paper and set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs 2 at the time creaming after each addition. After adding the eggs, you will have to move the butter, sugar and egg mixture to a larger bowl and prepare to manually do the balance of the recipe by hand.
  • Add vanilla and almond essence to the butter and sugar mixture.
  • If you use browning, pour a very small amount in mixture and stir. Note: Be very careful with browning! It makes your cake too dark!
  • Add baking powder, mixed spice and cinnamon to the flour.
  • Pour butter and egg mixture in a larger bowl.
  • Add flour mixture to butter mixture by folding it in.
  • Continuously add flour mixture to butter mixture.
  • Grind soaked fruits with a blender or food processor, add to flour/egg mixture and thoroughly fold it in.
  • Add cut-up cherries to mixture. Leave a few cherries for decorating top of cake.
  • Pour mixture in the 2 lined 9″ baking pans.
  • Bake in pre-heated oven until done. Use a knife to test readiness, etc. The knife should come out clean.
  • Stick cakes all over with a toothpick. Sprinkle sherry or wine over hot baked cakes.

This cake is very versatile, it can be iced with a simple vanilla icing, cream cheese icing or any other icing you desire.

 Hope you enjoyed  🙂

Delectable Snacks: Raspberry Oatmeal Squares

I love baking, I love the feeling I get creating something from scratch, I love seeing the faces of people when they eat something I made. I have a sweet tooth, I love anything sweet or chocolate-ty. I remember when I first saw the Raspberry Squares recipe, I fell in love instantly. It did exactly what I wanted it to, it is sweet, delicious and easy to make. It is like a spin-off of the Oatmeal cookie. You can make Raspberry Squares when you want something fun to eat, when you have a party, a picnic, for a Sunday evening snack or for when you want to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Want to create this amazingly delicious snack for yourself? Not to worry, I got you!..:

Ingredients

Oatmeal Base:
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter,room temperature
1 cup (205 grams) light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (165 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (180 grams) old fashioned rolled oats, divided

Filling:
1 cup (240 ml) raspberry jam or preserves (homemade or store bought)

Method

Raspberry Oatmeal Squares: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter (or use a non stick cooking spray) a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan.

Oatmeal Base: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix until well combined. Stir in 1 3/4 cups (155 grams) of the rolled oats. Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Spread the raspberry jam (preserves) over the oatmeal base. To the remaining dough add the remaining 1/4 cup (25 grams) of rolled oats. Crumble this mixture evenly over the top of the raspberry jam. Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes or until nicely browned. Place on a wire rack to cool and then cut into squares.

Makes about 16 – 2 inch squares.

These are best if made the day before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Hope you enjoyed 🙂

Source: http://www.joyofbaking.com/RaspberryOatmealSquares.html#ixzz2iNVDtujW

Energy Drinks, Are they Really Good for you?

I, like most people need a little pick-me-up sometimes, having to keep up with the hustle and bustle of work and personal life, trying not to be late for work, or late submitting a report or an assignment well, it take its toll…during the course of the day, you will find yourself completely drained and wanting to take a nap or go home, but you can’t (unfortunately). Many people choose coffee for that extra energy boost, while many choose energy drinks. While the dangers and benefits of coffee are widely known, the benefits and drawbacks of energy drinks…not so much!…I’m a little intrigued, are energy drinks really that good for you?…My little sister was intrigued as well to know the dangers of energy drinks, so Stacy, here they are.

What are Energy Drinks?

Energy drinks originated in Asia in 1962. The first energy drink was called Lipovitan D; it was developed by a Japanese pharmaceutical company, Taisho. Energy drinks are types of beverages containing stimulant drugs, chiefly caffeine, which is marketed as providing mental or physical stimulation. They may or may not be carbonated; many also contain sugar or other sweeteners, herbal extracts and amino acids. The amount of caffeine in an energy drink can range from 75 milligrams to over 200 milligrams per serving. This compares to 34 milligrams in Coke and 55 milligrams in Mountain Dew.

Energy drinks generally contain methylxanthines (including caffeine), B vitamins, and herbs. Other commonly used ingredients are carbonated water, guarana, yerba mate, acai, and taurine, plus various forms of ginseng, malto dextrin, inositol, carnitine, creatine, glucuronolactone, and ginkgo biloba. There is little or no evidence that any of the ingredients found in energy drinks other than caffeine or sugar have a significant physiological effect.

 

How does Energy Drinks Work?

Manufacturers of energy drinks claim that energy drinks can improve your endurance and performance, many health experts disagree. Any boost you get from drinking them, they say, is solely from the sugar and caffeine. Caffeine works by blocking the effects of adenosine, a brain chemical involved in sleep. When caffeine blocks adenosine, it causes neurons in the brain to fire. Thinking the body is in an emergency, the pituitary gland initiates the body’s “fight or flight” response by releasing adrenaline. This hormone makes the heart beat faster and the eyes dilate. It also causes the liver to release extra sugar into the bloodstream for energy. Caffeine affects the levels of dopamine, a chemical in the brain’s pleasure center. All of these physical responses make you feel as though you have more energy.

 

Types of Energy Drinks

There are a lot of energy drinks currently on the market. There isn’t a lot that differentiate them, except from flavoring and the amount of a particular ingredient, e.g. caffeine it has. Some of the main energy drinks and its contents are as follows:

table

Benefits of Energy Drinks

The dangers of energy drinks far outweigh the benefits, however small; there are some benefits to be derived from the moderate consumption of energy drinks. A research conducted by Alford et al in 2000, to ascertain the validity of the claims by world energy drink leader, Red Bull, that it improved the physical and cognitive performance of consumers was done. The results revealed that:

      • Physical performance was significantly greater among persons who consumed red bull – Aerobic endurance increased by 9% and anaerobic endurance increased by 24%.
      • There’s also an increase in attention in a stressful situation and overall concentration. As it relates to mood there was no decline in mood.

The experiment concluded that red bull has beneficial effects on mood, physical performance, cognitive performance, stimulate metabolism and increase reaction speed.

Given that the active ingredients present in red bull are the same ones present in most energy drinks, the red bull findings may be applied to most/all energy drinks.

 

Dangers of Energy Drinks

The consumption of energy drinks in moderation is not dangerous to your health, however, the continuous consumption of large amounts of any energy drink, can cause:

    • Heart palpitations
    • Anxiety and insomnia — it also can make you feel jittery and irritable.
    • Increased blood pressure
    • Gastrointestinal disturbance (diarrhea)
    • Increase urination
    • Dizziness, irritability, nausea, nervousness, jitters.
    • Allergic reactions can include; rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, swelling of the (mouth, face, lips, or tongue), diarrhea, vomiting.
    • Headache and severe fatigue from withdrawal
    • Addiction
    • Breast shrinkage in females
    • Painful withdrawal symptoms if not consumed.
    • Palpitations/tachycardia
    • Tremor/shaking
    • Agitation/restlessness
    • Gastrointestinal upset
    • Chest Pain/ Ischaemia
    • Paraesthesia (tingling or numbing of the skin)
    • Insomnia
    • Respiratory Distress

You have been presented with all the facts, the benefits and disadvantage of the consumption of energy drinks, the decision is now yours!

Sources: http://brown.edu/StudentServices/HealthServices/Health_Education/alcohol,tobacco,&otherdrugs/energy_drinks.php http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_energy_drinks http://healthpsych.psy.vanderbilt.edu/2009/EnergyDrinks.htm http://www.energyfiend.com/energy-drink-side-effects http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/energy-drink.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_drink

My Favorite Cocktails (With Recipes)

I love alcoholic drinks, I love to smell and taste it, I however cannot hold it, I cannot hold my liquor at all! :)…but not being able to tolerate high levels of alcohol has not prevented me from loving it…Alcohol has the ability to boost your mood, improve your libido, lower your risk of Cardiovascular Disease, lengthen your life and lower the chance of diabetes etc. Alcohol however, must be consumed in moderation. I’m for drinking alcoholic beverages, but one MUST know their limit, one must know how much one can and cannot hold.

Going to a bar to get the best, latest cocktails, can be fun, but very expensive. To get the awesome taste, and save a few bucks, you can make your favorite drink in the comfort of your home. You have free reign to act silly and consume as much alcohol as you want! 🙂

There are a lot of cocktails that I would love to try, like the Cosmopolitan (made famous by Carrie Bradshaw), chocolate martini and so many others…below you will find a list of and recipes for my favorite cocktails, Happy drinking! 🙂

 

The Cosmopolitan

comopolitan

I’m an avid Sex and the City watcher (I’ve watched all six seasons, repeatedly!). From watching the show, there is one drink that always pops up, it’s like another character, it is the Cosmopolitan…from watching it being consumed, I cannot help but want to try it, it looks so delicious! If you share my enthusiasm, try the recipe below:

Recipe

Ingredients

8 ounces (1 cup) vodka
2 ounces (1/4 cup) triple sec
3 ounces (1/3 cup) cranberry juice
1 to 2 ounces (2 tablespoons to 4 tablespoons) fresh lime  juice
4 2-inch orange peels/twists

Method

Add vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and the lime juice to a pitcher then stir. Refrigerate. Then, once ready to serve, pour into four martini glasses and garnish with orange peel/twist. For an extra burst of flavor, peel the orange twist over the filled cocktail glass. This way, the orange oils spray into the glass. [Servings: 4]

 

The Piña Colada

pinacoladaThe Piña Colada is a fruity drink with a little tang. It is smooth and easy on the palette. The typical Piña Colada doesn’t have a lot of alcohol In it, but you can add as much you want, not too much though, as the flavor may be ruined. I love Piña Colada, If you haven’t yet tried it, or want to relive the taste, here is the recipe:

Recipe

Ingredients

6 oz light rum
8 oz Coco Lopez cream of coconut
8 oz pineapple juice
4 cup crushed ice

Method

Pour rum, cream of coconut and pineapple juice into a blender with one cup of crushed ice. Blend until smooth, and pour into a Hurricane glass. Garnish with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry, and serve. [Servings: 4]

 Jamaican Rum Punch

rum punch 2 

This is one my favorite cocktails, it is easy to make and packs a heavy punch (pun intended :)). The Rum Punch is a Jamaican classic, no party or gathering of any sort is complete without it. Whether or not you are a Jamaica, you can still enjoy this delicious drink. It can be had anytime, anywhere. To enjoy a piece of Jamaica, try the recipe below:

Recipe

Ingredients

4 cup Bacardi 151 rum
2 cup Myer’s dark rum
1 cup Malibu coconut rum
10 cups pineapple juice
10 cups orange juice
1 cup lime juice
12 tbsp grenadine syrup
ice cubes

Method

Mix all ingredients together in a blender or punch bowl. Pour over ice cubes in any type of glass.

[Servings: 4]

Chocolate Martini – Chocolatini

bacon-chocolate-martini

I love chocolate drinks, the smooth creamy texture is to die for. My favorite chocolate milk drink is Appleton Rum Cream. If it was possible and healthy, I would have it every day…it is that good! :)…It is not possible to buy Appleton Rum Cream all the time, so I make a drink that is just as good as Appleton’s, its Hershey Highway. It is chocolate goodness. If you love chocolate and enjoy alcohol, this is the perfect drink for you:

Recipe

Ingredients

1 1/4 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur

1 oz Vodka

1/4 oz Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

Chocolate shavings for garnish

Method

Pour the vodka and liqueurs into the cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into a well-chilled cocktail glass. garnish with chocolate shavings. [Servings: 1]

The Mojito

mojito

The Mojito is one of those classic cocktails that all alcohol lovers would have had. The Mojito was originated in Cuba and was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway (that means it is a real classic). I have never had the Mojito before but it’s at the top of my must have list. If you want to see what Hemingway was raving about, try the recipe below:

Recipe

Ingredients

2 tsp sugar
6-8 mint leaves
Club soda
1 lime, halved
2 oz light rum
mint sprig for garnish

Method

Place the sugar, the mint leaves, and a little club soda into a highball glass. Muddle well to dissolve the sugar and to release the mint flavor. Squeeze the juice from both halves of the lime into the glass. Drop one half of the lime into the glass. Add the rum and Stir well. Fill the glass with ice cubes. Add the rest of the club soda. Garnish with the mint sprig. [Servings: 1]

Hope you enjoyed! 🙂

Sources: http://cocktails.about.com/od/atozcocktailrecipes/r/mjto_cktl.htmhttp://cocktails.about.com/od/vodkadrinkrecipes/r/chocolatini.htm,   http://www.inspiredtaste.net/19420/perfect-cosmopolitan-cocktail-recipe/, http://www.drinksmixer.com/recipes/8557/, http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink4511.html