Friday, October 28, 2011

Fox 10 Fall Popcorn Ball Sculptures and Topiary Segment Video!! Hooray for Kitchen Crafts!

Can I just say how much I love Fox 10?! Every time I walk in the studio I'm reminded, by the warm hugs and smiles, how blessed I really am to be working with this remarkable station. Thank you my Fox friends. It really does feel like I'm part of the family.  Extra special thanks to Andrea Robinson and Rick D'Amico for the friendship. You are amazing people! 

The popcorn ball segment aired yesterday. I had to post pictures from the studio and the actual segment video for everyone to see...since a lot of you don't live here in Phoenix! I'm virtually smooching you right now (there's less slobber that way). At any rate, popcorn balls aren't just for the bake's some of the things I do with them:
These can be used for Fall or the holiday season for things like:
  •  dinner table centerpieces for company parties and family gatherings and church gatherings. 
  •   Wedding receptions! Perfect for a December wedding reception centerpiece especially if you embellish with mesh fabrics and silk flowers!
  •  giveaway bouquets for loved ones or customers and clients.
  •  new moms (pink popcorn ball boquet for a baby shower too!)
  •  holiday treats
  • Christmas tree ornaments (tied with a bow or ribbon and make a loop out of ribbon to hang from the tree).
  • bake sales (who doesn't have those coming up?)
  • Fairy princess wands (popcorn ball on a stick with long ribbon tied at the base of the popcorn ball and some floral or sticky rhinestones if desired). PARTY favors!
  • Sculpting  medium for other projects. Popcorn ball "matter" can be used to sculpt a wreath using a well oiled or silicone bundt pan. Firmly packed you can also make Popcorn ball cakes that slice and are a crazy-fun novelty! Talk about a show stopper at the dessert table! Who doesn't like popcorn balls?
  • Popcorn ball kit giftbasket (mason jar of gelatin, mason jar of sugar, honey bears and a small coconut oil for getting hands nice and non-stick!) 
Here's what I did with them!

 Oh...and of course I added a little of my spice! You can mix up the flavors

Flavor ideas:
  • Add the Mix-a-Meal powdered flavoring (1T--except almond, use 1 1 1/2 tsp) to the popcorn goo mixture and you can add fun names to the popcorn balls: orange amaretto, lime-coconut, raspberry-chocolate!  
  • Oh...and the cherry gelatin...with some vanilla & chocolate powdered flavor...cherry cordial on a stick!
  • Add 1/4 cup of the powdered peanut butter to the raspberry or strawberry and you have pb&j on a stick!
  • Add freeze dried fruit! blackberries to the balls with the popcorn (about 2/3 cup)...Raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, blueberry, bananas as a way to add color, nutrition and flavor!

  • 1/2 cup Honeyville popcorn (Popped it will equal 9 cups)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ cup Honeyville Fruit Gelatin (any flavor) 0r Jello (1 3 oz box, any flavor)
  • ½ tsp real salt
  • 3 qt. cooking pot
  • Large bowl
Gather all ingredients and supplies together. Pop the unpopped kernels. Over high heat, pour enough oil into the saucepot to cover the bottom of the pan and be about 1/4 inches deep. Place three kernels into the pan and then cover. Once the three kernels have popped, add the remaining kernels. Listen closely to the pan. Once you hear the popping slow substantially, the popcorn is done. Remove from the burner and pour the popped corn into your bowl.
Season the popcorn with real salt.
Combine granulated sugar, honey and gelatin in a heavy saucepan. Stir slightly and bring to a full rolling boil over medium high heat.
Remove gelatine mixture from stove top and pour over popped corn. Blend well, until all of the popcorn is coated. Allow to cool a few minutes before shaping into popcorn balls.
Shape popcorn into balls using lightly oiled hands, or leave as fruity popcorn as is.
To make a topiary, pierce with a bamboo skewer and tie a ribbon at the base of the ball. You may insert them into other popcorn balls or brownie-cupcakes for a stand-alone topiary -- or just enjoy a popcorn ball on a stick!

There you go folks! Have some fun for Halloween, Fall and yes...Christmas! These are my favorite!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Today's Fox 10 Segment: Popcorn Balls-0-glory! Happy Fall!

Be sure to watch the show this morning! I'm ding-a-dang excited! I'll post recipes today for some of the new and amazing flavors I'm debuting on the show! So excited about the blackberry key lime coconut, caramel orange and maple, chocolate raspberry and spiced orange cranberry flavors to name a few! 

If you want more details on this fun project...go see my Popcorn Ball Post from Tuesday of this week! 

See you soon!
Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Awesome Halloween Cupcakes On NBC 12 Valley Dish!

For some reason, I didn't post this here on the blog when we filmed it last year...and since it's so full of awesome ideas, I couldn't resist!! you go! Three minutes packed full of Fall and Halloween Cupcakes! Eyeballs, bones, and some pretty amazing sunflowers!

Halloween Monster Eyeball Cupcakes

When I made these cupcakes I heard my son singing the Purple People Eater Song...but about cupcakes. Dance with me now!  {Insert mental-vision of Chef Tess doing the cabbage patch...with a purple tutu and an egg beater...}
"One eyed one horned...flying purple eyeball eyed one horned...blah blah blah blah Eat that cupcake..."

We did some monster eyeball cupcakes for Halloween...and believe it or not, the eyeballs are just marshmallows we rolled into a ball.  I used food coloring and painted on the blood-shot effect then wrapped the eyeball with some homemade modeling chocolate ...just for fun so it would look like an eyelid.

I like to use grape kool-aid to flavor my buttercream...because I'm cool like that. Use a straight tip or grass tip on your pastry bag and just layer the hair-like frosting like this. 

Now that we are full of sugar and grape kool-aid frosting...I think we're ready to trick-or-treat! Ya know...because there's more sugar to be had by all! 
There you go. A really cool idea for monster cupcakes!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Honey-Fruity-Cutie Gelatin Popcorn Balls! {with Printable PDF}

 What is it about popcorn balls?! I know it's a Fall-Winter-Spring-Summer national phenomena to have a sugar coated love ball-o-corn-glory...but today I'm telling ya...I'm in love with how easy it is to make them with gelatin instead of waiting for the sugar to boil to right temperature and all that stuff I've done in the past for popcorn balls...I've found a great new way to get it done! Enter...the simpler way. I'm good with that, if it means I don't have to make 12 batches of the long way on any given day with popcorn ball orders during the "season". Plus...I'm doing a popcorn ball topiary Craft Night tonight...and a segment on Fox 10 with popcorn balls on Thursday. A girl has to be practical...or practically insane (no comments from the peanut know who you are...).  Well...I had some bulk gelatin in my food storage and some popcorn. I came up with a great recipe.   I used some of my favorite Flavor Infused Lucero Olive Oil .

Chef Tess Bakeresse'
Honey-Fruity-Cutie-Gelatin Popcorn Balls

1/2 cups popcorn
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup honey
½ cup gelatin (any flavor) 0r Jello (1 3 oz box, any flavor)
½ tsp Real Salt
3 qt. cooking pot or hot air popper
Large bowl
Lucero Chocolate Infused EVOO   for popping and coating your hands

1. Gather all ingredients and supplies together.
2. Pop the unpopped kernels. Over high heat, pour enough oil into the sauce pot to cover the bottom of the pan and be about 1/4 inches deep. Place three kernels into the pan and then cover. Once the three kernels have popped, add the remaining kernels. Listen closely to the pan. Once you hear the popping slow substantially, the popcorn is done. Remove from the burner and pour the popped corn into your bowl. Season the popcorn with Real Salt.
3. Combine granulated sugar, honey and gelatin in a heavy saucepan. Stir slightly and bring to a full rolling boil over medium high heat.
4. Remove gelatin mixture from stove top and pour over popped corn. Blend well, until all of the popcorn is coated. Allow to cool a few minutes before shaping into popcorn balls. {Note: you can add up to 1 cup of nuts, candy corns, jelly beans, Boston Baked Bean candies, red hots...etc. at this point.}

5. Shape popcorn into balls using lightly oiled hands, or leave as fruity popcorn as is. To make a topiary, pierce with a bamboo skewer and tie a ribbon at the base of the ball. You may insert them into other popcorn balls or brownie-cupcakes for a stand alone topiary or just enjoy a popcorn ball on a stick!

There you go! Make some popcorn balls and make some memories! Thanks again Honeyville for the great ingredients for today's post! Xoxo!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Tonight's Craft Night! Ooo...Ahhh...Ohhhh!

Tonight is the night! Remember to arrive early! We'll be giving away some pretty cool prizes on top of the crafts we're making! How fun is that?!
Fall Craft Night 
Tuesday Oct. 25th at 7:00 PM

We're getting together for an amazing craft night! What a wonderful way to spend some time with the ladies...or have a date night! Creating is a great way to unwind. We're opening up the store after hours for a special event!
 Honeyville Farms Retail Store | 33 South 56th Street Suite 1| Chandler, AZ 85226
Phone: (480) 785-5210 FAX: (480) 785-0892
Doors open at 7 PM for the class only.

Gift Meals in a jar all ingredients including freeze dried meat, veggies, noodles,labels and jars and oxygen absorber packets provided. Prepaid only. 9$ per meal. You can make as many as you want in the class (it usually takes about an hour to make 12).
Choose between Hearty Hamburger stew and Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup. (Must pre-order flavors before the class!)

Popcorn Ball Topiary are 7$ each to make. This Class size is limited to 15 participants. You can make up to 6 full size topiary in the class. Amazing to share with friends and neighbors this Holiday season...or just decorate for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Menu Board Kits are 35$ Each and you can make them at the class. I think they're adorable...and a great way to keep track of what's for dinner!

Call Michelle at the Honeyville Store to pay and reserve your spot.
(480) 785-5210

Monday, October 24, 2011

Alternative Cooking Method Class Notes

Monday's I try to share some amazing recipes and tips for cooking with food storage. Today I'm sharing some awesome tips from my Alternative Cooking Methods Class Notes for those who live outside of Arizona and didn't get the chance to come to the class in person on Saturday. We had a magnificent turn out of shining happy faces ready to learn how to cook outdoors, indoors and anywhere! I'm so very honored and excited at seeing every new face! Special Thanks to Honeyville Farms in Chandler, AZ for hosting this event and providing the ingredients for this post and class! Amazing stuff!  We cooked outdoors on two different stoves/Grills. One called a Stovetec and one Called a Volcano Grill. 

We covered:
  • Cooking using the "haybox", "wonder-box" or heat retention method and food safety.
  • Using the Global Sun Oven as a Heat retention cooker
  • Dutch Oven baking (Pie and Bread)
  • Grill and Stoves including the Stovetec and Volcano Grills and how to use the to bake bread
  • Tips for baking and cooking with in the  Global Solar Oven

We cooked:
  • We cooked rice in a retention cooker. 
  • We made Taco soup on the Stovetec stove. 
  • We Grilled a tomato basil crusted Italian bell pepper and mushroom pizza (all food storage) using the Volcano stove's oven cover. 
  • We baked a tropical mango-blackberry cobbler in our solar oven.
  • We made rotini and meat sauce with our butane stove! 

Volcano Grill...
Last week was officially the first week I got to have a Volcano  at home. When I walked in with the box containing the grill my son Little Man started dancing around the house...better than Christmas. He's wanted one for a long time. Again, thanks Honeyville for letting us have it around for a while.  It comes with all the bells and whistles...and a carry bag. Um...why did the girl in me like that it came with a purse bag? At any rate...
 It was simple enough that even I, Chef Tess, could figure out how to make it work. 
The Volcano Grill  is a very heavy duty portable collaspable cooking grill. Basically a portable fire pit. I've used it before forDutch Oven Cooking and have been very impressed with how strong it is! You can stack several Dutch ovens on the stove and it will hold them without a problem . 

I got really excited to see that Volcano makes a lid that turns the stove into a convection oven for outdoor use! How amazing is that?!! 

 So...we baked bread on the grill. For the class on Saturday we made pizza on the grill. Both times we used a regular brick to keep the bread from being exposed to too much radiant heat and burning the bottom. It worked perfectly.
I really enjoyed playing with the Stovetec Stove as well. To learn more about the design and features of this high quality tool go here. All I can say is that it retained heat so well that my 15 charcoals stayed smokin' hot for 4 hours after I started the stove! Dang! I'm in love!

Some Class Recipes:
We made  My Recipe Taco Soup on the Stovetec using Honeyville's amazing freeze dried and dehydrated foods:
Chef Tess Taco Soup
  This is a recipe I made from an old classic for Taco soup. It's adapted using instant beans. Instead of taking hours to cook in a crock pot, it takes just about20 minutes! I'm super excited about it! Can you tell?! It can fit conveniently in a quart size jar so it's perfect for food storage! Put a funnel on the mouth of a quart jar and measure as follows into the jar:
Chef Tess Taco Soup Mix
2 cups  instant Red Beans (or instant refried bean flakes work)
1 cup Honeyville Taco TVP
1/2 cup Honeyville Dehydrated onion
1/3 cup Honeyville Freeze Dried Mixed Bell Peppers
3/4 cup Honeyville Freeze Dried Corn
1/2 cup Honeyville tomato Powder
1T  Chef Tess' homemade taco seasoning
Add an oxygen packet. Seal. Good on the shelf in a cool place up to 5-7 years.  
To prepare,Taco Soup: place contents of jar in a gallon pot in a solar oven or on the stove. Add 2 quarts of water and simmer 20-30 minutes until veggies are tender. Serve with nacho chips, sour cream and hydrated Freeze Dried Cheddar Cheese.
Solar Cooking...
My favorite solar cooker that I use 6-7 days a the Global Sun Oven. They carry them at Honeyville. Mmm. That's so nice. I've had mine for almost 6 years and it's still my favorite appliance. 

Solar Cooking demo included this...

Incredible tropical Mango-berry cobbler in the solar oven. It's a lightly sweet dessert amazing with vanilla ice cream or drizzled with the Honeyville caramel honey sauce. Top with toasted macadamia nuts and you might just die of happiness:

Chef Tess Tropical Mango-berry  Cobbler
2 cups Honeyville Freeze Dried mango
1 cup Honeyville Freeze dried Strawberries
1 cup Honeyville Freeze Dried blackberries
1/4 cup Honeyville lemonade mix
1/2 cup ultra gel
1 tsp make a mix almond powder
  1.  Combine fruit mixture with 4 cups water. Mix well.
  2.  Simmer over low heat 10 minutes until fruit is tender and mixture is thick.
  3.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes more.
Tropical Lime Cobbler topping:
2 1/3 cup Honeyville buttermilk pancake mix
1/4 cup Honeyville Tropical Monsoon  Smoothie Mix
1/4 cup Honeyville powdered butter
1 tsp dehydrated lime zest

Directions: Combine cobbler topping ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine topping mixture with 2/3 cup coconut milk (or prepared strawberry milk)just until combined. Do not over mix. 
Preheat your solar oven to 350 degrees.  Put the thickened mango mixture in a solar oven 2 quart casserole (this comes with the solar oven). Drop the cobbler topping mixture on the fruit mixture. Bake in a pre-heated solar oven in direct sunlight 55-60 minutes until well cooked. We served it warm drizzled with Honevyille's caramel honey sauce! It was amazing!

Printable detailed class notes Powerlesscooking101.pdf

There you go! Try going off-grid for a while! I loved teaching this one very much! 

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Love at First Sight

Sunday is the day I get to share a little of my soul. 

 I know a lot of you are aware that I can't have any more children. That being said, I've felt for years that I would not be kept from having new angels come to my life if I kept my heart open to them.  When the chance came to take part in  Gingham Project I jumped at it.   I jumped, not because I thought I'd get to adopt any of the kids, but because I am a mother. I could see a need and I wanted to help...even if it was something small.  Their Mission for school children and their program for families in rural impoverished India has been an outstandingly beautiful part of my life the last little while.  Today I finally got to see the face of sweet Sathiya. Sathiya is the eleven year old little girl who we've been blessed to be able to sponsor in the orphanage with Sister Daisy's Kids
 Sathiya's mother. My heart might break for Sathiya's mother.   After reading about what Melanie's experience was with a young mother in the orphanage, I couldn't get my mind off that mother. I wondered what I would do should I be in such a situation...dying of HIV in a land where it would be basic social death for my child to be left without me and my support. I'm told that Sathiya's mother is now exceedingly ill. I can't imagine her pain. Nor the pain of this little girl. Yet...look at this smile.

 Seeing that smile has moved me beyond words. I'm so honored to be able to have her in my life, if only through pictures. My prayer is that someday I'll be able to hug her and tell her face to face how beautiful she is. In the meantime...I get to see that smile sitting next to Sister Daisy. 
 Our joy was increased again to get to sponsor a second child! Yes, Two angels! I got to see "our boy" today too! He's 14 years old and his name is Mahendran. He's the little boy in the red shirt, right up front. 
It comes to this. Today I'm literally basking in this glorious light of love and joy at the mere thought of these little ones. In such a moment, when that much love comes into my heart, I think of the Love of God that I get to glimpse now and then...and I wonder with great awe at that love. I wonder how I could be so blessed. I wonder if it's possible for a heart to burst from having too much love...but so far that hasn't been the case. Usually when that much love comes into my heart it just ends up overflowing down my cheeks. It warms and expands the heart I have now. It makes me want to always feel this way. I think that's the point. God's Love changes a transcendent and magnificent way. I hope this feeling never goes away...because I imagine that in will feel like this. There will be nothing but love and God...and all of us together. That will be Love at first sight that lasts forever and ever.

There it is.
Your Friend Chef Tess.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Single Sticky Bun As Big As A Dinner Plate

Hello Sticky bun. Are you single? Now that's a pick up line if I ever heard one!

Well...among some of the ridiculous things I do...this may be high on the list. Yet, I've held back on sharing them with you...lest I somehow cause my readers to slip into some kind of virtual sugar coma.  You may ask. Go ahead. Ask..."Why in the name of all that is good and right in the world would any sane woman make sticky buns so big that  they are 10 inches across and 5 inches high?!? (And not share!)" Why??...You thought I missed that where you slipped in the (And not share) part. I'm on to you.
My answer is, " How can there be any truth to the answer when there is no truth to the question?" I would have to be a *sane* order for there to be rhyme and reason to this kind of epicure. Seriously. Epic. 

Yes...this is a full size dinner plate. Yes. It is a pumpkin spice cinnamon bun kissed with my Wise Woman of The East spice blend. The magic is made perfect with exotic Roasted  Saigon  Cinnamon, lemon, orange, and culinary florals...everything you would want in a prime plate of happy. Yes, it's dripping in a thick caramel-orange goo-o-joy.'s topped with toasted salted pumpkin seeds.
 Yes. See...I will share!   Isn't that just perfectly sweet and evil of me?
Repeat after me, "Peeeerfectly sweeeet and Evil of you..."

These will be the big sellers. I can tell already. I mean they're already big right?

There you go. Sticky Buns of Epic size...and yes...they can be yours too. The're technically family you can share...should you decide you want to be that nice.

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Giant Cherry White Chocolate Sweet Rolls the Size of A Dinner Plate (Tutorial)

 I've had a lot of SEA of requests for a tutorial on how to make the giant rolls the size of a dinner plate. I'm assuming that y'all are going to share these rolls with me right? I mean...if I share the secrets to perfect buns-o-glory I ought to at least get to sniff the frosting. Isn't that fair? Well. I'm sharing. I think it's an awesome skill. Let's face it...skills are good. Boys like girls with skills...and ligers. What's a liger? ( that movie...and then bust out your moon boots and dance for me. )
 Let's assume for just a minute that these are also some level and degree of almost healthy. Wouldn't that just blow your mind? Well...they're 100% whole grain and low fat. If that's a deal breaker...walk away now. I'm giving you some serious happy food. Glad all over food...even your bum will be glad you came to see me. Dang...did I just type that out loud? Well. I used half the dough from the 6 whole grain bread recipe. When it finished it's raising, I rolled it out like this...The full legnth of my kitchen table. Yup. That long.Flour the table pretty well there too. I'm not making them sticky buns. Um...sticky to the table buns...roll about 1/2 inch thick 18 inches wide and 4 feet long.
 Smear with a drizzle of honey caramel sauce, top with some Peaches and Cream Smoothie Mix (about 1/2 a cup) white chocolate chips and sun-dried cherries. I also sprinkled a light dusting of micro-fine lime zest and fresh ground nutmeg...just a kiss. Not a make out session. Just saying.

 Now...The secret to huge to roll it the short way the full length of the table...instead of the short way the full length of the table.

 Keep your rolling pretty tight and pinch the livin' daylights out of the side seam so it doesn't fly open and spit it's gorgeous delicious innards out. How's that for a visual?
This makes 3 large rolls. 5-6 inches high and 10 inches wide when baked. You'll need to generously grease 3 10 inch baking pans and place the rolls in them. This helps the rolls keep a nice shape too.

 This pan is the pan that came with my Solar Oven . When the roll raises, it will peak it's beautiful glorious body over the top of the if to say, " I'm ready to meet my maker...or baker...or whatever a giant roll meets at the end of it's short life." Yes. It appears my rolls actually talk just like I do. Did I ever tell you my son's favorite muffin joke? "What did one muffin say to another muffin as they sat in the oven? 'Oh my crap! A talking muffin!" Yeah...I never claimed that it was a good joke. Golly. Look at that bun!
 I placed I can't call it a her. She would never forgive me for making her so fat. He on the other hand would stand in front of the mirror and say he was ripped. So...there it is. HE will be baking soon. Close the preheated solar oven. (Regular oven bake at 350 degrees 30-35 minutes.) Solar...45-50 minutes.

 Mmmmercy. HE is pretty hot. I must admit. I'm a little...flustered. 
There you go. Make some freaks of nature! Have fun...and don't forget to share! I love seeing your creations on my Chef Tess Bakeresse Facebook Page! I think every single freak need to be least a few seconds before it's destroyed by the family forks. Xoxo.
Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess