loopy's crack corn {and she don't care}

I kept Loopy home from school for three days this week, because her class went camping... again. What is up with all the camping at school? I am sorry. Loopy and I are not campers. It's just so... rustic. Too wild for us. I'm not going to encourage her, either. Because I don't want to help out at camp and be a parent camper. It's just not in my nature. And before you get all, "nature is so wonderful" and extoll the virtues of the simple life, let me stop you right there, sister. Loopy and I like the wilderness of the streets of a big city: daytime shopping, a bustling nightlife, galleries and pavement. Our idea of "roughing it" is a forty-five minute wait at The Cheesecake Factory. We don't make campfires, we make reservations. It's just how we roll. We dig indoor plumbing and room service. 

I don't like to think we are high maintenance. We are low tolerance.

So Loopy stayed home from yet another "camp experience" and I told her she would spend all three days in hard core farewell-party preparation mode as I am one of the parents in charge of her middle school "graduation" party.  And I say "graduation" in "quotation marks" because the school is militant about not using the word "graduation" upon leaving the elementary school for high school next year.  Apparently the word "graduation" is only to be used upon the completion of high school and all of these activities must be called "farewell." Whatever. Obviously I called it "graduation" all over town as I booked the venue, the caterer and the music. When I first started saying "farewell" to the vendors they looked at me with a blank stare as if I were speaking some sort of indiscernible Chinese dialect. Then I would clarify and say "a middle school graduation" and ahhhh... then they got it.

Today we rescued one of her pals, "Casey" who also is no camper. She attended school yesterday in the absence of teachers and peers, only to sit in an empty, hot classroom for the entire day with no books or work, as everyone emptied their lockers and desks before embarking on their camping trip. Brilliant. We picked up our fellow non-camper at 9:00 a.m. sharp and this is what we made:


I call it Loopy's Crack Corn because it is like crack. If we like something, it is "like our crack" until we get sick of it. For a while our crack was the Pepsi at Kentucky Fried Chicken.  It was some sort of special mixture that was, well, like crack to us. I would say to Loopy, "do we need some crack?" and we would drive through KFC and order one large Pepsi to share, and then drive along, fighting over it until it was gone, our crack. You get the idea. Right now this corn is our crack. Plus, it has the added feature of this:

I made hard crack candy and poured it onto tinfoil. The girls cracked it into tiny bits to add to the corn. Do you dig the school colours?


Hard crack candy is easy. You really need a candy thermometer. Get one with your 50% off coupon at Micheals, the Wilton one.  You need the Wilton one.  Here is the basic recipe:

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 tsp flavour (I used tutti frutti)

Bring the sugar, syrup and water to a boil over medium heat in a heavy saucepan.  Heat to 290 degrees (soft crack on candy thermometer), reducing the heat to low as you cook.  It is a slow process - watch the pan carefully, it can turn to caramel in the blink of an eye.

Remove from heat at 290 degrees and add flavouring and food colour if you desire it. Quickly pour the hot mixture onto tinfoil, shiny side up. It will harden quickly. You can also make suckers with this recipe.

But you can't have this kind of fun with suckers! Loopy and Casey playing with the sheets of candy:



Yellow and blue make green! This reminds me of one of our favourite Leo Leonni books, "Little Blue and Little Yellow."


The fun part was finally breaking that candy into smithereens! I laid clean pool towels on the table and then layers of tinfoil for the stages of our work bee. Must protect the dining room table.


It was really very pretty.  It tasted good, too.


It was pretty tedious work.  We didn't want to put it in a bag and smash it with a rolling pin, we didn't want it crushed, we wanted chunky bits.  


Then my helpers repaired to the patio to make popcorn a'la Sassy.  We borrowed her hot air popper and that giant tupperware to hold the popcorn, proving once again that Sassy has a tupperware for everything...


Uh... one 1 kg bag of corn makes loads of popcorn...


The candy corn, now called crack corn, is the same stuff I made with Sassy for The Sprout's first birthday.  You can find the recipe here. Today we made it in blue and yellow.

To be fancy, and for a more crack-like experience, we added blue and yellow  M&M candies.Blue on yellow corn, yellow on blue corn. The corn saved my butt. I splurged forty dollars from the "graduation" funds on school colour M&M's. That was after I put forty dollars back, because eighty dollars spent on blue and yellow M&M's is madness. I will admit to being a little embarrassed when the clerk at the candy store asked for eighty dollars and I decided to put half of them back... duh! Then I was faced with the dilemma of how to dispense forty dollars worth of specialty candy to 33 students and just how would I accomplish that with any flair at all other than handing each student three candies with tweezers as they entered the party? Then it occurred to me to add it to the candy corn as it hardened... thus spreading it as far as it could possibly go.

And by the time all is said and done, I bet this candy crack corn is more expensive per 100 grams than actual crack. But much more festive.


Tomorrow, bright and early, the girls will package this crack corn and then I have a few other projects for my happy non-campers.

30 comments:

alittlebitofscrap said...

How fun! My dh, the big Alaskan, is like you guys too.. He'd much rather make reservations! One time he got the reservations one day later than he thought and Homer was all booked, we couldn't find a room anywhere in town when we got there.. and it was late too.. I was like, let's just sleep in the car tonight.. oh he wasn't having it, we drove back almost 2 hours just to find a room!

dragonflydreamer said...

Saucy, you are THE COOLEST MOM in the Universe! I want a do over. I've changed so much that I could be a really cool Mom now, but Beau and Steve are men now. When their friends thought I was a cool Mom, they didn't really like it. Since you have one of each, are girls more comfortable with their Moms being around? Have a great weekend!

Coco said...

I bet the school will miss all the special things you do for them once Loopy has moved to high school. Linda Crispell thinks you should do a lifestyle magazine. I think the two of you should collaborate on one.

It would be awesome....

Caitlin said...

Very cute idea! When we left 8th grade to go to high school it was called a "promotion." We weren't allowed to graduate either.

Junie Moon said...

My sister says the same thing about any camping venture I broach to her: "My idea of roughing it is ordering room service."

I never knew you could make candy like that, never even thought of it at all. But it looks and sounds perfect for mixing in popcorn. Thanks for sharing the project.

Grace said...

I hate camping really...I am glad you saved the other non camper you rock! I cracked up about "farewell". My friend's daughter's school they do not say valedictorian and salutatorian they say greeter 1 and 2. The kids work hard all 8 years and strive for recognition and that is it...ok everyone knows they are the smartest but still not nice. They are thrilled as their parents are to be out of that school...weird! So have fun on the graduation preparations! You are the coolest mom! Grace

Babsarella said...

Saucy...I can SO relate on the camping thang. My idea of camping is in a Winnebago..and then only if I have to. I like my nice private indoor bathrooms. Plus, camping involves me cooking and that is NOT a vaca. The girls look like they had a blast and the recipes sound super yummy. I certainly hope all the "graduate" appreciate your hard work and effort to make their farewell extra-special!!

Linda Crispell said...

Is the school angry with the children for graduating (farewelling)? Why else would they punish them with camping?
I think I need a fix of Loopy's beautiful crack corn! You are so brave venturing into the hard candy territory, I have always been a little afraid of candy thermometers.
I have also been known to go financially overboard buying pretty colors of jelly beans.
Congratulations to Loopy!
Your Pal,
Linda

Saucy said...

All said, I will be more glad than Loopy to get out of that place. Soooo tired of incompetence.

Little secret? Some days I kept Loopy home just to hang out with me and do projects and errands and volunteer community work and sometimes we WATCHED MOVIES and read books because it was more than they were doing at... uh... "school."

Linda Crispell said...

I am getting the Red Cross involved in the candy dot embargo. Please email me your address again.
garlindac1@aol.com
Thanks,
Linda

Tamara Jansen said...

First of all, I agree COMPLETELY with you guys on the camping. We do a little of it every year......but in a motorhome. I do enjoy sitting around the campfire at night but all the rest, I can do without. My poor kids LOVE camping so I do have to go for now but I'm going to insist of Hotels when the kids move out!

Secondly, it looks like the "graduation" is going to be a hummdinger of a bash. Almost makes me wish I was graduating too.....almost :) I hated being a teenager.

KAGS Herself said...

I'm with you Sista! I'm a big city girl and I go nowhere without running HOT water for showers and electricity for flat irons. Kamping + Karen = not happening!

Amy said...

My teeth hurt just looking at all the crack corn goodness. Of course, right now I am all sweeted out on red velvet cupcakes, your cream cheese frosting is so good! I love the colour scheme-once again you have out done yourself.

Jen Anderson said...

Camping with your class? Wow, that sounds unpleasant. My idea of roughing it is staying in a hotel without room service.

I got very lucky this year. My brother had been planning on getting married at Burning Man--desert heat and dust, sleeping in a camper with my parents, trying to keep my dad from ending up in the hospital tent thanks to his sense of impervious to heat stroke. Oh joy. The bro and his fiancee changed their minds and I am so grateful, it's just crazy.

karen said...

I am going to my friend's daughter's leaving ceremony today. When she asked me to attend I did not know what it was. I asked why does she have to leave school? Thought maybe they were moving. We both laughed.

Gee Matthew graduated from pre-school and they had mortarboards and everything. But that was 20 plus years ago. Will never forget that he walked up to the stage to get his diploma and was the only one to walk backwards back to his place to sit down. Somehow he thought it was being like knighted and you did not turn your back on the king. He was so cute.

Congratulations to Loopy - it is an accomplishment to finish grade school and moving to high school is a big step.

Kathy said...

Our school colors are blue and gold as well. I can't wait to see all of the things you do. You are so creative!!

Aspergertopia said...

here, here! Well said Saucy! I looooove the pics you took of the girls behind the candy. Sweet!

Can't wait until tomorrow. Soooo excited!!

bluemuf said...

Saucy, I'm with you, my idea of camping is a 5 star hotel or preferably a Cruise ship. (Oh how shallow I am)

Great popcorn creation . I just love how the two of you have so much fun together.

Hugs karen

Suzy said...

This "crack" looks awesome!!!! What a great camping day spent pop-pop-popping!
Please take photos and post the set up.
I'll be working on ours all day Monday. We're even having a 8th grade pre-prom following the 375 kids graduating....
Congrats Loopy my dear!
Keep it Sweet ,
Suzy

nikkisawicky said...

I used that popcorn popper the night before last, and the popcorn went shooting everywhere! i had the kids stand in front and try to catch it with their mouths! Too fun!!

Mom Taxi Julie said...

You make the coolest stuff! My kid's school doesn't allow "home made" things at school anymore, and not even "junk food". What's up with that?

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Yum-mo! I bet your school will miss you too. I'd hire you to do things like that for my kids' parties. Again, I envy the crafty-hearted.

YSLGuy said...

This looks like so much fun, and YUMMY too.

Your giveaway prize will be on its way soon. I am waiting for one more thing, before I can send it off.

Miss Quoted said...

Oh now as a girl I was a camper. I LOVED camping and fishing, and being out in the woods where I could possibly get lyme disease. My mother was like you "low tolerance" like you and lovely Loopy. We did our best to visit relatives in Germany every other summer and my favorite part was going camping.

Now my Mom and Dad have an RV and go around the country touring the state parks, not real camping I know - but she loves it. I on the otherhand can't imagine ever roughing it like that again. The RV sounds horrible, how did I ever sleep in a tent? They are venturing out on the 657 mile yard sale this summer. Consider the "junky" finds. It is something I might like ... you too.

http://www.handmadenews.org/article/index.php?id=1601

Usually I am a popcorn purist, salt is the only thing I need... but I think exceptions would be made for crack corn

ThatMommy! said...

starbucks is my *crack and I would choose that over camping ...unless it's camping in a hotel...any day!

You have a beautiful daughter and your blog rocks:)

sassy studio said...

Your idea of camping via room service and drive throughs makes me laugh! We are so alike in so many ways dear cousin but I am actually true camper at heart------surprised? I can start a fire without a match and am a secret lover of hotdogs that are burnt and crispy and eating hot campfire beans from a tin. As much as I love air conditioned malls I also love 8 hour hikes atop beautiful BC mountain ranges. I have taught canoeing and outdoor life skills and make-up classes to teens in the same year! Maybe camping could be your thing, I just know you could beat anyone in a gourmet smore making competition! See you tom!

The French Bear said...

Yeah, my kind of camper!!!! Exactly ...... indoor plumbing and soft pillows!!!!! I love the popcorn recipes, I want to make the pink one for my GD's birthdays!! I hope it turns out as good as yours!
Thanks for sharing the recipes!
Margaret B

Jennifer Juniper said...

Oh, yum! The Treat Girl makes some corn that is very crack-like, you will have to get the recipe. Trust me, you will eat it until you're nautious, mmmmm...

The Stiletto Mom said...

You make me nervous. Apparently I have much to learn before Miss G gets to be that age. Would it be possible to arrange some type of boot camp experience for me?

Victoria said...

I just made this with cinnamon oil. My mother's house currently smells like we live inside an atomic fireball!