Thanksgiving, Wild Animals & Popcorn Balls

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NW1

We woke up to finally an overcast day on Black Friday, after a long stretch of cold sunny days. It had even rained a little overnight. We took the chance of 30% showers and drove to NW Trek. Our reward was blue skies the whole visit, even if it was cold. With my brother down visiting, we had the van loaded up – and had a fun time checking out the animals in their winter state.

B

Alistaire really had fun – and walked most of the day!

B2

Photos from my husband – gorgeous sheep in the wild area.

B3

The highly misunderstood and very intelligent coyote.

B4

Bison, in full winter glory. They are simply gorgeous this time of year, when they have a full pelt. There is a herd of them, with even babies now. I realized I had never seen them in winter, only in summer when they are losing their coat.

NW3

There is so often fungi growing in Western Washington – and this one hadn’t been bothered.

NW2

And somehow I got a photo of all the boys and my brother where no one was crying or screaming. How did that happen?

Not long after we left for home, it started raining. So much better than spending a day in a mall….fresh air, animals and hiking!

Which then led to food craft time – marshmallow popcorn balls!

NW4

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups popped popcorn*
  • 10 ounces marshmallows
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • Mini marshmallow bits*

Directions:

Kroger owned grocery stores carry XL paper lunch sacks, these are excellent for popping popcorn. Add ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Corn Popcorn White to a bag, roll over opening twice. Pop on high for 2:30, listening for popping to slow down (it will depend on microwave strength). Shake popcorn into a bowl, shake bowl gently. Transfer popped corn to a large bowl, discard any remaining unpopped kernels or hard ones. Repeat a second bag of popcorn (new bag). Measure popcorn. Let kids eat the leftovers, drizzled with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Gets them out of your hair….

Anyhow, add the 10 cups popcorn to a large bowl, preferably metal or glass.

Heat a non-stick tall pot over medium-low. Add in butter, marshmallows and salt. Stir often until the marshmallows have melted and it is smooth. Pour the marshmallow sauce over the popcorn, quickly work with a silicone spoon to coat. Liberally butter or spray hands, make popcorn balls, compacting with hands.

If desired, gently roll across a plate covered with tiny marshmallows. Set balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Once done, wrap each ball with plastic wrap.

*Marshmallow Bits can be found in grocery stores by Kraft. Personally I cannot have them, they have dyes added. I buy a similar product at restaurant supply stores that has a short ingredient list and no coloring, sold in the coffee/espresso section. The bits are what you might remember in hot cocoa mixes – tiny marshmallows that were dried. They give a great crunch!

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