Kitchen Tip Tuesday – DIY Brown Sugar

I’ve come up with a new idea for Tuesdays.  There might be a tip every Tuesday or every other Tuesday.

On Saturday, we tuned into “America’s Worse Cooks” on the Food Network.  It was interesting watching those novice cooks trying  to work their way through the kitchen.  If they knew some tips and tricks in the kitchen, they might have had an easier time while in the kitchen.

This week’s tip is one that I used today.  When I went to use my brown sugar, I discovered it was completely hard.  So I used my back up plan.

Did you know brown sugar is just granulated sugar and molasses?  Dark brown sugar has more molasses in it.  I actually learned this while reading one of my favorite book series – Joanna Fluke’s Hannah Swenson series.  She provides different recipes and tips through the book along with the mystery.  I don’t remember which of the books I found the tip but Hannah or one of her friends did not have brown sugar so she suggested using molasses in granulated sugar.

To make  your own brown sugar:




(I added more sugar to the bowl after I took this picture.)


After making the brown sugar.


Stars of the recipe:

  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. molasses (not backstrap), more or less depending on your taste (Use cooking spray on the measuring spoon before measuring the molasses.)


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar and molasses until incorporated.
  2. Use in your recipe or as a topping.

I have a few ideas for other tips.  Do you have any other tips you would like to see?

Easy Microwave Popcorn


The Imaginative One could live on 3 different foods – chocolate, popcorn, and French fries.  Sometimes in the evening, he’ll pop up some popcorn to eat as his nighttime snack.  I’ve shown him how to make microwave popcorn without all that mess that’s in microwave popcorn.  It’s as easy as 1 -2 -3 to make.  Now instead of grabbing a bag of microwave popcorn, he’ll grab a paper bag, a measuring cup, and popcorn kernels.

That’s all you need:  a paper bag, a measuring cup, and popcorn kernels.   Oh you’ll also need different popcorn toppings.

First melt some butter or coconut oil or use a little extra olive oil.  Then add whatever topping you want.

Here is a list of possible popcorn toppings:

  1. ranch dressing (Or buttermilk ranch – add some buttermilk powder to your ranch dressing spice blend)
  2. taco seasoning
  3. Greek seasoning (one of my fav’s)
  4. garlic powder (Use extra virgin olive oil.)
  5. cinnamon and sugar
  6. pumpkin pie spice or 5 Chinese spice
  7. a Tbsp. or 2 of mini chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, or white chocolate chips.  Don’t use butter, olive oil, or coconut oil.  Add while the popcorn is still hot.
  8. Italian seasoning  (Use extra virgin olive oil.)
  9. Parmesan cheese  (Use extra virgin olive oil or butter.)
  10. Barbecue seasoning blend  (Use butter.)

or you can go for the old standby, salt.

The Imaginative One loves only butter and that’s the only time he’ll eat anything with butter.

Easy Microwave Popcorn

Honey Kettle Corn

I like kettle  corn but not if it’s too sweet.  The microwaveable kettle corn packets are way too sweet for my liking.  The ones you get at fairs have the right balance of sweetness and saltiness.  When I found this easy recipe for honey butter popcorn, it reminded me of a kettle corn that has that perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness.

It would be a great snack for a movie night.  Make some honey kettle corn and then watch a movie.


Honey Kettle Corn

Finding Joy in my Kitchen


Stars of the recipe:

  • 6 c. of cooked popcorn (I use an air popper for my popcorn.)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 c. of honey (Spray the measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring out the honey.)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pop the popcorn and then put into a baking dish.
  3. Place butter and honey in a microwaveable dish.  Microwave for 1 and a half minutes on high.
  4. Pour the butter-honey mixture over the popcorn.
  5. Stir to coat the popcorn.
  6. Bake in oven for five minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, add the salt, and stir.  Bake for an additional 3 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven.  Allow to cool.
  9. Enjoy!

Hot Chocolate Mix

Here’s another easy gift idea.  Who doesn’t like a nice cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows?  Okay maybe someone who doesn’t like chocolate.  Since it’s winter, this is a nice gift to help the recipient of the gift warm up on those cold days.

Hot Chocolate Mix

Stars of the recipe:

  • 2 c. dry milk
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. non dairy creamer (I used French vanilla.)
  • optional:  mini marshmallows, mini candy cane, or chocolate chips


  1. Combine all the ingredients except for marshmallows, mini candy cane, or chocolate chips.
  2. When ready to make a cup of hot chocolate, place 2 to 3 heaping Tbsps. of mix in a coffee mug.
  3. Pour 6 ounces of boiling water over the mix.
  4. Top with either chocolate chips, marshmallows, or mini candy cane.
  5. Enjoy!

If you want to make a Mexican hot chocolate, add 2 tsp. ground cinnamon to the mix.

If you are going to give it as a gift, place 6 Tbsp. of the mix in a bag and the marshmallows or chocolate chips.  If you are going to give a candy cane, tape it to the outside of the bag.  Place the instructions: combine 2 – 3 Tbsp. mix with 6 ounces of boiling water.