a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When There is Need to Go the Distance---Treats that Mail Cheap

I recently read that the US Mail Service is planning on closing down 
many of its offices, cutting out Saturday delivery and adding a day to
delivery time ---- all in an effort to save money. 
It was suggested that the most effective way to get this information
out to all of their customers was by e-mail or twitter!

Mailing treats didn't use to be a bank-breaking experience. But alas, now it is. If  you have a loved one that is away from home and craving homemade goodies, here are a couple that travel well and relatively cheaply.

Popcorn Cake
One 6-ounce can of  cocktail peanuts
One 12-15 ounce package plain M&M's (you can even buy seasonal colors if it is a holiday treat)
One 16-ounce package miniature marshmallows 
1 cube margarine
Approximately 1 cup unpopped corn (enough to fill a bundt pan or an angel food-type tube pan when popped)

Melt margarine and marshmallows over low heat. Mix peanuts and M&M's into marshmallow mixture. Pour over popped corn and mix well. Butter hands generously and press mixture into well-buttered pan. Let cool in freezer to make it easier to remove from pan. Wrap tightly in clear plastic wrap. Pack in additional plain popped corn to mail.

  • This also makes great popcorn balls!
  • You can form the popcorn balls around peppermint candy sticks to make popcorn pops.
  • Or, unwrap lollipops or suckers and form small popcorn balls around the lollipop, letting the stick handle protrude.
This recipe, or the forever popular crispy rice cereal with marshmallows treat recipe, can be formed into many shapes to fit special occasions. We've made a "plaster" cast with protruding toes. Heidi made a giant tooth and a surprise visit to the dental college on her husband's birthday. Both the plaster for the cast and the tooth enamel were made with melted white almond bark. We tinted the almond bark pink to cover the toes. 

The only hard part of this next yummy recipe, from my friend Linda, is finding the main ingredient--the corn pops.  They are not the corn pop breakfast food but the Barrel O' Fun corn pops located in the potato and corn chip aisle.

This treat is slightly sweet and slightly salty---and not too high in calories because the butter and sugar is spread over  lots of pops! 

This is one of the favorite treats of our family members away from home. It is one of my favorite treats to mail because it isn't too much heavier than air itself.

Some of our grand kids call this treat "Sugar Shrimp" and others call it "Pirates Booty."  I call it by its description: Sweet & Salty Corn Pop Stuff!

We ALL call it great! 

1 entire cube plus 1/3 of a second cube of butter or margarine
2/3 cups white sugar
2 Tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring 
1 very large package of Barrel O' Fun Corn Pops (about 15 ounces)

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Melt butter in large sauce pan. Bring to a fast boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour over corn pops, stirring as you go. Spread on cookie sheets or in a large roaster-type pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and pour onto flat surface to cool. Break up as needed. 

Handy Hint: Cut open the empty Barrel 'O Fun bag and spread it flat on a counter or table. Pour the finished snack onto the bag to cool.  (Our dog loves it when a few overshoot the area and fall on the floor!)

Cheapskate Hint:  Watch the weight of the mailing boxes themselves!!! When mailing unbreakable items, I often mail in large cereal boxes or soda cracker boxes or similar. 

'til we eat again,
          Simply, Gail

No comments: