National Buy Nothing Day

Today I am joining Lara, over at Food.Soil.Thread., and several other bloggers in a blog hop for National Buy Nothing Day.

Is it just me or does it seem like the Christmas decorations and “black-friday” sales started earlier than normal? Seriously, this year the Halloween decorations came down and the Christmas lights went up, Thanksgiving hardly got a second glance. Every year feels like I am get swept away in a current of Christmas consumerism. Growing up, my mother was, and still is, a strict observer National Buy Nothing Day. Started in 1992, National Buy Nothing Day (NBND) is an international protest of consumerism observed on the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 26th.

While the rest of the city slept on the sidewalk in front of stores and fought over the latest giggling toy we would spend the day with our family working on craft projects. Usually we would get a head start on Christmas gifts or decorations.

For the past few years Alaina and  I have made gift baskets for our families. Filled with cookies, ice cream toppings, festive popcorn, candies, and a handmade ornament.. As graduate students this saved us money, but it also gave us the opportunity to get crafty and create some lovely gifts without buying “things”. This year we are planning to do the same, with the exception of our one year old nephew; we have a crazy cute toy for him.

So, this year as you are recovering from your food coma I encourage you to gather up some of your favorite people and spend the day crafting, cooking, and creating. Might I suggest this amazing carmel popcorn that was a huge hit last year. In fact, we gave some to my brother and sister in law and they ate all of it, in one night!

Caramel Popcorn with Peanuts

Well loved from DamGoodSweet, by David Guas and Raquel Pelzel

Makes about 10 cups

A good-quality candy thermometer is key to this recipe. I have this one, which I really like. Also, it is good to note ahead, that when you add the baking soda it will foam, and bubble, a lot. Whisk it continuously until the foaming subsides. It is perfectly normal, but it kind of freaked me out the first time I made it.

10 cups freshy popped popcorn, lightly salted
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup lightly salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

Spray a large mixing bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Dump the 10 cups of popped popcorn into the bowl, pick out the unpopped kernels.

In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt and 2 Tablespoons of water. Allow to come to a simmer, whisking offten, until the candy thermometer reads 250º, about 3-4 minutes.

Immediately, and quickly, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the baking soda and vanilla. (The baking soda will bubble and foam up) Pour the hot caramel over the popcorn and using a rubber spatula gently fold the caramel into the popcorn. Distribute it as evenly as possible, you don’t want any inadequately coated pieces. Stir in the peanuts, and transfer the mixture to the baking sheet.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring and turning the popcorn every 20 minutes or so. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for about 20 minutes. Gently break up the caramel popcorn clumps and enjoy.

Warning: This stuff is ADDICTIVE, so be forewarned!

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3 thoughts on “National Buy Nothing Day

  1. Like your mom, I’ve found other things to do on Black Friday for years. Usually we made a huge picnic of left-overs, bottled a thermos of coffee and brought along the hiking stove so we could make hot chocolate with marshmallows for insulation. We had a favorite place on Blewitt Pass (Washington State) we drove to so our boys could go sledding (the promised reward for dressing up and using manners at grandma’s table the day before). There was always of crowd of like-minded people. We would end the day with a trip to Leavenworth for the tree lighting (really a whole park of trees) before driving home in the dark. They are in their 30’s and still want to do that with us the day after Thanksgiving.

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