A Tale of Two Popcorns: Honey Butter and Air Popped in the Microwave

Air Popped in the Microwave

Once upon a time, it was the last day of summer vacation. The kids were screaming and chasing each other around the coach.

“Who wants popcorn and a movie?” I asked.

My family eats a lot of popcorn. We usually make it on the stove in a big pot with oil. So while the kids picked out and started a movie, I went to start the popcorn, only to find we were out of oil. 😱

This left me with a few options; 1. Pile the kids in the car in the ninety nine degree heat and go to the store. 2. Tell them I couldn’t make popcorn and face the inevitable tantrums. 3. Figure something out.

I’d seen online that it was possible to make popcorn in the microwave, but I always assumed it was a “fail” waiting to happen. But heck, how bad could it be? So I looked it up online, found the ratio of popcorn to oil, made sure I could use olive oil, and tried it. And…. it worked! Not only that, it was really good! So much lighter than popping it in oil on the stove.

Instructions

  1. Pour 1/2 cup popcorn kernels, and 1 tablespoon oil (I used olive) into a paper bag. And sprinkle salt on to the kernels.
  2. Fold the top of the bag two or three times. You want to make sure the bag doesn’t open, but you also want to leave room in the bag for the kernels to pop. And don’t worry about trying to make the bag flat, like your typical microwave popcorn.
  3. Put the bag in the microwave standing up. Set the timer for three minutes on high heat. Stop the microwave when the popping slows down.
  4. Pour in a bowl and season as desired. Speaking of seasoning……

Honey Butter Popcorn

My son loves honey. I mean, really, really loves honey. He still has trouble saying “dada”, but ask him what he wants to eat and he’ll proudly say “honey” loud and clear.

I’m always trying to figure out things to do with honey. One afternoon, he was once again asking for honey, when I was reminded of the honey popcorn I’d seen at Disneyland way back in the day. Hmmmm.

I popped my popcorn in the microwave, melted 2 tablespoons honey with 2 tablespoons butter, and poured it on top. Then I salted generously.

Okay, I’m pretty much a purist when it comes to popcorn. Give me salt and butter or give me death. I am not a huge fan of kettle corn, it tastes like it can’t make up its mind. So I had low expectations for the honey butter. I figured it’d be a nice treat for the kids, but not so much my cup of tea.

Little did I know, put honey butter on popcorn and you have the popcorn equivalent of crack. I could not get enough. In fact, I immediately had to make a second batch.

FYI, 2 tablespoons each of honey and butter is a lot, and will generously cost your popcorn. Feel free to go with less, or less of one or the other. I like my popcorn well coated, and found that 2 tablespoons of each was pretty perfect.

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Easy Carbonara

Wow! It’s been a busy week! I had a birthday, a party, and a trip to the family cabin. It was fun, but not super conducive to writing, so it’s kind of nice to be back home, and back in the groove of things. And the week has given me so many things to write about! Yay!

Whenever we get to the cabin, I like to plan our meals up there. Getting to the grocery store is kind of a pain when we’re up there, as is trying to take lots of leftovers home with us, so the more I plan, the better it is. Of course, on our last night there I didn’t really have a plan for dinner besides “eat a lot so we don’t have to pack it tomorrow”.

Using what we had leftover from the week, I whipped up an easy and yummy carbonara. That’s why I love this pasta dish. It can be made from basically scraps, but it’s delicious and rather impressive. I used the last of the pack of bacon, a few eggs, and a quarter onion left from taco night, and voila! Pasta carbonara!

Ingredients

  • 1 LB pasta
  • 5 slices bacon, cut up
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 white onion, diced

Instructions

  1. Get your pasta going.
  2. Start frying your bacon in a large frying pan on medium high heat.
  3. While you’re waiting for your pasta to cook, and your bacon to crisp, whisk together your eggs and cheese in a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Dice your onion and add it to your bacon when the bacon is almost done cooking. Turn the heat down to medium to medium low heat so your onions don’t burn. I season my bacon and onion with pepper and garlic powder to give it some extra flavor. Feel free to do the same, or not. Up to you.
  5. When your bacon is crispy, and your onion translucent, remove it from the heat and drain the grease.
  6. When your pasta is finished cooking, drain the water and add the noodles to your bacon and onion. Mix until your noodles are evenly covered.
  7. Here’s the only slightly tricky part. Add the pasta to your egg and cheese mixture and stir quickly. You want to make sure to stir it right away so that you get a nice, creamy sauce and not scrambled eggs. But as far as tricky parts go, this one is pretty easy.
  8. You’re done! Garnish with a little extra cheese or pepper and serve with a nice salad, and you’ve got a yummy dinner and a cleaner fridge.

Mint Lemonade Recipe

I’m going to start off topic. I hate throwing yard sales. I do. I hate taking a bunch of stuff that I don’t want and trying to convince strangers that they should want it. The whole thing feels just slightly dishonest. And yet, I’m having a two day yard sale this weekend.

As much as I don’t enjoy yard sales, I do love getting my daughter involved with the whole process. When I told her we were having one, she immediately exclaimed that she wanted to sell lemonade and cookies. Awesome! Not only could she help me make the lemonade and cookies, she could be in charge of selling them, and, (bonus!) be otherwise occupied and therefor not pitch a fit when I sell her old stuff! Win, win, win!

I’ve been in love with mint lemonade since I tried it a few years back. The hint of mint somehow makes it about a zillion times more refreshing than regular lemonade. Here’s how we make it:

Ingredients

  • 6-8 good-sized mint leaves (more or less depending on how minty you like it)
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 6 lemon’s worth)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups water

Instructions

  1. Start by mixing the sugar and the lemon juice in a pitcher.
  2. Julienne (cut into tiny strips) the mint. Smash it, squish it, the more you abuse your mint, the better. IMG_1384
  3. Stir in the mint and water.

And that’s it! Simple right? A few things;

  1. I swear my lemonade tastes better after I leave it in the fridge over night.
  2. A lot of lemonade recipes say to create a simple syrup with your sugar and a half cup of your water. I’m sure it tastes even better this way, the reason I don’t do this is to keep it kid friendly.
  3. The cookies my daughter insisted we make are the Triple Chocolate Cookies from The Pioneer Woman.  And they are sooooooooooo good! We follow the recipe exactly, except we add white chocolate chips to make them Quadruple Chocolate. They are so chocolatey and chewy, I highly recommend them.

    IMG_1398
    Mmmmmm. Fresh mint. I feel mojitos in my future.

Well that’s everything. Let me know what you think of this recipe and if it works for you. And wish me luck at the yard sale!

 

 

Easy, 5 Ingredient, Slow Cooker Lasagna

Confession: I’ve always been intimidated by making lasagna. I don’t know, something about having to cook big old lasagna noodles, and then handle said cooked noodles made me nervous. So, despite thoroughly enjoying lasagna, I had never made one. That is, until I realized I could make it in my slow cooker! Huzzah!

After looking at some other recipes, and some good old-fashioned experimenting, I came up with this super easy, five ingredient lasagna that tastes even better than it looks.

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz package of uncooked lasagna noodle (not the oven ready ones)
  • 1 big thing (45 oz) of your favorite marinara (I like one with Italian sausage in it)
  • 1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups mozzarella cheese (separated)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

The secret to cooking a slow cooker lasagna is all in the sauce. Which I learned the hard way when my first lasagna came out with inedible crispy noodles. You’re using the sauce to cook your noodles and make them tender, so make sure all your noodles get a good covering of sauce. 🙂

  1. Mix together your ricotta, parmesan, and 3 cups of your mozzarella cheese together.
  2. Pour some sauce into the bottom of your slow cooker, covering the bottom. IMG_1069
  3. Layer your noodles on top of the sauce. Feel free to break them to make them fit.

    IMG_1073
    My eight year old sous chef helping me out.
  4. Use about a third of your cheese mixture to cover your noodles.

    IMG_1079
    Your cheese mixture will cover your noodles better than this. I’m not sure why I only snapped a picture halfway through this layer.
  5. Repeat, sauce, noodles, cheese mixture. You should have about three solid layers.
  6. After your last layer of cheese mixture, we’re going to mix it up a bit. Cover your cheese mixture with the last of your noodles.
  7. Cover the last of your noodles with the last of your sauce, making sure that your noodles are covered (so you don’t end up with crispy noodles like I did).
  8. Now cover that with the last cup of mozzarella. IMG_1080
  9. Cook on low for about 4-5 hours, depending on your slow cooker. I cook mine for four hours and it comes out a little crispy on the bottom and edges, which is perfect for my family. IMG_1084

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. Let me know in the comments how it works for you!