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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Spiced Blueberry Pancakes with Butter Pecan Syrup

Anytime we go up to the family cabin outside of Durango, we always have to stop at Honeyville! We’ve been going there since it was a tiny shop, about the size of our living room, and before they expanded not only their location, but also their selection.

We love this place! Everything I’ve ever had there is delicious and everyone who works there is incredibly friendly. Even better? Samples! You can try their whipped honey, jams, syrups, and if you’re 21 or older, their wines and spirits.

When we were there last week I tried their butter pecan syrup and immediately knew I needed to bring some home. When I was purchasing it, the very sweet young woman saw what I was getting and got excited. “What are you going to put it on? I’m always looking for new ideas for that one!”

Hmmm, what was I going to put it on? Well first I put it on good old fashioned pancakes. And it was good, don’t get me wrong, but it was a lot of sweet. What it needed was something a little tart (blueberries?) and some warm spices (cinnamon and nutmeg?) to balance the delicious sweetness of the syrup.

So I added blueberries, cinnamon and nutmeg to my faithful pancake recipe and the results were…. soooooo good!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons cooled melted butter
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Butter pecan syrup (might I recommend Honeyville’s?)

Directions

  1. Mix all of your dry ingredients together.
  2. Add your milk, egg and melted butter, and mix until incorporated.
  3. Gently stir in your blueberries.
  4. Cook on a hot griddle or frying pan.
  5. Top with butter pecan syrup and enjoy!

I hope you like these pancakes. And if you need some helpful hints on cooking a perfect pancake, start here.

Copycat Dole Whip!

Happy National Ice Cream Day! Let’s celebrate with one of my favorite treats! And while it’s technically not ice cream, it’s cold, creamy and refreshing. And a fairly decent replica of my absolute FAVORITE Disney Park treat. And lord knows I like a lot of Disney treats.

Now, for those who aren’t familiar, a Dole Whip is a pineapple soft serve treat. You can get them at Adventureland in Disneyland and The Magic Kingdom, as well as several other spots in Disney World. Some places you can get it swirled with vanilla ice cream, some places you can get it with a shot of coconut rum. My favorite way to have it is as a float. Pineapple soft serve with pineapple juice. It is sooooo refreshing after a hot day riding rollercoasters and getting your picture taken with Mickey.

And, as it turns out, it’s really easy to replicate it at home! So if getting to one of the parks isn’t in your foreseeable future, don’t be too sad, at least you can snack as if you were there.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup milk (any kind, I use almond)

Instructions

All you need to do is put your frozen pineapple chunks and milk into your food processor and turn it on. The hardest part is being patient while your food processor turns those frozen chunks into the perfect soft serve consistency, which usually takes me about five minutes and several breaks where I smush it down to get rid of all the chunks.

The only problem with these is that they don’t photograph well, but believe me, they taste yummy! And it’s a fairly healthy treat since it’s nothing but pineapple and milk. Let me know what you think!

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.

“Oh My God, I Actually Like Brussel Sprouts!” Recipe

Ok, so I’m trying to make healthier choices in my life. Exercise on a regular basis, eat better, etc. Surprisingly, one of the easiest changes I’ve made has been adding in lots and lots of green veggies. Turns out I’m not half bad at cooking veggies. At least, I’m not half bad after some serious trial and error.

The veggie I’m most proud of is the humble Brussel sprout. Because who knew they could taste so good? Also proud because I had to eat a lot of not so tasty Brussel sprouts before figuring out how to cook them the way I like them. My mom loves Brussel sprouts, and she throws a huge thing of whole sprouts in the oven, sprinkled with balsamic, salt and pepper and they taste great! When I tried to copy it they never cooked all the way through.

Then I tried making Brussel sprout chips after seeing them online. These too didn’t turn out for me. I don’t have the best knife skills so they cooked unevenly.

Undaunted, I decided to give up on the oven and the idea that my family will ever eat Brussel sprouts with me. So the following recipe is for a single serving.

Ingredients

  • 5-6 decent sized Brussel sprouts
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • garlic salt
  • lemon pepper

Instructions

  1. Halve or quarter the Brussel sprouts depending on how big they are and how quickly you want them to cook
  2. Warm up a medium frying to medium high heat
  3. Throw in your sprouts with some olive oil (I use about 1 teaspoon) and lemon juice (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  4. Season them with garlic salt and lemon pepper.
  5. Cover them for about two minutes, or until the sprouts are bright green.
  6. Uncover and continue to cook until they are as crispy and brown as you like them.

**** I always break my sprouts apart while I cook them. Not only do they cook faster, but the little “leaves” of the sprouts turn into crispy little Brussel sprout chips.****

The acidity of the lemon juice really makes these pop. And getting them nice and crispy makes me pine less for potato chips. They are also super filling without a lot of calories. In conclusion; Brussel sprouts for the win!

 

 

 

Pancakes For Beginners

This is not the recipe for the best pancakes you will ever eat (at least I kind of hope not), this is a basic recipe and more importantly, some simple tips for cooking pancakes. This is for people who curse at their griddles and can’t figure out why their pancakes never work. This is for people who have all but given up. 😉

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter (melt it before you start mixing your ingredients so it cools slightly)

Instructions

  1. Mix your dry ingredients.
  2. Add your wet ingredients, making sure to not over stir your batter.

Cooking Your Pancakes

  • Get your griddle or non stick frying pan to the right temperature. I put mine on a little over medium heat and let it warm up while I make my batter. ***Test your griddle or pan to make sure it’s the right temperature by splashing just a little bit of water on it. If the water droplets “dance” on the pan it’s a good heat for cooking pancakes. If the water evaporates right away, the pan is too hot. ***
  • I spray my pan with cooking spray right before I drop the batter in the pan because my “non stick” frying pan has a tendency to stick. If your pan or griddle is better than mine, feel free to skip this step.
  • Drop some batter into the pan. The smaller the pancake, the easier to flip and the faster it’ll cook, so if you struggle with pancakes, you might want to start with silver dollar size.
  • *** Don’t try to flip your pancake too soon. Wait until your pancake starts to “bubble” before you flip it. 

    IMG_2370
    Bubbles and my sticky non-stick pan.
  • *** Don’t smush your pancakes once you flip them. It’ll make them dense, aka, like hockey pucks.*** Let them cook on the other side for about two minutes and you should hopefully have some pretty decent pancakes.

I hope these tips and tricks help you impress your family with a delicious pancake breakfast. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Sopapilla Recipe

Fun story, when I was pregnant the first time I was nauseous for roughly the first five and a half months. It wasn’t fun. One day I woke up with an intense craving for sopapillas, so I went out for lunch with my mom and future mother in law. I asked the incredibly kind waitress for extra sopapillas and she delivered. I explained that it was the first time food tasted good in months, and she brought me more. When we paid the check, she brought me a to go box filled with even more sopapillas! I burst into tears, because I was so touched, and because pregnancy hormones are fun.

Unless you are from New Mexico, you might not know what a sopapilla is. My spell checker has apparently never heard of them either. Well guys, I’m about to blow your mind. This recipe is insanely easy to make, and sopapillas are so versatile you could eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. Sopapillas are puffy fried dough. Think funnel cake but not necessarily sweet and puffier. Or a Chalupa shell but again, puffier. The word, sopapilla, roughly translates to “little pillow”, so, puffy. 😉

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Mix the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the oil and water.
  3. Mix with a fork or your hands until the dough is uniform. It should be wet enough to not flake apart, but dry enough to not stick to your hands. IMG_1846
  4. Cover the dough and leave it to set for at least one hour. *In my experience, the longer I leave my dough alone, the better it puffs up when frying. I tend to make my dough in the morning, put it in the fridge, and fry it up for dinner.*
  5. Heat up your oil for frying. The deeper the oil, the puffier the sopapilla, so use a deep fryer, or the deepest frying pan you have.
  6. While the oil is heating, it’s time to roll out your sopapillas. Flour your surface, and grab a small (like 1 inch in diameter) ball of the dough. Roll it in the flour a little bit to make it easier to roll out.
  7. Roll it out nice and thin, about 1/8 of an inch.
  8. When your oil is ready (375°F) fry those puppies up. I find it works best to fry one at a time. IMG_1853

Sopapillas are best eaten immediately, not that you’re going to want to wait. And they really are super versatile! Because they are essentially little pillows of fried dough, they are great for stuffing! So stuff them with eggs, hash browns and bacon for breakfast, or beans, rice and meat for lunch or dinner. Pair them with some vanilla ice cream and cinnamon sugar and you’ve got dessert. Or just drizzle some honey on them.

Enjoy! IMG_1859