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Entries in popcorn (3)

Tuesday
Nov192013

Stove Top Popcorn

Stove Top Popcorn

Stove Top Popcorn has become a new staple in my kitchen this fall. After years of buying microwave popcorn, it took a bag of gifted popcorn kernels and a broken microwave to get me to turn to the stove. Though it was a last resort at the time, it is now my first choice when it comes to popping corn. Honestly, I don't know why it took me so long to discover the pleasure of stove top popcorn.

Popping popcorn on the stove is simple, takes about the same length of time as the microwave, and the taste is incomparable.

Stove Top Popcorn Stove Top Popcorn Stove Top Popcorn

When I was younger, visiting my grandparents on an overnight trip, my grandmother pulled out her largest soup pot to cook up a batch of popcorn. It was the first time I had watched someone make popcorn on the stove and I found the process utterly fascinating. The sputtering oil, the explosions of kernels, the unmistakably scent filling the air—there was something magical about it.

Perhaps that childhood "magic" is what carries over as we grow older. Though the science teacher in me could describe the scientific principles involved at length, theory never quite matches experiment. I still find wonder in cooking up a batch of stove top popcorn, delighting in each experience as if it were my first.

Stove Top Popcorn

In the winter months, when the world is cold and the glow of television feels warm, popcorn is a regular on the menu, often composing late night snacks and the occasional meal. While microwave popcorn can leave a waxy, unpleasant taste in my mouth when I near the end of the bag, stove top popcorn is never too greasy and is easy to customize.

The recipe I've shared with you is as basic as it comes. You can dress it up with melted butter and spices or, if you are a popcorn purist like me, leave it plain and enjoy it just the same.

Stove Top Popcorn

Stove Top Popcorn can be made in 3-4 minutes with only three ingredients. Popcorn kernels, a neutral oil, and a little salt are all you need for perfect popcorn. The oil is heated on the stove, the popcorn is added, and the heat is removed to allow all kernels to reach the same temperature. Once the pot is put back on the stove, the kernels pop quickly. In the dozen of batches I have made, I have never encountered more than 3-4 un-popped kernels. This recipe is easy and produces easily customizable results.

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Sunday
Dec182011

Candy Cane Popcorn

Candy Cane Popcorn Candy Cane Popcorn Candy Cane Popcorn

One of my neighbors really loves to go all out when lighting their home for the holidays. They don't just throw up a half dozen strings of light and call it good. Oh, certainly not. I can only believe they used the home from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation for inspiration and took the idea two (or ten) steps further. The home is truly a sight to behold. It puts my own house (and every other house in the neighborhood) to shame.

Fair warning: you may need sunglasses.

House of Lights House of Lights House of Lights House of Lights

Starting back in September, the family starts preparing the holiday lights. They begin building frames out of wood and pvc pipe to string with lights. Gradually over the weeks, more and more frames start popping up in the yard and, though the lights remain unlit, you can feel the festive storm begin to brew.

As Christmas approaches, the lights start to sparkle. Almost daily, the sheer amount of lights seem to double as the family rushes to get as many strings up as they can. The Chmielewski family truly expresses and wants to share the Christmas spirit with everyone they meet. They don't go through all of the months of work to set up the display just for themselves. Their wish is very simple. They just want to bring a little more holiday magic to everyone who takes a walk by their brightly lit home.

House of Lights House of Lights House of Lights House of Lights

What these photos don't show you: the lights are far brighter than my camera could ever capture, the flashing and flickering of lights on everything from the roof to the evergreen trees, the rotating Ferris wheel as it spins around carrying stuffed versions of our favorite holiday characters, the Christmas music singing loudly as it fills the air, the miniature bake shop selling everything from your favorite holiday cookies and bars to steaming cups of hot cocoa and warm hot dogs, a holly jolly Santa Claus greeting everyone who comes along to visit, and the friendly smiles and awe-struck faces of the small children walking through the sidewalk wonderland.

The home is perhaps the one and only home to ever feature three yeti (one of which is larger than life). It hosts half a dozen Kris Kringles and spans all holiday genres from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to The Little Drummer Boy. I love how the Bethlehem star not only guides the wise men to the multiple nativity scenes they have set up in the yard, but it brings in the holiday visitors from miles around as the star leads them to this special place. Is it garish? Certainly. But I can't deny it had me (and everyone else) smiling from ear to ear.

Candy Cane Popcorn

And my favorite part? They take donations for charity in a lovely, well-lit box. Upon first glance, I wondered if the charity might be their own electric bill but, after asking a few questions, I found out just the opposite. Last year the money they collected went to help local residents who can't quite afford to keep their own lights (and heat) on during the winter season.

I can't imagine a more fitting cause.

Candy Cane Popcorn Candy Cane Popcorn

This Candy Cane Popcorn snack mix is as addictive as it is colorful. Popcorn, by nature, has more protein than any other cereal grain, more iron than spinach, more phosphorous than pretzels, and almost as much fiber as bran flakes. It's a super food. By simply coating the popcorn with a drizzle of white and dark chocolate and a sprinkling of crushed candy canes, it turns the popcorn into a decadent tasting sweet that's good for you at the same time! This is the ideal 100 calorie snack to zap your chocolate cravings without indulging in something you may regret later. It's also a perfect dish to bring to parties!

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Wednesday
Mar092011

Italian Breadstick Popcorn

Italian Breadstick Popcorn

Did you know that popcorn has more protein than any other cereal grain, more iron than spinach, more phosphorous than pretzels, and almost as much fiber as bran flakes? Yeah, me neither. I already knew that popcorn was a healthy snack choice to make because it so low in calories, but wow! With impressive credentials like that, I am beginning to think I should eat popcorn more often.

Like, every single day.

Italian Breadstick Popcorn

I recently starting making my own popcorn on the stove top and it has made quite the difference. The popcorn tastes so much fresher (and I never have old maids left over). I can adjust the salt and oil content myself, which gives me the power to control my popcorn's destiny.

If you haven't tried cooking stove top popcorn, I suggest you give it a shot. I use the Whirley Pop which hasn't made me a bad batch yet. I recommend it if you are in the market for a popcorn popper (and no, I'm not be bribed to say this). It works well for me; I have no reason to believe it won't work well for you.

Italian Breadstick Popcorn

This popcorn is incredibly addictive. Popcorn on its own can be addictive but these seasonings take it to a new level. The basil brings out the Italian flavor and the garlic salt makes the popcorn reminiscent of a good breadstick. Each kernel manages to pack a punch of flavor without adding extra calories from butter, caramel, or other toppings. If you are looking for a way to spice up your popcorn, you should give this a shot. You won't be disappointed.

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