Friday, July 26, 2013

[what's cookin'] Family Movie Night means POPCORN FOR DINNER!

Leftovers, anyone? How about a beer?

When my eldest was younger, we often designated Friday evenings as “Family Movie Night.”  Now that Declan is getting older, I have brought back our movie-watching nights.  He is still a touch too young for it, not usually sitting through the entire film (though animated or “puppeted/Muppeted” features fare better), but it gives all a night to come together and have fun.  

Taylor, my eldest, is always invited, of course, but being a young woman with different priorities, she is absent from the festivities from time to time.  (I could write a whole post on how watching children become highly independent adults is both heartbreaking and wonderful.  I miss that kid like crazy, but she needs to have the freedom to make her own choices about how she spends her free time.  But I digress.)

Recently, I heard about the idea of Popcorn-for-Dinner.  I think that it’s a great idea for Family Movie Nights.  Everyone can forage for leftovers, or make their own quick meal.  I whip up a few batches of my famous (and addicting) popcorn.  And we all graze while snuggled on the couch watching a movie.  It’s pretty perfect, actually.  (And Declan WILL sit for a long period of time if the popcorn bowl is in his lap.  He is a fiend for popcorn.)

Here’s my recipe for amazingly good popcorn at home.  I do not usually measure the ingredients, choosing to season to taste, but these measurements are a good starting point.  Obviously feel free to adjust proportions to your tastes.  Enjoy!

Lily’s Omnom-popcorn

6 cups of prepared quality popcorn*
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (I use an oil sprayer)
2-3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (Bob’s Red Mill brand is widely available, not to be confused with brewer’s yeast)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Garlic powder, optional

*I use an old-fashioned, crank operated, stove-top oil popper.  I provides the tastiest popcorn I’ve ever enjoyed.  I pop mine with about two tablespoons of Earth Balance spread or high-quality butter.  If i’m feeling particularly fancy, I add a splash of truffle oil.

In a large bowl, toss popcorn with olive oil.  I use a sprayer and spray the top, toss the popcorn, spray the top, toss the popcorn, repeat until the popcorn has a light coating of oil.  Sprinkle nutritional yeast and toss until evenly distributed through the bowl.  Add salt and, if desired, a shake or two of garlic powder.  Eat immediately for best flavor.

Do you have any weekly/monthly family traditions?  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

[in stitches] A Casual Shirt for My Fella

New shirt!
A few weeks ago it was so uncomfortably warm that the idea of cooking dinner brought on fears of combusting from the heat.  Our solution was to dine out at an air conditioned restaurant.  The second time that went out, I noticed my husband was wearing the same shirt as before.

"It's the only nice, comfortably shirt that I have," he explained.

He does have a few nicer-looking button-up shirts, but they're mostly polyester.  The shirt he was wearing was 100% linen, the perfect choice for a hot day.

When we returned home after dinner, I began to look up possible shirt patterns for him.  I wanted a short-sleeve, button-front shirt with a collar, preferably with a yoke, too.  Vogue had exactly what I needed!

The next day, I headed to my local fabric store.  My husband wanted linen (which I can get inexpensively at LA's fabric district), but I thought I'd see what was available nearby.  I found two good 100% cotton options; a tiki print in blues and browns, and a red plaid.  I bought both.

The pattern recommended no obvious diagonals, so I purchased more of the tiki print than recommended.  Really the only issues were the yoke and collar, but the extra fabric allowed me to cut them on the cross grain to keep the pattern upright.
His "catalog" pose

The pattern and instructions were pretty straight-forward.  The project worked up quickly and easily. I was able to do everything by machine, too; including the buttons.

My husband loves the new shirt and claims it to be very comfortable.

While I've started the red plaid shirt, I haven't found time yet to finish it.  

Thursday, July 4, 2013

[what's cookin'] I think I can?

I have had moderate success with refrigerator pickling.  But I’ve yet to really dive into full on canning.  My new favorite blog, though, has me wanting to give it a try.  I’ve got a few glass jars. I’ve got a few canning tools. I can boil water.  So, what’s holding me back?

Well, for starters, I’m not a big jam-eater.  I confess, I have a mild repulsion to hot fruit.  Okay, more accurately to hot berries.  Apples, pears, peaches are all perfectly fine for pies, but for the love of all that is pure and good--berries should never be heated.  They become a slimy ichor of yuck.  I shudder just thinking about it.  Granted, I am touch more forgiving of jams are they are usually enjoyed fresh from the ‘fridge, but our haus seems to be quite fine without stocking any spreadable fruit.

Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t can jams.  But I’ve yet to encounter any other canned food that leaves me salivating.  (Not that I’ve been looking too hard, mind you.)

So, do you can?  What are some of your favorite recipes?  Are any of the beginner-friendly?


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