I forget what started me making homemade popcorn… it was either that I wanted to avoid all the icky things in the microwave popcorn bags or that I realized it was much less expensive and that was good for my college budget and Law and Order: SVU – watching. I had a special pink bowl for popcorn munching while studying and watching reruns since other time-wasters like Facebook were still only a way to swap notes or get homework assignments for Calculus 3. At least I think that’s how it happened.
Everyone’s popcorn story starts differently, and then one morning you wake up, and you realize you’ve left the safety of college and are now a grown adult in the “real world”, whatever that is, and you wonder if maybe your popcorn shouldn’t grow up with you. You might sigh, because you don’t really want to be an adult. Unless making this popcorn recipe is a sign of being an adult at which point adulthood is now awesome. 1,000 imaginary bonus points for you if you eat popcorn after ice cream for dinner, also a perk of adulthood.
There’s just something very grown up about fresh rosemary and asiago cheese. It sounds like the kind of combination one would find served in a place with leather bound books on the shelf, only in reality it’s not that stuffy, and it’s definitely not just a flavor combination enjoyed by adults. I took a batch of this popcorn to share with friends at the last 4th of July fireworks show we attended and it was equally enjoyed by old and young alike.
There are two ways to make your popcorn. For stovetop cooking see step 2, for microwave cooking see step 3.
Stovetop method: Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan with a lid over medium high heat. Pour in the popcorn kernels, cover the pan, and shake to coat the kernels in oil. Keep the pan covered and over the flame, shaking regularly, until the popcorn has popped.
Microwave method: Pour ¼ popcorn into a brown paper bag and fold the top shut twice. Set the microwave for 3 minutes on high, and stop when the popping slows to 4-5 seconds between pops.
Immediately place the popcorn in a large bowl with a lid and pour over the olive oil, asiago cheese, and rosemary. Cover the popcorn and shake well for 5-10 seconds to ensure the seasonings are well distributed.
Taste the popcorn, add salt if desired, shake again briefly. Test salt again if needed. Enjoy!
You may either make this recipe on the stovetop, at which point you'll need the oil, or you may use a handy dandy brown paper lunch sack and just use the microwave.
This recipe for the ultimate baked macaroni and cheese updated March 2016 as part of the #ThrowbackThursday photography series in which I add better photos to already delicious recipes!
I grew up on blue box macaroni and cheese. Not that we ate it very frequently, because we didn’t, but it was the only kind of macaroni and cheese I remember eating. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when one is trying to remove processed foods from their diet, that’s one of the first things that has to go and after a while, it doesn’t even taste good anyway. (more…)
When I’m planning a party and I need a variety of different appetizers, I want to keep things simple and one of the best ways I’ve found to do that is to create a few easy variations based on one common ingredient. Back when we lived in Georgia, I learned one could bake wonton wrappers to make healthier “chips”. They weren’t very satisfying as chips, but I adored how perfect they were to as a base for toppings to make perfect little appetizers. They immediately became one of my secrets for easy entertaining.
I made all three of the appetizers I’m going to share with you today: turkey banh mi cups, baked brie bites, and cream cheese chive wontons, in just under 30 minutes start to finish. Bam! Party entertaining made simple.
If you don’t have 30 minutes or don’t need to make three different options, the Brie Bites are ready in 12 minutes – 2 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to bake. So easy, but they look so pretty and are the perfect size for munching while mingling.
And if you’re really in a bind, or you don’t like Brie, bake the cups just like I do for the banh mi bites and fill with your favorite filling. Some of my favorite alternatives:
Hummus with a shred of roasted red pepper or sprinkle of paprika
Spinach dip – bake with the cups if you want to serve hot or spoon in later to serve cold
Taco bites – layer your favorite taco seasonings in each cup
Fresh strawberries with a drizzle of chocolate or condensed milk
Find what makes you happy and go with it! I’ve separated the recipes so you can see them more easily. The do chua (pickled vegetables) for the banh mi can be made ahead, and you can wrap the cream cheese chive bites up to a day ahead and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to bake.
Wishing you happy and stress-free holiday entertaining!
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced into 24 pieces
¼ c mayonnaise
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Spray a nonstick mini-muffin tin with nonstick spray. Gently place the wonton wrappers in the wells and spray again. Bake for 9-10 minutes until the cups are golden brown.
While the cups are baking, mix the turkey and soy sauce in a skillet over medium heat and cook thoroughly, stirring to break up the meat well.
When the cups are done baking, remove from the oven and allow to set for two minutes.
To fill the cups, layer with the turkey, vegetables, cilantro, a drizzle of mayo, and top with a sliver of jalapeno.
*I made the pickled vegetables in advance for use in sandwiches. I decreased the amount of sugar in the Viet World recipe by ¼. You may be able to find some pickled vegetables locally as well. If you don't, you can just replace this with shredded carrots for the appetizers. **You may replace the fish sauce with an additional tsp of soy sauce.
Preheat the oven to 375F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the chives with the softened cream cheese.
Take a wonton wrapper, place about 1.5 tsp of the filling in the center. wet the edges and fold two opposing corners together to make a triangle. Leave as is or bring the two corners at the base of the triangle together. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat until you've made all the wontons. Spray the finished wontons with nonstick spray (canola oil) or lightly brush with avocado or vegetable oil.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until the wontons are lightly golden and crispy.
This post for smoked cheddar candied jalapeno cornbread updated March 2016 as part of the #ThrowbackThursday photography project where I add better photos to already delicious recipes!
I got a new toy! After years of wanting a cast iron skillet and for some unknown reason, not actually purchasing one, I have my very own! Actually, it’s not quite my very own as I plan to pick up at least one more soon so I can gift one to Princess A when she’s all grown up and has her own kitchen. I want her first piece of cast iron to be familiar, seasoned with a lifetime of love and happy memories, a way for her to feel we are near even if she travels far. That way she’ll only have to step into her kitchen to be “home” again. (more…)
Can you be BFFs with a website? Because I think my BFFN (best friend for now) social media website has to be Pinterest. I thought it was Instagram (and I still love my picture feed), but Pinterest is my favorite way to pass a few minutes before bed each day looking at pretty pictures, planning my dream closet, getting ideas for our next home, discovering recipes, it’s a wealth of inspiration!
As with all friendships though, one must be realistic. I know you aren’t perfect Pinterest, and that’s okay. I will never be able to get my nails to look as lovely as the tutorial examples filling your pages, and I know better than to try some of the “there is no way this is as easy as it looks” DIY ideas waiting to go wrong, but I was drawn to your promise of crockpot bread. That, and I had some bread flour I needed to finish using before we began our road trip. I swore this was going to be a Pinterest Fail (and a likely submission to this Pinterest Fail blog), but IT WORKED!
Not only did it work once, I made it AGAIN, and it worked that time too! And then I found out that the bread blog that held the original link to the inspiration recipe not only had one crock pot bread recipe, but an entire section in a cookbook devoted to bread in the slow cooker. So my guaranteed “I can play with this recipe as much as I want because it’ll never work” Pinterest fail turned into a pretty impressive success. Yay me. And soon yay you.
Place the warm water, sugar, and yeast into a large bowl and allow to bloom for 5-10 minutes until the mixture bubbles.
Add the salt. Mix in one cup of the flour, then add half a cup of the asiago cheese and the rosemary, then a second cup of flour, then the rest of the asiago, and then the last cup of flour.
Mix just until the dough is wet, you don't want to over-mix the bread! Add water if needed to make sure all the dough is wet. It is a sticky dough.
Allow to rise for about two hours, or until doubled in volume. This rise can also be accomplished overnight in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to bake, cut a sheet of parchment paper large enough to fit into your crock pot and sprinkle with flour to prevent the bread from sticking.
Flour your hands and gently lift the bread out of the bowl, shape carefully into a round and place on your parchment paper.
Lift the entire sheet of parchment paper into your crockpot, top with the remaining cheese and rosemary then allow to bake for either 3-4 hours on high, or 7-8 hours on low. The sides will be golden and the top will be lightly firm when the bread is done. If you'd like the nice brown color on the asiago cheese topping, use a kitchen torch or your broiler for a few minutes to heat the top of the bread.
Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.