Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

curried coconut popcornWednesday night was a pre-wedding potluck for some new/local friends. I made this Curried Coconut Popcorn as an appetizer for a potluck and people went gaga over it! This recipe will definitely be joining my regular repertoire of potluck contributions, it’s got that sweet, salty, crunchy thing going for it plus it’s vegan and gluten free. While I am neither vegan nor gluten free, I do have a lot of food allergies/sensitivities and like making things that everyone can eat.

Do you have a favorite home method for popping corn?  I use the paper bag in the  microwave method myself, but with 2 squirts of cooking spray (I use grape seed oil) instead of olive oil and rolling down/folding the top of the bag tightly instead of stapling it.

Curried Coconut Popcorn

3/4 c popping corn (I used 1/2 blue and 1/2 yellow corn)

cooking spray, if using the microwave method – see above

coconut oil, if using the stovetop method

3/4 c coconut chips, toasted

3/4 c raisins (dark or golden)

2 heaping Tbs coconut oil

3/4 tsp curry powder

3/4 tsp ginger powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 Tbl coconut sugar

1) Pop your popcorn using your favorite method*. Keep a large bowl on standby for mixing/serving the popcorn in.

2) You can lightly toast your coconut chips while making popcorn, if the chips are older a little spritz of cooking spray can help them be less chewy. I made a tinfoil tray and toasted mine in the toaster oven using the “light” toast setting.

3) In a small bowl (I used a 6 oz ramekin), melt your coconut oil for 10-15 seconds in the microwave, just to get it warm.

4) Add the seasonings (curry, ginger, salt, and sugar) to the coconut oil.

5) Put all the popcorn in a large bowl and pour the seasoned coconut oil over it, shake/stir to coat.

6) Add the raisins and coconut chips and shake to combine.

7) Let cool to room temp (about 10-15 min) and then keep covered until you’re ready to serve (no more than 2 hours).

*If you’re going the microwave route for this recipe, pop only 1/4 cup of popcorn at a time, and use a new paper bag for all three rounds.

Credit where credit is due: this recipe was inspired by Naturally Ella and A Pinch of Glitter.


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not my cake, but similar looking

Ben’s parents were in town over the long weekend. They stayed at his mom’s brother’s house, with his family, near the Tenlytown metro stop (not far from my aunt and uncle’s house). I’ll recap our tourist’s dream weekend later, for now I just wanted to share a link to the Quick Coffee Cake recipe I served when Ben’s parents and cousins came over for brunch on Sunday (his aunt and uncle went out of town for the weekend).

I’ve never tried making coffee cake before, but I learned, by reading recipes, that the gooey layer in coffee cake is often coffee soaked chopped dates! Who knew? No wonder I was never a fan of the goo, I usually love sweets and really like dates but I just don’t like coffee.

Time to bust out your tube pans (or 1/2 the recipe and make it in a 9×9″ square pan).

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We went out to visit my Gramma, in Solomon’s Island. The weather was BEAUTIFUL Sunday and Monday (low 70s and slightly breezy), so instead of spending the day in the car, we stopped at some wineries (nothing worth noting), and at the Cyprus Swamp visitor center and went on a nature walk – I adore nature walks with boardwalks. Then we went for dinner at CD Cafe, walked the boardwalk, and then went home to Gramma’s and tried to see the planets grouping. There were too many trees and her dock access pointed the wrong way, so we only saw what we think was Jupiter. Oh well, at least there were no mosquitos out yet!

Today we had a lazy brunch of cheese omelets (Ben is a GREAT cook!), toast, and apple slices. Then we raided Gramma’s bookshelves (she claims she’s trying to pare down her collection, but I saw the bag of new books by the front door), and set out for the Calvert Marine Museum and Lighthouse. It is SO much bigger than I remember as a kid. We didn’t get there until about 12:30 and then we met for lunch at 2 at Kim’s Key Lime Pies for another tasty meal in town before hurrying back to the museum for the 3 PM boarding of the Wm. B. Tennison cruise around the island! It was so nice to get out on the open water, and we almost had the boat to ourselves. I guess everyone had started heading home already at that point.

We’ll have to go back; there are entire buildings more of the museum to see, and we never did make it to visit my Gramma at Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, where she volunteers, more wineries to visit, and there’s a Railway Museum that I didn’t know existed!

Maybe we’ll become weekend [subsidized] people ;-)


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mmm, beer

For those who don’t know: Ben has been intermittently into 1 gallon home brewing. It’s awesome.

This is a public notice that I would like him to start home brewing again :)

Why I Became a 1-Gallon Homebrewer Beer Sessions | The Kitchn.

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for the first time ever, see the video here:


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This is not a big fluffy cake, this is a short, dense cake that does well with a tall glass of iced suntea and a wedge or lime, or a slushy margarita, or even a nice cuppa tea. Milk could theoretically be served with it as well, but that might be a dairy overload.

Just know that it won’t bake up much, so if you’re looking for a tall cake, make it in a smaller pan. I happen to like a short, dense pound cake that isn’t 4″ tall. This way I get to have two slice and think that they’re really just one.

Happy baking! This recipe was inspired by How Sweet Eats.


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Carrot (Bran) Muffins

Despite having 2 cups of crush bran cereal, these have just a hint of bran to them; the molasses, brown sugar, and cinnamon add enough spice to hide it. And the apple sauce and carrots make these a deliciously moist breakfast treat. Good “first time” muffins too, because they don’t tunnel (over stir) easily.

3 c AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking power
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbl cinnamon
2 c crumbled bran cereal flakes
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 c applesauce
1 c oil
1 1/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
3 c finely grated carrots (4 carrots, grated with a coarse microplane grater is perfect)
1 c currants

Heat oven to 350 F. Lube muffin tins or line them with paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together. Add crushed bran flakes.

In another large bowl (I used an 8 c measuring cup) combine beaten eggs, apple sauce, oil and brown sugar. Stir in carrots and currants.

Pour egg mixture over flour mixture and combine until just barely moist through the flour. There will still be some floury bran flakes, don’t worry about them.

Makes 24 normal size muffins.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotate tins in the oven 1/2 way through (just like tires!).

adapted from Muffins: Sweet & Savory Comfort Food

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