Cinnamon Popcorn

 I grew up making homemade popcorn with my family for our weekend movie nights.  
My brothers and I had a very precise, two-man (kid) technique to pouring the melted butter over the freshly popped kernels (a dangerous mission if you ask me).

Man #1= the butter pourer
Man #2= the bowl spinner

..and Man #3 (a.k.a. my mom)...the rescuer, who always came to sprinkle the right amount of salt on and mix it all up perfectly and make the chaotic, popcorn-butter mess right again.

It was always such a treat to lay out the green picnic blanket in the family room, 
where we chomped on popcorn out of the designated orange "popcorn bowl," 
sipped homemade milkshakes--my dad's specialty--
and watched some quality Disney.

Always done in jammies, of course, and on Saturday nights, with sponge curlers in my hair for church the next day.
What more could a little girl ask for?  It was perfect.

Needless to say, homemade popcorn holds a place in my heart.
So when our neighbors gave us a Whirley-Pop Popcorn Maker for a wedding gift,
it was love at first sight.

Between me and the Whirley-Pop, I mean.
(you already know of the undying love between me and the boy next door :)

(This is now our designated popcorn bowl :)

Anyway, this recipe put our Whirley-Pop to good use...I think I am finally in the acceptance stage of the grieving process in my farewell to summer,
so I am now welcoming--even embracing--all things warm and cinnamon-y.

"Bring it on.
(Name that Disney movie...here's a little hint.)

Cinnamon Popcorn
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen
6 servings
10 cups popped popcorn (about 6 tablespoons unpopped kernels)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 pinches salt, to taste

Pour popped popcorn into a large bowl and set aside.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, sugar, and cinnamon and stir until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.
Slowly pour mixture over popcorn and stir, using above two-man technique.  :)  Sprinkle on a couple pinches of salt, to taste.  Transfer popcorn to a large baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until crispy.
Cool before serving.


Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

I am desperately holding on to summer.

After such a horrendous, record-breaking, housebound winter...
followed by a cold, rainy spring...

I just haven't fully recovered yet.
(Yes, I'm being dramatic...but winter is dramatic too, which is why we don't get along.
Opposites attract, right?)

Anyway, I found myself panicking this morning when I woke up to not only a cold house, 
but also a baby with a cold. :(
(Summer, are you really leaving me?)

So, to aid me in my grief as I hesitantly bid summer farewell, 
I'm sharing a delightful summer recipe I made on a recent family visit.

...So speaking of opposites, let's talk sweet strawberries and, well, sour sour cream.
A((n) opposite) match made in heaven.

It's definitely rich,
so only a few dainty bites are needed to satisfy even the greatest of ice cream desires.

On second thought, my dad was able to have several not-so-dainty bites...
but he is the exception.  :)
(Love you, Dad.)

Summer, I miss you already.

Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
Makes about 1 1/4 quarts

1 lb fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, & sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Combine strawberries & sugar in a bowl and stir until the sugar begins to dissolve.  Cover and let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

In a blender or food processor, pulse the strawberries (and their liquid) with the sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon juice until almost smooth but still chunky.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, then freeze in ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.


Homemade Cocoa Brownies

Rich.  Fudgy.  Simple.  Chocolate.  Brownies.

I recently brought these to a baby shower and they were loved.
I was nervous when I first took them out of the oven because they looked cake-y (you might as well make cake instead of make cake-y brownies...according to me). 

But no, they were rich and fudgy.  Just how brownies should be.

Homemade Cocoa Brownies
From Tasty Kitchen
9 servings (pictured is a halved recipe in a mini pan)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup white flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 cup chocolate chips (or less)

Cream butter and sugar together.  Beat in eggs & vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips.
Spread batter into a lightly greased 8 or 9-inch baking dish.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Let cool before serving.


Summer Squash Bake

*Side note:  I just made crispy yam & black bean burritos the other day and served them with plain yogurt and mango salsa...and...let me tell you, it was divine!

you may have noticed that most of what I make is meatless.

 this squash-bacon-cheese dish is a MUST-HAVE for me every summer.
At least once.
Lucky enough for me, my mom made it when we visited this summer (thanks, Mom!)

I told her I could live on this stuff.

That is, until I die of overconsumption of bacon.

A diagnosis I didn't learn in nursing school,
what a way to go.

I literally buy bacon once or twice...maybe three times a year...and this recipe indubitably makes it onto the reasons-to-buy-bacon list.

I've loved that word, indubitably, ever since I learned it from Schoolhouse Grammar Rock (watch it and it'll be the best three minutes of your life).

Lolly, lolly, lolly get your adverbs here...

Anybody with me?

Summer Squash Bake
From my mother
6 side dish servings

8 cups sliced yellow summer squash
6 slices bacon
1 onion, chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp chicken bouillon

Cook sliced squash in large pot until fork-tender; drain.  Meanwhile, cook bacon until crispy.  Remove bacon from pan, add chopped onion to bacon drippings, and cook onion until soft.  Roughly chop or crumble bacon into pieces (about 1/2-inch pieces).

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add rest of ingredients, including the bacon pieces and cooked onion.  Add the cooked & drained squash.

Bake in a casserole dish (2-quart size) at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.


No-Yeast Pizza Dough with Whole Wheat

Long name for a simple recipe.

Amidst my awkward we're-moving-so-use-up-what-we-have-in-our-cupboards stage a couple weeks ago, I found myself with all of the essential pizza ingredients...except for yeast.
My favorite whole-wheat pizza crust recipe calls for yeast, but I didn't have time to run to the store.

So, after googling around a bit, I found a recipe on cooks.com and adapted it to my liking.
This recipe provides more of a soft, bread-y crust, rather than a thinner, crispier crust.

Given the choice, I would choose my yeast recipe over this, BUT, if I find myself in another
pizza-craving, hopeless, yeast-less circumstance,
this will be my go-to!

Make this crust for a yummy Zucchini Pesto Pizza!

(If you're more of a soft-crust fan, this may end up being your favorite.  To each his own.:)
*This is my most popular recipe!  Let me know how you like it!

No Yeast Pizza Dough with Whole Wheat
Makes 1 pizza crust
Inspired by Cooks.com

1 1/2 cups regular whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and knead by hand in bowl for about 2 minutes. Place onto baking sheet and press out into desired shape (thinner crust works better for this recipe). Bake for 5-10 minutes (depending on how thick it is). Take it out, add sauce and toppings, then bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until toppings are cooked and edges of crust are lightly browned.
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