Archive for October, 2011

My Favorite Snack Recipe

October 5th, 2011 No comments

I’m seriously in love with the caramel popcorn that Dore and I have been making lately. Like call-Dr-Drew-I-may-have-to-enter-rehab in love. I mean, sit me down in front of a bowl of this popcorn and it will be demolished. This stuff is that good. And the best part? It’s dead simple to make; Dore and I don’t bat an eye at throwing together a batch during a quick movie intermission.

So here’s the recipe:

3 tbsp vegetable oil (or any other high smoke point oil)
1/3 cup popping corn
3 tbsp sugar

1. Add oil and popping corn to a medium (3 qt) saucepan over medium-high heat (which, in every apartment I’ve lived in means about as high as you’ve got)

2. Sprinkle sugar and a pinch of salt over top. Shake the pan gently to settle the sugar down into the oil between the kernels.

3. Cover the pan and let sit until the first kernels start to pop (about a minute)

4. Shake the pan a bit as the kernels start to pop in earnest to ensure even heating (and thus full popping).

5. Once popping dies down, quickly transfer popcorn to a large bowl (careful: the caramel is REALLY hot and sticky at this stage). Sprinkle with a bit more salt and toss gently to mix. If you want, add a drizzle of melted butter (although I actually prefer to skip butter here) and enjoy.

The popcorn should be nice and crunchy, with a nice light caramel flavor and a hint of saltiness.

Easy, right? The biggest problem you’re likely to face is not having enough. Good thing another batch is just a couple of minutes away…

P.S. If you make an extra batch the night before, you can keep the popcorn in a sealed plastic bag for lunches or afternoon snacks the next day. Talk about envy at the office. 🙂

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Weekend Hijinx

October 3rd, 2011 No comments

Dore and I had a fun, but really tiring weekend. On Saturday, we went out to Magic Mountain with our neighbors, Ryan and Adrienne. He works at Google, and they were doing a private party that let us get into the park for a reduced rate and stay until midnight.

What none of us knew is that Magic Mountain’s definition of “private” is pretty loose. This party felt private in the same way a celebrity sex tape is private. As in, not very.

But the crowds did die down from horrendous to only mildly atrocious, so that was something. Still, waiting in line for 30 minutes — no matter how good the ride — just doesn’t seem like a good use of my time anymore. In part it may be that I have outgrown the excitement of roller coasters (it’s hard for me to get scared when I know how much safety factor is built into the system). But I also think  that traveling has made me realize that, while the thrills may not be quite as great, you can have more fun hour after hour just cruising around a town popping into various attractions, talking to people, and getting delicious tastes of everything in sight. On the whole it’s usually cheaper, too.

But despite my premature descent into curmudgeondom we did actually have a really fun time. Dore and I finally ran out of energy about 11pm, and headed home and to bed.

We slept in nice and late on Sunday. We lazed about the house for a while, and then decided to go on a small outing to the library. We took the bus down, which I’m finding to be a pretty decent form of transportation, if seemingly always a few minutes late.

When we got down to downtown Santa Monica, we took a detour to find lunch. We ended up finding a really nice cafe that had great sandwiches and even offered gluten-free bread, which was really nice for Dore. (We’re actually finding that Dore’s being on a gluten-free diet is relatively easy to deal with, even at restaurants. Still, it is nice to find accommodations sometimes.)

After lunch we finished our trip out to the library. Dore hadn’t been there yet, so it was fun to show here around. I eventually drifted up to the photography section, and Dore looked at some craft and health books.

We had planned to visit the craft store after the library, but we both ended up being so tired from the previous day that we decided to head back. Just in time, too. I was nearly exhausted by the time we got back. A big glass of water and some tea perked me up, though, so we decided to go on one last adventure for the day: a trip to the animal shelter.

Recently, we’ve been kicking around the idea of getting another cat to keep Mochi company, but aren’t sure whether we want to take that on right now. But we figured that at least we can always go hang out with the kitties for a while, just to see if there’s an offer we can’t refuse!

We ran into a couple of pretty adorable cats at the shelter, which seemed to be really well run. All of the staff were super nice, and the cats seem to be living pretty comfortably. It was a bit sad to see how many had been living there for a long time, though. The shelter we visited was a no-kill shelter, which I guess means that the cats pretty much just live there until they get adopted, so at least some of them had been there for several years or more.

You can see a few pictures of our favorites (with notes in the captions) on my Google+ stream.

When we finally made it back I was definitely ready to relax. We heated up some leftover gumbo for dinner, watched some TV, and went to bed.

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