Ordinary? No, it’s Extraordinary…Peanuts in the Shell!

Every now and then, the little things I see or use every day suddenly appear unique and amazing. Today, it’s peanuts in the shell (or, “out” of the shell for eating!).Not that I don’t love peanuts out of a jar.Or out of a can.But there is something unique about cracking the peanut out of the shell.

I’ve never eaten a burger at Five Guys but I have certainly feasted on their peanuts in the shell. And, what’s more fun than eating peanuts at a baseball game?Staring at one peanut…after I’ve eaten a thousand over the years…got me thinking about how exactly they grow. If you click on this photo, you can learn a bit more about their growth process.Although it was interesting, I’m going to give my perpetual-student mind a break and merely enjoy how cool these little things are. Appreciating something so ordinary in our everyday cuisine is really quite extraordinary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ordinary? Nope, it’s Extraordinary – And, it’s National Popcorn Poppin’ Month!

God has given us some really cool things to enjoy. Even though I usually pass right by them because they appear ordinary, I’m trying to pay attention to how they are really quite extraordinary!

Today, it’s popcorn. Or, should I say, the kernel. Who thought to pull that tiny thing off the cob, let it dry, cook it and flavor it? It’s extraordinary.

When my youngest was an infant, she had this habit of waking up every night around 11pm screaming. She was about a year old and the pediatrician said it was normal, and that we should settle her down and let her fall back to sleep.

My baby went to sleep nightly at 7pm, but for a few months, it was literally every night she awoke at 11pm with a piercing cry that demanded our attention (lest we allow her to wake her twin toddler siblings in the next room).

Unable to calm her down by merely holding, rocking or walking, I did what all smart Moms do when they are so tired they can barely see straight: I turned on the television. Back in 1999, there was a popular unit called the VHS player and I inserted a Little People video that showed a farmer harvesting corn on the cob. But, the weather at the farm was so incredibly hot, the farmer watched in amusement as the corn fields began popping kernels by the thousands.My baby would suddenly catch her breath from the sobs, and stared at the popcorn video until it ended. She watched that same Little People popcorn video over and over and over for three months.

As the kids grew up, popcorn was a staple for my girls and me. My husband and son aren’t big fans, but us gals have multiple flavorings, tried a few air poppers over the years and also completely enjoy regular ‘ol butter and salt shaken in a bag – always cooked in a pot, not in a microwave.

Recently, I’ve been missing Saturday nights with my girls, the Hallmark channel and popcorn. Them being at college has ruined my interest in popping corn just for myself (sigh). But, recently I did pull out the kernels and oil to make a batch and stared at one little kernel for a long while. I mean, really, the popping process is extraordinary.I thought of all the popcorn we’ve stuffed ourselves with at the movies…I reminisced about the elementary years when popcorn was part of the Thanksgiving pilgrim skits, harvest season and Christmas decorations.

Ahhhh, but those days are long gone, as are the baby years (double-sigh).

October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month so here a few fun popcorn facts (courtesy of popcorn.org):

  • Americans consume some 13 billion quarts of popcorn annually!
  • There are 4 main types, but only one “pops”!
  • One kernel can pop up to 3 feet in the air! (That’s higher than our pet bunny leaps!)
  • There is no such thing as “hull-less” popcorn. All popcorn needs a hull in order to pop. (I was glad to learn this because I was considering purchasing the latest greatest “hull-less” popcorn options for sale out there.)
  • 2 Tablespoons of kernels = 1 quart popped.

Popcorn.org is a great site for additional information and neat things like free download popcorn coloring sheets!

Ghost Meringues

Happy Tuesday! Life has been beyond what most people call “busy” for my family lately. Endless sports, pre-game dinners, a string of family birthdays, homecoming events, working part time (while job hunting), and daily happenings have left no room for my favorite activity: writing. 😦 I’ve missed posting about all the mind-boggling feelings that accompany my teens driving, first dates, and oh, the drama friendships… so much has occurred in the first month of the school year, my head is spinning and I want off the ride! Somehow sharing on this small blog space makes me feel better. I hope to post again sometime soon.

In the meantime, here is an early idea for a Halloween treat. I make a similar meringue for Christmas that my family devours in a day (although it’s a bit different and perhaps I’ll post it over the holidays), but this one is straight from Food Network, courtesy of Sandra Lee.

Ghastly Meringues

3 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until frothy. Beat in the sugar; increase the mixer speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe 8 to 10 swirls on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until dry, 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let cool completely.

Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on 50 percent power until melted, about 1 minute, stirring halfway. Transfer the melted chocolate to a zip-top bag and snip a corner. Pipe the chocolate on the meringues to look like eyes.

Only makes 8-10, so double the recipe if you need more. Reviews for this recipe found HERE.

Drive-In Popcorn Mix!

Drive-In031HotDog

Tummy Tuesday is in honor of going to the Drive-In this weekend!  We are grateful that one, fun, Drive-In remains in our local area.  They recently renovated it to reflect the “old time” traditions and the kids love the experience.  As teenagers, they still think watching the hot dog jump into the bun is the neatest thing! Click the above  image to watch it!

popcorn6Ingredients:

32 ounces of popped popcorn;        1 lb. white or milk chocolate melting wafers;   1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts;      3/4 cup mini Reece’s Pieces;                              1/2 cup of M&Ms;   waxed paper;   Kosher salt

Directions:

Melt chocolate and pour over popcorn in a large mixing bowl. Stir to cover all popcorn.  This amount of chocolate provides a very heavy coating to the popcorn.  Add peanuts, Reece’s Pieces and M&Ms.  Coat all ingredients carefully.  Pour mixture onto waxed paper, spread mixture out into a single layer.  Sprinkle Kosher salt lightly over mix.  Once the chocolate hardens, break up, and place into a covered storage container, gift jars, or zip lock snack bags. Tips: add marshmallows, use peanut M&Ms or any other candy pieces. Delete nuts as needed for allergies.  Use red/green for Christmas; yellow/orange for Halloween (adding candy corn is yummy)!