Tag Archives: popcorn

Weekly Eating – 2/18/19



Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!



Over the weekend I had many adventures, mostly food related of course. I pickled some carrots, cauliflower, and beets. They turned out pretty great. I had a food tour on Saturday that was super fun, everyone was very talkative and there for a good time.

Durham Food Tour

I finally got my egg incubator! That meant that I got to put 14 of my quail eggs in for their 18 day journey. I am impatiently waiting and checking the temp and moisture levels daily. We should have baby chicks by the first week of March and I cannot wait!

quail egg incubator

And Erin from ReachingForFI was in town! We went to AYCE sushi on Sunday, and made an impressive tower of empty plates. She was the most perfect house guest and is welcome back any time.

AYCE Sushi wall of plates


Breakfast – cinnamon raisin bagel with almond butter and an apple

bagel with apple and almond butter

Lunch – leftovers from tour

Dinner – I made what was meant to be a sausage and kale soup, but then I decided to let it thicken a bit and eat it over rice. Fabulous decision! Even the boy loved it.

sausage and kale stew over rice


Breakfast – tropical smoothie and a nut kolachi

tropical smoothie in blender

Lunch – leftover homemade Ethiopian dal, kale, and beet hummus with grape tomatoes and a black bean brownie

leftovers lunch

Snack – apple

Dinner – made a killer mac n cheese, then added some leftover cooked sausage, spinach, and pinto beans

mac n cheese with beans, spinach, and sausage

I also meal prepped a pork roast with beans in the insta pot and a big tray of roasted veggies


Breakfast – smoothie

Lunch – leftover sausage kale soup and roasted veg

sausage and kale stew over rice

Dinner – had dinner at a friends house, with sausage made on his farm, green beans, rosemary potatoes, and pickled goodies made by yours truly (beet pickled veg and pickled watermelon rind)

pork sausage with veggies and pickles

He’s also a woodworker, and gave me piece of a barrel stave that was smoked and then used for whiskey followed by beer. I added it to my soy sauce, and it has darkened considerably already! I can’t wait to see what the difference in flavor is like.

homemade soy sauce color


Breakfast – spiced pear and raisin oatmeal

spiced pear and raisin oatmeal

Lunch – the last leftover enchilada from last week with avocado, rice, tomatoes, and spicy salsa

leftovers lunch

Snack – leftover from Valentine’s day cookie & chocolate covered strawberry. And then a nut bar on the drive home.

valentines day treats

Dinner – tortellini with sauce (that smelled suspiciously like salsa…)


Snack – big ol bowl of popcorn. Clearly I was a bottomless pit for some reason this day…



Breakfast – burrito of 4 quail eggs scrambled with salsa and spinach

quail egg burrito

Lunch – rice & beans with roasted veggies

leftovers lunch

Snack – bits of PB&J and an apple


Dinner – leftovers

Food Total: $53.23

Harris Teeter + Weekly Produce Box = Eat the Uglies

Produce Box: Uglies

I am so in love with the movement to eat “ugly produce” that is gaining traction around the US and the world in general. Grocery stores usually have pretty strict standards on produce they will accept, like the size, shape, and color. Anything that has the slightest bruise, dent, nick, or blemish or doesn’t fit these requirements just gets rejected, and thrown out.

So this produce is wasted, sent to landfills, or left in the field to rot. The farmers lose out on money, and it does the world at large a lot of harm, just because we want our apple to look “perfect”.

Guess what folks?

Nature ain’t perfect.

Sometimes carrots have 2 legs, or taters are alien shaped, or apples get gnawed on a little bit. Produce grows from literal dirt, and poo is probably involved somewhere (hopefully, it’s the most perfect fertilizer). It’s still perfectly edible and healthy. Just give it a rinse before you eat or cook it.

The Weekend

I will be avoiding the online hullabaloo over the recently published Alt-FI Manifesto. This blog is not a place for politicking or arguing; it is a place to talk about food and money and health. The end.

I will say I am happy to see those who are willing to have a respectful dialogue regardless of beliefs, and saddened by those who seem to delight in attacking and generalizing.

I will also be attending my first NC Drag Show!

Not my first ever, but first since… oh, over a decade for sure. So I am nervous and excited to see how it goes! It will surely be full of fun and music and glitter.

Then Sunday we have brunch plans with our recent CA transplant Steve & his wife! They came to Durham from San Fran, and I am going to do my darndest to show all the ways the Triangle is far superior! Friendly people, great weather (maybe a losing battle here), and phenomenal cost of living (for now…).

One last announcement…

The boy has decided we are doing a Whole 30

Starting now.






How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Dark Chocolate Cherry Popcorn


If you know me at all, you know I’m a total popcorn addict. Like for reals.  A night without it feels weird.  I can eat about a dozen cups’ worth and not think anything of it.  I prefer stove-top to bagged, but in a pinch it will do.  Don’t even talk to me about weird toppings, I want my good old-fashioned salty delight.  Until.

Until Christmas rolled around, and I wanted to give my family I’ve been tutoring with for a long time a heartfelt gift.  In my list of last-minute gift ideas I included peppermint popcorn, and thought that might be a great idea.  But I didn’t have peppermint at the time, and y’all know I’m frugal, so I try to use what I already have.

In my cupboard, I had some dried cherries and several bits of different dark chocolate bars.

Bingo. Dark Chocolate Cherry Popcorn.

This was created on a whim, but turned out absolutely splendid!  You can of course customize it with other dried fruits or types of chocolate, for example a white chocolate apricot might be tasty, or try adding in some nuts or seeds for extra crunch.  It looks adorable in a clear plastic baggie with some colorful ribbon or a bow.



  • 3 cups popped popcorn
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp. dried cherries
  • 1 oz amaretto liquor (optional)
  • Sprinkle of salt and sugar

Step 1: Soak the dried cherries in the amaretto 1 hour.  This softens them enough so that they aren’t hard and chewy later.  If you don’t want to do this step, it is optional.

Step 2: In a microwave-safe bowl or double boiler, add the chocolate and oil. Microwave on high in 30-second bursts, stirring each time, until melted. Or use a double boiler, but do not bring to a boil.

Step 3: Pop your corn on the stove top or in an air popper if you have one.


Step 4: In a large bowl, pour your popcorn and cherries. Slowly pour in the melted chocolate, stirring with a spoon or spatula, to coat all of the popcorn. Finish with a sprinkle of salt and sugar, and you’re done!

Now your homemade snack is ready to be packed into a cute tin and given to someone you care about for Christmas, Valentine’s day, birthdays, or just because. Or you can just eat the whole thing, I won’t judge.




Stovetop Popcorn


As a certified popcorn addict, I can tell you that this stuff is like crack, only a hundred million times better and healthier. Bagged microwave popcorn can’t hold a candle to this. Just try it once, and you are likely hooked for life. Fair warning.

Popcorn is also a healthy snack option. As a whole grain, it is after all just a kernel of corn, it delivers about 2 g fiber per 3 cups popped, and contains more antioxidants than some kinds of vegetables. You do have to watch the amount of extras though, have a light hand with the oil or use an air popper, and don’t drown the popcorn in salt (like I do) if you’re watching your sodium.

You will need a large metal pot that you are okay with becoming “the popcorn pot”. I kid you not, my mother and I both have one, and popcorn is the only thing allowed to be cooked in this pot. It is that special, people.

To watch the video on my stovetop popcorn step-by-step how to, click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.



Step 1: Put the oil, kernels, and salt in the popcorn pot. Swirl it around so that the kernels are evenly distributed in a thin layer.


Step 2: Put the stove to medium heat, and try hard to wait patiently. When you begin to hear the “plink” of corn popping, you can occasionally swirl the pot around to keep popped kernels from burning and mix it all up.


Once you don’t hear any popping for a count of 5-10, your popcorn is ready! Be careful when you remove the lid, there will be steam. Pour into a large bowl and dive in. Best piping hot from the stove.


You can then dress up your popcorn (not that it needs it, I can eat my weight in this stuff) with a whole slew of toppings. Try adding spices like Cajun spice mix, nuts or dried fruits, topping with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, or tossing with some candies and melted chocolate (very cute as a Christmas gift in a tin).

Parmesan popcorn

I am a huge popcorn addict, I can literally eat about five microwave bags in one night. But stovetop popcorn is the best! It’s healthier, cheaper, and you get to decide how much to make. There is nothing else like it. Toppings can kick the popcorn up a notch, and cheese is always super delicious! Best part, it is pretty healthy overall.


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tbsp butter flavored salt
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Step 1: Put the oil, kernels and salt in a pan (one you don’t mind ruining…) and put the heat on high. Make sure you shake and swirl the pan often, especially once the kernels start popping.

Step 2: Once the kernels slow down and you count 3-4 seconds between pops, turn the heat off. Wait until you don’t hear any more popping, and pour into a large bowl.

Step 3: Coat the popcorn with 1/2 cup of the cheese, and proceed to inhale it.

Once you get about halfway through, add more cheese and shake to cover. The picture is what was left after 20 minutes of devouring, I wanted a picture for this blog before demolishing the rest! A great movie night snack. I imagine other types of grated cheese would also be delicious, and I have heard that adding spices like garlic or cayenne is tasty too.