Monday, January 31, 2011

:::Peanut Butter Popcorn:::

Do you love yourself? Your family? Your friends?


Make this Peanut Butter Popcorn for them post haste. I found the recipe last night via the kitchn and made it tonight for, ahem, FHE...yeah, for FHE. That's why I needed to make an entire treat recipe just for myself...

Below is the original recipe, then the recipe as I made it tonight.

Peanut Butter Popcorn
makes about 8 cups
 
1/4 cup popcorn kernels
Vegetable oil
Fine salt
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (should be free of added sugar)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Prepare a clean paper shopping bag or oversized mixing bowl. Heat a large heavy pan over medium heat and film the bottom with vegetable oil. Add the popcorn, shake to distribute, then put a lid on the pan. Leave a small crack for steam to escape. When the popcorn starts popping, shake vigorously to make sure the kernels pop evenly. When the popping slows, take the pan off the heat.

Pour the popcorn into the paper bag or bowl to cool, being careful to leave any unpopped kernels in the pan. Coated with peanut butter caramel, the unpopped kernels are a serious tooth hazard. Lightly salt the popcorn to taste.

Mix the honey and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for a couple minutes, then remove from the heat and add the peanut butter. Stir vigorously until all the peanut butter is melted, then mix in the vanilla.

Immediately pour the peanut butter caramel over the popcorn and stir with a long-handled wooden spoon until it's all coated. Once it's mixed you can put it in a serving bowl. Cover tightly after it's cooled.

 -------------------------------------------

Rebekah's Peanut Butter Popcorn
makes about as much as it makes
 
1/2 cup popcorn kernels (because I'm a 'don't measure cut twice' type of person)
Vegetable oil
Fine salt

1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup sugar (I didn't have enough white sugar, so I used some brown sugar as well)
1/2 cup peanut butter (Full of sugar, the way regular, sane people eat peanut butter. Also, I used crunchy)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
* Combine the peanut butter and vanilla now to make your life easier later.*


Directions

Spray a large mixing bowl/receptacle with non-stick cooking spray. Do not skip this step. I used a nice-sized glass salad bowl from Ikea. The bowl doesn't have to be gigantic.

Use your hot air popper and pop the popcorn into the prepped mixing bowl/popcorn receptacle. Done.

Heat the honey and sugar on the stove over a medium flame until 'boiling'. Turn down the flame to low and let it simmer for a two minutes. Stir constantly, like for the entire time.

Remove caramel from heat, stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Use caution to avoid splashes! Boiling caramel be hot, yo.

Stir vigorously until the peanut butter is melted and completely incorporated into the caramel mixture.

Immediately pour over popcorn.

Mix the popcorn and peanut butter caramel mixture with gentle folding motions.

EAT EAT EAT.


Result: My version was just a tiny bit on the too sweet side, probably due to the brown sugar fill-in and the fact that I didn't really measure how much I was using. Ha! What did I say about cutting twice? Oh, and the fact that I used regular peanut butter...because I can pretend to like a lot of things but natural peanut butter is not one of them, so I don't buy it.

Also, even though I didn't go to the trouble of making the popcorn on the stove, adding salt to the popcorn or to the peanut butter caramel mixture would provide a nice foil to the sweetness. I'm still in love with the result though.

Enjoy!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

:::Working Class Weekend:::

Sunday night, and I can feel the magic draining out of the weekend. Sunrise, sunset...

Tonight was the last episode of Downton Abbey. Have you been watching? The Dowager Countess has a great line during the first dinner party scene. When the new (and middle class) heir to Downton explains that he'll be able to work as a lawyer during the day and help run the estate at night and on the weekends, she replies, "What...what is a 'weekend'?" Oh, Dowager Countess, I wish I had to ask that question.


I'm going to go sit in bed now and wait for my lady's maid to bring me some cocoa.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

:::How?:::

For the life of me, I could not find my glasses after I came home from work today. I searched and searched to no avail. And then I found them when I heard the loud crunch under my foot. How? How did my glasses get on the floor? I have never, ever found my glasses on the floor before, and I certainly don't store them there.


I was able to bend them back into shape but they're still a bit wonky. I was planning on choosing some new frames this month since our FSA money just reset for the new year, so I guess this event couldn't have been timelier!

But that's not all.

I was talking to my sister on the phone this evening when I got up to add some water to the lentils I was cooking. Crunch! I stepped on one of my iPod ear buds. What?! I was able to gently piece it back together, but I'll have to get a replacement pair this weekend.



What are the odds?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

:::Thankful Today:::

I'm so thankful to the Lord for being there for me, for never leaving me alone. I'm thankful that He leads our days, and guides us.


That's all. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

:::Icy Conditions:::

We had a bit of freezing rain last night. When the sun came up this morning I saw that the twinkle lights on my balcony had been delicately encased in ice.


The vacant lot that I walk across in the morning was completely iced over.



It was pretty cool. I don't know why I like harsh winter weather, but I do. Under the surface of the semi-translucent ice, rocks, sticks, and hay were still visible. I half expected to see some dead faces down there as well.

Going contrary to anything that has ever happened before in the history of our office, the powers that be decided that we wouldn't open until 11 am today due to the poor road conditions the ice storm caused. They sent out an alert to everyone's voicemail, but we never open late so most people didn't even think to call and check their messages. I arrived close to my normal time but chose to do a crossword puzzle and eat a Cadbury bar until starting time.


The Express is a Washington Post commuter paper. Their puzzle is always easy, so it's fun to do. The candy bar was from my boss's daughter who just came back from some kind of study abroad in London. She said her daughter was so happy to be home because, 'It's so boring over there and there's nothing to do.' I'll give you a minute to process that one.

Have you heard of this book? Probably, I'm slow on the uptake sometimes.


It's fun. The book is made up of short, conversational book recommendations based on different themes such as Bicycling, Les Crimes Noir (that's French for The Crimes Noir), First Lines to Remember, Italian American Writers, Mothers and Sons, World War I Fiction, etc. She gives a few authors their own entries, such as the wonderful and delightful Barbara Pym.

Anyhow, check it out. There's a second edition as well that is probably waiting for me on the hold shelf across the street at my local branch. I have a serious 'holds' habit.


Ha! I just remembered this quote --

"Sir, When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life."

Seriously.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

:::My Most Favorites:::

Cab rides
Twinkle Lights
Swift elevators
Joan Hickson
The Wasatch Front
Temples
Unscented hand cream
The feeling of water
Packages in the mail from online shopping
Spring in Utah
Chewy Brownies
Reading and hearing Latin
Fall in Utah
Swimming
The scent of plumerias
Libraries
Sophia, Scott, and Molly (and Bruno)
Dogs, especially dopey ones
Taking pictures
London
Breezy curtains
Lipglass
Being a temple recommend holder
Drives, especially on Sunday
The color green
The area around 17th Street & Constitution NW
Hearing or seeing my name other places
Tung brushes
Walking on grass
Rain storms
Crockpots
The Tree Streets in Provo
Rocking babies to sleep
Christmas
Lord of the Rings
Spaghetti Bolognese
Easter
Nice carpet
Bookshelves
The sound of the ocean
Mist and fog
Big, comfy chairs
Western landscapes
Cows & The Cow
Early mornings
Dusk
Pedicures
"And the sunlight clasps the earth, and the moonbeams kiss the sea..."
Big, big windows
Church bells
Farmers Markets
Quesadillas
Citrus
Construction paper valentines
Heavy glass vases
Felting
Cherry blossoms around DC
Having people to cook for
Small spaces
The Dock of the Bay
Big skies
Humidifiers
Pantene
Tulips
Soft, warm light
iPods
Nice handwriting
Long undershirts
My mom
Nicknames
Indian food
Bright colors
Ezekiel 18:32
Relaxation cds
Horses
Sheep
Glass jars
Chick Lit
Cushy slippers
Toffee
Etsy
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
Eggs
Netflix
Dole Whips
Trees
Gas stoves
Settling into a hotel room
Wood furniture
Bright nail polish
Good restaurants
How Clear, How Lovely Bright
Plain bean burritos
Watermelon
Rivers
The Prairie
Amazon.com
Good memories
Laundry
Summer grilling
Mormon 9:27
Casseroles
Tamales
Tito's
Big jewelery
Internet connectivity
Small shopping carts
Quiet museums
Pennsylvania Ave. NW at 10th Street to Constitution Ave. NW at New Jersey Ave.
Lists
Sourdough bread
Robert A. Taft Memorial and Carillon
My time at TMH
My apartment in Provo
Lucky breaks
Unscented white candles
Trivia
Super Target
Laughing
Blankets made with Minky Dimple Dot
Cheese and crackers
Quiet Sundays in Utah
Blogs
The Savior
Motels
Nancy Drew
Ironing
Half-empty office days
Old fashioned vanilla ice cream
Milk chocolate
Balloons
Victoriana
Lunch out
English gardens
Acorns
Bar soap
Sweet dreams
Heavy slumber
Gingerbread
Squash
Chartreuse
Gold rings
Riding a bike
Wind chimes
TJ Maxx
Absorbent dishtowels

...To be continued?

Friday, January 14, 2011

:::Pandora, Pandora, Pandora I HATE You:::

Do you listen to Pandora at work?

I do. Quietly, at my desk.

The ads, unfortunately, are played at a higher volume than you've tuned your station to. Annoying, yeah, but whatever.

Unless, UNLESS, the freaking ad for No Strings Attached comes on, and you get to hear Natalie Portman loudly asking Ashton Kutcher if they should use each other for s*x (trying to avoid spammers with the *). Or you get to hear Natalie Portman loudly asking Ashton Kutcher if he brought her a balloon for having s*x with him.


Seriously? Do they not understand that a hefty chunk of their listeners use Pandora while they're at work? Do they not understand how bad it would look if one of your coworkers walked by and heard that? Heaven forbid a supervisor should walk by. Seriously.

And no, I'm not going to upgrade my account so I don't have to listen to ads. Pandora should just  have some class.


I'm not the only one who feels this way. I found these comments on the Pandora blog:


Thank you for a great service. I love Pandora - got my folks turned onto it too and they listen non stop. In fact I just got my parents the paid membership for Christmas. And it's a good thing I did - the first time they heard that "No strings attached" ad they would have signed off for life. Wow!! Could they scream "S*X" more often?? Could it be more inappropriate for the workplace, the car with my kids, home in the evening, or anywhere else I listen to Pandora?
Thanks for an embarrasing workplace moment in front of my boss! Nice!

Posted by: Cheryl at January 13, 2011 10:08 AM


Hi Tim -

Thanks for a great product that has introduced me to so much wonderful music! Without Pandora, I never would have found musicians like The Tallest Man on Earth and Jackson C. Frank. Pandora makes my work day bearable.

My only complaint is that the ads are sometimes REALLY inappropriate for work. When someone stops by my office to talk and suddenly Pandora plays an ad for "No Strings Attached" that screams "Why can't we just have s*x?????," I feel somewhat awkward and embarrassed. Ok, more than somewhat awkward. I wish I cared less about what people think. But c'mon, can Pandora please do something to make ads more work appropriate?

Thank you!!!!

Posted by: Taylor at January 12, 2011 5:21 PM


Love Pandora, but I listen to it at work...could really do without the inappropriate ads that I have to scramble to turn down (like the ad for No Strings Attached when they are screaming out their excitement about getting laid). It seems strange that you guys would have a non-work appropriate ad playing during the day. Anyway, just wanted to toss that out there.

Posted by: JK at January 5, 2011 6:58 AM


Tim, we've loved everything about Pandora until tonight...

As I sit at 6:52 PM (not exactly an ungodly hour), eating dinner with my family which includes a 10-year old and 7-year old, an ad comes on Pandora. This wouldn't normally be a problem except that this is an ad for a new movie called "No Strings Attached" which, during it's promo on Pandora, mentions s*x and having s*x and the need for s*x a multitude of times. Really? At this time of day when all ears are listening?

Posted by: Lisa at January 8, 2011 7:00 PM


I really love Pandora but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consider screening ads for work-appropriate content. These "No Strings Attached" ads that scream "Why can't we just have s*x?????" are really awkward when colleagues walk by or stop by my office.

Posted by: TK at January 12, 2011 7:32 AM


I agree with the above posters about the inappropriate ad on Pandora for the movie "No Strings Attached". I play this at work and I have to be right at my computer to mute it when it comes on. I can't even play Pandora at home because of the ad....little ears! It seems like it is the only ad on Pandora nowadays.

Posted by: Ashley at January 12, 2011 8:41 AM

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

:::January 12th, 2011 -- 12 on the 12th:::

I've decided to join in on 12 on the 12th this year. I made my template in Picasa (free), which now allows you to control photo placement in grids. It's about time.

Warning: It may be a bit of a stretch on days that the 12th falls on a workday since it's not really Kosher to take pictures at or blog about work. Boo, jobs.




1. I woke up at 5:45 this morning but lazed around so much that I was running incredibly behind. Even though I knew that the clock was ticking away, I still decided that it was the perfect time to clean my sink and toilet. I love Method's Pink Grapefruit Multi-Surface Cleaner.
2. The lateness of my departure necessitated a cab ride. The cabbie drove my favorite route to the office. I love crossing the Mall and seeing the Capitol and all the museums.
3. One of my pairs of long socks this year (which are used as stockings in the W household), courtesy of Santa/Dr. Ben. The office is freezing cold and I try to keep my socks on for as long as possible before I have to put on my work shoes and walk somewhere.
4. One of the daily email chains with sisters and mom.
5. I've eaten a version of Chop't's St. Tropez salad each day this week -- romaine lettuce, tuna, yukon gold potatoes, green beans, red onions, crumbled egg and chickpeas with lemon vinaigrette. So good. I eat some at lunch, then eat the rest later in the afternoon.
6. NYT crossword with a coworker. We work on it most days, and we rocked it today even though there was a tricky not-revealed theme. Go us. I got 58 across because I watched this documentary on Sunday. Yeah, I'm cool.
7. Wow, look at all the snow that big storm dumped.
8. I've been leaving my tv on when I leave for work in the morning. That way I get every last second of witty morning show repartee possible before I trudge out into the gray, dull world. The antenna turns itself off at some point during the day, hence the snowy screen. I don't understand why it does this. Also, I need to put a picture in that frame.
9. My arriving home routine begins with a hand wash...
10. ...then removal of contacts...
11. ...then brushing of teeth...
12. ...then glasses on. I love this routine. It makes me feel refreshed and happy at the end of each long day.

Monday, January 10, 2011

:::Weekly Goals -- It's Always Dusty:::

This week my goals are to:

1. Sort out my entryway
2. Felt a birthday present for a coworker
3. Dust
4. Clear off my dining room table
5. Finish my book

I'm rolling with these goals, not beating myself up if I don't knock all of the items off my list. As you can see, these aren't essentials, so no harm, no foul.


In other news, we're supposed to have a big storm tonight, which means it's not going to snow at all. Who would have thought that the South would get more snow than we would? I don't understand how these storms hit the South, skip us, then swing up the coast. Oh well. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

:::Alarming:::

video


I know most people my age are still out in da club at 1:30 in the morning, but I was sound asleep. Waking up to the screeching noise of my building's fire alarm was fairly confusing to my mottled brain. It took me a looong time to get in response mode this time around (fire alarms are a fairly, but not too regular occurrence), and then it took me an added 6 or 7 minutes to get dressed because I had to find and put on scarf, gloves, thick socks, snow boots, coat, and hat on top of my regular clothes. It's been pretty cold here lately, and I didn't know if or how long we'd have to stand outside. Then I had to find my cell phone, keys, and wallet, then I worried about having cash for a cab ride to Arlington* (and getting a cab in the middle of the night) just in case I had to stay in a hotel overnight...did you know that I overreact to emergency situations?

Of course, by the time I was all bundled up the alarm stopped, which is good because I was sure that if there had been major flames, a jump off my balcony would be my only escape option left by the time I was ready to go. The firemen still had to come though. Bless their hearts.

And my neighbor's dog barked for the rest of the morning, so I had to put in ear plugs. But that is another story in and of itself, which I will tell you later.

*There are a plethora of Marriott and Hilton type hotels concentrated along the same street in Crystal City, and a metro station very nearby. If push came to shove, I could walk from hotel to hotel to find a room if I had to.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

:::Veggie Samurai:::

While she was here, my sweet little mama noticed my addiction to my favorite iPod game -- Word Solitaire. I usually play a few levels at night right before I got to bed, and one night she watched over my shoulder to see how the game was played.

After I finished a full game, I went ahead and showed her some of my other favorite games like Moxie, Moxie 2, and Boggle. Then, as a side note, I showed her Veggie Samurai, thinking it wasn't really her type of game.

Wow, was I wrong. We were up until 4 a.m. Someone became a little obsessed.

video

One of the funniest things I've ever witnessed. Love you, mom. You rock.

Monday, January 3, 2011

:::Weekly Goals -- So Much Ham!:::

I'm hoping to post some goals for myself each week. I love blogging minutiae, so here's hoping you'll enjoy mine.


1. Finishing knitting the dishcloth I started.
2. Take ornaments off Christmas tree (that bad boy is staying up until it dies, which it isn't close to doing).
3. Take large trash items out.
4. Begin Valentine's felting project.
5. Figure out something to do with the whole ham I have in my fridge (give me a break, they were finally on sale!)


6. Make these homemade Wheat Thins.
7. Figure out something to do with the three giant bunches of greenery that are currently sitting in a pot in my living room. Another sale item -- $1 a bunch. I have a problem.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

:::The Season -- Thanksgiving Through New Year's Day:::

Some of my favorite photos from the holidays. As you can see, my main goal this year was to cook and bake my way through the season. It was delicious.