Perfectly Popped Popcorn {with coconut oil}

Perfectly Popped Popcorn with Coconut Oil

This is some pretty amazing stuff right here.

I make a lot of popcorn … I MAY have mentioned once or twice my Garlic Infused Parmesan Popcorn … but sometimes it’s nice to enjoy just the butter and the salt of traditional movie theatre popcorn – but without all the gross chemicals and additives.

Perfectly Popped Popcorn with Coconut Oil and Himalayan Salt

This recipe was my solution to that.

And it’s AMAZING.

Now, part of that is because of the virgin coconut oil.  If you don’t use virgin, then you won’t get the coconut taste.  Maybe that’s what you want.  But it’s not what I wanted.

The subtle tropical flavor suits the puffed kernels so perfectly.

And the Himalayan salt tastes pretty amazing all on its own anyway.

Plus, I buy my popcorn kernels in bulk at my local health food store.  I like this popcorn for two reasons:  it’s organic and it pops light and fluffy every time.

Oh – and yet another benefit:  the combination of the popcorn and the virgin coconut oil will make your kitchen smell incredible.

Seriously.

Perfectly Popped Popcorn

Okay, to make the popcorn, start with a large pan with deep sides, or a pot.

Melt the coconut oil over medium heat, then toss in 3 kernels of popcorn.  Cover.  When you hear the 3 kernels pop, add in the rest.

Perfectly Popped Popcorn

When you add in the rest of the popcorn, quickly shake a pinch of salt over them, then cover.

Shake the pan now and then to make sure all the kernels cook evenly.  Even tilt it from side to side.  Just hold the cover on while shaking.

Perfectly Popped Popcorn

Once the popcorn is done, put it into a “giant” paper lunch bag (mine are approx. 11 x 6 x 4 inches and I found them at Walmart).  Or, use a small paper grocery bag.  You could try using a regular paper lunch bag, but that won’t allow the popcorn as much movement when shaking.

Drizzle the melted butter over it and add a few more pinches of Himalayan salt.

Fold over the top of the bag and shake vigorously until you’re quite certain that all of the popcorn is covered with the toppings.

Some of the melted butter will start to soak through the bag.  That’s okay.

And remember, you can always add more salt if there’s not enough for your taste, but you can NOT take it away.  Better to add too little than too much.  Himalayan salt is really strong and you don’t need a lot of it.

Perfectly Popped Popcorn

Then pour it into a bowl and enjoy!

It’s hard to beat fresh, incredible food that takes only a few minutes.  And the taste … *drools*

Perfectly Popped Popcorn {with coconut oil}

Ingredients:

1/4 cup virgin or extra virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup organic popcorn kernels
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Himalayan salt, to taste

Melt the coconut oil over medium heat in a large pan with high sides.

Once melted, add 3 popcorn kernels and cover. When the 3 kernels pop, add the rest of the kernels, spreading evenly over the bottom of the pan. Quickly sprinkle a pinch of salt over the kernels and cover.

While continuing to cook over medium heat, occasionally shake the pan (making sure the cover is secure). It should take only a few minutes for all the kernels to pop.

When the popping has slowed and there are a few seconds between popping sounds, remove the pan from the heat and carefully shake it once more to make sure there are no more unpopped kernels floating around inside.

Transfer the popped popcorn to a large paper lunch bag (or a small paper grocery bag). Drizzle the melted butter over it and then shake a few more pinches of salt into the bag. Fold over the top of the bag and shake vigorously to cover all of the popcorn with the toppings.

Pour into a bowl and enjoy!

[Note: the virgin coconut oil is what gives this recipe its unique taste, but you can still use regular coconut oil if you prefer.]

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Click here to print the free PDF version of the recipe:  Perfectly Popped Popcorn with coconut oil

Enjoy!

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U is for Up, Underground, and Underwater

U is for Up, Underground, and Underwater {Letter Activities for Kids}

We do a lot of Alphabet Activities in our house.

My girls love to do projects, and I love that they enjoy projects that help them with letter recognition, pre-reading skills, and a whole handful of other useful exercises.

The main problem is that I haven’t gotten around to posting about all of the activities yet.  Or all of the worksheets that I’ve made for the girls.  But I’m getting to it.

Today, for example, I’m sharing one of the Letter U activities that we did… even though I haven’t yet officially posted ALL of the Letter U activities and worksheets yet.  But with summer ending, I wanted to get this one out there.  It’s a great way to get the kids outdoors.

I cut two letters from a piece of purple foam and gave a U to each of my girls.

I showed them a letter U worksheet with the words Up, Underground, and Underwater.  We talked about what each word meant, then we used the foam letters to demonstrate each concept.

They held the letters over their heads, then buried them in the dirt, and, finally, submerged them in the pool.

It was a lot of fun for them, and certainly memorable.

Here is the free printable PDF of the worksheet I made for this activity:  U is for Up Underground and Underwater

{The worksheet is free for personal and classroom use.  Please do not sell or redistribute it.}

We colored in the words after we finished swimming.  Can’t just put the letters in the pool and not ourselves, right?

I’ll be uploading more worksheets and activities soon!

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The Katie Books by James Mayhew

Katie Books by James Mayhew a book review

When I first found Katie, I was very excited.

A colorful book that is fun to read AND teaches kids about art history?

Wow.

Now, I may not be all that familiar with the specifics of art history, even being an artist myself, but I have at least a basic knowledge.  Enough to pronounce the names correctly when I read the books – but that isn’t an issue anyway since there are pronunciation guides in the back.

The point is, I was delighted that there existed this spirited little girl to introduce my kids to a culture I was desperate to try to share with them.  Then I found that she didn’t just explore the paintings of Monet and Van Gogh and Goya, but she travels to different countries and travels back in time to run around with dinosaurs, too.

It just kept getting better and better.

Now, honestly, my favorites are where she visits the dinosaurs and travels to Scotland for an adventure with Nessie.  But, honestly, my 4-year-old seems to request the Impressionists and Spanish Princess more often.  My 2-year-old likes them all.

Here are a couple of pages from Katie and the Dinosaurs: 

Katie and the Dinosaurs by James Mayhew

Katie and the Dinosaurs by James Mayhew

I love the brilliant colors in the fun artwork, but also the story.

The stories are very easy to read and great at bedtime because words flow.

Katie often jumps in and out of paintings in the stories, joining Degas’ dancers on stage or learning to paint with Jean, the son of Monet.

The interaction with the paintings in the museum is wonderful.  Below is a page from Katie and the Spanish Princess, where you can see a painting come alive.

Katie and the Spanish Princess by James Mayhew

Overall, even though I mentioned which are my favorites, I highly recommend all of the books.  We only own about half of them right now, but I plan to finish our collection this upcoming Christmas.

The books are all very well done and a joy both for my children and for myself.  The stories are entertaining, often exciting and amusing.  My girls have laughed out loud at the tales.  As have I.

Here is a list of Katie books:

Katie and the Starry Night

Katie Meets The Impressionists

Katie and the Spanish Princess

Katie and the Mona Lisa

Katie and the British Artists

Katie and the Dinosaurs

Katie in London

Katie in Scotland

Katie’s Picture Show

Katie and the Sunflowers

Katie and the Waterlily Pond

Katie’s London Christmas (Available Nov. 1, 2014)

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Letter C: Free Alphabet Worksheets for Kids

FREE Printable Letter C Alphabet Activities Worksheets at RoamingRosie.com

If you’re new here, please read the Introduction to the Alphabet Activities first!

Here are all of the printable PDFs for the Letter C.  They are free for home and classroom use, but please don’t sell them.

C is for Camel

C is for Candy

C is for Car

C is for Clocks

C is for Counting Colorful Cats 1

C is for Counting Colorful Cats 2

C is for Cow and Cheese

C is for Crab

C is for Types of Clouds

And don’t forget to check out all of our Letter C Alphabet Activities.

Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest to see my latest posts.

Have fun!

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Letter C: Alphabet Activities for Kids

Letter C:  Alphabet Activities for Kids at RoamingRosie.com

Welcome to Letter C Day!

If you haven’t read the Introduction to the Alphabet Activities, you should start there.

And don’t forget to check out the Letter C:  Free Alphabet Worksheets for Kids, too!

Letter Sorting:  C is for Cars {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

For our letter sorting activity, I made two paper cars.

To make it a little easier to distinguish between the capital and lowercase Cs, I cut out the capital Cs in a slightly bigger circle than the lowercase ones.

But kids tend to be more observant than us anyway, and I’m not sure that extra step was necessary.

C is for Caterpillar {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

This paper project goes great with Letter C Day and with a reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which we read anyway.

But instead of cutting out circles for the body of the caterpillar, I cut out large letter Cs in different colors.

C is for Counting Colorful Cats  {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

This is a file folder-type game that I made.  And it’s one that my daughter still pulls out of the “file folder” game binder to play.

It’s a simple concept of matching the cats that are the same color, but lets you practice counting as well as color matching.

You can find the free printout on my Letter C:  Free Alphabet Worksheets for Kids post.

C is for Cloud Watching {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

This was probably my favorite activity.

I know it seems a little strange at first glance – after all, what toddler/preschooler can pronounce “cumulonimbus?”

Honestly, I struggled to say the words, too.

But, with this chart in hand, we lay in the grass and watched the clouds.  We talked about the different shapes and which picture on the chart best matched the clouds we saw.  We picked animals out of the floating masses and laughed as the shapes fell apart again.

My daughter still excitedly points out shapes she sees in the clouds, and her younger sister is starting to, as well.

I made this chart with photos from the NOAA and you can get the free printout on my Letter C:  Free Alphabet Worksheets for Kids post.

C is for Cotton Clouds {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

After watching the clouds outdoors, we made our own.

I cut fluffy cloud shapes out of blue construction paper, which my daughter smeared with glue and covered with cotton balls.

I punched a hole at the top so we could tie a string and hang them in our living room.

C is for Constellations {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

This is a great project, and for many ages, too.

The version of constellations you see here was done when my daughter was a toddler.  I made different shapes with glue and she sprinkled the cut out stars over the glue.  The stars were made with a craft punch.

Now that she’s a preschooler, we’ve replicated the project, though a little differently.  She draws the lines with a white or silver crayon on the black construction paper, dotting on glue and paper stars at important points along the path, such as where the lines intersect.

C is for Corn Sensory Bin {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

This corn sensory bin was so cool.  Seriously.  Have you ever been to a corn maze where they had a giant sandbox full of corn kernels that you could play in?

This was like the miniature version of that.  With letter C toys to find.

What I’m trying to say is that it felt really neat.  Corn is a great sensory tool because it has a wonderfully soothing feel as you move your hands through it.

And you can reuse it.  This is just popcorn kernels, and we did pop them after the project was done.

The letter C items that I hid in the corn included a toy cookie, cat, car, a coin, some crayons, candles, and clothespins.

C is for Candy Cane Craft {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

The next few crafts work for both Letter C Day and for Christmas Crafts.

For this one, I had precut some candy cane shapes from red construction paper and some strips of white paper.

My daughter glued the candy canes onto the paper and the candy cane strips on top of them.

C is for Chenille Candy Canes {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

I love using chenille {pipe cleaner} sticks for crafts.  Especially since they’re something you can get at the dollar store.

For this one, we took one white and one red pipe cleaner and twisted them together.  Then, we hooked over one end to make the candy cane shape.

Mine is the one on the left and my daughter’s on the right.

If you make these around Christmastime, they make adorable decorations that can be hung on furniture or the tree.

C is for Circle Christmas Trees {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

With this one, we had some discussions not just about the letter C but also about shapes.

I drew a triangle to represent the shape of a Christmas tree on the paper and we filled it with glue.  My daughter filled the triangle with the large green circles for the tree and topped it the the star.

Then we drizzled glue over the tree and she sprinkled on the tiny circles for ornaments.

I cut out the star by hand and the green circles as well.  If you have a large hole punch you could use that instead.  For the small circle ornaments, I used a single hole punch.

And since it was winter, this decorated our fridge before I transferred it to our Alphabet Activity Binder.

C is for Cars Under Cups {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

This was a little something we did for fun, after discussing how both of the words Car and Cup start with the letter C.

A variation on a Shell Game, I hid two cars under the three cups, moved them around and asked her to find the cars.  Not much of a challenge since the cups are all different, but it was still fun.  There were lots of giggles.

C is for Cinnamon Toast Cs {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

These adorable Cinnamon Toast Cs were made by cutting the letter C out of Cinnamon Toast with a cookie cutter.

I made the toast with regular sandwich bread, buttered the warm toast and sprinkled it with my Cinnamon Sugar Mix.  Then I pressed in the cookie cutter to get letter C shapes.

And I ate all of the “leftovers.”  Of course.  :)

C is for Carrot Cake Cupcakes {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

These were quick because I used a box mix and store bought icing.  I wanted to focus on the other projects and not baking from scratch – we do that enough on other days.

I made mini cupcakes and topped them with some cream cheese icing that I put in a plastic baggie with the corner snipped off.  I squeezed it on top in circles.

Then I mixed some icing with green food coloring and a little more with orange food coloring.

To make the carrot shapes I took the orange colored icing, also in a small plastic baggie with the corner snipped off, and drew a squiggle pattern that was thicker at one end and slightly pointed at the other.  Then I added a little dab of green icing where the “carrot” was thickest.

C is for Chili Con Carne with Cheese, Sour Cream, & Cornbread {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

For dinner we had a mouthful of letter C:  Chili con Carne with cheese, sour cream, and cornbread.

I made my 4 Ingredient Chili and some cornbread baked in muffin tins.

C is for Chocolate Chip Cookies {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

And chocolate chip cookies.  Yum.  How could we possibly have a day celebrating the letter C and not mention chocolate chip cookies??

C is for Cookie, that’s good enough for me…..

Anyway, while baking your favorite recipe of chocolate chip cookies, melt some chocolate chips in a baggie, snip off the corner, and draw some letter Cs onto waxed or parchment paper.  Allow them to set (this only take a few minutes) and when you pull the tray of cookies out of the oven, place the chocolate C on top and press down ever so slightly.  The heat from the cookie will melt the bottom of the C to help it adhere.

And here are some of the supplies I’ve mentioned in this post, including the star punch, popcorn, and cookie cutters (for the Cinnamon Toast).

Craft Star PunchOrganic PopcornCookie Cutters

I’d love for you to share if you’ve done any of these projects with your little ones!

Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest to see my latest posts.

Have fun!

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A Strange Discovery

Homeward Bound Movie Ticket Stubs

I was sorting through some boxes and found a few old wallets of mine.

Most of them I kept to give to my girls to play with.  What little girl doesn’t love a pink wallet with a picture of Mickey and Minnie?

{I’d use it myself if it had more pockets.}

Darn near threw one of the old wallets into the “donate” box without looking through each and every pocket and slot.  On second inspection, I found some cash.

That’s would have made someone’s day at Goodwill.

Anyway, the strangest thing I found, aside from the vintage-looking 90’s bills, was this pair of movie ticket stubs.

Homeward Bound??

And does that say February 27, 1993???

Why in hell had I saved these?  I almost never purposefully save movie stubs, so why these?

Truth be told, Homeward Bound is a good movie.  I think.  I haven’t been able to watch it since I was a kid, but I know it was something everyone loved.  And with the good old fashioned wholesome fun of a ragtag team of two dogs and a cat on a journey across America, it became something that our middle school teachers loved to show during the classes that took place right before a vacation or break.

And, inevitably, try as I might to ignore the movie, I would fail to block it out.  And I would cry.  Profusely.

Silently sobbing and cursing my teachers as I wiped away the snot with rough, brown recycled paper towels.

I would spend the next couple of hours sporting a red, puffy, tear-stained face as I progressed through the school day.

Because it was never shown at the end of the day.  Oh no, only near the beginning, to make absolutely certain that I’d sniffle my way through as many classes as possible.

I came to hate the movie.

So it did surprise me a bit to find those ticket stubs wedged into the slot of one of my old wallets.  What were they doing there?

And WHY did the movie only cost $3.25???

Maybe because it was a “dollar theatre” matinee, but after the shock and the shudder that the movie title always brings to me faded, that was what drew my attention.

If movies were still three bucks, I’d go a heck of a lot more often.

But I still wouldn’t keep the ticket stubs.

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Garlic Parmesan Chickpeas

Garlic Parmesan Chickpeas

I pretty much love anything that’s flavored with garlic and Parmesan (esp. my Garlic Infused Parmesan Popcorn), so I wanted to give roasted chickpeas a try.

I thought they were great.  Crunchy on the outside, soft and smooth on the inside, and with a nice spice to them.

They do get a little soft after a day or two, so I suggest serving them the day you make them, like for a dinner party.  But if you want to make them ahead of time, or just for yourself where you’re not going to eat the whole batch in one sitting, then you can broil them briefly before serving them, stirring them and keeping a close eye on them.

Garlic Parmesan Chickpeas

There are only a few ingredients.

Just some butter to help the cheese and spices stick to the beans.

Garlic Parmesan Chickpeas

Draining and drying off the chickpeas only takes a couple of minutes.

It’s important, though, because you don’t want all that moisture from the can on them.  They won’t roast as well.

Garlic Parmesan Chickpeas

See?  Only a handful of ingredients.

Garlic Parmesan Chickpeas

When you pour out the chickpeas onto the pan, be sure to sprinkle any remaining cheese from the bowl over them.  This extra cheese will melt and cook onto them.

Garlic Parmesan Chickpeas

Can’t you just see the yumminess?

Garlic Parmesan Chickpeas

Ingredients:

1 can (15.5 oz.) chickpeas
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Drain the can of chickpeas and pat them dry with paper towels.

In a bowl, mix the chickpeas with the melted butter.

Stir in the garlic and pepper, mixing well. Then stir in the cheese until all the chickpeas are coated.

Using parchment paper, line a medium baking pan with raised sides. Pour the chickpeas onto the pan, spreading them out, and pour over them any remaining cheese from the bowl.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until browned and crispy.

Store covered.

[Note: These are crunchiest the first day. If they get too soft after being stored, broil them for 5 or 6 minutes before serving.]

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To print the free PDF copy of this recipe, click here:  Garlic Parmesan Chickpeas

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