Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kettle Corn

My family loves popcorn!  I mean like REALLY, REALLY love it.  It doesn't matter the flavour or form, if it's in the house it will be consumed.  And quickly.

Kettle Corn was the one treat we would always buy at Keady Market or anyplace else we saw it available.  And usually the largest bag they had!  But, now we can just leave it on the table to be purchased by somebody else because I have learned how to make it myself.     

It really had never occurred to me that Kettle Corn could be made at home!  A friend of mine mentioned making Kettle Corn for a Ladies outdoor movie night we were going to and I was intrigued.  I sat at the computer and started roaming recipe sites and blogs until I figured it out before I began.  Suddenly the kitchen was overflowing with bowls full of Kettle Corn.  Since popcorn does not last in this house, the bowls were empty by the next morning.

This is an unbelievably simple recipe I found on Allrecipes.com. It was the first and only one I have tried.  I did some additional reading and tweaked the method slightly from the original.  I have it pinned under Kid Food - snacks and lunches on Pinterest although it is far from just a snack for the boys.  I pulled it up just last night because it is a tradition in our house that we eat popcorn while we watch a family movie together.

For anybody else that wants to make this for yourself, here is the recipe I use.

Kettle Corn
makes about 10 cups

   1/4 cup vegetable oil
   1/4 cup sugar ( I use a little less)
   1/2 cup popcorn kernels

Heat oil and 1 kernel of popcorn in large pot with tight fitting lid. When kernel pops, quickly dump in sugar, popcorn and sprinkle with salt. Stir immediately.   Cover.  Shake over burner until popping slows down to once every 2 or 3 seconds when you should remove it from the heat.  Continue to shake until popping stops.  Dump into a large bowl and stir.  Stir again when cooled to break up clumps.  Or, just be like us and dig in as soon as you can touch it.

Warning:  this has to be shaken continuously on the burner so make sure your stove top will accomodate the method.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Autumn Bounty

It's become a tradition in our family.  Every year that the apple trees are loaded with fruit we collect our bushel baskets and start picking.  It's time for making juice!

Nicholas, James, Evan, Morgan and Dylan - eating what they were gathering

Friday was the perfect day for apple picking. The boys were all home from school for a PD day.  (Yay!  we also got to sleep in!).  The sky was a beautiful clear blue.  The day was warm enough James and Morgan were in shorts.  Even I didn't need a sweater.  But Nicholas was still in his favorite Spiderman shirt (long sleeves) and camo pants.

Dylan and Nicholas loaded and ready to go

Luke is home from work shortly after lunch on Friday's so we gathered up baskets and empty feed bags before we loaded up.  Everyone was happy to get going.

The boys were ground crew, picking up any apples already fallen or the ones we shook down that were beyond our reach.  Luke was mostly up the ladder, but I got up in amongst the really high places.  Whichever one of us was on the ground spent our time picking apples we could reach or retrieving Dylan from a ladder.  Or, we held him while picking one handed.

Evan was a trooper at helping today.  I was very proud of how he stayed focused on the task. 

The collected bounty!

Well, we got the required eight bushels we need to take to the press.  There are also a bunch designated for apple pie filling and apple sauce.  And still more to simply eat.  That is, after all, what Simple Bounty is all about.

Apple Picking 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Mom

My mom celebrated her birthday last week.  We didn't get to see her so we gave her a call and everyone took turns wishing her a Happy Birthday.

I love my mom.  She has nurtured me and taught me.  I don't think I have ever clearly expressed to her how I truly admire her.  Today I want to change that by paying tribute to the woman that helped shape me into the woman I am.  She has probably been the single most influential person in my life; not just because she is my mom, but because of the woman she is.

My mom was raised in a family that had little more than each other.  She was only 11 when her dad was killed in a car/train accident.  At 18 she married my dad and became a mom the following year.  Together my parents have lived in four countries and travelled across Canada, through much of the United States and visited countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. 

Living through a tornado was one of many events that seriously impacted her life.  My parents first home and a lot of their belongings were destroyed when the tornado picked up the house and moved it from its foundation.  My mom was in the house with her mom, her younger sister and brother, and her own two baby boys when it struck.

Nurturing and caring for others is who my mom is.  She has raised four of her own children, fostered children and has had a hand in raising other children including some of her grandchildren.  Our home was always open for us to invite our friends over for meals, sleepovers, movie nights and some of them even moved in for awhile. Over the years there were also a variety of animals she helped rescue, hand-raise, keep as pets or had on the farm. 

My mom knows what it is to love and be loved.  She knows how to care for others and celebrate the joys of family and life.  She knows what it is to say good-bye to parents and grandchildren.  She knows what it is to watch a grandchild fight a life-threatening disease and to watch her children suffer the loss of their children.
What I have written here are just some of the snippets from her life.  But it is from all of this rich life experience that my mom has been shaped into the woman she is.  She is dependable, resilient, bold, kind, loving, helpful, hard-working, gentle and caring.  As we were growing up she could always be counted on to listen to our worries, gave us space to make our own decisions and help when we asked for it.  She is loyal and proud of each one of us.


This saying is so true for me.  I hear her in how I talk, the words I choose and how I parent my boys.  Sometimes it makes me flinch; always it makes me smile.  I am pleased that I can claim to be a little like the strong, courageous woman she is.  And I hope that someday my boys will be able to say that I, too, am a mom they are proud of.