The Oscars are Sunday night. I know there are people who get really excited about watching the Academy Awards, but when you've only seen three of the movies nominated for Best Picture, it's not necessarily a priority.
Still, I'll look for just about any excuse to make popcorn. And on a special night, why not do more than throw microwave popcorn in a bowl and call it good?
This week, our Supporters of Stafford women's group (formerly Nu Lambda) tried to watch The Help, one of the Best Picture nominees. (I've also seen Moneyball and War Horse.) The DVD player we were using definitely needed some "help." We watched the Cliff Notes version of the film when the DVD player rocketed us through a 2 1/2-hour movie in just under an hour. I'd seen the film in a theater and read the book. But it was more than a little confusing for anybody who'd never seen it. (I recommend both the movie and the book, by the way.)
For our movie night, I contributed both caramel and cheese popcorn. I've been making the same caramel popcorn recipe since high school, and I will put it up against any gourmet popcorn shop's version. The cheese popcorn is not going to rival Topsy's Cheese Popcorn any time soon. But it was a nice counterpoint to the sweet caramel corn when mixed together.
So, if you're turning on the TV to watch the fancy ballgowns and the hoopla, the popcorn award could very well go to you ... if you break out these recipes.
And speaking of awards, I was honored to have been given The Versatile Blogger award by South Dakota rancher and blogger Robyn at The Ranch Wife Chronicles.
When you are given the award, you are then to choose 15 other bloggers to honor. So, here are my 15, in random order.
Kansas Farm/Ranch Blogs include Vickie at Life on the Farm; Debbie at Life on a Kansas Cattle Ranch; and a couple of new Kansas farm wives - Katie at New to the Farm and Kim at Alive and Well in Kansas; and Indiana farm partner Jent at From My Front Porch who I discovered at The Real Farmwives of America and Friends (check out a whole group of farm bloggers there!)
Cooking/Baking: None of these people need me promoting them. They do just fine on their own. But, I do love to look at the recipes and amazing photos of food. (And, for the record, any recipe I post on my blog I have personally tried and deemed it blog worthy. Some recipes don't make the cut. I had someone ask about that recently). The cooking blogs are: Shelly at Cookies and Cups; Gina at Skinny Taste; Jamie at Jamie Cooks It Up and Nicole at Heat Oven to 350.
Faith: Emily at Chatting at the Sky and Michelle at Graceful: Faith in the Everyday
Other random ones: Mrs. E at Easy Street (It was one of the first blogs I began reading since it was on my sister's blog roll. I've never met her, but I feel like I have, and she's a new grandma, too!) Also to encourage them to post more, I'm including my sister, Lisa, at Bauer Banter, who started blogging before I did, and her friend and co-teacher Kelly at The Hays Crew (I have to thank Kelly because I still get a lot of traffic from her blog!)
Thanks again to Robyn for the honor! Check out the other blogs on Robyn's list because a few of hers are also blog favorites for me, and I didn't want to repeat them. (For the Versatile Blogger Award, I'm also supposed to tell you 7 "random things" about me, but because this is so long, I'll save it for another day. And honestly, I tell you random things about me all the time.
So, with no further ado, here are the popcorn recipes. Enjoy!
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
6 qts. popped popcorn
Melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda and vanilla. Gradually pour over popped corn, mixing well. Turn into a large, deep roasting pan. Bake in 250-degree oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Turn out onto waxed or parchment paper. Cool completely. Break apart and store in tightly-covered containers or freeze.
Note: If you use microwave popcorn, leave out the salt.
Modified from www.bestpopcorn.info
8 cups plain popped popcorn
3 tbsp. melted butter
1/4 cup cheddar cheese powder
Salt, as desired
Place the popped popcorn in a large bowl. Drizzle the melted butter over the popcorn while stirring or tossing gently. Sprinkle on the cheddar cheese powder again while stirring or gently shaking. Season with salt to taste while stirring or shaking. Serve and enjoy.
Note: I used a packet of cheese from a macaroni and cheese box because I didn't have access to a can of powdered cheese. It worked fine, but it was really salty, so I didn't use any extra salt. And, in the end, I tossed in some plain popcorn to make it less salty. As I said, this doesn't compare with gourmet popcorn store cheese popcorn, but it does provide a little change of pace from plain popcorn.