I’m always on the lookout for interesting savory snacks and this is one of the best ones I’ve come across in a long, long while. You’ve got the tangy-savory flavors of lime and garlic infused olive oil that you use for both popping and seasoning the popcorn, then you top things off with a salty, crumbly Mexican cheese (such as queso anejo) and a generous amount of finely chopped cilantro for a bit of brightness. I would also suggest adding a little chile flake (Japanese togarashi would be nice) to the mix if you’re a fan of heat. Continue reading
Halloween is about costumes and candy of course, but it’s also about that special feeling of fall in the air, pumpkins patches and (my favorite) having some fun with spooky decorations and treats. When we lived near Belvedere street in San Francisco’s Cole Valley neighborhood we used to eagerly await the transformation of this normally quaint and quiet tree-lined street into “Hell-evdere” in the weeks leading up to Halloween. It’s a hot spot for trick or treating on Halloween night, but even more than that we loved the chance to take October afternoon strolls to look for ghosts up in the trees, admire the pumpkins decorating the beautifully preserved Victorian homes and to crunch dry leaves along the way — and of course end our walk with hot chocolate at Boulange de Cole.
We love bringing a little of that Hell-vedere spirit to our current digs, so when October 1st rolls around Luca and I waste no time getting to work. This year we put up a giant spider web in our window, invited some friendly ghosts to inhabit the tree in front of our house, and made a mini graveyard out on the sidewalk. We also made some time to do these two super fun, and super easy spooky crafts which we recommend for anyone with the craving for a little Halloween fun.
I’m filing this one under “stuff I tagged on Pinterest and actually got around to making”. Because loose and messy wrapping gives the best result (even more loose and messy than our mummies above would be good), it’s a great project that even younger kids can do from start to finish. And if you ask me and Luca, any craft that involves googly eyes gets an automatic thumbs up.
- glass jars
- first aid tape or gauze (you can also use strips cut from paper towels, tissue or toilet paper, see note below)
- glue dots, clear tape and/or white glue
- googly eyes
- votive candles or LED tealights
- Wrap first aid tape or gauze around the outside of each jar to cover it completely. Tuck in the ends or use a glue dot or clear tape to secure them. We found that that you get the best result by wrapping in an irregular pattern (zagging up and down as you wrap). For this craft, loose and messy is the way to go.
- Stick on googly eyes with glue or glue dots. If using glue you will have to allow some drying time for the glue to set before your mummy jar will be ready to use.
- Light with a votive, or better yet and much safer, an LED tea light (you can find them at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and sometimes your local drugstore.)
We also got a nice result by wrapping one of our jars with 1 1/2″ – 2″ wide strips of paper towel (strips of toilet paper, white tissue paper would work too — but I wouldn’t use a regular sheet of paper because it will be too stiff). If using paper, paint the jar with a thin coat of white glue before wrapping it to help make everything stick. You may also need to dab on additional glue as needed as you wrap to make sure paper strips adhere well the the jar.
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These popcorn-filled monster hands are a fun little snack meets mini craft project — easy to put together, with just a touch of sugary fun. Keep it simple or make this more of a cooking project by customizing popcorn with your favorite sweet or savory spice mix, or even try our favorite white chocolate popcorn recipe with a dash of witch-ly green food coloring. What a cute goodie bag for a Halloween bash, a school carnival or just to take to friends in the neighborhood.
- Food Service Plastic Gloves (like this kind here)
- Candy Corn
- Popcorn or snack mix of your choice
- Yarn or Raffia
Making these monster hands is pretty self-explanantory. Just push a candy corn down unto each finger to make fingernails, then fill the rest of the hand with popcorn leaving enough room at the top to tie the glove closed. The two sides of the glove have a tendency of sticking together making it hard for kids to push the candy down into the fingers. Adults can help by using a chopstick to separate the layers of the glove before filling.
For those of you who grew up in the Bay Area, you probably remember Wright’s Pink Popcorn which I recently learned has been manufactured right here in Potrero Hill since 1940. Ask anyone who has enjoyed Pink Popcorn in San Francisco and they will almost certainly mention the Zoo and Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park which are the places I remember eating it as a kid.
I have a soft spot when it comes to this very pink and very brick-like snack. (My husband, also a Bay Area native, likens it to adobe!). Although it’s lacking in the taste dept., it’s pinkness has a certain mysterious and endearing charm — and it turns out that I’m not the only one who feels this way. As the change in concession management was being hashed out for the Stow Lake boathouse amidst much heated debate earlier this year, my first thought (along with many others) was “I hope they don’t ditch the Pink Popcorn!”. A rally of public support resulted in a contract stipulating that Wright’s Pink Popcorn will continue to be offered at the boathouse.
Easy White Chocolate Pink Popcorn
All that nostalgia got me thinking about making pink popcorn at home. You could, of course, make your favorite caramel corn recipe and tint it pink, but for something different we decided to make a super easy white chocolate version. In general I’m not a white chocolate fan — it’s sweet without being chocolately (there’s no chocolate in white chocolate after all!) — but this is surprisingly tasty, festive and lots of fun to make. Luca loved watching the white chocolate melt and stirring in the food coloring. We brought this as a topping to an ice cream social shindig, but it would be fun mixed with pretzels and other snackables for a party.
- Pop popcorn in an air popper or use an unseasoned microwave version. Line a cookie sheet with waxed or parchment paper and spread popcorn out in a single layer.
- Melt white chocolate in a double boiler. You’ll need about an ounce for every cup of popped popcorn. An important rule for white chocolate: don’t let any steam/water get into it or it will seize up!
- When the white chocolate is nicely melted. Scrape the seeds from a vanilla pod and add to the white chocolate (optional). Stir in a couple of drops of red food coloring until you get the shade of pink you like.
- Drizzle pink chocolate over popcorn and toss well to coat. This part is messy, but fun. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt if you like sweet-salty flavors.
- Refrigerate to set the white chocolate and enjoy!