Saturday, March 17, 2012

Blitz Post 4: Meditation Reflections

You can call this procrastination and not wanting to get out of bed this morning.  As I sit here in peace and quiet, I have been quietly meditating.

Meditation is one of those "things" I have always outwardly scoffed at at but on occasion do.  My problem with meditation is that for me it quite often turns to sleep.  This time was not the case.

I am reflecting on the direction of my life, my health, and my goals.  Several weeks ago I posted a rather ominous post, Crossroads.  Today's meditation provided me a lot of insight and may provide it's follow up post.

Photo Credit:
When you do too many things, you "wear too many hats".  Do you do that?  Check out my page to see my hat collection. I wear too many hats.  It's my choice too.  What is the result?  I don't sleep enough, I don't eat right, I don't exercise, and I don't appreciate the people around me.

This is not a post about being sad!  I said earlier, I had insight into what was going on.  I believe I had an epiphany of sorts.

Photo Credit
Before everyone panics, let me assure you I will continue to blog and maintain my presence on Twitter.  In fact Social Media is very important to my future, so I'm not going away, but I digress.

My meditation led me to nine simple guidelines, which I believe if put in practice would lead to a happier world:

  • Put others before yourself 
  • Laugh
  • Slow down, focus, and observe
  • Cherish the people around you 
  • Walk
  • Live simply 
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Meditate and Pray

These all seem to intertwine in one way or another.  Slow down & Walk.  Cherish the people around you & Put others before yourself.

I'm very interested in any comments you may have.

No recipe with this post.

Until next time, I wish you Peace, Love, and Hollandaise Sauce.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Blitz Post 3: Popcorn blog, supplemental

I thought I said everything I could say about popcorn last week, but I was wrong.  WAY WRONG.  I have gotten a tremendous amount of feed back here in the blog, on Twitter, even at work regarding Popcorn.  I'm beginning to feel like a regular Orville Redenbacher!

First things first, let me clarify things.  If have microwave popcorn use it by all means.  It convenient, inexpensive, and darn tasty!  But, if you want to save money, avoid excess packaging, and avoid potentially harmful chemicals, when you run out of your current supply of microwave popcorn, try the Brown Bag method.  I really think you'll be impressed.

Second, Recipes? We don't need no stinking recipes!

Recipes are guidelines.  Let me repeat that in a larger font.

Recipes are guidelines.

Tonight, the Wilkes Toastmasters Club hosted our International Speech Competition.  Since I was organizing it, I was responsible for filling all of the roles: judges, counters, timers, contest master, sergeant-at-arms, participants, and getting snacks and drinks.  Time was of the essence, and so was budget.  I am also the President of the club so I have an idea of what the finances are and I didn't want to spend any of the club's money on the contest.

Dilemma:  Very little time, and money for snacks are coming out of my pocket.  Solution:  Dollar Tree!
For under $15, I purchased several packages of cookies (including very good fudge grahams), a popcorn bowl, a serving scoop, aluminum trays, bottled water, microwave popcorn and chocolate covered pretzels.  WHAT?  MICROWAVE POPCORN!?!  Remember, recipes are guidelines.

When I got to the contest site, I microwaved two bags of popcorn and while they were still hot, I mixed in two bags of chocolate covered pretzels.  The chocolate melted and MELDED the popcorn with the pretzels and made a nice sweet and salty snack.

Was it fast?  Yes!  Was it cheap?  Not as cheap as brown bag, but it was fast!

The Contest was a lot of fun!  Debbie won the Table Topic competition and Wendy won the International Speech competition.  Both will be advancing on to the Area competition.  If you are interested in more information on Toastmasters, please contact me or check out

Until next time, I wish you Peace, Love, and Hollandaise Sauce.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Popcorn: Too much is TOO much, but a little over the top is A GOOD THING

WARNING: This is a long post.  A very long post. You've been warned.

I was watching TV on a quiet Sunday, waiting for the Daytona 500 to start.  It was stuck in the middle of another rain delay.

My wife was sleeping and my kids were doing other things. I wanted a snack just for me - popcorn.

Popcorn and I have a relationship that goes way back.

I can remember walking the hallways of Margate Elementary School after school raising money for a trip to the Kennedy Space Center.  My mom bagged up pretzels and popcorn in sandwich bags and would shout "Popcorn! Popcorn! 15 cents a bag" to anyone that would listen.

These days, I volunteer at the local high school's concession stand on behalf of the Band Boosters.  I sling hot dogs, nachos, candy, and popcorn.  Popcorn is now a dollar a bag, but I don't have to shout about it.

Corn is native to the Americas and popcorn is thought to be one of the oldest forms.  Evidence of early cultivation of corn has been found dating back to 3600 BC in New Mexico (and possibly as early as 4700 BC in Peru).
Traditional Peruvian Canchita (Popcorn) Cooker (4)
Enter the Spanish Conquistadors.  Cortez invaded Mexico in 1519 and saw popcorn for the first time.

When the English arrived in North America, they also learned about popcorn from the Native Americans.
The English who came to America in the 16th and 17th centuries learned about popcorn from the Native Americans.
Moving forward to the late 1800’s, Popcorn gained popularity throughout the United States with street vendors following crowds around with fresh poppers at parks and fairs.

By the time of the Great Depression, popcorn was considered inexpensive at 5 to 10 cents a bag.  With its popularity growing, the popcorn business thrived while many other businesses failed and growing corn became a source of income for many struggling farmers.

During World War II, many products including sugar were rationed for the war effort.  Candy production dropped causing Americans to increase their consumption of popcorn by over 300%.

Our story takes two directions here.  With the end of Wold War II, Raytheon Corporation had a surplus of magnetrons (a type of vacuum tube used in radar).  In 1946 Dr. Percy Spencer began experimenting with a magnetron when he noticed that the chocolate bar in his pocket had melted.   Out of curiosity, he placed some popcorn kernels next to the magnetron and turned it on - the popcorn popped.

Meanwhile, popcorn consumption had slumped in the early 1950s, when television became popular.  This caused attendance at movie theaters to drop and with it, popcorn consumption.   Yet it was at this same time that the first microwaves became commercially available.

It wouldn’t be until the mid to late 1970s that the microwave became a staple in most households.  With the microwave in the home, many foods could be quickly and cheaply prepared, including popcorn.

The Amana RadarRange was the microwave of choice in the 1970's.  These things were powerful and nearly indestructible.  You could cook almost anything in these things: popcorn, hot dogs, canned ravioli, oatmeal, but you might want to avoid the Legos.  I melted a friend's set of Lego's when I put them in (the wheels had a metal axle)!

I had better results.

That was a lot of information, I imagine you may havea lot of questions

So, why does pop corn pop?

  • Spirits with anger issues?
  • Nitro Glycerin extract? 
  • Water trapped in the kernel?

How can "I" make popcorn?

My advice to you is, don't.  Drive to North Wilkesboro, NC and go to the Liberty Theater.  It's not the prettiest movie theater, and it only has two screens, but for a Saturday matinee you can get 4 adult tickets for $16 dollars.  They play first run movies, and they serve the WORLD'S BEST POPCORN.  It's still cooked in coconut oil, and it's cooked FRESH.  The large bag with one free refill is $4.

If you are still going to make your own popcorn then you have several methods:

Air Popper.  I'm not a fan of using a device just to make popcorn, especially when that device doesn't bring any flavor to the party.  You can use a popcorn for roasting coffee (8), which gives it some merit, but much like a spice grinder, once you've used coffee in it you can't use it for anything else .

Jiffy Pop.  To me this is old school fun.  An aluminum pan, oil, and un-popped kernels covered in foil.  Ready in eight minutes from the stovetop.  And I burned it every time.

Microwave Popcorn.  Walk down the snack aisle in any supermarket and you'll find scores of different brands and flavors of microwave popcorn.  They all break down to the following:  a special bag with a metal film laminated to one side, popcorn, solidified cooking oil, and one or more seasonings (usually including salt), and natural and artificial flavorings.  Recently there has been some concern that a chemical used to give microwave popcorn its tasty butter flavor, diacetyl, may pose a health hazard.

Personally, I prefer The Brown-Bag method

Take 1/2 cup popcorn kernels

Place in brown lunch bag

Fold over the top

microwave for 2:30

sift out unpopped kernels

Cookie Sheet/Cooling Rack (3)

To put over the top do the following:

Spartacus Popcorn
(thanks Jenn)

Melt 3 tablespoon of butter


  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • sprinkle of salt

What do you get?

I want to thank you for making it through this INCREDIBLY LONG blog.  As a treat, one more POP for you!

Until next time, I wish you Peace, Love, and Hollandaise Sauce.

(4) Photo Credit:
(5) Photo Credit:
(6) Photo Credit: Rockwell Museum or Western Art
(7) Photo Credit:
(8) for more information on using Air Poppers for roasting coffee, check out:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Blitz Post 2: #GetTheCoffeeBruinOnTheEllenShow


That's right!  My friends want me to take this blog to the world and we want to start this with our favorite comedienne, talk show host, and all around great person, Ellen DeGeneres!

This would be a chance for all of us to talk and cook and have a blast

  • Coffee
  • Over the top recipes
  • Why Donuts are better than Oatmeal

So help me out, lets make #GetTheCoffeeBruinOnTheEllenShow trend!

Until next time, I wish you Peace, Love, and Hollandaise Sauce.

(more graphics and text to come)