Mamma Mia, here I go again

(…Here I go again trying to put into words how incredible my mama is.)

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Last week my mom came over for tea, and what began as a civilized afternoon deteriorated into a popcorn catching contest. (Mom caught every single one. I caught zero.)

Kitchen silliness is not new to me; in fact, my earliest memories go back to my mom leaping up from the dinner table to perform a routine from her elementary school cheerleading days. I learned most of the more mainstream curses because of her love-hate relationship with the Christmas cookie press. And just last year she made a mocha icebox cake shaped like the head of the panda in the DC zoo to celebrate his first birthday. She made (and continues to make) cooking, baking, and eating so much fun.

Mom taught me the importance of sitting down and sharing a meal. Our family ate dinner together almost every night until I went off to college. Even if we were fighting, tired, or incredibly busy – dinner was the time to put everything aside and be present to each other. We shared food, stories from the day, and each other’s company.

It’s so easy to get preoccupied with cell phones, a primetime television show, or the thought of how much work we need to get done before going to sleep. But making mealtime about the food in front of us and the people around us is such a simple concept – and it’s one that can open us up to more meaningful conversations, genuine belly laughs, and even a bit of friendly popcorn-catching competition.

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Peppered Popcorn

Ingredients:

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

3 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp melted butter

2 tbsp black pepper

1 tbsp dried parsley

1 tsp salt

Instruction:

1. Heat vegetable oil in large pot over medium heat for about a minute. Add popcorn kernels and cover (with the lid ever so slightly ajar). Keep over heat until there are about 2 or 3 seconds between each pop. Turn the heat off and let sit.

***Letting it sit after the heat turns off is super important unless you want popcorn continuing to pop in your face, behind the refrigerator, and ALL. OVER. the floor. Trust the one who found out the hard way.

2. Combine black pepper, parsley, and salt. Coat cooked popcorn in melted butter and then toss with spices.

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Happy birthday and happy every day to my sweet Mamma Mia! I love you!

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