Relaxed Date Night… Cat Style
Friday night after an early dinner with friends, The Husband and I sat down for some much needed time together. Earlier in the evening, he’d dropped me off at Target to grab a birthday present for a two-year old where I stood in the toy aisle and almost cried. What on earth do you buy a two year old? At that age, it seems that they’re more interested in a box than a toy.
While I was at Target, I cruised past the $5 movie selection, grabbed The Thomas Crown Affair and a bar of bittersweet chocolate. I had a plan!
When I was young, my mom would pop a huge batch of popcorn, throw it in a gigantic bowl with M&Ms and sliced apple. As disgusting as it sounds… it was fantastic. It’s still one of the combinations I crave as an adult. Since we don’t always keep M&Ms on hand, I often make hot chocolate to sip alongside a batch of popcorn.
The Husband and I are such busy people that I often feel like we’re strangers passing in the night. Right now, I’m just grateful that we have the opportunity to pass in the night. It won’t be long before these school years will be over and it’s back to Active Duty. I’m trying to find moments to share where we can relax and just be us.
Friday night was one of those cold, rainy nights that makes you want to light the fireplace, sip hot chocolate and cuddle under a blanket with the one you love. That’s exactly what we did… and I loved every minute of it.
Cat’s Hot Chocolate
1 (4 oz) bar bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 c milk (I use 1%)
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
2 T heavy cream
1/2 t powdered sugar
In a small saucepan, gently heat the milk over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to not scold the milk.
Chop the chocolate while the milk heats up. Once the milk has steam rising from the surface, gently fold in the chocolate, stirring until combined.
Turn heat to low, add nutmeg and cinnmamon and keep an eye on it while you whip the cream and powdered sugar. Using an electric mixer or your husband’s really strong arms (and a whisk) beat the cream until soft peaks form, add powdered sugar and stir to combine.
Pour into two mugs, top with whipped cream and a little pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon (we really like the nutmeg).
I love hot chocolate, but there’s only so much I can stand. I usually drink about 1/4 to 1/2 a mug and then hand it over to the husband who has a much higher tolerance for sweet things (hence his love for me…)
Cat’s Plain Popcorn*
2 T popcorn oil (you can use any light colored oil, but I use the actual butter flavored oil you get in the popcorn section of the grocery)
1/4 c popping corn
In a large skillet (no, you don’t need any special equipment to make popcorn… just a big ol’ everyday skillet) heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle popcorn down in a single layer, cover with a lid and shake the pan. Seriously. Shake the pan. This will coat the popcorn kernels in the oil allowing it to pop easier. Once the oil is hot enough, the popcorn will start popping. Keep shaking the pan so the stuff on the bottom doesn’t burn. Once the popping has slowed to about 3 seconds between pops, slide it off the burner, cock the lid a little to let steam out. Pour into a large bowl and season with seasoning salt. You can also add melted butter if you like (like The Husband). I’m a purist. No butter for me.
*I actually make popcorn quite frequently… my favorite kind being jalapeno. I’ve tried making it with fresh jalapenos, but it just isn’t the same as the pickled jalepenos you get in jars. Another favorite is bacon, I chop up a couple strips of turkey bacon in bite sized pieces and throw that in the oil as it’s heating up.
To add jalapenos or bacon to your popcorn… simply throw in about 1/4 c jalapenos or a couple slices of chopped bacon to the oil while it heats up. The jalapenos take on an almost dehydrated texture… making the actual jalapenos not-so-spicy, but the popcorn itself spicy. The bacon crisps up while the oil heats, then adds flavor to the popcorn. If I’m going to be honest here… plain old bacon does a much better job of flavoring the popcorn than turkey bacon… but you know… Operation Be Hot Again…