Peanut Butter Popcorn

Every time I make this recipe, I think of little Natalie, who was three years old when we made this together. (My idea of a good time babysitting often involves cooking. Natalie even proved to be an excellent dishwasher!) She loooooooved the recipe, and a year later, she remembered me as the “peanut butter popcorn girl.”

I have wholeheartedly embraced that nickname.

I learned this recipe in a high school home ec class, and it accompanied me to college and dozens of movie nights. (Side note: peanut butter popcorn does NOT go well with beer. I would suggest a glass of cold milk instead.) Anyway, in a few hours I’ll be waking up for an early morning flight to L.A. (yay!) but I wanted to leave you guys with a yummy recipe for the weekend. Snack away!

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Honey Bee Cookies

Flipping through the pages of the Alpha-Bakery cookbook makes me smile. It’s the first cookbook I ever owned, given to me by my grandparents at the tender age of four. With uncanny prescience, my grandmother wrote, “We hope you have a lot of fun with this book as you grow up to become as good a cook as your mom!”

Over the next few months, through my mother’s careful teaching, I learned how to make turtle bread and zebra cookies, pocket pizza and kart-wheels. My favorite part of this cookbook is the handwritten date on each page, noting when Mom and I first attempted a recipe. Reimagining days I can’t remember, I wonder how it felt to bite into my first successful ice cream sandwich or slice of mud pie.

A few years ago I rediscovered this cookbook, as a college student seeking memories from home. I whipped up a batch of honey bee cookies, fifteen years after my first attempt. Sweet and buttery, flecked with cinnamon, they tasted exactly how I remembered. Like innocence. And warmth. And home.

Today, my geographic transience (four moves in two years!) makes me hold tightly to symbols of home, both old and new: my college graduation lantern, quilts made by family, a framed photo of a prayer left at the Western Wall. As Gabe and I set up yet another home– and wonder where we will end up next– I know this cookbook will stay with us, signifying the warmth of the past and our hopes for the future. With honey, butter, and love.

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Margarita Mix

We finally got semi-settled into our new apartment and Gabe decided this would be a good time to head home to L.A. for five weeks. Okay, fine, he has a good excuse. (An awesome summer job in the legal department of Legendary Pictures.)

But I’m still sad. It’s a good thing I have Netta’s cat to keep me company for the rest of the summer. As a side note, she’s currently throwing herself at the couch and hoping she’ll stick. Should I tell her that it’s a sofa, not a velcro wall?

Anyway, after saying a tearful goodbye at the airport, I came home to do fun things like reorganize the spice drawer and hang art on the walls. And eat popcorn and drink homemade margaritas.

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Red, White, and Blue Tartlets

We did it. We moved all our earthly possessions four blocks down the street in 90-degree weather. (Thankfully we had professional help.)

There’s still some cleaning to do in the old place, but the new one is just lovely. We can see downtown Boston from our bedroom window. And the kitchen? Oh the kitchen! More on that later, but let’s just say I am one happy girl.

Perhaps you would like to say this little ditty along with me (à la, Goodnight Moon):

Goodbye dirt and floors that droop,
Goodbye cleaning up mouse poop,
Goodbye pipes that get too hot,
Goodbye sketchy dumpster lot.

Goodbye kitchen without drawers,
Goodbye scuffed up wooden floors,
Hello roof deck full of joys,
Goodbye pre-teens making noise.

Hello sun and skyline view,
Goodbye landlady, and a big f*** you.

Sorry, Mom. It just felt so right to include that last line. ;)

Now on to the food. Happy Independence Day! I celebrated by hanging more frames on the wall; Gabe celebrated by eating lots of blast-off popsicles.

Also, I made tartlets. Because they’re my favorite. And now I have this bee-you-ti-ful kitchen in which to work on my photography skills. Enjoy!

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