Now that I’m rested from my trip to the Highland Games, it’s time to get back on the road! I’m officially on vacation mode!!! Shane and I are taking some time off to visit friends back home, take a train to D.C., and stand up in two weddings. It is going to be an action-packed vacation! But what would a vacation be without an author event?! That’s right, during our vacation, I’ll be making a stop at my old coffee shop, the SweetSpot in Whitewater, Wisconsin!
What?! You’ve never been to the SweetSpot?! Now is your chance! The SweetSpot has some of the BEST food and coffee this side of anywhere. I used to spend hours after getting off of my barista shift, writing short stories and scraps of scenes that would eventually inspire Seven Stones.
I’ll be at the SweetSpot for a book reading and author Q&A from 5:00-7:00pm on Friday, July 31st. After I’m done talking with everyone, I’ll be selling and signing copies of my novel. Good food, great coffee, and a signed copy of Seven Stones? Now that’s what I call a perfect night!
One of the most exciting parts of the trip for me will be the train ride to D.C. I LOVE trains–they are my favorite way to travel. And this year, Shane and I sprung for a first-class cabin as our five-year anniversary gift to each other. I’ve never traveled first class before, and I can’t wait to share beautiful photos from the train windows and especially report back on the food (first class cabins come with meals on the dining car included). After reading so many Agatha Christie novels, I feel like I’m Poirot about to embark on an adventure. But I’ll be okay if no dead body mysteriously appears on the train. 😉
Our food for the train trip is taken care of, but there is still the 10 hours of driving between us and the station in Milwaukee. That means road trip snacks! Here’s what Shane and I are packing in our coolers and bags:
Fresh veggies from our CSA (including snap peas, cucumbers, turnips, radishes, and greens)
Dried fruit: mango, figs, & dates
A batch of homemade granola bars
Hard boiled eggs
Now, that list may seem like a lot, but we’ll be visiting friends and family, sharing the extras along the way. And, as hobbits, those snacks are just the barest of essentials (can’t miss second breakfast).
One of my absolute favorite snacks EVER is popcorn. I could eat it every day–and most of the time, I do. I’ve had popcorn every way: microwaved, air popped, those Jiffy tins. Over time, I’ve grown to be a bit of a popcorn connoisseur and the best way to make popcorn, in my expert opinion, is on the stove.
Stove top popcorn has such great flavor, is leagues healthier than the nasty wannabe microwaved stuff, and is open to almost endless topping combinations. The one I’m taking with me on my trip combines two of my favorite foods: pizza and popcorn! Salty, crunchy, and dusted with herbs, this snack is sure to satisfy! As a bonus, I add nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast has 8 grams of protein per serving and about 200% of your daily B vitamins–plus it gives the popcorn a lovely cheesy flavor.
As for oil, my favs are coconut oil, EVVO, and Earth Balance. Usually, my go-to is coconut oil, but I use different ones depending on what I feel like that day. Each will give a pleasant and unique flavor to your popcorn.
So, get ready to experiment, have fun, and munch on a whole grain, unprocessed snack that packs a powerful flavor punch!
Julia’s Pizza Popcorn!
1 cup organic popcorn kernels
1/4 cup oil (coconut, olive, Earth Balance–whatever you fancy)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp Pizza Seasoning
Salt to taste
Turn a burner on medium-high. Grab a large pot (with lid) and add oil. Once the oil is hot, add the popcorn kernels and place the lid on the pot. Begin shaking the pot gently back and forth over the burner to prevent kernels from popping. The kernels will be popping and filling up the pot–keep up the shaking motion until the kernels are almost done popping (until there are considerable pauses between pops. Like five seconds between pops).
Remove pot from heat. Remove the lid (once you’re sure the popping is done. Otherwise, you’ll have popcorn all over the kitchen 🙂 ). Add the nutritional yeast, pizza seasoning, and salt. Put that lid back on.
Now’s time for the best part. Grab that pot and SHAKE it, shake it, shake it like a Polaroid picture. Or like you’re trying to disperse the seasoning and salt evenly. Whichever works for you.
A cold glass of iced tea and the open road
What is your favorite popcorn flavor?
So long for now! I’ll see you when I get back with lots of pictures and stories from vacation!