El albergue

El albergue

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tea Time

As I sit here on my bed, drowsily content, I cuddle my warm cup of tea in my hands. I’ve just had a wonderful nap to counteract the sapping of a busy work schedule. The joyful prospect of community choir practice shines bright in the near future (very near… in fact, I should probably be getting ready to go right now). The gardens are cheerfully bathed in sunshine outside my sliding glass door…

And this tea ties it all together. My perpetually chilly fingers curl around its warmth. My nose is filled with its fragrant steam. My mouth, throat, and belly are soothed by its liquid caress. I might even go so far as to say that it’s working its way around to calming my very heart!

How does it do this? How does a simple cup of tea manage to impart so much comfort and complete such a quiet moment?

As the level of tea in my mug drops, I find myself wishing it were somehow bottomless, that I could keep on sipping it forever, that this moment of perfect peace would never go away.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Sometimes, I like to have really serious, adult conversations. And then sometimes I just really have to talk about popcorn.

I love it. I really do. I mean, who doesn’t love a big bowl of fresh popcorn, with all its lovely warmth and buttery perfection? I’m not the only one who goes crazy over it, grabbing big handfuls and stuffing them down the hatch with the spastic enthusiasm of a four year-old who’s still working on the whole food-in-mouth-and-not-on-floor thing… right?

I’m not incredibly picky about it either. Microwave popcorn with all its fake butter? Lay it on me.  Movie theater popcorn with extra buttery goodness? I’m excited. Air-popped popcorn with parmesan cheese? Umm, yes. Stale popcorn strings hung up for a festive occasion? Hey, they’re only a day or two old, and I get hungry walking from my bedroom to the kitchen to make breakfast!

All those popcorn sources aside, I have to say that I now have a clear favorite. In a world of popcorn glory, this one single way of making popcorn now reigns supreme in my mind – the Whirlypop. Oh man, does that thing do it right.

Imagine with me a big pot. In goes a generous tablespoon or two of oil and a good ½ cup of those wonderful golden kernels. On goes the lid. Up goes the heat of the stove. Around and around goes the handle turning the paddle inside the pot. Sizzle goes the oil. Then bing bang boom, those shiny little kernels explode in a firing squad-esque display of sound into a mass of fluffy white under your hands. Oh heaven. Almost every single kernel is popped – no more of those sadly disappointing ones that refuse to reach their full delightful potential. And it is so delicious…

My brother and sister-in-law gave me this amazing Whirlypop for Christmas in conjunction with a jar of coconut oil, since that is the oil of their choice for poppin’. So of course I’ve tried it out with coconut oil in conjunction with salt, with garlic salt, with parmesan, and even by itself. It’s so tantalizingly fragrant when you use that coconut oil!!! I’ve also tried it with standard olive oil with the above mentioned toppings, and I even broke out this incredible butter-infused olive oil my cousin gifted me. That buttery flavor was definitely a perfect pairing with the parmesan, let me tell you!

Recently though, I just about blew my own mind with a little experiment I tried… When putting the oil and popcorn kernels in the pot, I added dried rosemary, and let it all heat up together. Throw on some garlic salt when it’s still steaming hot, and oh lands, is that stuff good. With any of those oils, it is amazing. …I may or may not have gleefully substituted it for a “normal” dinner a few times.

I’ve even begun to dream up different possible popcorn creations as I drive home from work or lie in bed drifting off to sleep. Chili-lime? Curry? Sweet and sour? …oh yum… the combinations are endless!