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Monday, December 17

A Lovely Yuletide Evening with Doodle Bug

Tonight, I heated up a few portions of vegetarian Brunswick Stew.  If you've never had it, it has potatoes, corn, lima beans, tomatoes, and faux chicken with spices.  The exact recipe we use was given to me by friend years ago and I don't feel that I should give it out here without her permission.  However, as I glance around the net, this recipe from Plain Chicken is along the same lines in its simplicity. 

It was a good meal that we followed up with the traditional Winter Solstice activity of stringing popcorn and cranberries on string.  To start, we gathered our supplies: coconut oil, popping kernals, fresh cranberries, a pot with a lid for popping, and a needle and thread. 

Ingredients for making popcorn and cranberries for stringing.

Our popcorn pot is used once per year, for this very activity.  It is one of those aluminum Whirley Popcorn Pots that go for about $25 on Amazon... but being a thrift store hound I found ours for $3. I love the old-fashioned feel of it much better than an air popper; it just seems to suit the age of this practice. 

Whirley Popcorn Pot at Cabela's

We melted about 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in the pot and then added a 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels.  Doodle Bug took over at that point.  He loves to spin it as the corn hisses and pops.  Once it starts it's over in just a minute and he wouldn't miss it for anything!

Doodle Bug stirring popcorn. 
We popped The Muppet Christmas Carol, a holiday favorite in the House of Mama Stacey, into the DVD player and settled down to the business of stringing.  I have Doodle Bug use a larger needle and double thread it for strength.  I thread the first cranberry on and tie it off.  He has a harder time with popcorn and so often only has a few pieces crowded in with dozens of cranberries.  I tend to make six inch lengths of alternating cranberries and popcorn.  There really is no wrong way to do it. 

Doodle Bug starting his popcorn string.
It doesn't take long to fill a string.  Before long, we'd hung our strings on the tree for the evening and Doodle Bug had attacked the leftover popcorn. 

Tomorrow, we will hang the strings on the trees behind our apartment building so that birds and squirrels can enjoy them.

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