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  • Lindsey, EDRD

A Sweet Treat

First things first. I need your help.

Those super tall flowers in the back.

WHAT in the WORLD are they?

I didn't plant them. At least I don't think I did? They're taller than I am. Two have light pink flowers, two have purple, and a fifth smaller one has in between pinky purple blooms.

I mean, I'm not complaining- but I want them to come back next year. And the year after that. And then also the year after that, ideally without any work on my part. Ha.

The cherry tree is giving us tons of ripe red sour cherries to harvest each day. This is a Montmorency cherry tree and I chose it because it's self-fertilizing, meaning you don't have to plant a second one nearby. I planted it three years ago and it's been growing as it should ever since.

In other yard news, we've been trying to make good use out of our gas firepit. Usually we light it up on the weekends once the kids have gone to bed. For this past weekend's fire, I was in the mood for a treat and a few key ingredients on hand gave me the idea for this- almond joy popcorn!

I am- no surprise- not one to buy candy. I LOVE my dark chocolate, but I don't find myself enjoying super sugary candy bars. That being said, as a kid I definitely dug the occasional Almond Joy. What's not to like? The combo of coconut, chocolate, and the crunch of the lone almond is so good. Now if we're getting technical here, it's the Mounds bar that has dark chocolate, while Almond Joy has milk chocolate. I'm doing a hybrid of the two I guess- best of both worlds. I mean, bars. Calorie-wise it's an even swap. An Almond Joy candy bar has 220 calories and so does this recipe, BUT, this has less sugar, more fiber, and the most appealing aspect to me: MORE TO EAT! 2 1/2 cups' worth of treat vs what I have no doubt downed in 2 1/2 bites.

Almond Joy Popcorn

2 tablespoons popcorn kernels

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

2 tablespoons shredded coconut/coconut flakes

2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips (the darker, the better)

Is this not the easiest recipe to remember? Ha. I have an air popper that I use to make popcorn, but if you don't have one, you can easily make this on the stovetop- you'll just have to factor in the oil to the nutrition facts.

To make stovetop popcorn: Heat 1 tablespoon coconut (or vegetable) oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add two test kernels to the oil and cover. When those test kernels burst, add the remaining kernels. Keep the lid on and shake the pan right over the burner so that the kernels don't burn. Once kernel popping has slowed down to 2-3 seconds in between pops, it's done- remove from heat and immediately pour into a bowl, removing any unpopped kernels.

I chose to toast my sliced almonds, but it's not a must- I just find it adds to the taste. You can put them on a rimmed baking sheet in a hot oven for a few minutes or you can use a pan over the stove. You don't need any oil here- just put the almonds in the pan and stir often to prevent burning. Once they start to toast, they can scorch quickly, so keep an eye on them and transfer to bowl immediately once they're golden.

Add coconut flakes and dark chocolate to the popcorn/almond mixture. Stir to evenly distribute. I acted quickly so that the warmth of the popcorn and almonds slightly melted the chocolate chips. A chocolately coconut-ty mess was just fine with me. Makes two servings.

Served best by the mystery flowers in front of the firepit with no children bugging you to share.


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