homemade chocolate-covered popcorn

I read in a magazine recently that popcorn contains more antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables! Adding to that, one cup of popcorn {the healthy, air-popped variety, that is} has less than 50 calories! Hello, my new favorite snack. I also love popcorn because it is so versatile – you can add seasonings to make it salty, cheesy, spicy, or sweet.

Or … kick it up a step further and add some chocolate to the mix! {I know, I know, this definitely crashes-and-burns the whole “under 50 calories” thing … but the way I see it, chocolate-covered popcorn is pretty healthy on the dessert scale!} I made mine with dark chocolate to take advantage of even more antioxidant power.

chocolate popcorn

Before making this dish, I had never even attempted to melt chocolate before. I do not have a double-broiler so I just used my microwave. I was worried it would be difficult or time-consuming, but it was incredibly easy. I am already looking forward to livening up my next movie night in with Mike by whipping up another batch of this addicting treat!

homemade chocolate-covered popcorn

– 1 package popcorn of choice {I like to use a healthy, whole-grain version with no added butter or salt}
– 1/2 cup chocolate chips
– 2 tsp butter
– salt, cinnamon, or other spices to taste

1. Pop popcorn according to package directions. Dump into a big bowl and pick out any unpopped kernels. Sprinkle with salt and cinnamon.

2. Melt chocolate and butter over a double-burner or in a microwave-safe bowl. {Melting times vary based on the power of your microwave, but I’d recommend using a series of shorter time increments and stirring more often so as not to burn the chocolate by cooking too long!}

3. Pour melted chocolate onto the popcorn.

popcorn

4. Using a spoon {or your hands!} mix popcorn and chocolate together, breaking apart any large clumps of chocolate, until the popcorn is evenly coated.

chocolate covered popcorn

5. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container.

I gifted a batch of this popcorn to a coworker using a homemade “upcycled” gift container. I’ll share more about making homemade gift containers in my post tomorrow, so stay tuned! 🙂

upcycled gift containers

Have a wonderful day!

Till soon,
Dallas

homemade festive christmas chain

Good morning! Hope your transition from the long holiday weekend back into your regular routine wasn’t too painful yesterday. I had a nice time seeing my students again and hearing about their Thanksgiving breaks. I can’t believe we only have two more weeks left of the semester!

Christmas is in full swing here in my little apartment. Today I’m excited to share an easy, super inexpensive, and wonderfully festive holiday craft with you.

Remember those colorful paper chains you used to make in elementary school to decorate the classroom or count down to holidays or special events? In my family we used to make them as count-downs until Christmas or our birthdays and tear off one strip each day … it was so exciting to watch the chain gradually get smaller and smaller as the big day approached!

We also used to make chains with red and green construction paper to decorate our stair bannisters. The only problem with using paper is it isn’t very durable. We would make them again and again year after year, which was fun in its own way {especially as kids} but it isn’t very environmentally friendly or time-friendly — there are so many other craft and decorating projects I want to try rather than doing the same one year after year!

After some brainstorming, I came up with an idea: what about using using green and red felt instead of construction paper?

TA-DA! A homemade festive Christmas chain that will last from year to year. The best part? It costs less than $3.00 to make!

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • scissors
  • stapler & staples
  • red & green felt — I used 5 sheets of each color {got them at Michael’s for $0.29 each}

Directions:

1. Cut the felt into strips about 1 inch wide.

2. Bring one strip of felt together into a loop and staple the ends to each other.

3. Take a strip of the alternate color and loop it through, stapling its ends together to make another loop.

4. Continue the process until your chain reaches your desired length.

Then display them around your house! These are great hung around the walls and draped over a mantel. I don’t have a mantel in my apartment, so I draped mine over the top of my bookcase where my stockings are hanging.

And that’s it! Hope you enjoy this festive Christmas craft.

Have a great day!
-Dallas

homemade photo collage poster

Last summer, Mike and I went on a fabulous two-week vacation to London and Paris. Personally, I prefer to save up money for experiences and trips rather than expensive gadgets and material things, because the memories will last forever.

And we made a lot of wonderful memories during that trip, many of which I documented with my camera:

Along with taking pictures, I also documented our trip by saving ticket stubs from the trains and subways we rode and the plays we went to, along with maps, brochures and playbills.

At first my plans were to save everything in a photo album, but then inspiration struck: why not make a collage of my favorite photos and hang it up where I could see it multiple times every day and remember the amazing trip we had?

I went to Target and picked up an inexpensive poster frame — I chose a big size because I knew I had a lot of photos I wanted to showcase, but you could definitely do the same thing in a smaller size if you’d prefer.

I laid out everything before I glued anything down — I wanted to have the freedom to move things around and play with shapes and colors. I ended up using some of the tickets to make a border around the edge, and I grouped photos loosely together based on the different places we went. Then I simply used a glue stick to attach everything. {I’m sure double-sided tape would work well, too, but a glue stick was what I had on hand.}

It took a little while to get everything glued down, but I put on an episode of Friday Night Lights to watch as I worked, and the time flew by. I also didn’t worry about using a ton of glue, because I knew the plastic cover of the poster frame would protect the photos and hold them in place.

I hung it up right beside my kitchen where I can see it as I cook!

I love this project because it’s a wonderful, inexpensive way to organize and preserve your photos and enjoy them in your daily life. It’s also an easy, personal and home-y way to decorate your place!

How do you keep your photos and keepsakes organized? Any fun photo-sharing tips or crafts?

Always,
Dallas
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Time spent: about one hour
Cost: $5.00 for the poster frame + $12.00 to print photos