Old-Fashioned Homemade Popcorn Recipes: Forget the Microwave and Serve Up a Delicious Comfort Food

To yield 2½ quarts (or ten cups) of popped popcorn, use a ten-inch cast-iron skillet with a domed lid and ½ cup popcorn kernels. For smaller servings, adjust these proportions appropriately. For reference, it may be useful to know that an average bag of microwave popcorn also makes about ten cups of popped corn.

Basic Homemade Popcorn Recipe


  • ¼ cup vegetable, olive or peanut oil
  • ½ cup popcorn kernels


  1. Heat the oil over moderate heat until it just begins to smoke
  2. Sprinkle popcorn kernels evenly into pan, no more than a kernel or two deep
  3. Cover the skillet and “shake”, with one hand on the lid and the other on the handle, using a quick horizontal movement
  4. When the sound of popping diminishes, remove skillet from the flame
  5. When corn is completely popped, remove lid and pour popcorn into serving bowl

Sesame Popcorn


  • 2½ quarts popped corn (from basic recipe above)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons Oriental sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over moderately low heat
  2. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil
  3. Drizzle the mixture over the popped corn in a large baking pan
  4. Sprinkle with salt and bake in a preheated 300F oven for ten to fifteen minutes

Parmesan Popcorn


  • 2½ quarts popped corn (from basic recipe above)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan


  1. Melt the butter in a small skillet and add the lemon juice
  2. Drizzle the mixture over the popcorn in a large baking pan
  3. Bake in a preheated 300F oven for 10 to 15 minutes
  4. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top, toss and add salt if desired

Cheddar Bacon Popcorn


  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ cup popcorn kernels
  • ¼ pound sharp Cheddar, finely grated


  1. Fry the bacon over moderate heat in a heavy skillet, stirring until it is crisp
  2. Place the bacon on paper towels to soak up excess oil
  3. Put 3 tablespoon of the bacon grease into a cast-iron skillet with a domed lid
  4. Heat the grease until it begins to smoke, then add the popcorn kernels
  5. Cover the skillet and shake, as described above
  6. Pour the popcorn into a large baking pan and toss with the Cheddar, bacon and salt
  7. Heat in a preheated 250F oven for three to five minutes or until the cheese is just melted

Popcorn is a healthy treat and its preparation can be a fun activity for children and adults alike. Experience the joys of making your own popcorn balls, holiday decorations or any of numerous other crafts once you learn the basics of making old-fashioned homemade popcorn.…

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Eco-Friendly | Green Living | Home | Home Appliances

Latest Eco-Friendly Home And Appliances Ideas

It is not only a matter of trend to move into an eco-friendly house, and it is not a secret that such home can save money for the owners. Unconventional energies are now available for more and more people, and you don’t have to spend a fortune today to live in such comfort.

Most common unconventional energies today are able to save up to 50-80% costs, but it is not only about that. A well designed house where angles are calculated to consider heating and air is a major improvement for health as well.

Best materials to use

Materials used to build such a home don’t pollute the environment significantly in any stage of building: design, mounting, or transport. Such materials are not toxic and they have to leave as less debris on the site as possible. A house with a wooden structure ensures a reduced heating cost. Other efficient building materials are straws, mud bricks or even vegetal insulators.

What appliances to get for your green home?

While researching for home appliances for your green home, check for the energy rating and green certification. Appliances like microwave ovens, refrigerator, dishwashers with low energy usage rating, save you money in terms of running costs and also reduce your carbon footprint. Even if they cost a little more it is worth spending on them since the ROI is definitely worth it.

Are there any dangers?

Eco-friendly houses building is relatively new, therefore the demand for such houses is bigger than the offer. If an eco-friendly house is not built right, it might bring more problems than benefits. A wooden framed house which is not well finished is vulnerable to mold, humidity and insects. Moreover, the insulation of such house has to be made of a material that lets the wood breathe and reduce thermal transmission at the same time. It is why you need to make sure the house is built by experienced builders with eco-friendly projects and structures.

The concept of green-house appeared from the need and will of people to protect the environment and to replace traditional concrete buildings with something new. Even if the materials from which these houses can be built are still limited, they are resistant on the long term and they sometimes look like architectural wonders.

Usually, green houses are built to be well exposed to the sun during the winter and shadowed during the summer. The concept of ‘natural’ building means a construction that uses natural elements for maximum effects. A green building is made with care about minimizing the impact on the environment. Besides the actual building projects, other aspects such as efficient illumination and flexibility of the interior space are considered.

What about the costs?

The costs of maintaining such a house are only diminished if the building is also passive, meaning it does not generate pollution. Considering the percentage of energy that you obtain from natural resources, it is possible to save 30-40% on costs yearly. Surprisingly, this is not the main reason for which people choose to move in such houses.

People looking to make this change are usually more interested about their health. The decision to have a baby is one of the most common reasons for which families want to move in a house where it is easy to benefit of natural light and fresh air. Moving in such a house is a decision on the long term; therefore make sure you are choosing the builder with care. As we are talking about relatively new building concepts, most of traditional building companies are not able to build such houses just yet.

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Fall is in the air. The fur kids are grateful for every degree the temperature drops. They want to be outside whenever the mercury drops below 80 degrees. They chase the falling leaves and wait with baited breath for the approaching fall. They know it is coming and they are anxious for it to arrive.

I took some time off from computer repairs so they all got to go to the new property yesterday. It is still heavily wooded, even with the clearing we did for the houses. They frolicked through the woods, getting acquainted with the resident squirrels and birds. They followed all of the wonderful new smells of wildlife and nature. They were excited and overjoyed.

They found deer trails and were awestruck by the fabulous new scent they had never experienced before. They spent more than an hour trying to find the mysterious creature that had left such a heady marking. Soon they will live there and they will find this fascinating animal, but for now they could only smell and dream.

We ran ourselves ragged just keeping them in sight as they explored this wonderland. They found chipmunks, squirrels and birds. Tried to dig out dens and ran headlong into an armadillo. It was hard to determine who was the more startled or amazed. They were all curious about each other, the armadillo cautiously eyeing this horde of fur and flying ears, the fur kids announcing their discovery with raucous barking. The armadillo curled into a ball, patiently enduring the inquisitive noses of this strange pack of impertinent fur balls. The more daring boys cautiously chanced to touch with extended paws while the girls encouraged them from a safer distance. They finally decided that this new discovery did not want to play and soon lost interest when the armadillo, who steadfastly maintained his immobile behavior. The fur kids raced off in search of more adventure and the armadillo uncurled and meandered away apparently unruffled by the encounter.

Every tree and bush had to be examined and relegated to an appropriate category. Each rock was tested and marked. The boys had a very busy day, indeed. The location of the spring was found and committed to memory. The proper tree for each squirrel was carefully determined and noted.
The location of dens, trails and other still unchartered realms were securely recorded for further study.

Finally, tired but content fur kids were ready to be loaded in the truck for the trip home. Now they have flung themselves into the moving preparations with a vengeance. Impatient to have it done and get back to this new paradise that awaits them, they encourage the packing and cleaning with their own special brand of incentive, the thoughts and dreams of this beckoning Eden never far from their minds.…

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Throwing Light on Home Repair Grants

Home repair grants is a type of grant given to families who are economically deprived to enable them to make repair or improvements to their building of residence.These are grants given to elderly citizens to enable them to live in a safe and secure environment by removing unwanted hazards from their homes and other obstructions which might pose grave risk in the long run.These grants are normally given to people over the age of 62 years. who cannot afford funding from normal loans because of the high interest levied on them.The eligibility criteria for the receival of these grants are-

1.The person should be national of United States and also he must have a permanent place of residence. 2.Should meet all the legal criterias needed to receive the grant.
3.Should have a good record of repaying of loans in the past.
4.Should be living below the low income line.
5.The person should be in a job with sufficient earning which would enable him to repay the grant.
6.Should be the sole owner of the property on which he is currently living in.

A building or a dwelling usually has a number of projections built into them which is otherwise normal but for elderly people it may pose grave danger as they may slip or trip over them hurting themselves which might even prove to be fatal.Repair grants are used for the purpose of removing these obstructions such as heating ,electrical and plumbing systems and also disposal of water and waste.On top of this they are also used for installing insulation,screens which would further improve the living conditions.

Home improvements also includes modernising of a building so that it is in sync with the current times and the inclusiong of additional rooms,remodelling an existing room.In order to do this the person who has taken funding from the grant must be the current owner of the building and should not be a tenant or somebody who has rented the building. A home repair grant cannot be used for the purpose of constructing a new building, improper repair of a dwelling with the safety hazards still in place and making improvements to places not within the property concerned and the moving of a mobile home.The receiver of a grant cannot misuse the funding for making ellaborate design change or appearance related changes to the building.If the person who applies for a repair grant happens to sell the property within three years of issuing of the grant,then the finance given as per the grant would be converted to a loan and would have to be repaid in full.

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Top 5 Home Renovations that Will Increase Your Home’s Value

The recession has created a buyer’s market for those looking to purchase homes. As a result, people can afford to be a lot pickier about certain details that they’re looking for. If you watch any of the programs on HGTV, you’ll notice a trend in the kinds of features that they expect to see for the amount of money they’re spending. If you’re thinking about putting your house on the market, take a look at these attributes-as they can sometimes make or break a deal.

Bathroom Fixtures

One of the main things that potential home buyers are interested in are the bathrooms. More so than the number of them that exist, people are paying attention to what they look like. Obsolete bathroom furnishings will instantly “date” your home, making room look less appealing. Jazzing up faucets, lighting fixtures, and even the tile will drastically bring your bathroom up to date.

Kitchen Counters and Appliances

If your home has granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, you can consider yourself lucky; because according to many of the experts on HGTV, these two features are the most requested in real estate. In some cases, home buyers consider these accents necessary aspects of a modern, functioning kitchen. But these aren’t the only materials that will improve the value of your home. Take a walk through your local Home Depot and you’ll be surprised by the plethora of textures available that match your home’s character. The idea in essence, is to make your kitchen look warm, relatively neutral, and most of all-modern.

Curb Appeal

Even if all the improvements in your house are phenomenal, you will still need to entice potential buyers to actually enter the premises. This probably won’t occur if your home’s “curb appeal” is less than desirable. You need not spend tons of money to create a fantasy landscape (though it might help in some cases.) But in general, shrubbery should not be overgrown. Debris and supplies should be kept out of sight. And at the very least, the entrance should appear manicured and well-cared for. Once you’ve given your yard a “shave” you can then concentrate on adding a few simple touches to enhance the look. Metro Atlanta’s Pike Nursery (and even Wal-Mart) is literally a landscaping Mecca for those with a green thumb.

Extra Closet Space

Unfortunately, some houses as nice as they are, don’t offer residents enough closet space. Master bedroom closets are often the first to be inspected by potential homeowners. If your closet is lacking a little breathing room, you might want to consider investing in creating some bigger storage dimensions. Sometimes a complete rebuild cannot be accomplished, in which case you might want to consider refurbishing storage space in another area of the house.

Livable Basement Area(s)

In a time when people are looking to cut corners and save money, homeowners are now looking to their basements as viable living quarters instead of places to store old stuff. If you happen to have a finished basement, you’ve probably got a goldmine on your hands. Homeowners love the idea of having a separate area to comfortably house in-laws, older children, or even renters. Suffice it to say, finishing your basement and providing some additional functionality to your house will boost its value tremendously.

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Interior Designer Brian Gluckstein: Gluckstein Design Founder and Toronto Interior Design Star

Brian Gluckstein stood in the doorway of his campus at Ryerson University, wondering where his newly acquired BA in interior design would take him. Fast-forward two decades from then, and he is the mastermind behind Gluckstein Design Planning Inc. – one of the most sought-after design companies in the GTA.

“I worked for a small design firm in the city and then a few years after, I opened up my own firm,” Gluckstein recalls of his road to the top. “Some very important architects and art consultants have recommended me to some of Canada’s most important families and it just started right away.”

Today, his company employs a talented group of designers with extensive international experience. They offer a complete range of upscale interior design, planning and project management services to residential and corporate clients, residential developers, as well as the hospitality and leisure industries.

The firm’s design work extends to the design of custom furnishings and accessories, rugs, china and tableware, as well as stationary and signage.

The Power of Word Of Mouth

When asked about his success and professional accomplishments, however, Gluckstein chooses to remain modest. “Staying in business this long is probably my biggest accomplishment,” he laughs. “There is not one project that really stands out as sort of your milestone in the business. I think that each one propels you to the next.”

He explains that his company relies on its excellent reputation and word of mouth to find new clients – something that must constantly be upheld, motivating him to work extra hard on every project he takes on.

“When people see current work, it stimulates new people to hire you. I always think that what we are working on currently will bring more work after that,” he adds. “Its evolution, but all of our work is word of mouth, so most of the people that call us know someone that has worked with us in the past, which is the best thing.”

Gluckstein has had the pleasure of designing for some of the world’s most famous names, in addition to handling the top condominium projects in Toronto. His resume also includes the prestigious Windsor Arms Hotel and the Avenue Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto.

Great Design is More Than Just Following Trends

Gluckstein Design Planning Inc. employs both traditional and modern design styles. The firm aims to create timelessness and cleanness to every space by mixing bits of modern flair into traditional spaces, and vice versa.

“I think great design has longevity to it,” Gluckstein explains. “There is a difference between great design and fads. I think we definitely see a lot of trendy spaces or fads, and that’s fine in a space that may be demolished quickly. So it might be fine for a presentation centre or a retail space or a restaurant that, maybe, has a five-year life. I probably wouldn’t do it in a space like a private residence or the common areas of a condominium where they are going to have to last a long time.”

He believes that great design never goes out of style, citing a book by a California designer in the 1950s as an example. “I was looking at book on a designer named Michael Taylor,” he recalls. “I was showing some of our designers the spaces that he designed that looked just incredible. Just very inspirational space. Traditional space but very light, very beautiful.”

“And then I opened up the book in front of everybody and said ‘I love these spaces, aren’t they beautiful?’ and they said ‘Oh yeah, they’re really cool, they’re beautiful.’ So I said, “Do you realize those spaces are 50 years old? Well they could have been today!’”

Gluckstein’s theory is that great designs can truly last forever. He believes that the only reason homeowners may want to redesign such spaces is because they have lived there too long, rather than the design growing out of style.

He states that a traditional design dating back to the 1920s can still look fresh today with the addition of a few modern pieces. His passion for traditional architectural details allows him to integrate classical designs into the most modern spaces, resulting in a clean, sophisticated design he can be proud to put his name on.

In fact, his own home shows off a blend of antiques mixed with contemporary furniture to complement the traditional architecture of the house. True to his work, you can see a few modern pieces throughout.

“It’s like a woman wearing a beautiful, simple Armani dress with a broche or a necklace that’s from the 1920s,” he explains. “You look at that and say, ‘Wow! That’s such an incredible piece!’ It’s how you use them together to make it sophisticated and current.”

If he moves, Gluckstein …

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Bedroom Decorating Tips and Romantic Bedrooms

The bedroom is without a doubt the most personal room in the house. Most people do a lot of living in the living room, and everyone has to spend some time in their bedroom no matter what. When it comes to decorating a bedroom, the most important thing to consider is what it’s mostly used for. There are tons of outlandish suggestions on how to make silly themes for a bedroom, but a personalized theme will make the best one now and in the long run.

Bedroom Furniture Layout

The best way to make a bedroom more pleasant without spending more money is to give it a proper layout. While the amount of furniture in the room should be kept to a minimum no matter what the design is, it’s where the furniture is placed that really makes or breaks the general feel of the room. The one thing just about everyone does in their bedroom is sleep, so the beds should be at the focal point of the room.

Try situating the head or headboard of the bed on a wall opposing the entrance to the room. Drape a comfy blanket in a favorite color or style and it becomes the centerpiece of the room. This generally allows that focal point to be seen as someone enters the room. Keep good spacing in dressing areas and try placing lights where a mirror can reflect it for added space illusions.

The size of the room is important for the décor design as well. Smaller rooms need to be as clutter free as possible so any unnecessary furniture items should be avoided. Light colors on the walls is the age-old trick to make small bedrooms seem bigger, also mirrors placed in the “longest” part of the room seem to visually open up the room. Large rooms are easy as long as the bed is perfectly placed. Options of a reading table or a detached walk-in closet can give a ritzy feel to a room. Large wall paintings and other floor-to-ceiling décor like large dramatic wardrobes or curtains can add a majestic feel to any bedroom.

Create a Romantic Bedroom

The Most sought after feel for a shared bedroom is a romantic one. Romance is represented well by deep colors that are close to red but nowhere near a bright red. Deep purples and magentas will achieve the affect and go well when paired with a nice cream. White is nice when used exclusively with other colors as accents, but color tends to be more effective. There are almost always some very nice, romantic beddings on sale through Kohls’ coupons online.

Mirrors and lighting do a great deal for the romantic ambiance get creative with lights that change over time or dimming lights. Hearts and flowers are good when used subtly. Keep the colors in line with the rest of the room and don’t go cheesy or it will get old quickly.

It’s not hard to decorate a bedroom. Space and placement are key design factors. Also, don’t forget that there isn’t anything less romantic than a TV staring at the bed!

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Old-Fashioned Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup: A Recipe for Making Chicken Stock and Noodles from Scratch

Chicken soup is comfort food for the body and soul. Full of nutrition, warmth and flavor, this recipe for homemade chicken and noodles is the perfect finish for a cold winter day.

Making Chicken Stock


  • One 5-8 pound chicken, thawed and well-rinsed
  • Two large carrots
  • Two large celery stalks
  • One whole onion
  • Two cloves garlic
  • Salt (may use table salt, garlic salt or celery salt or a combination) and pepper to taste
  1. Place chicken, vegetables, onion and garlic cloves in a large, heavy stockpot. Fill with warm water until chicken is completely covered. Bring to a boil on stove, then reduce heat and simmer for two hours on low heat.
  2. Using tongs, carefully remove chicken, vegetables, onion and garlic from stockpot. Discard vegetables. Allow chicken to cool before handling.
  3. Carefully strain chicken stock with a strainer. Use a kitchen fat separator to remove excess oils from stock. Return strained, skimmed stock to stockpot. Season with salt and pepper.

Making Homemade Noodles


  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk or half-and-half
  1. In small bowl, combine flour and salt. Stir in eggs and milk with fork. Mix until all ingredients are combined, but do not over mix. Too much handling will result in tougher noodles.
  2. Remove dough and knead on floured surface. Again, just knead until dough is workable. Shape dough into a ball and roll with floured rolling pin. Flatten until dough is 1/2 inch thickness.
  3. Using a pizza cutter or kitchen shears, cut dough into strips for noodles. These noodles will expand in the chicken broth, so cut into thin ribbons. Let rest on floured surface for 15-30 minutes.

Preparing Chicken for Soup

After boiled chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones. Discard. Carefully shred light and dark meat into bite-sized chunks. Chicken will separate as it simmers in the broth, so chunks do not need to be tiny.

Preparing Chicken Noodle Soup


  • One batch homemade chicken stock
  • One batch homemade noodles, uncooked
  • Cooked, shredded chicken meat, light and dark
  • Five large carrots, sliced
  • Three celery stalks, sliced
  1. In large stockpot, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add three cups water and simmer.
  2. To simmering water, carefully add homemade noodles. Stir gently. Add sliced vegetables. Cover and simmer on low heat for 60 minutes. Taste before serving. Season with table salt, flavored salt and freshly cracked pepper as desired

Serve homemade chicken soup with a crisp green salad and homemade bread.

This is a delicious addition to a Soup Swap Party.

Chicken stock freezes well and can be used as a base for many other soup recipes.…

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How to Organize a Utility Closet: Organizing Tips to Store Household Cleaning Supplies

Utility closets keep much-needed cleaning supplies out of sight and yet close at hand. Keeping this storage space well-organized and neatly arranged means that cleaning up is easier and quicker. For homes that don’t have a dedicated utility closet, it will be a good idea to identify and allocate a specific area to store household cleaning supplies and keep it organized.

Here are easy ways on how to create, arrange and organize a fully functional utility closet.

Contents for the Utility Closet

The first step will be to collect everything that will go into the utility closet. Here is a list of cleaning items that most homes will require.

  • Brooms,mops,bucket and dust pan
  • Trashcan liners and plastic bags
  • Paper towels, kitchen towels, dusters and rags
  • Sponges, scouring pads, brushes and scrubbers
  • Vacuum cleaner and attachments
  • Protective gloves
  • Various cleaning sprays—glass, oven, kitchen and floor
  • Various polishes—furniture, brass, silver, floor wax or coating
  • Car cleaning supplies
  • Spare flashlight and batteries
  • Step stool

Creating Space and Storage in the Utility Closet

While the list of household cleaning supplies may be long, one does not really need a big closet to house them. All that is required is a small closet or even, a few shelves in a larger cabinet. Regardless of the size of the closet, it will be a good idea to add hooks and pegs to the insides of the closet doors and to the back and sides of the closet. Adjustable shelving will be a big plus.

Storing Items and Arranging the Utility Closet

The next step will be to arrange the items in the closet. Here are a few organizing tips for storing the various household cleaning products.

  • Use hooks and pegs to hang broom, mop, dustpan, gloves and anything else that can be conveniently stored by hanging.
  • Store plastic bags and trash can liners inside a plastic bag container or any plastic box with a lid.
  • Line shelves with paper and arrange cleaning sprays and polishes neatly in trays or baskets. Follow the principle of storing like items together. For instance, glass cleaning supplies should be in one basket while floor cleaning supplies will be in a separate basket.
  • Add a paper towel holder to the inside of the door. Store extras by stacking and arranging neatly on one of the shelves.
  • Scouring pads, scrubbers and other such items can be kept in their original packing and stored in containers or baskets to hold them all together.
  • Cleaning caddies can also be used to hold frequently used items together.
  • A closet rod can be used to hang storage bags and keep towels, dusters, scrubbers and brushes together.
  • Closet floor space can be used to store the vacuum cleaner along with its attachments and the step stool.
  • Put up easy to read labels, where needed, so that other family members know where everything goes.
  • Keep the closet locked to prevent small children from getting into it.

Once all the items are organized and kept neatly, finding the right cleaner or cleaning implement to keep the house spotless will be quite easy. Do use these organizing tips for arranging and storing household cleaning products neatly and creating a centralized storage space for them.

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