Let’s Get Popping with Malaysian Palm Oil

I use a lot of different oils in my cooking so I was excited about the opportunity from Moms Meet to try a free bottle of Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil and see what it was like. I learned the palm oil has very high smoke point and won’t break down into harmful chemicals when used at higher temperatures so it would be perfect to replace some of my other cooking oils. It’s also packed with potent phytonutrients like carotene and tocotrienols (an ultra-potent form of vitamin E) not found in other oils.

The suggested recipe was for popcorn and I admit I was skeptical about making it in a pot! I guess I thought you needed some kind of special air popper, old school tin foil bubble or microwave package to make it, but nope! All you need is a pot, oil and kernels.

I used a 6 qt. pot, 3 tbsp. of palm oil and just under 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels. The recipe called for 1/2 cup and an 8 qt. pot, so I adjusted for my smaller pot. I poured the 3 tbsp. in the pot, added three kernels, covered it with the lid and turned the heat to medium-high.

malaysian palm oil

It felt like it took forever to hear those three little pops, but really it was probably less than five minutes. After that I remove the pot from the heat and scooped the popped pieces out with a spoon. I then poured in the kernels and gave them a good shake to distribute the oil and heat evenly and ensure that everything pops at the same time. It’s an important step because otherwise it will pop unevenly and you will end up with burnt popcorn and leftover kernels.

I then put the pot back on the heat with a lid slightly askew so steam could escape. When it started popping, a few kernels escaped too!

The popping started pretty quickly and I had to adjust the lid a couple times because it kept slipping down. After a couple minutes I peeked in and there was a beautiful golden pile of popcorn. The palm oil is a rich red color from the same carotenoids found in carrots, oranges, squash and apricots and is loaded with provitamin A. The red color of the oil gives the popcorn a golden hue that makes it look like it’s right out of the movie theater.

I poured it into the bowl and found that almost every single kernel had popped and this was possibly the most perfect bowl of popcorn I had ever made. I didn’t even feel like I needed to add butter and just tossed it with a little bit of sea salt and it was delicious!

Popcorn made with palm oil

I’m really looking forward to trying the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil in other recipes like pan frying and stir fry, and making popcorn like this again! If you’d like to learn more about palm oil and its many benefits, check out www.PalmOilHealth.org .

The Most Expensive Cosplays Ever Created

Cosplay has experienced a boom in the past few decades, becoming a huge part of pop culture fandom. Starting in Japan, the subculture can be seen at events and conventions across the globe.

Cosplay conventions have them all, from low-cost costumes to expensive and intricately-designed suits. The price doesn’t necessarily reflect a build’s quality, because it all boils down to the talent of the artist who’s making the costume. However, there are some cosplays out there with a hefty price tag that truly capture some of the most popular characters in fiction.

Here are some of the most beautifully crafted and expensive costumes ever created:

Steampunk Iron Man
Cost to make: $4,000

IronMAnSteamPunk Image credit: Geeky Tyrant

This Steampunk version of Iron Man first graced the halls of comic cons in 2010. It’s easy to see why it won the Marvel Costume Contest at New York Comic Con. The fusion of steampunk and Iron Man is nothing short of inspiring, and truly a thing of beauty.

The costume was built by Matt Silva of Penny Dreadful Productions.

Trivia: What’s fascinating about this suit is that it was recycled from a costume used in Heartless: The Story of the Tin Man – a short film that featured the non-canon back story of the Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man. The suit underwent a lot of modifications that cost around $4,000 to become a highly detailed steampunk version of Iron Man.

Metal Gear REX
Cost to make: $7,000

metal_gear_rex_by_djrubynyc-d8pqhvyImage Credit: DeviantArt

Metal Gear REX is one of the mechas (robots with a pilot) used by villains to defeat Solid Snake — the protagonist of the critically acclaimed Konami game Metal Gear Solid. The outfit is quite possibly the most accurate cosplay ever built in honor of the mecha. According to the suit’s creator, Ruby Taki, it took her several trucks, 3 people, and at least 8 months to move and assemble the parts.

It isn’t easy to move around in the costume either. In order to maneuver it, the wearer needs to stand on two-foot stilts and bear the weight of the heavy metal.

The creator speaks: Taki states that one of the best compliments she received for her Metal Gear REX was an online comment that said, “It’s CGI; it’s not real.” She also finds it fun when people don’t realize that there’s actually a person inside the costume.

Reinhardt
Cost to make: $30,000

58065d636d8e031a008b4d8d-750-562Image credit: Insider

This is quite possibly the most expensive costume ever constructed in the history of cosplays ever. At Comic Con 2018, a Reinhardt cosplay, which stands at 9 1/2 feet tall and weighs around 100 pounds, graced the event and wowed the fans of the videogame Overwatch.

The costume was made by Thomas DePetrillo, a veteran costume maker who made impressive Hulk Buster and Bumblebee cosplays for previous Comic Cons.

How to get a Reinhardt costume like this: Three ways come to mind in order to obtain a costume like this: The first way is to learn from experts like DePetrillo, and use a different set of materials in order to lower the cost of making the suit. The second way is to win the lottery. Lottoland details that America’s two biggest lotteries have a minimum jackpot of $40 million. That would be enough to buy any cosplay, including this highly detailed and expensive Batman costume created by special effects designer Julian Checkley. Lastly, you can work hard until you’ve saved $30,000 to buy the high-end materials for the costume.

The thing is that while these cosplays are extremely well made and beautiful, the cost of cosplays isn’t important. It is the dedication and love of the fans that make cosplaying so special.

To find more costume inspirations, check out the  Geek Mamas’ Cosplay Tab!

*Article contributed by Brayden Scott*

Officially Ready for Summer! Opening the Beaches Parade

Sunday was my second time walking with the Beaches Library in the 72nd Opening of the Beaches parade. While our Florida beaches are open year-round, this event marks the start of warm sunny days and is a fun way to kick off beach season!

Opening the Beaches Jax Beach

I was really excited about making a new beach inspired costume and worked my idea around a pair of blue wings that made me think of water swirling around me when moved. I tore apart a sparkly dress to make a long skirt and top, and added shells and little sea creatures. I bought a pack of 52 off Amazon and they really came in handy! My son got to play with all the extra ones I didn’t use.mermaid inspired top by candy keane

I woke up Sunday excited and prepared! Or so I thought! As I was getting ready I realized I didn’t have any shoes that went with the outfit. So I pulled a few scraps of fabric out the trash, gathered the remaining decorations and quickly hot glued everything to an old pair of house shoes. Viola!

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We had a great group of cosplayers walking with us highlighting various fandoms from Hello Kitty to Star Wars. I always forget to get good group pics when I’m dressed up, so I had to swipe this one off Facebook-

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It’s not a really long parade and the ocean breeze helps keep you cool, but it was definitely hot and sunny! I got quite an arm workout from whirling those wings around too. I was feeling it afterwards, but at least my feet were really comfy in my custom slippers. Great time, great crowd, looking forward to next year when maybe my mom can join me with her silver wings!

 

Ready to Cook from Publix – Harissa Chicken

Last night I made Harissa Chicken, a fancy but easy meal from Publix’s ready-to-cook section, and added a spiced green bean dish on the side. Total cook time was about 30 minutes and everything was delicious!

harissa chicken ready to cook meal

On the menu: Harissa Chicken over Rice with Bhindi Masala Green Beans and Onions

I started by laying out all my ingredients. The meal clearly says it comes with asparagus, but on closer inspection, I noticed Publix seems to have forgotten to add that. Funny thing was, I was actually going to leave that out because I don’t like asparagus. However, if it is in the photo and the first ingredient listed on the package, I do still expect to see it in the box!

harissa chicken from publix
Hey Publix! See? No asparagus!

Next I chopped half a Vidalia onion in small slices  and prepped the green beans, oil and spices for the Bhindi Masala dish from Arora Creations.

indian green beans and onions

Easy Cooking Instructions: 

First pan fry chicken and cut into small pieces. Then add them to the sauce and let them simmer on low.

Next mix together zucchini and squash mix, rice, dried apricots and 1/2 tbsp of butter. Microwave 3 min.

While that’s microwaving, put 1/2 cup olive oil in a big pan with the green beans and cook them for 4 min on medium heat before adding the spice packet. Then cook them for 5 more minutes so they get good and flavored with the spices. Remove beans with tongs so you leave the spiced oil in the pan.

Next add the onions and sauté until soft. When the onions are ready, add the green beans back to pan and fold into onions. Give them a couple minutes to meld flavors.

Now take the rice mix out of microwave and top with chicken and sauce.

Add green beans on the side and sprinkle everything with the sliced almonds.

And done! Yum!

I have really liked all the meals I’ve gotten from the Publix Ready-to-Cook section. Have you guys tried any? Let me know! I’m curious if the chicken and dumplings slow cooker one is any good.

Easy Easter Art Project – Painting Bunny Ears

I’m always looking for new ways to get my son interested in the crafty stuff, so when I got these simple white bunny ears from Birdy Boutique, I thought they’d be fun to paint! Of course the kids wouldn’t cooperate for the “before” photos, so us moms are modeling the ears. My friend Effie from Project Mom Strong and her son Alex joined us for a slightly messy and fun crafternoon.

easter bunny ears

They have a nice plain white flat surface on the inside, perfect for decorating and adding a little flair to your Easter style. You could also add embellishments, glitter, etc., but we just went with Crayola washable paint.

toddlers painting bunny earsWe squirted blobs of paint on a plate, handed the boys a paintbrush and let them go at it. And they actually did it! Anytime I can get my son to do an art project, I feel like it’s a major mom accomplishment, lol.

Keelan stuck his on his head right away, but instead of wearing them thought it would more fun to try and shake them off. I’m happy to report the washable paint also washes easily out of hair!

Now we have our fancy personalized bunny ears and are ready for our first big egg hunt next week!

* I added everything we used here to my Amazon Influencer page, and each link is an affiliate link, so if you click it and buy anything, I get a few cents and you make my day!