Brown Butter Popcorn: Must-See Live TV Edition

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One of my earliest and simplest recipes published on the blog is still one of my very favorites. When I booked a show to demo my Brown Butter Popcorn recipe on AM Northwest this week (in a penguin suit no less, video below), I decided it was time to re-photograph and refresh this old hit (original post, circa 2011).

Like many other bloggers I’ve considered refreshing early recipes with my improved skills and knowledge. Food blogging involves many varied activities which professional media outlets and studios typically handle as a team of specialists. So very few of us bloggers start this journey as all-around pros. Confession: When I published my very first recipe on the blog, I was so accustomed to the newspaper photographing recipes for me, that I almost forgot the photo entirely. After tasting versions to perfect the instructions, I had almost no finished food left to photograph. Fail.

Brown Butter Popcorn Cups Landscape

I bought these slanted serving cups awhile back, not quite knowing what I’d serve in them. Perfect for popcorn!

So I’ve taken these new photos which seem to me like a vast improvement over the original, do you agree? Should I leave the original post as-is, or insert these there instead? I’m leaning towards the latter.

Brown Butter Popcorn

It’s hard to make brown butter visually pop out of a popcorn photo, especially with brown bits of the kernels creating a sort of blended camouflage. This tear-shaped dish gave me a chance to let the butter run away a little ways on its own. Pinterest fans: Portrait images pin the best – use this one!

For those of you who tuned in for the show or watched it afterwards, thanks for being a part of this. Thanks to AM Northwest for having me on, and to Mr. Formal, a great long-running local business who provided my promo tuxedo rental for the show so I could celebrate Oscars season in red-carpet style. Question: what other recipes (mine or otherwise) do you think would make for good TV in the future?


Posted in Kid Friendly, Recipes, Science, Snacks

Seattle Seahawks Fan Recipe: Miso-Rubbed Salmon with Sriracha Aioli

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A dominant team deserves a dominant tailgating or couchgating recipe: one that is easy, delicious, and true to the team and city. To celebrate the Great Northwest I’ve been thinking like an actual sea hawk, which is technically an osprey. A true feast for this creature is fresh wild salmon. What osprey generally don’t know is that salmon is especially amazing when flavored with Miso.

Miso Salmon with Sriracha Aioli

The Sriracha Aioli lets your guests add as much spice as they like, and comes together quickly with three simple ingredients.


With very few ingredients and steps, this recipe is great for any fan whether you are tailgating (on the grill) or in your home kitchen.

Go ‘hawks!! And if the game seems a little closer than it needs to be in the 4th quarter, just take my advice:





Crushing Miso Soup Mix With Rolling Pin

Crushing the larger bits of a Miso soup mix creates a complex and flavorful rub from just one ingredient!

Seattle Seahawks Fan Favorite: Miso-Rubbed Salmon Recipe with Sriracha Aioli
4.0 from 1 reviews
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Simple ingredients and quick preparation make this perfect for game day. Make sure your "12th man" crew is well-fed, whether you're tailgating outside of CenturyLink field, or cheering from your living room.
  • For the sauce:
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Sriracha sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • For the salmon:
  • 2 pounds fresh Salmon fillets, with or without the skin
  • one (1 ounce) packet miso soup mix
  1. Prepare the sauce by whisking together the mayonnaise, Sriracha sauce, and onion powder in a medium bowl.
  2. Crush the contents of the soup packet so that all large chunks are broken down as small as the dehydrated spices. This can be done while it's still in the bag, poking a hole to release the air, then pressing a rolling it against a flat surface with a rolling pin or beer bottle. Alternatively you can pour it out on a cutting board and flatten it with a rolling board. Spread the soup mix out on a plate.
  3. Lay the filet out on a cutting board, and slice it into portion-sized strips, about 1-1/2 inches wide. Press each piece of salmon onto the soup mix, coating the flesh side and the sides. If one side still has skin, I recommend leaving it on during cooking but it is up to you.
  4. To cook on a grill: Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium hot. Brush the grates with oil, then grill the salmon seasoned-side-down for 2 minutes, until there are clear grill marks. Flip the pieces over and continue grilling until just cooked through, about 2-4 minutes more depending on thickness.
  5. To cook on the stovetop: Heat a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, until the oil is shimmering but not smoking. Add the fish seasoned-side down, and cook until golden-brown, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the fish over with a spatula, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 2-4 minutes more.
  6. To cook in the oven: Preheat the broiler on low. Place the salmon pieces seasoned-side-up on a broiler pan or baking sheet. Place the pan or sheet on the top rack of the oven under the broiler, with the door ajar. Broil the salmon while watching it carefully, until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the broil function, setting the oven instead to Bake at 375 degrees, and move the pan or sheet down to the lower part of the oven. Continue until the fish is just cooked through.


Posted in Fast, Recipes, Sports Recipes

Scientific Reasons Why GMOs Should Be Labeled

Oregon Measure 92
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Some supporters of GMOs want to frame the labeling issue as a debate between science-minded types who want to move agriculture forward VS fearful non-scientific speculators who want to label foods without reason.

This is a deliberate deception and couldn’t be more wrong. According to the scientific facts, here are…

5 Important Scientific Reasons Why GMO Foods Should Be Labeled


1. Restrictions on Scientific Discovery & Funding

“In my 30 years as a public scientist, there’s been a dramatic erosion of public funding. And that makes science more dependent on private funding”. – Elson Shields (Entomologist/Scientist at Cornell University)


Objective scientific research is being extremely inhibited by legal provisions which lead to these foods being offered for sale without independent scientific testing. The testing of GMO foods is generally only permitted after the foods are fully approved for sale to consumers. So whatever knowledge we have about their safety is generally coming directly from the seed producers themselves, who have a clear conflict of interest in terms of seeking the truth about the real safety of their products for human consumption. While independent study at universities is increasingly permitted by manufacturers, their influence on our schools is powerful and growing. And their influence on government agencies has been widely chronicled; the data shows that the US FDA and USDA have approved 25 GMO varieties and counting, and I have been unable to find record of a single GMO food they have rejected.

2. Negative Impacts on Biodiversity Caused by GMOs


“Genetic diversity and farmers’ knowledge are the basis of farming; but as corporate seed and chemicals increasingly replace farmers’ own ingenuity, they are now seen as mere customers. What was once agriculture is increasingly becoming agribusiness ”. – Teresa Anderson (Gaia Foundation’s International Advocacy co-ordinator)

The need for genetic diversity in our ecosystem is well-established. Genetically-engineered crops are reducing overall biodiversity in at least three different ways:

  • By narrowing the diversity in crop lines by requiring each year’s seed to be provided by the seed-producing corporation, instead of allowing farmers to save and replant seeds;
  • By resisting resisting and allowing heavy and repeated herbicide applications, leaving fields generally clean other than the herbicide-resistant crops (this creates a homogeneous ecosystem which is less supportive of species such as the Monarch Butterfly which has seen drastic population declines and relies on the dramatically declining milkweed plant to support its eggs and caterpillars); and/or
  • By directing extensive use of chemicals which kill microorganisms in the plants’ environments (Glyphosate a.k.a. RoundUp (R) was originally patented as a chelator not an herbicide, which means it binds and restricts free minerals thus interfering with many different lifeforms not just plants; as a result many beneficial bacteria are susceptible to it).

3. Increased Environmental Exposure to Harmful Chemicals in Our Communities

“EWG has determined that 487 elementary schools across America are within 200 feet of a corn or soybean field. This finding is alarming because young children are especially vulnerable to the toxic herbicide 2,4-D in Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist DuoTM, a weed killer mixture that is awaiting governmental approval for widespread use on new varieties of genetically engineered corn and soybeans ”. – Soren Rundquist (Landscape and Remote Sensing Analyst at Environmental Work Group/EWG)

Our health is impacted not just by the food we eat but by farming practices in our communities. The Environmental Working Group published research stating that over 480 elementary schools are within 200 feet of corn and soybean fields. This is important because Dow Chemical states that its new herbicide mixture Enlist Duo TM can travel 200 feet beyond fields even when applied properly.

4. Growing Chemical Toxicity Causing Herbicide-Resistant Weeds


“Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent.” – Dr. Charles Benbrook (PhD)


The experiment of herbicide-resistant GMOs has proven to also create herbicide-resistant weeds, which in turn require stronger herbicides carrying additional uncertainty for our health. I spoke with retired senior EPA scientist Ray Seidler who explained that it used to be typical for just 2-3 chemical applications to be needed to get a crop to market, and now it is not uncommon to require 10-12 applications. The health effects of these chemicals are well known and have been extensively studied. The science basically supports minimizing our exposure both through the food we ingest and the farming practices around us. This makes the above statement about 487 elementary schools potentially being exposed to harmful chemicals even more concerning.


5. Enabling Study of Personal Hypotheses

Families who are experiencing health issues often need to form and test different hypotheses to find the root cause of health issues. To consider all options, a variety of elimination diets may be necessary, including removing GMO foods to observe the health effects of this change. The FDA reviews new GMO foods looking for possible allergens, but as explained in this National Geographic article, the process of altering DNA is very capable of introducing new allergens, which are impossible to fully predict, understand, and test.

Will You Support Mandatory Labeling of Genetically-Engineered Foods?


For those of us (the majority) who want to know which foods are made with genetically-modified organisms, there are valid scientific reasons why GMO foods are not the same as conventional foods, and why we have a right to know which foods these are. Let’s not throw out the window the millennia of agricultural and scientific study, in our haste to adopt new organisms and farming practices which, relative to traditional agriculture, are largely unproven.

I urge voters to support labeling of genetically modified foods, and to prove that no amount of advertising funds can sway an educated public from the information we demand for our health and the health of our planet.


Knowledge is Power: Corporations Against GMO Labeling

Having the ability to know exactly what is in our food and how it is grown, gives us the power to choose healthier/safer food for our families to consume. It also gives us the ability as parents to instill better eating habits in our kids.

To me, some extremely compelling data on this issue are the records of campaign donations, documented here by the Oregonian in a map format together with line-item detail. At the time of publishing this post, corporations opposed to Oregon’s Measure 92 have donated over 18 million dollars to their campaign (a state record), while individuals supporting that same side have contributed just $785, which is 0.0% of the total.

Oregon Measure 92

I strongly support Oregon Measure 92, which would give us the right to know which foods contain genetically-engineered ingredients.

Thank you for reading, and for being a thoughtful science-minded voter. I welcome your comments.

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Posted in Food Articles, Food Politics, Science

Teaching Self-Discipline and Self-Control with Marshmallows? The Importance of Teaching Kids About Delayed Gratification

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I’ve often found delaying instant gratification can be a tough personal trait to exercise as an a adult. So it got me wondering about how our kids deal with this crucial thought process. And better yet, what can we do as parents to help this very important personal trait which will ultimately help our kids live a happy, successful and fulfilling life?

Building Better Futures… One Marshmallow at a Time!


Now you might have already heard of the ‘marshmallow experiment‘or a variation of it, which examines a child’s ability to hold out to receive an increased reward. If you don’t already know, the study basically consisted of a rather simple experiment which clearly displayed a child’s ability (or inability) at a young age to recognize the importance of delayed gratification. Each child was presented with a marshmallow and then told if they did not eat that marshmallow while the researcher was away, then they would be rewarded with a second marshmallow when the researcher returned. However, the flipside is if the child decided to go ahead and eat the first marshmallow before the researcher came back, then the child would not get that second marshmallow…

Marshmallow test: Teaching kids about delayed gratification to children

Teaching Important Life Lessons with Marshmallows!

I couldn’t help but think of all the many areas of our lives impacted by our own ability to delay immediate gratification, especially when other options are on the table. And how our studies, work, relationships, health and overall life in general can be affected… Well, Walter Mischel, the Stanford University Professor who conducted the study confirmed that many years later, these children had experienced significantly different results.

The children who were willing and able to delay immediate gratification at a young age (in return for a greater reward later) ended up having:

  •  higher SAT scores in school
  •  much lower levels of substance abuse
  •  a lower likelihood of being overweight and obese
  •  better responses to stress and dealing with failure
  •  better social skills
  •  Much more likelihood as adults to achieve personal success in both their professional and personal life


What Will You Discover When Teaching Your Kids About Delayed Gratification?

Could you resist temptation?

Could you resist temptation?

Following the same basic model of the experiment, I decided to teach a quick lesson about the importance of delayed gratification to my 3 children. I offered a plump looking, delicious tasting marshmallow to each of my 3 kids, then told my children that if they chose to wait 15 minutes before eating the first marshmallow, they would receive an extra marshmallow later.

They all initially decided to wait, and my two girls, the oldest, stayed firm. But after a little while my young son began to waver. I told him it was fully up to him, but he might want to check the timer to see how much longer. As he walked towards it, it rang – saved by the bell!

Later that day I raised the stakes. I announced that each child could purchase some Legos, but their budget would be $20 if they wanted to hit the store that day, or $30 to wait for an online order. The boy chose the store, as the girls’ eyes went wide, knowing they just had to wait for that larger reward. I could almost physically see their delayed gratification “muscle” flexing in that moment.

How Are You Teaching Your Children About Delayed Gratification?

There are many different ways you can teach your own kids about the importance of delaying instant gratification – in return for a more positive reward later… What kind of lessons have you been teaching your kids lately and what methods have you been using at your place? What area of life do you think is most impacted by the skill of waiting?

Leave your comments below, we would love to hear from you and share in your experience! And don’t forget to check out our Spinning Meals App over at the iTunes store. Since it is a recipe manager app, it requires a little time up front to fill it with recipes you love, but when you see it effortlessly “spin” personalized meal plans and shopping lists you’ll know you’re reaping a long-term reward.

Internet Recipe Capture screenshots

Spinning Meals app on iTunes – Click The Picture to see how it works!

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Posted in Family, Food Articles, Fun, Kid Friendly, Parenting, Philosophies

Appreciation Checklist: 10 Reasons I Know Moms Give Everything

I Love mom - Moms appreciation
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As friends and co-workers celebrate their kids’ high school and college graduations, I’m struck by the staggering investment that an involved parent makes in each child’s life. Yet the decades-long dedication comes so automatically to most, as there is simply no other way we could imagine acting towards our own children. So here’s a short list of why “everything” is the best way I can describe what moms give to their kids.

  1. I know moms give everything, because each child comes into this world essentially as a blank slate, yet year after year they develop in amazing ways.
  2. Unlike many/most mammals, human infants are completely helpless at birth, leading some to say that we need a “fourth trimester.” You won’t see us walking on our own within an hour of birth like a giraffe calf or a foal. Hold me mom, just for a year or so!
  3. Most moms don’t know when to stop; they seem to want to give everything. They see and fill gaps, like a need for a school volunteer, a need for a conversation at a key moment, or a need to pack 20 contingency items in a diaper bag which seems ridiculous until you realize most of them were actually needed. Dad stands corrected.
  4. Moms give everything because kids will take everything they’re given.
  5. Moms tend to think of themselves last. They may be the only ones on the plane who actually need the instruction to place the oxygen mask on themselves first before helping others.
  6. Raising a good kid requires so much: teaching manners, hygiene, language, habits, compassion, patience, negotiation, and on and on. Giving everything is required.
  7. The needs can’t wait. A mom’s to-do list can’t be put off, because the baby is crying now, meal time is now, potty time is…whoops, too late on that one. See what I mean?
  8. Motherhood is a non-stop commitment for decades, ridiculously over and above any normal job, as has been well-articulated in this job interview video circulating this year.
  9. For a time, a child’s parents may represent the entirety of the world around them, modeling how humans act and interact. Our interplay lays the foundation for how they will eventually get along with: classmates, authority figures, friends, co-workers, spouses, their own children… you name it.
  10. Lastly, I know moms give everything because kids are amazing. Starting from newborns they somehow grow into such rich individuals, with so much to offer the world.

This Mother’s Day my hope for every parent is that you’ll pause to admire your kids, recognize how amazing they have become, and take a little credit for being a huge part of that result. I know some days parenthood can feel like the machine in The Princess Bride which can suck a year of your life away all at once, and that may not be too far off from reality. But it’s worth it, right? Right?!? Ryan P.S. Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear your thoughts. By the way, we parents get a lot back too, it’s a two-way street! P.P.S. As we’ve done the last couple years, we’re giving our 5-star meal planning app away in appreciation for moms everywhere, this weekend only. Please spread the word and enjoy!

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Posted in Food Articles, Parenting, Philosophies, Thanks

About the Spinning Cook

Food-loving father of three in Portland Oregon, building healthy bodies and habits for life. Food is hard, kids are picky. But keep at it, and real food will win in your home. Join me in the fight against vegetablessness!

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