Tag Archives: green

brown bag microwave popcorn

Did you know you can microwave popcorn simply in a brown paper lunch bag? This was making the rounds online ages ago, and I finally got around to trying it.

All you need is a standard brown lunch bag. They cost less than two cents each. I love that this package says “Packed with love“. I also love that I didn’t notice it until I looked at the photo I took.

I don’t think we’ve had these things in the house since Levi was little and we made puppets and birthday party loot bags out of them. Nostalgia.

With a little testing, I found 1/3 cup of kernels to be the magic number. Go up to 1/2 cup and you will either waste a lot of kernels or burst open the bag. With 1/3 cup the popcorn fits with a little room to spare.

Simply put the kernels in the bag. Some recipes call for oil or butter, but I wanted plain ol’ popcorn.

Fold twice at the top of the bag. Alton Brown uses staples, but doesn’t that go against the cardinal rule of microwave use? You don’t need staples. Put the bag upright in the microwave on high for 3 minutes. Listen as it pops, and just like store-bought microwave popcorn, you remove it when the popping slows to 2-3 seconds between pops. This could happen anywhere between 2 and 3 minutes.

I called Jess at work and said, “Why does anyone buy microwave popcorn?” My mind is blown. This is simple, cheap, and you can compost the brown paper bag when you’re done. It’s nice when the cheapest option is also healthier and better for the planet.

I can’t wait to share what we made with eighteen cups of that popcorn tomorrow.

brown bag microwave popcorn

Makes about 8 cups.

one standard brown paper lunch bag
1/3 cup popping corn

Unfold the paper bag and place the kernels inside. Fold the top of the bag over twice. Place upright in the microwave. Set the microwave to 3 minutes on high heat. Listen carefully, and stop when popping slows to 2 to 3 seconds between pops.

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coffee chaff: upcycled chicken bedding

People are always teasing the modern backyard farmer with their thousand-dollar chicken coops about the true cost of their eggs. While our coop was closer to half that price tag, we have talked about our choice to use pricier organic, local chicken feed. With that in mind, anywhere we can cut costs seems like a great idea. How about free bedding?

Coffee chaff is a byproduct of coffee roasting. Have you ever roasted hazelnuts? Those papery flecks of skin that come off the hazelnuts are similar to coffee chaff.

We learned right away when we brought our chicks home and had them all set up in the brooder that there is one downside to using coffee chaff. It is really lightweight and easily gets kicked up into their food and water. While they were in the brooder, we mixed coffee chaff with pine shavings to solve that problem. Thanks to the smart design of our Garden Coop, our chickens always have access to their outdoor run and their food and water can be kept separate from their bedding. As we run out of pine shavings, we have been using more and more coffee chaff without any problems.

Here the ladies are strutting around in freshly changed bedding. I keep saying bedding, but it is really more like chicken litter. They sleep up on their roost. We have found that we can just layer more bedding on top once a week and change it out once a month. Some people do a deep litter method where they encourage the chickens to turn it and add layers as needed, going for as long as a year before changing it out.

You can see we still have some pine shavings left. We continue to use a higher chaff to pine ratio and expect we won’t have to buy another bag of wood shavings.

We store the coffee chaff in a big garbage can in the garage. It is so lightweight that it is easy to transport back and forth. The first local coffee roaster we went to was more than happy to let us take some bags of coffee chaff before it was tossed out. Thanks, Olympia Coffee Roasting Co.! We just have to stop by on the right day of the week. It’s been pretty easy so far, and we have a few other coffee roasters we could check with if we were in need.

Having the faint aroma of coffee in the coop is just an added bonus.

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