In Neenah, the community where my children grew up, soccer was a pretty big deal.
Once they hit the ripe old age of five, they began learning the game. Every week, May through July (with the exception of the week of 4th of July), each Hovie child had a practice night and a game night. This was pretty doable, despite the fact there were three of them and only two of us, and my husband always coached one of their teams.
In addition to finding out jersey color, the highlights of recreational soccer were halftime snacks and end of game snacks. Life was pretty simple back then. (Unless you were the snack mom.)
Each season culminated in Soccer Weekend. All Neenah recreational teams took part. A local park was filled with dozens of make shift soccer fields. Each age group crowned a champion by the end of the weekend. This was a huge social event for kids and adults alike.
And then, one by one, the Hovie children turned ten.
Exit recreational soccer. Enter classic soccer. (Commonly known as competitive soccer or “red league”…I have no idea why it’s called “red league”.)
Weekly games were now held as far as 100 miles away; tournaments were often in different states. (Thank goodness for carpooling and practices held within biking distance!)
At times, this was a logistical nightmare. Calendars were color coded. (You’re not surprised, are you?) Summers were a blur, as were springs and falls and winters. Competitive soccer became a year round commitment.
Then, one late summer day, right around “tryouts” for the following year, Logan, who was 14 at the time, came to me with tears in his eyes and asked if I would be mad if he didn’t tryout for the following year.
Mad?? Are you kidding me?
And then the following year, after much thought, both girls decided to hang up their cleats as well.
After 11 years, I was no longer a soccer mom.
Now there are many things I miss about soccer, like the families my kids played with, and sitting on the sidelines on a sunny, windless 62 degree day with Starbucks in my hand and a fleece blanket on my lap.
But do you know what I miss most?
Soccer tournaments always meant a hugh jass bag of kettle corn. I could never get enough of that stuff. It had everything going for it…sweet and salty with bursts of oily goodness. Very. Very. Addictive.
Yesiree bob. I miss
kettle corn soccer tournaments.
Can you imagine my excitement when I recently stumbled upon a recipe for kettle corn? No? Well, let me tell you, I was pretty darn excited. Of course I felt a need to “healthify” it.
Only 4 ingredients!
My husband couldn’t even wait for me to take a picture before digging in.
1/4 c. unrefined coconut oil
1/2 c. popcorn kernels (I used organic)
1/4 c. coconut sugar (you could use white sugar if desired)
1 t. sea salt
Heat coconut oil in large pot over medium heat, until very hot. Then, add popcorn kernels and sugar. Stir. Quickly place a lid on the pot and shake continuously until all kernels have popped. This is kind of tricky, so make up your mind right now as to whether or not you’d rather have some unpopped kernels or slightly burned kettle corn. Definitely a timing thing. (Notice I didn’t have pictures of the popcorn kernels and coconut sugar in the pot? There is no time for pictures!! Unless you want popcorn flying all over your kitchen. Which I didn’t.) Pour into a large bowl and sprinkle with sea salt.