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What We’re Loving: Playing with Popcorn

What We’re Loving: Playing with Popcorn



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An easy Halloween recipe that keep your party popping

Use this tasty treat to enhance your party.

When you think about popcorn, your mind probably wanders to the movies and a ton of butter. But the salty movie staple is more than just a quick snack. There is so much you can do with popcorn, especially around the creepiest time of the year. After all, October is also known as National Popcorn Month!

A healthier alternative to sugary trick-or-treat candy is a guilt-free, gluten-free, high fiber snack — which prevent your kids from the eating all of the candy while watching post trick-or-treating movies.

But snacking on popcorn isn’t the only way to up the creep factor of this great party snack. Try any of these creepy DIY ideas:

Ghostly Glove
Simply fill rubber popcorn gloves with puffy white popcorn and tie with a festive ribbon. They can work as great party props or double as a party favor come Halloween!

Popcorn Garland
Get yourself some fishing line, a needle, and string it up! To make it more Halloween-friendly, try blackening the popcorn by slightly overcooking it or washing it in orange food dye.

Kernel Wreath
Even the pre-puffed corn is perfect for fall décor. Try turning your kernels into rich decorations by filling glass vases or even making a cool fall wreath for your door!

JOLLY TIME Pop Corn shared with us a great recipe that is the perfect blend of salty and sweet for your Halloween Party.


Red Hot Cinnamon Popcorn

Around here this is a holiday treat! We’ve been making it for the last 12 years or more and this red hot cinnamon popcorn has come to be a family favorite. Everyone LOVES the smell of it baking and we’re eager to snitch a piece before it’s even done. The aroma of sweet cinnamon wafting through the house while the Christmas lights are on and the Christmas music is playing. . . aaahh, so holiday-ish with so many great memories! I just made a batch this week, and it’s already gone. It sure doesn’t last long around our house!

(If you want a great book of recipes, check out this book from Gooseberry Patch)


25 Beach Snacks to Stash in Your Cooler

The waves are splashing, the sun is shinning. you're even sitting in a beach chair with your own personal umbrella. You haven't a care in the world, until someone asks for a snack. If you're unprepared, the simple question is enough to throw you off your zen. Whether it's your spouse, the kids, or even cousin Jean, there's something about playing the sand that has beach goers hankering for a snack no matter how recent your last meal.

A bag of chips or two is a start, but the best beach days pair the everyday goods with a little something homemade&ndashportable dips and treats that don't take a lot of time but are sure to satisfy even the most active sandcastle architect. Plus, expert beach goers know it doesn't hurt to pack a heftier option or two. Something almost lunch-worthy might keep you from trekking back to the house midday. To keep things easy, we've rounded up recipes that can be prepared in advance so you can pull them right out of the fridge or pantry and pop them straight into your cooler.

Don't head out to the shore empty handed. These easy beach snacks are worth putting on your packing list.


Kernel Knowledge

Whether you're jonesing for sweet or savory, you can turn homemade popcorn into a superstar snack.

When it's not drenched in butter and salt, popcorn is surprisingly good for you. A generous three-cup serving has less than 100 calories, as much fiber as a cup of cooked brown rice, and more antioxidants than a day's worth of fruits or vegetables, according to recent research from the University of Scranton. Yum.

POP THIS WAY: Here's how three popcorn cooking methods compare:

Air Popper
How: Follow the machine's instructions.

Pro: No oil&mdashand no added calories.

Con: A popper costs at least $15 and takes up cabinet space.

Microwave
How: Add 1 1/2 heaping tablespoons of kernels to a tempered-glass microwave-safe bowl with a vented lid. Cook on High for 2 to 3 minutes. The bowl will be hot, so use oven mitts. Makes about 3 cups popped popcorn.

Pro: Cleanup is minimal you can cook, top, and serve your snack in the same bowl.

Con: Fluffiness of pieces depends on wattage.

Stovetop
How: Add a scant 2 teaspoons of peanut or canola oil to a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add 1 1/2 heaping tablespoons of kernels. Replace lid and gently shake pot to heat evenly. When popping slows after 2 to 3 minutes, turn off heat. Wait 30 seconds before removing lid to allow kernels to finish popping. Makes about 3 cups.

Pro: Popcorn is very crisp and has rich flavor.

Con: The oil adds about 70 calories.

6 DELICIOUS POPCORN RECIPES

With the kernel knowledge of how to pop corn, take this guilt-free snack to the next level by sprinkling on these health-boosting toppings for the perfect munchie treat.

1. Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn
In a small bowl, drizzle 3 cups popped popcorn with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary and 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, then toss well to coat evenly. Top with black pepper.

Per Serving: 160 cal, 7 g fat (1.5 g sat), 19 g carbs, 80 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein

2. Pina Colada Popcorn
Melt 1 teaspoon extra-virgin coconut oil over low heat in a small saute pan for about 15 seconds, or microwave on High in a small glass dish for 30 seconds. Place 3 cups popped popcorn in a small bowl and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with 1 finely chopped ring of dried pineapple, 2 teaspoons sweetened coconut flakes, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, then toss well to coat evenly.

Per Serving: 220 cal, 7 g fat (5 g sat), 42 g carbs, 310 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein

3. Curry Chipotle Popcorn
In a small saute pan, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle or chili powder, and 1/8 teaspoon salt over a low flame and whisk gently for 1 to 2 minutes, until oil begins to bubble. Drizzle onto 3 cups popped popcorn in a small bowl, then toss well to coat evenly.

Per Serving: 160 cal, 8 g fat (0.5gsat), 20 g carbs, 290 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein

4. Lemon Dill
Place 3 cups popped popcorn in a small bowl and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon each dill and lemon zest, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, then toss well to coat.

Per Serving: 140 cal, 6 g fat (1 g sat), 20 g carbs, 290 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein

5. Sugar 'n' Spice Popcorn
In a small bowl, drizzle 3 cups popped popcorn with 1 teaspoon flaxseed oil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, then toss well to coat evenly.

Per Serving: 150 cal, 6 g fat (0.5 g sat), 23 g carbs, 290 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein

6. Cran-Chocolate Popcorn
In a small glass bowl, microwave 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips until just beginning to melt (about 45 seconds). Mix well with a rubber spatula until chocolate is about three-quarters of the way melted some lumps should remain. Put 3 cups popped popcorn in a medium bowl and top with melted chocolate. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons dried cranberries and 1/8 teaspoon salt, then mix thoroughly. Place bowl in refrigerator for 10 minutes to harden chocolate.

Per Serving: 210 cal, 6 g fat (3 g sat), 38 g carbs, 290 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 4 g protein

Each recipe serves one. Nutritional information based on air-popped popcorn.


Ooey-Gooey Popcorn Ingredients

This sweet and salty popcorn snack is not a snack you should make if you are trying to cut calories. The ingredients for this marshmallow popcorn treat are the buttery, sugary, salty things we love about a good snack.

Here are the ingredients for the marshmallow popcorn snack:

  • Popcorn - Of course, if I am going to be unhealthy, I can't just be a little unhealthy. I have to go extra butter unhealthy popcorn.
  • Butter - And this recipe doesn't lack for butter. Popcorn is always better with butter.
  • Marshmallows - Mini marshmallows work best, but if you only have the large ones, they will work too.
  • Brown sugar - Oh, be still my taste buds.

The Nutella Popcorn Snack You've Been Waiting For

Nutella popcorn is coated with chocolate and Nutella candy coating, then dried in the oven for a nice, crunchy popcorn that will keep you coming back for more! There's nothing like a big bowl of popcorn while watching movies or the big game.

So I've been on a total Nutella kick the last couple of months. I can't help myself. That stuff is just so heavenly. I didn't try Nutella until I became an adult. I never saw the reason to try it. Then one day a friend convinced me to try it and my life was never the same. Okay, that may be exaggerating a bit. Or maybe not.

Not only am I a chocolate fanatic, but I'm apparently I've become a serious Nutella fanatic too. As well as a popcorn fanatic. I can never get enough popcorn in my life. I could eat it every single day and be a happy, happy girl. Honestly there have been days when I've eaten it for dinner. Don't tell hubs.

I'm one of those people who goes to movies just to eat popcorn. I'll pick the movie based on which theatre it's playing at, because I know which ones have the best popcorn. Yes, that really does tell you a lot about me. I'm okay with that. To know me is to know I love popcorn. Far too much.

Those who know me well also make sure they grab an extra bag of popcorn at the concession stand if they're with me. My family always gets me my own bag. I'm the official seat saver. The family are the official snack handlers. It works for us. By now they know to get Mom her own page, with extra butter. Plus, lots of napkins, because Mom is popcorn spilling spaz.

I'll usually gobble up about three quarters of the bag, then I act like I'm selfless and hand the bag to others. I'm not selfless at all when it comes to popcorn. Usually at this point I've inhaled so much of it I can't bend down to place the bag on the floor. So it's easier to hand it off to someone else. Then smile sweetly and try like heck not to burp in public. I'm "that" girl.

So now that I've revealed I exaggerate, I eat popcorn for dinner, I make my family fetch me snacks, I inhale popcorn without sharing or breathing, burp like a boss, and I pretend to be nice while really handing someone an empty bag of popcorn, I'll wander off with my dignity mildly intact. Or not. It's okay, I'll drown my sorrows in Nutella Popcorn.


Ingredients in Christmas Popcorn

This party popcorn combination is my idea of the perfect Christmas snack. But feel free to omit anything you don't want or add anything you do! There are a ton of cookies, candies, etc. that would be really tasty in this mix!

Here's what I used in the Christmas mix:

  • Popcorn (I make fresh-popped, but you can use any kind)
  • White Chocolate
  • Christmas Oreo Cookies
  • Christmas M&Ms (I used peanut butter, but you can use any kind)
  • Crushed Candy Canes (if you're not a fan of peppermint in desserts, you can leave this out)
  • Festive Sprinkles

We’ve tried a lot of recipes looking for good, Easy Homemade Caramel Corn that doesn’t use corn syrup. We’ve finally found one that we love. This popcorn tastes amazing … buttery and caramel-y just the way it should. And no corn syrup required! And it could not be easier to make. It has quickly risen up the list of most requested family treats!

Start with approximately 10 cups of popcorn. Make sure you get out all of the un-popped kernels. You don’t want to bite down on one of those! We pop our popcorn on the stove (you can find our directions on How to Make Perfect Popcorn here) but you can use air-popped or microwave.

Melt 1 cup of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Add 1 cup of light brown sugar and stir until thoroughly mixed.

Stirring continuously, bring the butter and sugar mixture up to a boil on medium heat. When it reaches a boil allow it to cook for 5 minutes without stirring on medium heat. Add the 2 tsp. of vanilla at the 4 minute mark and mix.

At the 5 minute mark, add the 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. This will cause the caramel to change colors and foam up a bit. This is the chemical reaction that you want. The bubbling effect of the baking soda will aerate the caramel and make it lighter and smoother and therefore easier to coat the popcorn.

Drizzle the caramel mixture over the popcorn. Use a spoon to gently fold the popcorn with the mixture until the kernels are all covered.

Pour the popcorn out onto a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil or a silpat liner.

Allow the Easy Homemade Caramel Corn to cool prior to serving.

Our family loves this popcorn so it has never lasted longer than a day at our house. This popcorn definitely tastes best right after it is made but will keep for a few days in an airtight container.

This Easy Homemade Caramel Corn is super delicious – buttery with a distinct yummy caramel taste. And it could not be easier to make. Make up a batch for your family, you won’t be sorry!


Homemade Barbecue Popcorn

Homemade Barbecue Popcorn takes just minutes to make and tastes so much better than the commercially bought stuff!

If we’re friends in real life, or even if you’ve ever spent any time with me, there’s a very good chance you’re already aware of this. For the rest of you, here’s something important to know about me: I have a serious popcorn addiction. I know, I know. It’s not the worst kind of addiction. It could be drugs or alcohol, or even candy bars. So…I don’t really work too hard to deal with my popcorn cravings…I just keep feeding it.

Lately, I’ve become (by mistake) a popcorn snob. Microwave popcorn? Nope. Packaged stuff? No way. I’ll buy the store bought stuff, but only when it’s the kind that’s popped and bagged fresh in the store. And trust me – I know exactly which stores in my neighborhood make their popcorn right, and which don’t.

But really, there’s nothing in the world that’s easier than making it yourself. Do you have a pot with a lid? Good, then you’re set. Lately, I’ve been playing around with the flavors of my homemade popcorn. Why add just salt when you can add all kinds of yummy seasonings, amIright? Well here’s my favorite. The barbecue flavor makes me feel kinda nostalgic, but it’s so much better than what I remember from my childhood!


4 Better-Than-Butter Popcorn Toppings

Mix 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 Tbsp. each chili powder and grated lime peel, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder toss with 1 bag microwave popcorn, popped, and 1 cup tortilla chip pieces. Serves 8

Mix 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, and 1/4 teaspoonsalt toss with 1 bag microwave popcorn, popped, and 2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 8


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