Wouldn't it be great if everything we love to eat were good for us, too? Talk about a Perfect World, eh? I sometimes wonder if it's human nature to love junk food; sweet, fatty, salty, whatever you like, what could be bad?! Well, I think we know the answer to that, even if we don't want to admit it, or do admit it and do it anyway...but then the guilt that follows, not to mention the negative physical impact... (read: weight gain, blood pressure increase, cavities, etc.)
I'm here to say that it doesn't have to be that way, if done right; I'm a big proponent of getting the most nutritional bang for your buck, even with snacks. No, it doesn't mean you should eat your carrot sticks slathered with ranch dressing or those deep-fried veggie chips, an allegedly "healthy" treat. That makes me crazy: producers leading the public to believe that their gluten- and/or dairy-free chips and cookies are actually good for them when that is often the furthest thing from the truth. Y'know what the truth is? Homemade is almost always better for you, assuming you don't have a high-pressure, high-moisture, ultra high-temp industrial oven at your disposal. If not, no worries: Old School does the job! ;) We actually use an aluminum stove-top, churn-by-hand style with a hinged lid which is an art/science in itself: homemade FUN! Then, seasoning and "mixing" the popcorn in a large, preferably handled, brown paper shopping bag is also fun and works really well, too...
One Happy Snacking Solution that I'd like to present is "Popcorn With a Purpose" for Your Snacking Pleasure. This is how we roll in my house and what we did for fun, tasty, nutritious sustenance in my TIKids Happy, Healthy Campers sessions this summer and it met with rave reviews! I mean, what better vehicle for creative seasoning and embellishment than these marvelous low-cal Crispy Puffs of Delight? No doubt you've seen the crazy, over-priced variety of packaged popcorn on the shelves these days: wasabi, triple chocolate, "blue" cheese, truffle, I've even seen ginger! BUT just think: You are the Master of your Snacking Destiny and can take it in any direction you want to! The only limit is your imagination...oh, wait; there is NO limit!! Sweet, salty, spicy, anything you can think of to "frost" your hot, freshly-burst Golden Puffs of Love...oh, sorry, i just get kinda' excited... :b
Of course I will encourage you to start with organic popping corn which you can get in bulk in a natural foods store or packaged pretty much anywhere. Otherwise the popcorn is most likely GMO and, well, do some research and choose accordingly.
So, let's get to it, shall we? "Yes, let's."
First, decide how you want to flavor your popcorn. Gather lots of seasoning options and get ready for the Popping Party: heat some high-temp oil with a 1/2 cup of corn. Now go ahead and let her rip! Pop away and empty into a big ol' paper shopping bag. ("germs, shmerms!" ;)
Next phase is the Where the Magic Happens: spray, drizzle and shake away!
This is generally how I love to dress my P.C.: (and even the pickiest kids love it like this, with a bit of spice, to boot!)
- a few sprays of Bragg's Liquid Aminos
- a few shakes of garlic powder
- a few shakes of Tony Chachere's or your favorite spicy seasoning blend (oo, chipotle powder?!)
- a generous dousing of nutritional yeast
- I love Gomasio, a Japanese sesame-seaweed based condiment
You can keep this P.C.P. (Popcorn Project) largely fat-free as is or, i dunno, you could melt some butter or coconut oil... Just 'cuz. (Well, some good quality fats are important, right?) Hey, yeah! Just go lightly, right?
Here are some more cool flavor options for you to try...and don't forget the napkins!!
- Mexi-Pop: coconut oil, agave, cocoa powder, chili powder, a pinch of cinnamon, sea salt
- Medi[terranean] Pop: olive oil, grated asiago or parmesan, minced fresh garlic and parsley, sea salt, dried oregano, fresh black pepper
- Green & Gold: grapeseed oil, finely chopped raw curly kale, dried onion flakes, smoked
salt or a spray of liquid smoke and sea salt
- Nutty Business: maple syrup or honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, finely- chopped walnuts or pecans, dried cranberries, granola