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Archive for Snacks

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Curate Snack Bars

America doesn’t need another “good for you” snack bar. The $6.2 billion U.S. snack market is plenty crowded as it is. The Curate brand’s research turned up more than 1,000 varieties of snack bars.

But when you taste Curate, you’ll be delighted that management decided to enter the premium snack bar market.

The brand took a chef’s approach to developing recipes, testing combinations of ingredients that are both nutrient-dense and luscious, with a bonus of eye appeal.

All-natural, gluten free, non-GMO, soy free and lightly sweetened, the bars contain 4 to 7 grams of protein and are a good source of plant-based fiber.

Each bar comprises some six ingredients including quinoa supergrain, omega 3-packed seeds, a fruit and a nut. They’re non-GMO and gluten-free.

Each of the first six flavors out of the gate is equally tempting, depending on whether your temptation is chocolate or a fruit profile:

  • Dark & Tempting Balsamic Fig & Hazelnut: balsamic vinegar, hazelnuts, Mission figs, orange zest, quinoa, sunflower kernels
  • Harmonious Blend Marcona Almond & Apricot: apricot, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon, Marcona almonds, quinoa
  • Indulgent Dark Chocolate & Hazelnuts: almond butter, dark chocolate, hazelnuts, quinoa, sea salt, vanilla
  • Irresistible Dark Chocolate Strawberries & Pistachios: almond butter, dark chocolate, pistachios, quinoa, strawberries, toasted oats
  • Salted Decadence Dark Chocolate & Almonds: almond butter, dark chocolate, hemp, Marcona almonds, quinoa, sea salt
  • Sweet & Tart Berry Bliss: almonds, blackberries, blueberries, chia, cranberries, flaxseed, quinoa, raspberries
  •  
    The line is certified kosher by OU.

    More products are in the works, including bars designed for kids, with plans to extend the offerings with other better-for-you snacks.
     
    You can buy the bars at retail (here’s the store locator) or online on Amazon.com, Soap.com and Target.com.

     
    WHO MAKES CURATE SNACK BARS

    Curate bars are made by Abbott Laboratories, a $20+ billion global company that makes healthcare products as well as nutritional products: from Glucerna, PediaSure and Similac to as Zone Nutrition Bars and EAS Sports Nutrition.

    The company decided to further its nutrition heritage with a consumer snack brand. A new division, Curate Snacks, was born.

    As big as the snack category is, the company feels that the opportunity for delicious, nutritious snacks has “tremendous” potential.

    Take a bite, and you’ll discover why.

    Learn more at CurateSnacks.com.

     

    Curate Dark & Tempting Bar

    Curate Indulgent Bar

    Curate Irresistible Bar

    Curate bars in three of the six flavors: Dark & Tempting Bar, Indulgent Bar and Irresistible Bar. Photos courtesy Curate Snacks.

     

      

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    RECIPE: Green Candy Apples

    Green Chocolate Apple

    For St. Patrick’s Day, make chocolate-covered apples with green-tinted white chocolate. Photo courtesy Aiya Matcha.

     

    We received a recipe from Aiya Matcha, for Matcha White Chocolate Candy Apples. The matcha tea powder colors the chocolate green. Voilà: a snack for St. Patrick’s Day.

    We whipped up a batch. Matcha imparts a sophisticated flavor to the chocolate, but not all tasters were fans of green tea. For them, we went to Plan B, using green food color instead of matcha. Depending on how many drops of food color you use, you can get a much deeper green hue.

    Whichever you prefer,
     
    RECIPE: GREEN CHOCOLATE APPLES

    Ingredients For 6 Apples

  • 6 small granny smith apples
  • 6-8 ounces white chocolate chips (we use Guittard)
  • 1 teaspoon matcha tea or green food color
  • Choice of garnishes: chopped nuts, coconut, mini chips, sprinkles, or the St. Patrick’s garnishes below
  • Ice pop sticks or substitute (check out these bright green sticks)
  •  
    St. Patrick’s Day Theme Garnishes

  • Green Sanding Sugar
  • Green Sprinkles
  • Shamrock sprinkles
  • St. Patrick’s Nonpareils
  •  
    Preparation

    1. REMOVE the stems and wash the apples. Pierce the sticks into the stem end.

    2. PLACE 6-8 ounces (about ½ bag) of white chocolate chips into a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave for 30 more seconds. If the chocolate chips are not yet melted, microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring in-between.

    3. SIFT the matcha over the melted chocolate, or add green food color drop by drop to the desired hue. Stir with a spoon until blended.

    4. DIP and coat the apples with white chocolate mixture (it may be helpful to use a spatula to smooth the chocolate mixture over the apple). Roll or dip the bottom third of the apple in the garnish. Place onto parchment or wax paper to dry.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Farinata, Chickpea Pancake Snacks

    Like pizza but not the gluten? Try farinata.

    Called by different names around the world, farinata is a thin, unleavened pancake or crêpe made of chickpea flour. Originating in Genoa, it become a popular food on the Ligurian coast, from Nice to Pisa.

    It’s not like a conventional, airy European pancake. Without leavening, it’s dense, and enjoyed not for breakfast but as a snack food, served hot.

    It is baked in bakeries and pizzerias on tinned copper pans the size of a large pizza pan. Triangular slices are sold and enjoyed as handheld snack, like a slice of pizza. They typically have a light seasoning or pepper and herbs. That’s tasty (think of plain foccaccia); but you Americanize yours with different toppings.
     
    TRADITIONAL COOKING METHOD

    Farinata is made by stirring chickpea flour into a mixture of water and olive oil to form a loose batter. At bakeries and pizzerias, the batter is baked in a wood-burning oven in a tin-plated baking pan. In its simplest form, farinata is seasoned with fresh rosemary, salt and pepper.

    You can make farinata in your kitchen oven with skillets, as noted in the recipe below. We didn’t try it with a pizza pan, but we may do that next.
     
    REGIONAL VARIATIONS

    Variations of chickpea pancakes are found the world over. Some examples sourced from Wikipedia:

  • Algeria: Karantita are garnished with cumin and harissa.
  • Argentina and Uruguay: Fainá is often eaten on top of pizza (known as a caballo, on horseback).
  •    

    Pine Nuts & Pepper Farinata

    Zucchini Farinata

    Top: with plenty of pepper, plus pine nuts and red onion at Vegan Lifestyle Associates. Bottom: Topped with zucchini and cut into wedges at AskGeorge.com. In the U.S., chickpea flour (garbanzo flour) is sold in many supermarkets and natural food stores, as well as in Indian and Middle Eastern markets.

  • Genoa: The birthplace of farinata goes for fainâ co i gianchetti, farinata with whitebait. Alternative toppings are onions or artichokes. Fainâ is local dialect. A variation is panissa/paniscia, a thicker batter like polenta. When cut into strips and fried, it is called called panissette.
  • Gibraltar: The pancake is called calentita when baked and panissa when fried. Considered Gibraltar’s national dishes, they are typically eaten without toppings.
  • India: The name varies by region based on the local word for chickpea. The batter of chickpea flour and water is cooked on an oiled skillet. Cabbage, green chiles, onions are added, along with different and herbs and spices.
  • Nice: Socca is a specialty in southeastern France. It is topped generously with black pepper.
  • Sardinia: La fainé genovese reflects the island’s historical ties with Genoa.
  • Savona: This seaport town near Genoa prefeers farinata bianca (white farinata), made with wheat flour instead of chickpea flour.
  • Tuscany: Cecina (“made of chickpeas”) or torta di ceci (chickpea pie) is baked and served plain.
  • Pisa and Livorno: The pancake is stuffed into small focaccia or between two slices of bread (similar to the Argentinian “en caballo”).
  •  

    Pizza Oven Farinata

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/farinata puttanesca blossomNY 230sq

    Top: Farinata fresh from the pizza oven, from OnMilwaukee.com. Bottom: Turned into a puttanesca “crepe” at Blossom Restaurant | NYC. We found it easier to eat with the filling on top!

      RECIPE: FARINATA, CHICKPEA SNACK PANCAKES

    Here’s a recipe from Food and Wine for a lightly seasoned farinata. To turn the snack into lunch, top it like a mini pizza. We quickly steamed mushrooms, red onions and zucchini in the microwave with diced San Marzano tomatoes and baked it on top of the pancake, like pizza.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, passive time is 2 hours, baking time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 4 cups warm water
  • 3 cups (15 ounces) chickpea flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the water into a bowl. Whisk in the chickpea flour slowly, until you have a smooth batter. Let the batter stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 500°F. Skim any foam off the top of the batter. Stir in the salt, rosemary and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. (Note that using a different oil, such as canola, gives the pancake a notably different taste.)

     
    3. HEAT two 10-inch cast-iron skillets in the oven for 10 minutes. Carefully add 2 tablespoons of the oil to each skillet, swirling to coat. Divide the batter between the skillets; it should be less than 1/2 inch thick.

    4. BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes, until crisp around the edges. Slide the farinata onto a board; cut into wedges. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.
     
    MORE RECIPES

  • Farinata With Sage, Olives & Onion
  • Sage Farinata With A Side Of Olives & Feta
  •   

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    RECIPES: It’s Cherry Time!

    Fresh cherry season begins in May; but today is George Washington’s Birthday, a traditional occasion for cherry pie and other cherry recipes.

    We started the day with a Cherry Yogurt Parfait. Chobani, Dannon and Yoplait, among others, sell cherry-flavored yogurt; but one can easily make a more festive yogurt parfait. And we did! We prefer our parfait to a cup of cherry yogurt.

    RECIPE: SUPER-EASY CHERRY YOGURT PARFAIT

    Ingredients

  • Yogurt brand of choice, in plain or vanilla; if you can find cherry yogurt, great
  • Cherries: fresh in season, frozen in the off-season
  • Optional: dried cherries (alone or in combination)
  •  
    What about canned or jarred cherries or cherry pie filling?

    You can mix cherries in water or light syrup into plain yogurt, but sweet, gloppy pie filling is over the top.
     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the yogurt and cherries in a mixing bowl, in your preferred proportions. Reserve a few cherries as a topping for the parfait. Stir to combine.

    2. SCOOP into a dessert dish, parfait dish, Martini glass or other festive vessel. Garnish with the reserved cherries and serve.
     
    HOW TO ENJOY YOUR CHERRY YOGURT PARFAIT

  • In the “normal” way—as a yogurt parfait.
  • Atop dry cereal (we eliminate the milk, and enjoy the cereal at its crunchy best).
  • As a topping for pancakes or waffles.
  • As a garnish for fruit salad.
  • Spooned over pound cake or angel food cake.
  • Atop frozen yogurt.
  •  
    DON’T WANT CHERRY YOGURT?

    Pick up some Welch’s Fruit & Yogurt Snacks in the new Cherry flavor.

     

    Cherry Yogurt Parfait

    Welch's Fruit 'n Yogurt - Cherry

    Top: Make a Cherry Yogurt Parfait like this one from ChooseCherries.com. Bottom: Want something that’s grab-and-go? Have fun with these yogurt-covered cherry snacks from Welch’s.

     
    Small, round and chewy, they are, alas, addictive. There’s more information on the Welch’s Fruit Snacks website.

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Shpickles Pickled Vegetables, Shmolives Pickled Olives

    Last summer, when scouting a Brooklyn food festival, we came across Shpickles, Shmolives and Shnuts. They’re made by hand by a mom-and-son company called Brooklyn Whatever.

    Mom, a social worker and son, a chef, started a family business to add more flavor to pickles, olives and nuts. The result: unique, assertively spiced, better-for-you snacks, garnishes, or for a relish tray.

    Or for gifts. We can’t think of a better house gift for hosts, combining flavor and fun. Shpickles and Shmolives will be our go-to house gifts for the forseable future.

    The line is all natural and certified kosher by Rabbi Dovid Chaoi. Shpickles and Shmolives are free of dairy, gluten, soy, sugar and wheat, making them vegan as well.
     
    SHPICKLES: PICKLED VEGETABLES

    Other companies make great pickle cucumbers. Brooklyn Whatever has started out with other pickled vegetables:

  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower & Beets
  • Jalapeño Peppers
  • Kale Slaw
  • Okra
  • String Beans
  •  
    We can’t choose favorites here: We like them all. And we feel so good about eating them: So much flavor, so few calories.
     
    SHMOLIVES: SPICED OLIVES

    Shmolives is a blend of seven different olives, marinated in a “secret mix” of herbs and spices that adhere to the olives, giving you a mouthful of zing with each bite.

    Made by hand in small batches “the old way”—stirring to coat the olives with wood spoons—they are a must for any olive lover.
     
    SHNUTS: SPICED NUTS

    Shnuts are a mix of almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans and walnuts—no peanuts.

    They’re sweet and savory: herbs and spices with a touch of brown sugar. Made with all natural ingredients, filled with “good fat,” a handful is a healthful snack.

    HEALTH NOTES: The USDA-approved heart-healthy nuts are almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. These nuts contain less than 4g of saturated fats per 50g. Walnuts have the highest amount of the heart-healthy alpha linolenic acid, which many studies show lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) levels.

    As with Shpickles and Shmolives, Shnuts are prepared by hand, roasted twice and flavored to perfection: the perfect “shnack.”

     

    Shpickles Brussels Sprouts

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/carrots 230

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/cauligflower beets 230

    A sampling of Shpickles: Brussels Sprouts, Carrots and Cauliflower & Beets.

     
    Shpickles are $10 per 15-ounce jar, Shmolives are $15 per 15-ounce jar. Shnuts are not yet on the website, but should be there soon.

    Get yours at BrooklynWhatever.com.

    Plan ahead for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifting.

    Not to mention green gifting for St. Patrick’s Day, with Shpickles Brussels Sprouts, Jalapeños, Kale Slaw, Okra and String Beans.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Strawberry Brownie Skewers

    We love this idea from Sugar Bowl Bakery: strawberry skewers with marshmallows and brownie bites.

    They’re quick and easy to put together. Let the kids do it as their contribution to Valentine’s Day.

    WHAT YOU NEED

  • Brownies
  • Fresh strawberries (ideally a similar size/width to the marshmallows)
  • Marshmallows
  • Skewers
  • Optional: Smucker’s Magic Shell chocolate sauce (or other flavor*)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. REMOVE the stems and leaves from the strawberries; wash and pat dry. Slice off the tapered bottoms so there will be a flat edge against the brownie bites and marshmallows.

    2. CUT the brownies in a size that matches the marshmallows. Squares are O.K., but circles cut with a small cookie cutter are better.

    3. ASSEMBLE: Place strawberries on each end of the skewer, with a marshmallow and brownie bite in-between.

     

    strawberry-brownie-skewers-sugarbowlbakery-230

    Fun snack skewers for Valentine’ Day. Photo courtesy Sugar Bowl Bakery.

     
    4. GARNISH as desired with Magic Shell chocolate sauce. You need a sauce that hardens, or things will get messy.
     
    ____________________________
    *Magic Shell is made in six flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Chocolate Fudge, Chocolate Mint Cookie, Chocolate Pretzel and Funfetti Vanilla Cake.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Football Fries (French Fry Footballs)

    If you have kids and like to make special treats for them, head to HungryHappenings.com and sign up for the emails. Even if you don’t make them, you’ll enjoy the creative ideas.

    Here’s one that adults can enjoy, too: French fries shaped like footballs. The Football Fries recipe is on the Hungry Happenings website.

    If you don’t want to be frying or reheating during the game, these recipes can be made in advance:

  • Chocolate Caramel Fudge Footballs (recipe)
  • Microwave Football Caramels (recipe)
  • Super Bowl Popcorn With Chocolate Football Almonds (recipe)
  •  
    And don’t forget the Football Calzone.

     

    Football Fries

    Football fries for the big game. Photo courtesy HungryHappenings.com.

     

      

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    SUPER BOWL RECIPE: Football Calzone

    What have you planned for the Super Bowl? How about this Football Calzone: layers of pizza crust topped with pepperoni, sauce and mozzarella.

    It was created by Beth of HungryHappenings.com for Tablespoon.com, part of Pillsbury. Beth who says that it is “super simple” to make and recommends it as a hearty appetizerg.

    First, you’ll need a Wilton First And Ten Football Pan. Made for cakes, it’s also happy to bake your calzone.

    A calzone is essentially a “pocket pizza”: It has the same ingredients as pizza, but the crust is folded over, similar to an empanada or turnover.

    You also can stuff more ounces of ingredients into a calzone than you can add to a pizza crust. Although Beth doesn’t include ricotta in this recipe, we love to pile in ricotta as well as mozzarella.

    RECIPE: FOOTBALL CALZONE

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 20 mimutes.

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 tubes Pillsbury refrigerated thin pizza crust
  • 3 ounces pepperoni, sliced
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1-1/2 cups pizza sauce
  • 1 string cheese
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Spray a football-shaped cake pan with cooking spray.

    2. UNROLL 2 pizza crusts onto baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Cut football shapes out of crusts, one larger than the other, which will fit inside the cake pan. Tip: First cut a football shape from parchment, check the size against the pan, and use it as a cutting template.

     

    Football Pizza

    string-cheese-daytondailynews-shutterstock_46018177-230

    Top and middle: Football Calzone. Photos courtesy Tablespoon.com. Bottom: String cheese for the football laces. Photo courtesy DaytonDailyNews.com.

     
    3. UNROLL and drape the third tube of pizza dough over the inside of football pan. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the pepperoni, cheese, and sauce. Top with the smaller football crust. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the remaining pepperoni, cheese, and sauce. Top with larger football-shaped crust. Sprinkle on the remaining pepperoni, cheese, and sauce.

    4. UNROLL and drape the fourth tube of pizza dough over top of the pan. Cut off the dough around the edge of pan and pinch the dough together along the edge.

    5. BAKE for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven off, cover the calzone with foil, and leave in oven for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the string cheese to create the laces of the football.

    6. REMOVE the calzone from the oven and un-mold it onto a serving platter. Add “laces” of string cheese. Serve hot.

     
    HERE ARE STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS AND INSTRUCTIONS.

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: Corn Chips Vs. Tortilla Chips

    January 29th is National Corn Chip Day.

    Before THE NIBBLE, we thought that corn chips and tortilla chips were synonymous. They aren’t, as you’ll see below.

    The best-known corn chips in America are Fritos, which were created in 1932 by Charles Elmer Doolin of San Antonio.

    Dolan was the manager of the Highland Park Confectionery in San Antonio. As the story goes, he found a local man who sold deep-fried corn snacks and had 19 retail accounts. He purchased the recipe, the accounts and a handheld potato ricer for for $100, which he borrowed from his mother.

    Doolan and his mother perfected the recipe in their kitchen, and Doolan created the Frito Corporation. [Source]

    In 1948, Doolin invented Chee-tos. In 1961, a merger between The Frito Company and H.W. Lay & Company, makers of potato chips in 1961 to form Frito-Lay. In 1965 Frito-Lay became a subsidiary of The Pepsi-Cola Company.

    Here are more photos from the early years of Fritos, on FlashbackDallas.com.
     
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CORN CHIPS & POTATO CHIPS

    Corn chips and tortilla chips are made in very different ways.
     
    Corn Chips

  • Corn chips are made from corn meal (ground corn, or masa), which has been is mixed with salt and water, extruded (shaped) and fried.
  •  
    Tortilla Chips, A.K.A. Taco Chips

  • The corn in a tortilla chip undergoes a process known as nixtamalization, in which the corn is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution such as lime water, and then hulled, ground and made into tortillas.
  • The tortillas are then sliced and fried into crispy chips.
  • This ancient process was developed by the peoples of what is today Mesoamerica.

  • Tortilla chips, however, were invented in the late 1940s in Los Angeles. Here’s the history of tortilla chips.
  • National Tortilla Chip Day is February 24th.
     
    HERE ARE ALL THE AMERICAN FOOD HOLIDAYS.

  •  

    Fritos Corn Chips

    Bag Of Fritos

    old-fritos-bag-flashbackdallas-230

    Fritos, America’s most famous Corn chips. Top photos courtesy Frito-Lay. Bottom photo courtesy FlashbackDallas.com.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: A Popcorn Bar For Healthy Snacking

    We’ve been getting daily pitches for Super Bowl snacks, none of which would pass muster with New Year’s healthy eating resolutions (crudités with yogurt dip instead of pizza and wings, for example).

    So we’ve decided to publish one of our favorite good-for-you snack (see below) that’s also lots of fun: the Popcorn Bar.

    Popcorn is a whole grain snack, and low in calories unless caloric toppings/mix-ins are added. But provide an assortment of healthy toppings along with the candy, and there will be something for everyone.

    WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR POPCORN BAR

    Better-For-You Toppings/Mix-Ins

  • Apple chips (our favorite is Bare Fruit)
  • Cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg (blend it yourself)
  • Chopped cilantro or other herb
  • Corn Nuts/Inka Corn
  • Diced jalapeño
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Mini pretzels or pretzel sticks
  • Nuts (pine nuts, peanuts, pistachios, slivered almonds)
  • Pepper or chile flakes
  • Seasoned salt
  • Seeds: chia, flax, pumpkin, sesame, etc.
  • Other spices
  • Trail mix
  •  
    Fun & Sweet Toppings/Mix-Ins

  • Candy: gummy bears, jelly beans, Junior Mints, mini
    marshmallows, mini peanut butter cups, M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces
  • Chocolate-covered or candied nuts; candy-coated seeds
  • Coconut flakes
  • Chocolate chips and other baking chips (butterscotch, mint,
    peanut butter, vanilla)
  • Cinnamon sugar (blend it yourself: cinnamon, sugar and a bit
    of nutmeg)
  • Dried fruit (blueberries, cherries, cranberries, raisins, etc.)
  •    

    Popcorn Toppings

    Popcorn Toppings

    Popcorn Bar

    Top: Popcorn bar; photo courtesy Brit.co. Middle: Candy-focused toppings for kids, courtesy Family Fresh Meals. Bottom: Popcorn bar from Popcorn.org.

  • Goldfish or other cheese crackers
  •  
    Plus

  • 3 cups of popped corn per person (it’s much better to pop the corn yourself and serve it fresh, than to buy it)
  • Bowls for ingredients and bowls for serving
  • Spoons for ingredients and for mixing them in individual bowls
  • Napkins
  •  
    RECIPE: EASY MICROWAVE POPCORN

    Plan on three cups per person. Instead of trying to make a mega-batch in the microwave, try no more than 1 cup of kernels at a time. Microwaves differ in power, so if you want to pop more than one cup at a time, do a test batch.

    Ingredients For 3 Cups

  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable* oil
  • Brown paper lunch bag
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the popcorn and oil in a bowl and mix to coat. Add to bag and sprinkle in the salt. Fold the top of the bag over twice to seal in the ingredients.

    2. MICROWAVE on full power for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes, listening until you hear pauses of 2-3 seconds between pops. Remove the bag from the microwave. Even though there may be some unpopped kernels, to continue cooking risks burning the popped kernels.

    3. OPEN the bag carefully, releasing the hot steam; then pour into a serving bowl.
     
    *For an interesting twist, experiment with other oils you may have on hand: nut oils, sesame oil, etc.

     

    Popcorn Kernels

    It’s easy to make all-natural popcorn in the
    microwave with a brown paper bag. The
    result: additive-free corn. Photo courtesy
    Squawkfox.

     

    STOVETOP POPPING INSTRUCTIONS

    1. COVER the bottom of a 3- to 4-quart pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil (don’t use butter, it will burn). Place 3 kernels of popcorn in the pan, cover with a loose lid that allows steam to escape, and heat. When the kernels pop…

    2. POUR in enough popcorn to cover the bottom of the pan, one kernel deep. Cover the pan and shake to evenly spread the oil. When the popping begins to slow to a few seconds apart, remove the pan from the stove top. The heated oil will still pop the remaining kernels.

    3. COOL for at least 5 minutes before serving.
     
    WHY POPCORN IS GOOD FOR YOU

    It’s a pleasant surprise: home-popped popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks you can enjoy.

    It’s full of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that help to neutralize the free radicals that contribute to aging. In fact, popcorn has one of the highest levels of polyphenols of any plant food.

    It’s also a whole grain, packed with fiber. If you use just a little butter or cheese, you’re adding a bit of cholesterol; but it’s just as easy to skip the cheese, use olive oil, and pile on lots of herbs and spices.

    Note that prepackaged, store-bought microwave popcorn is less good for you, made with chemicals and synthetics for flavoring and coloring.

    So pop it yourself—it’s easy enough!

      

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