Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

I can't say I'm much of a popcorn lover. I like the taste and the tantalizing smell, but the way it squeaks when you eat it bugs me, and I hate the way it gets caught between my teeth. Besides, I'm not a big snack food eater. I'd much rather crunch raw carrots or apples than salty snacks. But compared with other alternatives, popcorn is a nutritional superstar! One quarter cup (unpopped) makes 5.5 cups of popcorn, and has 180 calories 7g fibre, 5g protein, and 2g fat. That beats most other snack foods for sure!

Nevertheless, nowadays, companies are coming up with all sorts of ways to market snack foods as healthy:

It really doesn't matter whether you bake, fry or pop most of this stuff, it's still largely empty, highly concentrated sources of calories with no nutritional value.

Popcorn, however, is different. It's a whole grain, and minimally processed. Air popped, it's low in calories and contains little sodium and no added sugar or fat. So I don't mind at all that everyone else in our home loves it.

Unfortunately, when Adam won an air popper a few years ago on the radio show he used to play, we gave it to my sister-in-law, because we have tons of appliances already and a dearth of available space. So Adam usually makes himself microwave popcorn, and I usually buy bags of popcorn at the health food store for the girls.

But neither or these options is ideal because most microwave popcorns you buy have added crap in them (many are loaded with trans fat!!) and the kind you buy in the health food store is expensive and often high in sodium.

So I was incredibly excited last week when I caught a few minutes of a cooking show on CBC television, where the host showed how you can make your own microwave popcorn and it couldn't be easier! All it takes is popping corn, a paper bag and a few staples. Staples apparently contain no aluminum, so they can go in the microwave!! I tried out this method with the girls the other night and it worked perfectly, we were all very pleased and the girls gobbled down every last piece. Inexpensive, easy, delicious!

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

1/4 cup popping corn
Small (lunch sized) paper bag
2 staples

Optional: 1 tbls butter, Earth Balance or Becel, melted + seasonings of choice (Herbamare, chili powder, curry powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, etc.)

Place corn in bag and fold over end. Staple the bag shut and place it in the microwave. Cook for about 90 seconds - 2 minutes (depending on how powerful your microwave is). Carefully open bag and dump out into a bowl. If desired, drizzle with melted butter, Earth Balance or Becel (or even coconut oil or olive oil) and sprinkle with seasonings. Enjoy!

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