Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Ultimate Snack: Popcorn

I LOVE POPCORN! I will eat it morning, noon and night.  It's been my favorite GUILT FREE snack for years.  About ten years ago I traded in the bags of microwave popcorn for raw kernels, oil and a big pot.  Which is the way my dad makes popcorn.  A few years ago we bought an air popper and my life was transformed!!!

Popcorn is a great snack because it's low in calories and high in fiber.  When you eliminate all the junk (chemical flavors and colors that give people cancer) it's quite a healthy alternative to potato chips and other savory snacks.  I "hook" my popcorn up with three main ingredients: coconut oil (replaces butter), salt and nutritional yeast flakes.  I could eat a huge bowl (alone) and not think twice about it!
Here is how I do it:

Step 1 - make the popcorn using the air popper
Air popper with kernels and popped corn

Step 2 - while the corn is popping gather all seasonings
Fixings: coconut oil, nutritional yeast flakes, Himalayan pink salt

Step 3 - once the corn has popped, heat up your coconut oil (if not already in liquid form)
Melting coconut oil

Step 4 - Grind up salt using a mortar and pestle. This increases the surface area of the salt granules allowing an even distribution (and you use less)
Grinding the salt to increase surface area -  makes it easier to distribute evenly

Step 5 (not shown) - drizzle coconut oil on popcorn, add salt and yeast flakes (all to desired taste profile)

Step 6 - ENJOY!!!!

Why use alternatives? Because the alternatives solidify the guilt free designation and here is why:

1.  Coconut oil (instead of butter) - coconut oil is a GREAT oil.  It's good for your skin, hair, and innards! It's antibacterial and contains MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) which are found in human breast milk and are great for building strength.

2. Himalayan salt (instead of iodized table salt) -  more minerals are found in Himalayan salt in comparison to table salt.  It tastes better and you can use less of it.

3. Nutritional yeast - I've been using this ingredient on my popcorn for over 10 years now.  A wonderful family that took me in while I was in undergraduate school were vegan and they used nutritional yeast on their popcorn.  That's what led me to use it.  Nutritional yeast has no leavening ability. It's high in protein and B complex vitamins.  It can be added to kale salads, kale chips, vegan mac and cheese and any dish you desire.

Be creative with your popcorn! I've added turmeric, herbs and garlic salt in the past. Try a sweet version with cinnamon and brown sugar and cloves. 

Is there such a thing as "raw popcorn"? If so, that may push me to convert 100% LOL!

How do you eat your popcorn?  Bag, pot or air popper??

Peace and blessings!