Friday, August 23, 2013

A Poppin' Snack!


I can remember the first time my twins had popcorn. They were 2 years old, and we were having a movie night while Dada worked late. I popped up some popcorn in the Hot Air Popper and gave them each a little bowl. From that day, they were hooked. They would ask for “acorn” every time we watched a movie!

 (I found an old cell phone picture of their first popcorn experience! They were so little!)

Homemade Popcorn
Our First Popcorn!























 Popcorn itself can be a great.
It’s a whole-grain food, high in fiber and antioxidants and, if not doused in fat, a pretty low-cal snack. but there are some dangers in buying the bagged microwave popcorn from the store. The problem is the chemicals used in the lining of the bag, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFOA is also used to make Teflon and other stain- and stick-resistant materials, including pizza boxes. It’s part of a number of compounds that have caused liver, testicular and pancreatic cancer in animals. The chemicals may also be linked to infertility in women, according to a recent study at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The artificial flavoring used in microwave popcorn is also a concern. A few years ago, microwave popcorn was slammed for the use of diacetyl in its artificial butter flavor, which caused a rare type of lung disease among workers who inhaled it at microwave popcorn factories. Today, most manufacturers have removed diaceytl from their products, but they just replaced it with other chemical flavorings are just as bad as the original stuff.

So what’s a mama of popcorn lovers to do? We pop our own popcorn which is not only better for you, but a whole lot cheaper! Microwave popcorn sells for $4-$6, while good quality organic popcorn is only $2 a pound!

Here are 3 easy ways to make popcorn at home:


1) An Hot Air Popper: We broke down and bought one of these. They are not that expensive, but if you make a lot of popcorn at home, might be worth it for ease and consistency.

2) Brown Bag in the microwave: This method is great because it can be done anywhere. When we visit grandma and grandpa, there may not be an air popper, but they is always a brown bag and come popcorn kernels. Just combine 1⁄4 cup popping corn with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and fold the top of the bag over a couple of times (some people tape it shut). Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, until there are 4 or 5 seconds between pops. Toss with your favorite seasonings (cinnamon!) and a drizzle of butter or olive oil or serve as is.

3) Stove top: This is the way popcorn was popped before microwave popcorn or fancy air poppers existed :o) Heat 3Tbsp of grape seed oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan. When those kernels pop, add 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. (Count out loud; it's fun to do with kids.) Return the pan to the heat. Once the popping starts, shake the pan gently by moving it back and forth over the burner keeping the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl and add your favorite toppings!

Stovetop Popcorn

 And there you have it! 3 easy ways to make safe and healthy popcorn for your family!

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