Spice Up Your Popcorn (Literally)

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I’ve always liked popcorn. Some of my first childhood memories with friends are laughing about the gross orange buttery film that gets on the top of your hand when you eat the prepackaged kind. But for the most part, I was an air popped girl. My mom had a popcorn maker, and was convinced that microwave popcorn was full of dangerous chemicals (turns out she was right!). She would pop up huge bowls drenched in butter and salt for slumber party snacks and rented movies. I’ve always kept it pretty simple with popcorn, butter, salt, a little pepper or adobo spice, and potentially some cheese was about as inspired as I got.

And then I went to the Hester St. Fair one weekend, and sampled some of Cultured Confections designer popcorn. They had crumb cake popcorn with REAL crumb cake chopped up and mixed in; there was baklava with deconstructed filo dough and nuts tossed among the kernels. Then I read about Jessica Quirk of What I Wore’s Herbes De Provence popcorn on her lifestyle blog That’s Quirky. She tossed it Herbes de Provence (rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, marjoram, fennel seed) infused olive oil and spice mix.

It got me thinking, why not swap in oil for butter, and try out some different herbs? I’d already used seasoned salt once when I was out of the regular kind, and liked how it turned out. It just so happened the next time I was craving a bowl of popcorn, the only cheese I had in the fridge was crumbled feta. I figured now was my chance, and mixed it up with some dill, salt, pepper and olive oil, and tossed it well with the corn to coat. The result? Delicious Mediterranean popcorn.

Then I picked up this month’s issue of Women’s Health Magazine, and discovered that not only is it delicious, popcorn is actually a pretty healthy snack. Three-cups popped has only 100 calories, as much fiber as a cup of cooked brown rice, and more antioxidants than a day’s servings of fruits and veggies. As a bonus, the article had even more ideas for spicing up this movie snack staple. All mixtures call for 3 cups of air popped corn tossed together with the ingredients to coat evenly.

Rosemary Parmesan

· 1 tsp olive oil

· 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

· 1 tsp grated parmesan

Pina Colada

· 1 tsp extra-virgin coconut oil melted

· 1 finely chopped ring of dried pineapple

· 2 tsp sweetened coconut flakes

Curry Chipotle

· 1 ½ tsp canola oil heated, and whisked with spices until bubbly

· ½ tsp curry powder

· ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle or chili powder

· 1/8 tsp salt

Lemon Dill

· 1 tsp olive oil

· 1 tsp oregano

· ½ tsp dill

· ½ tsp lemon zest

· 1/8 tsp salt

Sugar ‘n’ Spice

· 1 tsp flaxseed oil

· 1 tsp powdered sugar

· ½ tsp cinnamon

· ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

· 1/8 tsp salt

Cran-Chocolate

· 1 tbsp dark chocolate melted

· 2 tbsp dried cranberries

· 1/8 tsp salt

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