Thursday, September 10, 2009

A New (To Me) Twist On An Old Favorite

My husband could eat the same thing every day for the rest of his life - as long as it's something that he likes. Not so with me. Or the boy. Especially the boy. He can be loving something for months, then one day he's like, "Oooh. I hate that. That's gross." It doesn't matter if he loved it yesterday. When he's done, he's done. This makes keeping appealing snacks on hand quite a challenge. Trying to find healthy snacks is even more of a challenge.

Today, while checking out the Pretty Organized Palace blog, Pretty dealt with pinching pennies in the kitchen. Her snack ideas caught my attention. Basically, everyone in the US loves popcorn, right? I always have popcorn in the cabinet. I just have one issue with the stuff. The boy of the home is bored with it right now. Don't ask me how this child derived from my gene pool can be bored with the buttery, salty, corny goodness in a bowl - but he is. So, there must be another alternative.

I remember sometimes as a kid, Mom would buy that oh, so yummy powdered cheese shake stuff to go on popcorn. But, Dear Jesus! Have you looked at the price of that stuff lately? I'm much to cheap frugal for that. Then I remember the gourmet popcorn shop that me and my best girlfriend, Samantha, used to ride our bikes to downtown. You walked into this shop that was floor to ceiling bins of every color and every flavor of popcorn imaginable. It was near heaven on earth to a child. You could almost hear the angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus. Could life BE any better? But, I have no idea how to create blueberry popcorn. Or bubble gum popcorn. Or even caramel popcorn, for that matter. If someone knows how to do this, please, for the sake of all that is good and holy, leave me the directions in the comment section, or send me an e-mail. I won't be picky! But, I WILL love you forever! Anyway...

Pretty mentioned several options for popcorn toppings in her post today. Have you ever tried 1/2 butter mixed with 1/2 soy sauce? Me neither. But, I think we'll try it sometime. What about BBQ seasoning powder? Mrs. Dash? A ranch dressing packet? We tried that as a snack for today. The boy loves all things ranch dressing. Most kids do. As fortune would have it - I just happen to have 10,000 packets of the stuff in my cabinet at the moment. Normally, I buy the Hidden Valley type that costs $1.09 a whack. But, recently Aldi has been carrying their version for $.69 each. Needless to say, I stocked up.

So, I popped some corn, opened up a packet of my Aldi brand ranch dressing mix and sprinkled it on. I was pleased to hear, "Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmmm. This is good, Mom."

What to you top your popcorn with?


  1. Butter and sea salt on my popcorn BUT... since I am addicted to Aldi I am going to check out the ranch!
    Sounds YUMMY!
    And popcorn really is a cheap snack!

  2. BLUEBERRY popcorn! If anyone spills the beans on that recipe, please shoot it off my way. My husband and I are both big on blueberry. Yum-O

  3. OOOps, I forgot to tell you what we sprinkle on our popcorn. Cinnamon and Sugar! It is baby girl's favorite.

  4. Mmmm...Ranch popcorn brings back memories of the day a Smartfood (brand) popcorn truck was driving around my college campus throwing bags of the stuff to students. Yummo!

    I was just reading somewhere the other day that butterry popcorn tastes cheesy when sprinkled with brewers yeast (a nutritional supplement packed with B Vitamins). I haven't tried it yet, but I plan to next time I pull out the old popcorn maker.

    Another one I've done before is totally NON-nutritious, but very good...cinnamon toast popcorn. Butterry popcorn in a big brown grocery sack, with sugar and cinnamon sprinkled in as you mix it. Mmmmmm.

  5. I like to do the Alton Brown method of stove top kettle corn.
    I use my wok as it is the biggest/widest (not tallest) pan I have, and cover it with tinfoil.
    I heat my peanut oil (must use for the high smoke point) in the pot and add about a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar.
    I toss in my kernels (keeping the ratio of kernels to oil proportional to regular popping standards), give it a stir so the sugar isn't clumping, and then cover the pan with the foil. My wok is too wide for the foil to reach all the way across, but that is fine as you want to have a "venting hole" for the steam released by the corn. As mine is a little large, I cover part of it with a pot holder.
    One key is to keep your pan moving. I'm blessed with a stove that has some high BTU burners, so if a person only has standard burners, this can take a little while. I shake the pot until the popping slows down and then immediately (must be immediate, so have your popcorn vessel handy before you start) dump the popcorn into the bowl we're eating it out of.
    Although not necessary, I spoon melted unsalted butter over the top. I also use my mortar to make super-fine ground kosher salt and sprinkle that as I'm drizzling the butter. The butter & salt process takes some time as I like an even distribution.
    My family & friends love this stuff and it is always a hit at parties or sleep-overs.

    Another thing I started doing was a sour cream & onion popcorn. (I was looking for a more healthy alternative to the kettle corn above.) I bought powdered butter milk and mixed it with powdered onion, and a little bit of ground chive, a pinch of garlic powder & a touch of ground parsley (for color), and a bit of that super-fine ground kosher salt too. I couldn't give you exact measurements as I was winging it, but if I hazard a guess, I'd say the ratio of powdered buttermilk to ground onion is somewhere around 2:1. There isn't much garlic as I didn't want to over-power the other flavors; or salt as the intensity of the other flavors takes care of the need for sodium. Butter makes everything better too.

    Cinnamon & sugar is another good one, but oddly enough, the family voted the sour cream & onion better than that.

    If you really want to make a popcorn treat, use the Bon Appetite recipe for home-made marshmallow (no eggs, just corn syrup, sugar, water, & vanilla) to make your own marshmallow. YUMMY! That can't be beat.

    Happy Popping!

    1. Hi MaryReed! I ALWAYS pop my corn on the stove top! I use coconut oil and often make the kettle corn you mentioned. I love the idea of the sour cream and onion popcorn and think that will be a huge hit with my son (once he gets his braces off). :-) I will definitely be giving that one a try! I have tried cinnamon and sugar. That's always a big hit. The marshmallow popcorn sounds wonderful, too! Thanks for sharing some great ideas!!


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