DIY Microwave Popcorn

Way back in 2009, I read a glorious post from The Little Foodie about Homemade Microwave Popcorn. Today we finally made it ourselves. Either I’ve been spending way too much time thinking about and preparing high-maintenance snacks (I blame the cold New England winter.), or this is the quickest, easiest, cheapest, simplest snack on the planet. There’s not much there as far as nutrition goes unfortunately, but at least it’s homemade.

Of course, the kids gobbled it all up and were very happy. An added bonus is that we could play around with flavorings if we felt like it. I’m thinking a dash of smoked paprika or cheese powder with Italian Seasoning will be in order sometime soon. Today we took the simple route with a touch of butter and salt.

One small paper lunch bag (ours was 11 x 5 x 3″)
2 tablespoons popcorn kernels
1/4 teaspoon butter
Small pinch salt (only if your butter is unsalted)

Place kernels in paper bag and fold closed two or three times. Microwave on high for approximately 1 minutes 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Ours was ready at 1 minute 40 seconds. Stop the microwave as soon as the flurry of popping is starting to ebb. When the pops start to space themselves out with a second or two, it is done. Take it out even if there is a a little bit of popping still happening. Better a few unpopped kernels than burnt popcorn.

Remove bag from microwave. Open bag and drop in the butter. Sprinkle on the salt as well. Close up the bag and shake it for a minute or two to allow the butter to melt. Serve.

Note: Obviously, this isn’t a snack for little ones who are still required to stay far away from choking hazards. Mine are officially old enough now and I’ve quickly forgotten all the rules.

Yield: 1 1/2 – 2 cups
Prep-time: 5 minutes

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Parsley Dip

If you’re anything like me, you’re a little stumped by what to do with the giant bunch of leftover parsley sitting at the bottom of your crisper drawer. Occasionally, a dinner recipe calls for 1/4 cup of fresh parsley and I know it’ll make a difference in the end product, so I go ahead and spring for it at the grocery store. But then the rest of it  just rots in a bag in the refrigerator. So sad.

Well, those days are over! I have made a modified Green Goddess Dip that makes a special effort to use lots and lots of parsley and pantry staples that you are likely to already have on hand. And you’re getting some bonus greens into your family’s diet!

2 cups chopped fresh parsley, washed
1 cup plain greek-style yogurt or sour cream
1 small or medium clove garlic, peeled and crushed
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch salt

Place the parsley, yogurt, garlic, vinegar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Cover and pulse for 20 seconds or so. Serve with fresh veggies or crackers. Store in a airtight container in the refrigerator.

Note: I’ve gone a little easy on the garlic in an attempt to go easy on kids’ palette. But, when I made it I used 2 cloves and my first grader loved it.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes

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Pancake Sandwich

I made a mother load of pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes this morning and didn’t have much mojo left when it came to making a school snack for my first grader. So the pancake sandwich was born. Maybe it should be called a panwich. Whatever it is it could be filled with jam, apple butter, or a lot of other things I haven’t even thought of.

I love that it looks like a whoopie pie.

2 small pancakes, completely cooled
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese and maple syrup until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture onto one of the pancakes and top with the second pancake. Serve.

Yield: 1 pancake sandwich
Prep-time: 5 minutes

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Purple Monster Smoothie

[donotprint]Turns out you can have a delicious smoothie and sneak some tofu into your diet. I started experimenting with this because tofu contains a bit of Iron, and Vitamin C boosts the absorption of said Iron. So this seems like an easy way to get a little extra Iron into our low-meat diet. Miraculously, my kids loved it.[/donotprint]

 

1/2 cup silken tofu
1 medium ripe banana
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Put the tofu, banana, strawberries, blueberries, and maple syrup in a blender and puree until smooth. Serve.

Yield: 2 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes

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Guacamole

Whenever I eat guacamole, I feel like it might be okay to become a vegan someday.  The creamy goodness an avocado imparts is right up there with cheese and butter in my book. 

For more “authentic” guacamole, omit the beans, chop the cilantro, and mash all the ingredients up with a fork.

 

1 small clove garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1/3 cup canned cannelli beans, rinsed (optional)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ripe hass avocados, pits and skins removed

Place the garlic, beans, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, salt, and avocados in the bowl of a food processor. Cover and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Serve with tortilla or pita chips. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Press a piece of plastic wrap on top of the dip to keep browning to a minimum.

Yield: 1 1/4 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes

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Bananas Royale

Inspired by The 6 o’clock Scramble’s Snack list. The soft marshmallows on top of creamy melted peanut butter are a winning combination. Seriously. The smell of this snack was very distracting during the “photo shoot”.

1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced
4 teaspoons nut butter (such as peanut or almond)
8 mini marshmallows

Line the bottom of two small bowls with 4 banana slices each. Top each with 1 teaspoon nut butter. Layer on another four banana slices and additional teaspoon of nut butter. Place 4 marshmallows on top.

Microwave on high for 20 – 30 seconds or until marshmallows start to melt. Top with sprinkles or chocolate sauce and serve.

Yield: 2 servings
Prep-time: 5 minutes

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Homemade Ketchup

This recipe is especially for Life As A Mom’s Ultimate Veggie Recipe Swap. Thanks to Kid Appeal for the heads up.

This recipe is one I’ve minimally adapted from Laurel’s Kitchen. I”m not quite sure why my kids go for it, but they do. They love to help me make it. It’s quick and easy to stir. It makes me very happy to feed them something that actually qualifies as a vegetable instead of the usual glob of highly-processed sugar called “ketchup”.

1 12 ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

Mix the tomato paste, vinegar, water, syrup (if desired), salt, oregano, cumin, nutmeg, pepper, and mustard powder in a small bowl. Transfer to a squeeze bottle or use an old ketchup bottle that has been thoroughly cleaned. Keeps for months in the refrigerator.

 Yield: 2 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes

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Nutella Banana Bites

These are so good! I have yet to make my own chocolate-hazelnut spread. But it is completely on my list of things to do.

2 slices whole grain bread
1/2 of a ripe banana, sliced into 1/4″ slices
1 tablespoon Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread
1 teaspoon butter, divided

Preheat a saute pan over medium heat.

Place the banana slices on one slice of bread. Spread the nutella on the other slice of bread. Put the nutella slice of bread on top of the banana slice with the nutella side down.

Melt 1/2 teaspoon of the butter in the saute pan and swirl it around the bottom of the pan. Cook the sandwich for a few minutes or until golden brown. Remove the sandwich. Add the rest of the butter to the pan. Return the sandwich and cook the other side for a couple more minutes.

Cut the sandwich into small squares or shapes as your whim dictates. Serve. Allow to cool a few minutes if you are feeding young ones.

Yield: 1 sandwich
Prep-time: 10 minutes

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Grapefruit with Yogurt Dip

[donotprint]There’s nothing like a bag of inexpensive red grapefruits to brighten up these sometimes dreary winter days.[/donotprint]

If your kids are younger, or if you just don’t feel like getting fancy with the skewers, you can serve the grapefruit on the side or simply on top of the yogurt parfait style.

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Kid-friendly Hummus

[donotprint]I’ve never been a huge fan of hummus. Making it at home has changed my tune, though. Homemade is so much creamier and tastier.  My kids named this snack Ted and then proceeded to devour him with gusto.

More importantly, my beautiful husband gave me a new camera for Christmas. And the sun came out this morning! Lucky me![/donotprint]

 

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