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Little Hands Make Stovetop Popcorn
Jan 17, 2012

Did you know that toddlers get 1/3 of their daily calories from snacking? I didn't either, until I read through several articles a couple of years ago when London seemed to want to graze all day more than eat good meals. After that, I began looking for ways to help her get in those calories, while I also satisfied my inner health freak. I know a lot of people are really into New Year resolutions, and it seems around this time of the year, there's always a surge of healthy eating. It's so very important to start healthy habits in little ones and keep it up all the time, so I thought I'd share a few snack ideas for munchers young and old! I'd like to devote a few posts in the next few weeks to specific easy snacks, and today, I've settled on popcorn.

Yes, indeed, popcorn. But not that boxed stuff that you buy for 1000x the price it cost them to make it, loaded down in butter and who knows what else (remember I mentioned an inner health freak? hehe). I desperately tried to find a salt and butter free popcorn for awhile, and it really is hard to find or crazy expensive! However, necessity is the mother of invention, right? Thus, our family's discovery of an old way to make popcorn on the stove top.

What you'll need:
*popcorn kernels (I got a two pound bag of Great Value at Wal-mart for $1; 1/4 of a cup or so will fill up a regular 2 quart pot, and that $1 bag will make 7 or 8 servings)
*oil (we use olive, but it doesn't matter)
*a pot with a lid (preferably a transparent lid)
*any flavorings you'd like- you can use basil, cheese, Cavendar's Greek Seasoning, salt, paprika, cinnamon, chocolate chips, whatever!

First, pour enough oil into the pot to coat the bottom and allow it to heat up with the burner turned up to medium high or high. Once you begin seeing a bit of steam coming from the hot oil, throw in a kernel or two and swirl it around by holding the handle of the pot. When those kernels pop, pour in the rest of your kernels, 1/4 to 1/2 cup, close the lid, and swirl around to coat all the kernels in oil. Make sure your little ones are away from the hot burner, but standing on chairs or something so they have a good vantage point! Soon, those kernels starting going and if you don't keep the lid on, they will pop all over your stove! Trust me, it's happened here, much to the delight of a certain two year old and the dismay of a certain mommy. The popcorn will take just a few minutes to completely pop, and it will be HOT! when you take it off the burner. Allow it to cool thoroughly before giving it to little ones. While it's hot is a good time to season it. Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice is my personal favorite, while the girls really enjoy it coated with a little honey, and my husband likes basil and cheese or Cavendar's. The best thing about this is that you can do whatever you want to it! For a special treat, you could even add a little sugar to the oil after the two little kernels pop and before you pour in the rest to make kettle corn! We've done that a few times for dessert around here.

This would be so fun for sleepovers or nights at grandparents. We do movie nights where we watch a movie on a laptop and the girls get to climb into Mommy and Daddy's bed, and this is always a fun beginning to the evening.

Until next time,
Heather

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