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Autumn Days and 3 Healthy Popcorn Recipes

Dear Autumn, every year you subdue me into a false sense of contentment with your perfectly pretty red and golden leaves and that rich blue sunshine as your backdrop. And every year I find myself stealing any chance I can to walk amidst your colourful crunchy leaves and be seduced into planning picnics and daydreaming as I watch your falling leaves flutter their way to earth on a gentle breeze.

For more years than I care to admit I have gone to picnics over the Anzac Day long weekend here in my hometown Canberra, only to find winter had made its cold and windy entrance, and our outdoor plans quickly turn into movies at home where we all share our food on rugs on the lounge room floor.

So this year, dear Autumn, you were not going to ruin another fun get together with the gang. No, No, NO!!! This year, we organised an indoor movie marathon just to show you, and while the chilly wind blew the last of the leaves off the trees outside, we’d be happy as clams savouring on our movie food and lazing on lounges in the warmth.

You can’t have a movie without Popcorn right? So, if you’re like me, it’s your go to snack and ultimate companion for movie marathons. In fact, studies on this delicious, gluten free whole grain have shown that the serotonin produced from eating popcorn makes us relaxed and boosts our mood too. But as healthy as popcorn can be on it’s own, many of the pre packaged varieties are often drenched in salt and butter, or worse, artificially flavoured goop masquerading as butter.

So, I give to you 3 healthy popcorn recipes that will definitely be making an encore appearance at future movie marathons.

Coriander, Lime & Black Pepper Popcorn

A squeeze of vitamin C-rich lime, a handful of cholesterol reducing coriander and just two tablespoons of Nuttelex (vegan butter) with flecks of green peeking out among the kernels, it’s healthy, tasty, and pretty!

  • ½ cup unpopped organic popcorn kernels
  • 2 -3 tbsp vegetable oil / Nuttelex butter for popping
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Step 1: Place a large pot on medium high heat with enough oil/butter to cover the bottom, be sure to keep the lid on the pot (you can tilt it slightly to let the moisture out). Drop a couple of kernels in, once they pop, you’re ready to add the rest and lower the heat to medium low. Add just enough to barely cover the bottom of the pot, put the lid on and wait until they begin to pop. You’ll be able to tell when it’s done when there are about 5 seconds between each pop.

Step 2: Put the popcorn into a bowl, sprinkle with lime juice, fresh coriander and salt and pepper seasoning. Toss to coat.

Dorito Popcorn

Have you ever had a look at the nutrition label on a bag of Doritos? Spoiler alert: It’s fricken terrifying with a lineup of dietary offenses from high sodium levels to indecipherable chemicals. You can get your nacho cheese chip fix with this popcorn instead. It’s vegan and you can identify every item in the ingredient list. And don’t worry, the best part about the original remains intact: yummy, cheesy orange residue to slurp off your fingers at the end.

  • ½ cup unpopped organic popcorn kernels
  • 2 -3 tbsp vegetable oil / Nuttelex butter for popping
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or granules
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder or granules
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

Step 1: Place a large pot on medium high heat with enough oil/butter to cover the bottom, be sure to keep the lid on the pot (you can tilt it slightly to let the moisture out). Drop a couple of kernels in, once they pop, you’re ready to add the rest and lower the heat to medium low. Add just enough to barely cover the bottom of the pot, put the lid on and wait until they begin to pop. You’ll be able to tell when it’s done when there are about 5 seconds between each pop.

Step 2: Combine all spices, and salt in a small bowl.

(Optional ) Step 3: Blend seasonings in a spice grinder to make a fine powder. I prefer the unground spice mix.

Step 4: Sprinkle seasoning over popcorn and toss to coat.

Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate Popcorn

I know you’re thinking I must be crazy, but trust me, this food combo is a match  made in heaven. Opposites really do attract. Think bacon and maple syrup on pancakes. Think breakfast for dinner. Think leather and lace. Think Edward and Bella from Twilight. Opposites I’m telling you. Sometimes, they just work!

  • ½ cup unpopped organic popcorn kernels
  • 2 -3 tbsp vegetable oil / Nuttelex butter for popping
  • 100g dark chocolate (80%)
  • sea salt to taste

Step 1: Place a large pot on medium high heat with enough oil/butter to cover the bottom, be sure to keep the lid on the pot (you can tilt it slightly to let the moisture out). Drop a couple of kernels in, once they pop, you’re ready to add the rest and lower the heat to medium low. Add just enough to barely cover the bottom of the pot, put the lid on and wait until they begin to pop. You’ll be able to tell when it’s done when there are about 5 seconds between each pop.

Step 2: Using a bar made of 80 percent cocoa, the more cocoa, the more cholesterol-lowering oleic acid.  Roughly chop up the bar.

Step 3: Place the popcorn in a large bowl and immediately scatter the chopped dark chocolate over the warm popcorn and sprinkle with sea salt. Stir to combine. Ready to serve. The end product is the culinary equivalent of “opposites attract,” both in its black-and-white appearance and in its sweet-and-salty taste.

One last thing dear Autumn…. While we didn’t much appreciate the glorious sunshine you turned on for my movie marathon afternoon or that you dialed down the breeze tempting the leaves to dance outside our windows, our movie room came equipped with black out curtains so we had loads of fun anyway.

I’d love to know, what TV series or movie do you recommend I watch at my next movie marathon? And which of the popcorn recipes do you like best? 

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