Saturday, February 23, 2013

Movies and Popcorn

Once upon a time, I was a movie buff.  I would make it a point to have seen every "Best Picture" nominated flick before the Academy Awards, read entertainment magazines galore and enjoyed lively arguments discussions about whether or not the Academy picked the best when they selected their winners (as if I was some sort of qualified person to do that).  In graduate school, solo trips to the movie theaters were my escape and stress relief.  The movie theater was about a 2 mile walk away from my Beantown apartment.  It was the perfect distance: 2 mile walk, roughly 2 hours of screen time and 2 miles home feeling refreshed.  I would go to major blockbuster theaters and small independent flick theaters....I sort of miss that stuff now that I am thinking of it.

Anyway, the Academy awards are coming up this weekend and although I am unfamiliar with the majority of films being highlighted and reviewed (I did see Argo though and would recommend it!), movies make me think of popcorn and that is what brings me here today.  Who doesn't love a good movie and some popcorn? 

Popcorn can be a healthy, whole food and delicious snack.  Admittedly, I went through a phase where calories or points were really my only focus of "healthy" eating and I was a microwave popcorn fanatic.  I can eat this whole bag for 3 points? Woohoo!  The microwave popcorn bags were in my cupboards, my desk at work and packed for trips home to visit the family.  In addition to the microwave popcorn, my next highly used food accessory was spray butter.  You know, this stuff:

I cringe now when I think about it. 

Yes, I lost weight and got back to a healthy weight but I am confident that I was not putting the healthiest stuff into my body.  Here is a look at the ingredients on a package of microwave kettle corn, which is one of my favorite flavors:

TBHQ?  Argh, that doesn't sound like something I want to inhale at the rate I can devour some popcorn.  Then there is the current controversial information about the chemicals in those bags that potentially leak into the food as we zap them to popped perfection.  Finally, spray butter? What is spray butter anyway?  At zero, yes zero, calories per serving, what is this stuff?  You would be horrified if you saw how I use to hose that stuff onto popcorn, toast, muffins....whatever.  I understand the ingredients are the following:

Water, Soybean(s) Oil Liquid, Salt, Buttermilk Sweet Cream, Xanthan Gum, Soy Lecithin, Polysorbate 60, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate Preservative, Sodium Benzoate Preservative, Calcium Disodium EDTA Preservative, Flavor(s) Artificial Colored With, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A Palmitate

These days, I am back to an old fashioned air popper, which can be purchased almost anywhere for $20-$30.  It's quick, it's easy and most importantly, it just pops those corn kernels without any additives that I will be scared about years later. Also, there is the bonus that little ones enjoy watching those kernels pop out into the bowl!

If you are settling in for the Academy Awards or a movie and enjoy sweet n' salty kettle corn as much as I do, here is a quick real food recipe that I find to be delicious and knocks the socks off any microwave popcorn out there:

Air Popped "Kettle" Corn
~Popcorn Kernels
~1 Tbs Butter (Coconut Oil could be substituted for a vegan recipe or preference)
~1 Tbs honey
~Salt to preference
Fill your air popper's kernel hopper with the popcorn kernels (mine takes about 1/2 cup of kernels) and pop the popcorn out into a bowl.  In a small pot, heat the butter (or oil) with the honey until combined smoothly.  Pour over the popcorn, salt to preference, shake up and enjoy!  It's that easy...barely minutes.  Also, you can increase the amount of butter, oil or honey if preferred as the 1/2 cup of kernels does turn into a pretty large bowl of popcorn, but I found this amount to be plenty tasty. 
I know that the use of Genetically Modified ingredients is concerning and corn and soy are considered to be the most frequently modified seeds in the U.S.  I understand that you can avoid genetically modified corn seed by purchasing a brand of popcorn kernels that is certified organic and/or has a non-GMO label. 

Settle in for a movie and enjoy!  What are your go-to healthy and fun movie snacks?


Katie said...

So I started paying attention to ingredients when Kaylee had FPIES to soy. It turns out that everything has soy in it. Everything processed anyway. Really it's crazy. Now both kids can have soy, but I can't bring myself to buy products now when I don't understand the ingredient list. Have you ever looked at the ingredients on Planters Sunflower seeds? It's nuts! Like 2 paragraphs long! We are definitely NOT perfect eaters. I'm not sure if we're even "good" eaters. My girls can be picky. For instance, we still by cheese crackers and graham crackers but they're the organic brands that only use actual food ingredients. We only have olive oil and the "Kate's Butter" in the house. We do often make popcorn, but there's a popcorn I buy from the store that only has three ingredients corn, canola oil, and sea salt, which we'll eat too.

Healthy Ambitions said...

I can not imagine having to ensure no soy for the little ones because you are correct- it is in everything! We are not perfect eaters here either but I try and am now more aware of those ingredients lists, which can be scary! I am back to real butter after years of calorie free spray butter (what was I thinking?). Kate's butter is really good...and local! I also like Kerrygold- I'm biased as it is Irish but they use grass fed cows and it tastes really good! I love to make as much as I can from scratch but the reality is that time is tight with work and home so I just try to do the best I can- every little bit helps!

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