Real Food My Kids Love: Homemade Popcorn

My kids love homemade popcorn almost as much as I do. Not because it’s better for them than microwave popcorn, but because it’s fun to watch it pop, and it fills the entire house with the wonderful smell of freshly popped corn. I know you get a pretty great smell with microwave “popcorn” too, but this one is different. It’s not buttery and it doesn’t have that faint, weird smell that you might not even notice until you’ve cut the processed food cord. It’s well masked, but you may be able to detect it if you really pay close attention. Is it plastic? Chemical? Fake food perfume? It’s a synthetic smell you just can’t put your finger on. But it’s almost always there. Sniff for yourself.

Making popcorn at home is easier than you might think. 1/4 cup of oil, 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels, a little salt and you have a healthy, real food snack. I suggest organic because nearly all corn in the U.S. is genetically modified. Canola oil is also genetically modified and pesticides could be a problem with other oils, such as olive oil (my favorite for popcorn). The only way to avoid genetically modified organisms and pesticides is to buy organic. But even if you just use regular oil and popcorn, you’re cutting down on additives, preservatives and other artificial ingredients, not to mention salt and oil. And why not have a little fun with the kids? Mine treat this simple snack like it’s an event. The anticipation and excitement is surprising… and sometimes downright annoying. “Mom, can we make popcorn? When can we make popcorn? You said we could make popcorn. Can we make popcorn now?

Here’s the simple recipe:

  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels
  • Optional flavoring: salt, pepper, Parmesan, seasoning salt, your favorite spice blend, butter, white chocolate (oh yes – more on that below). The possibilities are endless.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Throw 3 kernels in and and close the lid. When all 3 kernels have popped, you know the oil is ready. Throw in the rest of the popcorn, give it a good shake and close the lid. Shake it frequently to prevent burning. (My kids laugh at the sight of me doing this.) When the popping slows to 2-3 seconds between pops, remove from heat. Then add salt, or whatever seasoning you like. This recipe yields about 10 cups of popped corn (4 or 5 servings).

To make kettle corn (my kids favorite) just throw 1/4 cup of sugar over the unpopped kernels before closing the lid. You may want to reduce the heat slightly once the corn starts popping again to prevent the sugar from burning. If it does turn a little brown, no worries. You’ve made caramel corn.

Lightly coating the popped corn in white chocolate is the best ever. It’s fun to blindside someone with it. They might not be able to figure out what it is, but they will love it. If you really want to drive them crazy, don’t tell them your secret ingredient (especially if they claim to hate white chocolate). Melt about 1/2 cup of chocolate then lightly drizzle some of it on the popcorn and toss. Drizzle on a little more and toss. Repeat until it’s gone. Then spread it out on a sheet of wax paper to cool. Yum! The trick is to coat it lightly so that the white chocolate is nearly invisible. 

So the next time you have a family movie or game night, give it a try. Your kids will think you’re totally awesome!

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About Michele
Wife and Mom of three girls doing her best to lead the family into a healthier lifestyle and evolve gracefully.

13 Responses to Real Food My Kids Love: Homemade Popcorn

  1. Jodie McKenzie says:

    Now you made me hungry!!! Darn you!!!

  2. Daddy says:

    I used to make it 4 u this way. Put a quarter cup of oil in a sm bowl, add the real popcorn then put it in a paper bag, fold the top down & microwave till u don’t here too many pops

  3. Daddy says:

    BTW,
    I really like ur blog & I’m proud of u and love u!!!

  4. Mmmmm….I love making popcorn in my air popper. We even have “silly dinner” night sometimes and my 4 yr old requests popcorn for dinner (she loves nutritional yeast on it). We round out dinner with some apples and carrots and hummus and call it dinner.
    I know exactly what you mean about the smell of microwave popcorn bags. My husband makes those a couple times a week and the smell gets to me every time.

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