You know that couch in the center of every good LYS? That nucleus of random conversation, pattern sharing, and rants over everything fiber related? Where you talk through the trials of motherhood, display your FOs, curse over frogging and admit to your stash horde? Yup. That's the couch. Now pretend this blog is like that. The cyber representation where all that goodness would take place if our Etsy store was brick and mortar. This blog is my couch, where I sit, chat and knit while he naps.
Occasionally I take a break from the needle arts and dabble in some amateur baking, sewing, cheesemaking, and serious food obsession questing. My latest food obsession is cheesy popcorn, a delicious and delectable way to get your dose of fiber (the edible kind). The only problem is it is extremely high in calories and saturated fat. The absolute best cheesy popcorn in the world is found at Chicago landmark, Garrett's Popcorn. I am absolutely addicted to it. I will even find excuses to travel to Chicago just to go buy some. Of course I could buy some online, but it isn't as hot and fresh and crazy good as when it's just made at the store. I won't even begin to speculate though on the diet setbacks a small bag of this popcorn could inflict on your weight loss efforts. So I have been fiddling all month with several recipes at home to try to get a cheesy popcorn that's not too bad on the waistline, and just as delicious on the tastebuds.
My first breakthrough came when my husband gifted me a microwave air popper at Christmas.
It is only $8 and goes in the dishwasher to clean! Also you avoid all the horrible chemicals found in the lining of microwave popcorn bags. It makes a small, crisp, and oil free popcorn kernel. I found that Fireworks Popcorn was my favorite for this task.
Well, I had the popcorn... now I needed the cheesiness. I tried about a dozen different methods...microplane grated cheddar in melted butter, boxed mac cheese powder, cheese grated directly on top of popcorn....all were a major fail. It was turning out clumpy with unevenly distributed cheese. The boxed mac cheese powder was the absolute worst. Totally unedible. And then one day, like a bolt of lightning from snack heaven, I get an email form King Arthur Flour advertising their Vermont Cheddar Cheese Powder. Heavenly! Not only was in recommended for popcorn but they also listed about 6 other ways the cheese powder could rock it out in your kitchen (pizza crust enhancer to homemade kiddie mac). It tasted authentically like cheese and was very VERY finely powdered. Also a little went a long way cheese flavor wise.
A few more attempts and I finally had a cheesy popcorn that was delicious and only came in at only 187 calories approx. for a 2.5 cup serving. A light calorie load for a hefty sized snack portion and it is wonderfully filling and tasty.
Here it is listed below....let me know if you have any questions, innovative suggestions, or awesome cheesy popcorn stories to share. Next stop....the perfect low cal quiche.
Vania's Easy Cheesy Popcorn Recipe
-5 cups air popped popcorn (a high quality non-gmo kernel is best!)
-1 teaspoon or less of Fleur de Sel or Sea Salt Flakes (the only salt light and fine enough to stick to popcorn and better for you than popcorn salt)
-Superfine Mustard Powder
Popcorn popper, Firework kernels, King Arthur cheese powder,
-2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter *
-Pop popcorn with no oil or butter according to the instructions for whatever appliance or method you are using. Set aside in a very big bowl.
- In a small bowl mix cheese powder, mustard powder, and cayenne to taste. I like mine a little spicy so I use more cayenne but anywhere from a pinch of each to a 1/2 tsp should be good.
-Melt butter in a small saucepan or carefully in a microwave safe bowl.
-Pour melted butter evenly over popcorn and toss to coat.
-Sprinkle cheese powder mixture evenly over buttered popcorn and toss to coat. I use a small powdered sugar sieve spoon and find that it really works the best.
-Sprinkle with fleur de sel to taste.
-Enjoy right away and in secret or you will be accosted by all kinds of popcorn thieves.
*For an even more low calorie version (but admittedly less flavorful) you can use Olive Oil spray then sprinkle cheese mixture. If you are using salted butter taste before using fleur de sel, it might not need finishing salt.
Next month my son will be a year and a half and it's official....I can no longer use pregnancy as an excuse for being overweight. I have 15-20 lbs left to lose and it is time that I took responsibility. I can't even get away with calling it baby weight anymore...at this point it's just weight, baby. So as some added motivation, ok more like motivation/shame, I have decided to post a ticker on the blog with the amount of weight I have left to lose before I get back to my pre-baby number of 120lbs. It's embarrassing but it'll get me motivated because if a month from now the number hasn't gone down....I'll be twice as embarrassed as I am now. Hah. Well....not so hah. It's tough being a mom, and it tough going from a size 4 to a 12, and by tough I mean freakin' impossible and headachy. But health is the most important gift I can give myself and it's time for me to come out of my new mom shell and get back into shape. I'm absolutely petrified of showing up at my first yoga class in 2 years and barely being able to touch my toes. I hate that I'll be huffing and puffing in a cardio class I was once asked to teach. And the sight of me back on the treadmill will be laughable. But before I delve too much into desperation I'll try to keep in mind that some things have gotten better.
I have these newly buff arms, thanks to 30lb car seats and balancing diaper bags, shopping bags, and baby. I also have a new persistence to push past plateaus and block out distractions, thanks to wrangling my son through countless grocery store meltdowns while simultaneously trying to pay and smile. And most importantly I have a new found respect for the physical endurance my body is capable of...something that only pregnancy, labor, and post delivery complications could have taught me. SO I'm going to flex these awesome looking biceps, ignore the sad sight of my midsection, and get this booty doing squats all the way to the gym. I'm also probably going to have to start eating like a grown up again. Sucks.