Wild Blueberry Hibiscus Breeze Smoothie

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

As each New Year rolls around, I always have the best of intentions to eat healthy, get fit, and lose a bit (or a lot) of excess weight that has crept up on me.  In my case, this is often accompanied by some sort of overly regimented eating plan that is unrealistic for the long haul.  I diligently follow said eating plan for about a week (maybe two) and then move on to focus on an enlightened eating plan that is more about eating super healthy foods, feeling great, and limiting processed goodies.  I am in that place right now, and it perfectly aligned with this fun smoothie contest that highlights one of my favorite ingredients, frozen Wild Blueberries.

I seriously always have frozen wild blueberries on hand (I usually buy Wyman’s brand at Wegmans, but have also gotten Trader Joe’s brand).  I actually had two bags stashed in my freezer already.  Why do I love these tiny superfoods?  Let me count the ways!

  1.  I love these in smoothies, but also in baked goods.  Because they are tiny, you can add them frozen into your pancakes. Muffins, waffles, etc…and they will cook quickly, but not turn your batter purple.
  2. They have a more intense blueberry flavor than fresh berries. They taste amazing!
  3. They have double the antioxidants of fresh berries.
  4. They are good all year round and keep in the freezer for a very long time, with no compromise of quality.
  5. They are small, so they blend very easily into smoothies, rather than larger chunks of frozen fruit.  No need for ice!

 

Frozen Wild Blueberries

Not to toot my own horn, but I came up with the best smoothie EVER with these gorgeous berries!  Plus it has protein, antioxidants, and probiotics. I think that because it is currently sleeting her in VA, my mind went on a much needed tropical vacation with this recipe… The taste is exotic, but easy for even children to love.  I am in love with this smoothie!  Here’s how to make one for yourself:

First, steep 2 hibiscus flavored herbal tea bags in 3/4 cup very hot water.  The mixture will be very concentrated.  Remove teabags and let cool.  This step can be done ahead of time or you can add an ice cube to chill the mixture quickly.

Next, add 1-1/2 cups wild frozen blueberries to blender.  Chop up one fresh mango and add it to the blender, being careful to remove the skin and pit.  You could also use frozen mango in this recipe.  Throw in one small container of your favorite Greek yogurt.  I recommend coconut flavored yogurt, but vanilla, plain, or  blueberry would also be great!  Pour in your hibiscus tea concentrate, 1/2 cup of coconut milk (or your favorite milk), the zest of 1 lime plus 1 teaspoon lime juice, and blend on High until very smooth.  If you like things a little sweeter, you can add a teaspoon or 2 of honey.  Totally optional though- The Blueberries and mango are already sweet!  Enjoy with a parasol and pretend you are on the beach….

Wild Blueberry Hibiscus Breeze Smoothie

Ingredients:

2 herbal Hibiscus teabags

3/4 cup hot water

1-1/2 cups frozen Wild Blueberries

1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) mango chunks

1 container (4-6 ounces, depending on brand) coconut Greek yogurt

1/2 cup coconut milk

zest of 1 lime

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1-2 teaspoons honey, optional

Pour 3/4 cup boiling water into a heatproof measuring cup.  Steep 2 teabags in the hot water for 3-4 minutes.  Let cool completely or add an ice cube to cool quickly.  Set aside.

In a large blender, combine frozen Wild Blueberries, mango, yogurt, coconut milk, Hibiscus tea, lime zest and juice, and honey (if desired).  Blend on high until very smooth.  Pour into 2 large glasses and enjoy immediately.

 

Mayan Spiced Chocolate Chewies (for Passover and beyond)

I have a strict rule about Passover desserts:  One should never try to make cakes or cookies with matzo meal or any of it’s derivatives.  They always taste like matzo and the bondage of my people, rather than dessert.  I am only partly kidding, people, so please don’t try to convince me that you made a delicious Passover cake with matzo cake meal.  You didn’t.  So, my approach to Passover baking is to instead choose desserts that are flourless by nature, like pavlovas, flourless chocolate torte, and macarons/macaroons.  These Mayan Spiced Chocolate Chewies are a spicy variation on the popular gluten-free favorite that can be found at Whole Foods.  The spices were inspired by another old favorite of mine the “Mayan Mystery Cookie,”  which is a well-known recipe that has been circulating for a while.  My version is a bit more interesting with warm spices and lots of ginger.  Of course, if you like the original or are serving kids, feel free to omit all the spices and the crystallized ginger.  These cookies are made in one bowl, quick, easy, gluten-free, can be dairy free, Parve, nut-free, and very low in fat.  Enjoy!

First you want to sift your powdered sugar and cocoa into the bowl of your mixer (you can definitely use an electric hand mixer).  Add your dry spices at this point, if using.  Give it a mix on low, just to combine.  Then, just add your egg whites and vanilla.  Mix on medium speed for ablout a minute.  Fold in chocolate chips and minced ginger by hand, if using.

This is the crystallized ginger that I minced.  It is optional, and only suggested if you are a ginger lover or hosting adults only.  Kids tend to think it is too spicy.  I like to cut it with kitchen shears.image

Drop by tablespoonful onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until set and shiny on top and still a bit soft in the center.

Let cool completely and peel off of parchment.  Happy baking and Happy Pesach!

Mayan Spiced Chocolate Chewies

Parve, perfect for Passover, gluten-free/dairy-free/nut-free diets, and for all year round.

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (find the Kosher for Passover variety)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Small pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup egg whites (approximately 3 large eggs)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (parve and K for P variety)
2 tablespoons crystallized or candied ginger, finely minced (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine powdered sugar, cocoa, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne. Mix on low to combine.
Add in egg whites and vanilla, mixing well for 1 minute on medium speed, scraping down sides of bowl. Fold in chocolate chips and minced ginger (if using). Spoon by the tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between cookies. Bake for 12-14 minutes until tops are set and shiny. Let cool for 10 minutes on parchment. Peel cookies off parchment and serve or store in airtight container.

Mini Chocolate Chip Scones with Vanilla Bean Glaze

I make quite a few variations of these scones, and they are always wildly popular. My kids love these Mini Scones with Chocolate Chips and tempting speckled Vanilla Bean Glaze icing. They are perfect for a grab and go breakfast or a sweet after school snack. They freeze beautifully after baking, and make a great housewarming gift. They are pretty much perfection in scone form. This recipe is adapted from Kittencal’s Blueberry Sour Cream Scones on Food.com

First, combine your sugar and other dry ingredients in a large food processor. Pulse a few times to combine evenly.  Cube or slice your cold butter to make it easier to process.  Pulse 10-15 times until pea sized bits of butter remain in the dry mixture.

Next combine the sour cream (or yogurt), egg, vanilla, and baking powder in a measuring cup.  Whisk well to combine.  Pour into processor and pulse until a shaggy dough forms.  Remove to clean surface and knead briefly, just until dough comes together.

Knead in chocolate chips (mini-chips would have been fabulous, but I was out of them and snowed in….).

Next, roll each section into a ball and flatten into a disk.  Cut each disk in 4, then cut each section in half again so that you have 8 wedges per disk.  Place 1/2 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheet.  You can be OCD like me and place them in a back and forth pattern, or you can be normal.  That is your call.

Bake scones at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until edges turn slightly golden brown.  Do not over-bake.  We do not want dry scones!  Let cool for  few minutes before dipping in glaze.

To make the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, milk or half and half, vanilla, vanilla bean specks, a pat of melted butter, and a pinch of salt.  Dip the top of each scone in glaze and let set on wire rack until dry to the touch.  Serve or freeze for later, as desired.

Enjoy with tea, coffee, or milk.  Freeze before glazing in large freezer bags for up to 2 months.  Try variations like swapping out the chocolate for blueberries, adding orange zest, swapping cranberries and lemon zest for the chips, and more…This is a very adaptable recipe.

Mini Chocolate Chip Scones with Vanilla Bean Glaze

Makes 32 mini scones or 16 larger scones

Dough:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour (or you can just use another cup of AP flour)

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, diced

6 ounces sour cream or Greek yogurt

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips (mini or regular, or any other mix in you would like-nuts, chips, dried fruit, blueberries, etc…)

for the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk or half and half

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped (optional)

1/2 tablespoon butter, melted (in microwave is fine!)

Small pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt.  Pulse to combine.  Add cold butter chunks to processor, pulsing a few times to combine until butter is pea sized.

In a measuring cup, whisk to combine sour cream (or yogurt), egg, vanilla, and baking soda.  Pour into processor.  Pulse until a shaggy dough forms.  Dump dough out onto a clean surface and knead a few times, just until dough comes together.  Knead in chocolate chips quickly and gently.  Dived dough into 4 for mini scones, 2 for larger scones.  Take each section and form a ball.  Flatten balls into 1 inch high discs.  Cut each disc into 8 wedges, like you would cut a pizza.  Place scones onto parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake 15-17 minutes or until edges just start to brown.  Center will still be a tad soft, but will set when cool.  Cool for 3-5 minutes on wire rack before glazing.

To make the glaze icing, whisk together powdered sugar, milk or cream, vanilla extract, Vanill bean caviar, melted butter, and salt.  Dip top of each scone in glaze or drizzle on top of slightly warm scones.  Set on wire rack to dry.  Serve or store covered.  Scones may be frozen before glazing in zip top freezer bags for up to 2 months.

 

 

 

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Chip Cookies

I realize that I might seem a bit Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde with this blog- One week decadent desserts, the next healthy treats, with almost no in between. That is actually pretty much the way I roll with my diet in real life, too. I love to eat for absolute pleasure and look for rich, gooey sinful treats that are no good if made “low fat” or “low sugar” or my favorite… “low carb.” I eat that way until it catches up with me, then it is time to reign it in and eat a healthier, whole food type diet. Recently, I decided that this oppositional yo-yo approach is not great for me, mentally or physically. So, I am going to work on balance this year, having the occasional decadent treat, but mostly opting for better choices for my health. Enter the “Healthy Oatmeal Banana Chip Cookie.”

I had been seeing a similar recipe pop up on Facebook from time to time. That other recipe pretty much consists of bananas, applesauce, almond milk (a no-no in this nut free home), oats, raisins, and a couple of other ingredients. I decided that the recipe looked flawed to me (too much liquid), and I could recreate it in a yummier (albeit slightly less perfect nutritionally) way. I cut a lot of the liquid, added some soy nut butter (you could use almond or peanut butter), and added a small but satisfying amount of brown sugar and mini-chocolate chips. Voila! A healthy cookie that would make the perfect pre-workout energy/carb boost without breaking the caloric bank. There is no butter in there, and only a minimal amount of brown sugar for flavor. They have a nice dense, chewy texture and are best enjoyed warm. You could reheat them in the toaster oven for a minute before serving.

Overripe bananas
I always have overripe bananas laying around.

Begin with 3 very ripe (brown) bananas. Mash those babies up with one egg, a teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of soy nut butter (or almond or peanut butter!). Stir in 2 cups of old fashioned or rolled oats and 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips. The dough will be wet, but will firm up during baking. Scoop out cookies and spread them out slightly on the parchment, leaving a little bit of space between cookies. They won’t spread much. Bake for 14-16 minutes at 350 degrees on parchment lined baking sheets. Makes 12 large cookies (about 100 calories each) or 24 smaller cookies (50 calories each). The larger ones are great as a breakfast cookie. Serve warm or reheated.

Allergy friendly versions:

You could definitely make these dairy-free by using chocolate chips that contain no dairy ingredients.  You could leave out the egg, and I think they would still work, though I have not tested them.  At that point, they would be vegan.  If you used gluten-free oats, they would (obviously) be gluten free as well.  If you are not eating added sugar, feel free to leave out the brown sugar and/or chocolate chips.

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Chip Cookies

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Chip Cookies

Healthy cookies, warm and ready to enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 overripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy, sun, almond, or peanut butter
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mash bananas in large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in egg, vanilla, brown sugar, and "nut" butter.
  4. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon 12 large cookies or 24 smaller cookies onto parchment paper, spreading batter out slightly until 1/4 inch thick. Batter will be wet, but will firm upon baking.
  6. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until golden around edges.
  7. Let cool 5 minutes and serve warm.
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Healthy New Year, Whole 30

Last year, I was on track. I had lost 20+ lbs, was going to the gym regularly, and was eating pretty well. Then, a trifecta of doom struck: My personal trainer quit to pursue a new career, I was cast on a television baking show, and subsequently traveled to England to film with no time for/access to a gym.  To add insult to injury, we ate at restaurants for 3 meals a day, while also intermittently shoveling in loads of decadent pastries. Sometimes when life gets crazy, you just eat whatever is available in large quantities, and then try not to think on it too hard.

Fast forward 4 months later-2016, and I am up 10 lbs but ready to get back on track. I am one of those people that doesn’t instinctively know  how to eat healthy or in moderation. Strict Guidelines seem to help me, especially when I don’t have a lot of wiggle room. So, I am planning to start my second Whole 30. If you are unfamiliar with this plan, it is basically all whole foods-organic when possible and includes: Meat, fish, poultry, fruits, veggies, seeds, most nuts, and healthy oils that are not grain derived. No grains, no sugars, no artificial sweeteners, no soy, no, dairy, no fun….It gets a bit tricky for me, since my home is nut and coconut free, due to my son’s severe allergies. However, I do sneak around a bit with some pecans and coconut milk (stored like contraband in hidden compartments and labeled with skulls).

Still, being obsessed with preparing food and known for creativity in the kitchen, I still want to eat satisfying foods that I love. Here are some ideas for healthful and mostly Whole 30-friendly snacks, smoothies, and treats (some require a bit of tweaking for whole 30).

Banana Matcha Energy Smoothie:

My favorite Pre-workout energy smoothie, low calorie with a good proportion of protein and carbs for optimum performance. This one could be made without protein powder and with coconut milk for whole 30 compliance. I love to freeze chopped bananas for this smoothie in ziplock bags (when I have overripe ones sitting around).

Ingredients:

1/2 frozen or fresh banana, cut into chunks (about 1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder

3/4 cup flax milk, almond, soy, rice, coconut or cashew milk

1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)

3 Medjool dates (optional, but makes smoothie sweeter)

1/2 cup ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until very smooth. Enjoy immediately, preferably 1 hour before a tough workout.  I recommend half a smoothie before a workout for energy and the remainder post-workout to replenish carbs and protein.

Snacks:

I know you are not supposed to snack much on Whole 30, but sometimes you need a little something to get over the starvation  hump.  Some of my easy to grab go-to snacks are:

  1. An apple cut into thin slices (or even French fry shapes) and tossed with a bit of cinnamon in a ziplock bag.
  2. a slice of deli turkey (organic and sugar free, of course) wrapped around a slice of avocado and/or a pickle.
  3. Prosciutto wrapped around a wedge of melon.
  4. Crunchy, freeze dried fruit.
  5. Hard boiled eggs or deviled eggs made with homemade mayo, finely diced shallot, and paprika.
  6. These babies pictured below, minus the cream cheese for Whole 30 compliance.  You could sub a pimento stuffed olive or even an almond stuffed olive…yum!  Those are thinly sliced, seedless cucumbers (use a vegetable peeler) rolled up with smoked salmon and an olive.  Tie it up with a chive if you are feeling fancy!  I actually won a Healthy Snack Contest from Cooking Contest Central (my favorite community of cooking contest friends) with these beauties last yearwhole 30 snack
  7. I also love a slice of roast beef with my homemade mayo, some grated fresh horseradish, and a slice of tomato all rolled up.
  8. Raw veggies with a dressing for dipping.  Some great brands to buy include Brianna’s and Tessimae.  To make your own, the sky is the limit.  I plan on making  a tahini and roasted eggplant dip soon.

Sweet treats:

  1.  A sliced banana, some fresh pineapple chunks, nuts (walnuts or pecans, if you are not allergic), coconut chips, and a drizzle of coconut milk that has been blended with a little cinnamon.  This also makes a great breakfast when you can’t look at another egg.
  2. Cherry-Chocolate Sorbet:  This will only work in a food processor or a vitamix blender.  Blend frozen dark, sweet cherries with a teaspoon or two of unsweetened dark cocoa powder.  Keep agitating mixture until the cherries are blended completely smooth, like sorbet.  You might need to add a touch of coconut milk to get the blender moving.
  3. The following concoction:

image

Carrot Cake Smoothie:

  • 1/2 frozen or fresh banana, cut into chunks
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
  • 3/4 cup organic carrot juice (I used Boathouse Farms)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 Medjool dates
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I LOVE the one from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth and serve immediately.

Lastly, I do want to say that I learned a lot on Whole 30 last time I did it, even though the scale did not show that much movement for me.  I felt great, my skin was glowing, and I saw definition in my abs that I had never seen before.  Of course, it is all gone now, but I will let you know in a month if I am back in the game; )

Feel free to leave any tips or snacks that you love while doing Whole 30 (or any clean eating plan) in the comments section.  Thanks and have a Happy, Healthy New Year!

 

Gingersnap White Chocolate Granola with Chia and Dates (Nut-Free)

So, I am not really known for my self control around baked goods.  I can usually hold it together and only eat 1 or 2 servings of whatever I have made, occasionally sneaking a third in my closet, if it is really good.  However, I do have a weak spot for granola, and this white chocolate granola totally owned me.  Like, to the point that I had to promise myself that I would never make it again.  It was that good.

I am not going to pretend that granola is health food, like so many bloggers before me.  Yes, it has oats, dried fruit, seeds, etc…  It is very energy dense, which is great if you are a marathoner, or hiking or weightlifting a lot.  For the rest of us, let’s just say that it is delicious and leave it at that…

This actually was intended to be a teacher’s gift for Appreciation Week at our school.  Let’s just say that some of it actually made it to the teachers, and that it was difficult for me to part ways with it.  It would make a fantastic holiday teacher gift or brunch treat with some good yogurt.  You could even give it as a housewarming or hostess gift.  Pretty much anyone would be happy with it, I think.  Here’s how I threw it together with random stuff I had in my pantry:

First I mixed together the oats, sunflower seeds, chia, crushed gingersnaps, salt, spices, and chopped medjool dates (you could add the dates after the baking, if you want them to remain super moist).

white chocolate granola ingredients

Next, in a measuring cup, combine 1/3 cup oil, 1/3 cup maple syrup and/ or honey (I used about 1/2 and 1/2 of both), vanilla extract, and a heaping 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  I microwaved the whole shebang in a few 30 second increments, stirring in between until the sugar was dissolved.

white chocolate granola syrup

Pour the the wet mixture over the dry and mix well, until everything is coated.

white chocolate granola mixed

Pour this all out onto a parchment or non-stick foil lined baking sheet.

white chocolate granola on baking sheet

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, stir, and return to oven for 10 minutes.  Stir again, and bake in 5 minute increments, repeating if necessary, until the mixture is golden brown but still a bit moist.  Be careful not to burn it, and do not wait until mixture is completely dry.  This will crisp up after cooling.

white chocolate granola after baking
After baking.

See, it will crisp and clump when it is cool, and only then…

white chocolate granola complete

When it is completely cool, add white chocolate chips, and if you chose to wait to add the dates, add those as well.  If you want, dried cherries are delicious in here, as would be toasted nuts (if you are not allergic).  I wanted to keep this free of nuts for my family, but feel free to customize it with whatever you like.  I ended up adding some minced crystallized ginger, as well.  Place in a ziplock bag or in pretty treat bags, tied with ribbons and enjoy!

white chocolate granola with toppings

P.s. I highly recommend this white chocolate granola served atop tart cherry or pumpkin Noosa yogurt or Stonyfield “Oh My Yog” in gingered pear or apple-cinnamon.

p.p.s.  Feel free to leave out the chia, the dates, or the crystallized ginger.   I would highly recommend that you leave at least some white chocolate in there, because as we discussed before, this is not a health food anyway….live a little!

p.p.p.s.  If you leave out the gingersnaps (or use gluten free ones), this would be gluten free.  This is assuming you used gluten free oats and all of your other ingredients were gluten free, of course.

Gingersnap White Chocolate Granola

  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (or could sub pepitas)
  • 1/4 cups chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup Gingersnap cookies, crushed (optional, but highly recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup oil (I used canola, but vegetable or melted coconut oil would work)
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup (or a combo of both works well)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark, your choice)
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips (give or take, depending on what you like)
  • 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, minced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (I used 325 convection).  In a large bowl, mix oats, all seeds, Gingersnaps, spices, salt, and dates.

In a large measuring cup, combine oil, honey and/or maple syrup, vanilla, and brown sugar.  Whisk together.  Microwave by 30 second intervals, watching carefully.  When mixture bubbles at edges and sugar is melted, pour over dry ingredients.  Mix thoroughly to coat.

On a large, parchment-lined baking sheet, spread granola out into a thin, even layer.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Stir mixture and return to oven for 10 minutes.  Stir again.  Return to oven for 5 minute intervals, stirring in between, until mixture is golden brown, but still a bit moist in the center.  Cool completely.

Break up any large clumps into a zip top bag.  Add white chocolate, minced ginger, and cherries, if desired.  Serve or store in a air-tight container or bag.  Great as a cereal, ice cream or yogurt topping, gifting, or for snacking.

*Mine only lasted 2 days, but I would imagine it would keep for a week or more.  Good luck with it not disappearing sooner, though.

4 ingredient Quickie- Smoked Maple Butter Microwave Popcorn

There has been a lot of press lately about the dangers of store-bought microwave popcorn.  It contains about 20 different chemicals, including ink, glue and Diacetyl.  Diacetyl becomes toxic when inhaled, but is added to popcorn to enhance the buttery flavor.  Yum….Not!

Popcorn has become a favorite snack for my kids after school.  They love being able to make it themselves, but we needed to find an easy alternative, sans chemicals.  My friend, Kim, told me that she had been microwaving it herself in a paper bag, so I thought I would give it a go….and voila!  You can change the toppings up or just eat it plain, of course.  I highly suggest this version, though….

Homemade microwave popcorn ingredients
This is all you need! Popcorn kernels, a paper bag, maple syrup, butter, and smoked maldon sea salt.

First, measure out 2 tablespoons popcorn kernels.  Feel free to use any kind you like.

homemade microwave popcorn kernels

Pour the kernels into a paper lunch bag.

pouring the homemade microwave popcorn kernels into the bag

Fold about 1/2 inch at the top of the bag and crease well.  Fold two more times, reinforcing the crease when you are done.

homemade microwave popcorn bag

Microwave on high until you hear the popping slow a bit.  Mine took between 1 minute,15 seconds and 1 minute, 20 seconds.  Just like other microwave popcorns, it will burn if cooked too long.

Now, you have perfect, chemical-free air popped microwave popcorn.  You can eat it just as is, but what is the fun in that?

I suggest the following topping:  Combine 2 teaspoons butter and 2 teaspoons maple syrup in a small bowl.  Microwave for 20-30 seconds.

homemade microwave popcorn toppings

Pour microwave popcorn into a bowl, toss with melted maple butter, sprinkle with a bit of the smoked Maldon sea salt (regular kosher salt will also do) and serve!  Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.  Let me know what variations you try.  I am pretty sure it would be fabulous with cinnamon, cayenne, chili powder, or even double the maple butter; )

homemade microwave popcorn finished