Last night my daughter and I went with some friends to the local beach park for an outdoor showing of The Muppets, the movie, and had a great time.
Movie-watching has little to do with fitness, but eating always has to do with health. And so I set out to find delicious yumminess to bring in lieu of movie theater candy, and judging by the obscene amount of sweetly spiced nuts I ate before we even got to the movie, I think I got it right.
And the popcorn, oh the popcorn. It has that cinema flavor without being drowned in butter, and that to me is priceless.
To top off the sweetness (and mainly to share because clearly I was in no condition to split my spicy caramel nuts with anyone) I made chocolate covered banana mini popsicles.
Let the show begin.
Homemade Cinema-style Popcorn
1 1/2 Tbs of Coconut oil
1 C of kernel popcorn
This can’t get any easier: just melt the coconut oil at medium-high heat in a large pan with lid, and once hot drop in 3 kernels to see if they pop. When they do, add in the rest of the kernels making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan (you may have to split the kernels into two batches); sprinkle with sea salt. Cover and listen to the wonderful pop pop pop. When the racket slows down remove the pan from the heat to prevent burning. That’s it! Then you’ll just have to do it all over again after you wolf down the first batch in 15 seconds flat (a purely hypothetical situation. Really.)
Sweetly Spiced Nut Mix
2 C of mixed nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans
1/4 C turbinado sugar (raw sugar)
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs raw honey
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne
Place the nuts in a large skillet and roast them lightly at medium heat, moving them around often and making sure they don’t burn. In a small saucepan heat the honey, butter, water and turbinado sugar until it becomes like a syrup. Medium-low heat is best to prevent the sugar from burning. Add the spices to the syrup, mix it well, and drizzle all over the roasted nuts in the pan.
Once they’re all evenly covered pass them to a sheet of aluminum foil to cool down, making sure you separate them with a fork. Stop yourself from eating them all in one sitting. Seriously.
I can see how these nuts would make a great homemade house-warming or Christmas present in a pretty glass jar with a nice ribbon. See, you come here for the fitness and health but you get so much more than that. You’re welcome.
Chocolate Covered Banana Mini Popsicles
1/4 C of semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 Tbs coconut oil (a little bit more if you find you need it as it melts)
2 bananas, cut in 6 pieces each
Ground peanuts and/or shredded coconut (optional)
Put your 12 pieces of banana in the freezer, on wax paper, to harden. In the meanwhile, place the chocolate chips and the coconut oil in a glass bowl and warm it in the microwave in 15 second increases. After every 15 seconds mix it well and heat again until completely melted.
Dip each frozen banana bit in the chocolate and then roll over the crushed peanuts or coconut, if using. Bring each piece back into the freezer to set. They’re ready after about 20 minutes. You can use popsicle sticks or even toothpicks for easier handling. Voila!
The chocolate covered bananas are typically made with a mixture of chocolate chips and Crisco (vegetable shortening), but then I learned somewhere that coconut oil works just as well because it hardens fast at low temperatures. It does work! Coconut oil beats out greasy shortening in my book any day.
I should tell you that the pictures for this post came from what is likely the fastest photo shoot this blog has ever seen. Turns out that in less than 5 minutes tiny pieces of peanuts began to mysteriously walk off the plate. Apparently ants can appreciate good food, too. I’ll take that as a compliment, you sneaky buggers.
Add an assortment of fruits and fresh veggies and you’re all set. An easy and hassle-free picnic lunch, just like I like it.
This is still junky food, so don’t get too excited making this stuff every other day. It’s way better than regular movie theater popcorn, store bought ice cream sandwiches and big manufacturer flavored nuts, but still. Food is ours to be enjoyed for sure, but it isn’t enjoyment if you eat, say, like Louis C. K does:
Also, I’m happy to report that my
guinea pigs lovely friends seemed to quite like the goodies I made. So this means so far I have the approval of nice Canadians and ants. Your turn.