Chip Review: Simply Nature Black Bean Chips
Gordita's Norma - Wichita

Thinking outside the box with popcorn

Thinking outside the box with popcorn flavors
Popcorn dressed with warm olive oil & a bagel seasoning blend with sea salt, garlic, onion, sesame seeds, poppy seeds. Just 80 mg of sodium per serving vs. the 480 mg if I would have used Kosher salt.

By Mike Thayer

Regular readers know that I love popcorn, I mean, why else would I have a section of this blog dedicated to it?  I review the packaged stuff from the grocery store shelves as well as try out new flavor combinations when I pop my own at home.

But it hit me today that I'm missing an opportunity here...  All my flavor combinations are based in melted butter.  Classic butter and salt; butter with garlic and salt; butter with Sriracha & Parmesan; butter with leftover condiment packets from restaurants; butter used as the base to make a Buffalo sauce popcorn; butter used to make a caramel sauce and so on.

But after a recent doctor visit where I was 'cautioned' about LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and sodium intake, a reduction of animal fats to include butter is in order.

I pop my popcorn in the microwave using a Salbree Popper, no oil required, keeping the aspect of "Popcorn is a healthy snack" in tact.  Flavoring it is where the unhealthy aspect kicks in and with a reduction in the use of butter now a part of my daily diet, I need alternatives to flavoring popcorn.  I need to think outside the box.  

Popcorn dressed in olive oil rather than butter
You can see the highlights of olive oil and poppy seeds

Option 1:  Olive oil.  Healthier than butter which is 63% saturated fat, olive oil has a nice flavor profile which is why it is used so often in a wide variety of food preparations such as salad dressings, pestos, marinades, etc, and is a better tasting cooking alternative to traditional vegetable oils.   The bonus:  Just 14% saturated fat.   Olive oil also contains heart-healthy monounsaturated 'good' fats and antioxidants.

So in terms of flavoring that freshly popped popcorn, I can add new flavors to the recipe collection, olive oil & Parmesan; olive oil & Balsamic vinegar; olive oil & pomegranate for a sweet kick and added texture, any fruit flavoring for that matter like a squeeze of grapefruit juice or blood orange; basil; Mushroom Umami; toasted sesame; Harissa; Chipotle and so much more! 

Option 2:  Avocado oil.  Avocados are considered a "Super Food" rich in antioxidants, monounsaturated fats and oleic acid, all aiding in heart health.  Besides that, the flavor is awesome!  So I'm thinking the flavors of guacamole here right off the bat, avocado oil and garlic, with onion powder and a kick of jalapeno and/or cayenne.  I'll be trying avocado oil and dry ranch dressing.  Other flavor pairings to experiment with will include but not be limited to:  Chili powder; pistachio; dill; nutmeg; mint; hazelnut; low sodium chicken bouillon powder; dry-roasted coconut; and I'm even going to try a mango juice reduction.

Just warm up some olive or avocado oil, add an additional flavor of your choice to the pan, then slowly pour and toss it with the popcorn.  The possibilities are almost endless!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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