Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine's Strawberry Dust Popcorn Mix

Though I don't do it for any other holiday, for some reason I really enjoy making Valentine's themed food for my kids.  Perhaps it is the time of year - we are more or less stuck at home, the weather is cold and dreary (often snowy), and the excitement of the Christmas season is behind us - but I find Valentine's Day to be a fun distraction.  We make heart-shaped pancakes with cut up strawberries and some whipped cream for breakfast.  I have made red, white, and pink m&m cookies.  My kids have loved the snack mix and poem I have given them for the last two years.  And oftentimes, around this time of the
year, Costco carries heart-shaped ravioli.  All have been great hits.

I decided to try a new Valentine's recipe this year.  Snack mixes offer so many fun options, and honestly can be as healthy (or not) that you want to make them.  This one uses freeze-dried strawberries as the source of the beautiful red color.  You can add just about anything - chocolate chips (white would be nice looking with this), pretzels, candy hearts, peanuts, pink and red m&m's, and the list goes on.  I decided to keep it simple and healthy and just added dried cranberries to the mix.

  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 Tbsp butter (melted) OR 3Tbsp coconut or canola oil (see directions)
  • 1.2 oz bag freeze dried strawberries (I found these at Aldi)
  • 2 tsp powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Add-ins (like dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, pretzels, etc.)
  1. In a food processor (or in small batches in a chopper) combine strawberries, powdered sugar, and salt.  Process until most of the strawberries have been crushed into a powder.
  2. Pop your popcorn. Option 1: Use an air popper.  Option 2:  Add oil and kernels to a large pot (6 quarts or more) and cover with tight fitting lid (or use a stove top popcorn maker and follow instructions). Turn heat to medium and begin to slide and shake the pot back and forth over the burner until the kernels will begin to pop (after about 2 minutes).  Keep sliding/shaking pot until popping begins to slow down then remove from heat.  Wait until popcorn has stopped popping before removing lid.
  3. Transfer popcorn to a large bowl.  If you used an air popper (like I did), you will need to add the melted butter to the popcorn and mix well so that the powder can stick to it.  If you used the stove top method, the oil should help and you may not need the butter.
  4. While stirring and mixing well, shake the strawberry mixture onto the popcorn.  Add any remaining ingredients of your choosing.

Difficulty: easy
Time: 15 minutes

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