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POPping up some cheap snacks

By Julie Norman

Mmm...popcorn.  Popcorn is a great snack for midday or evenings.  We often eat popcorn while watching "House of Cards" or random Wednesday night sitcoms.  But buying a 3-count box of microwave popcorn can get expensive.  Most of the time those boxes are $3-$4 dollars.  So what's the alternative?  Make it yourself!  For much less than $4 I can buy a container of white or yellow popcorn kernels.  You can find these right over with the microwave popcorn, usually hidden down on a bottom shelf somewhere.  AND you get way more than 3 bags of popcorn out of a whole container of kernels!

This is what's left of 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels that I popped in the microwave the other day.  I simply put 1/4 cup of kernels in a brown paper bag, folded down the top and set the microwave for 2 minutes.  It took a little longer than that, but when it was done I had great, homemade popcorn!  You can buy an air popper - probably at Goodwill or the Habitat REstore, use the microwave method or the stove top method.  The stove top is my favorite:

Pour a small amount of canola oil in the bottom of a heavy, 4qt pot (I use my soup/pasta pot).  Make sure you have a lid for it!  You just need about 1 tbsp of oil.  Heat the oil over medium heat (4 or 5 on my electric stove) and drop in 3 popcorn kernels.  When these pop, add in 1/4 cup of kernels and put the lid on.  As soon as the kernels start to pop, shake the pot.  Give a shake every 30 seconds or so while it's popping.  Keep one hand on the lid!  Soon you'll have so much popcorn that it will start pushing the lid off the pot! When the popping slows to once every 2-3 seconds, you can take it off the heat and let it set for a minute or two.

We like to add salt and, if we have it, some grated parmesan cheese to our popcorn.  This will easily make 4 servings.

For more information on why you should make popcorn at home, check out this post by the Parsimonious Princess.

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