Friday, October 19, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Kettle Corn

Who doesn't love kettle corn?  Crazy people.  There's nothing not to love about something that's crunchy, salty, and sweet- the triple threat of yumminess.

Nick and I regularly snack on popcorn.  We used the air popper until we woke Sam up one night with it- no snack is worth waking a sleeping baby.   Unless we want to pop corn in the basement, we needed an alternative- enter the stove top!

Making kettle corn at home is surprisingly easy, if a bit messy.  You also need to be vigilant- this is not something you can set and forget unless you want to burn down your house (or ruin a pan).  

Before I send you on your merry way, let's discuss one more thing. Oftentimes in cooking, more is more.  What recipe doesn't benefit from a bit more butter or another slice of bacon?  This recipe is not one of those.  I'll leave you with this warning: if you augment the spices in this recipe, you risk having potpourri to eat rather than kettle corn.  Spice at your own risk!

Pumpkin Pie Kettle Corn

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 ground cinnamon
1/4 cup + 1 tsp granulated white sugar
 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup (6 oz.) popcorn kernels

In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin pie spice, ground cinnamon, 1 tsp sugar, and sea salt.  Stir to combine and set aside.

In a large pot that has a tight fitting lid (I use a large stock pot that I also use for cooking pasta) add the olive oil, 1/4 cup sugar, and popcorn kernels.  Using a wooden spoon, stir to make sure all kernels are coated with oil and sugar.

Place lid on pan and put the pan over medium heat.  Stand close by so you can hear the sizzling begin and the popcorn begin to pop.  As the popcorn pops, frequently raise the pan an inch or two off the heat and shake from side to side, about every 2 minutes or so.  This ensure that the popcorn doesn't stick to the bottom and burn.  Continue to do this until the popping slows to about 1 pop per 5 seconds.  In total, the popping time is less than 5 minutes.

Once the popcorn is popped, remove the pan from the heat.   Immediately pour the popcorn into a large serving bowl and add the sugar/spice/salt mixture.  To ensure even distribution, I sprinkle half of the sugar/spice/salt mixture over the popcorn, stir to coat, and then sprinkle the rest and stir to coat. 

Makes roughly 11 cups of popcorn
Serving = 2 cups
Total servings ~5
Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving= 5

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Since joining Weight Watchers, I've been looking for satisfying snacks that don't cost me a lot of points.  I pair this hummus with a cup of sugar snap peas for some mid-afternoon crunch.  This cheerful dip celebrates the colors of the season- it's vibrant orange-red color brightens up any plate.

This is hardly a recipe.  If anything, it's just a list of ingredients that are easily adaptable to create any kind of glorious chickpea dip that your heart desires! 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste), optional but recommended
2 tbsp olive oil
10 oz. canned or fresh chickpeas *If using canned make sure to drain and rinse.
5 oz. roasted red peppers, packed in water
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional, but still recommended
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 tsp sea salt

Add all ingredients to a food processor.  Blend until smooth.  If the mixture becomes too thick, add tablespoons of water, one at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.

Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Servings: 12
WW Points Plus: 2 per serving

Dig in!