• Rayna Andrews

A Little More Than Netflix and Chill

The one thing I love more than a good movie is a really good movie with a side of hot delicious popcorn and an ice cold beverage. Growing-up, before microwaves were a regular fixture in kitchens, my mother used to heat corn kernels on the stove and it would make the best popcorn ever. Today, I do the same for my son. I used to pop popcorn in the microwave until I was reminded by the @zerowastechef, the benefits of eliminating the most minimal waste from our lifestyles and the link between microwave popcorn and cancer.

Microwaved popcorn’s possible link to cancer isn’t from the popcorn itself, but from chemicals called perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) that are in the bags. PFCs resist grease, making them ideal for preventing oil from seeping through popcorn bags. PFCS have also been found in: pizza boxes, sandwich wrappers, Teflon pans and other types of food packaging…that’s why I just don’t bother with any of it anymore. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, although the Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA) banned the use of PFCs in 2011, dozens of new packaging chemicals have been introduced. The chemical has been so widely used that about 98% of Americans already have this chemical in their blood.

I know I just shared a lot of heavy information and you were just coming to my page for my popcorn recipe, but I also realize that some of us just don’t know what we don’t know so I’m taking this time to enlighten others. For the last year, since writing my healthy eating children’s book “Alex McGreen and the Tale of the Mysterious Kale,” I’ve been on a journey to practice what I preach –food is medicine. As such, I try not to consume foods that come in bags or boxes, have ingredients I can’t pronounce, come pre-seasoned or have an unnaturally long shelf life. You may be thinking, “What does she eat?” Simple, I eat whole foods – foods that come directly from nature with very little processing.

Like learning to walk, take baby steps towards making healthier choices. There are a number of bloggers, Instagrammers and online self-proclaimed celebrities who are on this healthy food movement train. You may find you like how unprocessed food tastes…it was created for our enjoyment.

I know this probably isn't the Netflix and Chill you were thinking of, but I hope I got your attention to try something a little different. If you try it, let me know what you think.

Stove-top Popcorn in Under 10-Minutes

My personal favorite snack is good savory popcorn —and also one of the simplest. I refined my method of popcorn-ology by following Kathryne Taylor of Cookie & Kate. To start, you’ll need the following: 2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil, ½ cup popcorn kernels, salt to taste. Makes 4 servings.

1. Use a good, heavy-bottomed pot. Cheap pots don’t distribute heat evenly, and you can end up with hot spots that burn the popcorn.

2. Don’t crank the heat up too high. It’s too easy to burn oil at temperature higher than medium heat, and if you catch even a whiff of smoke coming from the pot, your popcorn is going to taste burnt.

3. Start with two popcorn kernels to gauge the temperature. Once those pop, your oil is hot enough. Add the remaining kernels and remove the pot from the heat for 1 minute.

This primes the popcorn to pop without burning the oil.

4. Tip the lid ever-so-slightly while the popcorn is popping. That way, the popcorn doesn’t steam itself in the pot and lose crispness. (See photo above.)

5. If the popcorn starts overflowing the pot: Simply remove the lid and tip the excess popcorn into a bowl. Return the lid and return the popcorn to the heat until popping slows.

6. Season with salt carefully. You can always add more, but you can’t take away too much. I also enjoy mixing it up with a black pepper and (good) olive oil blend or a cinnamon maple butter mix. Talk about savory! Recipes for these two are coming soon!

Tips: I use unrefined virgin coconut oil because it tastes most like movie theater popcorn and is more redeeming than the highly refined version used at theaters.

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