When Alli, from Don't Panic Mom, approached me with the brilliant idea of teaming up with other healthy food bloggers to create a campaign called LOVE HEALTHY, I jumped at the chance to be involved! Together our mission is to promote healthier alternatives to celebrating Valentine's Day, whether at home or at school.
For me, Valentine's Day is more about showing the LOVE you have for someone special, rather than pumping the sweet artificial stuff. While a sweet treat is perfectly ok now and then, most people (especially our kids) are already over-consuming sugars and artificial ingredients on a daily basis. We certainly don't need a special holiday for it. So, why not get a little creative and make the treats a bit healthier, tastier AND more fun this year?!
Kids love popcorn and making it from scratch at home can be a really fun family event! I've really gotten into using my popcorn kettle at home, especially since there has been safety concerns related to chemicals in microwaveable popcorn bags. So, I've switched to making homemade popcorn (for the most part). This Whirley Pop popcorn maker is just the best! It's cheap, easy to use and makes fresh popcorn in about 3 minutes flat (and that's about the equivalent of my attention span)!
The magic really happens when you add the strawberry dust! I pulverized freeze-dried strawberries (you can find them in most grocery stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods) in my food processor and used a sifter to dust it over the popcorn to give it that special Valentine's touch, without the use of anything artificial! So pretty!
Kids can decorate pint-sized cardboard cartons (I picked these up at Michael's) with stamps, crayons, stickers or markers and make little treat bags for their friends or use as Valentine's Day school party favors.
If you don't want to make the popcorn you can buy plain bagged popcorn (SkinnyPop is a great brand with no artificial ingredients) and add the strawberry dust at home. The flavor combinations are endless. I added in some cacao nibs and coconut to one batch and created a whole different level of yummy goodness! You could combine the popcorn with...
dark chocolate chips,
cranberries or raisins,
nuts and seeds,
whole grain cereal (to make a something like a trail mix).
My daughter thought it was the coolest thing! I think your kids will LOVE it too!
For more ideas at home or at school, follow me and other LOVE HEALTHY bloggers:
Stacy from School Bites, Jill from Just the Right Byte, Kia from Today I Ate A Rainbow, Sally from Real Mom Nutrition, Natalie & Amy from Super Healthy Kids, Bri From Red, Round, Green, and Bettina from The Lunch Tray.
as we will be posting for the next two weeks leading up to Valentine's Day!
Homemade Popcorn with Strawberry Dust
- ½ cup organic popcorn kernels
- 3 tbsp coconut or canola oil
- 1.2 oz bag of freeze dried strawberries
- 2 tsp. confectioners sugar
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Add strawberries, sugar and salt to food processor and pulse until most of strawberries are pulverized into a powder and ingredients are combined.
- Add oil and kernels to a large pot (6 quarts or more) and cover with tight fitting lid (or use 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.
- Transfer popcorn to bowl.
- Spoon strawberry powder into a sifter and sprinkle on top of popcorn.