Time for a Snack! – Chocolate Popcorn Trail Mix

I love popcorn! The fluffy and crunchy kernels make an easy snack to curb the mid afternoon munchies.  A big bowl of warm popcorn is the perfect thing to curl up with while watching a movie (sorry Honey).  Popcorn a fantastic blank canvas to turn savory or sweet and can calm many a craving.

Before we started losing weight I would frequently suggest a movie date in order to make a large bag of theater popcorn my dinner entre. I still love theater popcorn just in much smaller portions.  I also love fresh kettle corn when we find it at fares or farmers markets.  The crunchy sweet and salty little morsels that are slightly smokey from the open flame cooking method make me super happy.  Most often we make popcorn at home with our air popper.

I love to experiment with ways to season popcorn and frequently pull items from my spice cupboard adding a dash of this and that to see what works.  Popcorn’s mild flavor allows many flavors to shine but not all, sorry bacon salt.

Some of my go to flavors include:
A couple of teaspoons of roasted garlic or regular olive oil and salt
A couple teaspoons of melted Smart Balance or Butter
Pam Spray – Butter or Olive Oil
Pretty much any seasoning blend tossed together
Kernel Seasons Popcorn Seasonings (so far I like white cheddar)
Nutritional Yeast
Vogue Instant VegeBase

Inspiration struck a couple weeks ago when I was eating lunch and had the t.v. on.  I caught the end of The Chew and a segment on food myths.  Co-host Daphne Oz suggested swapping traditional trail mix for one made with popcorn.  Then she suggested sprinkling in a few chocolate chips to keep that salty sweet mix that is so tempting in trail mix.  Oh it was like a gift from the heavens!

I immediately thought of the granola I made the week before and thought that if I toasted the nuts and popped the corn at the same time I could quickly toss in some mini chocolate chips while everything was still warm and get a nice even coating of chocolate on all the ingredients.  So I did and Chocolate Popcorn Trail Mix was born!

Chocolate Popcorn Trail Mix
Whip up a crunchy, salty, sweet, gourmet snack in just a few minutes.  Simple enough for any day but just the right amount of pizzaz to take to a party or package up as a gift.

Ingredients

1/2 c unpopped air popped popcorn
(use whatever combo of nuts and dried fruit sounds good to you but it will change the nutrition information provided below)
15 whole almonds
10 pecan halves
1 TB raw sunflower seeds
3/4 c. dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, blueberries, raisins, chopped apricots, etc.)
1/4 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
salt – to taste


 

Directions

Pre-measure all the ingredients before starting.

Air pop 1/2 cup of popcorn into a large bowl. While corn is popping toast the pecans and almonds so they will be warm when the corn is all popped.

Once the corn is popped toss the chocolate chips and toasted nuts into the popcorn. It helps to use two wooden spoons or spatulas. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top and toss in the dried fruit. Continue tossing until most of the corn has some chocolate on it.

If needed – pour the ingredients into a baking pan and warm briefly in a medium oven to melt the chocolate.

Allow the trail mix to cool completely before serving, otherwise it is very messy!


Serving Size: makes about 6 2c. servings
Approximate Nutrition: Calories 204; Fat 6g; Carbs 32g; Fiber 3.5g; Protein 2.2g




*You know who else likes popcorn?  The Popcorn Board and they have a fun website with recipes, activities for kidlets, nutrition information, and more.  Check it out!  www.popcorn.org






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