Captain’s log 342. I’ve lost count of how many days we’ve been living this quarantine life. Every day brings something new but at the same time, nothing new. More restrictions, more rules, more fear, more munchies! I know I am not alone here. I’ve seen it all over the place; everyone is struggling with being home all the time and just wanting to eat, eat, eat. I had this problem before all of this started happening, but I would do my best to be out of the house and keeping busy to keep it from taking over. Now? Pft.
However, I’ve been doing my best to make good decisions. I try to choose protein snacks, low calorie where I can, low carb or just generally well rounded. But I am a sweets freak, for sure (if you haven’t noticed by the fact that at least 80% of the recipes here are sweet). So as much as I try to choose the right things, my body is constantly screaming for all of the candy and cookies. I’ve been eating a lot of flavored nuts, drinks make with protein shakes, dessert flavored yogurt, etc. But all of those things (aside from yogurt) get expensive really quickly, so I wanted to find a way to make it stretch. My first attempt was combining a bunch of different flavored nuts, some protein cereal and some granola. While delicious, it was a little hard on the tummy on it’s own. So I was trying to think of other, lighter, things to mix in. Cue suspiciously timed popcorn commercial.
¿As a side note, is anyone else confused by the fact that popcorn is considered a healthy whole grain, but fresh corn is considered nothing but extra starch and sugar? Same thing with English peas. Hmm.
Popcorn is cheap, fairly easy on the tummy (since, you know, it’s mostly air) and is a neutral flavor that can be made sweet or savory with ease! As a whole grain, popcorn is also considered bariatric friendly (in small amounts, of course). So I took my original idea of a snack mix and changed it up. I made mine with what I had on hand since going out just to get a few ingredients is a bit irresponsible at the moment, but you can use almost anything. I chose to make a chocolate peanut butter mix, but what about a salted caramel mix? Or a fruity mix? The options are fairly unlimited. And that’s not even talking about savory! Cheese popcorn, herbed popcorn, garlic butter popcorn? Yes please! I haven’t tried it yet, but I would imagine that you could probably use your favorite protein powder as a flavoring component. Fruity cereal protein powder with some popcorn and fruity protein puffs sounds amazing to me! With all that being said, I should probably just get on with the recipe…
Peanut Butter Cup Popcorn
1 bag low fat microwave popcorn, popped
2 oz Lily’s (or other low carb) chocolate chips
2 oz peanut butter of choice
1 Tbsp low carb cocoa mix
1 Tbsp powdered peanut butter or pb protein powder
1/2 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
1 cup cocoa dusted almonds
1 packet splenda
1/2 tsp salt
- Take warm microwaved popcorn, and spread it out on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper (for easy clean up) removing un-popped kernels as you find them. Try to make it as even of a layer as possible.
- Sprinkle in cocoa dusted almonds and 1/2 of the chocolate chips.
- Place peanut butter in one small microwaveable bowl and the other 1/2 of the chocolate chips in another. Microwave for 20-30 seconds. Stir to make sure everything is fully melted.
- Using a rubber spatula, scoop small amounts of melted chocolate out of the bowl and drizzle across popcorn. Once all of the melted chocolate is used, do the same with the popcorn.
- Shake the tray gently to move popcorn around and slightly spread out the chocolate and peanut butter.
- Mix together cocoa mix, powdered peanut butter, splenda and salt until fully blended. Using either your hand or a spoon, sprinkle the combo over the top of your popcorn, doing your best to distribute it evenly.
- Gently shake the tray one more time then set it aside. You can either leave it on the counter or put it in the fridge for 15-30 minutes to firm up. Once it’s firmed up, place into an airtight container to store.
It should be noted that the serving sizes for this aren’t huge, but if you are a bariatric patient it should be enough to satisfy your snack tooth for a bit. Non bariatric folks should keep in mind that this is meant to be a snack. If you think you’ll have a hard time controlling yourself while eating, try measuring out the servings into separate baggies. That way you can grab one and walk away with it to take advantage of out of site, out of mind.