Old-fashioned popcorn balls
Today we joined our 4 y.o. for his preschool’s annual Halloween pumpkin hunt. I dressed as a werewolf, a costume I’d bought at Target. And because I forgot to buy a bag of candy (I wait until the last minute so I don’t eat it all), I distributed adorable tattoos my friend Jilene makes instead.
Our 4 y.o. was a bit shell shocked that he could just walk up to people and they would give him candy.
But our 2 y.o. pushed his way through the crowd and didn’t stop to question his good fortune.
A man shot bananas out of his holster as his treat. One of my favorite snack recipes stars bananas.
- 1 banana
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
All mashed together. (Oh, just to disclose: I had made this as baby food but liked it more than she did. My appetite knows no limits.)
But we steered clear of him. I was feeling nostalgic; I recalled how heartbreaking it was when I was a kid and somebody dropped an apple in my bag. An apple? We got that daily. But Halloween was one of the only times we got treats. We scrambled to unwrap the best pieces before our mother cut us off.
Now, though, after we lugged our bag of candy home, I wished I had taken the banana. Because for our children, this offering of cheap, processed food won’t be just on Halloween. On average, they consume 350 more calories per day than we did as children in the 70s. We need to instill enough good food habits now to crowd out the bad ones they’ll learn later.
What positive changes have you made in your eating habits?
Today we’re making a healthier Halloween treat: popcorn balls, without corn syrup. Because on Halloween we want our children to feel nostalgic for this: dripping honey, the rich scent of molasses, the sounds of popcorn popping, and a family, sitting at a wood table, mashing it all together into balls. That’s what makes a treat special.
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 10 cups popcorn
First, we mixed the molasses, honey, sugar, vanilla extract and butter in a pot We brought it to a boil while gently stirring. Then, we left it boiling for 10 minutes while we popped the popcorn. (We make popcorn the old-fashioned way: using kernels in canola oil. Prevention Magazine named microwave popcorn one of the top seven foods you should never eat, due to the chemicals in the lining of the bag.)
When the sugar was done boiling, we removed it from the heat. (Drop a half teaspoon of the sugar in a bowl of cold water; if it forms a ball, it’s ready.) We dumped the popcorn in our mixing bowl, and poured the sugar over it.
When it had cooled, we shaped it into balls, which we set on parchment paper.
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