(Family Features) Whether you’re gearing up for awards season or spending an evening catching up on your favorite TV drama, there are plenty of small screen events that provide the perfect backdrop for a watch party. Gather your friends and family and get ready to tune in to a fun-filled evening with these helpful tips.
Use themed decor to set the stage. If you’re watching an awards show, go big on blingy accents and metallic tones that mimic the glimmering trophies. Golden-hued serving bowls and plastic cutlery help carry the theme into your kitchen. For an extra special touch to help capture memories of the celebration, create a red-carpet photo booth and snap photos of your VIP guests as they arrive.
Provide ample comfy seating. You don’t have to have an elaborate theater-style media room to create a comfortable viewing experience. Just be sure you have a spot for everyone, even if you rely on pillows on the floor.
Plan a menu that reflects the occasion. Since no party is complete without a delicious food spread, create finger foods that fit the theme of your viewing party. An iconic option like microwave popcorn is sure to be a crowd-pleaser because of its delicious flavor and versatility. Whether you create an enticing popcorn station with fun mix-ins or prepare mouthwatering snacks like festive Mini Popcorn Balls with Chocolate Fondue, microwave popcorn is always a party pleaser. Use a high-quality gourmet popcorn, such as Orville Redenbacher’s, which is the only leading brand that uses real butter. From buttery to sweet and savory, all varieties feature non-GMO, 100 percent whole-grain kernels that pop up lighter and fluffier than ordinary popcorn.
Mini Popcorn Balls with Chocolate ‘Fondue’
Prep time: 25 minutes
- 1 bag Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop! 94 Percent Fat-Free Butter Microwave Popcorn
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1/4 cup stick butter or margarine (1/4 cup = 1/2 stick)
- 1 package (10 ounces) marshmallows
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups light chocolate syrup
- colored candy sprinkles (optional)
- Prepare popcorn according to package directions. Remove all un-popped kernels. Spray large bowl with nonstick spray; add popped corn.
- In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add marshmallows and vanilla. Heat 5 minutes, or until marshmallows melt, stirring frequently. Pour over popcorn; mix well with spoon sprayed with cooking spray. Moisten hands with water before shaping popcorn mixture into 24 small balls, about 1/3-cup popcorn mixture each.
- In small saucepan, heat chocolate syrup over medium heat 5 minutes, or until warm, stirring occasionally. Transfer to small, fondue-style pot.
- Use wooden skewers or fondue forks to pick up popcorn balls and dip into chocolate and sprinkles, if desired.
Source: Orville Redenbacher's
(Family Features) While every day is cause to celebrate the light, fluffy and buttery goodness of popcorn, the chillier winter season is perfect for popcorn lovers looking for delicious ways to switch up their snacking routines. Break out of your popcorn rut and put some of these tasty popcorn recipes to the test as you try to beat the bluster of winter. Don’t forget to share all that goodness and invite your friends and family to pop on over to celebrate your favorite snack together.
To feel good about the party snacks you serve, check out Orville Redenbacher’s gourmet popping corn, which features high-quality ingredients like real butter and non-GMO, 100 percent whole-grain kernels that pop up lighter and fluffier than ordinary popcorn.
For the best results, follow these popcorn preparation tips:
- Ensure your product is fresh by checking the "Best By" date on your carton or bag of microwave popcorn.
- Use a clean microwave oven every time.
- Because microwave ovens vary, always cook your popcorn to "sound" and listen to the pop to know when to stop.
- To maximize taste, shake the contents of your bag before pouring it into a bowl. This will help coat the popcorn with flavor. And to maximize crispness, be sure to open or vent the bag immediately after cooking.
- Store popcorn in a cool place, such as a cupboard, out of direct sunlight. Always keep popcorn bags sealed in the original plastic wrapper until you're ready to begin cooking.
1. Cookies and Cream Popcorn Balls – Everyone’s favorite sandwich cookie blends chocolaty crunch with marshmallows and gourmet popcorn for an unbeatable ball of yum.
2. Gigantic Turtle Candies – There’s just one way to make traditional turtle candies better: add the decadent flavor of gourmet caramel popcorn.
3. Salted Caramel Popcorn Bars – Gourmet popcorn and pretzel pieces coated with yummy caramel peanut-butter glaze makes for the perfect sweet and salty combination that will have your mouth watering.
4. Movie Theater Popcorn Candy Bowl – Popcorn may be a movie staple, but when you mix in your favorite theater candies you’ll have a fun blend worthy of critical acclaim.
5. Marshmallow Popcorn Bars with Chocolate Candies – A unique twist on the classic crispy rice treat, these bars offer the perfect light crunch that both kids and adults are sure to enjoy.
6. Popcorn Party Mix – Add a satisfying crunch to your party platter with a zesty blend of peanuts, pretzels and snack mix, along with the delicious taste of the real butter used in Orville Redenbacher’s gourmet popcorn.
7. Crispy Peanut Butter Chocolate Popcorn Squares – This crispy confection made with popcorn, peanut butter and chocolate is sure to become a crowd favorite, so be ready with a back-up batch when the first serving runs out.
Source: Orville Redenbacher's
(Family Features) No matter the occasion, every celebration is better with snacks. Whether you’re hosting game day with the guys, catching up with girlfriends, gathering for family movie night or inviting your kids’ friends over for a grade school sleepover, you can’t go wrong with popcorn treats.
Popcorn is the perfect partner for a broad span of flavors, especially when they’re sweet or salty – or both. You can make each mouthwatering bite pop even more by adding texture with crunchy nuts or silky melted chocolate.
Even if you simply serve plain popcorn to your guests, you can feel good about serving healthy, whole grain, freshly popped popcorn, which is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free.
Find more ways to pop up more fun for your next party at popcorn.org.
Caramel-Nut Popcorn Crunch
Yield: 20 pieces
- 10 cups freshly popped popcorn
- 2 cups whole almonds
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Heat oven to 225° F. Spray 15-by-10-inch baking sheet with nonstick spray.
- In large bowl, mix popcorn and almonds.
- In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Over low heat, stir mixture until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, almond extract and baking soda.
- Pour over popcorn and almonds, immediately stirring gently to coat. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet, spreading evenly.
- Bake 1 hour. Cool completely. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.
Maple Bacon Popcorn Mix
Yield: 2 quarts
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, divided
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 2/3 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon maple extract
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- Line jelly roll pan with foil. Place wire rack in pan. Arrange bacon in single layer on rack. Bake 15 minutes, or until ends of bacon start to curl. Remove and reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings. Brush bacon with 2 tablespoons maple syrup; bake 15 minutes until browned. Cool then coarsely chop bacon.
- In large bowl, combine popcorn, pecans and cranberries.
- Combine butter, black pepper, maple extract, remaining maple syrup and reserved bacon drippings. Cook over low heat until butter is melted. Drizzle over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Spread popcorn mixture in jelly roll or roasting pan. Bake 5 minutes. Toss in bacon pieces. Serve warm.
Yield: 2 quarts
- 2 quarts popped popcorn
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside.
- In microwave safe bowl, combine butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips. Microwave 2 minutes; stir until smooth.
- Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn and stir until well coated. Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar over popcorn and stir until coated.
- Cool to room temperature before serving. Store in airtight container, refrigerated, up to 24 hours.
English Toffee Popcorn Bars
Yield: 20 bars
- 2 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
- 1 cup peanuts
- 1 cup flaked coconut, toasted
- 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 4 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) chocolate pieces
- 1 tablespoon shortening
- Heat oven to 200° F.
- In large bowl, combine popcorn, peanuts and toasted coconut. Cover bottom of buttered 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-by-1-inch jelly roll pan with half of the popcorn mixture. Keep filled pan and remaining popcorn mixture warm in oven.
- To make toffee: In heavy 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add sugar and blend well.
Continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches full boil. Add water and corn syrup; mix well.
- Wash down sides of pan with pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar granules.
- Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches soft-crack stage on candy thermometer (280° F). Immediately pour mixture over warm popcorn in jelly-roll pan, making certain all popcorn is covered. Quickly spread and press remaining popcorn mixture into hot toffee. Set aside to cool.
For topping, melt chocolate and shortening over low heat. Spread over popcorn mixture, making certain any loose pieces are held in place.
- Cool. Cut into bars. If bars will not be served immediately, wrap in plastic wrap for storage.
Source: The Popcorn Board
Simply add watermelon to see resolution results
(Family Features) The start of a new year is the perfect time for new beginnings, including a fresh start on eating healthy. The trick to making this year’s resolution stick is introducing smart eating habits so tasty and easy that your eating plan becomes more a way of life than a short-lived commitment. One easy way to achieve that habit is by adding watermelon to your daily diet, giving your body a low-calorie option to curb an appetite for unhealthy snacks.
Set reasonable goals. A deprivation diet is destined to fail because eventually your body will rebel. Instead, aim for well-rounded meals with moderate portions. If weight loss is your ultimate goal, know that losing two pounds a week is generally considered the maximum.
Satisfy your sweet tooth. Everyone, even the most dedicated health food fans, experience cravings from time to time. Most experts agree that it’s OK to answer your sweet tooth – in moderation of course. Before you take the plunge, think ab
out whether there are other options that could be a good substitute. For example, instead of a sugary candy bar, consider a naturally sweet slice of watermelon for a cholesterol-free, fat-free way to satisfy cravings at only 80 calories per 2-cup serving. Watermelon contains fiber and water, and packs a wealth of health benefits, in
cluding strong levels of vitamins A, C and B6.
Stay well hydrated. During the cooler winter months, it’s easy to let water consumption slide because you’re not feeling the heat and thirst you do in warmer weather. However, the dry winter air can also be hard on your body, so it’s important to keep that water flowing year-around. Most adults should aim for eight glasses of water each day, but you can also boost your water intake with foods that have a high water content, such as watermelon, which is 92 percent water and contains protein and fiber so you are satisfied on fewer calories while boosting your overall hydration.
Make Water Mouthwatering
A simple infusion of flavor gives water an instant upgrade, whether you’re looking to add some variety to your daily water consumption or you’re hosting an event and want to offer guests a unique and nutritious beverage. Use your favorite herbs and fruits to create one-of-a-kind combinations that provide refreshing rehydration. Try these pairings:
- Watermelon with basil, mint or lime
- Strawberry with lime and basil
- Cucumber and rosemary
- Mixed berries and mint
- Pineapple with coconut
Find more inspiration for health-conscious habits in the new year at watermelon.org.
Island Fruit Salad
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1/2 lime (1 tablespoon), juiced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract
- 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
- 1 orange, sectioned and halved
- 2 cups seedless watermelon, chopped
- 2 teaspoons flaked, sweetened coconut
- In small bowl, combine water and coconut sugar; microwave 20 seconds. Stir to completely dissolve sugar. Let cool. Once cool, add lime juice and rum extract.
- In medium bowl, add kiwi, orange and watermelon. Pour rum juice over top and thoroughly toss. Let sit 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
- Divide fruit salad into two bowls and sprinkle with coconut.
Watermelon Protein Bites
Recipe courtesy of Anya Shinall of Anya’s Eats
- 1 cup pitted dates, soaked
- purified water
- 1 1/2 cups sprouted watermelon seeds, divided, plus additional for garnish
- 1 tablespoon coconut butter
- 1 cup fresh watermelon, chopped
- 1/8-1/4 cup roughly chopped beets (optional)
- Chop dates in half.
- Place dates in bowl of purified water and soak 1-2 hours.
- Remove dates from water bowl and place them into food processor.
- Pulse a few times then add 1 cup watermelon seeds, coconut butter and watermelon.
- Add chopped beets, if using.
- Blend until well combined, scraping sides of food processor as you go.
- Add remaining watermelon seeds and pulse, leaving some seeds chunky.
- For smoother texture, continue to blend.
- Remove mixture from food processor, place in small bowl and cover, allowing to cool in refrigerator 30 minutes.
- Remove mixture from fridge. With fingertips slightly wet, roll mixture into balls and place on a plate.
- Once done rolling, add watermelon seeds to top.
- Place watermelon bites in freezer 1-2 hours, or until frozen.
Steel-Cut Oats with Watermelon
- 1 cup 1 percent milk, plus additional (optional)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
- 3/4 cup diced seedless watermelon
- 2 tablespoons dried tart cherries or cranberries
- 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- In medium saucepan over high heat, bring 1 cup milk and water to gentle boil. Pour in oats. Stir; return to gentle boil then reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally, 20-30 minutes.
- While oats are cooking, in small bowl, combine watermelon, dried fruit, nuts and maple syrup.
- Portion out oats and top with watermelon mixture. Add additional milk, if desired.
(Family Features) Next time you reach for a snack, go for a great-tasting option that delivers on both flavor and nutrition. Sensible snacks can be surprisingly delicious when you choose ingredients wisely.
One pop-ular choice: popcorn. Ideal for between-meal snacking since it satisfies but doesn’t spoil the appetite, popcorn is also the perfect addition to treats such as snack bars and trail mix. The key to smart snacking is finding good-for-you ingredients that make your body healthy and your taste buds happy.
With no artificial additives or preservatives, popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories. The whole grain provides energy-producing complex carbohydrates and contains fiber, providing roughage the body needs in the daily diet.
Find more healthy snack solutions at popcorn.org.
There’s nothing like the taste of freshly popped popcorn and nothing like the disappointment of burnt popcorn. Follow these simple steps and you’ll have perfect popcorn every time.
- Whether on the stove or in the microwave, popcorn will begin popping in a few minutes.
- When the popping begins to slow, listen until you can count two seconds between pops. Remove the pan from heat or bag from microwave.
- Remember to lift the lid or open the bag away from your face to prevent steam burns.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Corn
Yield: 10 cups
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup crunchy granola
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup walnut halves
- In bowl, toss popcorn with melted butter.
- Combine sugar with cinnamon; sprinkle over popcorn. Toss with granola, raisins and walnuts until combined.
Crispy Crunchy Apple Popcorn
Yield: 7 cups
- 6 cups popped popcorn
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups dried apple chips
- Heat oven to 300° F.
- Line 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil; butter foil. Spread popcorn in pan and drizzle with melted butter; toss popcorn. Sprinkle popcorn with sugar and cinnamon, and toss again.
- Bake 7 minutes.
- Sprinkle apple chips over popcorn and heat an additional 3 minutes.
- Serve warm, or cool to room temperature. Store in airtight container.
Crunchy Popcorn Trail Mix
Yield: 9 cups
- 5 cups popped popcorn
- 3 cups whole-grain oat cereal
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup peanuts (or other nuts)
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- In large, microwavable bowl, stir together popcorn, cereal, raisins, nuts and seeds; set aside.
- In small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Heat until boiling; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour over popcorn mixture, stirring to coat evenly. Microwave 3-4 minutes, stirring and scraping bowl after each minute.
- Spread onto greased cookie sheet; cool.
- Break into pieces and store in airtight container.
Popcorn Granola Snack Bars
Yield: 16 bars
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2/3 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup granola cereal
- 1 cup roasted and salted peanuts
- 3 cups popped popcorn
- Line 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with foil. Spray foil lightly with cooking spray; set aside.
- In large saucepan, heat honey until boiling. Stir in peanut butter until well blended.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in granola, peanuts and popcorn until coated. Press mixture evenly into prepared pan.
- Refrigerate until cool; cut into bars to serve.
Yummy Yogurt Popcorn
Yield: 2 1/2 quarts
- 2 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- In large bowl, keep popped popcorn warm.
- In 2 1/2-quart saucepan, combine yogurt, brown sugar and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat to hard ball stage (250° F on candy thermometer).
- Pour over popped popcorn, stirring to coat.
Source: The Popcorn Board
(Family Features) What do you reach for around 3 in the afternoon? Something salty? Something crunchy? Something creamy, smooth and sweet? These days, more and more snackers are looking for something wholesome and satisfying to get them through the afternoon.
Here’s one snacking choice you may not have thought of: pudding. When pudding is made right — just the way your grandma used to — it’s made with real ingredients like milk and eggs, cooked slowly until it’s creamy and delicious. While cooking up your own pudding is a fun and satisfying weekend or evening project, when you need a quick afternoon snack, that’s probably not in the cards.
Fortunately, there are still some companies making pudding just the way you would at home, slowly simmered to perfection. This is great news for people who want a smooth and creamy snack they can feel good about. There’s a good reason why simple, comforting pudding was a favorite childhood snack — and is still a wholesome snack choice today.
Simple Ideas for a Delicious Snack
Pudding is perfect straight out of the refrigerator, of course, and all you need to enjoy it is a spoon. But you can make it your own with other ingredients that you probably have right in your kitchen. Take a look at your spice rack: You’ve probably got cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. In your pantry, you’ve got crunchy cookies, pretzels and nuts. Fresh and frozen fruit are always good to have on hand. Even canned and shelf-stable packs of tropical fruits can top your pudding. Before you know it, you’ll be seeing surprising pudding pairings everywhere you look.
With a little creativity, you could have a unique pudding snack every day of the week. We’ve got a few ideas to get you started.
Find out more about Kozy Shack® Pudding at www.kozyshack.com.
Banana Split Pudding Snack — Cut a banana in half the long way. Stand one half in a small cup. Spoon chocolate pudding into the cup and top with a maraschino cherry.
Minty Chocolate Pudding — Cut mint and chocolate layered candies into smaller pieces. Spoon Kozy Shack Chocolate Pudding into a small bowl. Top with mint pieces.
Chocolate Drizzled Strawberries and Tapioca Pudding — Drizzle strawberries with melted dark chocolate and allow to set. Layer chopped strawberries and Kozy Shack Tapioca Pudding in a small dish. Top with a chocolate-drizzled strawberry.
Bananas & Cinnamon Rice Pudding — Spoon rice pudding into a small dish. Top with sliced bananas and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Peaches & Blueberries Rice Pudding — Layer diced fresh peaches, Kozy Shack Rice Pudding and blueberries in a small dish. Top with any remaining fruit.
Candied Almond Slivers and Tapioca Pudding — Spoon tapioca pudding into a dish. Top with candied almond slivers.
Chocolate Pudding — Spoon Kozy Shack Chocolate Pudding into a colorful cup. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a cookie.
Mango & Coconut Tapioca Pudding — Cut a fresh mango into small pieces. Spoon Kozy Shack Tapioca Pudding into a small dish. Top with mango and sprinkle with toasted coconut.
Blackberry Rice Pudding — Dice a handful of fresh blackberries. Layer blackberries and Kozy Shack Rice Pudding in small dish. Top with any remaining fruit and a mint leaf.
Fresh Raspberries and Chocolate Pudding — Layer fresh raspberries, whipped cream and Kozy Shack Chocolate Pudding in a small dish. Top with extra raspberries and a dollop of whipped cream.
Lemon Tapioca Pudding — Crush a couple of lemon shortbread cookies. Spoon into the bottom of a small dish. Top with Kozy Shack Tapioca pudding, a sprinkle of lemon zest and assorted fresh berries.
SOURCE: Kozy Shack
- 2 Mission Small / Fajita Flour Tortillas
- 4 tablespoons Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
- 2 tablespoons Smucker's Strawberry Jam, Jelly, or Preserves
- 2 bananas, peeled
- Place tortillas on a paper towel and microwave for 10 seconds.
- Spread 2 tablespoons peanut butter on each tortilla. Add 1 tablespoon jelly to each tortilla.
- Place the banana near the edge of the tortilla and fold up the ends of the tortilla. Roll-up and enjoy!
SOURCE: Mission Foods