By M. Clare Haefner
Killeen Daily Herald
I've loved popcorn as long as I can remember.
As a child, my siblings and I used to wait for the popper to get hot so we could pop around the kitchen pretending to be corn kernels as each one opened. We'd jump faster and faster until we'd fall down as the last kernels popped.
I also remember pretending to be popcorn on the trampoline at gymnastics, taking turns popping up and down with my friends as we'd sing a song.
While I don't pop around the kitchen much any more and I haven't been on a trampoline in years, I still believe popcorn is the perfect snack.
It's easy to make in the microwave and can be mixed with all kinds of things including spices, fruits, nuts, pretzels and even candy pieces.
Popcorn mixtures can be savory or sweet, providing many combinations to satisfy any craving you may have.
When I'm hungry between mealtimes, I'll often pop a bag and have a quick snack, since eating a cup keeps my hunger at bay for a couple of hours.
When I need a quick snack at work, I usually stick with the straight-from-the-bag lightly salted butter flavor.
But when I'm home, I'll often reach into the pantry and sprinkle on a few spices to match my mood.
When I want something sweet, I'll often sprinkle a little cinnamon and Splenda over the popcorn.
When I'm in the mood for something savory, my favorite combo is Parmesan-basil popcorn. It ties together my love of popcorn and Italian food, and it's really simple to make.
The beauty of popcorn is that it goes with almost anything.
Next time you're hungry, pop a bag and mix in your favorite things and enjoy this tasty, simple snack.
4 cups popped popcorn
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2-3 teaspoons chopped fresh basil (dried works too)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 ground black pepper
Pop popcorn and place in large bowl.
Melt butter in microwave (about 20 to 30 seconds).
To melted butter, add basil and Parmesan cheese and stir.
Pour mixture over popcorn and toss to coat.
Sprinkle salt, garlic powder and pepper over popcorn and toss again, then serve.
Makes four 1-cup servings and can be easily doubled or stored in an airtight container for two or three days.
City Editor Clare Haefner enjoys cooking for family and friends. She can be reached at email@example.com or (254) 501-7551.