Popcorn Puppy Chow

If you haven’t had Puppy Chow (also known as Muddy Buddies), it’s pretty important that you do. I’ve made countless of variations from the original recipe — my favourites being the classic version (peanut butter and chocolate) and a mint chocolate version, using cashew butter for the peanut butter and adding mint extract.

Popcorn Puppy Chow
I’ve added various cereals, chopped nuts, dried cranberries and raisins. I’ve given it as gifts (an excuse to snack on it, really), made it for every occasion (and non-occasion), and love it straight from the freezer.

Two things remain the same: it’s likely my favourite snack ever and I always add more chocolate and peanut butter than the classic recipe, not really measuring either after I hit the recommended amounts (another spoonful of peanut butter? Sure. More chocolate chips? Yes, please.)

Popcorn Puppy Chow 4

This version uses popcorn, which I freshly pop on the stovetop with olive oil and salt. I like the Chex (well, Wegmans brand fake Chex) better — it has more of a crunch, but this is a close second that’ll make it back into the snack rotation for sure.

Popcorn Puppy Chow 3

Popcorn Puppy Chow

8 cups popped popcorn (plain)
1 1/2 cups nondairy semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, such as Enjoy Life
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup nondairy buttery spread
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups icing sugar, sifted

Put the popcorn into a large bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.

Put the chocolate chips, peanut butter, nondairy buttery spread in a large microwavable bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute. Stir, and then microwave on 30 second intervals until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Let cool about 5 minutes, which will help the popcorn not get soggy.

Pour the mixture over the popcorn, carefully stirring until coated. Scrape the mixture into a large Ziploc bag (I do this in two batches).

Add icing sugar to the bag. Seal and shake until well coated. Spread on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Let stand at room temperature to firm, or speed up the process by putting the baking sheet into the freezer (recommended!)

This can be stored for awhile in the freezer in an airtight container.  


Popcorn and Everything Else Seasoning

This recipe doesn’t just work for popcorn: it’s a versatile topping for any dish. Salads, toast with olive oil, home fries, and pasta… the list goes on. Or, you know, you might just eat it with a spoon. And that’s okay, too.

Popcorn and Everything Else Seasoning

Popcorn and Everything Else Seasoning

6 large kale leaves, washed and dried, torn into pieces
1 small lemon
3/4 cup (180mL) walnut pieces
1/4 teaspoon (2mL) smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Fine sea or Himalayan salt to taste
3/4 teaspoon (4mL) dulse flakes

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Put the kale on a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Finely zest the lemon over the kale and sprinkle with the smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt. Put the walnut pieces on the pan, but not on top of the kale. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the kale is crisp but not burnt. Let cool completely—the kale should be crisp. If not, put the sheet back in the oven until it is, about 5 more minutes. Let cool completely.

Put all of the contents of the tray, as well as the dulse, in a food processor. Pulse the mixture finely ground. Serve on popcorn that has been tossed with roasted walnut oil, or anything and everything else.


Salted Maple Caramel Corn with Crunchy Lentils, Dried Cherries, and Cashews

Caramel corn is loaded with nostalgia for me; when I was young, it was a tradition to make it when we would sleep over at my grandma and grandpa’s house. I’m pretty sure that grandma didn’t load hers with lentils, but she’s definitely the first person I think to tell when I have a hankering for this salty sweet deliciousness. Sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy… This maple-kissed caramel corn has all your favorite tastes and textures rolled into one. Of course, if you have a hot-air popper (which I don’t have), you can nix the step for making the popcorn on the stovetop, and use the appliance, instead.

Along with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Pie, this was made for the Lentil Recipe Revelations Challenge.


Salted Caramel Corn with Crunchy Lentils, Dried Cherries, and Cashews

1/2 cup dried red lentils
Fine sea salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil, plus more for the pans
2/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 1/2 cups dried sweet cherries
1 heaping cup salted cashews, toasted
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup vegan buttery spread, such as Earth Balance
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Soak the red lentils in about 3 cups water for 4 hours. Drain, rinse well, and drain again. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the lentils in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake on the centre rack for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are crisp. Cool completely.

Once the lentils are cool, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Lightly oil two baking sheets.

Melt the coconut oil in a large pot or dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to medium-high heat. Add the popcorn kernels and cover. Let cook until the kernels begin to pop, then reduce to the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook, shaking the pan frequently, until the popping has slowed down. Remove from heat. When the popping has stopped, pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Add the crunchy lentils, dried cherries, and cashews.

Put the brown sugar, maple syrup, and vegan buttery spread in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring once. Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla extract, salt, and baking soda. Mix well, then working quickly, pour the mixture over the popcorn mixer. Mix well (a metal spoon is easiest here) to coat.

Spread the mixture on the two baking sheets in a single layer. Bake on the centre rack for 35 minutes, stirring once halfway. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.