In its infinite wisdom, my daughter’s school scheduled the Daddy Daughter Dance on Valentine’s Day. So Paul and I won’t be going out on Thursday, but may take in a dinner and a movie at The National in Athens, Georgia if the movie at The Ciné is something I actually want to see. (All the movies I do want to see are done after the 14th, darn it!)
However for many of us, going out to eat for Valentine’s Day is a total pain. First of all, this year it’s on a Thursday and who can stay out late when you have to get kids ready for school and head out to work early in the morning? Second, depending on where you like to eat, you may have to make reservations weeks in advance. Third, between babysitters, drinks and a nice meal, and a Valentine's Day present for your sweetie, it’s expensive!
Why not stay home and fix a nice Valentine's Day meal instead? Afterwards, put the kids to bed – early if possible. Then start a romantic movie on Netflix, open a bottle of sparkling wine, and have a delicious but healthy snack that won’t spoil your diet too badly, like Peanut Butter Caramel Corn from Cooking Light's The New Way to Cook Light: Fresh Food & Bold Flavors for Today's Home Cook. Leftovers will make a nice after school snack the next day, too!
I bet this would be good with almond butter, as well. If you have nut allergies or sensitivities, try sunflower seed butter (Trader Joe's brand is awesome!) instead of peanut butter and pine nuts (which are seeds) for the sliced almonds. You could also substitute your favorite vegan buttery spread instead of using butter, too.
Healthy Peanut Butter Caramel Popcorn
- Cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
- Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray.
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add popcorn; cover and cook 4 minutes, shaking pan frequently. When popping slows, remove pan from heat. Let stand until popping stops. Uncover; add almonds.
- Combine sugar, syrup, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Add peanut butter and vanilla, and stir until smooth. Drizzle over popcorn; toss well.
- Spread mixture into prepared pan.
- Bake at 250 degrees F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely.
- Serving size: About 3/4 cup
- Calories: 155
- Total Fat: 7.4 g
- Saturated fat: 1.8 g
- Unsaturated fat: mono 3.5 g, poly 1.6 g
- Sodium: 108 mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 21.3 g
- Fiber: 1.4 g
- Protein: 2.6 g
- Cholesterol: 4 mg
Recipe and photo used with permission of Cooking Light.
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