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How to Make Perfect Popcorn On The Stove

Seriously, who doesn’t know how to make popcorn on the stove?

Well, as it turns out – a lot of people, including my poor sister. She often buys these bags of awful, artificially flavoured microwaveable popcorn.

Microwave popcorn is evil

There was a case in 2007 where a heavy consumer of microwaved popcorn was diagnosed with “popcorn lung” (an irreversible lung disease) after inhaling fumes from microwaved popcorn over time. He sued the popcorn company for failing to warn that “preparing microwave popcorn in a microwave oven as intended and smelling the buttery aroma could expose the consumer to an inhalation hazard and a risk of lung injury.”

He won the case in 2012 and was awarded millions of dollars in damages.

Scary huh!

The chemical that causes this lung injury is called diacetyl. It’s what gives microwaveable popcorn that intense buttery flavour. And while some popcorn brands have replaced diacetyl with another type of ‘flavouring’, the chemical is still considered safe by the United States’ FDA and, in Australia, no regulation has been established.

If you’re still buying microwaveable popcorn, maybe it’s time you try to make it yourself. It’s so easy and it costs just pennies to make.

After I showed my sister how to cook popcorn on the stove, she’s been making popcorn for my parents and herself almost every week; and the best thing is, she has now stopped buying microwaveable popcorn!

How to make perfect popcorn on the stove everytime

Fresh home-made popcorn is delicious and it is such an easy, quick, healthy and tasty snack that everyone can make.

If you can, get good quality organic popcorn (I got mine from The Source Bulkfoods. It really does make a difference. I find the organic popcorn more flavourful and ‘popped’ more evenly so you get very little un-popped kernel, if any. After been making popcorn for years I finally realised that a lot of my failures are the result of bad quality popping corns.

Here’s a recipe which you can follow. I generally don’t measure the ingredients. I just use enough oil to coat the base of the pan and then add just enough popcorn kernels to cover the base (depending on the size of the pan). The secret is to only have a single layer of kernels covering the pan’s base so they all get an equal amount of heat, otherwise you may risk having unpopped kernels mixed among the popcorn.

How to Make Perfect Popcorn On The Stove
 
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Learn how to make perfect popcorn on the stove. This is favourite snack to make. It’s so quick to make, easy, and taste delicious!
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil (I also like to use coconut oil)
  • ½ cup popping corn
  • ½ tbsp of finely ground salt (optional but recommended)
  • Other seasonings (my favourite is nutritional yeast for B12 boost)
Method
  1. Add the oil in a heavy-based pan with a vented lid. Turn the heat up to medium-high (I use level 7 on my induction cooktop), add 3 corn kernels and cover.
  2. Once the kernels have popped add the remaining popcorn kernels and salt in an even layer. Cover.
  3. Remove from heat and count for 30 seconds. Don't skip this part as it will bring all of the other kernels to the same temperature so they will pop at roughly the same time later, and you won't have too many unpopped kernels, or burn your popcorn in an attempt to pop them all.
  4. Return the pan back to heat and wait for that popping sound (or if you have a clear lid, you can see the action happening).
  5. Once the kernels begin to pop rapidly, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth.
  6. Open the lid a tiny bit to allow excess steam to escape.
  7. When the popping slows to a few seconds between pops, turn off the heat. Wait a few extra seconds for the last few pops, then remove the lid and pour into a large bowl.
Notes
Tips: Use oil suitable for high temperature cooking such as canola or peanut oil. If you want to use olive oil for flavour - mix the oil with peanut or canola 1:1 so that the oil won't burn.

I’d love to hear from you if you make this popcorn recipe. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x

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Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas! These are one of my favourite snacks. If you like crunchy, spicy things like me, you will love these!

They’re very easy to make and will stay crispy for up to two weeks in an air-tight container.

When I first made these, they didn’t become as crispy as I’d wanted them to be. After some trials and error I finally nailed the process that gives me crispy chickpeas every time.

How to make crispy roasted chickpeas 

1. Dry the chickpeas as much as you can

The drier the chickpeas, the crunchier they get. Use a kitchen towel or paper towel to gently pat them dry.

2. Don’t skimp the oil

Rule of thumb is 1 measured tablespoon (30ml) for one can of chickpeas or 1 ½ cup of cooked chickpeas, if you use dried chickpeas. Any less and the chickpeas won’t be as crispy.

Why I love chickpeas (and why you should too)

There are so many great things about chickpeas: They are rich in complex carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fibre. They are low in fat and contain no cholesterol. Chickpeas are also a good source of potassium, vitamin A, calcium, vitamin C, iron, sodium, vitamin B-6 and magnesium.

They help with the management of blood sugar and lipids, promoting bone health, a hearty heart and lowering of blood pressure. They contain selenium, a mineral that is not present in most fruits and vegetables, which helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds, prevents inflammation and also decreases tumor growth rates.

Canned or Dried

There is little difference in the nutritional value between canned chickpeas and dried chickpeas which you cook yourself. Though I personally like cooking my own chickpeas, as I find the canned ones are too soft for my taste, there’s nothing wrong with canned chickpeas (just make sure they’re BPA free). In fact, I always make sure have a few cans in the pantry so that I’m never too far from a quick, nutritious meal (or make roasted chickpeas for a delicious crisp snack).

 

 

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
 
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Crunchy, healthy, high-protein snack that is as delicious as it is addictive
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
Method
  1. Heat the oven to 200°C and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Pat dry chickpeas with paper towel. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients. Toss until evenly coated. Taste and add more salt or cayenne pepper to make it more salty or spicy.
  4. Spread the chickpeas in an even layer on a pan lined with baking paper and bake until crunchy, between 40 - 50 minutes, stirring halfway through.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and/or share a picture on Instagram and tag me in the picture.

Keren x

References:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/280244.php

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=58

 

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How To Make Vegan Parmesan

If there’s one vegan cheese you need to make, this is it. It’s super simple, very quick to make and delicious. There’s no fermenting or cooking involved so you can spend less time in the kitchen, and more time eating! Here’s a video I made which will show you how to make vegan parmesan in a few simple steps.

 

This recipe is adapted from Minimalist Baker and Beard and Bonnet, two of my favourite foodie bloggers. It’s super easy to make and it’s super handy to have around, especially if you love savoury sprinkles on everything.

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Once you’ve learned how to make vegan parmesan you’ll wonder how you could ever live without it. It’s dairy-free yet it makes everything taste nice and ‘cheesy’. Whether you’re trying to eat less dairy in general, or transitioning to eating more plant-based foods, or perhaps feeling slightly adventurous in the kitchen, this recipe will open up a world of possibilities.

You can sprinkle vegan parmesan on pasta, salads, roast vegetables or anything that needs a hit of ‘umami’. I especially love it on top of mushroom risotto and soup. Yum!

Oh, by the way, you’ll need a food processor to make this (I use Cuisine Companion) or you’ll need to pound the mixture using a mortal and pestle.

Enjoy!

how to make vegan parmesan

How To Make Vegan Parmesan
 
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How to make vegan Parmesan
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ¼ cup silvered almonds
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
Method
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs (I used Cuisine Companion and it took less than 10 sec on Pulse setting with chopping blade).
  2. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months, or longer in the freezer.

how to make vegan parmesan

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and/or share a picture on Instagram and tag me in the picture.

 

Keren x

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Vegan Protein Power Balls

I love a good protein ball! And judging from the number of balls I see on the internet, a lot of people love them too. I think protein balls are taking over the food world. They’re slowly invading the counter space at the city cafes, the health food stores, the Instagram, and soon… your very own kitchen, if not already. At least I hope so, with this recipe.

Protein Powerball-9

But before you make them, be warned! There vegan protein power balls can be quite addictive so you want to be careful not to eat all of them in one go! They can also give you a burst of energy and alertness so it’s best not to have them at night. My boyfriend said that they trigger vivid dreams when he consumes them at night. I won’t get to excited about this potential lucid dreaming side effect as I’ve never experienced this myself.

Protein Powerball-18

Why I love these vegan protein power balls

First of all, there’s no cooking or baking involved. It’s a pretty straight forward mix and roll operation. You can adjust the mix before you roll and because you don’t need to cook them, you can eat them as you roll (not advisable for those with a ball addiction :P). They’re rich in fibre, protein, healthy fats, slightly sweet and very moreish. Perfect for snacking in between meals or as an afternoon pick me up.

Protein Powerball-12

Vegan Protein Power Balls
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 25 balls
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cup of your favourite nut flour (I use 1 cup ground almond and ¼ cup coconut flour)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 heaped scoop protein powder (my favourite is Bioglan rice protein powder and Sunwarrior raw protein powder)
  • 2 tsp maca powder
  • 12 dates (about ½ cup)
  • ¼ hot water
  • 2 Tbsp cacao powder
  • A generous pinch of salt
For Coating
  • 2 Tbsp of cacao powder, matcha powder, or dessicated coconut
Method
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth
  2. Take 1 heaped tablespoon of mixture and roll into balls
  3. Dust or roll the balls onto a couple of tablespoon of cacao powder
Notes
Make a double batch in the weekend and freeze them to save time.
You could use oat flour instead of nut flour. You can make oat flour by blending rolled oat in a blender for a few minutes until it resembles fine crumbs

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how they turned out for you! Leave a comment below and/or share a picture on Instagram and tag me in the picture :)

 

Keren x

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Vegan Spring Onion Buns

spring onion bun

One of my favourite Chinese breads is the Spring Onion bun. It’s slightly sweet, tender and savoury all at the same time. If you’ve had any oriental (i.e. Chinese or Japanese) bread, you’ll find that they are sweeter and more delicate and tender in texture than your normal bread. They taste like a soft hamburger bun or brioche.

Unfortunately most of these breads are made with eggs or butter so I can’t have them.

And since I don’t want to deprive myself of these comfort foods,  I made my own vegan-friendly version of spring onion buns :)

I use the Cuisine Companion to make them which makes it feels almost like I’m cheating because the machine does all the kneading for me, but, if you want to go manual, it can certainly be done quite easily too.

The first step is to proof the yeast (i.e. ‘waking it up’ in warm sugary water) to make sure that the yeast is still active. It usually takes about 5-8 minutes. After this the process is quite simple – just add the yeast mixture to the dry mixture and knead until it’s elastic and no longer sticky. It would take about 15 minutes by hand or 3 minutes if you use a mixer with dough attachment.

Then you need to let the dough sit in a warm spot until it doubles in size.

Then the fun begins…. You cut the dough into 4 sections, use a rolling pin (or your hands) to flatten them to 1 cm thickness and spread the sliced onion all over the surface of the dough, make a log roll and cut them up in equal portions. Finally into the oven they go while you wait impatiently for them to cook…

Spring Onion Buns
 
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Easy savoury and sweet bun for morning or afternoon snack
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 4 cup bread flour (white or wholemeal)
  • 1 packet (5g) of Instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp egg replacer mixed in 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp non-dairy butter or Nuttelex
  • ½ cup of spring onion, sliced thinly
  • ¼ cup of non-dairy milk
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line pan with baking paper.
  2. Mix sugar and water in a bowl or in a small pot. Microwave for 30 seconds or heat on the stove until just warm (not hot to touch).
  3. Sift flour and baking powder into the cuisine companion bowl. Add yeast mixture and press Pastry Program 1.
  4. For manual method: Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add yeast mixture. Knead gently until just smooth. Leave in warm temperature covered with kitchen towel until almost double in size, about 30-60 min (depending on your weather condition)
  5. Roll out dough to a rectangle using a lightly floured rolling pin. Brush with Nuttilex.
  6. Sprinkle over onion, leaving a 1cm border on 1 long side. Starting at opposite end, roll up dough.
  7. Cut into 8 even slices. Brush with non-dairy milk.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Serve warm.
  9. These breads are good for freezing too. Just pop in the microwave for 30-40 second to heat up when you’re hungry.

vegan spring onion bun

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and/or share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #littlegreenhabits.

Love and greens, 

Keren Natalia 

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Sweet Potato and Date Bites (flourless, sugar-free, and vegan)

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Recently I experimented with flour-free, refined sugar-free baking.  Now that I’m pretty comfortable baking without eggs and dairy, I thought why not push the boundaries. I mean surely you can remove eggs, milk, butter, flour, and sugar and still make good muffins right?

And so I put on my apron and started throwing things in the bowl. I didn’t come out with muffins, but I came out with something which is equally delicious and dare I say it, even more morish. Behold these bite-size muffins which are mildly sweet, chewy and every little bit is delicious. They are completely flourless, egg-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. You’ll be surprised at how easy they are to make.

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