Soooo, I am going to come clean. We don't really need to be Gluten-Free over at the E's Delights household. I would even go so far as to say that we roll around in gluten, but that just sounds gross. I had to work hard to come up with something, but then I remembered that I am, in fact, CHEAP and it so happens that my crazy frugal behavior coincides with a snack that is gluten-free. Awesome.
My husband likes popcorn. I would go so far as to say that he loves it, but I bet when he reads this he will get that indignant look on his face and claim that I am exaggerating. Pardon me, if you eat something at least three or four times a week, I would say that you L-O-V-E it. My kids eat fruit snacks every day...I rest my case.
Anyway, we have been buying microwave popcorn like it is going out of style. Around 9 or 9:30 every night I can hear the pop, pop, pop of the microwave and know that soon my hubby will be digging into the 'corn. I only dread those evenings when I can hear him rumbling through the cabinets and then go out to the garage to check the pantry and slowly come back inside with a disappointed step when he realizes that we have run out of popcorn. Trips to Costco were always good because we would be safe for awhile but inevitably we would run dry again. My children also enjoy the 'corn, mostly because it involves putting on pajamas, snuggling under a blanket with Mama, and getting to watch some highly coveted TV program while eating a snack. Good times...
Recently, however, I started thinking about how much money we were spending on popcorn and how much packaging and stuff we were wasting every time we popped a bag in the microwave. Then a friend pointed out that she stopped giving microwave popcorn to her kids because the list of preservatives was so high even in the "good" brands that she couldn't bear it. Finally I remembered that story from about two years ago about that guy from Colorado (woot!) who developed a lung condition from the butter flavoring in popcorn. All of these things led me to the conclusion that we had to break ourselves of the microwave popcorn habit. (Another aside, though popcorn itself is inherently gluten-free, you have to be careful about the flavorings in microwave popcorn and also the plant where it was manufactured because of cross-contamination...just sayin') So I told my husband that we had to buy an air popper which he was not happy about considering we barely have enough room in our kitchen for our current belongings. I mean, our pantry is in the garage for goodness sake!
Then I learned that you can actually make popcorn in the microwave using regular popcorn, a cheapo paper lunch bag, a spritz of olive oil, and a piece of tape. SERIOUSLY! I could not believe this wonderful magic had been kept from me all this time. Here is where you might know this fabulous piece of information and I am revealing myself to be a moron, but I don't care. I will share it with you anyway. Here's what you need to do:
1.Get a regular brown paper lunch bag.
2.Put about 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels in the bottom.
3.Lightly spray them with olive oil. I said LIGHTLY! Don't dump a bunch of oil in there or you will be sorry. You can add some salt too, if you'd like or you can wait until the popping is done, your choice.
4.Fold the top of the bag a couple of times and secure with a piece of scotch tape.
5.Put in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
6. Have a quick 1/4 glass of wine. (I told you ALL of my posts would include wine. You only have 2 minutes here, though. Drink fast)
7.Remove bag and enjoy your awesome freshly popped popcorn without preservatives.
Of course I have warnings for you...you knew I would! One, please use olive oil. Other oils have lower flash points and will most likely burn or start fires in your microwave. I'm serious. Two, please stand next to your microwave and listen to the popping. Take the bag out when the pops are 2-3 seconds apart. It might only take your microwave 90 seconds. Don't stand there and let your popcorn burn and then get pissed at me when you claim this doesn't work. Three, don't overfill your paper bag. The popcorn won't pop evenly and it will burn and you will get pissed. The lunch bags aren't that big anyway, you will surprised at how much popcorn 1/4 cup of raw kernels actually produces.
Here is the nitty gritty: Buying the cheapest brand of popcorn, I can get a 64 oz. bag for $3.29 which gives me 55 servings. I can also buy 55 brown bags for $1.29. If we eat popcorn 4 times a week, we end up paying $17.31 for an entire year's worth of popcorn. Comparatively, if we bought the cheapest brand of microwave popcorn, we would get 12 servings for $6 and end up spending about $104 for a year's worth of popcorn. And that is the cheap stuff; no one buys the cheap brand of microwave popcorn, it takes like crap.
Maybe $100 over the course a year isn't a big deal, but go ahead and say to someone, "Yes, I spent $100 this year on popcorn." They would think you were a total idiot. Just think, I am saving you from sounding like an idiot. Aren't you happy?