Friday, May 5, 2017

Strawberry Carrot Popcorn Balls

 The other day I was admiring the contrast of the beautiful blue sky and green leaves on the trees. I am beyond excited that it is SPRING! I love seeing all the plants come back to life all around the city. With Spring in mind, I decided to come up with a fun and healthier snack that the kids and I both would love.  I decided to test out recipes to make healthier popcorn balls. My first thought was to add strawberry. I love the juicy sweet taste of strawberries in the Spring and I also love that they add a natural pink coloring to everything you add them too, NO Red 40!!! Most people who know me, know that I try to add vegetables to everything. So I thought, why not experiment with this recipe!? What I came up with was beyond delicious! Definitely a MUST TRY, but I warn you they are addicting.

I wanted to explain that as I was trying out different recipes, I experimented using no sugar but the balls wouldn't hold up the way I wanted. I thought to myself that even if I use marshmallows it would still be fun to see if I can add veggies to something that would normally be considered a treat.
The number one ingredient is SkinnyPop! If you have ever picked up a bag of this at the store you will know that just the original popcorn alone is addicting AND it's a healthy option when snacking. I had to hide the bags from my kids just so I would have enough popcorn left to make the popcorn balls! LOL

Ingredients:
  • 6 cups of Original SkinnyPop, a 4.4 oz bag is almost exactly this
  • A 1.2 oz bag of freeze dried strawberries
  • Two large carrots (which equals about a cup of ground carrots)
  • one 10.5 oz bag of mini marshmallows
  • 3 Tbsp of butter
  • *optional a 1/2 tsp of salt

 Pour the whole bag of freeze dried strawberries in the food processor and mix until they are in small chunks as pictured above. Set aside.
   
 Next add your carrots and blend. You want to blend your carrots second because they have moisture and if you do the strawberries after the carrots they will end up sticking to the food processor.
After blending up your carrots and getting about a cup of small chunks, place them on a paper towel. Fold over the paper towel and squeeze to get out as much moisture from the carrots as possible. You can repeat this process a few times. This just helps so that you don't get soggy popcorn balls.
   
Pour your carrots and strawberries over the popcorn in a large bowl.
Heat up your butter and marshmallows in a pot on the stove just until everything is melted.
Then pour over the popcorn mixture.
Mix everything together with a spatula or use your hands.
   
Once everything is mixed together, put the bowl in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. 
Don't you just love the natural pink color the strawberries gives the popcorn!?
You are now going to form the mixture into balls. If it is slightly sticky, you can use a little coconut oil on your hands.
   
This recipe will make about 12 popcorn balls.
*What I did next is optional*
 For Springtime fun, I wanted to make my popcorn balls look like flowers. I found some paper straws and a little pink pail in the Target dollar section. The clear cellophane and curling ribbon are from the Dollar store.
   
I simply stuck a paper straw in each popcorn ball.
   
I cut the cellophane into 12 large squares. I pulled it together at the top of the popcorn ball and tied it together with the curling ribbon. It is as simple as that! 
Now you have a fun snack that your kids will be excited to eat!
Add it to their lunch as a healthy treat.
Happy Spring!

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