Looking for inexpensive, fun appetizers and snacks? Flavored popcorn fits the bill, and its easy too. Melt the butter (coconut oil, maple syrup, etc.) on the stove, drizzle over warm popped popcorn, sprinkle with sea salt or other seasoning, add any mix-ins and stir. Most are flavored to taste, so be sure to experiment and find your favorites. Here are some ideas:
Salted caramel: butter, coconut sugar, sea salt.
Cinnamon Bun: butter, vanilla extract, raw honey or maple syrup, crispy pecans or almonds, cinnamon.
Chocolate: butter, raw honey, unsweetened cocoa powder.
Cranberry: butter, raw honey, unsweetened cocoa powder, dried cranberries and cinnamon.
Peanut Butter Cup: Coconut oil, raw honey, unsweetened cocoa powder, peanut butter or almond butter
Italian: Olive oil, sea salt, Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese.
Spicy Lime: Olive oil, cumin, chili powder, lime zest, lime juice.
Taco: olive oil, cumin, chili powder, oregano, sea salt, cayenne.
Chocolate: 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips a pinch of salt. Toss well, and grab napkins. You could also swap in other flavors of chips: peanut butter, butterscotch, mint-chocolate.
Mexican Chocolate: Sprinkle on a teaspoon of butter, then a few shakes of cinnamon, a dash of cayenne and a teaspoon or so of unsweetened cocoa powder.
Cinnamon-Sugar: 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon sugar ; choose brown sugar for more flavor, cinnamon to taste. Sprinkle the sugar on the buttered popcorn, then shake on the cinnamon.
Other good combos: sugar and chai spices, sugar and pumpkin pie spice, powdered ginger and sugar, vanilla or lavender sugar.
Maple: Drizzle on 1 teaspoon salted butter and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Eat immediately before fit gets too soggy. For added flavor, sprinkle on ground rosemary or black pepper.
Italian seasonings (oregano, fennel, red pepper flakes, marjoram, and basil) with olive oil.
Curry powder (red or yellow) with coconut oil.
Lemon-pepper and butter.
Garlic powder and butter or olive oil.
Jerk seasoning and coconut oil.
Herbes de Provence and butter.
For pizza popcorn, add dried oregano and red pepper flakes.
Tarragon, dried mustard and butter.
Smoked paprika and olive oil.
Five spice powder and coconut oil.
Cheesy: Skip the oil and sprinkle on 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.
Gomashio: This Japanese condiment is a mix of sesame seeds, nori (seaweed) and salt. Sprinkle on 1 tablespoon along with 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil.
Ranch: Start with a teaspoon of unsalted butter, then sprinkle on one teaspoon ranch dressing mix.
Buffalo: Mix equal parts hot sauce and butter, then sprinkle on warm popcorn. It is soggy but tastes great.
Rosemary, thyme, and sage with olive oil.
Chili-Spiced: Try a teaspoon of chipotle powder, or a teaspoon of taco seasoning.
Fiery Wasabi: Use wasabi powder to taste along with 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil.
If you would like to try to grow your own popcorn, its easy. If you have ever grown sweet corn, it is very similar. A great place to find popcorn seeds for your garden is http://www.rareseeds.com.