IMG_0796 i was SO HAPPY to partner with quinn popcorn this season to not only fill elinor's easter basket, but to create some tasty snackage to enjoy with friends and family over the holiday weekend.

we love a good bowl of popcorn around our house but that is usually as wild as we get. i try to keep things clean and simple when stocking the pantry and fridge with snacks and such. here's the thing: we know enough about ourselves to predict that if we have snacks in the house, they will be eaten. so we have to be smart about what we bring into our home. because again, if it is in our home, it will get eaten someway, somehow.

our usual snacks are raw nuts and dried fruit and hummus with veg or crackers. we have the occasional granola-type bar in the house too. and of course, popcorn. but that is really it. i can't keep cookies and candy and sweets around because i have zero self control. so, if we are in the mood for something extra splurgy, we make a separate trip and buy a little collection of treats to enjoy on that particular occasion. no stashes. stashes don't work around here...

okay. back to the purpose of this post.

the one thing that i do feel good about having a stash of is quinn popcorn. so when i was planning out some easter snackage, i immediately went for a box of that to serve as my base for a snack mix. knowing the preferences of those around me, i opted to make something that was a mix of salty and sweet. that's really the best way to go.

when it comes to a good snack mix, it is all about balance. you need sweet and soft and crunch and salt. the vermont maple & sea salt flavor seemed like the perfect inspiration. it is like an amped-up version of kettle corn. caramel flavors with just enough salt. perfectly addictive.

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i popped up two bags of the popcorn and instead of drizzling it with the oil and sprinkling it with the flavor packets, i set those aside so i could make them into something extra special and over-the-top.

i bought a bag of white chocolate chips and melted them down into a scrumptious creamy texture then added in the two packets of vermont maple & sea salt. easy-peasy.

i then added a some roasted peanuts to the popcorn along with a box of annie's homegrown organic cheddar snack mix. it has cheddar bunnies and carrot shaped pretzels with extra cheddar powder and it is magic. it is also one of those things that I REFUSE to keep around the house because before you know it, a whole box is gone and i feel pretty lousy about myself. that's just too many bunnies for me... but for special occasions? yes please. and it is super festive for easter.

the pièce de résistance was adding in some caramel filled chocolate "quail egg" candies that i stumbled on at whole foods. i was going to just go with some dark chocolate but i sampled one of these candies and went a bit crazy for them. again, file these under seasonal indulgences that i should never ever ever have in my home. they rival the cadbury mini eggs in the addictive department, and that's saying something. but since they are from whole foods, i deemed them a health food which made me feel better about myself. if you can't find that particular health food, feel free to add in some m&m's or the aforementioned cadbury eggs or even some kind of peanut butter and chocolate candy somethingorother. anything that gives you a tasty chocolate bite.

i put all the ingredients into a big bowl and then drizzled the white chocolate and maple sea salt mix over the top and stirred to coat. i then laid the mixture out on parchment to dry and sprinkled it with a bit of celtic seas salt to really round out the flavors and bring it home. after about fifteen minutes, the bunny bait was ready to go. everything was coated nicely and it dried into these incredible clusters of sweet and salty goodness...a few pieces of popcorn with a cheddar bunny and a pretzel and a peanut, all coated in maple goodness with a hint of salt. and every few bites, you would get a caramel chocolate egg treat. SO GOOD.

we kept some at the house for us to enjoy and shared some with family to snack on during our easter egg decorating extravaganza. i think it was a success! and probably the start of a new holiday tradition.

what you need:

1 box of quinn vermont maple & sea salt microwave popcorn

1 box of annie's homegrown organic cheddar snack mix

1 cup (or more) of organic roasted peanuts (or you favorite nut)

1 bag of white chocolate chips

1 cup of your favorite chocolate or candies

2 tablespoons of celtic sea salt

what you do:

pop the two bags of popcorn and let it cool in a large mixing bowl. set aside the two flavor packets. i did not use the oil packets but saved them for popcorn nights, down the road. waste not, want not. melt down the bag of white chocolate chips either in a double-boiler or in the microwave. low and slow, whisking until melted and smooth. add in the two flavor packets and whisk again to combine. add the snack mix and peanuts and candies to the popcorn bowl and toss. drizzle the mixture with the maple white chocolate to coat. once the mixture is evenly coated, spread it out on parchment and sprinkle with some celtic sea salt. allow to dry for about 15 minutes then serve it up or package it in a festive way and enjoy!

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