10 cups popped plain popcorn (low-fat microwave pop corn can also be used)
1 cup mini-marshmallows
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pop the popcorn if you haven't already done so, then pour it into the largest bowl you can find. Set aside.
Call The Kids:
Have your child unwrap the 20 caramels for you. Toddlers can help you count the caramels to 20. Meanwhile, you can measure your marshmallows and water into a 2 or 4 cup glass measure or bowl. Add the caramels to the glass measure or bwol and microwave on HIGH for about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir and microwave 1 more minute. With supervision and a long-handled spoon, your child can help you stir the mixture until the marshmallows are completely melted (about a minute). Add in the vanilla and cinnamon. Pour immediately over the popped corn and toss until well coated and cooled. Lightly grease your and your child's hands with diet margarine. Show your child how to pack about 1 cup of the caramel corn with his or her hands into a ball (like making a snowball). While your child is moving onto the next ball, you can be wrapping the balls with plastic wrap (tie with orange and black ribbon if desired). Repeat with the remaining caramel corn and place the popcorn balls in the refrigerator until needed.
Note: If you prefer to make baked caramel corn instead of making popcorn balls, use this same mixture and spread it in a single later on a baking sheet that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake in a preheated 250 F oven for about 18 minutes (watch carefully to prevent overbrowning. Break apart. It's terrific when eaten warm.
Makes 10 Balls
Nutritional Analysis: Per Ball
1.5 grams Fiber
2.2 mgs Sodium
% Calories from: Protein 7%, Carbohydrate 80%, Fat 13% (1.6 grams fat)