At Home Movie Theatre Snack Bar Ideas (Your Necessary Set Up for an Enjoyable Night)

What's your ideal movie night set up? For me, 50% of the movie experience is about enjoying a great movie and the other 50% is about enjoying what I'm eating in the process. Ideally, we want to recreate the movie theatre experience with surround sound, big screens, and all of the nostalgic movie food. It's possible right at home and I'll show you how.



My oldest memory of going to the movie theatres was on Friday or Saturday nights and waiting in line with friends for the midnight showing of the week's newest release - back when a movie ticket sold for $3.25 even during peak times. I hope I haven't dated myself by sharing this memory.


Now, it feels like highway robbery at nearly $20 a ticket if not more for the premium movie theatres with servers taking your meal orders or IMAX screens movies.



I stopped going to the cinema for the last five or so years. Don't get me wrong. I know i'm robbing myself of that full cinematic experience. But being a healthcare professional, it's become growingly difficult to walk around on sticky butter-covered floors and imagining what else is on the seats that we share with countless others.



That with the inflated cost of movie tickets, I usually wait until the newest releases hit the online streaming avenues for rent or purchase. That's why I'm excited to share with you an at-home movie theatre night set up.



Let's just keep in mind that nothing will beat that cinematic feeling of how movies are meant to be watched - on a massive screen with sound coming at you in all directions while sitting in couch-like cushioned seating that reclines back for your comfort with a constant almost nauseatingly strong scent of buttered popcorn enveloping you.


We may not be able to replicate that in its entirety, but we can get close to that experience.




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Best Seats In the House

Some of my best movie memories from my childhood are good because of the entire cinematic experience from purchasing tickets that come with freebie popcorn coupons, walking over to the concession stand for snacks and drinks, and then looking for the best seat in the theatre with your friends.



The best seats were ones where you were right in the middle. The seats in the back rows meant you'd miss details that appeared too small. Sitting in the front rows meant you couldn't take the entire screen in one view so you have to look left to right and up and down while experiencing motion sickness. I've definitely walked out of the theatre sick after this horrible situation.



The great thing about watching movies at home is that every seat in your room is going to be the best seat as long as it's comfortable. Ideally, you have a set up like that in the picture above with a big screen television and surround sound.



If you don't have this but want to invest in something affordable for the experience, I recommend a small projector. The great thing about projectors is that they're very easy to move around from room to room, and all you need is a blank white wall to watch the projection. Nothing else is needed.



No extra frills are necessary because many of the quality projectors have a built-in high fidelity (hifi) stereo sound system, too.


















If you have a large outdoor or garden space, you may even opt for a 17 feet large inflatable screen for a more extravagant movie night experience on the big screen. You can inflate it to use and then, deflate it and tuck it away in a closet for the next time.






Now that we've picked the best seat in the house, let's gather a few things we'll need to maximise our movie night experience.



Think about what will make this the most comfortable movie time.

Yes, those things that just came to mind are what we'll gather If you're a minimalist, don't worry about the optionals.





Things You'll Need

  1. Throw Blanket - Something cozy in the case you get cold but don't want to interrupt the movie to get up.

  2. Throw Pillow - Use it for back support or on top of your lap to put your plate of food on.

  3. Sweats - I'm so glad that at home we don't have to wear going-out clothes like we would in an actual movie theatre.

  4. Online Streaming* - One of the best ways to watch movies is through live streaming. You can rent, purchase, or watch movies for free.

  5. Food & Drinks - The movie theatre experience is incomplete without these. The hot dogs, soft pretzels, candy, and iced drinks all make the movie night complete. I'll show you how to make these very easy movie concession stand foods below.


*There are countless online streaming websites and applications, but the ones I've been using the most frequently for movies in particular are Netflix and Prime Video.


Netflix create their own original content so you can find a wide genre of movies that are very unique.


Amazon Prime Video also creates their own content, but they've been more popular with the TV shows. As far as movies go, they do have many old and new releases that you may not find on Netflix. So, take a look at these for your best movie choice.









Homemade Dairy Free Corndogs

In all honesty, I can't remember seeing corndogs at the movie theatres. Corndogs can be frequently found at carnivals and beach boardwalks. Usually, you find hotdogs at the movie theatres in America, but I find hotdogs to be a bit boring.



To put an exciting spin on a boring food, I decided to dip the hot dog in batter and make bite-sized corn dogs. It's much easier to make than I thought it would be.


I wanted to make only two servings so I used four hot dogs and cut them into halves. If you want to make more, you may need to double this recipe.




Ingredients:

  • 4 Hot Dogs (halved)

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose Flour

  • 1/2 cup Cornmeal

  • 2 tsp Baking Powder

  • 1 tablespoon granulated Sugar

  • 1/2 cup nondairy Milk (almond milk)

  • 1 large Egg

  • Sunflower Oil, for frying

  • Skewers, wooden






Directions:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl - flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and sugar.

  2. Add the egg and nondairy milk to the dry mix and mix thoroughly. It should be a pancake-like batter that's thick but still drips.

  3. Cut the hot dogs in half so that they are half their length since we're making bite-sized corndogs. If you want them smaller, you can cut each hotdog into thirds.

  4. In a small pot, pour the sunflower oil to a depth of about 4 inches.

  5. Heat the oil until it reaches 360°F (180°C), checking with a thermometer.

  6. Skewer the hot dogs and dip the hot dogs in the batter one at a time.

  7. Place the battered hot dogs in the oil until the batter turns a golden brown (about 2-3 minutes).

  8. Remove the corndog from the oil and place on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil and let it cool for at least 5 minutes before eating.










I took my corndogs off of the skewers when I put them in the oil. You can leave yours on to make it easier to eat, but I prefer popping these into my mouth like french fries or tater tots. That's why I kept mine off of the skewer after battering it.



Now that we have hotdogs, or in this case corndogs, covered what's your next favourite movie theatre treat?



Mine has to be hands-down soft pretzels. There's no debating with me there.






Soft Pretzels

I am a pretzel fiend. If I go to a music festival, biergarten, movie theatre, mall or anywhere else and they sell pretzels, I'll be the first in line to buy one. I can never get sick of it.



So, if you see me walking about around town, feed me a pretzel and I'll be your best friend. Are you with me here? I sure hope so.



I love the traditional American pretzels, the gigantic German pretzels, and my all time favourite pretzels growing up were from Auntie Anne's because of that soft, almost soggy but still chewy texture and that buttery sheen that got all over your fingers while you were eating it..







If you have no idea what I'm referring to when I mention "Auntie Anne's", please do yourself a favour and check it out when you're next near one in America. It's an iconic chain shop just like Krispy Kreme and Coldstone Creamery.



The idea of making pretzels always sounded pretty intimidating. I used to watch the employees at Auntie Anne's shape the dough right in front of me back when they first opened their shops in my town and I thought, "That looks difficult." But once I actually tried it out on my own, it's actually very easy.



I think I gave people too much credit. This is to remind you that even if you're a novice baker, you can absolutely make pretzels well.



Despite pretzels using minimal ingredients and bake time, it still requires time to proof (rise). So remember this when you're preparing for movie night - that you have to build in an extra hour in the middle of this recipe to allow the dough to rise.


You can always prepare the dough earlier in the day and then just come back to it when you're ready to pop it in the oven.













Ingredients:

3 cups plain Flour

1 cups Bread flour

1-1/2 cup Water, warm

1-1/2 tsp active Yeast

2 tablespoon granulated Sugar

1 teaspoon Salt




For Water Bath:

2 tablespoon baking soda

2 cups Water




For Toppings:

2 teaspoon melted Vegan Butter

1 tablespoon Coarse Salt

2 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground

2 teaspoon granulated Sugar







Directions:

  1. Add the sugar and yeast to warm water (warm but not hot water since hot water can inactivate the yeast). Let it sit without stirring for 5 minutes. Then, stir until the sugar and yeast are completely dissolved and let it sit again for 5 more minutes.

  2. Measure the flour and place in a mixing bowl.

  3. Add the yeast mixture to the flour and knead the dough on a clean countertop. Add the salt and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and not sticking to the countertop.

  4. Place the dough in a bowl covered with a wet tea towel. Let it proof for an hour.

  5. Cut the dough into 6-8 even pieces. If you prefer medium sized pretzels, cut the dough into six equal parts. If you prefer small pretzels like I do, cut the dough into eight equal parts.

  6. Roll the dough into long strands that are 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) in thickness and shape into a pretzel (see pictures above).

  7. Let the dough rest covered with a wet tea towel for 15 minutes.

  8. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).

  9. Boil two cups of water in a pot and add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to create a bath.

  10. Dip each pretzel into the bath for about 30 seconds.

  11. Place the pretzel onto a lightly greased baking sheet and let it rise for 5 minutes.

  12. Place the baking sheet with the dough in the oven for 9 minutes (or until the pretzels are golden brown)

  13. Remove the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes.

  14. Brush each pretzel with the melted butter.

  15. Roll the tops of the pretzel in the toppings of your choice: coarse salt or the cinnamon sugar mix*.


*To make the cinnamon sugar mix, measure out equal parts of each ingredients (2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of sugar) onto a plate. Then, stir the two ingredients together.



Now that we've prepared the corndogs and pretzels, we're missing just one more iconic movie theatre snack - Popcorn.






Gourmet Popcorn

What's a movie night without a big bowl of popcorn? It's not just eating this low calorie snack that makes it a movie night but it's also that necessary drowning aroma of popped corn and melted butter that tells your brain that you're in a movie theatre.



You can make life easier by purchasing the microwaveable popcorn bags. But if you want the healthy alternative which is homemade popcorn, it's just as easy to prepare.



Popcorn made at home is much healthier thanks to your ability to control what toppings you put on it and how much.





Did you know that a tub of movie popcorn can contain over 1000 calories and over 2600 milligrams of sodium? That's half of your daily necessary calorie intake, so basically, two meals worth of calories.



But if you make popcorn at home, it can actually be a healthy snack.



Since popcorn is a whole grain, it's high in fibre and can keep you full while keeping your heart healthy.



Popcorn also contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants that help with digestive health, better blood circulation, and may even lower the risk of certain cancers.



Find out more about the benefits of popcorn made at home from the "Popcorn As a Snack" article on Heart.org.



To replicate movie theatre popcorn, it doesn't take much more than a stove and a pot or pan with a lid. And off course, we can't forget your favourite toppings.





Ingredients:

(1 serving)

1/4 cup popcorn kernels (makes approximately 4-5 cups popped popcorn)




Directions:

  1. On the stove, heat your pan/pot on medium heat.

  2. Add the kernels to the pot and cover with the lid.

  3. Stir the kernels around the pot with the lid closed by grabbing the pot by the handle and gently shaking the pot every 5-10 seconds. This is to keep the kernels from burning and to make sure heat is evenly distributed.

  4. One you start to hear the first kernel pop, continue to gently shake the pot keeping sure the lid stays on. (You'll know the kernels are done popping when the popping sound slows down to about one pop every 5 seconds.)

  5. Turn off the heat when the kernels are finished popping..

  6. Place the popcorn in a heat-safe bowl.

  7. Add your toppings to the popcorn. Enjoy!




Video Demonstration of Popping Popcorn Kernels:




Topping Ideas:

Melted Butter

Sugar (Kettle corn)

Salt & Lime

Cajun Seasoning

Honey
















Personally, I love adding Cajun seasoning to my popcorn. I thought it was so odd at first, but I noticed many bars and restaurants all over New York City recently giving me a small bowl of Cajun seasoned popcorn to pick at while I waited for my meal. Sounds odd, right?



Don't knock it 'til you try it. It's surprisingly really good.



My other favourite topping for popcorn and potato chips is adding salt and lime. The lime gives a a bit of freshness and tang to the popcorn, which is heavenly.



If you don't want to make your toppings at home, another alternative that I used frequently last year were Kernel Season's Popcorn Seasoning. I was pleasantly surprised about this product and it's pretty affordable to purchase on Amazon.






Extra! Extra!


My personal go-to snack at the movie theatres was always a large Blue ICEE to go with my bite-sized pretzels. What is an ICEE you ask?



It's a frozen carbonated beverage made of shaved ice, carbonation, artificial fruit or soda flavours, and sugar. Yes, in hindsight, it sounds terrible.



But as a child, the occasional sugary drink that turned your tongue blue or red was a pretty awesome luxury to be allowed to indulge in while watching a movie.



Of course, artificial flavours and colours are now frowned upon so I'm making my own ICEE slushy frozen drink with natural ingredients.







Dairy Free Chocolate Frosty


Ingredients:

(1 serving)

1/2 cup nondairy milk (I use almond milk)

1-1/2 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoon cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 medium banana

6 ice cubes (use more if you want it to be more slushy than creamy)




Or you can choose the Strawberry (red ICEE) Slush version.






Dairy Free Strawberry Slush

Ingredients:

(1 serving)

1/2 cup nondairy milk (I use almond milk)

1-1/2 tablespoon honey

5 Strawberries

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 medium banana

6 ice cubes (use more if you want it to be more slushy than creamy)



Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients (milk, honey, cocoa, vanilla, banana, and ice cubes) in a blender.

  2. Blender for 30 seconds.

  3. Pour frozen mixture into a chilled glass and enjoy.









It's safe to say we are more than well equipped for an excellent at-home movie theatre night with all of the above. We covered some affordable movie theatre options, things you'll need for the best theatre experience, and classic concession stand food and drinks that are easy to make at home. Now, it's up to you to use the platforms I recommended to find the best movie for you and your household to enjoy tonight. It's not difficult to make it the best cinema night. I know you'll have a great time. Leave a comment below to let me know how your night at the in-home cinema turned out. Can't wait to hear about it.



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©2019 by The Palette Cleanser

Disclaimer: All images contained on this website remain the property of The Palette Cleanser. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.