You and your children can have fun making these popcorn balls this year. They have more crunch to the munch because I have added toasted chopped almonds to the popcorn. The wonderful nutty flavor combines beautifully with the naturally delicious and healthful popped corn.

Wrap each ball in cellophane, plastic wrap or waxed paper, draw the corners together then twist and tie with black and orange ribbon for a jazzy treat your resident (and visiting) goblins will be sure to love.Each popcorn ball contains approximately 145 calories; no cholesterol; no fat; 34 mg sodium.

Oat bran is the central ingredient in the recipes in my pamphlet, Tasty and Healthy Oat Bran Recipes. It will show you many ways to use this healthful product to its best advantage. Send $1 and a stamped (45 cents), self-addressed, legal-sized envelope to Oat Bran, P.O. Box 847, Gibbstown, NJ 08027-9911.- Jeanne Jones is a consultant on menu planning, recipes and new-product development for major hotels and spas. She is also the author of 18 cookbooks.

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Chewy Almond Popcorn Balls

1 cup chopped raw almonds

1/2 cup water

11/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 cups popped popcorn (1/2 cup kernels) Toast almonds in preheated 350 F oven 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Watch carefully because they burn easily. Set aside.

Combine water, sugar, vinegar, cinnamon and salt in large saucepan. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until a little of the mixture dropped into cold water forms a hard ball (250 F on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat, add vanilla and mix well.

Combine popped corn and toasted almonds and slowly pour liquid mixture over the popcorn mixture, tossing it with a spoon continuously until cool enough to handle.

Grease your hands lightly with corn-oil margarine and quickly shape the popcorn mixture into 18 (3-inch) balls, pressing each ball firmly so it will hold its shape. Wrap as desired.