Showing posts with label sinful snacks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sinful snacks. Show all posts

Thursday, May 16, 2013

root of the matter

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters. There are no shortage of parenting blogs and cookbooks that claim to have the solution to how to get your kid to expand their palate beyond mac and cheese. Fill up muffin tins with a rainbow of healthy snacks! Smother your broccoli in alfredo sauce and hide it among fun shaped pasta! And so on. Don't get me wrong, I have pinned my fair share of these tips.

And while I don't pretend to be any guru in this area, I did have one advantage on many first time parents - my carnivore. He is the pickiest eater. I mean really, who eats ketchup and red sauce, but not salsa? Or cheese, but only if it is melted? Sound like your three year old; well it's my husband. I learned after many trials and errors in the kitchen, that when I got to the root of his palate problem it wasn't so much the flavor of the foods, but the texture. I have also learned over time that if I am going to introduce a new vegetable to his plate I had better (1) hide it completely or (2) make it in a form that he generally can resist - i.e. fried.

I decided to apply the second technique when introducing my children to some of our latest CSA root veggies. While they are much more adventurous eaters than their father, it never hurts to give them a good impression of a radish before I toss it raw into a salad. So while they created rainbows with playdough I made some rainbow root chips for them to snack on.

To make your own you will need just a few things:
You choice of root veggies - we used easter egg radishes in three colors and turnips, but you can also use beets and sweet potatoes
vegetable oil
kosher salt

Slice your root veggies thinly. Place them on paper towels and top with more. Press out any extra moisture. Let sit for ten minutes and press again. Meanwhile, find a deep sided nonstick pan. Fill with a quarter of an inch of vegetable oil. Heat on medium. Once warm, make small batches of chips by placing slices in a single layer in the pan and flipping frequently. Do not crowd the pan. Remove and drain on more paper towels as they begin to brown - about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove excess oil and salt to taste. Let dry and cool completely before serving.

We gobbled them up quickly, and didn't even have any leftover for daddy to try...much to his delight I'm sure. But, I think he would have been pleasantly surprised at how much he liked these root chips. Salty, crispy, is hard for even a picky carnivore (or toddler) to turn their nose up at that.

Monday, May 13, 2013

thyme out

I now live with two toddlers. One that is trying to start the terrible twos early and one that is trying to extend them into his third year. We don't spank in our house. We don't even do time outs. We just ask if whoever is having a melt down needs to "take a break" - and sometimes that's mommy. In fact, I'd be fine with being sentenced to time out. Send me to my room. Let me sit in quiet contemplation while no one bothers me until I am ready to rejoin the family. That sounds like heaven! Equally heavenly, was in a rare non-crisis moment the other day when I was able to make and enjoy this thyme toast.

To make your own gather these ingredients:
nutty whole grain bread
fresh goat cheese
crumbled walnuts
fresh thyme
local honey

Toast the bread lightly. Smear with the cheese. I had an herbed variety on hand, but plain would do too. Sprinkle with nuts. Top with sprigs of thyme. Mine came from my CSA this past week. Then drizzle with honey. I like local honey best for so many reasons, not the least of which is taste.

Take a break and make this toast. Nutty, creamy, sweet, and savory - it has it all. Plus, it is simple enough to throw together and eat in between temper tantrums. "Be right there kids. Mommy is in a thyme out!"

Thursday, February 14, 2013

snack attack

Like many families with little ones the hours between meals are not food free. I have no idea how we are going to afford them when they are teenagers, because my toddlers are already eating us out of house and home. Between our frequent trips to Costco - because we buy in bulk now - I decided I would try my hand at some homemade, and hopefully more healthy snacks. Here is my first experiment - no bake granola bars.

And while these may not provide tons of nutrition, I know there are no hard to pronounce weird processed ingredients. In fact, the these are so versatile that you can make them even more healthy if you want.

To make your own you need:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
chocolate chips & dried cranberries
(adapted from Rachel Ray)

In a big bowl, stir oats and rice cereal together. Set that aside. In a small saucepan melt the butter, honey, and brown sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes. Add in peanut butter til well combined. Pour in vanilla and stir. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. Add in dried cranberries and mix well. Pour into lightly greased small jelly roll pan and press out to desired thickness. You may need to pack the mixture into one side.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips and press down lightly. Cool in fridge for at least an hour before cutting into bars.

Serve them when a snack attack hits - which in my house is often. The great thing about these bars is you can make so many versions and keep the kids happy. You could stir in almonds, top with yogurt melts, or try dried blueberries or apricots. Really the sky is the limit. And since they are super easy to make, you can try a new recipe each week. What ideas do you have?

These bars are so easy I think you could even have your little ones help you make them. Not that mine need any help working up an appetite. Happy snacking everyone!

Friday, April 15, 2011

afternoon delight

With baby number two on the way, I have been snacking more than I am used to. I am also having to come up with new snacks to satisfy my ever changing cravings that inevitably pop up mid-afternoon. My most recent creation was this sinful strawberry toast.

Simply toast a piece of dark pumpernickel bread and smear it with creamy goat cheese. Clean, hull and dice a couple of juicy red strawberries and add them on top. Next chop a handful of pecans and sprinkle them over the toast. Then squeeze organic honey back and forth across the toast like syrup. Finally, tear a few mint leaves up and toss them in the sticky honey.

You may need a fork for this one. The tart berries and bright mint mix well with the smooth cheese and sweet honey. The nuts and dark bread ground the whole concoction. Plus, I got lots of good vitamin C, omega-3s, calcium, and fiber for me and baby. It really is was a delight.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

something for everybody

If you are like me, you are dreading the days when football season ends. If you are like my carnivore, you could probably care less. I realize this seems backwards, but it is what it is in our family. Either way, you may be preparing for a Super Bowl party. (Hey, we can all use an excuse to get together again now that the holidays are behind us.) If so, here are my suggestions on how to make sure you have something for everyone who shows up:

First, and most importantly in my book you should have cheese dip. I'm not gonna give you a recipe for this one. You can find pretty good white queso in your grocery store these days. What I am gonna insist on is that you invest in a heated chip and dip tray. Honestly, one of my favorite wedding presents.

Now if you happen to have a lactose intolerant friend, I have another idea. (Can you even imagine being allergic to cheese? My worse nightmare!) Whip up a quick cilantro rich guacamole in your food processor and voila, you have a gorgeous green dip that is sure to please.

But, let's think beyond just chips and dip. What about the meatheads in your crowd? There are sure to be a few. What's better than mini bites of meat? I suggest Memphis style barbecue meatballs. They are sure to satisfy. Oh, and you can make them vegetarian friendly too.

Of course, there will be the classics in your crowd that are looking for wings. I suggest you try these nearly naked drummies instead. They may require your carnivore breaking out the grill on a brisk day, but if yours is anything like mine he loves to cook things over an open flame any time of year.

Some people will certainly have a sweet tooth too. Instead of grabbing a tray of stale cupcakes with hardened and strangely colored frosting from your grocery store (you know the ones with the little plastic footballs in them), grab some fresh fruit and make this simple honey mascepone dip. Berries and melon would be great. Plus, its a no-cook recipe for you!

If you have a bit more time on your hand you could make these adorable tarts. Just grab some seasonal fruit (perhaps apple and pears), a pre-made pie crust and you will have mini desserts in no time. Everyone likes little sweet things.

While we are on the subject of fruit, I would like to suggest my grown up version of jello shots (which just aren't a good idea people) - rum soaked chilled pineapple bites. Sure you'll have beer and whatnot to drink, but why not eat your alcohol too?

On the other hand, as the recently pregnant and currently nursing mom, I would be remiss if I didn't include a wonderful pregatini. This lime fizzy is sure to make your moms-to-be feels special. Just make enough for the whole crowd, because everyone will likely want a glass.

Enjoy the game...and the food and drinks too!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ridiculously warm

We had a crazy warm summer here. People literally dropped like flies. And I live in Memphis, we are supposed to be used to heat and humidity. But even for the locals it was a bit much. It should be no surprise then that our fall has also been ridiculously warm. And while we aren't in the 100's any more, 80's in October seems a bit much. It may be the reason why I can't let go of some of my favorite summer things though - like grilling. In a recent grilling experiment the carnivore and I came up with this - grilled watermelon. I know it sounds kinda crazy. Maybe the heat had gotten to us, but I promise you won't think we are out of our minds when you try it.

Simply slice the seedless watermelon into thick pieces. Place them on a low heat grill for a minute or so on each side - just enough to warm it through and get the juices sugary. To dip the chunks in, mix together a small container of marscapone cheese and 2 tbsp of organic honey.

The warm watermelon melts in your mouth in a sugary burst that is reminiscent of cotton candy. And the creamy dip is divine. This would make a fabulous appetizer at a tailgate, or an amazing snack at your next play date, or even a knockout dessert the next time you are grilling your dinner anyway.  Trust me - watermelon is ridiculously good when warm.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

chips ahoy

There are people who crave sweets. They love to snack on cookies and ice cream and the like. I am not one of those girls. I like salty and crunchy snacks. Lucky for me the carnivore does too (although I am sure he would take the sweet stuff if it was offered). So, the other day we decided to combined or shared love for savory snacks by making our own potato chips. I know what you are thinking, is it worth the effort? And the short answer is yes, yes it is.

But how does one go about making these sinful tidbits? Well, I am lucky enough to own a kitchen aid mixer (thanks to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law). It not only mixes up batter for cakes and breads, it also has some amazing attachments. To make these chips we used the vegetable slicer. The carnivore actually did the slicing - anything to play with a gadget.

We used a large white potato and sliced it very thin. We then dipped the pieces in a high sided skillet with a generous pour of vegetable oil that was heated until sizzling hot. We removed the chips from oil and drained them on a paper towel. We topped them with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. You could even add a little white vinegar or chopped chives if you like.

It was really that simple. Plus, this way we knew there were no strange additives like in most bags of chips. And, they tasted amazing - crispy, crunchy, and salty - just like I like my snacks. Chips ahoy!

menu ideas:
These would be great with a gourmet hot dog or an inside-out cheese burger. Of course, remember to have veggie versions of both of the above. These are also nice as a snack on their own.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

pita chip salad

It is literally 105 degrees here. That means I am not that interesting in having big heavy meals. Sorry mac and cheese, I love you but you will have to wait till it cools off some. So, as I was looking for light, I came across an ad in Bon Apetit with a recipe from Iron Chef Cat Cora. I had most of the ingredients on hand (thanks to the cucumbers from my dad's garden), so I accepted the challenge. What I got was a wonderfully filling main dish (for me) and a new snack (for both of us).

For this salad/snack you will need:
2-3 pitas, cut into triangles
1/4 cup of olive oil, and a bit more for drizzling
1 tblsp of sesame seeds
2 tsps of paprika
1 tsp of kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large cucumber, halved and sliced
1/2 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes halved
4-5 peperocini, sliced
2 green onions, sliced thin
juice from 1/2 a lemon
2 tblsps of fresh mint, chopped
1 tblsp of thyme

To make the pita chips, combined the oil, sesame seeds, paprika, and salt in a large bowl. Toss the pita triangles till coated. Place them on a baking sheet and cook in an oven pre-heated to 375 degrees for about 7 minutes. Set the aside to cool.

To make the salad toss the remain ingredients together. Place in the fridge covered for at least an hour to let the flavors blend. Then add a few pita chips to the mix and serve.

menu ideas:
The pita chips are wonderful on their own. You can even dip them in some hummus or baba ganoush. Of course, they are great in the salad. I had this salad for dinner one night while the carnivore had grilled chicken drummies, both of which are great with a baked potato.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

red, white, and blue nachos

It is the Fourth of July and in honor of this holiday I am bringing you a crowd pleaser that is both tasty and patriotic. I came up with this idea when called upon to bring something to my dad's house for the Fourth. Now, you should know my father's house is heaven for the carnivore. There is an unlimited amount of meat on any occasion, but especially on this day. My dad grills slab after slab of ribs. And everyone there eats it. So, when asked to bring a dish I needed something that I, the lone vegetarian, could eat but that the carnivore and my meat loving family wouldn't turn their noses up at.

So, I decided to make red, white, and blue nachos. I used blue corn chips, grated pepper jack cheese and vegetarian chili. You can make your own chili (and I do when not under a time crunch) or just use the canned version. I placed all of the chips in an aluminum container and then topped it with the pepperjack. We like things spicy, but you could use any other white cheddar or queso. Finally I poured the chili on top. I placed the whole thing in the oven under a high broil for about 3 minutes - just enough to melt the cheese. Tada - nachos!

It was fantastic (and I didn't have to tell anyone it was a vegetarian dish). So, if you are a meat eater or a vegetarian, try out this twist. It is a good idea for kids and adults alike on this special day, or any day for that matter. Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

cupcakes for breakfast!

So, if you know my carnivore you know he wouldn't pick up a piece of fruit if it fell off a tree and hit him in the head. Therefore, I am always trying to sneak fruit in whenever I can. This cupcake is the perfect example. And, yes, it really is a cupcake, not a muffin. I got the recipe from my 500 Cupcakes cookbook. But, it actually packs in a lot of goodies - like apples, pears, raisins, pecans, and cinnamon. So even if he is eating a cupcake for breakfast he is getting fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, protein, and manganese - just to name a few nutrients. If you are still feeling guilty, remember this isn't an everyday thing. It is a special treat for you and possibly your little ones (or big ones with the palates of small children). You will all love this breakfast cupcake!

For this decadent day starter you will need:
1 stick of sweet butter, softened
1/2 cup and 1 tblsp of sugar (and a little more for dusting)
1 cup self-rising flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce (or two of those little one you pack in a lunch)
3/4 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
1/2 cup of raisins (I actually found packs of raisins mixed with dried apples and cinnamon)
1/2 a pear (or apple), sliced into bite sized bits

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a muffin pan with silicone cups (see my amazon store for the ones I love to use). Mix the butter, sugar, flour and eggs until smooth and pale. Add in the remaining ingredients, except the pear. Spoon the batter into the cups. Add slices of pear on top. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then cool on rack. Makes one dozen cupcakes. Great when served warm!

menu ideas:
Serve a cupcake with two real sausage links or soysage links along side a cup of orange juice, milk, or coffee.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

basic banana bread

As you know, I am always trying to get my carnivore to eat his fruits and veggies. So, often I make a breakfast bread that sneaks in some nutrients. This is a perfect example. The bananas are a great source of potassium and the walnuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Don't worry. These are the good fats. Research has sown that omega-3s can lower cholesterol, protect the heart, defend against some cancers and help ease symptoms of inflammatory diseases like arthritis. Besides, making this bread is better than tossing those browning bananas!

To make this bread you will need:

3 eggs
1/3 cup of vegetable oil

1/2 tsp of vanilla
1 cup of sugar
2 1/3 cup of pancake mix
3 small brown bananas
1/2 cup of walnuts

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf pan with oil. Co
mbine all of the ingredients above and mix thoroughly. Add the batter to your loaf pan and cook for 50-60 minutes (until golden brown and it passes the toothpick test). Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then loosen it from the pan and turn it onto a cooling rack. (If you are wondering about the one pictured above it is an expandable rack. See my amazon store for more details.) Slice generously and serve while still warm.

menu ideas:
Serve this banana bread with a glass of OJ and a couple of slices of either bacon or "facon" to satisfy both the vegetarian and the meat-eater in your house. It can also make a great afternoon snack.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

holy guacamole!

I will be honest, my carnivore won't touch guacamole. It is way too green for him. But, many other carnivorous friends and family members of mine love it as much as I do. This is a great recipe for a group gathering or a family game night. Plus, this dip packs in tons of nutrients - vitamin E, vitamin K, fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C - just to name a few. And did I mention it is delicious? My hubby and I got married in a small town in Mexico
that we still return to again and again. I won't say it is solely because of the guacamole at a place called Hemingway's where they grind it fresh at your table, but...So when I need a fix, I make this version at home.

Gather together:
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1/4 of a medium red onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
a handful of fresh cilantro
1 tblsp. olive oil
the juice of one lime
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor (see my amazon store for the one I use and love). Blend thoroughly. I like mine a little chunky, but you can can keep blending until it is smooth. If you have left-overs be sure to cover them with a plastic film to prevent browning.

menu ideas:

This guac is great all on its own. Serve it with tortilla chips or fresh veggies for dipping. You can also use it as a condiment to any mexican dish you serve, whether it be burritos or quesadillas. It is even a great vegetarian filling for tacos when you are serving your carnivore beef filled ones.
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