My son and I made these yummy popcorn balls yesterday. They were very easy to make, and a fun project to do with kids. The result was similar to rice krispies treats, only with popcorn. Some chocolate chips would be a welcome addition. These would make a great addition to a spread at a kid’s birthday party. Get the recipe: Popcorn Balls Recipe | MyRecipes.com.
Tag Archives: Snacks
Ever since I limited myself from buying packaged foods, which include chips and crackers, I have been trying to eat more nutritious snacks made from whole foods. My sense is that not only are these foods better for me, but I actually snack less and am more satisfied, which keeps my weight stable.
Here are a few tips I’ve worked out to help me snack better:
- Put out fruit on the counter, especially nibbles like grapes and berries. When I see them, I want to eat them. (I used to have this trigger effect with candy and chips, but they aren’t allowed in my house anymore.)
- Always keep nuts and dried fruit in the house. A handful makes for a quick and filling snack if intense hunger strikes, usually in the late afternoon.
- Indulge in a block of good cheese. It tastes better eaten alone or with homemade bread (since there are no more crackers), and it’s also very filling. I try to vary it from week to week.
- Indulge my sweet tooth once a week or so with a homemade treat. This week I think I’ll make banana bread.
What tips do you have for snacking better? Please leave them in the comments.
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I didn’t have a proper dinner last night, just some quick dishes I whipped up for the baby and me. Here’s what I learned.
Edamame — fresh soybeans, usually sold frozen in the pod — make a tasty and healthy snack. Even my two-year-old loves them. They cook in about 3 minutes. Don’t get stuck thinking you always have to serve them Japanese-style either. Try removing them from the pod, drizzling with olive oil and sprinkling with grated Parmesan. Delish!
Couscous cooks very quickly and can actually serve as a light supper (or breakfast), depending on what you put in it. I like to add sauteed vegetables; dried fruits; and toasted nuts. Per ½ cup couscous, bring 1 cup water or stock to a boil. Stir in the couscous and other ingredients, cover and remove the pot from the heat. Let the couscous steep about 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
- Couscous for Breakfast? Pasta and Potatoes? (simplycooking.wordpress.com)
I have already seen 3 stories this morning on the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatricians to redesign the hot dog so that it doesn’t pose a choking hazard for kids. On each story, the comments come in two flavors: parents are to blame when their children choke on hot dogs for not watching them closely enough, and parents who want to redesign hot dogs are overprotective helicopter parents who won’t let their kids have a real childhood.
As a relatively new parent, all I can say is: We just can’t win. We’re either not protective enough or we’re overprotective. We’re at fault for everything our kids do and everything that happens to them, but we have to stop smothering them. No wonder most parents I know, including myself, feel like we’re slowly going insane. My solution: Use common sense when dealing with your own kids and ignore everything that anyone else has to say about it.
As for the hot dog issue, I think perhaps some parents aren’t aware of the hazards they pose. Or choking incidents may occur when kids are in the care of others. Contrary to popular Internet commenter belief, parents do not, should not and cannot watch their children 24 hours a day.
Enough ranting. Last night for dinner, I made a strange but tasty pureed potato soup. I started from a recipe but quickly veered into the unknown. The base was roasted peppers, onions, garlic and tomatillos, spiced with cilantro and adobe seasoning. To that I added mushrooms, potatoes and tomatoes. I simmered until the potatoes were tender, pureed the soup and topped with crumbled bacon. It was very tasty for a dish that mostly served to use up all the odds and ends in the refrigerator.
But the real revelation was the edamame, or green soybeans, I cooked as a snack for the baby and me. Instead of simply boiling and salting them, I just covered them with water and added some olive oil, garlic salt and dried herbs. I simmered them for 20 minutes. They were extremely tasty and could serve as a substitute for cocktail peanuts as a before-dinner nibble. I also think they would be good mashed a little and spread on crusty bread with some grated salty cheese. Stored in their cooking liquid, they should keep for a few days. I will definitely keep frozen soybeans on hand now for snacking.
Granola is not something I ever thought of making for myself, even though I eat it with yogurt almost every morning. It just seemed like something you buy, rather than something you make. But when you think about it, there are several advantages to making your own granola. First, it’s cheaper to buy the basic components of granola in bulk. Second, you can put whatever you like in there. And you can also cut down the amount of sweeteners typically used in processed granola. Finally, it keeps pretty much indefinitely in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen, so you can make up a big batch and snack on it for a while.
For my first attempt, I used Mark Bittman‘s recipe from Food Matters. Making granola is much easier than I thought it would be. Bittman’s recipe does make a huge amount — it calls for 5 cups of rolled oats — but I think you can safely cut down the amounts as long as you maintain the proportions (and it might fit better in your baking pan). I also thought the cooking time of 30 minutes was a bit too long, and resulted in a more toasted granola than I normally like, so I would reduce the cooking time to 20 minutes or so. Keep a good eye on it as it cooks and take it out of the oven when it looks and smells done to you.
Now that I have successfully made a batch of granola, I think I will be experimenting with different grains, nuts and seasonings. I definitely won’t go back to buying my own granola!
Time to make: ~30 minutes
Yields: 9 cups
- 5 cups rolled oats or other rolled grains
- 3 cups mixed chopped nuts and seeds — I used sunflower seeds
- 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 1 tsp. cinnamon or baking spices
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ cup honey, or to taste
- 1½ cups dried fruit of your choice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Combine all of the ingredients but the honey and dried fruit in a large bowl and toss well. Spread the mixture over the baking sheet. Drizzle the honey over and toss again. (I found it much easier to mix in the honey this way than in the bowl, as the original recipe calls for.)
Bake 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is browned and toasted to your liking. The darker it gets, the deeper the toasted flavor and the crunchier the granola.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the pan cool on a rack to room temperature. Put the granola in an airtight container or plastic bag and mix in the dried fruit. Store in the refrigerator or freeze any extra amounts. Snack on it as is or mix with yogurt and fresh fruit for a yummy, healthy breakfast.
Recipe adapted from Food Matters by Mark Bittman.
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