One of the most popular categories on Fix Me A Snack is “10 Minutes or Less“. Those of us who do not like to spend our entire lives in the kitchen, appreciate a little inspiration in the realm of quick healthy snacks for kids.
This is a snack we used to eat all the time, but it’s fallen by the wayside lately. Bananas with chocolate syrup and sprinkles was always a winner. Maybe we need to bring it back.
Also, I must show you a picture I found that my youngest drew a couple years ago. It’s the family in the kitchen. I love it. Can you tell I’m feeling a little nostalgic today? When they were babies the older moms always told me they would grow up so quickly and I didn’t believe them one bit. They were right, of course. Wah.
I was trolling the isles of Whole Foods yesterday and this giant bag of herb-encrusted popcorn was calling out to me quite loudly. The only reason I resisted was because I knew Zatar popcorn would be even better. Is it Zatar or Za’tar or Zathar? Does anyone really care? However you spell it, it is a middle eastern spice blend that contains sumac, thyme, and sesame seeds.
If you drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on freshly popped popcorn and sprinkle it liberally with Zatar, you will be happy. One of my kids even thinks it’s the bee’s knees. Sometimes I might add a small pinch of salt if I’m in the mood. But it doesn’t really need it.
I get my Zatar from Penzey’s Spices. You can make your own following this recipe on 101 Cookbooks.
My convection oven and I still aren’t on a first name basis. But I’m slowly learning it’s ways and am often pleasantly surprised by it’s capabilities. Don’t ask me exactly what those capabilities are. Part of me wonders if it really does speed up dinner or if it’s just nice to have a button on the oven that makes me feel like I’m cheating time.
I’m not fully convinced, but if there is an ultimate use for convection ovens it is making kale chips. The fan in the back of the oven keeps the air moving evenly throughout the oven. As a result, the chips crisp up quickly and evenly. By keeping the temperature low, I am able to avoid the dreaded over-baked brown kale chip which would send my family away screaming. And did I mention how much more quickly I can turn out kale chips now? They’re done in 20 minutes instead of an hour in a regular oven.
The oven essentially becomes a high-heat dehydrator. The chips are roasted quickly and safely. (I tried dehydrating kale chips once in my dehydrator and they tasted like seaweed. So you won’t be seeing a recipe for dehydrated kale chips on this blog unless my palate is elevated significantly.)
The only problem with this recipe is that my husband wants me to fix him kale chips for his late night snack all the time now. One can only fit so much curly kale in the fridge. Woe is me.
Speaking of problems, I loved loved loved all the nice comments folks left after I whined in my last post. Thanks for the good vibes. They were much appreciated.
Convection Oven Kale Chips Recipe
1 bunch curly kale
1 generous pinch of fine salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to Convection 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rinse the kale and tear the leaves off of the stem and into pieces. Spin the kale dry in a salad spinner. Transfer the kale to a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and oil. Massage the kale with your hands for a few minutes. Divide the kale between two parchment-lined baking sheets making sure the leaves are spread out evenly.
Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on how much kale was in your bunch. A bigger bunch will take longer as the leaves will be more crowded. If your chips aren’t salty enough, sprinkle on a touch more. Serve or store for up to two days in an air-tight container.
Yield: approximately 6 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Bake-time: 20 minutes
I have to be honest and tell you that really the only reason this blog is still up and running is because I refer to it rather often. If Fix Me A Snack disappeared I’d be pretty pissed over all the recipes I’d lose. If I was smart, I’d print some of the important ones out. But I haven’t gotten around to it.
After doing this for more than a few years, it’s pretty clear that I’m not going to be the next Food Network Star. I’m proficent in the kitchen, but there’s nothing terribly ground-breaking going on here. So why do I blog? The only reason I can see is that it makes me a better cook. It keeps me wondering about healthy snacks and healthy food in general for my family. Other than that I don’t get much out of it. I’m kind of down on social media these days. I have no blogging friends. Comments on my posts are minimal (wah). I don’t make any money and don’t have the will to improve my SEO or the compulsion to share intimate details of my life along with millions of photos.
But it’s a recipe like this that will keep the blog alive. I will be referring to this one for years to come just like I did with its predecessor, Almond Butter Balls. My kids love it. The inspiration for the recipe comes, in part, from Food Doodles’ No Bake Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies. It’s kind of like the two recipes were combined.
Peanut Butter Balls Recipe
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup crispy rice cereal
Place the dates and peanuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for about 60 seconds. Add the honey, vanilla, peanut butter, and salt. Pulse for another 20-30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the cereal and mix well. Take about one tablespoon of the mixture at a time and roll it into a ball. Serve or store in the freezer in an airtight container.
Yield: 22 balls
Prep-time: 15 minutes
In case you hadn’t heard, southern New England got a bit of snow last night. It’s hard to say how much. The wind has pushed so much of it around and the drifts are 4 feet high in places. We had to shovel out a path from the door just so the dog could get out to do his business this morning. He is currently plopped in front of the wood stove and has made it known that he has no desire to go outside again today.
My girls ventured outside first thing this morning. Ten minutes later they came back thoroughly defeated by the snow. We quickly decided it would be a perfect day to stay in, wait for the plow to show up, and make some snow treats. (The grown-ups, however, are going to have to get outside and deal with reality sooner rather than later. It’s going to take a good bit of shoveling to get to the chickens and open their coop door.)
The first thing my eldest requested was Molasses on Snow. The Kitchn has a similar recipe for Maple Syrup on Snow. Another cute variation comes from Food on the Food: Maple Syrup Snow Pops.
Then there is the whole Snow Ice Cream genre. It’s easier and quicker than Snow Candy. But it requires pristine snow. Lucky for us, we’ve got plenty at the moment right outside our front door.
How to Make Snow Ice Cream (video). Mix together 4 cups fresh clean snow, 1/2 cup whole milk or half and half, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Serve.
Maple Snow Cream from Foodie Tots. A simple and tasty looking recipe. Wouldn’t mind a big slice of coconut cake to go with it. But like I said, I’ve got some shoveling to deal with. I’m looking at an excellent upper body workout today!
Happy weekend! Let me know if there are any other snow treats out there that I don’t know about.
I don’t know about you, but my kids are more excited for the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet than they are for the big game. It’s safe to say that I’m not terribly excited about any of it. The snacking possibilities will have to carry me through. Woe is me.
Some of these snacks are healthier than others. May the force be with you and may your team win.
Mini Meatball Sandwich
Also here are some other fun looking recipes that I would happily gobble up on Superbowl Sunday:
Three Layer Dip from Choosing Raw
Low Fat Dip Recipes from Simple Nourished Living
Bacon wrapped chicken bites form Skinny Taste
Avo-dilla from Healthy Happy Life
Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing from Noble Pig
Spicy Pumpkin Seeds from Jane Spice
and last but not least, Chex Soctcheroos from Yammie’s Gluten Freedom
When we rolled out of bed this morning the outdoor thermometer told us that it was -1 degrees. Minus 1. Having lived in Connecticut for a while, I’m always a little shocked when it actually gets cold in January. We’ve had some warm spells and it was looking like we might have another mild winter. But apparently it was not meant to be. I am slightly comforted by the snowman recently built by my six year old.
Today was not a day to serve up the usual crudities after school. Today we are having soup for dinner while sitting as close to the wood stove as possible. Anything other than a warm snack was not an option. So I decided to put some leftover baked potatoes to use.
I’ve posted a potato skins recipe before. But I’ve since been educated by the likes of America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and Simply Recipes. These are better. They could be made in advance too and the glorious melting of the cheese could be saved for the last minute.
Potato Skins Recipe
This healthy (ha!) baked potato skin recipe is as good as its restaurant counterpart because of the crispy cheese. While your sprinkling the cheese on the potatoes to bake, don’t be sad if a big clump misses a potato. That’s the best part.
4 medium leftover baked potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups grated cheese such as mozzarella, cheddar, and/or parmesan
Fresh chives, for garnish
Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the majority of the inside of the potato. Set the potato insides aside for another use. Cut the potatoes up into child-sized pieces.
Arrange the potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a pastry brush to douse the potatoes with the melted butter. Bake the potatoes for 10 minutes or until they have browned on the edges. Sprinkle the cheese over the potatoes and bake them for another 5 – 10 minutes or until the cheese is properly melted.
Yield: serves 3-4 as a hearty snack
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes
Meet our new favorite way to eat oatmeal. I really like it with some chopped pecans on top. The kids prefer it without.
Apple Pie Oatmeal Recipe
This is a perfect not-too-sweet and healthy way to start your family’s day. You can use maple sugar instead of brown sugar if you have it.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large or 2 small apples, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons brown sugar, not packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Chop up the apples and cook them until they start to get soft. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and cook for another minute and stir well.
Add the oats and water and cook on medium low heat until thick, stirring occasionally. It should take about ten minutes for the oats to thicken. Stir in the vanilla and serve. Top with chopped toasted pecans if you wish.
Yield: 2 1/2 cups
Prep-time: 15 minutes
We’ve got a pretty quiet Thanksgiving planned this year. But in the past I’ve been so busy planning for a house full of friends and kids that I haven’t even had time to post about Thanksgiving goodies.
The world is a happier place when guests (especially the kids) have little somethings to munch on so they don’t have any problem making it to the main event.
Here are some suggestions for Thanksgiving snacks. All of them can be made a day or two beforehand. And all of them are kid-approved.
I hope you all have a day full of laughter and yumminess.