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.
Here’s a snack that the kids and I can’t say ‘no’ to lately. Even the peanut butter hater in my household is a big fan. It’s the best I’m-craving-chocolate-but-I actually-want-to-put-some-real-food-in-my-body kind of snack there is.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
2 overripe bananas, peeled
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Put it all in a blender and whiz until smooth. Makes 2 cups.
The days are getting shorter and the nights are cooler. Instead of shopping for new sweaters at Anthropologie I should be dealing with all the herbs I planted this spring. At least I’ve got some of the basil taken care of with this Basil Hummus.
This is a winner of a recipe from An Organic Conversation that I found via seaweed snacks. It is simple to prepare and has the perfect amount of garlic and lemon juice. It’s great for dipping and on sandwiches. Love it.
One of the best parts of being a food blogger is that I feel required to keep a well-stocked pantry. I keep a large quantity of nuts, specialty flours, and, um, chocolate in my extra fridge that lives in the garage. The likelihood of me following through with a suggestion or random idea goes way up if I have all the ingredients on hand.
Now that I think about it, all it really takes to keep my family snacking healthy is a) a tiny bit of forethought, b) a bowl full of fruit on the kitchen counter, and c) a well-stocked pantry that leans toward healthy real stuff because you know I’m going to reach for that which is salty, fatty, sweet, and easy first if it’s anywhere in the house.
There, now you know all my secrets. Now that we’ve got that all figured out, go have some fun.
Seriously, a friend suggested that I try mixing some finely chopped chocolate into nut butter over a year ago. We’ve been munching away on this fabulous little treat on a regular basis now that the apples are starting to come in. This snack is a lot like Mud Dip. But it’s even quicker to pull together.
Peanut Butter with Chopped Chocolate Recipe
Serve this concoction as a dip with thickly sliced apples. Part of me wants to top it with roasted marshmallows, sliced banana, and top it with crumbled graham crackers…But that’ll have to wait.
It’s easiest to chop chocolate if you go at it if a serrated knife at an angle shaving off a little bit at a time.
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1/2 ounce dark chocolate, chopped fine
Yield: one generous serving
Prep-time: 5 minutes
Thank goodness I write a food blog or I never would have taken the leap and bought a little container of maple sugar for what seemed like way too much money. But for you, my dear readers, I forked over the $4.00 and got busy making some maple kettle corn.
We picked up the sugar at the Hebron Maple Festival after we sampled maple ice cream, frothy maple milk (yum!), and maple cotton candy. The line for the maple kettle corn was too long. A long line is always a good sign. But at that point we’d eaten so much we didn’t see the point of waiting it out even if maple kettle corn was a life-changing event. So I went about making some a couple days later with my trusty maple sugar.
Maple Kettle Corn Recipe
Kettle corn made with maple sugar is more prone to burn than regular kettle corn. So don’t go anywhere while you’re making it. Get all the ingredients ready ahead of time while your pot is heating. Things can move quickly, but the pay off is worth it. Imagine crunchy-salty-sweet goodness with undertones of molasses. Or is it caramel? I’m not sure, but it’s definitely tasty.
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
3/4 cup popcorn
2 tablespoons maple sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat a large non-stick pot over medium high heat. When it is nice and warm, add the oil, popcorn, and sugar. Stir well to make sure that the sugar is well distributed. Place the lid on the pot. Shake the pot with increasing frequency once the popping begins to make sure that the corn and sugar do not burn.
After a few minutes, the popping should subside. Remove the pot from the burner (a little too early is better than too late) and stir the popcorn with a wooden spoon while you sprinkle on the salt. Stir a few more times to make sure none of the sugar burns on the bottom of the pot.
Serve immediately or store for up to a couple days in an airtight container. Be sure to give the popcorn a little extra cooling time if you’re serving youngsters. The sugar bits can be very hot.
Yield: 10 cups – serves 3 -4
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Note: My kids didn’t start eating popcorn until they were three years old. Make sure you’re up to date on current recommendations as far as choking hazards and feeding before serving this snack to children.
Eton Mess (a traditional English dessert consisting of strawberries, whipped cream, and crushed meringues) is my kids’ new favorite reason for livin’/snack. This afternoon they were happily introduced to meringues. Then we smashed them into bits! It was great.
I even put them to work making their own snack. Here they are whipping some cream and smashing meringues.
They are very focused.
But the pay-off for all their hard work is deemed worth it.
A sure sign that a snack is a winner is when my children, who are usually nice enough to humor me, refuse to stop eating so I can take a couple photos.
Eton Mess On A Stick Recipe
This recipe actually works best with huge industrial-strength California strawberries. The beefy berries hold their own on skewers better than I imagine delicate local berries would. They also have more square footage for the whipped cream and meringue to cling to. For the meringues I took the easy route and used Trader Joe’s Vanilla Meringues, but feel free to make your own, especially if you have a ton of egg whites and sugar waiting to be used.
1 pound strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved lengthwise
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 medium meringue cookies
Pour the cream and vanilla into a small bowl. Whip the cream mixture until peaks form. Set aside.
Place the meringues in a sandwich bag or under a towel and gently smash the cookies into tiny bits with the flat side of a meat tenderizer.
Stab the berries with a small bamboo skewer. (Cut off the pointy tips if your little ones can’t be trusted not to poke themselves in the eye.) Dip the berries into the crushed meringues, the whipped cream, and then maybe the crushed meringues one more time. Consume immediately.
Yield: 3 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Having been a vegetarian for many years, I’m still learning when it comes to making a decent meatball. Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is where I got the recipe for these little beauties. Lucky for me, we had a few leftover and I was able to whip up a delicious quick lunch that took no thought. Bliss!
Mini Open-faced Meatball Sandwiches
If you’re lucky enough to have some leftover homemade meatballs on hand, drop everything and make this now. Obviously, the proportions and number of sandwiches can be adjusted to your needs. The only real requirement is that the bread be sturdy enough to support all of that cheesy meaty goodness.
3 small slices of rustic bread
4 fully cooked small meatballs, cut in half
3 1-inch by 4-inch slices of white cheddar cheese
Preheat the broiler in the oven on High. Slide a rack into the upper third of the oven so the sandwiches will be close (but not too close) to the heat.
Assemble the sandwiches by placing the bread on a baking tray and topping them with 2 or 3 meatball halves. Top with a slice of cheese. Broil for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and has begun to brown.
Yield: 3 mini sandwiches
Prep-time: 5 minutes
Bake-time: 5 minutes
The other day my 5-year-old started an unsolicited brainstorming session concerning what she would be having for snack that afternoon.
“Apples with… salt mama! Ha! Let’s make that!” she said jokingly. And I said, “I think that’s actually something people do eat sometimes. Wanna try it?”
And, of course, she said “YES!” So I bought out a tiny bowl with some kosher salt and viola!
She liked it. She loves salt almost as much as she loves sugar. My other kid was not a fan though. Can’t win ‘em all. My husband thinks I’m a loser for publishing this since he’s been “eating apples like that for years“. But I’d never heard of it until I met him.
In other news…
We have sprouts. Not just any sprouts either. This is the precious Lemon Basil, the herb to end all herbs. It’s the whole reason I’m starting everything from seed. I couldn’t find it at my local nurseries last year. I hope it’s a strong little plant because I have no idea what I’m doing.
The Big Rainbow tomato sprouts emerged today too. These will produce giant yellow heirloom tomatoes with red stripes. I’m salivating as I type this. Get crackin’ little plant!
In case you hadn’t noticed I’m a little giddy over the coming of spring. I can’t help it. There’s no one happier than a New Englander when spring finally arrives.
Also, in case you were wondering, the chicks are doing their best to take over the basement.
You know it’s time to move them out into larger quarters in the garage when they jump right out of the bin and roost proudly on the edge. I’m already afraid this one is a rooster because she is so brazen and ready to take on the world.
Oh, and one more thing…
If you’re looking for the best Double Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe ever, I’ve got a lead for you. This blessed cookie was made from a recipe in Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan. It’s brilliant. It’s more of a brownie than a cookie. I think I’m going to need to own a copy of the book soon because the recipe for Swedish Oatmeal Hardtack is also excellent. And the recipe/tutorial devoted to pie crust is one of the best I’ve seen.
Here’s another one to add to the simple yet brilliant category. My five-year-old thinks they’re the bee’s knees. Any snack that can momentarily distract her from her seemingly constant fixation on sugar is a winner in my book.
I think I’m going to save you from my blather and not post a recipe for this one. It’s obvious from the picture right? All you need is a slice of apple, peanut butter, and raisins and you’re good to go. I do the apple and peanut butter prep and let the child go to town with the raisins. We really know how to live it up here.
These remind me of Apple Flying Saucers which I wrote a recipe for back in 2009.