Pepitas and dried cranberries

This snack idea is from Gastrokids. I’m just starting to warm up to snack mixes for kids as my youngest recently turned three and is supposedly clear to eat popcorn, whole nuts and the like.  More importantly, she is extremely likely to pick all the sweet bits out and leave the rest. But, in this case, at least it’s cranberries and not chocolates. Pepitas are a new favorite thing of mine too.

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1/2 cup pepitas
1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries

Mix and serve.

Yield: 3/4 cup
Prep time: 2 minutes

Lemon Yogurt with Raspberries

[donotprint]A few days ago we went to the orchard and there were still raspberries waiting to be picked in the raspberry patch. They are terribly fragile and have a shelf life of about 10 minutes. But we nonetheless managed to turn them into a quick and delightful little snack.[/donotprint]

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1 cup plain greek-style yogurt
1/2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup granola (preferably something with almonds)
1 pint raspberries

Gently rinse raspberries and allow them to air dry.

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar. Divide the yogurt between three small bowls (1/3 cup each). Top yogurt with 1 – 2 tablespoons granola and then with a generous handful of raspberries. Serve.

Yield: 3 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes

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Apple Pie Yogurt

[donotprint]The only problem I’m having with yogurt these days is that I’m not sure whether to give it to my kids for breakfast, lunch, dinner or all of the above. Apparently the live cultures found in yogurt are all the rage for fighting off the flu. But I also just read an article that encouraged yogurt consumption close to bedtime because it is relatively high in the amino acid L-tryptophan.

More importantly, don’t you just love the kitty bowl? Sur La Table.[/donotprint]DSC02704

1 cup plain greek-style yogurt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped apple (plus more for garnish)

In a small mixing bowl stir together yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add chopped apple and stir again. Serve garnished with extra chopped apples.

Yield: 2-3 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes

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One Small Victory for Healthy Mom

Yesterday morning my first grader told me out of the blue that Danny (name changed for snacking privacy) has Oreos for snack every day. Her other tablemate has Ritz Handi-Snacks. I have a feeling that her third tablemate eats relatively healthy snacks because my kid doesn’t have an answer when I ask her what Susan snacks on.

So apparently, through the eyes of my child, this is what I’m up against during morning snack:

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I think this all came up because I asked my kid to get her snack ready. As she was surveying the kitchen she was not tempted by the usual fruit or crackers (Surprise!). So we started brainstorming and the Chocolate Chippy Roll was born.

I sent her up to school with a much lower tech version than what is pictured below – just cream cheese and normal-sized chips between a couple pieces of bread and cut up into squares. The report back that afternoon was that little Danny actually stole some of my kid’s snack (all in good fun) because it looked so yummy. I’m sure my kid gave it a good sell because she had such a hand in making it. But still, I was happy that, at least for one day, my kid was not the one with freaky healthy parents who send her to school everyday with a bag full of oats.

Chocolate Chippy Rolls

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1 slice whole grain bread
2-3 teaspoons cream cheese
1 teaspoon mini chocolate chips

Cut crusts off of bread and roll flat with a rolling pin. Spread on cream cheese. Sprinkle on chocolate chips. Roll up the bread and slice into 5 or 6 pieces. Pack it up in an airtight storage container.

Yield: 1 serving
Prep time: 5 minutes

Peanut Butter Clusters

[donotprint]These somehow manage to give me a sugar buzz even though they don’t seem to be totaly overloaded with it. I’ve really got to get some piece of software that will spit out nutrition information for recipes.

Anyway, these are tasty, as you can well imagine. It’s sort of like a reese’s peanut butter cup and a kit kat decided to quit their day jobs and move out to the country to start running their own organic co-op.[/donotprint]

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1/2 cup peanut butter (homogenized works best)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed or wheat germ(optional)
1 1/2 cups corn flakes cereal

Place peanut butter, chocolate chips and maple syrup in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula until chocolate is melted and combined.

Turn off heat but leave your saucepan on the burner. Quickly stir in flaxseed or wheat germ. Immediately add cereal and stir gently with rubber spatula until well-coated. If the peanut butter mixture starts to get too firm, reheat it a bit.

Place mini muffin paper cups in mini muffin pan and spoon heaping tablespoons of the cereal mixture into the cups. Cover and allow to set for 1 hour. Serve or store in an airtight container. Best eaten the same day.

Yield: approximately 22 clusters
Prep time: 15 minutes
Set time: 1 hour

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Banana Splits

[donotprint]Yes, we have a jar of petro-chemical based “cherries” lurking in our pantry. No, I am not ashamed. Unsurprisingly, my “testers” consumed these with glee. Next time I might need to put a bit of whipped cream around the base of the ice cream.[/donotprint]

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1 banana, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup chocolate frozen yogurt
1/4 cup crispy brown rice cereal
2 teaspoons rainbow sprinkles
2 maraschino cherries (optional)
Cover the bottom of two shallow dishes with the banana slices. In the center of each bowl, place ¼ cup frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cereal and 1 teaspoon sprinkles. Top with a cherry (if desired).
Yield: 2 sundaes
Prep time: 5 minutes

Note: Cherries could be replaced with a dollop of strawberry jam or just a plain ol’ strawberry.

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Cheesy Sweet Potato Balls

I used up some leftover Sweet Potato Fries to make these.

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½ cup cooked sweet potato (with skin)
1 cup cooked brown rice
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/3 cup cottage cheese
1 tablespoon wheat germ (optional)
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place sweet potato, rice, Monterey Jack cheese, cottage cheese, wheat germ and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 45 – 60 seconds or until smooth and a ball starts to form.

Roll sweet potato mixture into tablespoon-sized balls with your hands. Place balls on baking sheet and bake on the center rack of the oven for 15-17 minutes or until the bottoms are golden.

Allow balls to cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes. Gently remove balls with thin metal spatula and serve. Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Yield: 20 balls
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 15 minutes

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Pizza Muffins

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Pizza Muffins Recipe
2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup lowfat milk
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 F

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, Italian Seasoning, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together, egg, olive oil, sugar, buttermilk, milk, tomato paste, cottage cheese and parmesan cheese until almost uniform in color. Small bits of tomato and cheese are actually a good thing so do not over mix. Add the dry ingredients and mix until uniform.

Transfer batter to a muffin pan sprayed with oil. Fill each muffin cup up to ¾ full with batter. Bake on a rack in the center of the oven for 15 – 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes in pan and then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve or store in an airtight container.

Yield: 12 muffins
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 15 minutes

Note: If you don’t have any buttermilk, you can make a substitute. If you don’t have any white whole wheat flour, I’d suggest replacing it with 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour.

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Crispy Clouds

[donotprint]These are otherwise known as Pavlovas. But I can barely say ‘pavlova’, much less my kids. Good tongue twister, bad name for a kid snack.  My kids came up with name while stuffing their faces. There were no leftovers.

Crispy Clouds have a delightful mouthfeel. They remind me of eating a roasted marshmallow, but take away the heat and sugar overload.[/donotprint]

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3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon agave nectar or sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch salt

3/4 cup whipped cream (give or take)
1 cup fresh raspberries (give or take)

Preheat oven to 200 F.

Place the egg whites, agave, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip the egg white mixture on medium high speed until peaks form. Turn off mixer and detach bowl. Transfer large spoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the scoops at least an inch apart. Make a well in the center of each scoop with the back of the spoon. They should be approximately 4-inches wide once the wells are created.

Bake on the center rack of the oven for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the clouds are stiff and willing to detach from the parchment paper.

Allow the clouds to cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet. Gently remove from parchment paper and transfer to serving plate. Garnish each cloud with approximately 1 tablespoon whipped cream and a heaping tablespoon of berries. Serve.

Makes 12 clouds
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 1 1/2 hours

Note: Raspberries can be replaced by any soft fresh fruit.

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Apple Crisp “Cookies”

[donotprint]I need to make these again sometime soon because I might have eaten most of them myself and my kids might not have really gotten a chance to taste them. Poor little souls.

The key with these, unless you enjoy running the oven all day, is to create a uniform and consistant thickness as best you can. One little fat blob of apple can take up to an extra hour to dry out. Either that or you’ll be forced to eat it immediately because it won’t keep well if it’s not totally dried out.[/donotprint]

4 apples, coarsely grated (approximately 1 1/2 cup lightly packed)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional, especially if you have some sweet apples to work with)
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 250 F.

In a medium bowl mix together the apple, brown sugar, wheat germ, butter, cinnamon, and salt. Place heaping tablespoon-sized scoops of the apple mixture onto parchment lined baking sheets. Make sure the scoops are 2- inches apart. With the back of a spoon, flatten the scoops until they are 1/4-inch (or less) thick. Pay careful attention to achieving a uniform thickness as the cookies will require more time in the oven if they are too thick.

Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until the cookies are dry yet pliable. Allow to cool before serving. Once cool, the cookies should crisp up considerably. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 20 cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 1 1/2 hours

Note: These “cookies” will cook differently depending how thinly they are spread out on the baking sheets. So after an hour and a half, check in on them every ten minutes or so. They may brown a bit and that’s fine. They dry quite a bit after they cool down so if they’ve been in the oven for two hours and no longer feel squishy, they are most likely done.

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