Archive for the ‘Snacks’ Category
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Last week, I reviewed The Christmas Table, yet another lovely cookbook from A Gooseberry Patch. Today was kind of a lazy day. We got up this morning and my husband and the kids worked in the yard while I did homework. My husband left this afternoon for an event and I am home with the kids. This is a perfect time to spoil them a little with a special snack!
When I flipped through The Christmas Table, the Cinnamon-Spice Popcorn recipe caught my eye right away. We love different flavored popcorns so I was definitely going to try this. It got mixed reviews in my house. I loved it because it had just enough sweetness from the sugar and spices but was also full of buttery flavor. My son loved it, which surprised me because he very much chooses vanilla type foods! My daughter on the hand, who loves just about any food she tries, was not a big fan but ate some when her plain popcorn ran out.
3 T butter
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 T. sugar
8 cups of popped popcorn.
Pop popcorn first and put it in a heatproof bowl.
Have I mentioned how much I love my popcorn popper? If I could only choose two small appliances to keep, my popcorn popper would have to duke it out with my crockpot for second place. For the record, my food processor would be the first place winner! You can purchase a popcorn popper at the store for less than 20 dollars. Popcorn kernels are only a few dollars and a bag lasts a long time.
Over medium heat, melt butter. Mix in the spices and sugar and stir until dissolved and smooth. Pour over popcorn and mix until pieces are coated evenly.
Salty Sweet is one of my favorite flavor combinations. Wait, is that a flavor? In any case, I LOVE it! This recipe is a super easy, super fast one that both kids and adults will love. It is also a terrific recipe to get your kids involved in. Admittedly, I am sitting and directing the “baking” of this recipe while writing the blog post for it. It’s awesome to have such great helpers when I am feeling super lazy and just don’t feel like getting off my big preggo butt am 20 weeks pregnant and need to get rest every opportunity I can. Of course, I have to get up on occasion to take a picture of my adorable assistants. My children are unwrapping the candy pieces, arranging everything on the baking sheet, etc. This is a great opportunity to teach the kids (project manager is 10 and his worker bee is 6 years old) the important steps of cooking/baking: tying hair back, washing hands multiple times, procedures with hot items, and more.
We made this treat to give in a Valentine goody bag for the kids’ school teachers, and also for a little dessert to bring to a friend’s house this evening. The kids are always so excited to give their teachers presents that they get to create on their own!!!
Chocolate Pretzel Pieces (number of servings typically decided on the number of Rollo candy pieces)
- 1 bag of Rollo candy pieces (our batch had 56)
- 1 small bag pretzels, either the small twists or snaps (the square ones…I think these work best)
- 1 bag of m&ms
Place the pretzels in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the Rollo pieces and place one directly in the middle of each pretzel. Place in preheated oven and bake 1 – 2 minutes, just long enough to melt chocolate pieces. Remove from oven and place one m&m on the top middle of each melted Rollo. Push the m&m down enough to flatten/squish the Rollo. Refrigerate immediately to set. Enjoy!
This recipe can be created with any of your favorite chocolate pieces (anything that melts) and candy pieces for the top. I have made this with Hershey Kisses to melt and pecans on top, etc… You decide!!!
Happy Early Valentine’s Day!
Hopefully I am not divulging any super secret family recipe today. I feel like this is one of those snacks that I grew up on. When I was little it was my job to shake the popcorn up in the brown paper bag. As I grew older, it was harder for my mother to keep me away from the massive amounts of popcorn the recipe produces. As an adult (pregnant no less) I ate this entire batch by myself in four days. I know, that is pretty gross, but it was also sooooooooo good. It is probably a good thing I didn’t have a glucose test any time around this week!!!
I also use in this recipe, one of my favorite small kitchen “appliances” – our air popcorn popper. Truly, I think every household should have one. It only cost $20 to purchase, and popcorn seeds in bulk are pretty darn cheap. 1/2 a cup of seeds also pops close to triple the amount of popcorn popped in a microwave bag – still in 2 minutes. Not to mention – the health benefits! Do you know popcorn is actually GOOD for you?! It is highly recommended as a healthy carb, if it is all natural with no extra junk. The kids like to sprinkle garlic powder on theirs, or parmesan. We stay away from the butter because real, or fake, it just doesn’t taste right.
Of course, this recipe is not healthy for you in any way, shape, or form…
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 stick margarine (I use butter)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Fill brown paper bag 1/2 full with popped popcorn. Boil all ingredients except popcorn in pan until it starts to scorch, stirring constantly (if smalls chunks of brown start appearing remove from heat immediately – you boiled it too long…don’t worry, it will still taste fine). Pour syrup on top of corn in bag. Close up bag and shake. Pour out of bag into bowl.
I have recently found these awesome little treats at my local Walmart. Brother’s All Natural Fruit Crisps (this is not a paid endorsement or advertisement…I just like them a lot!). They are pure and simply, freeze dried fruit. Nothing added, at all. Just fruit. No preservatives or color or anything. And the package of apples, for example, is only 39 calories for one bag which says it contains 1.5 of the little buggers. They really are a lovely little snack and totally do a good job at staving my appetite off between meals.
I also LOVE those little bags of apple chips you can find in the produce section of your grocery store. But I think it is incredibly ridiculous to pay 3.99 for a small bag of baked apples! I decided I would go ahead and make my own and see how it went.
You can see in the directions below, it was a relatively easy process. I had the apples ready to go in the oven in less than five minutes. But oh my gosh, they were in the oven baking for HOURS (I am sure I spent more than 3.99 on my electric bill baking these)! I thought one hour would do the trick…it was closer to 3.5. I clearly used too many apples (five) and should not have baked them on two cookie sheets at the same time like I did. I also started baking them at 200 degrees and finally upped it to 250 after hour two. Next time I will bake them at 250 degrees from the get go.
So here I am including the recipe as I would follow it NEXT time I make these, and hopefully it will work. Despite the ridiculous baking time, the results were fantastic. Wonderful crispy apple chips that I have been snacking on these last few days. So yummy!
How to Make Baked Apple Chips
2 – 3 large apples
1 – 2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Prepare one baking sheet by covering in parchment paper. Core the apples and slice them using a mandolin or food processor. If neither is available, slice the apples as thinly as you are able. Spread evenly across the cookie sheet and evenly sprinkle with the rest of the ingredients (or as little or much as your taste desires). Gently toss together before placing cookie sheet in oven on middle rack. Bake for one hour at 250 or until apples are no longer soggy.
Apples are such a declicious treat the sugar and spices are completely optional. You can just throw the sliced apple in the oven to bake and it will be just as delicious.
Raise your hand if you are on a diet! Me too! Raise your hand if it has been super easy to follow! Mine neither (either? neither? you know what I’m saying)! I have recently (like, last week) started my first diet ever in my life. Sure, I have had times where I have counted calories or made sure I was eating a lot of high fiber, low fat foods. To be honest though, I never knew why. Why high fiber? Why fish? Why not my favorite thing on the planet…BREAD?! For goodness sake, why is everything that tastes to good SO BAD for us??? It just isn’t fair!
We all have our reasons for dieting. Most of my friends would give me a hard time if they even knew I was “dieting.” I, like everyone else, also have my reasons. For the last five months I have been training for my first marathon. Already a big deal for most, this is a really big deal for me because I have only considered myself a runner for about 8 months now. I have used running as an exercise in the past, but the most I ever did was a once a week running club. We ran a 5K and celebrated our 300 burned calories by drinking probably 3 times that in beer. Not incredibly effective, though incredibly fun.
My first 5K race (3.11 miles), I finished in 44 minutes. There was beer after that run too. That is just over a 14 minute per mile pace. When I told my mother, she told me she used to walk a 5K in the same time. I was so embarrassed. Not to mention, I was also running it with my boyfriend at the time, who loved me so much he left me behind so he could still have a good finish! Yes, that is sarcasm you note. Don’t worry, I broke up with him a week later. Of course, he’s my husband now, so I don’t know how much that is saying! :o)
Last week I ran 20 miles in just under 3 hours and 4 minutes. That is a 9 minute and 10 second per mile pace. For 20 miles! I am very excited and proud of how far I have come when it comes to my running. I have dedicated myself to it and not only am I achieving my goals, but I feel healthier than I have in my entire life.
However, I have struggled with the “fueling” aspect of running. Energy bars, protein shakes, before, after, all day…what to do? I have recently thrown myself into researching what and when I should be eating for the different running exercises I do, which right now range from 4 miles of running up and down hills, to the 20 mile long run (the most I will do pre-marathon is 22 miles). I finally found a diet that I think is working out wonderfully for my needs.
It is a 50-25-25 diet. 50% carbs, 25% proteins and 25% fats. Carbs are split up into “good”: fruits and veggies; and “bad”: breads, pastas, you know…the GOOD stuff!!! I have everything laid out into a spread sheet that I am living by day-to-day. I count the calories for EVERYTHING I eat and place them into their proper categories. No, of course I am not going to live like this forever. But I am certainly going to do it for a while. Long enough to teach myself how to eat properly on my own. I’ll talk more about the 50-25-25 aspect of it during another post. I should probably wrap this novel up for you right about now!
The point of today’s post is that I am already tired of eating all of this stinking fresh fruit! And I LOVE fruit, I always have. I am eating quite a diverse menu of it too! But I’m bored with it already. So tonight for dessert I decided I would add a little flair to my post dinner fruit serving and I came up with these fancified pears. They were SO yummy and definitely filled me up, satisfying my sweet tooth at the same time. They also made my kitchen smell wonderful! A great winter fruit dessert! By my account, one serving comes in at under 180 calories, mostly good carbs.
Fancy Pears (serves one, multiply recipe as necessary for multiple servings)
- 1/4 cup cranberry juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 dash cinnamon
- 1 dash ground cloves
- 1 dash nutmeg
- 1 pear (I used bosc), peeled, cored, and sliced as desired
Combine the juice, sugar and spices in a small saucepan. Simmer on medium heat until lightly bubbly (I covered mine and it was simmering in 3 – 4 minutes). Add the peeled pear slices and simmer 8 – 10 minutes covered, stirring occasionally. Do not allow to boil rapidly as you do not want to overcook the pears. Remove from heat and pour into serving bowl. Serve warm.
Any kind of juice will work – apple, orange, pomegranate, you name it. Cranberry just happened to be what I had on hand. You better believe I drank all of the juice after I ate the pears too! A great warm drink on a cold winter night – spiced cranberry juice! DE-LISH! Next time I will probably add some walnuts or pecans either during the cooking process or as a garnish on top…gotta get those fats into my diet too!
In case you are wondering, I totally kick my husband’s butt running now. We can both maintain a decent speed for about 3 or 4 miles together, but then I can leave him in the dust. Just had to throw that in there :).
Happy Weekend! How did your week go? Mine has been fantastic! We had friends over for several dinners this week, spent a lot of time outside and at the park (it’s warmed up at a whopping 30 – 40 degree highs this week!), enjoyed a great deal of quality time with the kids, and I even had date night with my husband. I also finished my week of running today, ending with a total of 40 miles run from Monday to Saturday. I get to rest tomorrow before my Monday long run for 18 –20 miles. I’m hoping to make it the latter!
To celebrate this terrific week, I decided to seize the day and throw all the calories out the window…I deserved a TREAT! Have you ever been to Serendipity 3? Well, I haven’t either, but apparently for $8.95 you can buy what has been proclaimed to me as being one of the most amazing frozen drinks: their Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. I have never tasted the scrumptious drink, but it sounded perfectly wonderful to me the first time I heard about it. A friend of mine recently posted pictures of the drink online and it completely put me in the mood for it. Hey, I said it had warmed up here a little!!!
Naturally, I did what I usually do and went in search of a recipe to re-create. I found as much at Epicurious.com. I had all the ingredients on hand at home, so I got right to it! The recipe called for 6 ounces of your favorite mixture of chocolate. I wasn’t sure if I should go dark or milk, or semi-sweet or what. I used some German chocolates we purchased while visiting family, some dark Hershey chocolate kisses, and a bar of Hershey’s milk chocolate. Yum! How could I go wrong with that combo??? It truly was delicious and tasted just like a frozen hot chocolate. It was the perfect consistency and had a lovely smooth texture. Surely it could go toe to toe with a genuine S3 frozen hot cocoa. Guess I’ll have to make my hubby take me there next time we go to NYC. Next time I make it at home I will probably use more dark chocolates and less milk chocolate. However, I still have a whole container in the freezer now and that will last me a little while. At least until I earn it again after another week of running!
Hello and HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope this post finds all of you happy and healthy and having a great start to 2011! So, it is that time of year to ask that question…What is your New Year’s Resolution? I have had somewhat of a hard time coming up with one for myself. I have told friends that the best thing I can think is to stop spending my husband’s money! We’ll see how that one works out for me! ;) I know many of you, like me, also hope to spend this new year eating healthy and taking better care of our bodies. I thought the best way to start us off in 2011 would be to put up a post with a healthy theme…a super easy, quick, and yummy good-for-you snack.
I know after only one time of making these that I will never get store bought granola bars again! Here is a recipe for granola bars adapted from one I found on allrecipes.com. I used some of the suggestions by other cooks on the website and it really simplifies the measuring process even more.
Easy Homemade Granola Bars
- 3 cups quick oats
- 3 cups of any combination of anything else you want to go in
- (for my first batch I used about a cup of coconut, half a cup of sliced almonds, half a cup of crushed cashews, half a cup of dried cranberries and half a cup of semi-sweet chocolate morsels)…but anything you want will work!
- 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add condensed milk and butter and combine with hands until thoroughly mixed. Spread into a Pampered Chef Large Bar Pan. Use a piece of wax paper to press the granola down to condense it and push it into the corners and sides of the pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes. When the outer edges are a golden brown the granola bars will be a nice chewy consistency. Leave them in a little longer if you prefer them crunchier. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes then use a pizza roller to cut into bars. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely. Enjoy!
Allrecipes.com says these are 144 calories per bar as prepared in their recipe. Not too bad for a snack that contains ALL natural ingredients. Go look at the back of your store bought granola bars and see what their ingredients are! YIKES!
Recommendations for next time: I will include some flax seed and/or wheat germ for more fiber. I think I will add at least one, if not two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract or almond extract. Maybe a tablespoon of brown sugar and half a teaspoon of some cinnamon, cloves, etc. I will also add more nuts to get that protein in there even though the calories will go up.
I am really excited to look for fun, new, yummy ingredients to make these bars. I am going to work on them to try and make them a great snack to eat before, during, and after my runs. I am training to run my first marathon this March, so you might see more healthy cooking recipes from me and less super chocolate cakes.
Okay, maybe not!!!
By the way – here are the ingredients on the back of the granola bars I usually eat. A whole lot more than oats, nuts, butter, chocolate and coconut:
GRANOLA (WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, BROWNSUGAR, CRISP RICE [RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, SALT, MALTED BARLEY EXTRACT],WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, DRIED COCONUT, WHOLE WHEATFLOUR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SOY LECITHIN, CARAMEL COLOR, NONFAT DRYMILK), SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS (SUGAR, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, COCOABUTTER, SOY LECITHIN, VANILLA EXTRACT), CORN SYRUP, BROWN RICE CRISP(WHOLE GRAIN BROWN RICE, SUGAR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, SALT), INVERTSUGAR, SUGAR, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, GLYCERIN, SOYBEAN OIL. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SORBITOL,CALCIUM CARBONATE, SALT, WATER, SOY LECITHIN, MOLASSES, NATURAL ANDARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, BHT (PRESERVATIVE), CITRIC ACID.
Hello blog world! Yes, we are still alive over here at Threaded Together! Between family trips, work trips, Halloween, and more, we are keeping busy doing all sorts of things that have kept us away from craft posting for a little while. We’ll try and get back on the blogging wagon though, especially as the holidays approach!
Yesterday we celebrated my son’s 9th birthday! I know, I am getting so old! For his birthday we decided to play it low key this year and just had a group of boys (12 to be exact) come over to hang out at the house. We ate pizza, watched movies, colored, and snacked on chips, cookies, and cupcakes. They DEVOURED the four pizzas and two boxes of wings I ordered and there were only 3 of 24 cookies leftover at the end.
We did not have any a cake at this party. My son does NOT like cake. I know, right? Clearly he is not my son, but I’ll have to figure that one out another day… Instead of cake I made him his favorite type of cookie, sugar cookies, and decorated them to look like Pikachu from the Pokémon card trading game. Go figure, he didn’t like the cookies either. Apparently I didn’t make the right KIND of sugar cookies. Don’t let this lead you to believe the cookies didn’t taste good. They were awesome. My kid just has issues :).
Instead of walk you through how I did it, check out this great post on Snack or Die. Apparently, knowledge of this website is a necessity if you have a boy ranging from age 5 to 15 who likes to play video games! They have cupcakes, cookies, and more, all decorated to look like characters and worlds from video games and shows. Super cool.
I followed their tutorial exactly, all the way down to the fact that I had to cut the cheeks and chin off of my bunny shaped cookies to round out the faces. My differences: for cheeks I used red-hots, chocolate morsels for the ears and eyes, and fruit by the foot pieces for the mouth. I also just used regular butter cream icing spread over them.
Yesterday, my son walked in a parade with his Cub Scout pack. It was a good ole hometown fall festival and parade with high school marching bands, games, amazing food, generous smiles, Civil War re-enactors, monster trucks, and more!
My daughter and I sat on the sidelines waiting for the parade to start, and during the parade, enjoying the friends and fun. I thought ahead and brought drinks and snacks so I wouldn’t be breaking my budget. However, a certain food trailer was calling out to both of us (especially after our friends went and bought some)…Candied Nuts. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts and pecans. All covered in crispy wonderfulness and incredibly addicting.
After delighting in the fantastic taste, as is usually the case, my first thought was: I can make this!!! I had several bags of almonds from a plan to make a previous recipe, so I figured I would go ahead and give it a try! Often times, I try foods like this and think, surely it must be difficult to make them, especially since they can get away with charging $4.00 for a cup of them! Wrong! They were super duper easy and quick and provided instant taste gratification!
I went to my usual resource, allrecipes.com, and looked up the recipe. The original called for two cups of nuts, but my 16 oz. bag was three cups so I changed the serving size to get an accurate recipe. For this one I could have just done it on my own, but in case you don’t know, you can change the size of the recipe in allrecipes.com. You just put in the number of servings you want to make, press calculate, and it makes the alterations for you! Here are the numbers I ended up using:
- 3/4 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3 cups almonds (any nuts of your liking will do)
Mix all ingredients except almonds in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add almonds. Boil and continuously stir until water has evaporated. Spread out on wax paper lined cookie sheets and cool 15 minutes.
The trick to this, as per the comments on allrecipes is to constantly stir and MAKE SURE you cook away all the liquid. If it is syrupy at all still, you are not done! It took just under 30 minutes for this process to complete. 30 minutes of standing and stirring is SO WORTH IT for this recipe. They are DELICIOUS! As soon as I do everything else I need to accomplish today, I am going back to make the recipe with my walnuts and peanuts too! I’ll probably try adding something like pumpkin pie spice and see if it changes the taste at all.
I even used a cake decorating parchment triangle to wrap the candy up. It looked just like the package we bought the nuts in at the festival. Very authentic and this would make a GREAT homemade gift to hand out to friends at the holidays!
In honor of football season (we take our football very seriously here in the South!), Kathy, the owner of Needle Delights, declared that “tailgating” would be the theme of this September’s All Night Stitch. While the party activities were atypical – not a television or football game in sight, just a lot of cross-stitch and needlepoint going on! – even the most hard core football fan would have been comfortable with the menu: all of the fixings for make-it-yourself sub sandwiches, pasta salad, hot wings, and lots of chips and dips (I think I even saw a few carrots and celery sticks), along with plenty of desserts to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.
My contribution was Jill’s Hamburger Dip. I originally got this recipe from my dear friend, Jill, when she had a group of wives and kids to her home for some kind of party when all of the husbands were on deployment. We were living on base in California so it has to be before 1991. Since then it has been one of my favorites (who needs chips, just give me a big spoon!), and I often bring it to casual get togethers/potlucks. Especially during the fall and winter I try to keep these ingredients on hand — you never know when there will be a last minute get together to watch your team crush their opponents (or not!). I have heard this hot dip called many things, including Dog Food (thanks, for that one, Sherry!). I guess it does look a bit like gourmet dog food, but I will always think of it as Jill’s Hamburger Dip, and have sweet thoughts of Jill and fun memory-making times every time I make it!
Here are the basics:
2 lbs. ground beef, browned & drained (I also rinse mine with hot water)
1 large box (16 oz.), Velveeta, cut into chunks (I tried to use a cheap substitute once and it just wasn’t the same!)
1 large jar of chunky salsa (your choice: mild – hot)
Mix all ingredients. Either microwave until cheese is melted and serve in a bowl on a warming plate, or place all ingredients in a crockpot on high until the cheese is melted and then turn down to low or warm. Keep the dip warm up until and during serving because as it cools it will quickly thicken (then you’ll need a grout trowel instead of a spoon or a chip). Makes: A lot!
This is the basic recipe. Some options:
- Substitute sausage for the hamburger
- Substitute Rotel tomatoes for the salsa
- Add chopped onion, green pepper, tomatoes, etc.
Not sure how appetizing this looks (guess it does look a bit like dog food!), but it is yummy! Serve with tortilla strips, Doritos, or corn chips.
And, I’ll leave you with this thought, GO GATORS!!