Category Archives: Snacks

Homemade Lara Bars

Larabars are my favorite on-the-go snack!  They are made from whole foods, are super nutritious, and have a great balance of good protein, carbs, and fat to fill a tummy and sustain energy.  They have many fun flavors, but my favorite is Peanut Butter and Jelly.  At almost $2 a bar, though, these snacks had to be a rare treat, UNTIL I found a way to make them at home!

Using a Blendtec blender or a food processor, you can mix up homeade Larabars in no time, and they only have 4 whole food ingredients.  I mixed it all up, spread it into a baking dish, cut them into bars, and wrapped them up individually to store in my fridge.

Here’s the recipe, which makes about 8 bars, depending on how you cut them:

1/2 C pitted dates

1/2 C dried cherries

2/3 C. peanuts (or almonds for peanut-free)

1/4 t. cinnamon

Mix together until it forms a paste, press into a baking dish, then cut into bars.

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Gluten-Free Chex Mix

I made a batch of Chex Mix yesterday, and I can never make it again.  The temptation is too much for me to bear.  I cannot resist stopping by the pantry for a handful each time I walk into the kitchen, so please allow me to post this recipe and then hide it forever.

Store bought Chex mix is not gluten-free, but it is also not as good as homemade.  I used the recipe from the Pioneer Woman, which adds in fresh garlic and a little Tabasco, making sure to use only Corn Chex and Rice Chex and gluten-free pretzels.

Here’s the link to the recipe on thepioneerwoman.com.

And, here it is written out as the Gluten-free version:

Ingredients
  • 4 1/2 cups Corn Chex
  • 4 1/2 cups Rice Chex
  • 2 cups Gluten-free Pretzel Sticks
  • 2 cups Mixed Nuts
  • 1 stick (to 1 1/2 Sticks) Butter)
  • 3 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 6 dashes (to 12 Dashes) Tabasco Sauce
  • 3 cloves (to 5) Garlic, Mashed
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Onion Powder
Preparation Instructions

Dump cereal into a large mixing bowl. Add in pretzel sticks and nuts.

In a microwave-safe bowl, add remaining ingredients and microwave until butter is melted. Stir together and toss into a cereal mixture, stirring as you go.

Transfer mix onto one or two baking sheets, and bake in a 250-degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Grab a handful every forty minutes. Eat. Spoil your appetite.

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Green Smoothies

Today my kids and I had a snack where we each ate 2 cups collard greens, a cup of mixed greens, 1/3 of a banana, a cup of strawberries, a tablespoon of flax oil, and 1/4 cup blueberries, sweetened with a little Stevia.

Can you imagine eating that many servings of fruits and veggies in one sitting, much less in one day, and getting your kids to love it too?

My kids beg me for this snack every day now.

My secret?

I throw it all in a high-powered blender with some ice, and make it into a Green Smoothie.

This is my new revolution of health – GREEN SMOOTHIES.

I know it sounds and looks weird, but they really are delicious.  And, I can’t think of a better way to incorporate raw greens into our diet.  The nutrition in one glass packs a powerful punch, and the taste is a treat.

First, you really do need a powerful blender, like the Blentec or Vitamix.  The price is worth the investment.  I’ve used mine over 200 times since February 14th to make smoothies, gluten-free flatbread from soaked whole seeds and grains (recipe coming soon), whole grain banana muffins, soups, salsas, dips, ice creams, …the list goes on.  And, the ingredients are all whole foods that are so good for you and so yummy.

This is my Blentec, my new kitchen best friend, filled with collard greens and mixed greens.

When you first introduce the idea of green smoothies, it’s best to start small.  Use mild greens, like spinach, and do half fruit and half veggies.  Add in grapes and blueberries to make purple smoothies at first, use lots of ice, and serve it in a fun glass with a straw.  Don’t let your kids know at first what you put in there.  Slowly shift your ratios to more greens, and begin adding different greens- collard, swiss chard, mustard, romaine, etc..  We like greens, strawberries, blueberries, and a banana as our favorite smoothie.

If you’re interested in learning more, please go to greensmoothiegirl.com She’s the expert, and she has great ideas and recipes on her website.

I love making this treat for my kids!  Nutrition feels so good!

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Kale Chips

Kale Chips are pure, simple, healthful food.  They might sound weird, but the unexpected crispy crunch just melts in your mouth.  A whole plateful provides less than 140 calories (almost all from olive oil) and packs a nutritious punch.

Wash and dry one bunch of kale.  Massage a tablespoon of oil into every leaf, then place on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes until leaves are crispy but not browned.  Season with kosher salt and garlic powder.

I eat kale for snack or even for dinner.  My picky eater joined me yesterday and began grabbing the chips off my plate.  If he can try them and like them, I’ll bet you will too.

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Chocolate Milkshake

It’s been freezing here lately.  I don’t remember a time when we’ve had temperatures in the teens for almost a week.  We do not know how to handle this weather here in the South!

For some reason, I thought it would help to make “milkshakes” for a snack one day.  Mostly, I was trying to figure out a way to sneak in extra yogurt into my kids bellies to give them some good immune boosting healthy flora to offset the round of antibiotics they had to take.  We had a great science discussion on bacteria as a bonus.  Then we had to sit by the fire for 3 days to warm up again.

My kids have had “real” milkshakes, so I’m not sure why they let me serve my version using the same name.  I don’t use ice cream or sugar.  I use vanilla yogurt, protein powder, and a little chocolate syrup, all blended with ice.  They think it’s a special occasion when they get one, and I think it should be.  It’s fun to make an ordinary day special.  I just tell them we’re celebrating my joy in loving them more today than yesterday.

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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

DSC_1287These pumpkins are steaming mad.  They spent all that time in their pumpkin patch dreaming of the day when they’d get to spill their innermost guts to the special person they’d pick to take them home, only to find out that most people just cast their insides out to the trash.  What a waste!  Poor pumpkin souls!

Well, I say we end their misery and care for their tender insides.

Let’s put those pumpkin guts to use and roast those seeds.

Did you know that we’ll not only be making the pumpkins happier, we’ll also be making our bodies healthier?

 

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As you scoop out the pumpkin innards before carving, put it all in a big bowl.  Add enough water to cover, and the seeds will rise to the top.  Spoon out seeds, separating them from the stringy stuff.  This part is more fun for some than others.

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Place seeds on a rimmed cookie sheet.  For 2 pumpkins worth of seeds, mix together 1 T. olive oil, 2t. Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, and 1-2 cloves minced garlic.  Pour mixture over seeds and stir.  Sprinkle Lawry’s Seasoned Salt on to your taste.  Roast in oven at 300 for about 45 minutes- 1 hour, or until golden brown.  These are great on salads, soups, or just by the handful.

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Snacks

DSC_0840Nuts and seeds are such healthy snacks.  They are full of nutrition and they fill you up.  I stock up on trail mixes, plain nuts, banana chips, corn nuts, raisins, popcorn kernels, yogurt covered raisins, dried peas, and dried fruit from our local Sprouts’ bulk section.  I keep some in containers and some in baggies, so we can just grab them on the go.  It’s much cheaper to buy things this way than to try to find special gluten-free bars, and they taste better too.

Our favorite snack ideas:  popcorn, fruit, peanut butter on a banana, apples dipped in peanut butter, rice cake with cottage cheese on top, chocolate rice cake with strawberry cream cheese and strawberries, smoothies, cheese sticks, yogurt and fruit, popsicles made with yogurt, deli meat rolled up around red pepper slices, veggies dipped in hummus or salsa, baby carrots dipped in bean dip, Chex Mix, or an Almond Bar from Nature Valley.

I’d love to hear your ideas too!

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