Category Archives: snacks

Car Snacks

I’m heading to Kelowna in the morning, and since I have a fear of being trapped in a moving vehicle for 3.5 hours without any snacks I figured I better make something for the road lest I get hungry and have to resort to over-priced gas station snacks.  Besides, I’m practically a soccer mom in training and would never want to disappoint my fellow passengers! Inspired by Angie’s pantry purge and a recipe I found in this cookbook I opened up the cabinets and pulled out the makings of something portable, something chewy, and something chocolatey.

The goods:

Puffed wheat cereal, oatmeal, craisins, dried apricots, mixed nuts, coconut, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla.

In a large bowl, measure out 3 c of cereal, 1 c oatmeal, 1/2 EACH of craisins, apricots (quartered), mixed nuts, coocnut, and sunflower seeds.  Add 1/4 c of flaxseed, too.

Stir it all together and set aside.  I could probably eat this as-is, and I don’t even like cereal.

In your oldest and most beat-up saucepan, mix 1/2 c EACH of peanut butter, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and honey.

Hypothetically, I could have cooked it over medium heat and it would become smooth. Unfortunately, mine never melted properly…not sure why. Maybe it just needed more time?

I figured that melting it the the microwave would work better, so I zapped it for about 30 seconds and that seemed to help some.

Can’t forget the vanilla – add 1 tsp and all will be right with the world again.

Pour the (semi) liquid ingredients over the cereal mixture.

And attempt to stir until everything is coated and combined.

It’s time for me to confess my (lack of) brilliance.  I was having a hard time stirring the cereal, so I figured I would just use my hands.  Do you think I remembered that the chocolate part had just come off the stove and then had been microwaved?  Oops. And ouch.  However, I’m not one to quit at half-time so I kept going, kneading the mixture with my asbestos hands until it formed one giant ball of goodness.

Dump everything whole bowl into a greased 9 x 13″ pan. Do you wish you were at my house to lick the bowl yet?!?!

Press into an even layer, and let it cool while you ice your hands.

Cut into bars, wrap in plastic, and back in your overflowing bag.

The million-dollar question: how do they taste????

Chewy, light, crunchy, sweet, and salty all in one.  I’m looking forward to the car ride now!

Kale Chips

Have I got an idea for you! I’ve heard murmurings of kale chips for months and months now, but have never made them.  If I want chips, I (usually) eat chips. If I want greens, I eat greens (spinach smoothie, anyone?).  Plain and simple, right?  Well the lines are now more blurred because I’m not sure what these are, but in any event I can classify these as delicious.  Eating your greens AND satisfying your craving for something crunchy and salty? Oh yes, these kale chips are a good thing.

Cast of characters:

Kale, olive oil, salt, and pepper if you feel like living on the edge.

Cut the centre ribs out of each kale leaf…

…and then chop it into even-sized pieces. If that seems like its too much work for you (and let’s be honest, if we’re making something that’s comparable to chips we don’t necessarily want to work harder than we have to), you can sometimes buy kale that’s been washed and chopped at the grocery store.

Place the kale into your salad spinner to rinse:

Dry the kale well, and then drizzle with olive oil (I used about a tablespoon) and sprinkle with salt (and pepper, if using).

Spread the kale evenly on a cookie sheet:

Bake for 20 mins @ 300 degrees.

Behold, kale chips!!!

Let me tell you, I am IMPRESSED.  These are crispy, salty, addictive, and something you would want to eat because they taste amazing, not because they are full of nutrients and antioxidants.  Please don’t wait as long as I did to make them!

Everything But The Kitchen Sink

I’m leaving on a jet plane…don’t know when I’ll be back again…

Well, ok, that’s a slight exaggeration – I’ll be back on Friday. I’m heading to California tomorrow morning for a short business trip, which is pretty exciting.  I’m going to be in a conference from 9am – 10pm on Thursday with 2000 of my closest friends, so I want to take something that I can stash in my purse for the flight and in case the lunch-time line-ups are horrendous. Something delicious and portable that I can also share with my coworkers. The solution? Granola bars. Not just any high-fructose corn syrup laden granola bars though; the good kind – full of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. And, who am I kidding, maybe some chocolate for good measure.  Don’t you find it frustrating when the store-bought kinds make you choose between mix-in’s? Why should I have to decide if I want nuts OR chocolate OR fruit? Um, hello, all of the above! I hate having to play favourites. Since it quickly became obvious that (a) I’d never be able to find what I wanted in a shiny silver package, and (b) I could teach Quaker a thing or two, I just decided to make my own.

I found a recipe that looked perfect, picked up what I needed, and got cooking!

In bowl #1: old-fashioned rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon:

Give it a good toss and then throw in the good stuff: Coarsely chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, and ground flax.  Doesn’t this look great already?!?!

Stir up some canola oil, honey, and vanilla…

…and mix it in with the granola mixture until its well blended.  Now, at this stage it is absolutely crucial that you take one for the team and do a little quality control sampling. It would be cruel and unusual punishment to feed these to your loved ones without ensuring that they are up to par, so please do not proceed until it has your approval.

Press the mixture into a 9 x 13″ pan that’s been lined with parchment, and bake for about 30 minutes.  Make good use of this time by checking emails and writing blog posts doing productive things like packing and cleaning your kitchen. Before you know it, they’ll be done!

Take a look at these beauties – aren’t they lovely? Now,if these bars don’t help me Make Friends and Influence People, I’m not sure what will.  If only deciding what to take were as easy as what to make, I’d be set!