Category Archives: Tasty Snack

Snacks

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Banana Chocolate Chip Omega 3 Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Yummy Healthy Muffins

I am always asked, “what should my kids eat for snack?”. I make these muffins and keep them in the freezer for a quick breakfast or go to snack. Buy the mini-chocolate chips as a little bit goes a long way. I’m not normally a fan of hiding healthy things in food but I couldn’t help myself this time. Adding the Chia seeds, crushed walnuts and flax seed meal provides you with deperately needed Omega 3’s (and they taste DELICIOUS!)!

Recipe:

1) In a large measuring cup or bowl, combine:

  • 1 2/3 cup of flour (Use 1 cup regular flour and 2/3 cup of whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

2) In a large bowl, smash bananas with a fork (or immersion blender). To the banana bowl, beat the following until well blended:

  • 2/3 Cup of sugar (or add 1/3 sugar, 1/3 agave nectar)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup of Canola Oil
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons of Vanilla

3) Add Healthy alternatives (optional):

  • 1/2 cup of Mini-chocolate chips (ok not healthy but a no brainer treat for kids)
  • 1/4 cup of Flax Seed Meal
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons of crushed walnuts (I like to crush a batch and add keep in a ziploc)

4) Spray muffin tins with Coconut Oil (or use paper cups) and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy!

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Best Granola Ever (home-made)

This granola is so addicting and so much cheaper to make than to buy.  Thanks to our chef at school (Jordan Hunsecker) for turning me on to home-made granola!

In a large bowl, mix together:
a)   3 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
b)   3 Tablespoons of Canola Oil
c)   3 Teaspoons of Vanilla
d)   1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
e)   1/3 cup of Honey or Maple Syrup
f)  1/3 cup of Coconut Sugar or light brown sugar
g)  1/2 teaspoon of Salt
h)  2 Tablespoons of Flaxseed Meal (optional but amazing)

*  Stir in 4 cups of oats (not quick-cooking) into the bowl.

* Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out granola evenly on the pan.  Should be a little sticky.  Bake on 350 for 15 minutes. Use convection if you have it on 325. 

* Pour mixture back into the mixing bowl and add whatever you like (or nothing):

  • 1-2 cups of any assortment of chopped dried fruits, seeds and/or nuts (apricots, cherries, raisins, apples, prunes, walnuts) 
  • ¼ cup of coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons more of honey or maple syrup (should still be a little sticky)
  • Spread back on baking sheet and bake on 350 for another 15 minutes.  Take out of oven if getting too brown.
  • Let it cool in the pan.  Store in Ziploc bags leaving large chunks.

    Note:  Not a fan of nuts but want the Omega 3’s?  Crush walnuts or almonds into small pieces or powder.

How Can the Kids Help?

  • Pick out the dried fruit, nuts and seeds
  • Mix all the ingredients
  • Pour onto the tray
  • Taste test!

Rocky Mountain Cookies

Tis the season….of arguing already?!  My kids have been out of school only 2 days and it has started already.  The ONLY thing that transforms them into a Charles Dickens novel almost immediately is decorating cookies.  They are so cute painting on the icing and carefully designing the colored sprinkles, working and laughing together….who are these children?  Forget the 7 fishes dinner tonight, let’s make more cookies!

If you only make one more batch of cookies besides the sugar kind, make these Rocky Mountain Cookies.  I revised Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies and my daughter re-named them, Rocky Mountain.  You will LOVE them!!  Merry Christmas:)

Ingredients:
3 cups of flour
1 TBS Baking Powder
1 TBS of Baking Soda
1 TBS of Cinnamon
1 TSP of Salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) of butter
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cups of light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup of white chocolate chips
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened flake coconut  (ground in food processor)
1 cup of dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl.

Beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute.
Gradually beat in sugars to combine, 2 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each.
Beat in vanilla extract.

Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate/white chips, oats, coconut and cherries.

Bake for 17 to 19 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through.  Remove cookies from rack to cool.

These cookies will be brown, don’t worry they are not over-cooked.  The coconut will make them chewy.  If you put the coconut through the food processor quickly, you won’t even know it’s in there.

Pumpkin-Apple Bread

Cooking with Love

I admit that I feel a sense of accomplishment and true happiness when someone eats (and likes) something I have cooked. I like making others feel full and content if only for a brief moment – almost like a really good hug.   You will love this recipe for Pumpkin-Apple Muffins.  I suggest you wrap-up a few and  ask your children to deliver them to a neighbor, friend or teacher. I guarantee  it will make them feel happy – and the recipient will enjoy them too!

*    1 ½  Cups of whole wheat pastry flour AND  1 ½ cups of unbleached flour
*    2 TSP of Baking Soda
*    2 TSP of Cinnamon
*    1 ½ TSP of Salt
*    2 1/2  Cups of Sugar (or 2 Cups of Sugar and 1/2 cup of Agave Nectar)
*    1  Can of Pumpkin (15 ozs.)
*    4  Eggs
*    1  Cup of Vegetable or Canola Oil
*    2  Apples (well peeled, cored and diced)
*    ½  Cup of Apple Juice or Water

1.  Combine Flour(s), Cinnamon, Baking Soda and Salt in a large bowl.
2.  Beat Sugar, Pumpkin, Eggs, Oil and Apple Juice until fully blended.
3.  Add to flour mixture and stir until blended.
3.  Stir in apples.
4.  Pour into muffin trays and bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes until golden and toothpick comes out clean.  Add 20-30 mins. for loaf pan depending on size.

How the Kids Can Help?

  • Baking is the easiest way to teach kids how to measure and stir.
  • Ask the younger helpers to put the muffin papers in the pan.
  • The kids can do the toothpick test for you too!

Fun Facts:

  • Did you know that a pumpkin is really a Squash.
  • Pumpkins are fruit and contain Potassium and Vitamin A
  • Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
  • The largest pumpkin was close to 1500 pounds!

Pastia (Italian Easter Dish)

Wit Wiz?

If you are from Philadelphia then you know the appropriate way to order a Philly Cheese Steak at Pat’s or my favorite, Geno’s.  If you want cheese on your steak you say “…wit wiz” (which is, of course, the all natural Cheese Wiz).  Around Easter in my family the question is the same, do you want your Pastia with or without ricotta cheese.  It’s hard to believe that I am 100% italian and yet I do not like ricotta cheese all that much.  So needles to say that I am part of the “no cheese” crowd.  After spending the morning making Pastia with my Aunt Peggy, I wondered what if I made pastia with just a little bit of cheese instead or all or nothing?  Here’s what I came up with….

PASTIA:  Some italian families make their pastia sweet adding a bit of vanilla and/or anise.  This recipe is just plain and is great as a meal or snack.  You can usually find someone in our family hunched over the sink with the salt shaker in one hand and a piece of pastia in the other, yum!

  • Beat 10 eggs
  • Add 3/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese (adjust to taste)
  • Add 3/4 cup of ricotta cheese (adjust to taste – the more ricotta cheese you add, the less egg you need)
  • Add 1 TSP of parsley
  • Add 1/2 TSP of pepper
  • Cook 2 cups of penne and about 1/3 box of spaghetti (separately).  Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.
  • Use hands to mix pasta with cheese mixture.
  • Spray loaf pan with Pam.  Use hands to put pasta/cheese mixture into loaf pan evenly distributing the 2 pastas.
    Mixture should be very soupy with liquid almost covering the pasta completely.  If you don’t have enough liquid, you can always beat another egg or two and add it (depends on size of eggs).
  • Sprinkle more parmesan cheese all over the top.
  • Cook on 350 for 1 hour or until knife inserted comes out clean.

How Can the Kids Help?

  • The kids can help measuring and adding all the ingredients
  • This is a good time to talk about traditions or seasonal foods prepared in your family.  What special foods did your mother or grandmother make around each holiday?  How was Easter different when you were little.  Every night when I tuck my daughter into bed, she says “Mom, tell me a story from when you were little.”.  She just can’t get enough. 
  • Happy Easter!

Favorite Snacks

Sneaky Snacks

I once saw a show, “You Are What You Eat” where the British host forces a woman into a bathtub of pig parts representing all the hot dogs she was eating on a weekly basis.  She then went on to insult the woman, jiggling her fat and telling her how disgusting it is.  Finally, the host evaluates  the woman’s “poo” demonstrating the additional effects of her poor eating.  Only the British on BBC can get away with this one!  Jamie Oliver is a bit tamer while discovering that some elementary schools are serving pizza for breakfast and chicken nuggets for lunch every day AND most of the kids are given chicken nuggets for dinner by their parents.  It’s not the kid’s fault, what do they know?  It’s easy to judge them but I ask you to ask yourself, what’s my kid eating today?  Hey, nobody’s perfect.

Today’s Snack:
How many of your kids gorge themselves on snacks and then don’t eat their dinner?  It drives me crazy.  I would rather my kids eat a bowl of cereal AFTER dinner than spoil the dinner with too many snacks.  Do your kids sneak snacks?  Try filling your snack drawer up only with the snacks you want the kids to eat.  If you don’t want them eating cookies before dinner, don’t put them in the snack drawer or better yet, don’t buy them!  Have ice-cream for dessert….it’s much more difficult to sneak up to your room!

  • Apple or pretzels with peanut butter and chocolate chips
  • Cut up Banana or Strawberries with  bit of natural whipped cream
  • Celery with cream cheese
  • Popcorn (see popcorn recipe)
  • Mix some natural chocolate covered raisins on a plate of fruit
  • Mini Stone-ground Crackers with cream cheese or string cheese
  • Fritos:  Did you know they only have 3 ingredients (whole corn, corn oil and salt) – and gluten free!

What’s Your Child’s Favorite Healthy Snack? Write a comment to share your snack idea!

Best Popcorn: Cheaper and better too!!

  1. Pour a drop of oil in a paper lunch bag. Pour about 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels in bag.  Sprinkle popcorn salt in bag and shake it around to coat.
  2. Hit “Popcorn” button on your microwave and Voila! Literally the best popcorn you have ever had!

P.S. Look for “Popcorn Salt” in grocery store, it’s a fine powder salt that covers the kernels even better.