Tag Archives: snack

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Quick Bread

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Quick BreadLately, I’ve been on this kick where I am trying my best to avoid buying so many prepackaged snacks for my kids. When they were toddlers it was no problem to get them to snack on fruits and veggies, but with the hectic lifestyle that seems inevitable for kids (and moms). All that running between activities after school, of course. I’ve fallen into that trap that I told myself I would never do…rely on endless carbs that result in my kids having no appetite for dinner.

In the spirit of making changes to our eating habits, this just seemed like a good fit. Over the past couple of years I have tried making Peanut Butter Chip granola bars, Peach-apple fruit leatherTropical Pineapple Smoothies and  of course Chocolate Chip Zucchini muffins, my neighbor’s favorite. But none of these truly felt all that healthy or satisfying for the kids.

And then, for a while there I went down the route of a mini-meal after school with Pizza Pop ’ems and chicken taquitos, but there is only so much reinventing I can do. That’s when I thought of making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but this time turning them into a quick bread. What a fab idea, right? There must be a recipe out there for something like this, surely Quaker Oats might have one, but alas no. It was Sunset magazine that saved the day. With a few easy tweaks to suit our palate this became a winner. And it made a large enough loaf to last a long 3-day weekend.

Shopping List:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips.

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 large eggs

1/4 cup melted butter.

For the streusel:

1/4 cup softened butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl mix together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, and 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips.

2. Stir in 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, 2 large eggs, and 1/4 cup melted butter.

3. In a separate small bowl mash together the ingredients for the streusel.

3. Pour into a greased and floured 9-cup loaf pan. And top with streusel mixture.  Then bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

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Fruit Leather: Peach-Apple among others

P1050921One of my favorite treats when I was a kid was eating a fruit roll-up and for the most part I don’t ever buy them for my own kids. There is just too much sugar and artificial ingredients for me to offer it. But my kids were thrilled when I told them that we were going to make fruit leather from the leftover peach-applesauce that I had made the week before. Continue reading Fruit Leather: Peach-Apple among others

Bacon and Carmelized Onion Pinwheels

In my former life when I held dinner parties for adults, rather than kids, I used to pull out every stop to make an impression with some star ingredients. And I think I kind of do the same thing now, but with a more realistic working-mom approach. With that idea I still love to include food that caters to adults, but with flavors that kids will enjoy too. And the icing on the cake is that I’ve come to realize that a few shortcuts that help to make it seem like I’ve fussed a lot, is certainly worth it.

So one of my favorite shortcuts that makes everything fancier is puff pastry dough. You can easily throw anything in there, and it tastes like you’ve slaved for hours because of the buttery richness of the dough. So, this classic pinwheel appetizer marries some wonderful flavors that certainly impress and at the same time is pretty easy to throw together with a kid or two underfoot. I guess I will need post some of my other favorites with puff pastry, like empanadas and custard pies.

Shopping List:

2 sheets puff pastry thawed

1 onion, carmelized (see instructions below)

1 cup crumbled cooked center cut bacon (see this post for a simple technique)

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

4 Tablespoons deli mustard

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Whisk together the egg and water, then set it aside to use later.

3. Lay out the puff pastry sheets on a floured surface to prevent sticking.

4. Spread 2 tablespoons of mustard on each sheet. You want to try and leave a 1/2 inch border on one of the short ends, but otherwise paint a thick layer of this good stuff.

5. Divide the carmelized onion in half and evenly distribute it on top of the mustard.

6. Again, divide the bacon in half and chuck it on top of the onions.

7. Now here’s the tricky part, start rolling it all up from the short end of the pastry. Try and make it as tight as possible, so pull and stretch if you need.

8. Using a serrated knife cut each roll into 1/2 slices. Try to use a gentle sawing motion, so as not to rip the dough. I ended up cutting about 15 slices in each of mine.

9. Place them cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. The brush with the egg wash and sprinkle the parmesan on top.

10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden on top. I ended up baking both sheets at the same time, to save a bit of time, but if you do the same, just make sure to rotate your trays half way through so that the bottom tray gets some sun too. Also, it allows for even baking. Enjoy!

CARMELIZED ONIONS: a lovely base to many a good dish.

In a large saute pan on high heat pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat the oil for a minute so that the oil is hot. Meanwhiile slice your onion. Slice them however thick you like, but know that the thinner you slice the faster they carmelize. Once the oil is hot, add your sliced onion, and coat it in the oil. Let it cook for a couple of minutes until the onions become translucent. At this point you can turn the heat down to medium-low, and let it cook away–ignoring it slightly.  You do want to make sure you stir them, so they brown evenly though. It will take about 30-45 minutes for them to get really sticky, so if you’re short on time, do a big batch to use all week and they will definitely freeze well in a freezer safe bag. Having these on hand certainly comes in handy when at the dinner crunch. You can slap them on a burger or sandwich for sure, or you can plop them on some chicken for French Onion Chicken or use them as the starter to a French Onion Soup or slide them inside a tortilla for an inspired take on a quesadilla. The possiblities are endless.

Best Caramel Corn Ever!

I was making a lot of popcorn for snacks after my baby girl was born, and then I came across this recipe in Family Circle and it all went down hill from there. I started making this in huge batches to give out to people as a thank you gift. And then you know how it goes, you make it so much you get tired of it…well that was it’s fate…until now. I’m bringing it back baby!

Best Ever! because popcorn is a pretty healthy snack as it is, but then you can mix it up and add in whatever you like to personalize it. This batch is with peanuts and cranberries, kind of like my granola bars, but you could certainly replace it with any dry fruit or nut you like. Oh Yeah! Did I mention that it’s super easy…can you say microwave?

Shopping List:

12 cups fresh popped corn (to pop on the stove: use a 6 quart pot, 2 tablespoons oil & 2/3 cup kernels. Cover and pop on high)

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup salted peanuts

1 large brown paper grocery bag

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions:

1. Place the popped corn, cranberries and peanuts in the paper bag. Shake to combine.

2. Melt butter in a large microwave-safe bowl, 1 minute.

3. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Microwave 2 minutes. The mixture will boil. Carefully stir and microwave an additional 2 minutes.

4. Stir in baking soda. It will foam up (a fun step for the kids to do). Carefully pour over the popcorn mixture. Fold the top of the bag over and shake to coat popcorn.

5. Place the bag in the microwave; cook 1/2 minutes. (Watch carefully, as higher wattage ovens may cook faster. Alternatively, transfer to a greased pan; bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring.)

6. Remove bag and shake. Microwave an additional minute. Pour on large cookie sheets to cool. I like to put in on a silpat, so it’s easier to remove.

See how this all went downhill? It’s just too easy to make…it’s bad news…especially since I fool myself into forgetting that there is an entire stick of butter in this one. As a side note, you could make this even more dangerous by topping it all with a drizzle of melted chocolate while it cools, but I won’t even go there today:)

Peanut Butter Chip Granola Bars

Peanut Butter Chip Granola Bars crumbled over vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. Yum!

My kids adore granola bars. And not just the ones dipped in chocolate. So when Food Network Magazine included a recipe for granola bars in their 50 Snacks booklet a while back, I thought I’d give it a shot and twist the recipe to suit my family’s tastes. And what do you know–they were a big success, I even passed out the extras to the kids’ preschool teachers and they devoured them too. If you like a salty and sweet combo, check out the Cranberry Peanut Granola Bars too.

Shopping List:

2 cups quick cooking oats
 
1 cup Rice Krispies 
 
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

1/3 cup Karo syrup

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon mini-chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Let the paper hang over the edge of the pan so you can take it out easily.

2. Pour 1/3 cup each Karo syrup, brown sugar, and peanut butter into a microwave safe bowl.  

3. Melt the mixture in the microwave for 1 minute.

4.  Once melted, stir it all together and add the vanilla, peanuts, oats, Rice Krispies and 1/3 cup of the chocolate chips.

5. Spread this thick mixture in a 9×9 inch baking pan lined with parchment paper.

6. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top of the granola bars.

7. Bake at 300 * for 30 minutes.

6. Take the pan out of the oven, and pull the bars out as one big square using the parchment. Let them cool 30 minutes on a cooling rack before cutting.

Makes 18 snack bars. You could also crush this up for cereal or as an ice cream, yogurt or fresh fruit topping. Yum!