Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The biggest unprocessed challenge: Snack time!

We knew going in to this month of unprocessed eating that snacks would be the hardest part. We are accustomed to having snacks when we get home from school, after the kids go to bed, all day long on the weekends. :) But all of these snack foods: crackers, pretzels, chips, nachos, candy are now forbidden. The only one of our usual snacks that we could still have is nuts - almonds, pistachios - and dried fruits.

Because of this, hubby and I have both been snacking a lot less, which I know is good for us. But still, there are those afternoons when lunch was too small or too long ago, or it's just been one of those days, and you need a little something.

I have experimented with several different crackers:
Wheat thins - they were okay, better with cheese. We ate them all, but I wouldn't make the recipe again.

Then I tried homemade ritz crackers. Hubby thought the flavor was spot on; I thought they were okay. After a night in a covered container, they were really soft, which I didn't like. Again, we finished them, but I wouldn't make them again.

Finally, today, I had homemade cracker success. I made whole wheat calzones last night using one of KAF's whole wheat pizza dough recipes. The calzones were delicious: leftover spinach-homemade ricotta mixture from the cannelloni, plus organic chicken sausage sauteed with onion and sweet peppers, and fresh mozzarella.

I made 9 or 10 calzones, but still had a little pizza dough left. So following this KAF recipe for pizza crackers, I rolled the leftover pizza dough really thin and let it rest while I preheated the oven. While that was happening, I heated up some olive oil with garlic and salt and pepper (since I was already making garlic bread for tonight's dinner). I brushed the garlic olive oil on the pizza crust and baked the crackers for 12 minutes. Unfortunately, that was too long, and most of the sheet got too dark. However, the pieces that didn't burn were absolutely delicious. I will definitely make these again!

I also tried this recipe for buttermilk-whole wheat crackers (can you tell that I've been in a cracker mood?). I did vary the ingredients a bit, based on what I had on hand: 250 g white whole wheat flour, 70 g ground golden flax seed, 1 tbsp sugar, 3/4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 5 tbsp EVOO, 3/4 c buttermilk. I followed the same process as in the recipe, but again I brushed the crackers with the garlic olive oil and then sprinkled sesame seeds over the top.

The other winning after-school snack is popcorn - either regular, with butter and garlic salt, or this recipe for kettle corn. The recipe is absolutely delicious and really quite easy, although it does contain some regular granulated sugar; I'm curious to try one of the honey or maple syrup-sweetened popcorn recipes that's floating around out there.

The kids, unfortunately, don't really like to snack on dried fruits or nuts much. The little guy's favorite food is a giant sugar-laden blueberry muffin from the grocery store. A while before we went on this challenge, I banned those muffins, and we've gone back to mommy-made muffins. His favorite when he was a toddler were muffins based off of this garden harvest cake from Cooking Light. I use all white whole wheat flour, reduce the sugar by a bit, and eliminate the nuts (he hates them); I bake them in a muffin tin for 24 minutes. He loves these muffins: for breakfast, for lunch, for snack.

I also made mini-whole wheat banana mini-chocolate chip muffins for a breakfast snack this past weekend; they were a huge hit. I used my favorite banana bread recipe, subbing in all white whole wheat flour, reducing the sugar, eliminating the bourbon and the nuts, and adding a few mini-chocolate chips.

We also tried these healthy cookies, disbelieving that a cookie with no sweetener and no flour could really be good. With the exception of grinding up the almonds, the kids did it all. The cookies were...okay. We ended up eating them all, but no one could eat more than one in a sitting. We won't make the recipe again, but it was fun.

Lastly, we bought these smoothie pops and are experimenting with them. Our first try was vanilla yogurt plus a little orange juice concentrate: a big success!

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree. Snacking seems to be the hardest part. You've tried so many good ideas here. Popcorn is always a great place to play. I know the kids won't like it much, but my favorite snack these days is a handful of homemade granola. It's got enough crunch and sweet to satisfy my snack cravings. Other favorites are apple slices dipped in almond or peanut butter (natural/ground at the co-op), and, of course, cheese :-)

    As always, I'm so impressed with how much thought and work you're putting into this. So very inspiring!