Tag Archives: Snacks

Snacker Day Saturday: 6/23

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These skewers are super capr-easy. And, they’ll use up produce from gardens I know that some of you are growing. Ripe cherry tomatoes literally burst with flavor while roasting in the oven, tofu sizzles, and fresh basil, well…freshens up the whole flavor. All of this gets dunked into a nice cool bath of seasoned balsamic vinegar.

I love any take on the traditional caprese salad. One of my favorite versions that I’ve had is at a little place called the Saxapahaw General Store in Saxapahaw, North Carolina. My parents came to visit me so I took them to the locally-supplied restaurant which is located in a converted gas station. Cool, right? My mom and I decided to do a sandwich swap and ordered a roasted vegetable sandwich and a Mozzarella Caprese sandwich. Although it’s been over a year, I can’t get the taste of the Mozzarella Caprese out of my mind. A freshly baked baguette, meaty slices of ripe tomatoes, delicate fresh leaves of basil, and thick chunks of mozzarella, all coated with a home-made balsamic vinaigrette. Yum.

The other day I was hunkered down in my basement fort, armed with my Hemingway text in one hand and a pen in the other. And I was trying to concentrate. I really was. But all that caught my attention was a view of this out the window:
Once I saw the clouds, I started worrying that the downpour that would surely ensue would blow all of my little cherry tomatoes away. I’ve been working hard on taking care of those little guys – I mean, I get a gym membership’s worth of strength training lugging two watering cans out to the plants each day. I set down Hemingway and ran upstairs to go collect all of my little tomatoes and I saved them all before the sky opened up.

Fast forward a few hours through a soldier falling in love with a nurse, me writing a blog post for the Chamber of Commerce, and working on applications for grad school. Lunch rolled around and my collection of tomatoes sat waiting for me in a little bowl on the counter. And then, inspiration hit: a summery lunch that would use all of my precious tomatoes and some of the basil leaves that have been winding wildly towards the screen window they sit by.

To make my cap-reasy salad skewers, all you need are some tiny cherry tomatoes (aren’t they the cutest?), a few cubes of tofu, some fresh basil, and some good balsamic vinegar for dipping. Pop ’em in the oven, pop ’em in your mouth. Bada-bing, bada-boom. These mini-skewers are as cute as the ingredients that top them. They’d be perfect as hors d’ oeuvres at a party, a fresh summer lunch, or as an appetizer at a barbeque. Or as a refreshing snack in the midst of a Snacker Day Saturday!

Moral of the story: I’m really, really glad I rescued my cherry tomatoes from the storm! Other moral of the story: waiting is challenging. I used all my cherry tomatoes on this lunch so I’m now going to sit outside by my tomato plants and beg and plead them to ripen faster so I can make more of these delicious skewers. Okay, don’t worry, I won’t really go talk to my plants, but I sure am excited for the next batch of them to ripen up!

Capr-easy Salad Skewers
Ingredients
*Note: I’m not including amounts in this recipe. I’ll let you know how to make the skewers, but feel free to make as many or as little as your heart desires (or however many your garden dictates)
Cherry tomatoes
Firm tofu
Garlic powder
Fresh basil leaves
Balsamic vinegar
Italian seasoning blend
How To
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spray a cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray. Place washed cherry tomatoes onto the sheet.
3. Cut tofu into small blocks and dry them by pressing on them with a paper towel to extract excess moisture. Next, toss them in a little bit of garlic powder.

4. Put the seasoned tofu blocks onto the cookie sheet alongside the cherry tomatoes. Put the sheet in the oven. Bake for 10-20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have burst and the tofu is slightly firm on the outside.
5. Grab some toothpicks. Slide a tomato, a piece of tofu, and a fresh basil leaf onto each.
6. In a small bowl, mix balsamic vinegar with Italian seasoning. Add a drizzle of olive oil if you’d like.
7. Serve up a savory summertime snack that everyone will feel good about eating!

Now, for the reading portion of today’s snacker day: I suggest you read a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life  by Barbara Kingsolver. No, it’s not a ‘snack-sized’ read like most of the literature I try recommending on Saturdays, but this one is a great book to sit down and enjoy during summer. Barbara Kingsolver and her family grow their own food for a year and chronicle their experiences. If you’ve got a garden of your own, are looking to start one, or are simply interested in eating local, natural, real food, this is a book you’ll probably love. I really enjoyed it when I read it a couple years ago! It came to mind today while I was picking my food for lunch – it felt good that most of my meal came from the vine and landed on my plate mere minutes later. Hope you have a great Snacker Day Saturday!

Snacker Day Saturday: 6/16

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This snacker day is going to be a little different than usual. I’ve got a new drink recipe to share with you, but mostly I just want to spend a little time reviewing the smoothie recipes I’ve worked really hard to come up with all week. Also, I’ve got something to celebrate – read on to see why I’ve got a big smile plastered on my face right now.

First, I’ll go ahead and give up my recipe for the day. I’ve got no pictures to go with this (sorrryyyy), but trust me – this smoothie is so good that if you make it, you’ll guzzle it down before you even have a chance to look at it. Or realize it’s got 3 cups of spinach in it. What??

I got the idea for this smoothie from one of my favorite bloggers Angela, at Oh She Glows. She always raves about these “Green Monsters” that she drinks. There are SO many different variations that she makes that I was overwhelmed by options! And of course, when confronted with a recipe, I of course ran away from it and came up with my own concoction. It’s FULL of some of the best foods you can put into your body, tastes like dessert, and I drink it all up for breakfast. Is there any better way to start the day?

Lean Green Breakfast Machine
Ingredients
1 banana (frozen and sliced)
1 cup blueberries (frozen)
3 cups spinach
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Ice if needed
Sweetener if needed
How To
1. Blend it all up and soak up the goodness!!

I hope you enjoy trying that smoothie out this Saturday. There’s no better to start a weekend morning than by energizing yourself with healthy foods and feeling great about the way you start your day! I’ve been drinking variations of this smoothie for a week now for breakfast and am often tempted to repeat the smoothie for lunch and dinner. Buuuuuut, life might get a little boring if this was all I consumed, so here’s a quick recap of some other great cool-drink concoctions you can try for these hot summer days. And keep reading…the exciting snacker day news is on the way!

Tropical Dreamsicle Smoothies
Reminiscent of a classic orange creamsicle treat, these smoothies will have both kids and adults screaming for the dream.

Mock Mojito Slushies
Tantalizing and tart, these slushies will add some pep to your step and a burst of citrus to your tastebuds.
Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie
Seasonal strawberries star in this smoothie.

Sparkling Watermelon Lemonade on the Rocks
The title says it all!

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
Tall, dark, and handsome? Try tall glass, rich dark chocolate, and a good lookin’ bunch of fresh cherries.

It’s been a fun week for me making all of these smoothies. I can say that I’m 100% hydrated after sippin’ on all of these drinks, and probably have had my fill of fruits for the week. Each drink has a unique flavor, and I really love the versatility that exists in this list.

Before I leave you to have a great weekend, I want to ANNOUNCE MY EXCITING NEWS! I’d just like to thank all of you who use Pinterest and have been pinning my Squash Chips. Remember these when I made them at the end of March?

Since I posted the recipe, I’ve had 37,489 views of the recipe. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected a little squash chip experiment in my apartment kitchen to reach so many people. That’s what I love about blogging – the ability to connect with people you might not otherwise have the chance to. So, in short, thank you readers!!!! You make blogging so much fun! I love hearing your ideas, suggestions, feedback, and encouragement. Hope you have a fantastic Snacker Day Saturday and a great rest of the weekend.

Snacker Day Saturday: 4/21

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Snacks come in handy when you’re hiking.

I only know this because some of the most rewarding moments spent hiking are when you reach the top of a mountain or the mid-point of a trail, or a lookout and have the chance to rest for ten minutes or so and indulge in a treat. Snacks are also useful if you’ve walked for so long you feel like your feet are about to fall off and your stomach is growling.

Andrea is going hiking this weekend so I thought I’d surprise her and try to create my own bars so she could bring them on her trip with her. I’m usually not a huge fan of bars (I’d rather sit down for a real meal), but on the trail this just isn’t possible. So I did what I could to make three different flavors of bars for her to take into the wilderness for snacks this weekend.

I made chocolate peanut-butter, plain peanut-butter (both of these flavors also have variations that include chocolate chips), and…..drumroll please…..GINGERBREAD! I know, I know, some of you think that gingerbread isn’t ‘in season’ right now, but I’ll explain my rationale.

I’m not sure if I’ve confessed this or not before, but I’m a fan of listening to Christmas music almost year round. Note, I said almost. I usually take a break of a month or two and then crank up the frosty tunes starting in about June.  Last year my family moved houses and because it was summer and I had nothing else planned, I decided to physically “move” myself from one house to the other by walking. I set out on a nearly 15 mile journey from one house to the other with a water bottle in hand and speakers in my ears. To combat the above-100 degree heat, I thought it would be smart to listen to some Christmas music. So I did. The whole way. And even if the music didn’t really cool my body down at all, it put a pep in my step the entire walk.

Today I went on a walk with my iPod on shuffle and a Christmas song popped up. As soon as it did, I knew that today was the day to deck the halls. I did by coming up with this gingerbread flavored bar that would make even the grinch happy. So, without further ado, whip out your food processors and Christmas jams and let’s get snackin’!

Snacker Bars are Comin’ To Town

Peanut Butter Bars
Ingredients
1 1/2 cup peanut butter puff cereal
3 dates (pitted and sliced in half)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
How To
1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until all ingredients meld together into one ball or until the consistency reaches the point that you can easily put the batter in your hands and make a cohesive ball.
2. Shape the batter into whatever form you’d like or see below for a variation!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
Ingredients
1/2 of batter from above
1 1/2 tablespoons chocolate chips
How To
1. Split the batter above in half with a knife. Leave one half as plain peanut butter bars and mix the other half of the batter with chocolate chips.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups peanut butter puff cereal
3 dates (pitted and sliced in half)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon agave
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
How To
1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until all ingredients meld together into one ball or until the consistency reaches the point that you can easily put the batter in your hands and make a cohesive ball.
2. Shape the batter into whatever form you’d like or see below for a variation!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars
Ingredients
1/2 of batter from above 1 1/2 tablespoons chocolate chips
How To
1. Split the batter above in half with a knife. Leave one half as plain peanut butter bars and mix the other half of the batter with chocolate chips.

Gingerbread Bars

Ingredients
1/2 cup mixed soy nuts and pumpkin seeds
1 packet vegan maple instant oats
1/2 overflowing tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon agave
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
How To
1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until all ingredients meld together into one ball or until the consistency reaches the point that you can easily put the batter in your hands and make a cohesive ball.
2. Shape the batter into whatever form you’d like! (I suggest gingerbread men).

Now that you’ve got your hands on these bars, I’m sure that your brain is hungry for some reading material. Good thing I’ve got a little snack to appease your intellectual side. It’s a story called “Christ, Their Lord” by Stacey Richter and you can find it in the Best of Tin House Stories published in 2006. It’s an energetic story packed with strange happenings that all center around Christmas, which is why I thought it would be perfect for this snacker day that I’ve packed full of Christmas references and stories. I hope you enjoy this slightly different and artistic take on Christmas that Richter uses in order to convey the complex relationship that the main characters are involved in.

Happy snacker day to all, and to all a good day!

Snacker Day Saturday: 4/7

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Orange you excited for Easter tomorrow? I sure am! My mom is coming to see me so I’m getting to spend the day with her and two of my precious roommates. We’ve got quite the feast planned!

I’ve got two little friends who are excited for Easter, too and they’ve got a snack recipe to share.
Meet Foreman and Chase (yes, the people who named them might love spending Friday nights watching House on DVD…)

With Easter arriving tomorrow and full-blown hot weather coming soon after, these cuties thought it might be nice to share a snack recipe that can keep you cool no matter the temperatures outside. It’s not much of a recipe because there’s really not that much you have to do, but that’s the great part about it! Serve these slices as a sweet poolside treat, a refreshing and healthy alternative to dessert, or to the Easter bunny tomorrow when he shows up exhausted at your door from delivering so many goodies.

So if you’re looking for a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth today (before you dive headfirst into a bucket of Cadbury Creme Eggs, Peeps, and Reese’s Eggs tomorrow), try these out. The recipe below serves one, but if you double it or triple it or quadruple it you can serve it as a side at a party, as a post-dinner palate-refresher for guests, or just eat more oranges yourself. 🙂 That last option is one that Foreman and Chase highly recommend.

Frozen Orange Slices

Ingredients

1 orange

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon sugar

How To

1. Peel an orange and separate it into slices

2. In a small bowl or tupperware, sprinkle seasonings on top of the slices. Mix them around or shake them up so that all of the pieces are evenly coated.

3. Pop the slices in the freezer for 15-45 minutes (depending on your desired level of chill) and then enjoy them.

Easy, right?

As for my reading tidbit today, I highly recommend reading the story in the Bible about why Easter is celebrated. No matter if you’ve never heard it or read it one thousand times, it seems the most suitable story I can recommend for today, and it’s the only reading that’s been on my mind today. Try reading Matthew chapters 26-28 while you’re enjoying those frozen orange slices.

I hope all of you have wonderful Easters! Chase and Foreman say peep peep peep which means that they hope you have a beautiful day tomorrow as well.

Hummus, Three Ways!

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When I love foods, I love them to the extreme. Take ice cream, for example. A few years back I ate almost two 1.5-quarts of Edy’s ice cream in order to win an ice cream eating competition. I ate my first tub in 12 minutes and then painfully made my way through the second tub which was cookies n’ cream flavored. Trust me, I love cookies n’ cream but I’d probably had well over 100 grams of sugar at that point and it was just too sweet. After the contest was over, I had goosebumps for about three hours afterwards, and rolled around the floor trying to make my stomach feel better. Even though I felt so sick, I managed to eat normally all of the next day and even went out for ice cream two days later.

Another example of my love of specific foods: frosting. It was on my list of life goals to eat an entire container of Betty Crocker frosting so my mom caved and let me and my brother each have a container to ourselves. We sat down with spoons in hand and I achieved my dream. My brother couldn’t finish his container so I ate the last half of his as well. Twenty minutes later, the Wheel of Fortune turned into the most hilarious show we had ever seen.

Other foods I’ve loved excessively over the years: Ritz crackers, olives, pickles, mangoes, baby carrots, and zucchinis. More recently I’ve fallen in love with sweet potatoes, seaweed salad, popcorn,  lemon-tahini dressing, Brussel sprouts, and Greek yogurt. Now you’re probably wondering, what does all of this have to do with what I’m sharing today?

I’ve got another food in my life that I can’t seem to get enough of: hummus. I love it on sandwiches, as a topping on my salads, and using it as a dip for my beloved baby carrot sticks. I buy a ton of it from our local co-op, so much that I go through a container of it within 48 hours of buying the stuff.

I’ve constantly seen recipes for hummus around the internet that look delectable and oh-so-easy to make. So, last time I was at the co-op I bought a can of garbanzo beans rather than my usual little tub of hummus. I made three different kinds and I’ve been dipping everything in ever since. I’m happy with how they turned out which is why I’m sharing my humble little recipes with you today! If you love hummus as much as I do – or even just want to try a new flavor – go ahead and give these a go!

Hummus, three ways
(Tumeric-garlic / Cilantro  and Green Onion / Ginger and Soy Sauce)

Ingredients

For the plain hummus:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 can of garbanzo beans (drain the beans and reserve the liquid)

1 tablespoon tahini

1/2 cup reserved garbanzo bean liquid

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the tumeric-garlic:

1 teaspoon tumeric

1/2 tablespoon garlic

For the cilantro and green onion:

1 teaspoon cilantro paste or one tablespoon chopped, fresh cilantro

Two small green onions, finely chopped

For the ginger and soy sauce:

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon soy sauce (or one and a half teaspoons), to taste

How To
These instructions might appear complicated, but here’s what we’re up to: basically you’re going to make a batch of plain hummus and then after following those instructions, simply split the plain hummus into three batches and then add the different ingredients to each different batch to make the three flavors. Here we go!

1. Pour the olive oil into a small skillet. Then, pour the beans in and heat over medium heat. Stir them so that the bottom beans don’t burn. Cook the beans until they are golden brown.

2. Put the beans into a food processor. Add the salt, pepper, and tahini. Blend this mixture.

3. After blending the beans, examine the consistency. Little by little, add the 1/2 cup of reserved garbanzo bean juice from the can until the hummus reaches a creamy texture.

4. Separate the hummus into three small bowls. Next, add each set of ingredients to each different plain hummus batch. Mix them really well and then they are ready to dive into!


From left to right: tumeric-garlic / cilantro green onion / ginger soy-sauce

Well, I hope you enjoy these different hummus recipes! They are PACKED with flavor and are a great accompaniment to a lot of different snack foods. However, although these hummus recipes might pair perfectly with baby carrots and crackers, I’ve got a recipe tomorrow for Snacker Day Saturday that will act as the perfect vessel to these hummus flavors.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for this…

and in the meantime, have a fun-filled Friday!!!

Snacker Day Saturday: 3/17

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As you might be able to gather from the title of this post, I’m beginning a new weekly feature on digintobooks. If you’re anything like me, Saturdays are usually packed doing all the fun things you’ve waited to do all week (don’t worry, I’ll keep it a secret if you’ve been on Pinterest all week gathering up craft ideas to do on Saturdays, or if you’ve been emailing friends while at work with fun outing ideas to add to your weekend to-do list). On Saturdays I usually find myself on adventures with friends. Sometimes getting an hour or two to just put my feet up and relax isn’t an option – nor do I want it to be one. Because of this, I find myself craving great snack solutions to keep me going through long hours of shopping, taking nice walks outside, or dancing until my feet feel like they’re going to call off.

From now on, I’ll be offering you a snack idea to nourish both your mind and body. How is this possible? I’ll be feeding your tummy by sharing one of my recipes for food, and then offer you a little tidbit of literature to keep your intellectual side satisfied until you’re able to really sit down and read or write or go back to work. Hopefully this sounds like a nice Saturday treat to you, because I’m really excited about sharing these little opportunities for you to pause and rejuvenate during your Saturday – or any day of the week for that matter!

So go ahead, have a Snacker Day Saturday today on me! Here are the recipe and reading snacks that I want to share today:

This snack is one that is so secretly healthy I often make it for dessert. And by often I mean I make it almost every night for myself. I mean, who would turn down a banana turned into chocolate cake? Not me.

All you need for this delectable creation is a banana, baking powder, cocoa powder, and a little bit of water. With a little abra-cadabra and a wave of a wand, this pile of mush turns into a personal piece of chocolate cake that’s so moist and gooey you could almost call it chocolate lava cake. Yum.

Before you drool on your keyboard anymore, I’ll go ahead and give you the recipe. After all, it is Saturday! You’ve got to get to work making this and get to all the other projects you’ve got going on.

Healthy Chocolate Cake for One

Ingredients

1 banana

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon water

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

Sugar to taste (sugar is not necessary in this recipe at all because of the sweetness of the banana, but if you want to throw in a couple teaspoons, it can’t hurt)

How To

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Peel the banana and break it into a few pieces. Put the banana pieces into a small bowl or and mash well with a fork. The smoother the banana is, the smoother your cake will be.

3. In a separate small bowl, mix the baking powder and water. Let the baking powder fizzle and rise. When it has slowed down as far as fizzling and popping go, mix it in with the mashed banana.

4. Mix the cocoa powder into the mashed banana mixture and stir well. The batter should be very similar to that of cake batter and should smell so deliciously chocolate that you want to lick it out of the bowl. Try to resist temptation.

5. Spray down a small ramekin or mini casserole pan with cooking spray. I use these neat little flower shaped ceramic baking tools I got at Pier 1. Pour the batter in.

6. Bake the personal serving of cake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the top looks very cake-like. The middle may be a teeny bit batter-y but if you’re into chocolate lava cakes or delicious hot batter this shouldn’t bother you.

7. Take the pan to a comfy chair, and get ready to read!

Today I’m posting a link to a website that you may not be familiar with. I interned with the literary magazine The Missouri Review last summer and thoroughly enjoyed it. The caliber of work published by that magazine is phenomenal, the staff insightful and experienced, and the overall magazine something that I’d look into subscribing to. They even have audio recordings of each piece and an online version for the more tech-savvy among us.

This summer I specifically worked on a project called textBOX. It’s an online anthology of some of the best pieces that The Missouri Review has ever published. Today I encourage you to sit down with your deceivingly healthy chocolate cake, and read through some of the pieces. They’re so good that you may just have to make yourself another piece of cake to go along with it.