“What could be more important than a little something to eat?” ~ Winnie the Pooh
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One of my favorite things about having The Veggies are emails from readers. Those who, in some small way, have found a bit of inspiration.
True confessions? As with life, I've learned the most about cooking, when I've completely messed things up.
In fact, just last week, while attempting to salt a colorful pan of to-be-roasted veggies, the lid came off. We were fishing Himalayan grains out of our toes for days
Then there was the casserole forgotten in the oven. “This is perfect(!) I'll take the puppies around the block while it's baking.” Once I'd hosed them off after a mud-wrestling match, and heard all about our neighbor's vacation, I walked in and thought
“Oh no, let's open some windows.”
Therefore it's been nice to focus my attention on this short series about snacking. Most of the things we snack on don't have a recipe are quick and easy to prepare.
In Part I – a few things to keep in mind when you're at the grocery, wandering up one aisle and down the next
Today's installment includes some of our go-to's. My sincerest hope is they'll have you thinking beyond the usual (or maybe your usual with a few additions)
Raw fruits and veggies – Fruit comes pre-packed by nature. Veggies are convenient and filling (because of their high fiber content), are easy to digest, and lower in calories.
Dipping ideas? Hummus (homemade or store-bought), or fruit dip made with yogurt + nut butter. It's also easy to make your own veggie dip by adding fresh herbs (think dill, parsley or basil), lemon juice to yogurt. Don't forget dressings; there are some great ones out there made from whole foods such as Cindy's Kitchen or Amy's Naturals
Veggie Tostada – It's hard to go wrong with black beans + veggies.
Hard-boiled eggs – Either on their own, or made into deviled eggs (greek yogurt instead of mayo)
Popcorn – Preferably the kind made on the stove-top with coconut oil, and lightly salted (or unsalted). An entire cup is a serving, so it's one you can enjoy and feel satisfied longer. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast for a cheesy taste
Sprouted corn tortilla wrap with – Banana + nut butter, or turkey slices + 1/4 avocado, or toasted with 1/2 avocado + lettuce + tomato
Cottage cheese .. with 1/2 cup pineapple chunks, or with a dash of cinnamon, or simply on its own (note: cottage cheese tends to be high in sodium)
Strawberries (halved) + soft goat cheese
String cheese, either with apple slices or 1/4 cup marinara sauce
Tuna + crackers
Tea Bags (for when you're not hungry, but want something comforting)
Often times the best (and most balanced) snacks are those that started as full meals. A few ideas?
Half of a sandwich or a plate of leftovers from the night before.
A chicken + veggie pita made in the am can be split in half for a couple of snacks throughout the day.
The Freezer is your friend
“If it's frozen they last longer in your mouth and it takes longer for them to defrost, so the flavor lasts longer. It's an easier way to eat it, and you don't need quite so much” ~ Giada
Frozen grapes – eat them while they're still icy (they taste like sorbet bites)
Banana + Nut Butter – wrapped in plastic and frozen for a few hours
Fruit pops – Fruit pureed in a blender, frozen into an ice-cube tray, with a wooden stick in the middle
Sugar-free chocolate chips, or some really great dark chocolate (a small square is surprisingly satisfying)
Ideas for Kids
Have some fun(!) Cut, slice, and style fruits and veggies on their plate in a way that will make them smile. Better yet .. let them help
Classic “Ants on a Log” – Nut butter spread onto a celery stick and topped with raisins
“Finger fruits” like grapes, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, and cherry tomatoes, arranged into smiley faces on their plate
Dried fruits (without added sugar) – For example banana chips or dried apple rings
Dehydrated fruit leather
Homemade apple sauce
Smoothies – A great idea no matter your age(!) When it comes to kids, they're an easy way to sneak in veggies, and it's fun to name them. The Hulk .. The Superman .. Berry Blast .. Pink Princess, etc
Next time, tips for snacking when you're away from home
This past weekend an apple-picking date with my oldest grandson, Eli.
The day picture-perfect as we wandered up and down the rows looking for just the right ones. “Green Grandma, green is the best” .. “Does Z eat apples?” .. “Why not?” .. “What if I have to go potty?” .. “Papa, can we stop for pink ice cream?”
Fall is the best time of year for a simple yet delicious apple snack cake.
As readers of the site will attest, I'm not one for cakes that are fussy or pretentious. A buttermilk base, kiss of lemon, and just enough salt to keep things sophisticated, make this a go-to seasonal recipe.
The kind of cake you can throw together on the fly using whatever berries or fruit are in season.
The whole wheat pastry flour delivers a pretty cake with a delicate crumb. Buttermilk lends plenty of richness and flavor, which lets me use a fraction of the butter and sugar you'll find in many cakes
One of the hallmarks of the cake is the big sugar crystals strewn across the top, which get nice and crusty in the oven. The cake itself isn't particularly sweet, the sweetness from the apples lets one keep the sugar elsewhere in the batter to a minimum
~ Adapted from The New York Times
Apple Pecan Snack Cake
- 2 cups sweet, crisp red apples, cut into ¼ cubes (peel off or on for a fun confetti look)
- 2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or spelt flour)
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- ½ cup natural sugar (or organic brown sugar)
- ½ tsp fine grain sea salt
- 2 eggs (large or XL)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup butter, melted but not hot
- ½ - ¾ cup chopped pecans (or nuts of your choice)
- 2 - 3 Tbsp large grain natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado)
- Preheat the oven to 400° F
- Butter and flour (or line bottom with parchment paper) one 9" square baking dish (or tart pan)
- Chop the apples and place them in a bowl of water, along with the juice of one lemon. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
- In a separate and smaller bowl, whisk the eggs and the buttermilk.
- Whisk in the melted butter.
- Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour mixture and stir until barely combined (be careful not to over-mix)
- Drain the apples, shake off any excess water, and fold them into the cake batter.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, pushing it out toward the edges. Sprinkle with the large grain sugar.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until cake is just set and a touch golden on top.
- (I like this cake every-so-slightly under-baked, just barely, remember it will cook for a little while after you remove it from the oven)