Sunday, May 1, 2011

I need a snack.

Aren't snacks every bit as important as meals? They get you through never ending mornings, give you the energy for the gym, make watching a movie just that much better, and are perfect with a cocktail and conversation...

I've noticed magazines lately offering endless lists of healthy snacks. I love this. It makes me want to yell at random people, "Put down the 100 calorie pack of crap. Eating healthy snacks is easy. You will feel better. And damn it, you're smart enough to figure out your own reasonable portion!!!"

Snacks for me usually hang out in the fruit and nut area during the week while I'm at school. Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds, oranges, apple slices, pineapple, to name a few. Larabars have been a new favorite since going GF and I love their simple list of ingredients. (My favorite, peanut butter cookie, has simple dates, peanuts, and salt in the ingredient list.) At home, hummus goes without saying, and wouldn't be complete without the perfect companion. These days, I'm into Trader Joe's Baked Lentil Chips. Sometimes I go for a few Snyder's white corn tortilla chips dunked in super spicy salsa. (Can you believe they have 40% less fat than most other tortilla chips and their texture is perfect?) When friends are over and a Stoli is in hand, olives are required. And popcorn during a movie should never come from the microwave.

Upon reading through one of the previously mentioned snack lists, I came across kale chips. I've seen kale chips at Whole Foods pop up in the past month. They are a whopping $7 for what looks to be a couple handfuls. I searched Google and discovered just how easy they are to make. I followed the recipe from my favorite cooking couple, The Neeley's. (Seriously, I LOVE them.) I tore the leaves off the stalks of a bunch of kale and put them in the salad spinner. After a soak and spin, I laid the leaves out on a tea towel to air dry for about a half hour. I put them in a big bowl and used about a TBSP of evoo on the bunch. After a good toss to coat all the leaves evenly, I spread them out on parchment lined baking sheets. A little sea salt and freshly ground pepper led to them going into the oven on 300 for 25 minutes. When they came out, I sprinkled them with a bit of brown sugar and let them cool. I popped a couple in my mouth to try and had to come right back to my computer to avoid standing there eating both trays immediately. They are seriously amazing. Amazing. If you run screaming from greens, this is the recipe for you. Nothing about them feels green. A lovely way to sneak in some vitamin K and calcium. I apologize for not having a photo. I accidentally deleted it. Technology and I have come a long way, but we still have our moments. Picture gorgeous green leaves of crispy perfection and you pretty much have it.

Next on the agenda was a trail mix I saw in Claire Robinson's (The "other" woman) cookbook. I put 2 cups of raw pumpkin seeds, a cup of raw slivered almonds, and a cup of sunflower seeds into a bowl with 3 TBSP of high grade maple syrup (she says 6 TBSP, and that just seems like a lot to me, but if you're a sweets person, it might be perfect) and a heavy sprinkle of sea salt. I tossed them to coat and spread them on 2 parchment lined baking sheets. I set the oven back to 300 and gave them about 20 minutes, stirring them every 5 minutes or so. I took them out of the oven to allow them to cool. I chopped up some tart dried cherries and half a bar of Green and Black's 85% dark chocolate and mixed it all together. Salty, sweet, chocolaty- and healthy.

In the picture, there is also a pan of cooling walnuts I'd toasted a bit. I toast enough to get us through a couple weeks of snacks. They're so good all toasty, and Scott loves them on his cereal in the morning. I prefer them just as they are. Walnuts are incredible. I can be starving, but eat a few halves of walnuts and feel completely satisfied.

These unadulterated snacks might not be as fast as opening a 100 calorie pack of Oreos, but they're close, and what they will provide will leave you much more nourished than the Oreos ever could.


  1. How I missed this one, I don't know!! YUM! The cherries did it for me. LOVE dried cherries in a trail mix. Thanks for this!

  2. That's a great idea on the kale chips. Greens are cheap, cheap, cheap, and I am imagining eating those chips with some of my own hummus. Guac vehicle? Don't know, but I'm going to look into making those in the near future.

  3. They're not super strong, so it might be more of a topping than a dip, but I think you're on to something... a nice cracker with some hummus topped with a kale chip... yum.