I’ve been on a bit of a health kick lately, and as a result, everyone in the family is eating more fruits and veggies. I’ve been sending carrots, cucumbers and grapes to school with my grade one ponytail — and that worked well for a couple of days. Then I started to notice that the veggies and grapes were still in her lunchbox at the end of each day. When I asked her about it, she said that she was too busy at the monkey bars and didn’t have time for her snack. Although, she did have time for the goldfish that I sent for her morning snack.
I recently mentioned this interesting observation to my mom friend Carolyn and she said that any time she sends carrots or cucumbers for snacks, they end up back home at the end of the day as well. Hmmm, what’s a mom to do?
Thanks to some terrific fellow bloggers and informative websites, I can offer five fairly easy snack ideas that are quite family friendly. Some of them manage to sneak in some dried fruits and veggies in a very tasty way.
1. Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Bars — This recipe from Yummy Chunklet is fantastic! (I’ve just started following this blog and I’m really enjoying it.) These bars are quick to make and I just loved the texture that the quinoa adds. I swapped chopped dried cherries for the hazelnuts, so that they are safe to send to school and I used 3 eggs, as suggested in the recipe. I also added a handful of butterscotch chips on the top of the bars before baking. (The Kitchen Sink Granola Bars that I posted a while back are another breakfast bar option as well.)
2. Herb & Parmie Baked Tortilla Chips — These are easy peasy to make. Spray 4 to 6 medium tortilla’s with cooking spray. Cover with finely grated parmesan cheese, a dash of both garlic salt and onion powder, and a pinch of dried parsley. Cut each tortilla into six wedges. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for 5 minutes; turn over the tortillas and bake for 2 to 3 more minutes. Careful, they burn easily. You could also try other seasonings, such as chili powder, lime juice and dried cilantro. Since these don’t really require a recipe, you can make as few or as many as you like — although they do seem to disappear quickly!
3. Chocolate-Zucchini Cakes — I followed a Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe, but omitted the walnuts to make them nut-free.
4. Smoked Paprika Roasted Chick Peas – I slightly modified a recipe for Garlic and Cumin Roasted Chick Peas by Charles over at Five Euro Food. (If you haven’t read his blog, I highly recommend it. Charles was one of the first people that I met when I started blogging and his upbeat personality really shines through in his blog.) The girls really loved the Smoked Paprika Almonds that I made recently, so I figured this would help them to give the chick peas a try. It worked! Modifications: I used 2 tbsp oil instead of 3, 2 tsp smoked paprika, a pinch of pepper and one clove of garlic. Everything else was according to the recipe.
5. Oven Dried Pineapple – I followed the directions for oven drying fruit on eHow. I baked the pineapple pieces for about 5 hours at 170°, as that was the lowest setting on my oven. I left them on the pan in the oven overnight (turned off) and then stored them in a plastic container. I skipped the process of leaving them for 10 to 14 days in a pot, as I found other sites that didn’t include this process. (I also noted that others who tried this techinique baked their fruit for 6 to 8 hours.) The dried pineapple had an intense, delicious flavour. We ate them in a couple of days, so I’m not sure how long they would keep this way. I’d like to try using them in my next batch of granola bars. I plan to try this process on some cherries this summer as well.
You can never have too many good snack ideas, so I welcome any other suggestions you may have. I’d also love to hear about your experience with oven drying fruit, as this was new to me.