Category Archives: snacks

easy granola bars, no bake

This is going on frequent snack rotation at our house.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats {not rolled oats!}
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, stir oats and rice cereal together. Set aside. In a small pot, melt butter, honey and brown sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes. Pour in vanilla and stir. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. Pour into lightly greased small jelly roll pan {about 12x8x1} and press out to be about 3/4 inch in thickness. {If your pan isn’t small enough, pack the mixture into one side. You really want to press them down so they stick together.} Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly. Cool on a countertop to room temperature for two hours or until the chocolate chips are set before cutting into bars. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

Recipe Notes: If your granola bars don’t seem to be staying together when you cut them, you may have made them too thin or you didn’t pack them in tight enough. Stick them in the fridge for 20 minutes and that should help keep them together. {Be sure not to keep them in there too long or else they’ll become super hard!} The next time you make them, try reducing the butter to 3 tablespoons and really packing them down.


From Lauren’s Latest (who adapted it from Rachael Ray)


Caramel Corn

We saw our first popcorn tree of the season on Thursday night, so Friday we made popcorn balls.  This was a hit.

Recipe from


Easy Caramel Corn

12 C popped popcorn (about 1/2 C kernels)
1 C brown sugar
1/4 C white Karo syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt (if you are using salted microwave popcorn then omit salt here)
1 stick real butter
1/2 t baking soda
1 t vanilla

Pop popcorn and set aside. Place brown sugar, Karo syrup, salt, and butter in a microwave safe dish. Microwave for 30 seconds. That should be enough to melt the butter at least half way. Stir it all to combine. No microwave on high for 2 minutes. Take it out and stir. Microwave for 2 more minutes.

While the caramel is cooking, put the popcorn in a big bowl. Use one that is way bigger than you think you’ll need.  Also, remove any un-popped kernels.  When the caramel is done cooking, take out of microwave and add baking soda and vanilla.  Stir well and then pour over popcorn and stir up popcorn immediately to coat.

Eat warm straight out of the bowl, or spread out onto waxed paper or foil and let cool to room temperature (for soft, gooey popcorn).

soft pretzels

I saw this Alton Brown recipe for soft pretzels on Cooking with my Kid. We LOVED them.  I really love the pretzels you can buy at the mall – the soft, salty yumminess.  This is probably as close as you can get at home, and as a bonus – they’re super easy. Yeah!!

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Tastes best when warm.

Christmas Popcorn

After bringing 2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup milk to a boil, add 1 teaspoon vanilla (or any other flavoring you want) and food coloring. Stir until the food coloring is all mixed in, and pour in a large bowl over 8 cups of popcorn. Stir very well.  Then lay out on foil to give it some time to “unstick” before combining colors.  You could also turn these into popcorn balls really easily.

We sprinkled some Christmas sprinkles on some of the colors.  Just have fun!

pumpkin pie fruit roll ups

This was fun fruit leather. Super easy, and the kids dug it big time.  The original recipe came here, at Food for my Family.

2 cups applesauce

1 cup pure pack pumpkin puree

3 T honey

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t nugmet

1/4 t allspice

I put everything in a pot and let it cook for about 5 minutes. I was using applesauce I’d made and canned earlier, and we make it pretty smooth.  If your mixture isn’t too smooth, I’d run an immersion blender in the pot, or blend the applesauce first for a more smooth texture.
I liked a sheet pan with foil and sprayed it with cooking spray, then spread the puree evenly on the foil.  
I baked it for 7 1/2 hours at 170 degrees, and had Nathan take it out of the oven without my checking it first. I was worried it was overdone since the original directions called for 150 degrees for 8 hours. My oven only goes as low as 170, so I was worried that the same amount of time would be too long at the higher temp.
The fruit leather was perfect on the outsides and not done in the middle, even though I thought I’d spread it carefully with my offset spatula. If that happens to you, too, just peel off the finished parts and stick the pan back in until the whole thing is done.  It sould feel slightly sticky but not gummy or soft.  
Cool it and cut into strips. My kids devoured it but you might want to roll yours around plastic wrap before storing it in something airtight.

Roasted Chickpeas

Found this recipe on a new to me blog, Food, Wine and ModPodge. Josh could eat 7 full meals a day, but since I don’t have cooking and cleaning up after 7 meals a day in me, he snacks a lot. And he loves salty and crunchy the best; think popcorn, tater tots, chips and fries.  I thought this would be a good, healthier alternative. He thought they were fair, but I don’t think I initially dried the beans enough, so they might’ve been more tantalizing to him if they were crunchier.  I thought they were a great little snack with a protein punch.  I didn’t take any pictures, so here is Katie’s picture her finished recipe.

If you want a step by step photo tutorial, hop on over there.

Rinse 1 can of chickpeas (or garbanzo beans – same thing) well in a strainer, and pat very dry with towels.  The dryer your beans are, the crunchier they will be at the very end.  Toss them in a bowl with a bit of olive oil and whatever seasonings you’re in the mood for.  Katie used paprika, cayenne and sea salt.  We used sea salt, paprika, adobo seasoning (one of my go-to seasonings from Penzys) and cumin.

Put the beans in a single layer in a baking dish, and place them in an oven preheated to 400.  Toss them every 10 minutes, and leave them in for about 40 minutes.

Fruity Popcorn

I’ve seen a lot of jello popcorn recipes. We mixed this up the other night while watching a movie. It was a hit. I made it into popcorn balls that we stuck on sticks.  Messy hands be gone!

8 cups air popped popcorn
1/4 c. butter
3 T corn syrup (honey will probably work as a substitute, but I haven’t tried it)
1/2 c. sugar
1 small box of any flavor Jello

Place butter and syrup in a pan and heat until butter is melted. Add sugar and Jello. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for five minutes. Immediately pour mixture over popcorn in a large bowl, making sure all the popcorn is coated.

Josh picked a box of peach jello when we did it, but i’m having visions of red and green at Christmas.