Four Forks: Snack Edition
Because I would be very happy if I never had to see, serve, or eat another Goldfish cracker, this week I turned my attention to finding some healthy snack ideas that are fun and yummy for both kids and grown-ups. I can’t say that the following three recipes are quite as portable as Goldfish crackers, nor are they as instantly available, but they are much healthier and WAY yummier.
The first snack alternative I tried out on my family was homemade hummus. Last summer, at my annual Girls’ Weekend with friends from college, we had a personal chef come to cook us dinner. A very boisterous, interesting woman named Marla showed up at the house with an assistant, some recipes, and a lot of food. This hummus is what she taught us to make for an appetizer, and it’s the best hummus I’ve ever had. Here’s the recipe:
2 C. canned chickpeas, liquid reserved
2 cloves garlic
1/2 C. tahini paste
1/2 – 3/4 C. fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
1 t. salt
olive oil, toasted pine nuts, paprika, or fresh parsley, for garnish
toasted pita chips or wedges, for serving
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, blend garlic, then add the chickpeas and blend again. Add the tahini, lemon juice, and salt and blend. At this point, add a little of the reserved liquid to add moisture and continue blending until very smooth. Scrape into bowl, top with any of the garnishes, and serve with pita.
I was hoping that I could get some extra protein and fiber into my kids with this hummus, but neither of them loved it. But my husband does, and you will, too! I promise! Bring it to any party or potluck and it will disappear, and you will never buy those dry little containers of hummus again.
Next up, I made an old, favorite Bon Appetit granola recipe that I had forgotten about but was reminded of after sampling some excellent restaurant-made granola from Chicago this spring. This recipe is the closest approximation to anything I’ve had in a cute breakfast cafe, so I thought I’d re-make it and see if the girls went for it. They did! I layered it in clear glasses with plain yogurt, and they thought it a very fancy snack. Then my husband and I ate it straight off the baking sheet for the rest of the day until it was gone. I’m going to make this again and again, perhaps trying to make it last for more than 12 hours the next time. Here’s the link to the recipe; the only changes I made were using pomegranate juice that I already had in the fridge, substituting dried cherries for the cranberries, and adding 2 T. of both wheat germ and flax seed to up the fiber content a little bit. Note that there’s only 2T. oil in the whole batch, which is amazingly little as typical granola goes. Everyone went for it – four forks snacking success!
Lastly, since the first spring strawberries are showing up in grocery stores, I tried a trick my mom used to use with us when she wanted to serve fruit for dessert without hearing us clamor for cookies or “real” treats. All you do is set some whole, washed strawberries on a plate and accompany them with a bowl of sour cream and a bowl of brown sugar. You take a strawberry, dip it in the sour cream, then roll it in the brown sugar. The brown sugar sticks to the sour cream, and you pop it all in your mouth, where it tastes like cheesecake with strawberries. Or, at least, tastes enough like dessert that your family will happily eat fruit for dessert instead of asking for some straight sugar from their Easter basket. Four forks out of four, here; the girls loved it so much that we did it again with yogurt on a night when we were out of sour cream, and I plan to try it with peaches later this summer.
Happy (Goldfish-free) snacking, readers!