Category Archives: Snacks

ALMOND JOY ULTIMATE POPCORN

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I Remember the first time I had chocolate covered popcorn. I thought itwas a disgusting idea. But I gave it a try and boy was I wrong! Whenever I make it The Boy calls it Ultimate Popcorn and I rather like it. And because sometimes you feel like a nut, I came up with this.

INGREDIENTS
8 c Popped Popcorn
8 oz Melted Chocolate
1/2 c Almond
1/2 c Coconut

Line a cookie sheet with either wax paper, parchment paper or a silicone mat. Spread the popcorn out in a layer. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn and gently but quickly begin to toss it. Add the nuts and coconut and toss a little more. Allow to cool an hour till the chocolate is hard and eat.

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You can see by the photo I don’t drench it in the chocolate.  If you want every kernel totally covered you will need to double up on the chocolate.  Use whatever kind you like best, I used milk chocolate today.

S for the almoss I left them whole but slivered and chopped work too.

This time I used shredded coconut but flake definitely offers more pop.

Store in a Ziploc bag.

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Mow see if you can Headed it without singing “Almond Joy’s got nuts, Mounds don’t …..”

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Homemade Frappuccino

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Homemade Frappuccino

I don’t frequent the office (aka Starbucks) as often as some people I know, but I am there enough to have a Gold Card. I pretty much order the same 4 drinks and in the summer, it is a frappuccino. While I was making a fruit smoothie one morning, I knew I really wanted something with coffee but did not have the time to stop before work. I decided to learn how to make my own. While it is not an exact copy, I know that this version is a bit healthier. Also, because this has more to do with ratios, you can adjust according to the size of yogurt that you purchase.

INGREDIENTS:
2 parts Frozen Cubes of Coffee
2 parts Frozen Vanilla or Plain Yogurt
Flavored Coffee Creamer
1 part Milk

To make the coffee cubes, brew an extra strong pot of coffee. Espresso is even better. Allow it to cool and then pour into ice-cube trays and freeze. Store in ziplock bags.

As with my fruit smoothies, I freeze yogurt in the container that it comes in. It is easier on me and I can keep the yogurt flavors separate. If the frozen yogurt won’t come out of the container when you are ready to use it, run it under hot water for a few seconds to loosen it up. Plop it into the blender. Fill the empty yogurt cup with coffee cubes and put them in as well.

The particular brand of creamer pictured above has a very strong flavor. Based on the brand you buy, vary the amount used to make your frappuccino. For the 8 oz yogurt cup I use 2 Tbs of creamer, adjust according to the size you use. I use creamer because I already have it on hand for my husband’s coffee. If you prefer, use only milk and a flavored syrup such as one from Torani. Fill the yogurt cup halfway with milk.

Pour the creamer into the blender and let it go. If it seems that the yogurt and cubes won’t break down, add more milk a little bit at a time.

Vanilla Caramel Frappuccino

If you prefer a mocha flavor, skip the creamer and just use the milk. Add the chocolate syrup as you whip the frapp in the blender. I hope you enjoy this simple and easy version of a frappuccino. What flavors can you come up with?

Fruit Smoothies

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Fruit Smoothies

I enjoy a good fruit smoothie, just not the price. I even checked out the ones available in the freezer section and while better, I just was not going to pay that much. So I came up with my own.
I buy yogurt when they are marked 50% off and stick them in the freezer. This makes it easy on me and when we pull one out we know exactly what flavor it is.

INGREDIENTS:
1 container of frozen yogurt
Frozen Fruit
Juice or milk

By washing and allowing fruit to dry, I can spread them on a cookie sheet and pop the pan into the freezer. The fruit freezes individually so I can pull out the amount I need later. If you have bananas nobody is eating, slice them up and freeze them instead of tossing them into the trash. By having each fruit in its own bag I can grab whatever combination we are in the mood for.

Pull out your blender and dump in the frozen yogurt. If it does not want to come out, run it under hot water for a few seconds to loosen it. Measure that container full of the fruit you want and pour it in the blender as well. Measure half of the container for the liquid you want. You can use juice or milk, this is what thins the smoothie out. Half a container will give a fairly thick smoothie. If you want it thinner, just add a little more liquid.

In this case I used a strawberry yogurt, frozen strawberries and orange juice.

This one taste more like an Orange Julius. By using vanilla yogurt the orange juice really stands out and the strawberries have a more subtle flavor.

How about a tropical flavored treat?

Vanilla yogurt, Juice Blend and Bananas

Slice the bananas and freeze before using. Save a couple for decorating the glass if you want to get a little fancy.

Double Chocolate Muddy Buddies

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Double Chocolate Muddy Buddies

I only discovered this snack a few years ago but my kids love to eat it and help make it. The simplicity of it allows even little ones to do a large portion of the work.

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS;
7 c  Chex Cereal
3 Hershey Milk Chocolate candy bars
1/2 c Peanut Butter
1/4 c Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
*3/4 c+  Ghiradeli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa

*Why I suggest this specific cocoa is that the flavor is very different from your typical cocoa powder. This will taste more like chocolate than the bitter flavor of  plain cocoa powder. If you prefer that flavor you can certainly use it, but most kids want the sweeter taste this can offers.

Ground Chocolate

Place the butter, peanut butter and chopped candy bars into a sauce pot over medium low heat. Keep stirring till it has all melted together. Add the vanilla and remove from the stove. The cereal should be in a large bowl, and the chocolate mixture will be poured over it. Using a spatula gently fold the chocolate mixture with the cereal till it is completely covered.

Measure the ground chocolate and begin to sprinkle over the cereal. Do it slowly so that you do not use more than you need. How much you use will depend on the stickiness of the chocolate. You might need more than the stated amount but in general it is a good start.

After your cereal has been fully dusted with cocoa, spread it on a try to dry. This take at least 30 minutes then it will be ready to store in a sealed container or bag for gifts.

For a personalized touch, add some mini marshmallows, peanuts or cashews or m&m candies. I know it sounds like it makes a lot, but it will hold for several weeks in a sealed container. I hope you not only give this a try, but do so with the kiddos and have a fun afternoon. Enjoy!

chocolate....................................

Finger Lickin wings

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Finger Lickin wings

My son was home on leave and one of the foods he requested was bbq wings. Imagine our soldiers being deprived of their wings? Say it ain’t so! If my boy wants finger lickin wings, wings  are what he gets. If you have always wanted to learn how to make your own, I hope this recipe helps.

Ingredients:
Chicken Wings
Oil/Shortening
Salt
Garlic Powder
Milk
BBQ Sauce

When choosing your wings, look for ones that are bigger and have a good amount of meat on them. No reason to pay for just bones. When I find some on sale I stock up because they do tend to cost over $3 a pound. Rinse them off and them place them in a bowl. Pour the milk until the wings are completely covered. How much this will take depends on the number of wings in your dish. Let them soak for several hours or even all night, it won’t hurt them. Drain off the milk from the wings.

This next step is very important for safety reasons. Your chicken must be totally dry before putting in hot oil. Place them on paper towels and pat dry. When you think they are dry enough, pat some more. You can also place them in the fridge uncovered for a few hours and that will help dry out the skin as well. Anytime you put water into hot oil you are going to get splatters and this is the cause of many burns when people are deep frying food.

Choose your favorite oil and keep in mind it’s smoking point. For deep frying you need oils with a higher smoking point. The page below has a list of oils and the temperatures at which they will start to smoke.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_point

Choose your cooking vessel. If you are going to do it on the stove top I prefer a cast iron skillet or pot because it will retain heat better and provide a consistent temperature for the oil. Today I used my Salad Master electric skillet. It is better than the typical electric skillet because when it heats you don’t have hot spots where the coil lays under the cooking surface. If you use an electric fryer read your owner’s manual for it’s recommendations. For all pan frying, make sure there is enough oil to go up half of the wings once they are in the pan. Heat the oil to 325 degrees. Higher than that and you risk burning the chicken or yourself as it splatters. Lower then that and the chicken will absorb much of the oil and you won’t get that crispy skin.

Season the chicken with salt and garlic powder. For a 4 lb bag I used 2 tp of each. Use tongs to place the chicken in the oil. Be sure not to over crowd the pan as this will cause the temperature of the oil to drop too much. You may find that in order to keep your oil at 325 degrees you have to turn the temperature of your fryer up. Between batches make sure you allow time for the oil to come back up to temp as well. When placing the chicken in the oil do it by laying it down away from you. This ensures that if it does splatter it will do so away from you. I prefer to use a splatter screen on the pan. While a lid will keep the oil in, it also keeps steam in and this will again prevent the skin from getting crispy.

As you can see from the photo above, I also use the splatter screen to let the chicken drain a few seconds. Then I transfer it to a baking sheet in the oven (set at warm). I have used a cooling rack on the sheet to elevate the chicken. This allows the extra grease to drip off without getting the skin soggy. Once I have finished frying all the wings, I move them to a new baking sheet and begin to apply the sauce.

As you can see from the photo above I do not put very much on. Use a pastry brush to spread it around and place it in a 500 degree oven. Keep an eye on them because once that sauce gets nice and thick you want to pull the wings back out. Mix them up and apply another thin layer of sauce and return to the oven.

Do it a third time and on the fourth time, apply a thicker coat and put under the broiler. By now your bbq wings should look like this.

Once you have mastered the techniques you will find that making your own bbq wings is well worth the effort.