1
Soft Dipping Bread Sticks
2
How to Make It Green for St. Patrick’s Day
3
Chili Cheese Dip and More Touchdown Worthy Dipping
4
Wasabi Popcorn
5
Crispy Parmesan Wasabi Soybeans
6
Halloween Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel Granola Bars
7
Dried Edamame Recipe
8
Roasted Corn Nuts
9
The Best Cinnamon Sugar Applesauce
10
WHITE BEAN Lentil Dip
11
Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
12
For The Love of Pineapple
13
Gingerbread Popcorn
14
Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
15
Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips
16
Heart Shaped Ricotta, Basil, Tomato Tea Sandwiches

Soft Dipping Bread Sticks

One of my fondest memories as a kid was Pizza Hut.  

Remember Pizza Hut’s BOOK IT program where they talked students into reading as a activity in return for free pizza?  If there’s one way to get kids into reading, it’s pizza. I’m totally serious.  When I found out the more reading I did meant more pizza, I turned into a library monster.  One of my life achievements is winning my city’s Winter Reading Contest.  I received a picture in the newspaper with my gold medal in one hand, a book in another.  Sounds pretty cool, right?  Well it was because it meant pizza!

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How to Make It Green for St. Patrick’s Day

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

So here’s the situation.  You were really busy with work this week, time got the best of you, your schedule got changed a few times, and you’re about to kick back for the weekend. Suddenly you realize it’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend which means that party that you totally agreed to bring a snack to a few weeks ago is happening.  You look on Pinterest and although those custom shamrock glitter icing cookies look great, you’re feeling a bit exhausted and now overwhelmed.  Take a deep breath, I got some Duane Reade seasonal ideas for you.

Let’s make it easy green for  St. Patrick’s Day.

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Not everything has to be complex or require a bunch of special ingredients for the holidays.  In fact I stopped by my local Duane Reade  and picked up multiple things that are totally in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit without any work needed. 

St Patricks Duane Reade

I haven’t had Rolo’s since I was a kid so picking up a bag made me feel pretty nostalgic quickly. What do these caramels in milk chocolate look like in their wrapper? Little pieces of gold!  What leprechaun can resist some treasure at the end of the rainbow?   Put these out on your table and watch people come collect their milk chocolate gold.
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Need other candy options? The candy aisle has so many green gummy ideas too!
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This is such a easy trick! Get some chip dip, like this French Onion Dip, and throw a few squirts of green food dye (a little goes a long way) in it.
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Mix it around a little bit and you’ll be left with a festive green chip dip that everyone loves! Arrange a bunch of different potato chips around the dip and let people dip away!  This is also a great idea for a small personal snack tray.
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 Other Ideas thanks to #DRStPattys and #CollectiveBias:

Want a festive dinner for St. Patrick’s Day? Easy.  Instead of making your regular pasta, substitute spinach pasta for it. This will give you a nice looking green dinner dish.

Need a dessert? Get some Lime gelatin and create personal size cups of it, or be even more creative and get a clover mold to pour it into. 

Want a green drink?  Grab some Lemon Lime sparkling water. I love Nice! variety of lemon lime as it’s 0 calories and delicious.

 For more Duane Reade information:

 

Chili Cheese Dip and More Touchdown Worthy Dipping

Chips and dip – is there anything better?  In fact right before I made this post I was catching up some reading while dipping some blue tortilla chips into salsa.  It sure is a favorite snack of many, especially around big game day events like The Super Bowl.

I’ve watched The Super Bowl for as long as I can remember and have fond memories of even being young, cheering on whatever team I was rooting for while enjoying snacks.  It always seems that sporting events and snacking goes hand in hand.

What’s one of my favorite dips?  Chili Cheese Dip, made with Hormel® Chili and Velveeta.  I spoke fondly of Hormel Tamales in the past with my Tamale Soup and their Chili is just as good.  And Velveeta? Let’s just say if I’m eating cheese or cooking with it, I will always cut a few extra cubes… just to snack on.   

Let’s just take a minute and admire some cheesy delicious dips.

Chili Cheese Dip

Ingredients:

1 (15-oz.) can Hormel® Chili No Beans
1 (1-lb.) pkg. pasteurized prepared cheese product, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Directions:
In medium microwave-safe bowl, stir together chili and cheese product; cover. Microwave on High, stirring once, 4-1/2 to 5 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted. Serve with corn tortilla chips, if desired.

Velveeta Spicy Cheeseburger Dip

Ingredients:

1 lb. Velveeta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 (10-oz.) can Ro*tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained
1 cup Kraft Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked, drained
4 green onions, sliced
 
Directions:
Combine all ingredients except onions in microwaveable bowl.
Microwave on High for 5 minutes or until Velveeta is melted and mixture is blended, stirring after 3 minutes. Stir in onions.
Serve with chips, crackers or a assortment of vegetables.
 

Wasabi Popcorn

Easy to make Wasabi Popcorn recipe. This healthy snack is only 31 calories per cup! I love to eat this when I’m watching TV on the couch!

Wasabi Popcorn

Popcorn, it’s pretty amazing, right?  It’s a staple for movie watching.  It’s a great snack in bed reading (although could get messy if you drop a few pieces – don’t worry, you’ll find them eventually).  And for dinner, sure, why not.

Easy to make Wasabi Popcorn recipe. This healthy snack is only 31 calories per cup! I love to eat this when I'm watching TV on the couch!

1 cup of air popped popcorn has 31 calories which means if you eat 16 cups of popcorn it’s 496  calories.  Are you amazed? I am.

Easy to make Wasabi Popcorn recipe. This healthy snack is only 31 calories per cup! I love to eat this when I'm watching TV on the couch!

As I write this post I’m 2 episodes away from being caught up on the amazing show Scandal.  So that means by the time you read this, I probably am caught up completely and am crying in a corner somewhere because I’m so sad my workout sessions don’t involve President Fitzgerald Grant anymore.    If you aren’t watching Scandal, you have to watch a episode!  You will either feel:

– You want to be Olivia Pope.  You want all of her coats.  You want to know how she stays warm in the winter because her coats don’t look very warm (although beautiful) and usually always her bare shoulders or arms or chest is showing.   I mean I assume she has a driver and isn’t working to work, but still, girl has got to catch a chill traveling from her apartment to the office.

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Crispy Parmesan Wasabi Soybeans

Crispy Parmesan Wasabi Soybeans recipe

Lately I’ve been craving healthy snacks – peas, almonds, crispy soybeans and plenty of fruits.  Raspberries tend to disappear quickly when I’m near them, I can easily eat one of those small little pints for a snack which leaves it as a expensive snack but so worth it.  Why can’t raspberries be cheap?  I’m constantly on the lookout for them on sale.   There’s a market near me that they’re occasional on sale at and when they are, I get hearts in  my eyes and skip home (with raspberries in hand).  What’s your favorite berry?  We grow a bunch of strawberries in the garden but I’m thinking we need to start growing raspberries next year! 

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Soybeans are one of my other favorite snacks and even better when I can make them straight from the garden!  Within 30 minutes you can enjoy crispy Edamame soybeans!  And trust me, they will make you snack happy!  I could snack on these all day, actually sometimes I do! 

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Halloween Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel Granola Bars

Halloween Decorated Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Granola Bars!  These are great for snacks, breakfast and Halloween parties! Use black and orange chocolate chip morsels to make them festive looking!

While walking around the Halloween section at Target I came across these festive chocolate morsels.  They are Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate and Orange Morsels.   I threw them immediately in my buggy, not really knowing what I was going to make with them, but how could I turn them down?
Halloween Decorated Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Granola Bars! These are great for snacks, breakfast and Halloween parties! Use black and orange chocolate chip morsels to make them festive looking!

I love Halloween because it means I can wear black and orange every single day. I wore this last week, but I’m going to be honest and tell you that the pumpkin socks stick around for 12 months.  There’s no putting away Halloween socks, wear them every single day! You will make someone smile on the subway who’s having a bad day.
Halloween Decorated Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Granola Bars! These are great for snacks, breakfast and Halloween parties! Use black and orange chocolate chip morsels to make them festive looking!

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Dried Edamame Recipe

EASY to make dried edamame recipe using soybeans!  This healthy edamame is slow roasted and salted!  If you’re growing soybeans this year you need to make this snack!

I love soybeans so I love dried edamame!

I think I start every post with “I love (insert something”). 

I love cheese.  I love cats.  I love donuts.  I love snowmen.  I love pumpkins. I love you. 

But soybeans, yeah, I love them guys.    We had a great soybean year and it’s still going on with more plants to pick.  The last few days have been chilly and windy but the garden calls, so I throw on a hat and a dramatic attitude (“I’m so cold! I’m not going to survive!”) and get picking soybeans.

Look at this beautiful soybean plant!

So with so many soybeans – what’s a girl  to do? Snack on them of course!   I know, dried snacks aren’t usually the first thing you think of when you think soybeans.  You might think of fresh edamame which is  absolutely delicious, but I wanted  something to crunch, something with a little salt on it.   So say hello to my dried edamame recipe!

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Roasted Corn Nuts

Homemade HEALTHY Roasted Corn Kernel Nuts that taste just like Corn Nuts you buy in the store!  This DIY  how to make corn nuts recipe is easy to make and only uses 4 ingredients!  Bake them in the oven for 30 minutes for a healthy, perfect snack! 

Roasted Corn Kernel Nuts are big in this house. When we first started buying them months ago a bag would be gobbled away in 2-3 nights. These are Matthew’s go to favorite snack to nibble on in bed while reading.

The thing I didn’t really like about them was the price and some of the additional ingredients on the bag that I couldn’t pronounce.

A small bag of roasted kernels from the grocery store runs us about 4 bucks and that is easily 1.5 serving (even if the bag says 4 servings, it’s just not happening), that is way too expensive in my opinion.  So now I’m going to show you how to make corn nuts!

Homemade HEALTHY Roasted Corn Kernel Nuts that taste just like Corn Nuts you buy in the store! This DIY recipe is easy to make and only uses 4 ingredients! Bake them in the oven for 30 minutes for a healthy, perfect snack!

The rules:
Easy.
Cheap.
As healthy as possible.

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The Best Cinnamon Sugar Applesauce

The BEST Cinnamon Sugar Applesauce recipe! This is my FAVORITE homemade apple picking recipe that’s so easy to make! All you need is apples, cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice! It’s quick to make and tastes delicious! I love eating this as a snack and baking bread with it! It’s great for canning too!

“Best”. I know that’s pretty bold, but this applesauce is just that good. After eating the first spoonful I nearly fell to the floor in tears. Where has this applesauce been my entire life? The recipe is pretty basic with just apples, sugar, cinnamon and a little bit of lemon juice. You can have this in your belly in about 15 minutes which adds bonus points to the process.

After I made this applesauce I’m finding it hard to ever go back to the jarred version, it’s just so rich and fresh. After you eat it, life will be better. You will start to smile more, you will dance a little bit, you will pick up your pets and hug them, you will yell to your neighbor who you never talked to across the street “Have a great day beautiful!”. It’s that good.

I made this applesauce with  my nifty new toy, my Weston food strainer.  It’s life changing.  It peels, core sand deseeds for you, I love it dearly.  Food mill if you are reading this, I love you.  I bought it specifically for tomato season since every single year I question why I don’t have one, so I bit the bullet and bought it on Amazon on Saturday night and Monday morning at 8AM the Fedex man buzzed up and told me it was here.  How did it get here so quick?  

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WHITE BEAN Lentil Dip

HEALTHY, DAIRY FREE, White Bean Lentil DIP! This homemade recipe is made with dried beans making this extremely cheap to make! Serve it hot or cold with vegetables and chips! It’s one of the BEST Party dips!

Do you tend to buy things at the store and then they get pushed back to back of the cabinet and you forget about them? Ooops.

That’s how I am about dried beans. I love beans.  So whenever I’m in the dried beans aisle, I think to myself “Look at how cheap these are to cans, I should get a few bags, this is a great idea”.  Then they sit in my cabinet and the canned beans get used instead.  It’s a horrible crime, I know.   So when I was cleaning out my cabinets this weekend I found multiple bags of beans that were calling my name.  

My first thought “soup” was quickly erased when I realized that was a horrible idea for the sweltering heat.  My second thought “dip”.  Dip is great, especially on hot days.   It’s great to dip crusty bread in, or carrots.   Or how delicious would it be with these homemade everything bagel chips?    It’s great for a party.  It’s great to snack during the day as bean dip is nutritious and filling.

HEALTHY, DAIRY FREE, White Bean Lentil DIP! This homemade recipe is made with dried beans making this extremely cheap to make! Serve it hot or cold with vegetables and chips! It's one of the BEST Party dips!

This bean dip is easy!  If you don’t want to use dried beans, you can used canned ones, but man,  dried beans are worth the value!    The ingredients in here are navy beans, lentils, lemon juice, olive oil, onion powder, salt, parsley to garnish.. and garlic and a bit of cumin for some kick.

 I bet you have almost all these ingredients already – how much of a win win situation is this?  Because of the garlic and slight hint of cumin, the dip has a bit of a bite to it  – not overwhelming – but it’s there with just the right amount.

HEALTHY, DAIRY FREE, White Bean Lentil DIP! This homemade recipe is made with dried beans making this extremely cheap to make! Serve it hot or cold with vegetables and chips! It's one of the BEST Party dips!

 So let’s get started and dive in…

HEALTHY, DAIRY FREE, White Bean Lentil DIP! This homemade recipe is made with dried beans making this extremely cheap to make! Serve it hot or cold with vegetables and chips! It's one of the BEST Party dips!
Here is my 1/2 cup dried navy beans and 1/2 cup lentils.  The way that I soak these is:  Add your dry beans and lentils together to a deep pot and add enough water to cover beans by 3 inches. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain.

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Then you will start adding your ingredients (except olive oil and parsley)  to your food processor.  I love my food processor so much.

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Once you are finished adding your ingredients, then add your olive oil and process more until smooth.  Tip:  The olive oil is going to make it smooth, but you might need some more additional smoothness.  If you do, add a tablespoon of water and process again.  Repeat this step until it’s just the amount of creaminess you want.  

HEALTHY, DAIRY FREE, White Bean Lentil DIP! This homemade recipe is made with dried beans making this extremely cheap to make! Serve it hot or cold with vegetables and chips! It's one of the BEST Party dips!
Take it out of the food processor and spoon into serving dish.  Sprinkle dried parsley on top.

HEALTHY, DAIRY FREE, White Bean Lentil DIP! This homemade recipe is made with dried beans making this extremely cheap to make! Serve it hot or cold with vegetables and chips! It's one of the BEST Party dips!
I like to serve this with little pieces of bread, or baby carrots.

HEALTHY, DAIRY FREE, White Bean Lentil DIP! This homemade recipe is made with dried beans making this extremely cheap to make! Serve it hot or cold with vegetables and chips! It's one of the BEST Party dips!
Then snack away!  Who doesn’t love healthy snacking?

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Bonus points: Take to a party, everyone will love you!

Enjoy this White Bean Lentil Dip!

Pin for later:
HEALTHY, DAIRY FREE, White Bean Lentil DIP! This homemade recipe is made with dried beans making this extremely cheap to make! Serve it hot or cold with vegetables and chips! It's one of the BEST Party dips!

WHITE BEAN Lentil Dip

HEALTHY, DAIRY FREE, White Bean Lentil DIP! This homemade recipe is made with dried beans making this extremely cheap to make! Serve it hot or cold with vegetables and chips! It's one of the BEST Party dips!

Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry navy beans
  • 1/2 cup dry lentils
  • 4 clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dried Parsley to Garnish

Instructions

  1. Soak beans. Add your dry beans and lentils to a deep pot and add enough water to cover beans by 3 inches. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain.
  2. Add your beans, lentils, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, onion powder and salt to a food processor. Pulse until all combined.

  3. Add olive oil to food processor and turn on until smooth.
  4. Spoon out and put in serving dish.
  5. Garnish with dried parsley.

Recipe Notes

If you don't want to use dry beans, use one 15oz can navy beans, one 15oz can lentils.
If your dip is chunky, add a tablespoon of water to food processor and pulse. Keep adding until smooth.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

These Homemade Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars are about to become your new favorite breakfast, snack and dessert!  This is a healthy copycat recipe for Quaker Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.  Are there any words more beautiful?

After I made the first batch of chocolate chip granola bars, my mind started to wonder to the wonderful world of peanut butter.  Soon later it floated to the island of pretzels.  There peanut butter pretzel chocolate chip granola bars was born.

 About these delightful bars:

Do you enjoy chocolate + salty at the same? I do!  These are for you.
Do you like a bit of crunch in your granola bars? I do!  These are for you.
These are dangerous to have around your house.  Proceed with caution.
I don’t listen to my own advise and made multiple batches.   We annihilated these batches.
I have given these to friends as a “hey you are pretty cool” gift.  Friends swoon.
After the first time I made them I declared “These might be the best thing I ever made”.  

 So now I present you.. the future love of your life that will always be there for you, Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

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 Is there a better afternoon snack than this?
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Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 3/4 cup chopped pretzels
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Spray a 8x8 pan lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Mix your oats and cereal together in a large bowl.
  3. Chop your pretzels up and mix with oats and cereal.
  4. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, honey and peanut butter on medium high heat until melted. Once it begins to bubble change heat to low and stir for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove saucepan from burner and stir in your vanilla.
  6. Pour your hot mixture over your oats mixture. Stir well. You want to make sure every single piece of oats and cereal is coated.
  7. Pour your mixture into your greased pan and push down with spatula to flatten it.
  8. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top evenly. Use your spatula to press them down so they are embedded in the bars.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to set for 1 hour.
  10. Cut into granola bar sizes.
  11. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

If you would like to make a larger batch, use a 9x13 pan and double everything, except use 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips.
Store these in the fridge.

Adapted from Rachael Ray

 

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Here’s all the ingredients you need!  Note: When I use peanut butter in recipes like this I usually get the cheap stuff and don’t use my gourmet peanut butter cinnamon swirl magic that I usually eat on bread.  The cheap stuff does the job for these, very well!

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Do you love pretzels as much as I do?

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We need these chopped though, so I put them in a baggie and get a potato masher and just take out all my frustration on these poor pretzels.

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Add your pretzels with your quick oats and cereal.

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And give it a good stir to mix everything around.

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Now we create the delicious peanut butter cream.  When  making this unicorns will arrive at your home, sparkles will fall, the clouds will open, rainbows appear.  I’m not kidding. This creates magic.

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Take this magical peanut butter mixture and add it to your oats/pretzels/cereal.

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Now mix, mix, mix, mix.  Nope, still not done, mix it more.  Make sure every single piece of oat, cereal and pretzel is sticky.  This is going to hold everything together.  Think of it as a glue that you can eat.

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Then put it in your pan and pat it down with a spatula so it’s flat.

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Add your chocolate chips and push them down too.  You want them inserted in the granola mixture.

Now you throw them in the fridge for 1 hour while walking around anxiously whispering “hurry up, hurry up, hurry up”.  You can even lay in the middle of the floor and whisper this.

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And when they’re ready, HOLY MOLY.

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Cut them into granola bar sizes, or squares if you’d like.

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While cutting the bars I smile nonstop.

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I also smile inside because my belly is waiting for this..

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The granola bars are firm and hardly crumble at all.

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When you flip it upside down you will see there’s good pretzel distribution as well.

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These granola bars are hard to just eat one.  I’m warning you.

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I wrapped some up and gave to friends.  Friends will have a hard time just eating one at a time.  Warn them!

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And then 2 days later I made a double 9×13 batch because I like to live life on the wild side and can’t get enough of these!

Give these granola bars a chance, I think you will love them. 

These Homemade Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars are about to become your new favorite breakfast, snack and dessert!  This is a healthy copycat recipe for Quaker Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

For The Love of Pineapple

Do you love pineapple? I do.  Pineapple is beautiful and delicious, the 2 best qualities in food.     I got this gorgeous pineapple from my local grocery store for only $2.50.  It’s enormous! My arms tired carrying it home.

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But then after I bring it home, I always fall into the question “What should I do with it?”

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So you cut off the top and admire the beauty.  (Note:  We were going to plant the pineapple top but I cut  too high, oops.)

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Then you cut it into slices.  Your fingers are sticky, the pineapple aroma is building.  But what are you going to do with it?  

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One solution that I usually always fall for is just eating pineapple by the slice.   Nothing else.  Just plain ol great pineapple slices.  

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The other solution is cubed pineapple with a little bit of shredded coconut on top.

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MMMMM!

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For breakfast I like to add some blueberry granola, shredded coconut and dried apples to it.  This breakfast is super filling!

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My other favorite pineapple use is blended up. I throw some chunks in the blender with 1/2 half an apple (cut up) and about 1/4 cup of orange juice.  Blend until smooth.  You can even throw some mint on top.  I love this drink for a mid afternoon pick me up!

How do you like to use pineapple?
Anyone have any great pineapple recipes? If so, please share them in the comments, I need ideas!

 

Gingerbread Popcorn

We recently got a air popper which is changing our lives.    With a air popper you don’t have to use any butter or oil.  It’s fresh, low calories and each kernel is so puffy and light.   Not to mention it’s so quick to pop.  The product claims you can pop 18 cups in 2.5 minutes – wow!  For now we have stuck to single servings or a bowl for both of us, but because of how quick it works for us, I trust it can do that amount too.  On the calorie side, one big bowl of popcorn for one clocks in at 110 calories plain.  It always fills me!  On our counter now sits a 12 pound jar of popcorn ready for you to scoop and pop!

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A few nights ago during the night I whispered to my husband “give me your phone”.  There I sent myself a email that only had a subject line.  The email looked like this:
gingerbread

I knew when I woke up the next morning I would understand it, I needed to make gingerbread popcorn.  But where to start?

I had a few rules:
-Needs to taste like gingerbread
-No butter
-No oil of any kind

The result: A  simple gentle ginger tasting popcorn which was eaten in a few minutes.  I have a bunch of popcorn thoughts in my head so stay tuned for more popcorn recipes!

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Gingerbread Popcorn

Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unpopped popcorn
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 single packet of Splenda

Instructions

  1. Use a air popper to pop your corn. Put in a bowl.
  2. Mix ginger, nutmeg, salt, cinnamon and splenda in a bowl.
  3. Mist your popcorn with water 1-2 times.
  4. Sprinkle seasoning mixture over popcorn and toss popcorn around.
  5. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

This recipe is for one serving. Duplicate for as many as you need.
If you'd like to use real sugar or Stevia you can use that instead of Splenda. A packet of Splenda measures a little less than 1/2 teaspoon, so measure accordingly.

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Air popping.. 

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Your gingerbread spices..

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If you aren’t using oil or butter, the seasoning is not going to stick to your popcorn.  The solution to keep this oil and butter free is to mist your popcorn with a water mister (or a cheap one from the dollar store) 1 times, toss it so the bottom is now the top, mist again.  Misting it 1-2 times will not cause your popcorn to get soft.  The water will allow the seasoning to stick to it, plus it will keep your popcorn low calorie. 

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Eat as a afternoon snack..

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Or while you’re watching your favorite television show…  The only 2 shows I watch right now is Game of Thrones and Mad Men.  What do you watch?

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Enjoy every single piece! (PS.  My nails are supposed to look like this – I’m lying). 

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars!  They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

We love Quaker Granola bars in this house! Our favorite are the chocolate chip bars, which are great for a quick snack.  I can’t tell you the amount of boxes that we have bought in the past years.  One thing though I’ve never liked, the price.  A box of granola bars usually ranges in the $4-$5 range which is pretty expensive considering it’s made with pretty basic ingredients.  So before I would go to the store and buy more, I decided to try to make my own.  I’m so glad I did because not only are they (much) cheaper, but I find them more filling.  Plus it’s a great feeling knowing every single ingredient (and being able to pronounce them) that’s going into them.  

These are easy and quick to make! The part that takes the most time is letting them set.  If you’re a fan of these, I recommend making a few batches at once to save on the dirty dishes.   Bonus: You can also freeze granola bars!

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Spray a 8x8 pan lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Mix your oats and cereal together in a large bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar and honey on medium high heat until melted. Once it begins to bubble change heat to low and stir for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove saucepan from burner and stir in your vanilla.
  5. Pour your hot mixture over your oats mixture. Stir well. You want to make sure every single piece of oats and cereal is coated.
  6. Pour your mixture into your greased pan and push down with spatula to flatten it.
  7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top evenly. Use your spatula to press them down so they are embedded in the bars.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to set for 1 hour.
  9. Take out and cut into bar sizes.
  10. Store in airtight container in refrigerator to keep them fresh.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Here are your ingredients.  It’s likely you might already have all these ingredients already.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
I have to give this honey a shout out because it’s from Ohio.  Matthew is from Ohio and his family sent it to us.  It’s quality honey.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Spray your 8×8  pan. I like to grab a paper towel and rub it in so it’s on the sides too.  Set aside.

 
Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!Pour your oats into a bowl.


Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!Then your crispy cereal.  Feel free to get the generic kind, you will save a few dollars.  Stir together.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Put your brown sugar, honey and butter over medium high heat.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
When it melts..

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
It will soon start to bubble. Turn it down immediately to low, you don’t want it to burn.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Take it off burner and add vanilla.  Note to self: buy more vanilla extract, I’m always running out.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Pour the wet mixture into your dry mixture.


Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!And stir, stir, stir.  I can’t say this enough.  You want every single piece to be coated or it won’t stick which will make crumbly granola bars. “Crumbly Granola Bars” would make a cute band name.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Pour your mixture into pan and push down with spatula to get it even.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Then take your spatula or a back of a spoon and press the chocolate chips down into the mixture.  This will make sure they don’t fall off. 

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Wrap plastic wrap on top and chill for at least 1 hour.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
When they’re set, cut them up into bars.  You can also cut them up into smaller squares if you’d like.  They would be super cute for a kids party like that.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Because you sprayed the pan and let the granola bars set, they should slide out pretty easily.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
I cut it up into 10 delicious bars.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
These will be a hit! You won’t ever buy the ones in the store again.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
I was quickly down to 9 bars as Matthew scooped in and grabbed this one. 
Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

Make sure you grab one…


Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!Before it’s too late.  Don’t worry though, I saved you one.

Enjoy!

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars!  They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

Tortilla chips are a favorite of ours to snack on, especially Matthew’s.  I’ve found a number of sharp tortilla chip crumbs in bed that stab me to know he likes a good bowl of chips to snack on while reading before bed.  With the chips running low, I set off to create our own.   There are a few great things about making homemade tortilla chips.  You get to mix and match! You can try a bunch of different flavors instead of just picking one flavor in the store.  The other great thing is the price!  Tortilla chips usually cost us $4-$5 for a bag, more if they are gourmet/fancy flavored.  A bag of 30 (!) corn tortillas in my local grocery store cost me $1.25.   I haven’t done the price comparison by weighing them yet but I can bet you I’m saving more than a few dollars here.

I wanted to try a few different flavors with these so I did made 3 kinds:
Regular Salted
Cinnamon Sugar
Parmesan

I thought I was going to have a winner on picking but when trying to pick a favorite I can’t.  The salted were expected to be great and they were.  The cinnamon sugar was like a dessert chip, it hit  my sweet tooth that needs daily love.  The Parmesan was savory.  

Next time I’m going to try to make some seasoned with cumin – can you imagine cumin tortilla chips with salsa?  Oh my.  I think I just created my new favorite snack.

Make these for your snack. 🙂

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Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

Ingredients

  • Corn Tortillas one equals 4 chips so use as many as you need

Seasonings (This is up to you!)

  • Sea Salt
  • Cinnamon + Sugar
  • Parmesan Cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Stack tortillas and cut them into 4 triangles.
  3. Spread them out on a on a cookie sheet. They need to be 1/4-1/2 inch apart from each other.
  4. Put desired seasonings on top.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes (check every minute after 8) until edges are brown.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool.
  7. Enjoy!
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Grab your handy bag of corn tortillas.  Can I tell you how much I love pepper steak tacos on these? That’s another post though…

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Take them out the bag, it’s up to you how many you want to make.  Each tortilla will make 4 hearty chips.

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It’s totally ok if your tortillas are weird in shape, it adds character.

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Grab a knife..

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Cut in half..

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And again..

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Gather your pile of soon to be delicious chips.

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Now, something important.  To get them to bake crisp you need to make sure there is at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch in between each one.  If they are closer, they are going to be soft.  We want crunchy for these.

Now on to the seasonings..
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You can do sea salt, just a sprinkle goes a long way.

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Or a little bit of Parmesan cheese.  You can add some Cheddar too – yum!

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Or possibly my favorite (I haven’t decided yet), cinnamon sugar!

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First the sugar..

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Then the cinnamon! Oh my!

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Throw them  in the oven and keep a eye on them.  They should take 8-10 minutes until the edges turn brown.  Mine took about 9 minutes.  Watch them for every minute after 8. Seriously, keep a eye on them, keep checking, don’t be too careful – they will burn quick.

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These are the sea salt chips.  Just a simple taste of salt…

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These are the Parmesan cheese…

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And these are the magical cinnamon sugar! I’m still not picking a favorite..

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Pull up a chair, let’s eat a few together!

 

Heart Shaped Ricotta, Basil, Tomato Tea Sandwiches

I made these for a tea date lunch that I had with some dear friends.

Ricotta and Tomato Tea Sandwiches

EASY Ricotta and Tomato Tea Sandwiches that you can make ahead! This easy recipe makes a ricotta garlic mixture to spread on the bread! Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes in the bread - perfect for a afternoon tea party or baby shower!

Course Side Dish
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 large tomatoes diced
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • shake of salt and peper
  • 8 oz ricotta
  • 5 fresh basil leaves minced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 16 pieces of whole wheat bread

Instructions

  1. Add diced tomatoes to a small bowl, add olive oil and salt and pepper. Mix and then cover in the refrigerator, letting it chill for at least 1 hour.

  2. In a separate bowl add ricotta, basil leaves and garlic.  Mix so basil and garlic are completely mixed up with the ricotta.

  3. Cut your bread into shapes with a heart cookie cutter.

  4. Spread some ricotta mixture on a slice of bread.  Add a small spoonful of the diced tomatoes mixture.  Add additional basil leaves on top if desired.  Finish with top piece of bread.

  5. Serve and enjoy! Or keep chilled in the refrigerator until the next day.

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You want to marinade your tomatoes overnight.  Just a little tablespoon of olive oil goes a long way.

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Mince your garlic and basil.  Smells so good!

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Add your ricotta.  Store overnight.  Tastes so good!

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Right before your tea date, get your bread ready.  You will basically be able to do one heart per piece of bread.

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Well aren’t they lovely…

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Now put some ricotta on top of each one.

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Top with a fresh basil leaf..

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Or a marinated tomato.

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Serve fresh or throw in the refrigerator if your friends like to be late (*cough cough*).

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Have a great afternoon! 🙂

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