Category Archives: Snacks

Healthy Homemade Granola!

I absolutely love granola but the commercial granola is always filled with calories, fat and sugar. Making homemade granola may sound like a challenge but it’s actually pretty simple and tastes delicious. Last week I made 4 batches of granola and packaged it to give out to my family and friends. I sometimes package granola is small bags and they make very cute gifts.

I often experiment with different add-ins and different recipes. Granola can be a healthy snack, a perfect salad topping or my favorite is to eat it for breakfast in my yogurt parfait.  If you like it sweet and sticky just add a bit more honey and add dried fruit bits after the granola cools. Or you can put less honey/sugar mixture and omit the dried fruit add-ins to limit the sweetness. The best part about homemade granola is that you make it to your personal taste and you can always substitute parts of the recipe for whatever you have in your kitchen.

Here’s my recipe that I tried at least 10 times and absolutely love- I like it sweet and crunchy! Every time I make a batch it somehow disappears the first day!

Ingredients:

  • 2cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (unroasted, unsalted)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (unroasted, unsalted)
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds (unroasted, unsalted)
  • ½ cup green pumpkin seeds (unroasted, unsalted)
  • ¾ cup raisins

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare baking pan lined with parchment paper

2. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts and seeds

3. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, oil, honey and cinnamon; bring to a boil then lower heat/simmer until smooth

4. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla extract

5. Pour over oat mixture; and stir to evenly coat

6. Spread in a large shallow ungreased baking pan lined with parchment paper

7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes for even baking and as not to burn the nuts and oats on the edges.

8. Cool

9. Add raisins and dried fruit

10. Store in an airtight container.

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

“So munch on, crunch on, take your nucheon, / Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon!”

~ Robert Browning

Speak to you soon,

                  Nicole Doreen

Nuts about Nuts? Try Candied Nuts !!

Candied/Glazed Nuts

A few years ago I went through a “love for almonds” phase… then I tasted glazed almonds… and let’s just say I thought they were delicious. Ok I admit that I may have overdone it but in moderation nuts are extremely healthy for you as well as tasty.

Candied nuts are great as a sweet and crunchy snack or even on top of a salad. They are so easy to make at home and they taste amazing.

I found this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks which is by far one of my best purchases:  Kosher By Design: Short on Time By Susie Fishbein.

Here is a link to this book so you won’t get confused because she has several different ones:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kosher-by-design-susie-fishbein/1005804584

Ingredients:

  • 8oz of mixed nuts- almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts (use whichever you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1.5 tablespoons honey

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water and honey and simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  4. Put the nuts in a large bowl and spill Sugar-Water mixture on it. Mix to evenly coat all the nuts.
  5. With a slotted spoon transfer the nuts onto the cookie sheet in a single layer without putting any on top of each other.
  6. Bake for about 10-12 minutes.
  7. Remove from cookie sheet onto another tray lined with parchment paper and let the nuts cool.
  8. Serve once they cooled and store in an airtight container.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

“Preserving the health by too strict a regimen is a wearisome malady.”

~ François Duc de la Rochefoucauld

Speak to you soon,

                  Nicole Doreen

It’s all about the Pumpkin Pie!

Pumpkin PIe

Squash is now in season and Thanksgiving is coming up. What better way to prepare than by making a pumpkin pie?

I will be honest with you guys … until last year I have never tasted pumpkin so this year I decided to experiment and try different recipes that call for pumpkin. I came to the conclusion that even though my Vegetable Curry came out delicious, I personally prefer eating pumpkin in my sweet desserts.

I subscribed to several food magazines and online websites and have been overwhelmed with the many pumpkin recipes I have seen. I read a bunch of pie recipes and although they are all very similar they often each have a unique twist.

I made one big pie and then several mini ones. Most recipes call for the flaky dough but I wanted to try it with graham cracker crust and see how it would come out. I had several of my friends taste it and they gave my recipe “two thumbs up”.

So here goes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large and 5 mini  Graham Cracker Pie Crusts
  • One 15oz can of Pumpkin
  • One 12oz can of Evaporated milk
  • 2 Eggs lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 2 drops Vanilla Extract

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl combine the sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cornstarch.
  3. Beat eggs lightly in a large bowl add the vanilla extract.
  4. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.
  5. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
  6. Pour into pie crusts and carefully put them in the oven.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F. Once the crust begins to brown cover the edges so they won’t burn then continue to bake. Bake for about 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Let the pies cool and then serve alone or with whip cream. Refrigerate the pies.

Mini Pumpkin Pies

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

“Vegetables are a must on a diet; I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.”

~ Jim Davis

Speak to you soon,

                  Nicole Doreen

Chocolate Covered Pretzels!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods

For those of you who love that sweet and salty combo this is the perfect treat for you. I happen to love making these not only because they are quick and easy but because they come out looking sooo pretty.

You can use different toppings and be as creative as you would like. This time I used milk chocolate to cover the pretzel rods and for the toppings I dipped the pretzels in colored sprinkles and chopped walnuts. I recommend using large pretzel rods since they are much easier and faster to make. Any flavor chocolate like white or dark chocolate works just as well.

Here are some additional topping suggestions:

  • Chopped nuts such as pistachios, almonds and peanuts
  • Coconut shavings
  • Chocolate drizzle

They are a lot of fun to make, especially with kids. You can serve them as a decorative dessert for a bridal shower, brunch or snack to serve guests on Shabbat afternoon. These are also very cute if packaged nicely and placed in a gift basket such as in Mishloach Manot on Purim.

If you make them let me know how they come out and what interesting toppings you used!

So have fun and enjoy these delicious snacks!

My chocolate covered pretzel rods:

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (12 oz) milk chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 1 tbsp margarine or butter
  • 2 dozen pretzel rods
  • Colorful Sprinkles and Chopped walnuts

Preparation:

1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil.

2. Combine the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate and the margarine/butter in a large microwave-safe bowl, and microwave until the chocolate is melted, mixing after every 20 seconds.

3. If dipping pretzel rods, hold the rod by one end and dip it into the melted chocolate covering the pretzel half way. Lightly shake the chocolate-dipped pretzel to remove excess chocolate. If you are using sprinkles and chopped nuts sprinkle them on when the chocolate is still wet. Then place the pretzel rods onto the prepared baking sheet.

4. Place the pretzels in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to an hour to set the chocolate and then you can plate them or package them.

 

Covered Covered Pretzels

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

“Forget Love I’d Rather Fall in Chocolate”

~ Anonymous

Speak to you soon,

                  Nicole Doreen

Classic Israeli Salad

Israeli Salad

The vegetables in Israel are always so fresh and delicious. Salad is served at every meal, no joke, Israelis even have salads for breakfasts. The classic Israeli salad is perfect as a light meal, a side or to stuff in a pita. This is one of those salads that is not filled with heavy dressing but actually is extremely healthy and not to mention tasty as well 🙂

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 3 tomatoes – chopped small dice
  • 3 Persian/Israeli cucumbers- Chopped small dice with the peel
  • 1/2 cup parsley (flat leaf)- chopped
  • 1/2 an onion – Chopped Small

Dressing:

  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Preparation:

1. Finely chop the vegetables and place all chopped veggies into a bowl.

2. Immediately before serving, season with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

“Adopting a new healthier lifestyle can involve changing diet to include more fresh fruit and vegetables as well as increasing levels of exercise.”

~ Linford Christie

Speak to you soon,

                  Nicole Doreen

Delicious Banana Bread …for the banana lovers

Banana Bread!



The other day I was in the kitchen and noticed I bought a bunch of bananas earlier in the week that I completely forgot to eat. They were very ripe, too soft to put into my fruit salad but definitely the perfect ripeness to make a loaf of banana bread.

I have friends that absolutely love bananas… and then some who hate bananas. For those of you who are part of the latter group I will post different dessert recipes in the future. If it is the banana texture you do not like but you like the flavor than you might love this cake.

And for those of you who are banana fans then this is a very easy recipe that comes out sooo yummy. I got the recipe online once and just figured it cant hurt to try it out. Glad I did ! It’s the perfect snack with your morning coffee or as an afternoon treat.

So go try it out and let me know how you like it !

Banana Bread... this time with Chocolate Chips

Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 3 over ripe bananas mashed
  • Walnuts to taste

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Add walnuts and mix. Then pour batter into the loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for about one hour or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first”
~ Anonymous

Speak to you soon,

                  Nicole Doreen

 

Picnic Date

Pack a PICNIC! That’s Classic, who doesn’t love sitting in the sun, eating good food and spending the day relaxing?

Summer is the best time to have a romantic picnic in the park. But, what do you bring to eat that’s not too messy and wont spill before you even get there?

Here are great ideas for the perfect picnic basket: (Tip: don’t forget to check the weather before, bring a sheet, music and a deck of cards or fun games)

 Lunch or Dinner: VEGGIE/CHEESE WRAPS

I have made wraps with many different ingredients but my favorite wrap was one I made by accident when I decided to use whatever I had in the refrigerator. Here is what I put in my Veggie/Cheese wrap. I don’t really measure any of it so it’s up to you.

What you will need:

Large wraps (whole wheat or regular is up to you)

Chopped Lettuce

Strips of red pepper and cucumbers and tomatoes

Feta Cheese

Avocado (put lemon juice on then so they don’t turn black)

Pesto Sauce (if you don’t want to put pesto sauce you can leave it out and just sprinkle black pepper and a spice called Zaatar on your veggies and feta mixture)

Make the wraps and cover with aluminum foil so they don’t make a mess!!

Avocado/Pesto/Feta Wraps

   Dessert

~Fresh Strawberries and a can of whip cream

~Just buy a small bag of chocolate covered pretzels

 

Simple enough no?

Snacks:

  • I was in the supermarket one day shopping and they had samples of this snack called Somersaults and they are so good. They are little nuggets made of sunflower and sesame seeds. They taste way better than they sound even my picky little sister loved them. All their products are kosher but keep in mind that they are dairy snacks. My favorite is the pacific sea salt flavor.http://www.somersaultsnackco.com/
  • Edamame with Soy Sauce- Buy those frozen packets of Edamamde and just microwave them for 4 minutes , sprinkle Kosher Salt/ or Sea Salt on them and  pack them to go. Take small packets of soy sauce as a dipping sauce.

Drinks:

~Seltzer/ Sparkling water

~Bottle of white or red wine if you want to get fancy 🙂

OH and for those of you always looking for cute date ideas here’s a good website you can check out:

http://www.hotdateideas.com/date-ideas/perfect-picnics

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

“My first real kiss came when I was 10, and it was in an acting class. I had to do a scene from a movie where someone gets kissed under a tree, and I did not want to do it! But my acting partner wanted me to feel comfortable, so he bought a picnic basket with all these snacks. He made such an effort – and it was cute”

~ Vanessa Hudgens

Speak to you soon,

              Nicole Doreen