Tag Archives: Snacks

NatureBox

NatureBox
Someday I’ll be successful enough that companies will be flooding my apartment with an embarrassing number of sample products to try but currently I have to buy my own (LIFE IS SO HARD.) I’m not a huge fan of monthly subscription food services simply because I don’t like to think about money regularly coming out of my checking account with actively deciding on each purchase. But NatureBox got me – I tried the first month of nutritionist-approved snacks (5 healthy sized bags for $10) and now I am hooked.

For the first delivery 5 bags of pre-selected snacks arrived and then for future months you can go on the website and choose which bags you’d like to receive. The sampler I received had Pistachio Power Clusters, Masa Crisps, Cherry Berry Bonanza, Vanilla Macaroon Granola, and Roasted Kettle Kernels. Each snack is made with mostly whole ingredients with little to no processing (and if there IS processing it’s something completely necessary that won’t clog your arteries and poison your body), there is no high fructose corn syrup, and they offer non-GMO options.

Give ’em a try! If you’re a snacker and usually reach for Wavy Lays and French onion dip (not that I know anything about that) it’s a lovely alternative.

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How to Use Pumpkin Pie Spice (aside from a pumpkin pie…)

We all have spices in our cupboards that we never use. I personally have a shaker of garam masala that I used once two years ago and haven’t touched since. Well… there was one time I mistook it for nutmeg. Needless to say those pancakes ended up in the trash.

You probably use your pumpkin pie spice once a year at Thanksgiving, but during this pumpkin-y time of year why not pull it out for some unorthodox uses? Not that the below are TOO out of the box, but perhaps they’re new and exciting to you. I do hope that’s the case.

Maple brown butter pumpkin spice popcorn

On the menu:
Maple brown butter pumpkin spice popcorn
Serves 2

1/2 cup unpopped corn kernels
3 Tbsp butter
2 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Pop the popcorn in an air popper.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Watch the mixture closely as the color turns from white and yellow to a light brown. As soon as the butter is a light brown color, turn off the heat. Mix in the maple syrup and the pumpkin pie spice and stir to combine.

Pour half the mixture over the popcorn and toss to coat. Pour remaining butter mixture over the popcorn and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Pancakes with sauteed apples with maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice

On the menu:
Pancakes with apples sauteed with maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice
Serves 2

2 small apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Make pancakes according to this recipe.

In a small frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add apple slices and stir to coat. Cook apples for approximately 5 minutes or until they soften. Add maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine. Cook for another 2 – 3 minutes or until mixture is heated through. Top pancakes with sauteed apples and serve.

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Double Chocolate Cookies

LaurenFoodE double chocolate cookies
I could’ve died for a cookie last night. The BF and I have gone on a major HBO binge and have been watching entire series worth of HBO shows in one go (I’m talking 5 seasons of The Wire in 2 weeks… it’s a sickness, really). And is any TV-watching binge complete without snacks? Of course not. But did we have any freshly baked cookies in the house? No. No, we did not. So tonight, while we embark on the final episodes of Season 1 of Game of Thrones (it took me awhile to get into, but it is soooo good… and those who are attracted to females will like it because there are topless ladies in every. single. episode. yeesh.), I will be eating my weight in chocolate cookies. You should, too.

On the menu:
Double chocolate cookies
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies

1 cup plus 1 Tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, blend together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla extract.

In a separate smaller bowl, sift (or whisk) together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix by hand to combine. Add chocolate chips and stir together.

Drop by Tbsp sized spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 9 – 11 minutes. Cookies will be soft when you remove them from the oven, but careful not to overbake or they will dry out. Let cool briefly on the cookie sheet and then finish cooling on a rack.

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Pop Goes the Weekend

Happy Monday, friends! I saw 60s in the forecast for this week so I could not be happier. In addition to these normal summer temperatures I have two exciting culinary happenings in the cards this week. Monday morning is easier to swallow when your Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursdays are looking up.

In lieu of dinner Sunday night, I made popcorn. I know what you’re thinking. “Popcorn is not a meal, Lauren.” But don’t worry, I had a glass of wine, too.

On the menu:
Parmesan pepper popcorn

1/4 cup popcorn*
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Pop the corn in an air popper. Melt butter over low heat. Add cheese to butter just until coated with butter. Pour half the butter/cheese mixture over popped corn, and sprinkle half the red pepper flakes over top. Toss popcorn. Pour the remaining butter/cheese over the popcorn and sprinkle the rest of the red pepper. Sprinkle salt and pepper over top. Toss well.

*If you don’t have an air popper, you can still make oil-free pop corn at home. Put the kernels in a paper bag and pop them in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Voila.

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Happy National Pretzel Day!

I know these look like tiny blobs, but I promise they taste like tiny blobs of perfection

Remember that time I tried to make pretzels (in honor of National Pretzel Day!) and used three cups of flour instead of four? And the dough stuck to my hands like glue and I collapsed in a fit of laughter on my own kitchen floor at my own stupidity and the cat stared at me like I was nuts? Remember that? That was fun.

My pretzels are not pretty. But if you have any sort of artistic flair, you’ll make yours look much lovelier than mine.

On the menu:
“Mall” pretzels (they really do taste like Auntie Anne’s!)
Adapted from this recipe at AllRecipes.com

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons butter, melted
For topping: raisins (press these into the pretzel dough right before you bake them) and cinnamon sugar, or salt, or sauteed butter and minced garlic, or a drizzle of sweetened cream cheese

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let rise for one hour in a warm spot (you can turn your oven to its lowest setting, let it warm up, then turn it off and keep the door closed. This is the perfect environment to get those little yeast cells to multiply). NOTE: Spray whatever you use to cover the bowl with (a towel, plastic wrap, etc.) with cooking spray and it won’t stick to the dough once it rises.

Combine 2 cups warm water and baking soda in an 8 inch square pan. After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 3 foot rope, pencil thin or thinner (these suckers SWELL as you can see from my tiny blob photo so do make them as thin as your dough will allow). Twist into a pretzel shape, and dip into the baking soda solution. Place on well-greased cookie sheets, and let rise 15 to 20 minutes.

Bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

*You’ll want to brush melted butter and salt or cinnamon sugar or icing (whatever your topping of choice) right before you serve them. If you brush the butter on and then store them, they’ll get soggy.

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Donuts, Donuts: The More You Eat the More You Go Nuts

I love the TV show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on the Food Network, where chefs and restaurateurs talk about the most delicious meals they’ve ever had. It prompted me to go to Serious Pie and Dahlia Bakery in Seattle, and order the Yukon Gold Potato Pizza at Five Points in Manhattan. So when I watched the episode on snacks and saw the donut muffin at Downtown Bakery and Creamery in Healdsburg, California, I knew I had to recreate this little piece of heaven. It’s a DONUT. That you BAKE. In your own OVEN. No frying, no oil, minimal mess but the same fluffy, crunchy-crusted, sweet and spicy treat you come to expect from a donut. Commence lip smacking.

On the menu:
Best Baked Donuts
from the classic upstate New York cookbook, Applehood and Mother Pie
Makes 18 donuts

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Blend 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp butter with 1 cup of sugar
Add eggs and mix well
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg
Add to butter sugar mixture
Blend in milk and mix thoroughly
Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes (the donuts will be brown on the sides but not on top, so don’t wait until they’re visibly brown on top to take them out)
Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Melt the remaining 6 Tbsp of butter
While the donuts are still warm, dip the tops in butter and then coat in cinnamon sugar

These would be perfect at a brunch as a sweet complement to a savory main course. Or if you just can’t make it to brunch, they’re perfect as a midnight snack, too. Not that I ate any at midnight. I’m just… saying.

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