Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Snacks for the Otherwise Overwhelmed

I started this post two days ago. It's all about food. I've been wondering whether my growing obsession with non-packaged, home-produced food is a starry-eyed version of head-in-the-sand behavior: as if, by removing plastic from my life I will somehow right the innumerable wrongs that continue to be committed in the name of consuming, convenience, and self-contentment. I still drive a vehicle that burns gasoline. I still use a computer that runs on electricity, much of which comes from a coal-fired plant. Have you seen footage of oil gushing into the blue blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico? I am culpable. I've been wondering whether my desire to control what we eat is a simplistic attempt at atonement, at optimism, a desire to do something--anything--to stem the flow; an act against hopelessness, or stasis.

Well, if it is, so be it. Here are some recipes that we've been enjoying.

Creamy "Ranch" Dressing
(adapted from The Joy of Cooking)
Mix together in a bowl: 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, several pinches of salt; 3/4 cup plain yogurt; the juice of one lime (or 3-4 tbsp cider vinegar); chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (optional); several finely chopped green onions; ground pepper to taste.
Particularly good over a taco salad, or a spinach and steak salad, or served on the side as a veggie dip.

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Rye Crackers
(adapted from a recipe found online ... like this one will now be ...)
Combine in a bowl: 1 and 1/2 cups rye flour; 1/2 tsp salt. Add 3 tbsp butter. Blend together with a fork or pastry cutter till butter is incorporated (like biscuit dough--it will look and feel crumbly). Add in 1 and 1/2 tbsp seeds: caraway, fennel, sesame, poppy, whatever your liking, or in combination. Stir in 1/4 cup water, or slightly more or less, till you've got a stiff dough that holds together but is not sticky. Roll out thinly on a dusted countertop, and place onto ungreased cookie sheet sprinkled with fine cornmeal, or rye flour (I did the rolling and placing in stages, not all at once). Score with a knife into cracker shapes. Will approximately fit onto one tray. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes.

These turned out! I made wheat crackers awhile back which did not. I would not recommended substituting whole wheat or white flour: the rye flour is essential to the flavour. (I also found a semolina and olive oil recipe online that looked yummy; but I didn't have semolina; another time). My conclusion is: the tastier the flour, the tastier the cracker. I must add, however, that these "turned out" because I am not picky about shapes and sizes, and some of the crackers ended up being a bit wonky looking. It would have taken way more time and effort to create the Perfect Cracker. These were quick and easy to make, plus the kids like them. Next time, I will double the recipe and make two trays.

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Finally, a list of Non-Pre-Packaged Snacks, for future reference, produced after much brainstorming, and with suggestions from you:

- tortillas rolled up with hummus and spinach; or cream cheese and jam
- popcorn
- leftover pancakes or waffles
- cheese with apple slices, or crackers
- whole washed apples, oranges, or other fruits
- homemade trail mix: raisins, dried cranberries, nuts or seeds, and a sprinkling of chocolate chips
- homemade muffins, cookies, brownies
- boiled eggs
- tortilla chips or homemade pita chips with yogurt dip, or bean dip
- cut-up veggies with or without dip
- dried apple slices, or other dried fruits
- yogurt and/or/with pearsauce or applesauce
- summer sausage
- granola
- pickles
- seaweed (seriously: my kids love eating ripped off bits from a sheet of seaweed)
- popsicles (for home use only; and here's an awesome tip from the folks at Bailey's Buying Club: make popsicles by spooning pearsauce or applesauce into popsicle molds, and freezing; you can stir some yogurt into the mix, too.)

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Here's what's going into our snack pack for piano lessons this afternoon: brownies (Leah's oatmeal banana recipe); washed whole apples; apple slices (for CJ, who spits out the peels, usually into my hand); cucumber slices; cheese; homemade rye crackers. Will they enjoy it? Why not? Albus actually said, while I was brainstorming some of these ideas out loud, "Those sound like awesome snacks!"
So that's what I've got for today. A little snack pack that represents what-the-heck-else-can-I-do? Seriously. Tell me, and I'll try. Send some green dreams this way. 'Cause I need more.

2 comments:

  1. this a great post! I need these ideas - I'm going to bookmark. I try to keep snacks boring so my kids focus on meals, but sometimes I need snacks on the run. Plus, my daughter started kindergarten this year and now I'm packing lunches. So a lot of these ideas are good for lunches.

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  2. Thank you, Margo! Glad you find these ideas useful. I should bookmark this post myself ... it's so easy to forget what's possible and how to make use of what's on hand when in a rush.

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