Tag Archives: healthy snacks

Weekly Menus: Week of 2/17/2013

Gentle Readers, three cheers for The Practical Cooks Junior. Not only have they mastered several breakfast items, they are now taking on school lunch, snack, and meal planning with great enthusiasm. This is a great help in not having to guess what they want.

The Practical Cooks Junior at Work: Shake Shack Reviewing

The Practical Cooks Junior at Work: Shake Shack Reviewing

The flipside, I’m raising two strong-willed women with advanced and particular palates. Please send help.

Without further adieu, and before they make additional editorial changes, here are this week’s menus:

Weekly Menus: 2/17/2013

Weekly Menus: 2/17/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/17/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/17/2013

Which translates to:

Sunday: Fish and Chips
The Eldest opted to have a slice of bacon at dinner the other night. It’s unclear if this is a change or a one-off. We shall see. Meanwhile, I’m going to try homemade fish and chips again.

Monday: Beans and Rice
Love this meal for simplicity and creating possibility through leftovers.

Black Beans and Rice: Simple and Satisfying for Dinner

Black Beans and Rice: Simple and Satisfying for Dinner

Tuesday: Rustic Veggie Tart
This rustic tart will be caramelized onions, sweet potato, and goat cheese.

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rustic Tart with Goat Cheese

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rustic Tart with Goat Cheese

Wednesday: Pasta and Salad
Probably cheese tortellini, but potentially spaghetti and veggie meatballs.

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner
This is so simple and variable I struggle not to serve it daily. Never fails to please the crowd.

Grits go with everything. Especially breakfast for dinner.

Grits go with everything. Especially breakfast for dinner.

Friday: Leftovers
I am thinking either soup or burritos based on the week’s bounty.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Getting ready to travel again, so one last celebration on the way. Probably over a salad. 🙂

Eat the rainbow (salad)!

Eat the rainbow (salad)!

How does your crew feel about cheese sticks/pre-cut cheese? TPCs Jr are firmly against, and have started a movement to make our own. Discuss.

Send inspiration, desperation, and chocolate to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up Wednesday: Sour Cherries on Top: One Ingredient, Three Ways

Leave a comment

Filed under Snacks, Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 9/2/2012

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is barely able to recognize her own kitchen. It seems like I haven’t seen it all summer. But school is in, time for school lunch prep, class snack, and quick dinners.

Don't overlook the afterschool snack!

Don’t overlook the afterschool snack!

One quick note. Don’t overlook the power of the post-school snack. I remember well my Granny leaving out a snack every day when I came home from school. It’s a time to unwind, relax, reconnect. Take the time to put something out, or use that time to finish what didn’t get eaten in the lunchbox.

And now, Weekly Menus for this week:

Weekly Menus: 9/2/2012

Weekly Menus: 9/2/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 9/2/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 9/2/2012

Which translates into:

Sunday: Indian Food
We shall see what this is. Probably a simple dal and rice. Potentially some bread or a green.

Monday: Salmon and Greens
Not sure if the Eldest will eat fish, but the Youngest is a fan. Working through how to serve this as a single meal without becoming a short-order cook.

Tuesday: Soup and Salad
Lots of small leftovers. I can make soup for lunchboxes too!

Wednesday: Eggy Pasta
We’ve been relying on pasta with some form of protein added in. The favorite is eggy pasta, a riff on carbonara. I know the purists will shoot me down for the lack of bacon, but so be it.

Thursday: Burritos
Sweet potatoes, black beans, and the inevitable bit of leftover rice.

Friday: Pork Chops, Pierogies, Greens
Theory here is the pierogies and greens (plus applesauce) will be enough of a meal without the pork chop for the Eldest. To be determined.

Saturday: Dine Out!

What’s your go-to weeknight meal? Any vegetarian favorites? Share your comments below!

Send your bacon, your wit, and your legitimate questions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

On Wednesday, The Art of Leftover Surprise.

Leave a comment

Filed under Snacks, Weekly Menus

An Ode to Flatbread Crackers: The Accidental Baker

Gentle Readers, in the hustle and bustle to accomplish one’s food and eating goals, it can be quite easy to overlook the simple pleasures. Let’s take for instance, cheese and crackers. The combo is delightful, crunchy, salty, and protein-rich. Great snack food in my book.

Pimento cheese on a rosemary flatbread cracker. For the win.

Pimento cheese on a rosemary flatbread cracker. For the win.

Though we have 3 types of crackers from Trader Joe’s we adore, we had simply grown away from this snack staple. Then, along comes Rosemary Flatbread from The Accidental Baker in Hillsborough, NC. A birthday present from a good friend, they are the bomb!

The Practical Cooks Junior loved these rosemary flatbread crackers, accidentally baked or not!

The Practical Cooks Junior loved these rosemary flatbread crackers, accidentally baked or not!

The flatbread is fresh, crisp, bright, and just greasy enough to be completely satisfying. And lest you think this is me just having a moment, note that both The Practical Cooks Junior ask for these things by name. They are just that good.

The package is not huge, but the crackers have tremendous flavor.

The package is not huge, but the crackers have tremendous flavor.

Favorite treatment: slathered with pimento cheese. These crackers elevate the cheap stuff and work really well as a base for a spread. Don’t fret if they aren’t in your local store, check their website and see if you can get one of the mail-order giants to ship some to you. Trust me, it will be worth it.

What’s your favorite type of cracker? Post a comment below, or Tweet my way with #cracker in the tweet.

Send deep thoughts, legitimate concerns, and actual questions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Believe it or not, it’s almost time for Sunday’s Weekly Menus again!

Leave a comment

Filed under On the Table, Snacks

Weekly Menus: Week of 2/5/2012

Gentle Readers, it is that time of year again when thoughts turn to snacks and beer. A few thoughts about what to serve that will be both practical and delicious:

1. Nachos. They are always a hit.

Veggie Nachos Perfected! With pickled jalepeno on top, for good measure.

Veggie Nachos Perfected! With pickled jalepeno on top, for good measure.

2. Chili and baked potatoes. Had this recently, and was struck with how tasty the combo is. Go crazy, and you can do Twice-Baked Potatoes in advance, and make some Veggie Chili to go beside or on top of.

Thankful for Twice-Baked Potatoes

Thankful for Twice-Baked Potatoes

3. Pigs in a Blanket. Another classic, and so easy it is truly obnoxious.

Pigs in a Blanket, for the Win!

Pigs in a Blanket, for the Win!

So here is my gameplan for the week, Weekly Menus (in other breaking news, I have new notepaper, I know, an exciting life I lead):

Weekly Menus: 2/5/2012

Weekly Menus: 2/5/2012

Four-Square Shopping List:

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/5/2012

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/5/2012

Which translates to:

Sunday: Indian
Probably dal, rice, and green veg.

Monday: Tortellini and Salad
This will be the butternut squash variety, I may do it as a soup.

Tuesday: Tuna Melts
Can’t beat the classic.

Wednesday: Tacos
Always a crowd pleaser!

Thursday: Leftover Delight
Assuming I’ll have leftover Indian, otherwise, I’ll repurpose the leftover taco stuff.

Friday: Supper Salad!
As above, I’ll combine leftovers. Perhaps Tuna salad on greens, maybe taco salad.

Saturday: Dine Out

Email your questions, suggestions, and deep thoughts to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Tomorrow, Dining in London: A Tourist’s Review.

Leave a comment

Filed under Snacks, Weekly Menus

Mango and Blackberry Parfait

Gentle Readers, in good faith, The Practical Cook can’t call the following a recipe. But The Practical Cooks Junior were enamored enough of the combination that it warranted a mention. The Eldest said I needed to let you know about it.

Denuded Lime, Blackberries, Trader Joe's Blackberry Juice

Denuded Lime, Blackberries, Trader Joe's Blackberry Juice

And as we eat our weight in apples and citrus in these winter months, it is nice to have a change of pace, a treat from a different climate. So this was our snack the other day, a Mango and Blackberry Parfait. Mango and blackberry pair beautifully, they are gorgeous to look at, and they go with almonds, pecans, or walnuts.

Mango and Blackberry Parfait (not quite a recipe, but lovely nonetheless)

Mango and Blackberry Parfait (not quite a recipe, but lovely nonetheless)

A scoop of granola (Trader Joe’s Mango Passionfruit is an obvious choice) and a dash of maple syrup over the top, plain lowfat yogurt underneath. Done. Winter gloom is banished for a little summer paradise.

What are your favorite fruit combinations? Post a comment below!

Send your fruit combos, questions, and Practical Challenges to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Up next, Weekly Menus, or Wow, It Is Cold Outside.

2 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Snacks

Vampire Smiles Snack: Fangs A Lot

Gentle Readers, it was less than a year ago that The Practical Cook was made aware of a simple and fabulous snack, the Apple Smile. Reasonably healthy, extremely fun to make, and endlessly customizable to the teeth at hand. Seeing is believing:

Smile, Apple, Smile!

Smile, Apple, Smile!

And of course, why stop there?

Wife of Bath Apple Smile (the gat-toothed woman)

Wife of Bath Apple Smile (the gat-toothed woman)

Inspired to push the smile genre further, meet Vampire Smiles:

Vampire Smiles with Candy Corn Fangs

Vampire Smiles with Candy Corn Fangs

Here’s the Original Apple Smiles post with simple directions.

Vampire Smile Awaiting Fang Fairy, with Jelly Blood

Vampire Smile Awaiting Fang Fairy, with Jelly Blood

Happy Hunting.

What’s your favorite Halloween Treat? Don’t be scared, post a comment below.

Send your leftover candy to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Tomorrow, Hard-Hitting Review Time: Is Clusterfluff Worth the Hype? We’ll Taste and Report.

2 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Snacks

Elevating the Ordinary Snack: Apples and Peanut Butter Artfully Done

Thanks to all who voted in yesterday’s poll. There’s still time, Gentle Readers, to vote or to post your thoughts. The Practical Cook is listening. Today’s post is a simple one. Sometimes, a good basic snack can become a great one with a bit of artful placement. Behold apples and peanut butter turned into a flower, with Chocolate Teddy Grahams lurking about in the petals.

Apple Peanut Butter Flower with Hidden Bears

Apple Peanut Butter Flower with Hidden Bears

Naturally, the bears were quickly consumed, but the art was appreciated by The Practical Cooks Junior. Is it wrong that I’m proud that they play with their food? Bring the fun to snacktime sometimes. We all have to sling hash, but don’t forget the magic of presentation when you can.

What’s your go-to snack? Post a comment (I won’t bite, unless you’re an apple with peanut butter) or Tweet away.

Send your snack pictures to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

It’s that time again, Sunday means Weekly Menus.

Leave a comment

Filed under Snacks

Summertime Snack Series: Popsicles (Chocolate Almond Cherry Edition with video)

With advance apologies to our readers who are yet to feel the stinging heat of summer, but down South, this is a timely post. The Practical Cook loves popsicles in theory, but is not a fan of the limited orange, cherry, grape ones that are readily available. A child of the 80’s, I wanted to get back to my Bill Cosby roots and have something more like a pudding pop.

Modern Day Pudding Pop

Modern Day Pudding Pop

Fast forward to modern times, and a local paleta shop call Locopops opened. It was a revelation. Their flavor combinations are limitless, and in two main categories, water and cream-based. Hurray. That will be a guiding principle here as well.

As recipes are developed, they will be shared here, so keep the suggestions coming!

Chocolate Almond Cherry Popsicle Recipe

There are some techniques that will help you reach popsicle success. For the tips and tricks, watch the how-to video here.

2 cups plain or vanilla flavored yogurt, or chocolate or vanilla pudding (if you use anything but plain yogurt, omit sweetener)
1/2 cup frozen sweet cherries
2 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup (optional if using plain yogurt)
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup toasted almond slivers
chocolate syrup

1. Put yogurt, cherries, optional sweetener, and almond butter in a blender (or food processor). Blend it!

2. Put a spoonful or so of almond slivers in the bottom of your popsicle molds (or paper cups, if you must).

3. Pour the blended mixture in the molds until they’re half-full. Add a dollop of chocolate syrup into each mold. This creates the squishy center. Fill the molds to the top with the remaining popsicle mixture.

Fill the popsicle molds halfway.

Fill the popsicle molds halfway.

4. Freeze for at least 1 hour.

5. Loosen from mold with warm water. Eat.

Are you a popsicle fan? Do you chomp or lick? Post a comment here and share your popsicle stories!

Thanks for all of the flavor suggestions so far. Send pictures of your popsicle creations to Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Like, like, like! Press “like” on Facebook today! Thank to everyone for helping to earn our very own name: facebook.com/practicalcook)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up tomorrow, the world premiere of Goaty McBeet Burgers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes, Snacks

Beets and Sweets Recipe

Who is behind the powerful potato lobby? Why was it decreed early on that potatoes were the root veggie of choice to be “chipped?” The Practical Cook has turned kale into chips, why not other root veggies? Great as a side, fun as a snack, interesting to say, read on to find the secret behind Beets and Sweets.

Sweet potatoes!

Sweet potatoes!

Beets and Sweets Recipe

Unfortunately, though the thinly sliced beets are completely gorgeous, I kept failing to take a picture with my beet-stained hands pre-cooking, and they disappeared so quickly there wasn’t an opportunity to shoot the finished product. If you make them, please submit a photo!

1 or 2 beets, scrubbed, peeled, and sliced thin on a mandoline (or a food processor, if that’s all you’ve got)
1 or 2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and sliced thin
olive oil
kosher or sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Toss beets and sweets (separately, if you want to maintain independent colors) with a dash of olive oil. Place on baking sheet in a single layer (this takes at least two baking sheets at my house).

Sweets in the Oven

Sweets in the Oven

3. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate, bake for another 10 minutes or until desired crispness but pre-burning.

4. Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt, serve.

Fish and Chips

Sunday Night Dinner: Fish and Chips

Below you will see a lovely picture of nicely sliced turnip chips. The ‘Nip Chips were not well-received, even with the attempt at clever naming. The Practical Cook will return to the test kitchen for QT on those.

Root Chips

Root Chips (aka, Thinly Sliced Turnips)

If you like crunchy, salty food, highly recommend trying to make your own chips. If you must use potato, go ahead, but try mixing in a sweet potato or beet for interest.

Coming up tomorrow, Food Trucks, Super or Supertrendy? complete with video footage and a bi-coastal review.

Keep those most hated food confessions rolling in at practical cook at gmail dot com.

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes

Apple Smiles or Playing With Food

Sometimes seeing is believing. The Practical Cook is all for extreme food presentation, but until I researched Apple Smiles, I was in Little League. I knew the basics: apples, peanut butter, marshmallows. But how to put it all together?

Here’s how:

Smile, Apple, Smile!

Smile, Apple, Smile!

Freaky, but delicious. Which led to the creation of the literary smile, the Wife of Bath:

Wife of Bath Apple Smile (the gat-toothed woman)

Wife of Bath Apple Smile (the gat-toothed woman)

I knew memorizing that prologue would serve one day. “Whan that April . . .”

These snacks are even more fun en masse:

When Food Smiles Back

When Food Smiles Back

Admittedly, it borders on creepy. Here’s what I learned:

  • Use the peanut butter sparingly. Otherwise you’ll end up with gingivitis.
  • The redder the apple, the more realistic the look.
  • If you’re using pre-sliced apples (guilty, I was in a hurry!), cut them in half again. The voluptuous lip may work for Revlon, but creates a sliding smile.
  • Have fun with the marshmallow “tooth” placement. You can see gap-tooth above, but there are several smiles missing teeth, just like the young patrons who were consuming them.
  • Marketing works. When delivering the smiles, I asked the recipient if they thought that one was a good tooth-brusher. Great ice-breaker for the under 7 set.
  • I’m ashamed to admit how tasty these were. I’m a fan of all three ingredients, but together, magic. I won’t tell if you make some for yourself.
Apple Smile Work in Progress

Apple Smile Work in Progress

I found it simplest to slice the apple slices in half (or make them fairly thin if you’re slicing your own), smear them lightly with peanut butter, then add the marshmallow teeth and assemble, as shown above. Push the marshmallow from skin side to interior or risk unsightly peanut butter gums.

This is a great option for Snack Week if allergies are not an issue. Much fruit was consumed based on presentation and taste.

Coming up next, spring is in the air somewhere, so it’s time to think about the Farmer’s Market. Are you a Farmer’s Market fan? Join us tomorrow and tell us what you shop for (or why you haven’t gone yet): practicalcook at gmail dot com

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

10 Comments

Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, Recipes