entertaining · pumpkin · snack

Snack On Pumpkin Pie Crunch Mix!

We traveled to the northeast last weekend and saw some beautiful fall colors and scenery.

We stopped at an adorable Amish Bulk Food store where they had rows of adorable little pumpkins and gourds for sale, as well as giant multi-colored varieties.

It got me to thinking about pumpkin flavors, and then I remembered this Pumpkin Pie Crunch recipe. It’s Pumpkin-flavored Chex Mix.

Oh. My. Goodness.

This stuff is irresistible! It has no pumpkin added, only the pumpkin pie spices. It’s just sweet enough to offset the cinnamon and nutmeg and yummy enough to have you dreaming about it when you visit a pumpkin stand!

Here’s the simple recipe you can make in less than 30 minutes!

Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups Cinnamon Chex cereal
2 cups wheat Chex cereal
2 cups Honey Nut Chex cereal
8 oz. nuts

1. In small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In small microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on high about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in vanilla. In large microwaveable bowl, mix all cereals and nuts. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until coated.

2. Microwave uncovered on high 5 minutes, or until mixture begins to brown, stirring every minute. Spread on waxed paper or a cookie sheet to cool. Store in airtight container.

Whether you’re having guests over to watch football, are asked to bring a snack to an event, or are taking the family to the local pumpkin patch, why not mix up this Pumpkin Pie Crunch and smack your way through pumpkin heaven?

What fall events have you participated in so far?

Pumpkinly yours,

Side dish · snack · zucchini

Crunchy Zucchini Chips

When you love the crunch and salt of chips, but you’re trying to eat healthy, is there anything aside from a bag of Lay’s that will satisfy that hunger? The answer is Yes! Zucchini Chips! If you own a garden, chances are you have an ABUNDANCE of them right now and are wondering how to use them up! If you don’t have a garden, you’re going to want to get the grocery store to purchase a zucchini or two to make this crunchy side dish!

Crispy, salty and the perfect accompaniment to sandwich!

The two most important ingredients for this yummy recipe are:

  1. Zucchini
  2. Time – These take 2 hours at a low heat, so start them early in the afternoon.

When I found this recipe I was a little skeptical, but because I had the two important ingredients, I decided to try them for myself! I am totally won over!

Here’s all you do ~

Zucchini Chips

  1. Slice the Zucchini to the thickness of about that of a quarter. (I used my food processor and used the blade with the thickest slice and they were just right.
  2. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Lay the slices in rows on the cookie sheet.
  4. Spray lightly with cooking spray and lightly salt. (They shrink while they dehydrate in the oven and the salt taste will intensify, so don’t use too much.)
  5. Place in a 250 degree oven for one hour. Flip the zucchini over. Rotate pans.
  6. Bake for up to another hour, or until they turn light brown and crispy.

These are best served right away. The recipe says they will turn chewy as after a while. We didn’t get to test that part because I baked up one zucchini and we ate every bite!

Some tips:

  • These shrivel up quite small, so make twice the amount you think you’ll need!
  • It’s probably better to go a little thicker with the slices than too thin. They just might need longer to bake.
  • Keep a watch on them after that first hour. Some of mine got a little too dark.
  • Eat them right away.

I’m not one who loves weird snacks. Don’t even think about giving me a rice cake! I tell you that to emphasize that I thought these were just delicious! I bet sprinkling them with some grated Parmesan cheese would be an extra layer of deliciousness!

I served these alongside a pork tenderloin sandwich and it made a great side dish! They’d also make a great snack. I’m thinking children would never know they’re getting a helping of vegetables! What they don’t know won’t hurt them!

What’s the strangest vegetable you eat or have eaten as a snack or side dish?

Happy crunching!

baking · Bars · Easy recipe · snack

Your Favorite Granola Bar

Homemade granola bars that are full of good protein and fruit are snacks I try to keep in my fridge. Before I walk in the morning, on a busy day when I don’t fix breakfast, or when I need a little afternoon pick-me-up, these are the perfect bars to grab!

Pan is ready for granola bars!

Cooking light has given a recipe that gives you the necessary amounts of grains, nuts, butter and fruits, then gives you the option to choose your favorites of each so you can create your best-loved granola bar! In other words, they give the formula to successively create your kind of granola bar your way. Here’s how to create them:

Create a base

Toast oats in the oven to give them a nutty flavor. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread 2 cups old-fashioned oats onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned and fragrant, about 12 minutes. Transfer oats to a bowl, and cool to room temperature.

Add richness

Creamy nut butter and toasty coconut oil enrich the bars. Liquid sweetener, well, sweetens them. Place 1/3 cup nut butter,1/4 cup liquid sweetener (such as honey, maple syrup, or agave), and 11/2 Tbsp. coconut oil in a bowl. Microwave 30 seconds or until warm.

Boost the flavor

Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt to the nut butter mixture to heighten the flavor; whisk until smooth. Whisk in 1 large egg white; it’s a key part of the binder that will hold all the ingredients together.

Add Crunch and Chew

Stir 1/2 cup unsalted roasted nuts (or broken-up pretzel pieces) into the cooled oats for hearty crunch. Add 1/3 cup dried fruit (chop the pieces if they are large) for bright, sweet flavor and textural contrast.

Mix and Press

Pour nut butter mixture over oat mixture; stir well until all pieces are evenly coated. Transfer mixture to an 8-inch square metal baking pan lined with parchment paper. Press mixture very firmly into pan; packing tightly helps keep bars from crumbling.

Bake and Cool

Bake at 350°F until lightly browned around edges, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Lift bars out of pan with parchment paper; cool completely on rack before cutting (warm bars might crumble).

MY favorite combination is oats, walnuts, dried mixed fruits, maple syrup (or honey) and peanut butter. I store them in the fridge because I find it helps them not crumble as much. So good!

Rather than buying these, consider baking your own so you can customize them to your dietary needs and likes! Because of that, they will be your favorite bar!!

Cookies · snack

Biscotti Making!

My morning coffee needs nothing to make it delicious, but if I have a cup in the afternoon, I enjoy having some kind of cookie that will make the perfect plunge into the dark liquid and come out even tastier than it was before!

The perfect solution is Biscotti!  It’s normally a very crispy cookie or biscuit-like treat that is a tad hard to eat, UNLESS it’s dipped in a liquid, and coffee is the perfect choice!

I found a recipe in my Cooking Light cookbook that has a little tartness with dried fruit and a little sweetness with the addition of chocolate chips.  This recipe has a cup of wheat flour, making it a little healthier!  Am I saying, healthy cookie?  Well, pretty much! They’re only 81 calories and taste fantastic!

img_5319

Don’t be intimidated about making these. If you can bake a roll of slice and bake cookies, you can make these!  It’s just a simple double-baking process!  First, you roll the dough into logs and bake them, then after they cool ten minutes, you slice them into strips, lay them on the baking sheet and bake them one more time.  That’s it!  Here;’s the recipe from Cooking Light ~

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2/3 cup dried tart cherries – I used Craisins
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Cooking spray

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°.

Step 2

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flours and salt in a bowl; stir well with a whisk.

Step 3

Beat sugar and eggs with a mixer at high speed until thick and pale (about 4 minutes). Add oil and extracts, beating until well-blended. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in cherries and chocolate chips.

Step 4

Divide dough in half; turn out onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Shape each portion into a 10-inch-long roll, and flatten to 1-inch thickness. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove rolls from the baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

Step 5

Cut each roll diagonally into 20 (1/2-inch) slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Turn cookies over, and bake an additional 10 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire rack.

img_5320

 

I love having these on hand (they freeze great!) for when a friend stops in for coffee or when my afternoon cup of java needs a little something sweet!

img_5324

Enjoy!

denise a