KIND Healthy Grain Bars

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

oats-and-honey-kind

I was recently sent a box of KIND bars to check out. They came out with a new line of granola bars. You may already be familiar with their fruit and nut bars. I really enjoy them, so I was excited to see what they had in store.

They sent me a variety of flavors to try. Now available are:

  • Dark Chocolate Chunk
  • Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate
  • Vanilla Blueberry
  • Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt
  • Oats & Honey with Toasted Coconut

When I opened the box, I zeroed in on the two bars that included chocolate. I mean, who doesn’t love a chocolate chip granola bar?

Since the fine folks at KIND gave me two of each bar to try, I brought some of the extras to work so my buddies could sample and give their opinion as well. They were gobbled up super fast. The KIND logo on the wrapping is already a seal of approval for many, as the brand is known offer good quality. These bars didn’t disappoint.

I thought my favorite would be the dark chocolate chunk flavor, but it turned out to be the oats & honey variety with the coconut. I did love all of them though and will definitely buy them again. I think I like them more than their line of nut bars.

You can learn more about KIND bars and where to buy them by visiting their website.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Nacho Stuffed Tater Tots

tatertots

This month’s Kosher Connection challenge is all about the Superbowl. What kinds of snacks do you like to eat while watching the big game? On Superbowl Sunday, we typically dine on a variety of appetizers. Last year, I vaguely recall a mix of onion rings, french fries, chicken wings and beer. I’m sure there was more to it though. This year, I’m all about finding good vegetarian snacks for the big game day.

I asked my husband what he was in the mood for this year. The first thing that he came up with was some loaded nachos. I told him that nachos were too basic and we had to do better than that!

I’ve been wanting to make some homemade tater tots for a while now. A while back, there was an article by Mark Bittman in The New York Times where he showed how to make some homemade tots. I’ve been wanting to make that recipe ever since it came out. I decided that I could stuff the tater tots with some of the typical nacho toppings.

Would it work? Would it taste good? I had to find out!

I parboiled some Idaho Russet Potatoes and then grated them along with some onions. I added some salt, pepper and corn starch to the mix, as Mark Bittman suggests.

tater-tot-potato-mixture

I processed some black beans along with some fire roasted green chiles in the food processor. I mixed up that mixture with some cheese, corn and chili powder.

I placed some of the potato mixture in the palm of my hand and then a dab of the bean mixture at the center and formed it in to a traditional tater tot shape, making sure to cover the entire center with potato.

shaped-tater-tots

I fried each tot lightly and then drained it and finished cooking it in the oven. It’s best to finish the baking process on a rack over a baking sheet.

tater-tots-in-pan

I dipped the tater tots in a salsa-yogurt mixture.

The verdict? Definitely a fun recipe!

tatertots


Nacho Stuffed Tater Tots
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • 5 Idaho Russet Potatoes
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch
  • ¼ cup corn
  • ¼ cup black beans, cooked and drained or canned
  • ¼ cup fire roasted green chiles
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • oil for frying
  • additional salt and pepper as needed

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Parboil the potatoes until tender
  3. Grate the potatoes in a large mixing bowl
  4. Stir salt, pepper and corn starch in to the potatoes
  5. In the food processor, process together the black beans, chili powder, cheese and chiles. Stir in the corn. Transfer to a small mixing bowl.
  6. Take a tablespoon of the potato mixture and place in the palm of your hand. Dab a teaspoon of the bean/cheese mixture and place in the center of the potatoes. Shape the potatoes around the bean mixture and form in to a traditional tater tot mixture. Repeat until you have used up your potatoes.
  7. Heat up the oil, about a 1-inch deep, in a fry pan.
  8. Pan fry the tots until browned.
  9. Transfer the tots to a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack.
  10. Bake the tots until desired crispness.

nacho-stuffed-tater-tots

Sriracha Chex Mix

Sriracha Chex Mix

I love Chex Mix. Chex Mix is one of my favorite snacks. Only homemade Chex Mix though. I stock up on Chex Cereals whenever I see them on sale at the grocery store. I’m always trying to come up with new flavor options for the wonderful snack mix.

I’ve made it with Creole seasoning, I loved it with curry seasoning and just recently, I decided I needed to make a Sriracha Chex Mix. Who doesn’t like sriracha? It seemed like it would be the perfect addition to this snack mix. I was right.

In a giant mixing bowl, I mixed up the Rice Chex, Corn Chex, cashews, almonds and peanuts.

I mixed up some melted butter, sriracha, sesame oil,  and tamari.

mixing-chex-mix-

I processed some garlic and ginger in my Cuisinart Mini-Prep so it became a paste and then added it to the bowl with the butter and the sriracha.

I poured the mixture over the Chex and nut mixture. I stirred everything well.

mixing-chexk-mix

I placed everything on a rimmed baking sheet and then I baked it in the oven at a low heat for an hour. I stirred it up every 15 minutes or so.

I then let the mixture cool and then sampled a bit. Oh yeah.

This Chex Mix came with us to our New Year’s Eve party. It’s perfect for any party or just for casual snacking. I love the kick of the sriracha!

Hope you enjoy!

Sriracha Chex Mix
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snack, Gluten Free

Ingredients
  • 6 cups Rice Chex
  • 6 cups Corn Chex
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup roasted peanutes
  • 1 cup toasted almonds slivers
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup Sriracha
  • ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 inch piece ginger, peeled

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry cereals and the nuts.
  3. In a smaller bowl, combine the melted butter, tamari, sriracha and the sesame oil.
  4. Puree the garlic and ginger in a food processor and then mix in to the sriracha mixture.
  5. Stir the melted butter and sriracha mixture in to the cereal mixture and stir well, making sure that all nuts and cereal pieces are coated well.
  6. Transfer to rimmed baking sheets.
  7. Bake in the oven for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  9. Enjoy!

Sriracha Chex Mix

VeganMofo: Gluten Free Rosemary Crackers

A while back, I went with my parents to a fabulous Italian restaurant. We were starving, and as we waited for our food, we stuffed our faces with these fabulous rosemary and olive oil flat bread crackers. They were super thin and super yummy.

Since then, I have been wanting to recreate these great crackers at home – both with and without the gluten.  Today, I am sharing with you a gluten free rosemary cracker, that while not as thin as the cracker from the restaurant, the rosemary flavor in these crackers, combined with the sea salt and olive oil, give me the flavor and crunch that I’m looking for.

Gluten Free Rosemary Crackers


Gluten Free Rosemary Crackers / Flatbread
Ingredients:

1 cup cooked brown rice
1 1/2 cups garbanzo bean flour (plus more for rolling)
1 tsp. sea salt (plus more for sprinkling over)
2 tbsp. chopped rosemary (plus a bit extra for sprinkling)
1/4 cup olive oil (plus more for brushing)
1/4 cup water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

In the bowl of a food processor, process the brown rice. It should be mushy. Slowly add in the rest of the ingredients while pulsing. Process until it forms a ball and moves away from the sides of the bowl.

Dust a flat surface with some more garbanzo flour. Knead a bit for a minute. The dough will be a bit sticky.

Place half of the dough on a piece of parchment paper that is sized to a baking sheet.

Roll out the dough as thin as possible on to the parchment paper. It’s important that you roll it thin so it can achieve ideal crispiness. Try for around 1/8 inch.

Gluten Free Rosemary Crackers

Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle on some sea salt and more rosemary sprigs.

Gluten Free Rosemary Crackers

Cut dough with a pizza cutter to preferred crackers shapes/sizes.

Gluten Free Rosemary Crackers

Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Bake in oven for around 25 minutes. Check periodically for browning. The crackers should be browner around the edges and browned a little on the bottom of the crackers. They will harden more once you let them cool down a bit.

Gluten Free Rosemary Crackers

Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

veganmofo

Homemade Sesame Rice Crackers

Sesame Rice Crackers

I have made crackers a few times. Those Mary’s Gone Crackers copycats were big hit in my house.

This time, I was looking for something with a similar crunch, but a bit different flavor – perhaps a little less nutty. I wanted something similar to those packages of Japanese senbei crackers I get at Whole Foods, or perhaps the sesame rice rounds I get at Trader Joe’s. I wanted a cracker that met somewhere in the middle. I definitely wanted to keep it gluten free, but with a good crunch. I also didn’t want to have to run out and buy too many new ingredients.

These crackers fit the bill. I had everything on hand. Definitely happy with the way they turned out and will make again – perhaps with a few flavor tweaks. These crackers are great with tapenade or hummus, or anything you would pair with a chip or cracker!

Sesame Rice Crackers
Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup roasted sesame seeds
3.5 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
3 tsp. sesame oil
1 cup warm water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix everything together in a mixing bowl. The dough shouldn’t be too sticky and should come together. You can add a little more rice flour if it seems too sticky and wet.

Let the mixture sit for five minutes.

Spray a large baking sheet.

Pull of little teaspoon size pieces of dough and roll in to balls.

Similar to my previous cracker recipe, take a small square of oil sprayed parchment paper and press the ball on to the pan. You can use your hands, or you could use a heavy glass.

You want the cracker dough to be very thin, but you don’t want it to rip. Even if it rips though, it’s still tasty.

The crackers do shrink a little in the oven – so it’s ok if your dough rounds are touching.

Bake in oven for around 15-17 minutes. Check to make sure they don’t burn,

Cool on rack.

Sesame Rice Crackers

Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for Tribes-a-Dozen’s Voila! Hallah!

Homemade Corn Nuts

I can’t remember how we came upon the topic of corn nuts, but it came up in conversation recently. I think it was the prospect of a field trip to Oh! Nuts, and finding the store closed. I was craving some fresh roasted corn nuts – still piping hot. So good.  I then began to reminisce about the mass produced corn nuts I used to buy at Chi’s Market down the street from my parent’s house. They were probably around 50 cents at the time, and we used to pour them in to our mouths. Crunch-Crunch-Crunch. Listening to people eat them was ever so annoying, but eating them myself – totally worth it! They even came in assorted flavors like ranch and barbecue! I used to love barbecue flavor anything.

My husband suggested that I attempt to make them. I was told that I would have to find the giant white Peruvian corn and soak it. It wouldn’t work with just any corn kernel. Was thrilled to find a bag of these special corn kernels on my first try. Goya offers a kosher-certified Maize Mote Pelado. Found a good sized bag at Food Basics. Score!

These corn nuts are prepared in a similar way to roasted chickpeas. You simply coat them in oil and salt and roast in the oven for around 30 minutes  – stirring for even browning. They have a very big crunch and a somewhat heady, corn taste. They don’t taste like the deep fried store bought stuff, but they are their own taste and pretty good.

Maize Mote Pelado





Homemade Corn Nuts
Ingredients

1 bag of Maize Mote Pelado – Giant White Corn
2 tbsp. Salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Additional spices as desired

Soak the corn in water for around 8-10 hours or so. If you soak any longer, it will start to smell pretty awful.

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Preheat oven to 400.

Drain the corn

In a large bowl, toss the corn in the oil and sprinkle salt over it.

Place the corn in a single layer on a baking sheet.

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Place in oven. Stir the corn around every 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven after around 25-30 minutes or when corn looks toasted. Don’t let them burn.

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Let cool a few minutes and then taste. Add more salt or other spices as necessary.

homemade corn nuts

Enjoy!

Homemade Corn Nuts
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snacks

Ingredients
  • 1 bag of Maize Mote Pelado – Giant White Corn
  • 2 tbsp. Salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • Additional spices as desired

Instructions
  1. Soak the corn in water for around 8-10 hours or so. If you soak any longer, it will start to smell pretty awful.
  2. Preheat oven to 400
  3. Drain the corn.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the corn in the oil and sprinkle salt over it.
  5. Place the corn in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  6. Place in oven. Stir the corn around every 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven after around 25-30 minutes or when corn looks toasted. Don’t let them burn.
  7. Let cool a few minutes and then taste. Add more salt or other spices as necessary.

 

Gluten Free Crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers Copycat Recipe)

I’ve become a gluten free guinea pig. Scouring the web, bookstores, and brainstorming new ideas for gluten free meals and snacks. The main meals aren’t too complicated. Dinners have only needed minor tweaking to adapt to gluten free. The hardest area has been snack food. We aren’t a big cake/cookie family – but the kids likes her crunchy stuff. Pretzel sticks have always been a mainstay in her feeding therapies. There’s only so much popcorn one can handle.

Store-bought snacks are not cheap. Coupons are hard to come by for the kinds of foods we are looking for. So I am trying to make my own. When we first began our gluten free adventure, I asked a friend for pretzel ideas. She mentioned the Sticks & Twigs by Mary’s Gone Crackers.

I’ve quickly become addicted to these gluten free pretzels. They aren’t like ordinary pretzels. They are full of seeds and stuff. They have a great crunch. They have a nice, nutty flavor. More involved than a standard Snyder’s pretzel. Unfortunately, at $4.50 a bag – they don’t fit my budget too well.

Looking at the ingredient label, I pondered trying to make my own. The ingredients aren’t too complicated; brown rice, quinoa, flax seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, and tamari. I have these ingredients in my pantry. While googling for ideas, I came upon the crackers of Mary’s Gone Crackers fame. They are basically the same pretzel taste in a cracker. I figured that I would tackle that first – and then I could move on to pretzels.

The first time I made the crackers – my results were uneven. Some pans came out ok, and some pans came out – well, not so ok. By the second time – I finally got it down pat. Similar to the pretzels, the crackers cost around $4.50 for way too few crackers. Happy to get about 3 times as many crackers at a significant savings by making my own. I do plan on playing with the recipe more to add flavors – like garlic and rosemary.

I am still determined to figure out how to make the pretzels – in the meantime, enjoy these yummy crackers!

Gluten Free Crackers (Mary's Gone Crackers Copycat Recipe)

 

 

Gluten Free Crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers Copycat Recipe)
 
This recipe was slightly adapted from here.
Author:
Recipe type: Crackers, Snacks
Cuisine: Gluten Free

Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa (dry)
  • 1 cup brown rice (dry)
  • 2-3 tsp. water
  • 
2-3 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup whole, toasted flax seeds
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 
1/4 cup black sesame seeds (could also use gomasio)
  • 2 tsp. salt

Instructions
  1. Prepare rice and quinoa as per your regular methods.
  2. Add cooked brown rice to Cuisinart and process with a small amount of water.
  3. You should process brown rice to a mush.
  4. Add quinoa to the mix and process a bit more to incorporate.
  5. Add the tamari or soy sauce and mix a bit more.
  6. Take the dough out and place in bowl. Mix in other seeds and seasonings with a wooden spoon. The mixture will be very sticky.
  7. Spray baking pan with oil spray or rub olive oil on baking sheet. Do not use parchment paper.
  8. Drop teaspoon size bits of dough on to cookie sheet. On a half sheet pan, I got around 16 balls.
  9. Take a small piece of parchment paper, spray lightly with oil and place on top of each ball and flatten. I pressed down on to the paper with a stainless steel measuring cup. It seemed to work best.  The cracker should be very thin and flat.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees. Keep an eye on the crackers. Remove them when they have browned and are comepletly dry. Don’t let them burn. I took them out at around 17 minutes. Keep an eye out. Different pans conduct heat differently.
  11. Cool crackers on rack.
  12. Enjoy!

 

 

 
P.S. As a follow-up, I did succeed in making the pretzels. 

Homemade Caramel Corn

I have always hated shopping. As a kid, even more so. I was the worst companion at Dayton’s or City Center. I just wanted to get out of there. I do remember though, that at the end of each shopping trip to Dayton’s, the experience was sweetened by a trip to Candyland. This old school candy and popcorn emporium was some sort of tastebud paradise. A bag of popcorn or caramel corn for my sisters and I, and a bag of jujubees for my mom. Life was good.

I don’t think I have had real caramel corn since once of those shopping trips, but I was reminded of the crunchy sweet goodness of the stuff the other day. While browsing the kosher grocery store on Thursday night, a woman next to me had cart full of tubs of caramel corn. I mosied on over to the aisle and saw that the tubs were $5 and that they also contained pretzels and peanuts. Huh? We didn’t need the glutens, and $5 for a small tub of popcorn and sugar seemed pretty overpriced. We always have popcorn in the house. There’s always sugar and butter as well. What more did I need?

I set out to make it motzei shabbat. J is the expert at the popcorn making  – so I put him to work at the stovetop. We don’t do microwave popcorn. I find it too chemical tasting. I was surprised by how easy it was to make the caramel corn. Just a few ingredients, and a few easy steps! It really is as good as I remembered. Even the kid who doesn’t like caramel loved the stuff.

Homemade Caramel Corn
Ingredients:

6 quarts cooked popcorn (stovetop, storebought, or microwave)
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cups corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Place the poprcorn in the biggest mixing bowl you have. I have a few of those restaurant sized stainless steel bowls. If you don’t have them, then just throw them in to a couple of baking pans. The disposable foil 9×13’s are perfect for this.

Preheat the oven to 250.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter at a medium-low heat. You do not want the butter to burn.

Whisk in the brown sugar, corn syrup, and the salt.

Keep stirring.  Turn the heat up to medium high. Let the mixture come to a boil for a few minutes. Keep stirring.

Turn the heat off after a few minutes. Add in the baking soda and the vanilla.

Pour the mixture over the popcorn.
Stir the popcorn to coat it entirely.  If you haven’t already done so, dump the popcorn in to the baking pans.

Place the baking pans in the oven at 250.

Stir the popcorn every 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven after about an hour and let cool for aout 10-15 minutes. 

Break up the popcorn and store in an airtight container. Or eat it all up. It was be hard to fight the urge to keep eating. It’s that good! Enjoy!

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