snack to school week, Day 5: snack roundup

It’s the last day of the first week of school for us. And the last day of Snack to School Week here. I’m a little bit sad since it’s been such fun sharing these school-snack related recipes with you.

However, I’m excited to end this week with a recipe roundup of snacking inspiration that will keep you going with school snack ideas for awhile. I can’t wait to try these out myself, test them on my kids and come up with a new recipes for Snack to School Week 2018.

But first, a little bonus for you!

If you like round ups and lists, then you’ll want to grab a free copy of my Top 10 Go-To Snacks printable! Click to sign up and have it delivered to your inbox.

Ready for that roundup? Here we go…

Cinnamon Apple Chips ll Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen

A fun way to put a new spin on a lunchbox staple.
photo & recipe credit :: carries experimental kitchen
photo & recipe credit :: carrie’s experimental kitchen

 

 

Nut Free Protein Energy Bars ll Petite Allergy Treats

A great option for children with allergies or who attend nut-free schools.
photo & recipe credit :: petite allergy treats

 

 

7-Layer Dip

Layer the dip into individual containers or mix up a big batch for both home and school. This is one recipe that everyone in my family enjoys – an extremely rare occurrence around here!

 

 

Vegan Cheezy Crackers ll Robin Robertson via Glue & Glitter

Finally, a vegan answer to goldfish crackers and cheez-its!
Recipe from Veganize It! by Robin Robertson // Photo Credit Glue and Glitter

 

Blueberry Peach Fruit Roll Ups ll Cupcakes and Kale Chips

Another fun twist on sending fruit to school and no need to worry about bruising or mushiness!
recipe and photo credit :: cupcakes and kale chips

 

 

Salt & Vinegar Zucchini Chips ll Sugar-Free Mom

If you’re children like salt and vinegar chips, give these a try…it may help them become more excited about eating zucchini at the dinner table too!

recipe and photo credit :: sugar-free mom

 

 

Blueberry Banana Bread Bars

These also are a great breakfast dessert option and are my favorite way to use up very ripe bananas.

 

 

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Energy Balls ll Cupcakes and Kale Chips

This allergy-friendly recipe is both nut and seed free and can be made gluten-free if using gluten-free oats.
recipe and photo credit :: cupcakes and kale chips

 

 

Homemade Cool Ranch Doritos ll She Likes Food

Forget the kids! These would go in my own lunchbag. 
recipe and photo credit :: she likes food

 

 

Peanut Butter Banana Jumbleaya 

Keeping things simple – like this recipe – in the midst of very busy schedules is a smart way to save your sanity. It can also teach your children to experiment with different food combinations.

snack to school week: apples + date caramel (vegan, no added sugar)

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The other week I shared this recipe for date caramel. This week, I’m sharing it again; this time with the quintessential back to school fruit: apples.

My personal favorites are granny smiths because their tartness is a perfect complement to the natural sweetness of the date caramel. Organic apples are best since conventional apples rank #4 on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list. (Hint: to have quick access to this list, download their Dirty Dozen app to your phone!)

And on that sweetness…there is no added sugar in this date caramel. It’s sweetened entirely by the sugars which naturally occur in the dried Medjool dates (which are the best choice for this recipe).

Funnily enough though, my youngest thought it was “too sweet.” I’m still scratching my head over this one since he happily eats candy and drinks pop whenever he can despite my best efforts to squash that. LOL Which just goes to show even “kid friendly” recipes aren’t foolproof as I shared on Day One of Snack to School Week.

I love this recipe because its:

  • easy to prepare
  • fun
  • packed full of nutrients
  • smooth and creamy
  • a better way to appease that sweet tooth
  • versatile

If you’re sending the apples to school, try squeezing a little lemon juice over them to keep them from turning brown.

Only one more day to go in the 2017 edition of Snack to School Week. Come back tomorrow for my roundup of other amazing school snack ideas!

Print
Date Caramel
Prep Time
10 mins
 

Rich and creamy and loaded with nutrients and plant-protein, this date caramel easily comes together to satisfy your sweet tooth, but without giving you a sugar crash.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 6-8 Medjool dates
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp (scant) salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Instructions
  1. Pit the dates and then add all ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender. Blend until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy, adjusting salt to taste. For a thinner sauce, add more almond milk.

Recipe Notes

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge.

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • I usually buy my almond butter from Trader Joe’s, but click here for another option.
  • Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.

 

snack to school week: imperfect fruit cups

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I debated about sharing this recipe with you because, well, it didn’t go exactly according to plan.

It was the first time I was trying out the vegan alternative to gelatin and because our last few weeks were crazy busy, I didn’t leave time to practice with it before wanting to share the recipe with you. It certainly tastes fine, but it didn’t hold up the way I had hoped. In fact, a few of them fell apart.

However, I think there’s a lesson in this which is why I’m sharing the recipe anyway. Because as moms with access to an overwhelming number of ideas beautifully styled, captured and shared online, we can feel like our own efforts are not good enough when they turn out less-than-perfect. Which makes us feel less than.

And I think this message gets filtered down to our children.

This is why I’m sharing my less-than-perfect first attempt with this recipe (and what I might try next time) because I want to live believing that my attempts to delight and surprise my children are good enough even when they don’t look that way on the surface.

 

Delighting and surprising my children is exactly what I had in mind when I decided to try the vegan version of “jello” fruit cups since it’s a rare treat around here. Vegan “jello” uses agar agar (which comes from seaweed) instead of the animal-based gelatin typically found on store shelves. If you want to learn more about how animal-based gelatin is made, here’s the low down from organicauthority.com.

 

 

The other advantage of making your own “jello” fruit cups is the ability to control the sugar content by using 100% fruit juice. For this recipe, I chose a cranberry, raspberry, blackberry blend.

 

I think there were a few contributing factors to these falling apart once I removed them from the muffin tin:

  1. I used frozen raspberries instead of fresh which increased the water content. Therefore, I recommend using fresh fruit for these.
  2. I probably needed more agar agar than recommended because I used berries (which affects the geling abilities) and I wanted these to pop out of a muffin tin instead of staying in a dish.
  3. It took me a few attempts to figure out how to free them from the tin without destroying them, and go figure, it was gravity that came to the rescue.

 

Print
imperfect fruit cups
Prep Time
5 hr
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
5 hr 10 mins
 

These "imperfect" vegan fruit cups subtract added sugar and animal-based gelatin and multiply fun.

Course: Snack
Servings: 15
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 4 cups 100% fruit juice of your choice
  • 4-6 tbsp agar agar
  • 1/2 cup fresh fruit (apple, pear, banana, berries, oranges, kiwi)
Instructions
  1. Grease a muffin tin very well with coconut oil. Set aside.

  2. Pour the fruit juice into a large saucepan and sprinkle in the agar agar*. If you plan to add berries, oranges or kiwi, you will need to use 6 T of agar agar. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

  3. Using a ladle, carefully pour the liquid into each muffin cup, leaving enough room to add the fruit without the liquid spilling outside the cups.

  4. Add a few pieces of fruit to each cup, then place muffin tin on a jelly roll pan (to catch any spills), and put in the refrigerator for several hours or until set.

  5. To remove fruit cups from the tin, carefully run a knife around the sides of each portion to loosen. Then, over the jelly roll pan, invert the muffin tin upside down at about a 30 degree angle. One by one, run the knife around the side of each fruit cup. Gravity to help the cup to slide out of the tin and onto the pan. You'll want to rotate the muffin tin as you do this so that the fruit cups you are loosening are closest to the jelly roll tin. Use a spatula to scoop up each fruit cup and carefully place in a storage container. If stacking them in one container, separate each layer with a piece of parchment paper. Store in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

*I used agar agar flakes. You may need to adjust the quantity if using agar agar powder or bars - simply follow those package directions. Not all fruits are compatible with agar agar. To learn more about this, visit this link.

 

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  • I found my package of agar agar flakes at Whole Foods Market in the Asian food section. Natural food and Asian grocery stores also may carry it, or you can find the flakes here and the powder here.

snack to school week :: more spinach trees! (nut free, sugar free, vegan)

As I was dreaming up this week of recipes for you, I had several goals in mind: the recipes had to be quick and easy to prepare, offered healthier, more nutrient-dense alternatives to typical kid-geared snacks and had an element of fun to entice tiny palettes.

When it comes to fruits and sweeter veggies like carrots, this isn’t so hard. But greens like spinach are another matter.

Which is why I’m so excited to share this recipe with you! I’m mildly obsessed with it and cannot believe I hadn’t thought of it before. It’s ridiculously easy, free of nuts, can also be make seed-free and takes an already healthy condiment to a new level.

Meet the “More Spinach Trees” snack.

You have two options for mixing up the spinach hummus dip. Either you can finely chop the spinach and stir it into the hummus for a leafy look.

Or place the hummus and spinach in a food processor and give it a whirl until the spinach is thoroughly incorporated and turns the hummus a light green color. While I love homemade hummus (you can find my favorite recipe here), I usually buy mine because it’s a time saver for me.

To assemble as the More Spinach Trees, slice some cucumber, spread on the spinach hummus dip and add a pretzel rod trunk. If you’re sending this to school, you can package each element separately and let your child assemble on their own. While it’s healthiest to leave the pretzel rods out all together, keep them in if it encourages your child to try the spinach hummus dip.

While I find it hard to notice a difference in taste or even texture when I’ve added the spinach, suspicious children may still balk at trying this (one of mine did). If that’s the case, start out with smaller amount and gradually increase it over time as they adjust to the new color.

If you try this, I would love to hear your feedback! Did your children like it? Or not?

 

Print
More Spinach Trees!

A fun and easy way to boost the nutrients in an already healthy snack and sneak some extra greens into your child's diet...and your own too!

Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup regular hummus of your choice
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed spinach
  • cucumbers, sliced
  • pretzel rods
Instructions
  1. For the "leafy" spinach hummus dip, finely chop the spinach and stir it into the hummus. For the blended green hummus, add the hummus and spinach to a food processor and blend the spinach breaks down and turns the hummus to a light green color.

  2. To assemble the "trees," spread the hummus on each slice of cucumber and place on a tray. Add a pretzel rod "trunk."

Recipe Notes

For pickier eaters, you may need to start off with smaller quantity of spinach and gradually work your way up. The spinach doesn't noticeably affect the taste or texture of the hummus, but the different appearance can cause little ones to be suspicious. 😉

One of the best tips for helping children accept vegetables and new flavors is one I encountered in a vegetarian cookbook several years ago: chop the veggies into smaller child bite-sited pieces. I’ve found I like doing this for myself too! For this dip, finely chop the spinach if you’re going to stir it in vs. blending it.

 

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  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • I bought my pretzel rods at Trader Joe’s, but here’s a brand I like even better!
  • My go-to brand of hummus is made by Sabra which many grocery stores carry.

 

snack to school week: trail mix

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Today my children started back to school; it’s a day I’ve been looking forward to for weeks. Not just because we’re (okay, I’m) ready to get back on a more structured schedule, but because I’ve been dreaming up recipes and planning posts to share for “Snack to School Week” here on Wildberry Press! Yipee!

Before we jump into today’s recipe, a little disclaimer…while I hope these recipes will please those little palettes – and your too! – I won’t use the label “kid friendly.” I’ve been down that road enough times to know there is always at least one child who refuses to eat “kid friendly” foods. I don’t know about you, but that has always left me feeling a) I was scammed by the recipe creators or b) my child isn’t normal. Neither of which is true; it’s just life. 😉 Instead, I’m sharing recipes that are generally crowd pleasers and have been given the thumbs up by most of my brood.

Like this trail mix.

Though it’s tempting to buy pre-made trail mixes in the stores, I have yet to find one that doesn’t contain an unnecessary amount of added sugar, preservatives and/or food dyes. So for the longest time, I’ve made up my own mixes.

Back when my children were little and I hadn’t curbed my sugar intake LOL I used to make this version all the time and I had to share it because of the secret I discovered in getting them to eat all the trail mix and not just picking out the chocolate chips.

Want to know what it is?

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and pop it in a warm oven like 200 degrees F) for at least 15-20 minutes.

 

Then simply stir until all the pieces are coated in chocolate, pour onto a jelly roll pan and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. And voila! Trail mix with chocolate that can’t be picked out.

The other thing I love about this recipe is the ability to customize it to different tastes and control the sugar content (or eliminate all together if you’ve cut back on sugar like me).

To keep it vegan, look for dairy-free chocolate chips. If you’re sending this to nut-free school, check if seeds, like pumpkin and sunflower, are allowed instead or eliminate them all together.

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Buying nuts in bulk is cheapest. I get mine at BJs, but you also can find them here
  • I buy Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels (also at BJ’s), which you can find here.
  • I get my chocolate chips at Trader Joe’s, but here is another kind of dairy-free chocolate chip if you aren’t near a Trader Joe’s
  • I prefer using apple juice sweetened cranberries which I find in the bulk section at Whole Foods, but you also can find them here
  • I also get my raw pumpkin seeds in the Whole Foods bulk section, but they also can be purchased here.

 

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Print
Trail Mix
Prep Time
35 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

Easily cutomizable and free of the excessive added sugars, preservatives and/or food dyes commonly found in store-bought trail mixes. 

Course: Snack
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • almonds
  • mini pretzels
  • raw pumpkin seeds
  • raisins
  • dried cranberries
  • dairy free chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Place in a warm oven (around 200 degrees F) for 15-20 minutes or until the chocolate chips are soft and melty. Pour the mixture onto a jelly roll pan and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the chocolate has firmed up. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes
  • Using apple juice sweetened cranberries lowers the added sugar content
  • Try different combinations of nuts and seeds and dried fruits.