Monthly Archives: January 2011

More Snacks ~ Popcorn on the Cob

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This winter we discovered something so fantastic! When we went to the flour mill, the tour guide had dried cobs of corn for the boys to put through this hand crank de-kernaling machine (not the official term) and we got to bring the dried popcorn kernals home. He also sent us home with a whole dried cob as well. ‘Put that cob in a paper bag and in the microwave on the ‘popcorn’ setting,’ he told us. Amazing! Normally we are old school stovetop popcorn poppers, because I find that the microwave stuff doesn’t really taste like popcorn at all. It’s more like ‘butter flavored popcorn product’, rather than popped corn.

However, this is different. Not only is it fascinating that you can put a cob of corn in the microwave and end up with a bag of popcorn but the taste was so fresh. The loose kernals we popped on the stove top as we normally do and it was so much fresher tasting than store bought popcorn kernals. Really, it was quite remarkable how much fresher it tasted.
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We went down to the Sonoma Garden Park Harvest Market the other week and they had this popcorn for sale (pictured at top) so you can bet that I picked up a handful. It makes for such an easy and healthy snack after school or for movie night, and these pink cobs make it local as well.
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I vowed this year that we would plant some of our own. We’re trying Smoke Signals from Seed Savers. Because I stick to lofty nearly unattainable goals, think we can grow 52 ears? One for a bowl of popcorn a week? Hmm, that might be a bit too lofty. However if you are making out your seed buying list, consider adding a packet of popcorn corn!

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Filed under in the kitchen

Natural School Snacks

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This year I set myself some both practical and inspirational New Years resolutions. In hopes of actually sticking to them I’ve tried to incorporate each one into a day of the week. Take for instance Sunday, that’s my ‘get ready for the lunch week’ day. Mornings around here are pretty hectic and well, so are evenings, so my idea is that every Sunday I’ll get together as much of my six year old’s school lunches as I can. I had ordered these fantastic small tupperware containers from For Small Hands (if you order from them make sure to list your local Montessori school when you check out so they can get credit) last year. They are perfect for little school snacks because they are designed to be easy to open and close by little hands. Enclosed are our own homegrown purple haze carrots and celery plus a green, pimento stuffed olive for a treat. (No really, our little guys love them!)

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I’ve also started to make a snack each Sunday. The first Sunday I made maple glazed almonds, which we all pop down like candy. I discovered these on the 3191 Miles Apart blog over a year ago and they are so simple to make. I cover the bottom of our cast iron skillet with raw almonds and drizzle about 1/4 c maple syrup on top. Over medium-high heat I let the syrup carmelize over the nuts which takes maybe 10 minutes. Towards the end I’ll sprinkle on some cinnamon and some Maldon Sea Salt. Great school snack! And adult anytime snack for that matter!
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The past two Sundays I’ve been making homemade crackers. I know it almost seems silly to ‘make’ crackers. But trust me, when it is Sunday night and you realize you need a weeks worth of school snacks, the thought of taking all three kids to the grocery store is positively horrific, so making crackers, rolling them out and cleaning up the flour becomes a breeze, relatively speaking. I haven’t perfected my cracker making efforts yet, however as soon as I get the perfect recipe, I’ll share.

At the beginning of the school year I was including our homemade fruit roll ups. We ran out quickly, however this coming summer, I might take follow up on a tip I heard from a friend. Her mother-in-law makes a bunch of sweetened fruit concentrate and freezes it during the summer and then pulls out a batch during the winter to make fruit roll ups. Genius!

Do you have any good snacks that you make yourself?

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