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Archive for Snacks

GIFT OF THE DAY: Chukar Cherries Snack Packs

Chukar Cherries Snack Pack

Cherry Cluster

[1] Grab-and-go cherry and nut mixes for the person who wants—or should want—better-for-you snacks (photo courtesy Chukar). [2] Cherries on the branch (photo courtesy 2020site.org).

 

If you want to gift someone a better-for-you sweet treat, we recommend these grab-and-go bags of Triple Cherry Nut Mix from Pacific Northwest cherry specialist, Chukar Cherries.

There’s no sugar added; just the national sweetness of dried Bing, Rainier and tart cherries mixed with heart-healthy pistachios and almonds.

A cloth sack with 12 bags of Triple Cherry Nut Mix is $39.95 Get yours here.

There are many other treats at Chukar.com.
 
FUN CHERRY FACTS

Cherry pits have been found in Stone Age caves. Perhaps our earliest ancestors, when not busy trying to run down wooly mammoths, also had an appreciation for the cherry and benefitted its antioxidant properties, including an abundance of vitamins A, B, and C. Perhaps they even enjoyed it with freshly spear-hunted boar or wild fowl.

Their descendants—us—have been known to particularly enjoy cherries with duck and pork dishes, and snack as often as we can on the cherries, fresh or dried.

Russians traditionally sweeten their tea with cherry preserves.

Germans distill cherries into brandy (Kirschwasser).

Iranians mix it into rice.

Many nationalities use cherries in cakes and pies, over ice cream, tossed into salads, skewered as a cocktail garnish, sprinkled over soft cheese, garnish on pancakes, in the center of an indulgent chocolate bonbon, and of course, to make jams and preserves, salsas and relishes.

Then, there are drinkable cherries, from juice to liqueur to wine (cherry fruit wine).

The question isn’t what you can do with cherries—but what you can’t.

 
WHERE DID CHERRIES COME FROM?

The ancestors of today’s domesticated cherry trees originated in the Caucasus Mountains, which extend from southeastern Europe into Eastern Asia, between the Black and the Caspian Seas. They run through modern-day Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Russia and Turkey.

Cherries slowly spread through the Mediterranean and then headed north, but didn’t become widespread in Europe and Britain until the 15th century. By the 17th century, cherries were so popular that English emigrants brought stock to plant orchards in America, along with apples, peaches, pears and plums.

Here’s more about cherries and the different types of cherries.

 
  

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK & GIFT OF THE DAY: SuperSeedz Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds

Superseedz Super Spicy

Polenta With Pumpkin Seeds

Spaghetti With Pumpkin Seeds

[1] SuperSeedz is made in nine flavors, from sweet to savory to hot and spicy (photo SuperSeedz). [2] In addition to snacking, SuperSeedz make delicious garnishes and mix-ins; here, mixed into a vegetable garnish for polenta. Here’s the recipe for the polenta and the spaghetti from Taste With The Eyes. [3] Add some Tomato Italiano SuperSeedz—or Curious Curry or Somewhat Spicy—to your favorite pasta.

 

Over the past 12 years of nibbling, we’ve had lots of Top Picks Of The Week. All are wonderful foods, but some become part of our everyday lives—because they’re what we usually eat.

SuperSeedz, gourmet shelled pumpkin seeds that we first discovered in 2007, is one of those.

A better-for-you, nutritious, fiber-filled and very flavorful, crunchy snack, we also love it as a garnish.

At $4.99, the five-ounce bags make really nice Thanksgiving favors and stocking stuffers, and are great for everyday grab-and-go.

SuperSeedz are non-GMO verified, cholesterol- and trans-fat free, gluten-free, vegan and allergen friendly.

Each one-ounce serving has 7 grams of protein and a good hit of iron and zinc.

In nine flavors, sweet, savory and hot, there’s a choice for everything.

SAVORY SUPERSEEDZ

  • Curious Curry: beloved even by non-curry lovers.
  • Really Naked: totally plain.
  • Tomato Italiano: tomato, basil, garlic, onion, oregano, pepper, sea salt (the company calls it “bruschetta on a pumpkin seed).
  • Sea Salt: the original.
  • Somewhat Spicy: a just-enough-spice blend of aged cayenne pepper, garlic, sea salt.
  • Super Spicy: black pepper, cayenne, garlic, habanero, red crushed pepper, sea salt (be warned, it’s hot).
  •  
    Beyond Snacking…

    As A Garnish, Use Them On:

  • Dips, including hummus
  • Eggs
  • Fresh cheeses (cottage cheese, goat cheese, ricotta)
  • Grains and grain bowls, polenta
  • Grilled chicken and fish
  • Indian and Tex Mex dishes
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Pasta and pizza
  • Salads
  • Soups
  • Vegetables (especially green beans and winter squash)
  •  
    As A Mix-In To:

  • Breads and corn muffins
  • Dips
  • Rice and other grain dishes
  •  
    SWEET SUPERSEEDZ

  • Cinnamon & Sugar, like cinnamon toast without the toast.
  • Coco Joe, following the trend of salted chocolate.
  • Maple Sugar & Sea Salt, new and noteworthy.
  •  

    Beyond Snacking…

    As A Garnish On:

  • Cake and cupcake frosting
  • Cold and hot cereal and granola
  • Fresh cheeses (cottage cheese, goat cheese, ricotta)
  • Fruit salad
  • Ice cream
  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Puddings and mousse
  • Yogurt
  •  
    As A Mix-In To:

  • Carrot and zucchini cakes/breads
  • Chocolate bark
  • Cookie and brownie batter
  • Ice cream
  • Muffins
  • Trail mix
  •  

    Superseedz Snack

    Superseedz Tomato Italiano

    [4] Fill up a bowl for snacking. [5] Sprinkle Tomato Italiano on pasta, pizza or polenta. Or roll a log of goat cheese in it (photos courtesy SuperSeedz).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Caramel Apple Dip With Apples & More

    Caramel Apple Dip

    Rainbow Baby Carrots

    [1] Caramel apple dip (photo courtesy Eat Wisconsin Cheese). [2] Rainbow baby carrots (photo Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE).

     

    If you’ll be home on Halloween—either dispensing candy or hunkering down—you need a Halloween treat that isn’t candy.

    Thanks to our friends at EatWisconsinCheese.com for this recipe.

    It’s easy to make with purchased caramel sauce (or if you’re hard core, your homemade sauce).

    The caramel dip is a bit indulgent, but you can:

  • Substitute plain or vanilla Greek yogurt for the cream and cream cheese.
  • Serve the lowest-calorie dippers: apple slices, carrots, celery and pretzel sticks.
  •  
    RECIPE: CARAMEL APPLE DIP

    You can use this as a dip or a spread, a snack or a dessert.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup prepared caramel sauce
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
  • Lemon juice
  •  
    Dippers

  • Apple slices or dried apple chips
  • Carrot and celery; sticks
  • Ginger snaps or graham crackers
  • Potato chips or pretzels
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BEAT the heavy cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer, until stiff peaks begin to form (about 2-3 minutes).

    2. ADD the apple pie spice, vanilla extract, salt and caramel sauce. Mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

    3. ADD the cream cheese and mix until just incorporated. Add the diced apple and mix until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve with fruit and/or graham crackers, gingersnaps or other cookies. When ready to serve…

    4. TOSS the diced apple in lemon juice to prevent browning. Here are other ways to prevent browning.

     
      

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    HALLOWEEN RECIPE: Candy Corn Popcorn Balls

    Two years ago we published a recipe for orange-tinted Halloween Popcorn Balls, shaped like pumpkins.

    This new recipe was created by Meghan McGarry of Buttercream Blondie for PotsAndPans.com.

    We like it even better, because what Halloween celebrant doesn’t look forward to candy corn?

    The candy corn theme does double duty between Halloween and Thanksgiving.

    QUICK TIP: No time to make popcorn balls? Tao the candy corn and marshmallows with regular popcorn and a drizzle of honey or agave to bind them (or the candy corn will end up at the bottom of the bowl).
     
    RECIPE: CANDY CORN POPCORN BALLS

    Meghan created a sweet-and-salty recipe with salted peanuts. We used the honey roasted peanuts we had on hand, and added a few dashes of salt.

    If you don’t want to use nuts at all, substitute an additional 1/2 cup of candy corn, butterscotch baking chips, or Halloween M&Ms (they’re white and made in the shape of candy corn), etc.

    For gifting, you can wrap them like a pomander in orange curling ribbon, or in individual clear cellophane bags with a ribbon tie.

    Ingredients For 8-10 Popcorn Balls

  • 12 cups popped plain popcorn*
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup candy corn
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts (we used honey roasted peanuts)
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons Halloween sprinkles
  •  
    Preparation

    1. LINE a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. Spray a large bowl and a spatula with cooking spray and add the popcorn. Set aside.

    2. MELT the butter in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Once butter begins to melt, add the marshmallows and stir continuously until melted. Then stir in vanilla extract.

    3. POUR the melted mixture over the popcorn and gently toss with the spatula. Add the candy corn and peanuts.

    4. SPRAY your hands with cooking spray and continue to mix by hand until everything is coated and combined. Add the sprinkles just before you’re almost done mixing.

    5. SHAPE the popcorn into balls and set on a parchment-lined sheet pan to cool.
     
    ________________
    *If popping the corn from scratch, you need 6 ounces or 2/3 cup of kernels.

     

    Candy Corn Popcorn Balls

    Halloween Confetti

    Halloween Confetti

    [1] Candy corn popcorn balls from Meghan McGarry. [2] Halloween sprinkles from Halloween sprinkles from Dress My Cupcake. [3] Halloween confetti from Kreative Baking.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Get Seasonal With Pumpkin-Accented Everyday Foods

    In our childhood, fall meant a choice of pumpkin pie or pumpkin pie. Today, there’s pumpkin everything.

    Walk into your favorite food store: You’ll find pumpkin-themed products in every aisle.

    Start the day with pumpkin yogurt or a bowl of pumpkin granola, toasted Thomas’ Pumpkin Spice English Muffins and bagels. Wash them down with pumpkin coffee or tea. End the day with pumpkin ice cream. And pumpkin-up everything in-between.

    And we haven’t even gotten to the baked goods, from bagels and scones to pumpkin cheesecake.

    Some contain actual pumpkin or closely-related squash; others are simply accented with pumpkin pie spices.

    Yesterday at Whole Foods, we picked up:

  • 365 Everyday Value brand Pumpkin Spice Granola with Cranberries & Apples
  • Talenti’s Pumpkin Pie Gelato (with real pieces of pie crust!)
  • Terra’s Beauregard Sweets & Fairytale Pumpkin Chips
  •  
    Yesterday we covered pumpkin beer. Here are some of our favorite products of the season. Many are limited editions, so don’t dally!
     
    PUMPKIN BEVERAGES

    Tea

    David’s Tea Pumpkin Chai, a black spiced tea, is a customer favorite. It’s fragrant and flavorful, with notes of cardamon, cinnamon, cloves and squash pieces, and a hint of caramel.

    David’s recommends stirring in a spoonful of brown sugar and topping it with steamed milk. We drank ours straight.

    It’s also available packed in a tin for gift-giving; and herbal Spiced Pumpkin Tea. Take a sip at DavidsTea.com.

    You can find Celestial Seasoning’s Sweet Harvest Pumpkin Black Tea at many supermarkets.
     
    Coffee

    You’ll find everything from caramel, maple and nutty flavors like almond and hazelnut, along with the fall spice flavors: cinnamon, gingerbread, pumpkin spice, snickerdoodle, etc.

    Looking for K-Cups? You’ll find plenty of them. We’ve been working our way through Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice at a brisk pace. If you can’t find them locally, head to DunkinAtHome.com.
     
    Pumpkin Juice

    Natalie’s, our favorite line of all-natural, fresh-squeezed juices, squeezes apples, pears and real pumpkin, blended with cinnamon, ginger and clove. It’s very special.

    If you can’t find it locally, contact OrchidIslandJuice.com.
     
    PUMPKIN SNACKS & MORE

    Pumpkin Yogurt

    Pumpkin yogurt abounds, with a shout-out to Noosa Pumpkin Yoghurt, one of our favorites. Stonyfield Organic has Pumpkin Oh My Yog, a tri-layer whole milk yogurt: cream top, honey-infused whole milk yogurt middle, and pumpkin bottom.
     
    Salsa & Chips

    Mrs. Renfro’s Pumpkin Salsa is a smooth (as opposed to chunky) salsa that is delicious on anything, starting with a sauce for chicken, fish, tofu, grains, potatoes and other vegetables.

    For the classic American use—with chips—there are seasonal offerings such Food Should Taste Good’s Fall Harvest Chips, Way Better Snacks Punkin’ Cranberry (yes, that’s how they spell it) and other brands.

    We even added it to vodka for an instant Pumpkin Martini.
     
    MORE PUMPKIN PRODUCTS TO COME!

     

    Pumpkin Spice K Cups

    Mrs. Renfro's Pumpkin Salsa

    Natalie's Pumpkin Apple Juice

    Noosa Pumpkin Yogurt

    English Muffins

    [1] Pumpkin Spice coffee from Dunkin Donuts Home. [2] Mrs. Renfro’s Pumpkin Salsa. [3] Pumpkin Apple Spice Juice from Natalie’s. [4] Noosa Pumpkin Yogurt. [5] Thomas Pumpkin English Muffins.

      

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