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Archive for Snacks

FOOD FUN: Halloween Caramel Corn

These cookies from, packed with popcorn and candy corn, inspired us to make something much simpler: caramel corn mixed with candy corn and almonds. If that sounds too sweet for you, mix the candy corn and almonds with plain popcorn.

This caramel corn recipe is adapted from a base recipe from Golden Blossom Honey. You can also substitute maple syrup or the lower-glycemic agave nectar. (If you use agave, try half a cup, as it‘s much sweeter than honey or maple syrup.)



  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

    Popcorn-candy corn cookies. Photo courtesy Here’s the recipe.

  • 6 quarts plain popcorn, popped (3 microwave bags of natural flavor)
  • Mix-ins: 1/2 cup candy corn, 1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts (or more of each to taste)


    1. MELT butter over medium heat melt heat, then blend in brown sugar. Add the honey, corn syrup and salt, stirring constantly until mixture boils.

    2. COOK uncovered and without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from burner and add baking soda and vanilla. Pour warm mixture over popcorn and toss until coated.

    3. SPREAD popcorn out on two cookie sheets and bake at 250° for one hour. Every 15 minutes stir the popcorn to keep it from burning.

    3. REMOVE from oven and top with candy corn and nuts. Allow to cool. Serve in a bowl; store in an airtight container.


  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Harvest Snaps, A Delightful Riff On Vegetable Chips

    Tomato Basil Lentil Snaps. Photo courtesy
    Harvest Snaps.


    We have a new favorite crispy snack to enjoy with beer, wine and Martinis. We love them with soup, too. And for general crunching.

    Harvest Snaps are a line of gluten-free snacks made largely from peas (70%) or lentils (65%). Both legumes are packed with nutrients: calcium, folate, iron, potassium and vitamin B, plus highs level of protein and dietary fiber.

    Harvest Snaps have 50% less fat, lower sodium and more fiber than regular potato chips.

    And they have more pizazz. Harvest Chips are deftly seasoned for a sizzle that goes well with a drink. Flavors include:

    Lentil Snaps

  • Onion Thyme
  • Tomato Basil
    Snapea Crisps

  • Black Pepper
  • Caesar
  • Lightly Salted
  • Wasabi Ranch
    If you “Like” the brand on Facebook, you’ll receive a buy-1-get-1-free coupon.


    The line is non-GMO, including the canola/sunflower oils used to fry the chips (most canola oil is made from genetically modified seeds). The crops are grown “in rich Canadian soils that stretch across the regions of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.”

    That’s agricultural poetry!


    Harvest Snaps are available at the national’s top retailers:

    Albertsons, Andronico’s, Basha’s, BJ’s, Bristol Farms, Costco, Dominick’s, HEB, Ingles, Kroger, Lucky, Publix, Raley’s, Ralphs, Safeway, SaveMart, 7Eleven, Smart&Final, Spartan Stores, Sprouts, Stop & Shop, Target, Von’s, Walmart, Wegnan’s and Whole Foods Market, among others.

    If you need help finding them, here’s the store locator.

    Retail buyers are notoriously tough; but all they needed to do was taste Harvest Snaps. They’re probably as hooked as we are.


    Our favorite flavor, Snapea Crisps in Wasabi Ranch. Photo courtesy Harvest Snaps.


    Discover more at



    FOOD FUN: The Banana Police

    Here are two of the amazing banana dishes we found on There’s quite a selection of them, turned into create fruit plates and cereal.

    And there are simpler versions that any of us could create. See them all at boats, butterflies, cars, dogs, dolphins, elephants, horses, snails, sunsets, trees and more.

    The website is the creation of Katy Koontz and Kelsey C. Roy, the writer and illustrator, respectively, of a children’s book called The Banana Police.

    The story takes place in a jungle town where the formerly loveable elephants become increasingly annoying to their neighbors. When the Mayor calls on the Elephant Police to devise a scheme to get the elephants to leave, the town ends up buried in all the extra bananas that the elephants usually eat. The tale underscores the value of peaceful co-existence and cooperation between inherently different groups.


    A banana tree, cantaloupe giraffe and honeydew grass. Photo courtesy The


    The website also has family-friendly banana recipes and trivia, some of which is included below:


    Kiwi and banana alligators poke their heads
    up from a bowl of cereal. Photo courtesy



  • Wise. The scientific name for banana is Musa sapientum, which means “fruit of the wise men.”
  • Plant. Bananas do not grow on trees. While they look like trees, they are actually the world’s largest herbaceous flowering plants.
  • Float. Bananas float in water, as do apples and watermelons.
  • Hawaii. Hawaii is the only place in the U.S. where bananas are grown commercially, although at one time they were also grown in southern California and Florida.
  • Latin America. The overwhelming majority of the bananas consumed by Americans come from Latin America: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama.

  • Cavendish. The type of banana found in supermarkets is the Cavendish banana. The preferred banana variety was originally the Gros Michel, which was largely extinct by 1960, due to a fungus called Panama Disease.

    Here’s more banana trivia.



    HALLOWEEN: Haunted Popcorn Hands

    Creative Halloween fare. Photo courtesy


    We love this party favor idea from We’d suggest them as trick-or-treat items, but many parents don’t let kids eat the “open” food for safety reasons.

    So, bring them to friends, to the office, and anywhere else you like.



  • Clear polyethylene food service gloves
  • Candy corn
  • Popcorn
  • Ribbon or yarn

    1. PLACE 1-3 pieces of candy corn at the end of each finger (depending on size of glove), pointy side first, to make fingernails.

    2. FILL the glove with popcorn and tie it off with ribbon or yarn.


    If you want to make the Halloween popcorn balls in the photo, here’s the recipe.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Treat House Gourmet Rice Krispies Treats

    Looking for gluten free treats, mini treats, kosher treats or simply something new and fun? Head to Treat House, a sparkling new establishment that serves up a great selection gourmet Rice Krispies treats.

    The flavors include:

  • Kid Delights: Birthday Cake, Bubble Gum (garnished with a piece of Bazooka), Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Pretzel, Cookies & Cream, M&M, S’mores and Red Velvet.
  • Sophisticated Flavors: Almond Cranberry, Cappuccino, Caramel Sea Salt, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Raspberry, Lemon Zest and Salted Caramel.
  • Seasonal Specialties: Fall specials include Pumpkin Spice (topped with a candy pumpkin, for Halloween) and Maple Pecan.

    An assortment of creative, gluten-free treats. Photo courtesy Treat House.


    Read the full review, and think of Treat House for gluten-free Halloween or holiday treats.



    FOOD FUN: Healthy Halloween Snacks

    Boo! Chocolate-covered bananas on a stick. Photo courtesy


    Here are two fun Halloween snacks from, an online subscription service that delivers nutritionist-approved snacks to consumers’ doors each month.

    These are healthful snacks. If you want to be a wee bit wicked, substitute white chocolate (melted) for the vanilla yogurt.



  • Large bananas
  • Vanilla yogurt
  • Mini chocolate chips for eyes
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Wax paper

    1. CUT bananas in half and freeze for 30 minutes.

    2. REMOVE peel; insert popsicle sticks and dip bananas in yogurt. Add eyes & freeze on wax paper until ready to serve. Cover any imperfections with more yogurt.




  • Strawberries, leaves intact
  • Vanilla yogurt
  • Mini chocolate chips for eyes
  • Wax Paper


    Dip strawberries in vanilla yogurt, add eyes and freeze until ready to serve.


  • Spice Water
  • Sugar Free Candy Apples
  • Pumpkin Seed Dip With Crudités

  • Bat Pancakes
  • Black Cat Rice Krispie Treats
  • Chocolate Dipped Halloween Strawberries

    Call them “boo-berries.” Photo courtesy


  • Decorated Caramel Apples
  • Eyeball Deviled Eggs
  • Eyeball Food
  • Ghost Meringue Cookies
  • Ghost Pancakes
  • Ghost Peeps Fruit Salad
  • Ghost Shepherd’s Pie & Worm Sandwiches
  • Halloween Pizza
  • Pumpkin Soup In A Fresh Pumpkin Tureen
  • Zombie Cupcakes


    TIP OF THE DAY: Caramel Apple Bar With Lots Of Toppings

    How do you roll (your apple, that is)? Photo
    courtesy Kimberly Reiner | The Sugar


    For a family treat or Halloween entertaining, how about a caramel apple bar?

    Unlike the crackling-hard red candy apple coating, caramel coating remains pliant and you can press in candies and other garnishes.

    Start with this recipe for caramel apples; then pick your toppings.

    Also check out our other food bar ideas: breakfast/brunch, lunch/dinner, desserts and drinks/snacks.

    Candy & Snack Foods

    Look for mini versions of chocolate chips, M&Ms and Reese’s Pieces.

  • Candy corn
  • Chocolate chips (dark, milk, white) and other flavored chips (butterscotch, mint, peanut butter)
  • Crystallized ginger pieces
  • M&Ms
  • Reese’s Pieces
  • Silver, gold or pearl dragées
  • Sprinkles (especially in Halloween colors)
  • Toffee/Heath Bar pieces
  • Plus

  • Cereals: Corn Flakes, Fruit Loops, granola, Rice Krispies, other favorite
  • Crushed cheese crackers, graham crackers or Oreos
  • Crushed pretzels and/or potato chips
  • Popcorn: salted and/or kettle corn
  • Spices: allspice, chili flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg


    Chop them so they’re easy to roll on.

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts: honey peanuts or salted
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Other favorites


  • Banana chips (pieces)
  • Dried blueberries, cherries, cranberries, pineapple
  • Shredded coconut

    1. SET out the plain caramel apples and bowls of toppings with spoons or scoops. Give all participants a soup bowl on a larger dinner plate.

    2. SCOOP toppings of choice into the bowl, one-by-one or mixed together.

    3. ROLL the apple in the topping(s), pressing hard.

    4. TAKE a bite! People can adjust the toppings as they like (something saltier, something crunchier, etc.).


    A sophisticated approach. You can also use gold, silver or pearl dragées. Photo courtesy



    For the purpose of candy apples, there’s no difference between “caramel apples,” “taffy apples” and “toffee apples.” The coating is made from melted caramels.

    In the world of candy, however, there are distinct differences. Check out the difference between butterscotch, caramel and toffee.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Bloody Mary Drink Bar & Snacks Bar

    Here’s how we’d customize a spicy Bloody
    Mary. Photo courtesy Arch Rock Fish
    Restaurant | San Diego.


    This has been a week of food bar suggestions for entertaining:

  • Breakfast/Brunch Food Bars
  • Lunch/Dinner Food Bars
  • Dessert Food Bars
    Today we conclude with two ideas for a drinks bar and accompanying snacks.


    You have to think twice about a “mix your own” cocktail bar. Guests tend to over-pour, using too much liquor with resulting tipsiness, mess and expense. You have to “limit the exposure.”

    Instead, pre-mix the drinks in three versions: regular, spicy and virgin. Pre-rim the glasses with seasoned salt (see photo). The guests get to customize their garnishes. The most versatile cocktail to do this with is the Bloody Mary.


    Garnish with:

  • Pickled Vegetables: cocktail onions, cucumber pickles, dilly beans, gherkins, peppadew, pepperoncini, pickled asparagus, pickled carrots.
  • Vegetables: celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, fennel, green onion, snap peas.
  • More: bacon, cilantro, lemon/lime wedges, olives, parsley, shrimp.
  • Provide condiments for those who want to amp up the cracked pepper, horseradish, hot sauce and/or Worcestershire sauce.

    A lemonade bar can appeal to kids and adults—especially when adults have the opportunity to add a shot to their drinks. In contrast to our earlier advice about letting people “mix their own,” this is a controlled situation where, at the end of the bar, people can add an optional shot. (Be sure to provide shot glasses for portion control.)

    Lemonade isn’t just for summer: Lemons are plentiful year-round, and lemonade fits in wherever cold drinks are served.

    Provide pitchers of both sweetened and unsweetened lemonade, so those who prefer noncaloric or low-glycemic sweeteners can sweeten their own.

    Or, you can make all of the lemonade unsweetened, and provide different syrups (with pumps!): simple syrup and two fruit-flavored syrups.


  • Fruit Juice: pomegranate juice; blueberry, peach, raspberry or strawberry purée.
  • Heat: Cayenne pepper and/or fresh ginger slices.
  • Herbs & Spices: basil, ginger, lavender, mint, rosemary, thyme.
  • Iced Tea: for an Arnold Palmer, regular and passion fruit tea.
  • Spirits: gin, tequila and/or vodka; Limoncello.
  • Sweeteners: agave, honey, non-caloric sweetener, simple syrup.
  • Garnishes: berries, cherries, lemon wheel, mint leaves, watermelon cubes.
    Don’t forget the ice!

    While lemonade is more versatile for customizing, an iced tea bar can work just as well. Provide pitchers of brewed, unsweetened black, green, herbal and flavored iced teas with your choice of fixings from the Lemonade Bar menu, above.


    Customized peach lemonade. Photo courtesy

    Yes, do include lemonade for those Arnold Palmers!

    How about some snacks with those drinks?

    Create a customize-your-own-snack bar.

  • Candy Bar: This is a make-your-own party favor concept. You supply candy bags or boxes and guests fill it with their favorites. This is a nice way to end an event, too, by letting guests create their own party favor. Miniatures are perfect for this concept: individually wrapped, they keep things neat.
  • Popcorn Bar: Provide plain corn, cheese corn and kettle corn with savory and sweet mix-ins. Consider candy corn, Chex, chili flakes or cayenne, crumbled bacon, dill, chocolate chips, flavored oils (chili, garlic, truffle), grated Parmesan, gummies, jalapeño chips, M&Ms, mini marshmallows, mini peanut butter cups, mini pretzels, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, raisins/Craisins, Reese’s Pieces, shredded Cheddar, etc.
  • Trail Mix Bar: Provide sandwich bags or snack bags so people can blend their own, from a selection of raisins and other dried fruits, nuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, pretzel or sesame sticks, candy (chocolate chips, M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces and seasonal choices like candy corn or jelly beans), breakfast cereals (Cheerios, Fruit Loops). Check out our full list of trail mix ingredients.
    Now: Pick a date and start pulling together the guest list.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Lettuce Wraps

    Lettuce wraps garnered attention for a while, but seem to have faded from view. So here’s a reminder:

    Let lettuce take the place of tortillas, bread and other refined-carb, low-nutrition sandwich wrappers. Turn them into lunch or snack fare—or as in the photo, hors d’oeuvre.

    Lettuce wraps are fun food. You’ll get family members to eat more fiber and snack healthier. You can even create a groovy hors d’oeuvre.

    First decide on your filling(s):

  • Traditional sandwich fillings: egg, chicken and tuna salad
  • Vegetarian fillings: avocado vinaigrette, caponata, carrot salad, cucumber salad, hummus, raw or grilled vegetables, tofu salad, etc.
  • Fancy fillings: crab salad, shrimp salad; sliced beef, lamb or pork with appropriate condiments
  • Optional garnishes: capers, chopped nuts, fresh basil or dill, sliced olives and/or pimento (roasted red peppers)

    Lettuce wraps are fashionable, appearing here at a red carpet party in New York City, filled with crab salad and accompanied by Champagne. Photo © Adam Sung | Chandon USA.

    Use romaine hearts or Boston (bibb) lettuce for the wraps.

  • Tear the top portion of romaine leaves into a manageable length; reserve the rest of the romaine for a green salad.
  • Fill, garnish and serve.

    The following recipe is a fusion of a lettuce wrap and a tortilla wrap. The tortilla—whole wheat for better nutrition—makes things a bit neater, but is optional.


    Lettuce and tortilla wraps. Recipe and photo courtesy U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.



    While domestic blueberries are still in markets, add some of the high-antioxident, zingy nuggets to wrap sandwiches.


  • 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup finely chopped celery
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • ¾ cup fresh blueberries
  • 6 large lettuce leaves
  • 6 (6-inch diameter) whole-wheat tortillas


    1. COMBINE yogurt, mayonnaise, celery and salt in a medium bowl. Gently stir in chicken and blueberries.

    2. MAKE a stack of tortillas separated by damp paper towels, and warm in the microwave: Microwave on high until hot, 30 to 60 seconds.

    3. PLACE warm tortillas on the counter. Top each tortilla with a lettuce leaf. Scoop about ½ cup chicken-blueberry salad on each lettuce leaf.

    4. ROLL each tortilla into a cylinder. Cut each in half or thirds. Secure with toothpicks, if desired. Serve immediately or wrap tightly in foil and refrigerate.



    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Trail Mix Day

    Today is National Trail Mix Day. While the concept of mixing nuts and dried fruit has been popular for millennia, “trail mix” as a concept for a modern, portable energy snack is relatively new.

    The term refers to a mixture of high-energy foods such as dried fruit and nuts, combined with other tasty additions. Commonly added ingredients include chocolate morsels or M&Ms, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and breakfast cereals including granola.

    One of the early trail mix products was called Gorp, an acronym for “Good Old Raisins and Peanuts” or “Granola, Oats, Raisins and Peanuts.”


    Buy it or make your own. Photo courtesy Vital Choice.


    According to Wikipedia, two California firms, Hadley Fruit Orchards and Harmony Foods, claim that trail mix was invented in 1968 by two California surfers, who blended peanuts and raisins together for an energy snack.

    But it happened more than ten years earlier. Trail mix is mentioned in Jack Kerouac’s 1958 novel, The Dharma Bums, when characters plan meals for for a hiking trip. To make it into a book published in 1958, it needed to be around a few years earlier. Variations of portable energy food have been carried by mankind since the beginning.


    A mix from Comfort Crunch. Photo by Hannah
    Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE


    Trail mix is preferred as a snack especially by hikers and campers because it is lightweight, easily portable and requires no refrigeration. It’s a delicious, better for you snack at home, school, work and in lunch bags everywhere.


  • Candy: carob chips, chocolate chips/chunks, M&M’s, mini marshmallows, Reese’s Pieces, toffee, yogurt clusters
  • Cereal: Cheerios, Corn Flakes, granola, rolled oats
  • Dried fruits: apples, apricots, banana chips, blueberries, cherries, coconut, cranberries (Craisins), dates, mangoes, raisins
  • Exotica: crystallized ginger, Japanese rice crackers, sesame sticks, wasabi peas
  • Legumes: peanuts, soybeans
  • Nuts: almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, walnuts or other favorite
  • Salty snacks: mini crackers, pretzels, sesame sticks
  • Seeds: chia, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sunflower seeds

    Keep experimenting with ingredients and proportions until you have your “signature” trail mix recipe. Then consider it as general gifts and stocking stuffers.



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