Tag Archives: snacks

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pretzel roll title

If you 're new here you might be wondering why I'm posting our Friday Recipe on Sunday night. The rest of you already know why: because I can't get my act together! Just when I think I'm getting back into my routine I run across a speed-bump (a heinous cold, physical therapy, raccoons) and it throws me off course again. It's tough being me.

One thing I did right was make these Salted Pretzel Rolls from Bake Your Day. I follow Bake Your Day's blog and have tried a few other of her recipes with great success so I thought, "Why not!" I like rolls. I like pretzels. This is a mash-up I can get behind.

First off I want to tell you, these are deeeeeee-licious! I mean, seriously delicious. The outsides with their browned & salted tops are crispy-crunchy but the insides remain fluffy and delightful, especially straight from the oven all hot and steaming... with a pat of butter....

pretzel butter

Second, this recipe is so much easier than you might imagine. For the "mixing" part, the electric mixer does all the work. Then there is a 2-step cooking process which sounds intimidating but trust me it's easy and kinda fun. You feel a little bit like a scientist and afterward you will feel smarter. Rolls that are scrumptious as well as raise your IQ!

pretzel bites

Thirdly, there is a 2nd option in this recipe to make them into pretzel bites instead of rolls. I put aside a couple handfuls of dough to try the pretzel bites. After you make the "bites", simply toss a smashed clove of garlic and some butter into a pan, warm over medium until it is melted. Throw out the garlic clove and toss in some chopped parsley. Drizzle over the pretzel bites and eat while still warm.

I made these pretzel rolls/bites one Saturday when I was by myself at home and they were so good I threw them in a cloth napkin and drove down the road to my brother's house to share with him and his family. As it turned out, he was having a shooting party so we passed the pretzel bites around till they were gone; it took about 47 seconds. Later my brother called to tell me how insanely delicious they were. They are that good.

So jump on over to Bake Your Day and give it a try! You will either love me because they are so tasty or hate me because you just can't stop eating them.

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I've been getting back into the kitchen a little more, but I'm having a hard time taking photos at the same time. I know I prefer to read a recipe post with photos, I'm betting you do too. So if anyone would like to volunteer to follow me around day after day and take pictures of my hands, measuring spoons and cutting board I am accepting applications. The stipend pays in pretzel bites. No takers?

pretzel long

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12lemon ricotta oil title

Like you didn't see that one coming, right?

Obviously I was going to use my own new recipe for our Friday Recipe even though I kinda-sorta shared it with you already on Tuesday because:

1.  My knee has recovered enough that I can drive and walk reasonably well, so I've been running all sorts of errands this week and didn't have time to come up with a different recipe.

2.  It's a really good recipe.  Really.  And I don't want my readers to miss it.

2lemon ricotta prep

4lemon ricotta ready

This recipe comes together in the food processor and has a short list of ingredients.

5lemon ricotta prep dish

There is just a teensy bit of butter involved. Or you can omit the butter and just use olive oil.  I'm flexible like that.

11lemon ricotta finished muffin

I ate the leftovers for breakfast.  This recipe is good hot out of the oven or later after it's cooled off a bit.

I have updated this post with the full recipe below or you can visit this post over at The Ranting Chef.

LEMON-DILL BAKED RICOTTA

2/3 cup ricotta cheese

1/3 cup cream cheese

1 small to medium garlic clove, chopped

1 loose Tablespoon chopped dill

1 green onion, green and white parts

Zest of one lemon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Black pepper, about 1/8 teaspoon

Olive oil to drizzle, about 2 teaspoons

Preheat oven to 375⁰.  In the bowl of a small food processor combine the ricotta, cream cheese, garlic, dill, green onion, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Pulse for about 1 minute.

Transfer mixture to an 8 oz. ramekin that has been lightly greased with butter.  Place the ramekin on a baking sheet lined with foil.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until mixture begins to lightly brown on the top and along the edges.

Serve warm with pita chips, crostini or English muffins.

 

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1lemon dill baked ricotta title

Oh my gosh I'm so excited I can't stand it!  I have had something in the works, a little something up my sleeve but I was keeping it a secret... well because I had to. I thought it was going to "launch" tomorrow but I came home from dinner tonight and noticed the traffic on my site was waaaay up.  Guess what?!  It happened today so now I can share it with you!!

Today I have the privilege of being a guest poster over at the amazing site The Ranting Chef!!

The Ranting Chef (Pat), has a site that is chock-full of inspiring recipes, helpful tips and fun community of food writers and people who just like to eat!  One of my favorite things about The Ranting Chef is that you can search his recipes by ingredient...brilliant!  Please, please pop on over to Pat's site and check it out, I promise you won't be disappointed!!

You can click here to jump to my recipe that is featured today: Lemon Dill Baked Ricotta

4lemon ricotta ready

I'm really proud of this recipe, I put months and months of thought into the flavor combos, using Bree & LeiLani as my taste-testers.  This Lemon-Dill Baked Ricotta dip comes together in a flash, is cheap to make and is very versatile.

12lemon ricotta oil title

I just know you will love this recipe as much as I do, please jump over to The Ranting Chef and give it a shot!  Oh, and let me know how you like it!!

lemon dill baked ricotta title long lemon ricotta oil title long

cracker jack title

Here it is, as promised!  I'm really excited to share this Friday Recipe with you for a few reasons:

  1. It's a Carey-original recipe.
  2. Actually, that first statement is only partly true.  It's really my mom's recipe, which is another reason why I'm thrilled to share it with you. I just added a tiny twist to make it mine.
  3. This is a super-simple recipe and if you  have young cooks in the kitchen this would be a perfect recipe to start them out on.  I learned this recipe when I was in Jr. High and my mom was my home economics teacher.  I wasn't allowed to call her "mom" in class.  That's a whole other weird story.
  4. The ingredient list is short and cheap.
  5. To put it plainly, it's good.  Really good.

cracker jack handwritten recipe

I have very few memories of my mother cooking with pre-packaged, processed foods.  She preferred to make things from scratch, and she could.  She was a brilliant cook.  Ironically, although she was very health conscious (very!), she was fine with sweet treats that were homemade in our kitchen and we made this recipe for Homemade Cracker Jack often.

It's easy enough to whip up on a weeknight after dinner and still maintain a feeling of health because the ingredients are very natural.  You can easily increase or decrease the size of your batch, making it a perfect party snack.

Are you ready?  Let's get started!  The full recipe will be at the end of this post, but I'll walk you through the finer points:

cracker jack pour

This recipe starts out simple enough... pop some popcorn.   You can use air popped corn, microwave popcorn (natural, not flavored) or you can do the stovetop method, which is my personal favorite.  You are going to need about 2 quarts of popcorn.  Don't know how much that is?  It is roughly 1/2 cup unpopped kernels but you can also use a 2 qt sauce pan to measure your corn after it is popped. This recipe is casual, easy-going, forgiving.  Don't get too hung up on getting exactly 2 quarts of popped corn, just estimate.  All will be well, I promise.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat combine the honey, butter and my addition, molasses.  The molasses is optional, my mom didn't use it.  But I think it adds one more delectable layer of flavor.

After those ingredients are melted and combined add the peanuts.  Some of you observant ones are looking at the above photo and thinking, "Those don't look like peanuts!"  You caught me!  It turns out, I was all out of peanuts so I grabbed some almond slivers.  This proves my point that this recipe is so easy, so forgiving.  You can swap the peanuts for your favorite nut or better yet, use a combination of nuts.  You could even leave the nuts out or use pumpkin seeds & sunflower seeds instead.

Pour the melted honey-butter mixture over the popcorn and then using your hands or two spoons lightly toss the popcorn so the syrup and nuts are evenly distributed.

cracker jack tray

Slide the gooey popcorn onto a shallow baking sheet.  I line mine with parchment so the cleanup is a snap. Spread the  popcorn across the pan in a single, even layer.  You observant ones have caught me again, "That doesn't look like a single layer!"  Do as I say, not as I do!    My pan was a little too small.  But you can get around that non-problem by either giving the popcorn a little stir halfway through OR bake it in 2 batches.

Into a preheated 350 degree oven it goes for 10-15 minutes.  Keep an eye on it!  It will be very sad if it burns because there is no salvaging burnt cracker jack.  It will turn golden brown as it bakes, pull it out before it starts turning dark brown.

This part is important: when you take it out of the oven you must let it cool!  You will be greatly tempted to start snacking on your cracker jack as soon as it comes out of the oven.  It will smell nutty and sweet, glistening from the butter and honey.  Resist!  You will blister your fingers and taste buds, I speak from experience.  Also, the popcorn might appear to be a little soggy when it first comes out of the oven.  Be patient dear friend, you will be rewarded.

cracker jack finished

After about 15 minutes of relaxing on the counter the popcorn will be nearly dry and cool enough to touch.  Slide your cracker jack into a big bowl, give it a little toss to break up any big clumps and enjoy!

It's crunchy and sweet.  It's salty and nutty.  It's addicting.  I really hope you will give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

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Homemade Cracker Jack

by accordingtocarey.com

1/4 cup salted butter (1/2 stick)

1/4 cup honey

1 Tablespoon molasses (optional)

2 quarts popped corn, in a large bowl

3/4 cup peanuts (can substitute other nuts, seeds or leave out completely)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter, honey and molasses in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Mix in the nuts.  Pour mixture evenly over the popcorn and toss lightly to coat the popcorn evenly with the butter mixture.  Spread the sticky popcorn onto a shallow baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake the popcorn for  10-15 minutes, giving it a stir halfway through.  Remove the popcorn from the oven when it has turned golden brown.  Let it cool on the counter or stove top for 15 minutes before transferring to a large bowl.  Gently toss to break up any clumps and enjoy!

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Cherry Almond Cookies by accordingtocarey.com

I have a confession:  I don't usually like chunks of dried fruit.  I suppose it's the texture more than anything that bothers me but for whatever reason I won't usually eat something if it has... say raisins in it.   The same goes for dried blueberries, apricots, peaches, apples, persimmons, etc., etc.... you get the point.

And then last week at work I received this little gift:

Weird gift, right?  Except... at my day job we build and sell tree shakers.  Big machines that shake ripe fruit and nuts from their trees.  The cherries in this container were shaken from their tree by one of our shakers.  It's kinda fun to see the end product of everyone's labor, from the welders that molded the machine together to the farmers who grew the fruit.  And here it sits on my desk, farm to table.  Very cool.

What were we talking about?  Oh yeah, cookies!

Even though I normally have a bad attitude about dried fruit, I was determined to incorporate these ruby gems into a recipe.  I grew up on a cherry far for goodness sake, I can think of something!  And that's when Cherry Almond Cookies were born.

I figured if I chopped the cherries up super fine, the texture would no longer be an issue and I would still get all that great cherry flavor.  Problem solved!

I started with a base recipe from my Grandma Shirley that includes a healthy dose of natural almond flavor.  Why almond?  (Hold on to your seats because this is where the geek in me comes out.)  Did you know that almonds and cherries are related?  Yep, they are both from the Prunus genus of fruiting trees.  If you have ever cracked open the pit of a cherry, peach or nectarine you may have noticed the resemblance to an almond.  Their kissing cousins! Without hesitation I knew this flavor combo would work.  Plus the tartness of the cherries would play well against the richness of the butter. One whole cup of butter to be exact.  I never said these were health-food cookies!

My Grandma's original recipe (Chinese Almond Cookies) is so ridiculously simple, the only ingredient you might not already have in your cupboard is pure almond extract.  If you don't have it, go get some!  You can use it in a ton of recipes from baked goods to coffee to cocktails.  And if you happen to accidentally splash a little on you while cooking, it will make you smell irresistible.  To squirrels, that is.

cherry almond cookies raw cookie dough

Here is how simple the recipe is:

  • Sift together your dry ingredients.  And by "sift" I mean dump them all in the mixing bowl and use a whisk to quickly combine them all together.
  • Add the fat of your choice, butter or Crisco.  I usually choose salted butter.  Cut the butter in til the whole mixture resembles wet sand.  You can do it by hand or with a mixer.
  • Add the eggs, almond extract and in this case, finely chopped dried cherries until it all comes together in one big ball of dough.

And now you're ready for baking!  That whole process comes together in less than 5 minutes and with only 18 minutes of baking time you can have buttery, delicious cookies in under 30 minutes and you will love me because they are awesome!  I will post the whole recipe below.

Have a terrific summer weekend, bake some cookies, enjoy this crazy life!

Cherry Almond Cookies by accordingtocarey.com

2 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter or shortening, softened

1 slightly beaten egg

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

1/2 cup finely chopped dried cherries

1/4 cup slivered or halved almonds

Preheat oven to 325.  Combine first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl, using a whisk to gently stir till all combined and no lumps are visible.  With an electric mixer or by hand cut in butter or shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal or wet sand.  With an electric mixer or large wooden spoon add egg, extract and dried cherries, mixing gently until one large, soft ball of dough forms.  Using a small spoon, scoop out a small portion of dough and roll into a 1" ball, about the size of a walnut.  Place balls on an ungreased baking sheet with about 1 inch in between each cookie.  Take an almond half or a couple slivers of almond and lightly press them onto the top of the dough ball, pressing down slightly so the middle has a slight indentation.  Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes, until the edges are just barely beginning to turn golden.  Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before eating.  Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.

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Source: shutterbean.com via Jean on Pinterest

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Snacks!  I have a hard time resisting snacks.  I prefer snacks to actual meals.  Little bites of deliciousness...all...day...long.  Don't judge me, I work out.

If you have been following accordingtocarey.com for a long time (like, over a year) then you might remember this post about my popcorn method.  But Tracy from Shutterbean.com puts a new spin on flavored popcorn by melting coconut oil and blending that with all kinds of lovely spices before coating the popped kernels.  Brill.

Paprika, oregano, cumin, lime... all favorites of mine.  And with all that flavor I can almost justify leaving the butter off the popcorn.  Maybe.

You can read the whole recipe here at shutterbean.com.  And while I'm talking about it, have you listened to the Joy The Baker Podcast with, uh... Joy The Baker and Tracy from Shutterbean.com?  It's a "Seinfeld-esque" show, not really about anything in particular, just whatever is on their minds.   Listen to one and if you're intrigued, go to the very first and catch up. There are so many inside jokes that started back in the earlier podcasts but get funnier and funnier over time.

I have an exciting weekend planned of reorganizing my storage unit.  I know, how is one to endure so much happiness? I'll try but I hope you have something infinitely more fun planned, enjoy your weekend!!

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pine nuts, parsley, mediterranean

I promised you something special this week due to my vanishing act last Friday.  Because I love ya, here we go:

You might remember a few weeks past when I posted this photo:

That is a gorgeous crepe that I ate in Port Townsend last month when I went to visit my Wonder Twin:

We don't know how it happened, but we were separated at birth.

Wonder Twin, her daughters and I each ordered this Mediterranean Crepe for lunch at a seaside cafe' in Port Townsend (sorry, I don't remember the name right now).  I ate every last bit.  In fact, I was completely fascinated by it.  I took pictures of it.  I opened it up so I could inspect all the ingredients.  And then I came home and tried to copy it.  And you know what?  I did it!  I promise I will share the whole dang thing with you as soon as it's perfected.  Soon, very soon.

But one of the by-products of all that testing was another recipe that popped into my little brain: a pork loin stuffed with a Mediterranean inspired filling.  Again, I'm still perfecting that recipe.  I haven't nailed down the cooking temperature on the pork loin but I have to admit, it is delicious whether I overcook the pork or not.

How cruel is that, to tell you about delicious recipes and not give them to you.  Sorry.  I just want it to be perfect for you.

However, I CAN share the filling with you because it's simple and works as wonderfully inside a whole wheat tortilla or pita bread as it does inside a butterflied pork loin.

Mediterranean filling

Here's your cast of characters:

  • half a bunch of parsley (about 3/4 cup)
  • lightly toasted pine nuts (about 1/4 cup)
  • sun dried tomato (about 1/4 cup) AND some of the oil it's packed in (about 2 Tablespoons)
  • 3-4 oz of crumbled feta cheese
  • capers (about 2 Tablespoons)
  • a dash of black pepper
  • a drizzle of olive oil (if needed)
Stuff all these ingredients into a small food processor and give it several pulses.  Don't let it run because although you want it well combined, you still want to maintain a little texture.  We are not making baby food.
If it looks a little dry, you can either drizzle in some more oil from the jar of sun dried tomatoes OR a little olive oil.  Check for salt and pepper.  The mixture should be salty enough from the feta and capers but if you like it saltier, add a little more.
Next, toast up some pita halves OR whole wheat tortillas and shmear about 2 Tablespoons of mixture inside.
Eat.  And enjoy.  Because you will love it.

20120621-161729.jpg

I've made a batch of this filling and snacked on it for a couple days.  My mouth is watering  just thinking about it.  I wonder if we have any feta at home....

.

For weeks I have been meaning to introduce y'all to a website that I know you will enjoy.  I think I ran across Frugal Feeding because he made a comment on a post here, I can't quite remember.  But I popped over to his site to check it out and soon thereafter read his post on Cardamom Cookies where he said, "...To be honest, cookies aren’t quite as popular here in Britain as they are in America. Let’s face it, they are rather vulgar, full of sugar and generally too large."

Well, I wasn't sure if he was referring to the cookies or Americans but at any rate, I found his writing hilarious and his recipes delicious.  He develops budget friends recipes that don't require a degree in science to decipher.  Even though the recipes are usually written in metric, I find them easy to adapt for my American kitchen.

Recently, he posted this little snack item called "Butterbean Hummus with Smoked Paprika Oil."  As I read the article I saw that with the substitution of butterbeans for chickpeas the mixture comes out smooth and creamy which is my #1 pet peeve about gritty hummus.  I like the flavors, don't like the texture.  So I'm excited to try this recipe!  Also, I find the idea of smoked paprika oil intriguing and exotic.  Especially since I don't have any in my pantry.  Which means I get to go shopping.

It sounds spicy, smoky, creamy and mmmmmmm! Can't wait to try this little snack with some pita chips or maybe even some sugar snap peas.  Give it a try!

Making plans to relax this weekend.  Hope yours is relaxing too!

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Mmmmmm, popcorn!  It's salty, it's buttery (at least at our house it was), it's crunchy and it's cheap!  My Grandpa Dee looooved popcorn. 

Ok, Grandpa Dee looooved food, but he really was especially fond of popcorn.  It was a nearly nightly ritual for him to make a batch of popcorn and  put it in the special wooden popcorn bowl (which was really a large wooden salad bowl but come to think of it, I don't remember him eating many salads).  Then he would drizzle (or douse) the hot popcorn with melted butter and a generous sprinkling of salt.  He (and the rest of us) snacked on that bowl of popcorn all night.  And the next day.  That's right, the same bowl of popcorn with melted butter would sit out over night and people would graze off of it until there was nothing but the unpopped kernels at the bottom of the bowl, studded into the remains of the melted butter.  Until later that next night when a new batch was made.

Today, when most people want to snack on popcorn, they go to the pantry, throw a bag of pre-packaged popcorn in the microwave and 3-4 minutes later, voila!   But growing up on the farm, we did not own a microwave. My mother was fiercely opposed to them, for reasons I will not get into,  so we made our popcorn 1 of 2 ways:

1.  The air popper. We had various models over the years but they all basically work the same way- by heating the kernels in a chamber that spins them around, keeping them from burning.  Or...
2.  On the stove top in a big pot. You drizzle in some oil, scatter a handful of popcorn in the bottom and turn up the heat.  Put the lid on and shake the pot every minute or so to keep the kernals from burning.  Soon, you will hear the plink-plink-plink of kernels bursting in the pot.  I tell ya, it is music to my ears and it takes me all the way back to my grandparent's kitchen.  This was and is to this day, my preferred method of popping corn both for taste and fun-factor.

As a matter of fact, I don't even like microwave popcorn, it tastes like fake-food to me.  And it's no wonder, here are some of the ingredients found in an average bag of pre-packaged microwave butter popcorn:  partially hydrogenated soybean oil, artificial flavor, color added, propyl gallate....huh?!  I just want popcorn, oil/butter & salt!

But that doesn't mean you can't use your microwave to make tasty, healthy popcorn!  There IS a way, and it's super easy with no cleanup!  Are you ready????  Here it is:

Take 2 brown paper lunch bags, open them up, one inside the other.  This is to prevent oil leakage.  Add approximately 1/4 cup popcorn kernels to the bags along with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil (or vegetable oil) and 1 teaspoon salt.  Gently shake the bag to coat the kernels.  Fold the bag down twice to close and use tape to secure (some say it's ok to use a staple but it makes me nervous).  Microwave on high for approximately 3-4 minutes, keeping an ear out for when the popping slows.  When there are approximately 5 seconds in between pops, it's done!*


Now, if you want to get creative you can add all sorts of flavors and spice mixes to your bag for even more flavor.  A few I like:  herbs de Provence, chipotle powder, cinnamon & superfine sugar, italian seasoning, etc.  Just add a pinch of your spice mixture to the bag AFTER it has popped (I learned that lesson the hard way, burnt spices- blech!)) and shake to coat.

If you want to take the low fat route, you can omit the oil or just use a couple shots of cooking spray.  Enjoy!

*recipe adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/plain-brown-popper-recipe/index.html