snacks

Salty Snacks, my Downfall. Until Now. Hello DIY Cheezits Recipe.

I could walk right past buckets of candies and sweets if there were the teensiest pile of potato chips at the end of the line. Yessiree, the salty crunchy thing is what gets me. Between my dairy allergy and having been forced by a cracked tooth to swear off my beloved popcorn, I was adrift. And I was drifting in the wrong direction. If you make it right and don't eat it by the boatload, or covered in butter, popcorn actually qualifies as a whole grain. I'd call it a healthy snack.

But you know, once you see the cost of a cracked tooth, "cheating" on your dentist and ignoring her advice loses a lot of its appeal. So I started on potato chips. Saturated fat and salt and oh, so, delicious. Hep me jeezus, it was a slippery slope. I had to do an intervention when an ENTIRE bag of (not single serve) of Chili-flavored Kettle chips evaporated in my hands.

I have seen the devil and he looks like a never-ending bag of chips.

Back from the Precipice

So it is with much fanfare that I bring you my new favorite snack discovery. [cue heralds and horns, waving of banners, and such] Salvation looks like a crappy processed snack food, but it's not!

Nacho Daddy's Cheezits

Dairy-free Cheez-its

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What's a good snack without a pun? A lost opportunity, I say.

So I named these guys the punny name to indicate their dairy-free status. Get it? "Nacho" Not Yo"....okay. Now that I've gotten that out of my system...here's the ÜBER-simple, fast and delicious snack. But first, let's review these additional benefits:

  1. they're salty
  2. they're crunchy
  3. they're spicy (or you can make them not so)
  4. they're dairy-free (you could probably use cheddar if you're not true vegan or allergic)
  5. they're cheesy
  6. I've included whole grains (grainiacs rejoice!)
  7. and they're easy-peasy to make at home

You know you want some, come on.

Nacho Daddy's Cheez-its, Dairy-free

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nacho Daddy's Cheezits

Modified from a couple vegan blogs, but don't let that dissuade you.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 C Earth Balance butter (cold)
  • 3/4 C Daiya cheddar shreds
  • 1/4 C organic spelt flour
  • 1/2 C organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp paprika or pimenton
  • +1 TBSP cold water
  • Maldon sea salt flakes for topping, or good sea salt

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients but water in food processor; pulse, until you get large crumbles.
  2. Add water by teaspoon till dough comes together in a ball, usually you'll use about 1 TBSP. Depends on moisture in the air and your flour.
  3. Knead for a few minutes, let rest half an hour in fridge. (I have also skipped the rest, with little noticeable result. The dough comes together so quickly, I don't think there's a lot of gluten developed.
  4. Preheat 350 degrees.
  5. Roll out half of dough between waxed paper or on silpat silicone sheet. Leave other half in fridge to stay cool.
  6. Dust with flour to prevent sticking - see tea ball trick.
  7. Roll to 1/8" thick cut with fun smallish cutter (I have a little star cutter that was part of a set.) Or, use pizza cutter to make into squares or diamonds.
  8. Bake 10-15 mins checking often -- remove at the perfect crisp but not burnt stage.

 

teaball trick

Remember the teaball trick, works for flour and for confectioner's sugar.

Offset spatula may be helpful to transfer to cookie sheets but it's not necessary.

These are so good to nibble and munch. I think they'd be terrific floating on a mug of hot tomato soup. Mixed into my Remixed Chex Mix they could take the place of the Goldfish crackers. Great with a cocktail.

Next batch, I'm going try flax or my pimped up flaxy gomashio. Stay tuned salty-crunchy fanatics!

Nuts to You - Pin This Recipe for Chinese Five Spice Nuts

My recipe for these Spiced Nuts isn't really mine. As one who is sometimes paid to develop recipes, I'm careful to give credit where credit is due. Honoring copyright is so important when the world speeds toward a day when the concept may become meaningless. Social media has both aided in the erosion of such concepts as copyright and also aided in full discussion of who owns what in the digital realm. Regular readers will note that I've assiduously avoided Pinterest. I have seen professional recipe developers and photographers wrestling with the one-two punch of a user interface that makes copyright infringement easy and terms of service which foist liability completely on the user. In other words, someone might claim another's work as their own and then when you "pin it" you could be liable for the violation. It seems if they stole your work, you're also on your own to fight it, too. That sort of "community" has no appeal to me whatsoever.

Honestly, though, I was quite surprised when I searched for my Chinese 5 Spice post, just to test out my new site's SEO performance. The first link that popped up was someone's Pinterest page. Luckily they were kind enough to credit me and link back to my site. The rising prominence of that new site/network may mean that I'll have to reconsider. It is also possible that since these copyright infringement issues were first protested, the site has bolstered or altered their policing/policies in some way. I have no information about that. Just saying, it's possible.

If you DO "pin" this, please link back here and credit me, as I will also do, since this did not originate within this tiny little head. The original recipe for these addictive little snack is one I got via Epicurious, which credits Self, which credits Laraine Perri...

Chinese Five Spice Nuts - LDG style

Ingredients: 

  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 TBSP + 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 4 tsp water
  • 1 1/2 tsp 5 spice powder (use my DIY version: How to Make Chinese 5 Spice Powder here, includes coriander)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 C pecan halves
  • 1/2 C walnut halves
  • 1/2 C pepitas

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine all ingredients but nuts in a medium saucepan. When sugar dissolves and begins to bubble, add nuts and stir to coat until the nuts are thickly coated.
  3. Spread coated nuts on lined baking sheet (Silpat works great, or parchment paper) sprinkle with 1/4 tsp kosher or a large flake sea salt - bake for 8-10 minutes until crisp.

 

Chinese Five Spice Nuts

 

These nuts are perfect for cocktails, for back-to-school care packages, for holiday gifts. They also make an excellent topping for this Blueberry Wheat Berry Salad.

  • What's your experience been with Pinterest? Should I join?
  • Have you had work stolen, or credit or copyright issues?

 

What's all this about Kale Chips?

Kale Chips, Kale Chips, Kale Chips. I know, you're like me. You're pretty sure that no green leafy veg is going to replace your potato chips. How could Kale, KALE, satisfy your salty crunchy jones? Well my friend, prepare to be surprised. It can happen. I know. It happened to me. To be honest, potato chips will have a place in my heart, always. But truth be told, you simply must try these simple treats. A whole bunch of kale can disappear in a hurry and that's a good thing. I actually made these several times to share with my husband, and it took several batches before a single kale chip survived long enough for him to try. When he did, the batch disappeared exactly twice as fast as the batches I'd made and inhaled before, solo. Here's an easy photo-recipe: I'm going to break it out for you step-by-step. Step One: purchase a good bunch of organic Lacinato or "Dinosaur" Kale. It's dark green, with crinkly leaves. (It's delicious sauteed with garlic and oil and finished agrodolce with some sugar and some balsamic too, but I digress...) Zip the stems and rinse the leaves, spinning them in your salad spinner or simply roll up in a clean, dry kitchen towel and smack it gently against the counter to remove most of the water. zip_spin_kale

 

 

 

 

 

Here is what one leaf looks like, zipped. Simply pinch the soft leaves near the base of the stem and pull your pinch toward the tip. The rib will come off and you'll be left with the tender leaves. zipped

 

Step Two: Get out a big bowl and toss your zipped leaves with 1 TBSP of good olive oil (remembering that in simple recipes, the quality of the ingredients really shines, or fails to) Kim O'Donnel's recipe calls for a half teaspoon of salt and an optional 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. I added a 1/8 teaspoon of chipotle powder. This bunch was a smallish bunch, too, so we should've ratcheted back the salt a bit.

toss

Step Three: spread the oiled and seasoned leaves on cookie sheets, ensuring space enough in between, we don't want them to steam. About 8 minutes in a 350 degree oven and Bob's your uncle.   trays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They lose a little of the deep green color but the flavor is just a spicy, salty, earthy crisp. They come out really shattering and thin, more wispy than a chip from a potato. [ed note: since this batch I have learned that a lower temp and even leaving the oven door ajar are two tricks that help retain the color.]

kale chips

 

Even if they don't completely bump potato chips from your snack cabinet, replacing a craving for something crispy and salty with kale (with just a bit of healthy oil) is one easy way to improve your snacking. It's really this easy, so you have no excuse. Now get to it!   Any nutritionists out there know how the nutrient profile of these would compare to say, potato chips? Or kale this way as opposed to sauteed?