Wednesday, December 30, 2009

0 Out-of-the-Ordinary Healthy Snack Ideas

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Hello Again Dear Readers,

Yes, another post just for you. What can I say? When it rains it pours. :-D

(Just as an FYI for Facebook friends: Please note that when you see my blog posts appear in your Facebook news feed that I'm not actually logged into Facebook & manually posting these entries; they are pulled & published automatically from an RSS feed app from within Facebook. So I'm not actually breaking with my originally stated intentions (as previously posted in FB status) -- that is, to take an extended break from Facebook. :) Consider it just one of several New Year's goals. I don't do the New Year's resolutions thing. LOL.)

So where was I?! Ah yes, I was mentioning my recent & bountiful bout of blogging. (How's that for alliteration?! ;) ) Apparently, that's what happens when one is couped up in one's covers for days on end, recovering from a nasty little bug. All of my self-contained thoughts have plenty of time to swirl around in my head. As a result, some of the more creative ones will hopefully be able to more easily percolate their way to the top. ;)

One of the topics that has been swirling around in my brain is snack ideas. I recently revisited a previous post I wrote, in which I'd requested healthy snack ideas from people. Not even sure if anyone even saw or read that post (LOL!), because it got zero responses. (I guess I could check my Feedburner stats to confirm whether anyone read it, one way or the other, but the truth is that I'm not THAT curious. ;) ) Looking back on it, I might've been just a tad bit too picky in my list of snacking requirements, or it could've been around the same time that microblogging (i.e., Twitter & its ilk) really started to sap the dear life out of blog commenting, but whatever the reason, the silence was deafening. ;-O

So, since I didn't get any feedback from this post, which was written well over a year ago, I've had plenty of time since then to contemplate answers to my own question. Yes, self-propelled initiative really does pay off. :)


I used to ask a lot of questions of my readers, to try to make this blog more interactive, but since blog commenting appears to have gone the way of the dodo in general, I'm just going to pretend like people are actually listening & would like to comment but just don't know what to say. :)


[And no, sorry, spam comments don't count. :) And especially not the ones which are posted by spambots & contain one or two words like "Nice post," & then some random gobbledeegook links to whatever thing they are trying to promote. LOL. Of course, it's perfectly fine if people would like to share links to their food/recipe blogs with me here in the comments section, but honestly, my blog isn't here to promote someone's brand of shoe polish or whatever the heck else they are peddling. (Or worse, some internet phishing scam, etc.) I think we can all agree that the latter modus operandi is fairly transparent, & a surefire way to ensure that your blog comment will be promptly rejected (or deleted, if the comment moderation feature hasn't been activated). Hahaha.]

Anyhow, I have some healthy snack ideas I'd like to share with you.

One of my biggest challenges is finding enough of a variety of healthy snacks in order to keep my interest. A lot of the so-called "healthy snack ideas" posted on the internet are either not healthy enough or frankly don't thrill me that much. I need some culinary excitement, people. Something that thrills my senses/tastebuds. And the ordinary snack just won't do. I'm not necessarily talking about something that's overly complex either. It can be a simple snack idea, but it's got to be a tad bit unorthodox & as far away from "whitebread" food choices as humanly possible. :) So no Waldorf salad, Ambrosia jello molds, deviled eggs, or cream cheese & olive hors d'oeuvres recipes, please, or I'll feel like I've been suddenly transported to the 60's & have been permanently trapped in an episode of Mad Men. Look, it's time to play, "What would Betty serve?" OMG, no, no, no, no. ;) )


The other thing I've noticed is that there are far too many "snack idea" webpages that have been created by people whose intended audience is that of a three-year old. Don't get me wrong, overworked mothers desperately need those kinds of resources. However, while PB&J might be a thrilling mid-day snack for a preschooler, any self-respecting adult with a sophisticated palate is frequently going to require something with a bit more thrill factor. And something that says "I'm old enough now to eat that." LOL.

Most of the time I need something innovative to satisfy both my taste buds & need for culinary creativity, but it's also got to be something that doesn't take too much time or effort to prepare. :) Also, a lot of times it's necessary that the snacks be non-messy & easily portable, for the on-the-go factor of our busy lives. Some people might think that's a tall order to fill, but alas, I think not. It just requires using the old noggin to come up with something innovative, or at the very least, truly satisfying on some basic visceral level.

Anyhow, enough exposition. Onto the ideas:

Homemade, Ready-to-Go Snack Packs:

Off the top of my head, here are some of my favorite go-to, healthy snack ideas. (Some are more creative than others.):

--Edamame w/sliced avocado & a pinch of sea salt, drizzled with lemon juice (in a plastic baggie of course!)
--Za'atar spices mixed with a small dollop of olive oil, sprinkled on air-popped popcorn - YUM!
--Sliced, ripened plantains w/plain nonfat Greek yoghurt (or low-fat sour cream)
--Fresh peaches with plain/vanilla yoghurt
--A few handfuls of sugar snap peas
--Raw or steamed string beans with soy sauce, sesame seeds, sliced ginger, & a dab of sesame oil (another plastic-baggie snack)
--Humus & carrot sticks
--Cucumbers (sliced lengthwise) & cheese sticks
--Fresh figs & brie (OK, the brie isn't low-fat, but it's only a small sliver of brie.)
--A mix of dried cherries, almonds, & pumpkin seeds
--Crackers & cheese w/tapenade of vine-ripened tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, & capers (easy to make, toss tapenade ingredients into a blender & pulse. Et le voilà.)


OK, I'm sure there are more snacks I could've thought of, but that's a good list for starters.... Feel free to add to this list. :)

So now it's your turn: Do you have any healthy & creative snack ideas you'd like to share? If so, please append your comments to the bottom of this post. I'm sure that there are many people (myself included!) who would be eternally grateful for your contributions. Let's all help each other out with ideas to expand each other's healthy snack repertoire..... Thanks so much!

Happy snacking....

Cheers,
-C

0 Bursting with Creativity.....

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Hello There Fellow Culinary Adventurers,


I know it's been a while since my last post here, but I have some good news for you: I've got some brand new original recipes to post here. Now I'm not trying to be a tease by talking about them & then not posting them. However, they haven't been perfected quite yet, which is why I'm holding back for now.

Creating a new recipe is like any other creative endeavor: It sometimes takes a while for the ideas to incubate in the creator's head before they're ready to be brought into being or are ready to be publicly unveiled.

Also, the other thing is that they need to be taste-tested & family/friend/chef-approved before they receive the OK. (And that can take some time to coordinate & accomplish, depending on our schedules.) After all, it wouldn't be a good idea to post an untried, unapproved, &/or mediocre recipe here, now would it?! :)

And depending on what's going on in my household, that could also mean varying lengths of time before I actually find an occasion or purpose to make a particular recipe. Also, since I've been ill lately, cooking hasn't exactly been a top priority. However, sleep sure has. :)

At any rate, here's a preview of some recipe ideas that I plan to post here at some point in the future:

Caruru de Camarao com Coentro (Shrimp & Okra with Nuts & Cilantro) (Brazilian dish)
Jugo de Maracuyá Con Leche (Passion Fruit Smoothie) (Colombian/Latin American drink)
Sopa de Plátanos (Plantain Soup) (Latin American appetizer)
Dulce de Tamarindo (Tamarind Candies; made in a healthy way!) (Mexican treat)
Avocado with Sweet Soy Bean Paste (Asian side dish)
Pomegranate Muffins

That should give you something to look forward to reading/making until then. :)

Cheers,
-C

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