Fried Plantains

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Fried plantains are one of my favorite foods to snack on!  The key is to buy a couple of plantains and let them sit until they turn black and look like they’re basically inedible.  At that point, check them to see how soft/firm they are.  You’ll want them to be a sort of medium firmness–not hard but not too mushy.  They are addicting!

Fried Plantains

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 plantains (1 feeds about 2 people)
  • canola oil (try other oils for a slightly different taste)

Directions:

Heat oil in pan over medium heat.  Peel plantain by cutting in half, slicing off other end, and making a slit down the length of the skin.  Peel skin off of fruit.  Slice plantain into coins.  Once oil is heated, place sliced plantain in hot oil to fry.  Flip and fry other side once bottom is golden-dark brown, depending on your preference.  Once fried on both sides, remove to paper towel-lined plate to cool slightly.  Enjoy!

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Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

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I believe that I found this recipe on allrecipes.com.  But honestly, I can’t remember anymore.  The point is that I love, love, love these appetizers!  They are very messy, so have forks and napkins ready.  If you prefer less sauce, they are just as good with half of the called-for amount.  I especially enjoy serving these at Christmas or New Year’s parties.

Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 1 C. ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 2 (8 oz.) cans water chestnuts, drained

Directions:

In small bowl combine brown sugar, ketchup and Worcestershire.  Refrigerate.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Cut bacon strips in half.  Wrap one halved slice of bacon around each water chestnut.  Secure with a toothpick or place seam-side down in 9″ x 13″ cake pan.  Bake wraps about 45 minutes for crispness.  (If desired you can broil them in metal pan for about 15 minutes instead.)  Remove from oven and drain grease from pan.  You can use a cooling rack to keep wraps in place when pan is tilted for draining.  Drizzle refrigerated sauce over wraps and bake 30-35 minutes more.  Let cool slightly.  Serve warm.

*Note: This recipe makes a lot of sauce.  If preferred, you can halve the amount of brown sugar, ketchup and Worcestershire that you use.

Cream Cheese Roll-Ups

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I got this recipe years ago from a friend at church.  She brought them to a baby shower and I had to get the recipe for myself!  My family loves them and we had fun brainstorming alternative fillings.

Cream Cheese Roll-Ups

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz. mild green chiles, drained
  • 1 C. shredded cheddar
  • 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning (optional)
  • 4-5 flour tortillas

Directions:

In medium bowl, mix sour cream, cream cheese, chiles, cheddar, and taco seasoning (if desired).  Spread evenly on tortillas.  Roll up each tortilla somewhat tightly.  Place in gallon ziploc or wrap in plastic wrap.  Put in fridge to chill.  Once chilled and firm, place on cutting board and slice into bite-size spirals.  Serve with salsa.

*Variation: luncheon meat & diced dill pickle instead of green chiles (omit taco seasoning)

Taco Dip

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Who doesn’t love taco dip?  We’ve been known to have this for lunch, though I’m sure it isn’t the healthiest option.  Feel free to customize the toppings according to what your family likes.  I got this recipe from my brother’s girlfriend’s mom when we attended a graduation party at their house.

Taco Dip

Ingredients:

  • 4 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 2 envelopes taco seasoning
  • 1 can refried beans
  • shredded lettuce
  • 1 lg. can sliced black olives
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • green onion, chopped (to taste)
  • 2 C.+ shredded cheddar
  • 1-2 lg. bags Fritos or tortilla chips

Directions:

In large bowl combine cream cheese, sour cream, and taco seasoning.  Mix thoroughly.  Spread mixture evenly in jellyroll or cake pan.  Layer toppings over cream cheese mixture: beans, lettuce, olives, tomatoes, onions, and cheese.  Cover and chill.  Serve with chips.

Chomps Snack Sticks Review

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I received this sample for free, but my opinion is my own.

My family and I recently had the opportunity to sample Chomps Snack Sticks and provide a review.  I’m one of those people who is always willing to sample food.  What can I say?  I like to eat!

They sent us three flavors to try out–Original Flavor, Hoppin’ Jalapeno, and Crankin’ Cran.  These beef sticks are made from organic grass-fed non-GMO New Zealand beef, and natural spices.  They don’t contain any added sugar or gluten, MSG, nitrates, fillers, binders or preservatives.  That’s a lot of stuff that’s left out!  Really, they are meant to cater to those on a paleo diet.

Although I’m not on a paleo diet, I did enjoy them as a snack nonetheless.  I favored the Original Flavor, which only had a pleasant tingle.  The texture was fairly smooth, which put me in mind of summer sausage for some reason.  I’d say that the flavor for all of them definitely leans more toward an actual meat flavor, without being overly salty at all.  My husband enjoyed the Crankin’ Cran and said it was quite spicy, at least a medium.  He thought the Hoppin’ Jalapeno had a nice tingle, but wasn’t too hot.

We would definitely eat these again.  I’ve been steering away from processed meat lately, just because of all of the bad stuff in there, but I would feel comfortable feeding these to my family.

So there you go…my two cents on this new product.  I hope this review has been informative for anyone who is wondering whether or not they should give these snack sticks a go!

Check them out online: Chomps Snack Sticks

Sponsored by BrandBacker

Brie Jack-o’-lantern Appetizer

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This post contains an affiliate link.

I’d like to share with you another fun appetizer or light meal idea for the fall season.  Our family had this several nights ago.  Out of the seven of us (five 10 years and under), there was only one person who didn’t care for it.  We got the idea from the Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook.  It’s another recipe that my 8-year-old picked out.

Brie Appetizer 3First things first–the recipe calls for Brie cheese which is a very buttery, soft, French cheese.  Warming it up really does wonders.  It also calls for Apricot fruit spread.  This matters because you need a spread that’s more fluid than jam or preserves.  If you can locate those two items, the rest is easy.

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I just eyeballed the jack-o’-lantern face, using a sharp knife.  I also scooped out a little of the insides with a toothpick.  You want to make some space to fill in with the apricot spread.

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How cute does that little face look?  Honestly, that’s the most difficult part of making this–carving the face.  After that you’re home free.  Once it’s warmed up (at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes), just serve it with crackers, apple slices and apricot fruit spread.  I especially loved the crackers, Brie and fruit spread together.  Yummy!

Apple Chips

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This is a super-easy snack that you can make with your kids.  My 10-year-old helped me with the recipe and we both enjoyed how simple it was.  I was expecting the apples to turn out crispier, like the apple chips you get at the store, but these were more like the dehydrated apples you get in a bag in the baking section.  No matter–we enjoyed them and gobbled them right up!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 apple, cut into very thin slices
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Arrange apple slices in single layer on parchment paper.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake 1 1/2 hours, or until lightly browned.  Remove from parchment and let cool.  (Or eat them right away!)

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Coconut Date Rolls

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There is a grocery store about 30 minutes away that specializes in health foods.  They carry coconut date rolls in their bulk food section, but they are crazy expensive.  I decided to try my hand at making them and save some money, to boot.  They were very easy to make and ended up tasting delicious!  Next time I will try making them with fewer almonds because the coconut had a hard time sticking.  They were still really good, though.  For anyone who has a sweet tooth, these are very satisfying.  I enjoyed snacking on these instead of a candy bar or other sweet treat.

The recipe can be found at Food.com.  Guess what?  It only uses three ingredients!

IMG_7696 crThis is it–almonds, coconut and dates!

IMG_7698 crIt was so easy to mix everything in my food processor.

IMG_7702 crOne full recipe filled about 1/3 of a gallon-size Ziploc bag.  This kept me snacking for at least a week.

Try it out today–you’ll love it!

Graze Review # 4

IMG_6213 crThis post contains affiliate links.

Here we are with another Graze review!  I’m a little behind on these, so I’ll actually be showing you three recent boxes.  The first one is a regular 4-snack box.  It included:

  • Beach Bum — Pineapple, chewy banana coins & coconut flakes.  This was a nice fruity snack that’s not overly sweet.  The banana coins were awesome–they had good taste and weren’t really dry.
  • Pro Bean — Redskin peanuts, edamame beans & chili broad beans.  I loved this snack!  It was substantial and had great taste.
  • Twist of Black Pepper Popcorn — I still have to try this one.  It might end up being hubby’s because I don’t like spicy food.  I’m not sure how spicy it is.
  • Summer Berry Flapjack — Rustic rolled oat flapjack with berry-infused cranberries.  This one was tasty, but I didn’t like it quite as much as the lemon variety that I had in a previous box.  I’ll still keep it on my list, though.

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I also tried out a sharing box which is supposed to have a total of 20 servings (5 bags x 4 servings per bag).  I discovered with this type of box it just makes me more likely to eat larger portions.  I don’t think that’s the aim I should go for.  In this box we got:

  • Herby Bread Basket — Garlic crostini, mini basil breadsticks & oregano rice crackers.  I’ve already had this in a previous snack box.  I like it and designated it as one I’d like to receive in the larger box.  The rice crackers are my least favorite part of the mix–they’re too sweet.
  • Sour Cream & Onion Cashews — I kind of liked these, but not enough to get them again.
  • Garden of England — Soft apple pieces, strawberries & blackcurrents.  This was a yummy berry mix that I really enjoyed.  My kids liked it, too!
  • Pineapple & Cocount with Green Mango & Lime Flavored Raisins — I’ve had this one before, also.  I really like it, especially the raisins.
  • Dark Rocky Road Granola Topper — Chocolate granola, pumpkin seeds, chocolate fudge & freeze dried sour cherry pieces.  This one was super yummy and I enjoyed eating it on yogurt.  My one criticism is that the fudge pieces were really hard.  I’ve had dental work done, and I felt like I had to bite these pieces carefully so as not to break a tooth.

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My final box:

  • Wholegrain Banana Caramel Dippers — Caramel sauce with wholemeal banana shortbread dippers.  The caramel was good (of course), but I thought the cookies lacked flavor.  I won’t be getting these again.
  • Black Pepper Pistachios — This is for my husband.  He’s the pistachio nut (pun intended).
  • Smoky Hot Dog — Smoked cashews, mustard breadsticks & cheddar cheese croutons.  I wasn’t expecting much from this snack, but it ended up being my favorite.  Awesome flavor!
  • Pecan Power — Almonds, cranberries & pecan nuts.  I thought this was just okay.  I won’t be getting this one again, either.

Cost: $6.99/box (4-snack box) or $25/box (20-serving box)

Shipping: Included

Final Thoughts: Still enjoying this subscription quite a lot!  I’ve decided that I probably won’t continue with the sharing box for too long, or will get it less frequently.  I use the larger sized package as an excuse to eat more.  😦

Check it out for yourself: Graze

If you use my code you will get your first and fifth Graze boxes free.  You can cancel at any time.  Just use the code LORIB3M2P when you sign up.

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This is what the bags look  like in the sharing box.

Shikibox Review # 1

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This is my first ever Japanese candy/snack box, and I was majorly excited to try it out!  Shikibox provides a monthly box of Japanese treats, with a few different options.  I got the trial box which is a sampling of the “Green Tea Set” and “Candy & Snack Box”.  The box that I got can only be ordered one time, as it’s a sample box.  I’m sure they want you to get a regular box once you’ve decided that you like the snacks.  The other boxes are bigger than the sampler box that I got.

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This is what the box looked like.  It wasn’t completely full, either.  There was a short information sheet included.

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And here’s everything that was included!  Now honestly, I don’t know what each item is called or any other information about them.  Some of the snacks had U.S. counterparts and some did not–gumballs, chocolate, gummies.  The overall conclusion we came to was that most of us liked all of the items.  There were a few things that were more of an acquired taste, or they only appealed to one or two people.  There was a dried fish snack that only Daddy liked.  There were also a couple of salty/sweet crackers that the kids didn’t care for.  There were a few snacks that I wished we had more of because they were sooo good.

Cost: $13/one time trial (other box options: Battle Box – $20/month, Green Tea Set – $50/month, Candy & Snack Box – $30/month)

Shipping: Included

Final Thoughts: I liked the variety of items we received.  It was a good mixture of salty and sweet.  A couple of the items were seafood flavored.  If you don’t like that kind of flavor, just be aware that it will be included.  Our family of seven (plus a neighbor kid) sat down to sample all the goodies, so we went through the entire box in one sitting.  If you were to sample them at a more relaxed pace and with fewer people, it would last a lot longer.  The cost was not unreasonable, especially considering how far the box had to travel.  I think this was a great sampler box to get and that it was a good cost for what we got.  It helped to introduce us to some Japanese candy and snacks that we will now want more of!

Check it out for yourself: Shikibox