Healthy Snacks

Very Easy Homemade Crackers Recipe

This recipe is so easy and so delicious that after making it twice, my kids already learned the recipe! I hope you try it out. It’s also very non-expensive as you probably already have all the ingredients you need in your pantry.  It’s our family favorite! Yum!

This recipe yields 30 crackers with each  being 4×2 inches ( rectangular shaped) approximately.

Ingredients

2 cups of flour; 1 Tsp salt; 1 Tablespoon of sugar; 1 Tsp baking powder ; 4 Tablespoons of meltes butter; 1.5 cups warm water.

Directions:

1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. 

2. Add water to dry mix. Start mixing in the bowl and add more water little by little until you get the correct consistency before kneading.

3. Add flour to a clean counter surface. Add flour to your hands.

4. Place the dough from the bowl into a clean counter. Knead by hand adding additional flour as needed. When the dough is no longer sticky, take a rolling pin and stretch out the dough. It should be about 1/4 or 1/8 inch thick when ready. Both thicknesses work fine. It depends on your preference.

5. Cut the dough into strips of approximately 1 inch wide. Cut each strip into rectangles or squares ( your choice) and with a fork pinch the dough. The pinching of the dough is fun but also important to get the oven heat to bake the cracker all throughout. ( My kids do the pinching of the dough, it’s their favorite part!)

6. Prepare baking pans by covering with a small amount of butter. Place the crackers into the baking pans.

7. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden on top.

Below is a short video showing you thickness of the dough and how to cut it.

My cracker shapes are very original as my kids are the ones involved in that part of the process, and having tons of fun with it. 🙂
Once you take the crackers out of the oven, let them cool. Then store them in an air tight container. Although I typically skip this step as these crackers don’t last long at home.. I never really get to store them. 🙂 
Enjoy!

Crackers in the oven.

Ready! 

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Lentils and Quinoa

Served Lentils and Quinoa

Lentils and Quinoa

Quinoa has been recently been given a boost in popularity due to its many benefits! What I like the most is that it is extremely low in  carbohydrate and it fills me up much more than pasta, rice or bread, without the calories! 🙂 It is very low in cholesterol and sodium and it has magnesium and phosphorus. It’s a great source of manganese, all great nutrients so important for me and my family.
In terms of flavor I  must say I had to try several recipes to start to enjoy and learn how to prepare it well. My husband and kids followed my footsteps and now I have to prepare double portions since they all want some.
Here is my favorite recipe. It is perfect as comfort food and great for any time of the year. That said, I can also see this recipe making a great cold weather crock pot or potluck meal.
  1. Prepare lentils per package directions. Prepare 2 cups of lentils. When seasoning, only add salt, pepper to taste and one basil leave. It’s best if you prepare the lentils from scratch. I recommend that you avoid the temptation to use canned lentils. The flavors will be better if you do not use canned lentils.
  2. Prepare quinoa per package directions. Prepare 1 cup of quinoa. When seasoning the quinoa, add:
    1. 1 tsp Salt, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. If you don’t enjoy spicy foods then change the red pepper flakes part to 1/4 tsp.
  3. Mix the two preparations in one saucer or pot when both of them are ready. Let them cook for at least 10 minutes together. Add peas and carrots to the mix and allow the mixture to continue to cook for another 10 minutes, mixing well.
  4. Optional: Sprinkle dry parsley on top of each serving.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
Some pics to illustrate the process.. and to explain why I love this dish so much. 🙂
Quinoa

Quinoa in the Bag

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Fully cooked Lentils

Mix of Lentils and Quinoa

Fully Cooked Lentils and Quinoa Cooking with Peas and Carrots.

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Yum! It’s ready to enjoy!

Southwest Dining – Pagosa Baking Company – 1 of 4

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What better way to experience the southwest than through dining? We went through Pagosa Springs, Colorado for the summer and loved the views, the relaxed atmosphere and the food. We had to stop at Pagosa Baking Company which has been around Pagosa for some time. If you’re looking for a relaxed lunch break with light, delicious menu options, this is the place. The decor is fabulous! We loved everything we ordered, but my favorite was the carrot cupcake (above photo)! We had to get extra forks because once it made it to our table, everyone had to have a bite! 🙂

The look of the place is absolutely charming with a cozy home entrance. It’s also conveniently placed in the heart of Pagosa Springs downtown.

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We ordered a chicken Waldorf salad, a BLT Panini (both from the daily special) and a veggie focaccia pocket. Yum! All of them were so worth the stop! They offer either a side of salad with lentils or quinoa or kettle chips! Great options. Here are some pics..

This is what I ordered and loved.. Chicken Waldorf Salad

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Chicken Waldorf Salad with great bread and fresh ingredients

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Refreshing! The bread was delicious too.. I ate it all!

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The paninis were great! I tried them all, risking some extra calories. In the end, I was not so worried as their ingredients were all fresh with perfectly balanced seasoning.

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BLT PANINI – GREAT BREAD AND GREAT SEASONING.

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Chicken Panini

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Carrot Cake

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Delicious Carrot Cake, moist to the last bite!

 

Great food, great atmosphere, charming decor. 🙂

Enjoy the holidays without the extra pounds?

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Every time Christmas comes around, worries about the extra pounds threaten the joy of the season. Some tips follow..

1. Entertaining at home. Shop wisely. Keep nuts, veggies and fruit snacks (carrots, celery, grapes, strawberries, etc) handy.  

2. Eating out. Eat a healthy snack before leaving home. Once there, look for healthy menu options. Most restaurants include calories and nutrition information or light options in the menu. (Chefs all over the country are working hard to make those light meals taste delicious anyway, so why not?)

3. Plan your event or outing ahead of time. Once on the road, avoid fast food stops. Pack containers with healthy snacks for kids and adults.

4. Catching up over coffee. Avoid whip cream additions; Choose non-fat milk and smallest size servings. Try to go for healthy snacks and avoid pastry options.

5. Taking the kids out for a treat. Choose frozen yogurt over ice cream. The frozen yogurt toppings bar will win any argument.  

6. Exercise. If your daily exercise routine is threatened, take 5 minutes out of your busy schedule to do some jumping jacks at home before heading out to greet friends and family.

IMG_4824Look forward to that unique and special [diet-breaking worthy] treat we only have this time of year! 

 

Healthy Snacks (Part 3 of 3)

SIMPLY … MIX AND MATCH! IMG_4550

Nuts and dried fruits.

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Low fat yogurt topped with granola, nuts and raisins.

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Low fat yogurt topped with granola, nuts, raisins and fresh kiwi.

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Celery with peanut butter.

Combine nuts, dried fruits, veggies, [low-fat] dairy several ways. Indeed, a clean, easy, low-cost way to go when it comes to healthy snacks. This is not breaking news; rather a reminder. Healthy options abound in local and [even] convenience stores everywhere. Yet, sometimes what matters most are the choices we make.