Tag Archive | recipes

Last Minute Christmas Gifts- DIY Hair & Body Oil!

I hope you are enjoying this series and ready to complete your gift sets today! If you’re just joining me, be sure to check out my previous two blog posts to catch up on the great d.i.y. gifts perfect for any occasion. Today, we are creating this oh-so-fancy (but affordable) hair & body oil.

This oil combines vitamin-rich, antioxidant, moisturizing properties to make a perfect treatment for dry, sensitive skin and for the treatment of hair damage and loss. It can be gently heated in water to use as hot oil treatment. Leaving you with rich moisturized and luxurious locks of hair.

The 3 oils that we will be using are: Olive oil, Vitamin E oil, and Sunflower Oil. Best of all the olive and vitamin e oil can be found at Dollar Tree! The large bottle of sunflower oil was purchased at Walmart for around $4.

Hair & Body Oils

I’m going to be adding in some scented oils which I purchased here . But you can also find some in store at Hobby Lobby (don’t forget your coupon on their website). I also picked up a few packs of these travel sized bottles at…you guessed it, Dollar Tree.

Hair & Body Oils bottles

I simply blended all the oils together and separated them in different bottles to make different scents and added fragrance oil to each. Lastly, I funneled the oil into each bottle. It is as simple as that!

While at Dollar Tree, I stopped by the craft aisle and picked up some bling wrap and glued it to the tops of the bottles to make them look a little fancier and giftier…is that a word?

Hair & Body Oils completed

I printed out the labels myself to identify the scents. I like that one is in a spray bottle which makes it perfect to use on the skin right out the shower. The other bottles can be carried in a purse for on-the-go moisture while another can be used for a hot oil hair treatment.

Hair & Body Oils gift set

So this series included: bath bomb truffles, shower jelly, and hair/body oil. These luscious gift sets would be great for any occasion. For a few dollars, you can create multiple gift sets for multiple people for the same price as one set purchased in the store!

I hope this helps you save a few coins and enjoy this holiday season.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you soon….

Last Minute Christmas Gifts- DIY Scented Shower Jelly!

Next up in this year’s series of affordable gifts is d.i.y. shower jelly. I’ve seen these pop up in recent years in the popular fancy bath product stores. I looked at them and said what I say when I see most things, “I can make that”. Although often times I say that and it turns out not to be true, this time….it was so easy that even I could do it. Not only was it super easy but also very affordable.

Here’s what you will need:

  • 8 oz bottle of Castile Unscented Liquid Soap
  • 1 oz unflavored Gelatin
  • 2 cups water

Shower Jelly Ingredients

To add color and scents you will need:

  • Food coloring (add a few drops to reach desired color)
  • Scented Oil (I got mine here)

Shower Jelly Color & Scents

These containers are the perfect size to create individual portions of the jelly. Best of all, you get 10 containers for $1 at Dollar Tree!

Shower Jelly Containers

Directions:

  • Pour 1 oz of gelatin into 1 cup of cold water, let sit for 1-2 minutes
  • Pour 1 cup of boiling hot water over the gelatin mixture, allow to cool for 5 minutes
  • Add 1/4 cup of castile soap to gelatin
  • Divide mixture if you want to make different colors and scents
  • Add a few drops of food coloring to each mixture until you reach desired hue
  • Add 10-15 drops of scented oil

I used a small funnel to easily transfer the gelatin mixture into the individual containers.

Shower Jelly in Funnel

I created 3 scents/colors: honeysuckle (green), black raspberry vanilla (red), and mango papaya (yellow). They all smell great and are sure to create an invigorating shower experience!

Shower Jelly in Containers

The above recipe filled all ten containers. I ended up mixing one with red and yellow to create the rogue orange jelly which created an interesting combo scent.

Lastly, put the containers in the fridge to set. Within an hour or two your shower jellies are ready!

Shower Jelly Finished Product

So there you have it. A cute, fun, and beautifully scented gift that your friends and family will love!! You don’t even have to tell them how easy and cheap these were to make, lol.

Stay tuned for the completion of the d.i.y. gift trifecta…..

Last Minute Christmas Gifts-DIY Bath Bomb Truffles!

Here we are again at the Christmas Season…’tis the season to be jolly. However, some are not so jolly because they are worried about what this time of year may do to their pockets. Well, smile again because I’ve got you (and your pockets) covered! This gift is not only inexpensive but smells good and looks good enough to eat…actually most of the ingredients are edible but I doubt they would be delicious.

So let’s get started. You will need:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 6-8 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
  • food coloring
  • 12-15 drops premium fragrance oil
  • bath bomb mold

Bath Bomb Ingredients

Most of the above are sold at Dollar Tree with the exception of the citric acid. The citric acid was purchased from Walmart for less than $3 and can be found in the kitchen supply section since it’s used for canning and pickling.

Bath Bomb Ingredients2

I bought the silicone mold from Hobby Lobby. There is usually a 40% off coupon available on their website so be sure to use it! I purchased premium fragrance oil on Ebay which can be found here.

I also saw these fragrances at Hobby Lobby:

Bath Bomb Scented Oil

Mix all the dry ingredients then slowly add in the fragrance oil and melted coconut oil and stir until you reached a clumped consistency that looks like this:

Bath Bomb Consistency

It’s important that you make sure your mixture clumps and holds together otherwise, your bath bomb may crumble. You can gradually add in more melted coconut oil as needed to reach this consistency. You can also add color at this point. I divided the mixture in different bowls to create a variety of colors. Add the mixture to both sides of the bomb mold until it is slightly overflowing. Close and press the mold and leave for at least 1 minute. For extra solidity, you can place it in the freezer for a few minutes. Carefully remove the bombs from the mold.

To add a little sparkle and jazz to your bath bombs and make them look almost edible, you can use a little Writing Icing, Sprinkles, Food Coloring, and Cupcake Cups. These can all be found at your local grocery store or old faithful Dollar Tree.

Bath Bomb Ingredients3

Decorate your bath bombs to look like a dessert truffle. You can scrape it off easily before you add it to your bath or leave it as it is sugar and will dissolve in bathwater. Enjoy!

Bath Bombs

I’m not exactly an Artiste but I still think mine came out kind of cute. If you have a little more creativity, the ideas are limitless as to what you can create.

The goal is to have a little fun, save a little money, and enjoy the gift exchange.

You know I like to do gift ideas in 3’s, right??? Stay tuned for the next fabulous DIY Christmas gift!

 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving…And a Healthy Leftovers Week!

Thanksgiving is one week away and most people are looking forward to indulging in all of the richest foods of the season. There are a slight few who might be concerned about the inevitable weight gain that happens over the holidays.  Welp, I don’t have an easy solution for you because I’m most likely going to eat some stuff that will cause me to acquire a pound or two. However, I do not plan to turn Thanksgiving Day into Thanksgiving Week so I do have a solution to minimize the impact of “leftover calorie-pocalypse”.

Three dishes that are of the most popular and calorific are: Dressing (aka stuffing), Macaroni & Cheese, and Candied Yams. I’ve lightened these dishes up and created a tasty & healthy substitute that combined with baked turkey and my greens recipe, will lessen the weight gain impact. 

So, here we have Quinoa “dressing”, Mac & Cheese, and Sweetened Yams. I realize that the three of these together are still a carb explosion so….maybe eat one at a time.

First up, Mac & Cheese. I used gluten free organic brown rice & quinoa pasta…. I know what you’re thinking but when you boil this pasta in chicken broth and add a dash of salt, flavor explosion!

I made a cheese sauce using fat free half & half  slowly melting in shredded cheeses until I reached the desired consistency (approx, 1 cup of each).

Layer pasta with cheese sauce making sure to add cheese/sauce to the top and bake until you get these lovely brown bubbly bits on top….enjoy.

thanksgiving-sides-macncheese1.jpgAccording to Webmd: a 12-ounce serving of Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese has 529 calories, 25.7 grams of fat, and 10.6 grams of saturated fat. This recipe has 215 calories, 27 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 11 g protein, 5 g sugar.

Next up, my version of dressing that has all the same flavors with a fraction of the calories/fat. Prepare quinoa according to package instructions substituting in chicken broth for the water. Saute the seasoning blend until softened and lightly caramelized. 

Combine the above ingredients with these seasonings. I season according to taste so keep adding teaspoons until it tastes like you like it!

When its all mixed together, you have this yumminess. And it tastes just like dressing with a slightly different consistency!

According to USDA data, a single one-cup serving of prepared bread stuffing provides 390 calories, 5 grams of protein, 38 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 134 mg of sodium, and 27 grams of total fat. This version has 82 calories, 10 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of fat, 5 grams of protein, 22 mg of sodium, and 0 grams of sugar!

These yams (sweet potatoes) aren’t “candied” but they are no less delicious. Coconut sugar is far lower on the glycemic index than white or brown sugar. Coconut oil has many health benefits over butter and has been shown to even help burn fat! So I sliced the potatoes, and sprinkled with coconut sugar (to taste) and a tablespoon of coconut oil distributed throughout. 

Season with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, a teaspoon of vanilla and a dash of salt. Cover with foil and bake in a  400 degree oven until softened.

I added a dollop of whipped cream to mimic the highly sugary marshmallow topping. 

According to a highly rated recipe for candied yams on Allrecipes.com: 
Per Serving: 397 calories; 7.9 g fat; 79.4 g carbohydrates; 3.7 g protein; 20 mg cholesterol; 179 mg sodium. This recipe has 165 calories, 35 g carbohydrates, 3g fat, 2g protein, 83 mg sodium, 11g sugar. 

All in all, Thanksgiving is a holiday for enjoying food and family. It’s ok to indulge for one day and if you normally eat a healthy diet, one day of extra calories is not going to hurt. The day after however, is no longer Thanksgiving so enjoy my recipes until all the turkey is gone….your body will Thank you.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Crispy Chicken & Savory Collard Greens (No Oil;Gluten Free)

So we’re a little over 1 month in, how are those new year resolutions going so far? What? Don’t bail on them just yet. I’m cooking up some goodies that will make you forget they are “healthy”! As mentioned in a previous post, I went gluten free out of necessity not because it appears to me the “in” thing to do these days. With that being said, I learned to tweak certain recipes so that I could still enjoy some of my favorites.

Today, I’ve cooked up some crispy chicken that I made using not one drop of oil.  To go along with that is a family favorite: savory collard greens. Let me tell you, since I put together this greens recipe, I’ve been the “you bring the greens to the party” person. If it’s possible to make comfort food into health food, then this is it!

First off, let me introduce you to my new best friend. Her name is Bella, she’s an air fryer and she has changed my life forever. You can actually fry chicken completely crispy on all sides with no oil! It works best with parts that have a natural fat content like thighs and wings. For other parts with less fat, all you have to do is spray with an oil spray which still adds no additional calories. Do yourself a favor, buy one. They are usually on sale somewhere, I bought mine on sale at Macy’s for $50. I’ve seen them as low as $20 around black Friday so look around but definitely get one!

Air Fryer.jpg

For the greens, I took the easier route and purchased two bags of pre-cleaned and pre-cut collard greens. It saves time on the preparation and makes it more convenient for a week day meal.

Bag of Greens

I always make my own stock using smoked turkey tails. I like this part of the turkey for its flavor and fat content. It gives greens a rich and savory flavor. Put these in a large pot and cover with about one inch of water. Boil covered on medium high for about an hour until it becomes fork tender.

Smoked Turkey Tails

To the stock pot, add in your “wet seasoning”:
1 green pepper
Half red pepper; half yellow pepper (or use mini peppers like I did)
2 medium onions (or 1 large)
4 cloves fresh garlic

Chop all of the veggies finely or use a food processor until it looks like this:

Chopped Onions Peppers

This is where it gets tricky. I like bold flavors, so my seasoning blend may be more “robust” than others. You really have to tweak it to your preference but this is what I use:

1 tbsp + 1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
2 tbsp paprika ( I really like paprika)
1 tbsp minced onion (I hate onion powder so I use this instead)
1 tbsp salt free garlic & herb seasoning
1 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar

Add the greens, “wet seasoning”, and dry seasonings to the pot with the turkey tails. Cook uncovered for one hour; stir occasionally. The water will dissipate and concentrate flavors so only tweak seasoning at the end of the hour.

Greens in Pot_edited-1

For the chicken, I used chicken thighs and use the same seasonings as above minus the sugar. The amount will vary depending on the number of pieces you prepare. Estimate about 1/8 tsp each per piece. I put all the seasonings in a bowl to make a “seasoning blend”.

Season Mix for Chicken

Half of the blend is added directly onto the chicken. The other half is added to a separate bowl with 1/2 cup of Brown Rice Flour.

Brown Rice Flour

Set the air fryer to 400 degrees F. Preheat for 5 minutes. Place chicken in without overlapping. Cook for 20 minutes, turn over, cook for another 10-15 minutes or until completely done.

Chicken in Fryer

You are now ready to enjoy this crispy and savory delight. I know what you’re saying, “where is the macaroni & cheese and cornbread!” Trust me, this is so good, you won’t even miss it! You can even get seconds while staying true to your resolutions!

Chicken Greens Finished Plate

Oh no, I’m not done yet! I have more yet to come that I’m sure you don’t want to miss. Be sure to follow and tune in next time for a new treat!

 

Gluten Free & Delicious: Jerk Shrimp Pasta Parmesan

After receiving the very good news from a food allergy test that I am allergic to wheat, nuts, soybeans, and sesame seeds, I realized that I would have to completely change the way I eat. It was sad at first, knowing that I would have to break up with some of my favorite dishes. Eventually, I learned to tweak recipes so that I could build a repertoire of foods that I can eat.

I’m going to share of few of my recent favorites for some of you that may have similar allergies or just looking to try something different. Either way, you will not be disappointed! Up first, is this super spicy, creamy, and decadent jerk shrimp pasta parmesan. If you like spicy foods, you’re gonna love this one. For those that prefer a more tame dish, I’ll share what to use to tone down the heat without compromising the flavor too much.

I’d like to call this a “recipe” but the way I cook is like “a little bit of this and a little bit of that…oh, it might need a little more this…” you get my drift but I’ll try my best to estimate proportion but I believe you should always try to tweak things to your own liking. With that being said, here are the ingredients you’ll need:

Gluten Free Pasta : 1 1/2 cups
(I love this brand pictured found at Aldi)

Parmesan Cheese : 1/2 cup
(freshly grated; not pre-shredded)

Frozen Broccoli Spears : 1 1/2 cups
(or fresh if you’re fancy)

Medium Shrimp: 12 oz

Pasta

Hot Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (I found this one at Walmart): 2 Tbsp
(Use Old Bay or similar to make a milder version)

Heavy Whipping Cream: 1/3 cup

Garlic & Herb Salt Free Seasoning: sprinkle till satisfied

1 Tbsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Paprika

Add the jerk seasoning to the shrimp; stir until all the shrimp were covered. Spray a nonstick pan with oil and warm the pan on medium high heat. Cook the shrimp for 3-5 minutes until they are opaque. Remove the shrimp into a bowl and set aside.

Jerk Shrimp in Pan

For the pasta and broccoli, bring a pot a water to a bowl then add salt (and a tbsp of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together but that’s optional). Add both pasta and broccoli to boiling water and cook till pasta reaches desired tenderness usually 8-10 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Pasta Broccoli in Colinder

I wiped that same nonstick pan clean of all the excess jerk seasoning then added the pasta, broccoli, parmesan cheese, cream, and garlic herb seasoning. Stir and cook until the cheese has completely melted and all are covered with a creamy rich sauce.

Pasta In Pan Seasoned

Last, add the shrimp to the pan and stir together shrimp, pasta, and broccoli. Garnish with some paprika for color and Voila!Now you are ready to enjoy this spicy, creamy delight!

jerk-shrimp-pasta-parmesan.jpg

Trust me, with this recipe, you will not feel like you are missing out on anything simply because you have to eat a gluten free diet!

Stay tuned for more because I have transformed many food favorites to gluten, nut, and soybean free. You don’t want to miss what’s next so follow this blog now so you don’t miss out!

 

 

Easy Last Minute Christmas Gifts 3…DIY Shower Smoothie!!

We’re continuing on in this series of fabulously frugal d.i.y. gifts. Today, I am finishing up this trifecta of goodies by showing how I make a luscious and rich shower smoothie. Lots of brands have shower gels on the market but this smoothie takes that to the next level. It has the perfect combination of cleansing, moisturizing, and fragrant goodness.

For this smoothie, you will need:

1/2 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup of pure unscented castile soap  (you can find it here)
1/2 cup of distilled water
Your favorite bar soap ( I always use Olay Ultra Moisture)
A grater
2 large bowls

Shower Smoothie Materials

Additional tools you’ll need are:

A measuring cup
Spatula
Hand mixer
Containers (Dispensers)

Shower Smoothie Materials2

In a large bowl, grate the bar of soap completely. Add the water to the grated soap and let it sit for a few minutes until it looks like this:

Shower Smoothie Soap

Because I’m all about smooth textures, I use the hand mixer to whip the soap and water mixture to eliminate the chunks and create a more smooth, fluffy texture.

Shower Smoothie Whipped Soap

Separately, I whip the coconut oil to remove any lumps. Since the coconut oil has a different consistency than the soap, whipping them separately will ensure its smoothiness.

Shower Smoothie Whipped Coconut Oil edit

Next, add the whipped coconut oil to the whipped soap mixture. Then add the castile soap. Whip all together until it’s one big batch of whipped fluffy goodness!

Shower Smoothie Whipped Mixture

Now you separate the the whipped shower smoothie in order to add the same soap grade premium fragrances that I used for the body butter and the scented candles. One heaping cap full is enough for each batch. Simply fold it in to the smoothie.

Shower Smoothie Fragrance

I found the perfect container/dispenser at my favorite budget buy location, Dollar Tree. These are actually nail polish remover dispensers found in the nail polish aisle. It dispenses this product perfectly.

Shower Smoothie in Container

It has a flip cap and has a nozzle that you simply push down to dispense.

Shower Smoothie Bottle Dispense

Now you are ready to gift someone one of the most luxurious shower experiences they’ve had all year! Look at all this lathery goodness the shower smoothie gives! It is sure to leave the skin clean, soft and moisturized.

Shower Smoothie Suds

Add this shower smoothie to the body butter and the scented candle and you have a complete gift set! Any one of these alone would make a great gift! Simply add on depending on how much you like the person to whom you are gifting :).

Shower Smoothie Gift Set

And there you have it folks! Simple and affordable gifts that won’t break the bank. Bookmark this page for anytime you need a quick gift idea that is sure to impress.

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Prosperous New Year!!

Stay tuned for more money saving fashion and d.i.y ideas….

 

 

Easy Last Minute Christmas Gifts Part 2….DIY Scented Candles

We’re putting together gift sets on a budget this week just in time for Christmas. Yesterday, I showed you how I make my simple hair & body butter. Today, we’re going to add in a candle that matches the scent of the body butter!

Now there are places where you can purchase wax beads for melting to create your own candles. However, I could not find anywhere near me that sold them that way so what I did was improvise. I was able to pick up a 100 pack of these votive candles for less than $5.00. Using the tip of the sharp knife, I was able to break them up quickly and easily. Conveniently, these little babies come with a metal tab needed to anchor the candle thread so I set a few of those aside for later use.

Broken Candle Pieces_edited-1

I found this waxed thread at Joann Fabrics. It’s just cotton thread coated in wax which is what you need for efficient candle burning. Because this thread is on the thinner side, I double the stands by twisting them together. The thicker the wick, the better it will melt your candle evenly.

Waxed Threads

I found these glasses at Dollar Tree (you should know that’s one of my favorite places) in the candle section. Since these are made for candle burning, they are a little heavier than a regular glass. You can also use a mason jar.

Candle Glasses

Because I am creating a matching scent gift set, I am using the same premium soap grade fragrances that I used in the body butter I showed you yesterday.

Candle Fragrance Bottles

If you want to add a little color to your candle, you can use a crayon which will melt perfectly with your wax. I didn’t have any crayons but I did happen to have some leftover colored candles which I will melt together with my wax.

Colored Candles

To ensure even burning, I am going to go with the two wick approach in this glass. I tied the thread to the metal tab and used a bit of melted wax to anchor the metal tabs on the bottom of the glass.

Candle Glass with Thread

You can use the double boiler method to melt your candle wax. I used this small pot on top of an inverted lid of a pot of boiling water. The heat created by the boiling water underneath was enough to melt the wax. I used a long wooden skewer to mix because it is disposable and won’t melt in the wax. At this point, you can add in your fragrance, I use about 3 cap fulls to get my desired strength of the scent.

Melted Candle Wax

Because I used wax to adhere the metal tabs to the bottom, it will move when you add warm wax to the glass. Simply use a pencil on top of the glass, wrap the excess wick around the pencil to hold the wicks in place.

Candle wick with pencil

Lastly, you let the wax cool, cut the excess string and you are good to go!

To add a little embellishment, (because if we’re not extra then we’re not enough) I added some sugar flowers and a faux flower to the outside of the glass.

Candle Decor

Now, you have another cheap affordable and beautiful gift in your set with matching scents.

finished candles2

But wait; I’m not done yet! Stay tuned for the last item that I’m adding to the set. You don’t want to miss this luxurious treat! 🙂

 

 

Easy Last Minute Christmas Gifts…DIY Hair & Body Butter

Since I always seem to be operating on a limited budget for gifts (and everything else), Christmastime is when I try to make a little go a really long way. Just like with every other special occasion, I’m not afraid to whip a little something up to create my own gift sets.

So up first, is this awesome, healthy and affordable hair & body butter.

Body Butter Kit

All you need is a hand mixer, 2 large bowls, a spatula, 16 oz of shea butter and 14 oz of coconut oil. Hopefully, you have some of these materials around the house already. I only had to purchase the shea butter and coconut oil. I was able to get the shea butter from my local beauty supply but if you have trouble finding it in your area, you can get some here. I bought the coconut oil from Aldi; you should be able to find it at any grocer in the cooking oil section.

In addition, you can choose to add some fragrance to your body butter. I usually order a few bottles of premium soap grade fragrance oils from here or here. They arrive quickly just 3-4 days after ordering. They work great for a variety of homemade gifts. You’ll see how I put these to further good use in upcoming blog posts ;).

This time I chose Honeysuckle Rose, Hibiscus Guava Fresca, Coco-Mango, and Magnolia Raspberry. They are a nice variety of fruity and floral and all smell great!

Fragrance Oils

I softened the shea butter using the double boiler method. You don’t want to use the microwave because that kills the very beneficial properties that the shea butter has. Using a microwave also makes it more difficult to control the level of meltiness. You want it to be the consistency of frosting and not liquefied. Coconut oil melts so easily, that all I had to do is stir it with a warm spatula to get the frosting like consistency-no double boiling needed.

It should look like this:

Softened Butters

Then you want to use the hand mixer to whip up the shea butter until it’s nice and fluffy. The mixing incorporates air into the butter and not only makes it appear a lighter color but changes the texture as well.

It should have the consistency of raw cookie dough like this.

Whipped Shea Butter

I whip up the coconut oil separately because it has a much softer consistency than the shea butter. Whipping it separately maximizes its fluffiness and eliminates lumpiness because chunky body butter is just no bueno.

It should have the appearance of whipped vanilla frosting like this:

Whipped Coconut Oil

Then you can combine both in the same bowl and whip it one last time until you get this beautiful fluffy concoction that looks good enough to eat. Don’t eat it by the way….

At this point you, you can separate the body butters in bowls in order to add the fragrance oil. I added about half the amount to each bowl and put two cap fulls of fragrance in each bowl. I simply folded the oil into the butter gently with a spatula careful not to lose any of the luscious fluffiness.

Combined Whipped Oils

I picked up a few 8 oz containers from Dollar Tree which would make this whipped butter the perfect gifting size. These just so happened to have red and green lids….how festive!

Containers

I added cute labels with the name of the fragrance on each of the lids and voila!

Completed Body Butter2

There you have it folks! You have a lovely gift that people flock to the malls for this time of year. However, the store bought version will cost more and will have a bunch of added ingredients that no one can pronounce.

Stay tuned to see what other goodies I will be adding to this super easy and affordable gift set!

This blog contains affiliate links.

Clean Snacks Reviewed! Which Snacks Are Best for Recovering Junk Food Addicts?

Ok, I must make a confession. I’m a snacker. I like snacks. As I attempt to become more and more health conscious, I may spend minutes upon minutes in the snack aisle of the grocery store scouring the ingredients and analyzing calorie, fat, and carbohydrate content. Even deciding between fried, baked, popped or freeze dried will make your head spin! So, what else is a confused, recovering fried potato chip person to do but attempt to make their own healthy snacks. Duh duh duh duhhhhhh!!!!

Ok, it wasn’t so bad but there were some clear hits and definite misses. And I’m hear to break it down for you so you can make the decision for yourself.

I may as well start with my favorite which happened to be one of the simplest:

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Chips

I was surprised at how easy and delicious this was and more perplexed by why I haven’t done this before! One potato yields a generous serving of potato chips. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus (source: http://whfoods.org). So, a snack thats delicious, simple and super nutritious?? Sign me up, baby!!

Ingredients:

1 medium organic sweet potato
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Using a mandolin or knife, slice into 1/16” to 1/8” round pieces…depending on the thickness preferred.

In a large mixing bowl, add sliced potatoes and oil, toss to coat.

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with non-stick foil, place potato slices next to each other until the cookie sheet is filled.

Bake for 20 minutes, turn potatoes over and bake an additional 20 minutes. If the edges are crispy remove from oven, if not, bake an additional 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy around the edges.

Allow potatoes to cool at room temperature. Chips will continue to get crispier as they cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


This next snack may seem basic but not only is it simple to prepare but it is very filling and delicious!!

Spicy Air Popped Popcorn

Spicy Popcorn

When I invested a whole $15 in an electric popcorn popper, I had no idea how valuable it would be in preparing a quick and satisfying snack. A bag of popcorn kernels is super cheap and darn near non perishable which makes it a no-brainer to keep it around. With all the scary things being said about microwaved popcorn (who didn’t grow up on that stuff??), I’m glad to have a healthier, almost as convenient option. “Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup; oil-popped popcorn has only 35 calories per cup. When lightly buttered, popcorn contains about 80 calories per cup. Popcorn is a whole grain, making it a good-for-you food. Popcorn contains fiber, providing roughage the body needs in the daily diet.” (source: http://www.popcorn.org) For a savory treat, I add coconut oil (instead of butter) and Tajin Classico Seasoning (picked it up at Aldi). It hits all the senses for a salty, spicy, crunchy snack!

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Popcorn Kernels
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
Season with Salt or Preferred Seasoning

Directions:
Add popcorn to electric popper. Melt coconut oil. After corn is popped, add coconut oil and seasoning. Enjoy!


So, now we make a turn to a less familiar territory. Snack beans. Don’t get me wrong, I love beans in it’s many forms: chili, refried beans, red beans & rice, lentil soup, hummus…the list goes on. However, when it comes to snack beans, I don’t think I’m quite ready for it yet but nonetheless, I tried.

Parmesan Garlic Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)

Garbanzo Beans

So, yeah, by now you know that I like my snacks savory and crunchy and honestly, this does meet those marks. I like parmesan. I love garlic. I like garbanzos. Now combining all these for a snack…..I’m not there yet. “Chickpeas are a type of legume that offer a range of health benefits. Chickpeas help to increase satiety, boost digestion, keep blood sugar levels stable, increase protection against disease and more. Chickpeas nutrition is a potent package of protein, vitamins and minerals, which is why they are often included in many healing diets .” (source: draxe.com) So yeah, I may toss these in a salad for a little variety and crunch but on its own…nahh.

Ingredients:
2 (14.5 Oz.) Cans Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans, Drained, Rinsed & Dried
2 Tbsp. Shredded Dry Parmesan
1 Tsp. Dried Crushed Rosemary
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
1/8 Tsp. Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with foil. Give the foil a light spritz of some non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Place the sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the chickpeas are crisp.

Carefully remove the sheet from the oven and set aside to cook slightly before serving.


Now here I go, trying to be fancy and delving into creating sweet snacks. I was born and raised in Chicago so Garrett’s Popcorn is the penultimate of a sweet, savory, crunchy snack to me. I’m sure I’d shutter at the nutrition facts of that popcorn and there’s no need to ruin it, its Garrett’s and when you pass one, you buy it, point blank. However, when you’re home and crave a sweeter popcorn, it’s great to be able to create one. Did this one hold up as a replacement????

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

peanut-butter-popcorn.jpg

Now, I like popcorn. I like chocolate. I like peanut butter and honey. All of these together, not so much. Now, in all fairness there’s probably a flaw in my execution. Apparently, there is a fine line between letting these sit while the crunch develops and letting it sit so long that it becomes stale, sigh…. Overall, I believe it has potential and with a few tweaks, it just may work so stay tuned for an update.

Recipe:

Heat 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1 teaspoon each vanilla extract. Stir until smooth; pour over 16 cups hot popcorn. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (you can sweeten this for enhanced flavor). Spread on baking sheets and let cool.