It’s not quite time for one of those square meals of the day and I can feel my stomach rumbling. We have been cleaning, clearing, chopping, corraling, and contemplating the land lately; and with so much more time outside doing hard work, we are hungry homesteaders! I personally really enjoy baking and take a pride in knowing all of the ingredients that go into our food. So I have crafted many healthy snacks for me and my family to enjoy with simple, local, organic, whole grain or fresh ingredients. These are some of our favorite recipes for easy to grab and healthy snacks.
Baking is one of my favorite things to do and it very often becomes a meditative practice with weighing and measuring and stirring in my kitchen. And when it comes to feeding my growing girls, my husband, and myself, I always want the healthiest and best ingredients. So, that means locally grown, organic , and whole grains for us whenever possible. I have even taken our favorite recipes and transformed them from processed white sugar sweet treats to natural or less processed sugars. These are delicious and simple snacks that can often be made from a few household ingredients or things you can budget into your weekly meal planning.
1. Quick breads and muffins
I often make seasonal breads and muffins and try to use up those leftover browning bananas or fruits that we’ve frozen from the abundance of summer. Often I can throw all the ingredients into the mixer and then drop it into muffin tins or a loaf pan and soon the house smells like a bakery and bellies are filled with a mid morning snack. We like to mix up what flours we use or sometimes work with flourless or gluten free quick breads. This is a nice recipe to start with and you only need about 7 ingredients that you can usually find in your cabinets (plus add-ins). My advice is to find your favorite recipe and begin to play around with whole grain flours or mix different whole grain flours to add more nutritional value. Substituting 25-50% of the all purpose flour in a recipe with whole wheat is a great starting point.
We use a stovetop popper and making the popcorn is most of the fun! We love this because we can use whatever kind of popcorn (organic or locally grown!) we desire and the flavor combinations are pretty infinite. We usually just use a touch of salt or melted butter, but herbs with grated cheese or caramel corn are special treats in our house. OK, so you do have to stand over the stove for maybe 5-10 minutes, but our hand popper is fast and efficient. You can find your own WhirleyPop Popcorn Popper or use another method of popping that corn.
3. Whole wheat cookies and brownies
These usually take a few minutes to mix and drop into a pan or onto a cookie sheet. When I’m really excited about cookies, I’ll double the batch and cook some, freezing the rest of the dough for later. That added healthy bonus of a whole grain or whole wheat doesn’t change the delicious flavor and often makes for a richer treat! We often make something close to THIS recipe and swap out a stick of butter for a 1/2 cup of applesauce and use one less egg for a lower fat and healthier whole grain adaptation of a really lovely brownie. Last week we made brownies with our homemade maple sugar for a FANTASTIC creamy and less processed brownie! YUMMY!
Good old raisins and peanuts. We have found organic raisins to be one of nature’s best sweet treats! Mix them up with some organic unsalted dry roasted peanuts and you have a great snack mix for taking on a walk with a kid and a farm dog.
This one is pretty customizable for everyone in your family. It is my favorite to make and our recipe usually includes: flaxseed meal, ground walnuts and ground almonds, raisins, dried papaya, and our homestead maple syrup.
Amy’s Granola Clusters
- 3lbs Old Fashioned Oats (Organic or Gluten Free)
- 3 to 4 cups of chopped nuts and/or seeds (we do 1 1/2 cups walnuts, 1 1/2 cups almonds and a 1/2 cup of flaxseed meal
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup honey or maple syrup or 2 cups of brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups butter, oil, or coconut oil (or combination)
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups raisins
- 1 cup chopped papaya (or combination of your favorite chopped or bite sized dried fruits)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Grind About 2 lbs of the oats into a fine flour in the food processor.
Combine all oats (ground and unground), nuts, and spices in a very large bowl.
Combine honey (or maple syrup or sugar) with butter (or preferred oil) and water and heat in a saucepan until the butter melts and the mixture becomes bubbly.
Stir sea salt and vanilla into the pot and remove from heat.
Pour the saucepan mixture over the oat, nut, and spice mixture and mix so that everything is evenly coated.
let sit for 10 minutes to soak.
Spread mixture evenly onto 2 cookie sheets and pinch into clumps and clusters.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Remove from oven and stir and mix the granola clusters, turning them over and moving clusters on the outside to the inside of the pan.
Rotate pans and switch from top to bottom racks and bake again for 15 minutes.
Repeat rotating and switching and stirring once more and maybe do an additional 15 minutes in the oven for well done granola clusters.
Add the dried fruits at this point and distribute evenly throughout the 2 pans of granola.
Enjoy immediately! Or Store granola in the fridge or freezer for snacking later!