Dragonfly Home Recipes

Recipes, Photography, Musings

Category: Snacks (page 1 of 4)

Special K Energy Bites

Are you tired of snacking on foods with too many empty carbs?  These energy bites have lots of protein and other good vitamins and minerals to help carry you through your busy day.  I call them Special K energy bites because in addition to peanut butter, honey, oats, chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds, they contain Special K cereal.  Rich and peanut buttery with a slight crunch, these energy bites are a great combination of healthy and pleasingly delicious.

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Apple Crunch Bars

Are you bored with your breakfast and snack choices? These apple crunch bars are the perfect way to change things up a bit while still delivering great nutrition and deliciousness.  A base and topping of oats, pistachios, brown sugar, and whole wheat flour surround a cozy apple-cinnamon filling for a healthy treat that tastes like a cross between an apple granola bar and a bite of apple crisp.

apple crunch barsI posted a recipe for cranberry almond bars about a year ago, and these apple crunch bars are similar to those, except for the obvious change in filling, and this time I used pistachios in the topping instead of almonds. The filling is a version of my basic homemade applesauce recipe, and the base and topping are loosely adapted from a recipe I found in Real Simple magazine in September of 2015.

apple crunch barsI love these apple crunch bars! The apple-cinnamon combination is always so cozy and comforting, especially when the apples are bubbling away in a pot on the stove.  And the crunch mixture is so tasty, so full of salty-sweet flavor from the pistachios and brown sugar, with such a crunchy, crumbly texture that mixes so well with a fruit filling.  They really are a great breakfast choice, snack, or even a guilt-free dessert, if that’s what you are looking for.

apple crunch barsIn a few days (I can’t believe it is coming up so quickly!) my family will be celebrating Thanksgiving.  It is the time of year when we consciously think about what we are thankful for, about gratitude.  I recently checked out a book from the library about the spirituality of gratitude, because it is something I want to cultivate more deeply in my life.  It is easy to be grateful when things are going well, and more challenging to feel gratitude when things don’t go our way, or when we are struggling.  I am enjoying (though it is sometimes really hard!) going further into this practice.

I was raking leaves yesterday afternoon, and our dog kept sitting right in the middle of the tarp I was using to drag the leaves to the back of our property.  Then when I finally got him off of the tarp, he would run alongside me as I was dragging it and either step on it or grab it with his mouth and start tugging.  He didn’t want me to get anything accomplished!  He wanted those leaves to fly and scatter with the wind.  I love that about our dog.  I hope you all have a great weekend! Antonia @ Zoale and Petra @ Food Eat Love are co-hosting Angie’s Fiesta Friday this week, and I look forward to sharing this recipe over there.apple crunch barsapples and peelsthree apples

Apple Crunch Bars

  • Servings: 12 bars
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Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 3 medium sized apples, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of water

For the base and topping:

  • 1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of pistachios, shelled (raw almonds or walnuts may be substituted, if desired)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt (optional)
  • 8 tablespoons (or 1/2 cup or 1 stick) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar, packed

Directions:

For the filling:

Wash, peel, and dice the apples.  Place them in a small or medium pot, along with the vanilla, cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of water.  Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are tender.  Let the filling cool slightly, then mash it with a potato masher so it becomes somewhat smooth.  Let it cool while a bit more and the filling will thicken a bit as it cools.

For the base and topping:

While the apples are simmering, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line an 8 inch square baking dish with two crisscrossed pieces of parchment paper, leaving an overhang of paper on all sides, pressing the paper down inside the dish.

In a blender or food processor, pulse or puree the oats, whole wheat flour, pistachios, baking powder, and salt until finely ground. Transfer to a medium sized mixing bowl.  Stir in the brown sugar.  Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the butter and continue to work it in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs about the size of a pea, and everything is well combined.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the crunch mixture for the topping.  Press the remaining crunch mixture into the baking dish, using a straight-sided glass or measuring cup to pack it down evenly.

Spread the apple filling over the bottom crust, distributing it evenly.  Scatter the reserved 1/2 cup crunch mixture evenly over the top.  Bake until golden, and set in the middle about 35 to 45 minutes.

When it is done, let it cool completely (the cooler it is, the better the bars will hold their shape–I can’t always wait till it’s totally cooled!).  Then, holding the overhanging parchment paper, lift the crunch out and transfer it to a cutting board and cut with a sharp knife into twelve bars. Enjoy!

Black Bean-Mango Salsa

Black beans, mango, and corn make up the main part of this colorful salsa.  Cilantro, red onion, mint, lime juice, and honey add irresistible flavor.  Packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, this salsa is a beautiful, healthy, and tasty addition to any table.  Top a salad with it to add nutrition and flavor, or spoon it onto tortilla chips, or as in my photos, try it with crispy polenta discs. Or just take a spoon and eat it straight!  Either way, it is delicious!

black bean-mango salsaIf left to my own devices, I would probably eat way too much bread and cheese.  So it’s really nice when I can find a super-healthy, clean eating recipe that I love, a dish that can energize my body and help me work hard and stand strong.  The balance of flavors in this salsa is wonderful.  A bit of sweetness from the mangoes and honey is mixed with a bit of zing from the lime juice and cilantro.  It is a great snack, salad topper, or side dish.

black bean-mango salsaI adapted this recipe from my husband’s beloved “Thrive Energy Cookbook” by Brendan Brazier.  I was drawn to it because my grocery store has had mangoes on sale for the past couple of weeks, so we have had mangoes in our fruit bowl waiting to be used.  Now that I have found this salsa, I expect it will become a regular in our rotation, because it is so delicious, easy, and versatile.  I used thawed frozen corn instead of fresh, and substituted honey and olive oil instead of the agave nectar and hemp oil called for in the Thrive recipe.

The days and evenings of this month have been very full.  I have not posted as often as I would like to.  It’s not that I haven’t been in the kitchen–quite the contrary!  I just haven’t gotten the photos or the recipes organized.  But that is about to change.  I am about to get back on track.  Recently, I started playing the piano again, after almost three years away from it.  Since my dad died, I have been unable to touch the piano.  I think it has something to do with the emotions released when playing the piano.

black bean-mango salsaIn any case, although I am very rusty, it feels good to have that part of my life back again, and I know my dad would be glad about it too.  I stumbled across a really pretty song that I am now working on, called The Dance, written by Tony Arata.  Apparently, Garth Brooks also is known for singing it.  I am not usually a country music aficionado, but this song really caught me.  The melody is so beautiful, and the words….they are a good reminder.  We don’t always know how things are gong to turn out.  Sometimes it’s better that way, otherwise we may not take risks or go for our dreams.  If we try to avoid heartbreak, disappointment, or failure, we might miss out on the things that make life worth living.  “Our lives are better left to chance….I could have missed the pain…but I’d have had to miss the dance.”  It’s not like we haven’t heard this message or something similar to it before, but when it is put to music in a beautiful song, sometimes it’s like hearing the message for the first time again.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and enjoy the beautiful fall colors if you live in an area like mine, where the leaves are just starting to turn beautiful shades of red and gold.  And if you try this salsa, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do here!  I’m sharing this recipe at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Julianna @ Foodie on Board and Zeba @ Food For The Soul.black bean-mango salsablack bean-mango salsa

Black Bean-Mango Salsa

  • Servings: about 3 cups
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cooked or rinsed canned black beans
  • 1 cup of mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup of sweet corn kernels, fresh or thawed from frozen
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, finely diced
  • a handful of fresh cilantro leaves, torn and stems removed
  • 3 or 4 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir gently and thoroughly.  Best served immediately, but can also be kept tightly sealed in the refrigerator for up to a week.  Use on top of salads, with tortilla chips or polenta discs, or however you like. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from the Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier.

 

Radish-Herb Spread

The fresh and bright flavors in this radish-herb spread will liven up any cracker or piece of bread.  Crunchy radishes, savory chives and dill, and creamy Greek yogurt combined with Feta cheese make up this delicious spread.  Add excitement to a lunch or take it to a party, and indulge in some garden freshness and protein-rich goodness!

I am so enjoying radishes this spring.  They are like a breath of fresh air, and they add life to everything they touch.  This radish-herb spread is no exception.  The fresh radishes and herbs, combined with the tangy creaminess of the yogurt and cheese, make it full of flavor, yet not too heavy.  Spread it on crackers or bread, or use it as a dip with tortilla chips and vegetables.

radish spreadThere has been a lot going on since I last posted, including two spring snowstorms, two weekend getaways for spring break, and a birthday for my son, among many other things.  While most people around here prefer to go south for spring break, we went on two mini vacations, first a couple hours west, and then a few hours northwest.  And while it would have been nice to lie on a beach in a bikini in the sun, sitting in an outdoor hot tub while the snow swirled around us and landed in our hair was truly exciting and refreshing.

Walking through the snow along Lake Michigan on a cold sunny day, while the waves crashed majestically beside us, was beautiful and invigorating. Sometimes the most memorable times occur during the most challenging weather, and sometimes you don’t need to get very far away to feel like you are in another world.

And now the weather is turning warm, finally.  Warm enough that we can start thinking about our gardens again, which brings me back to radishes.  They are just so refreshing and invigorating, much like a cold walk on the beach.  And they look like jewels.  I have been adding them to salads a lot lately, and now this delicious spread.  And the chives are from our very own garden–one of the few plants that thrives in the early spring–snow, frost, or shine.

radish spread with vaseThe natural beauty of fruits and vegetables continues to amaze me, and maybe that’s partly because the seasons are always changing, and the plant life reflects the seasons. I always feel so contemplative, so wistful, when my kids have birthdays.  Growing children are such poignant representations of the passage of time, the cycle of life, always changing.  I hope you all have a great weekend! Savor the spring!  There is a Fiesta Friday going on at Angie’s, co-hosted this week by Julie @ Hostess At Heart and Ashley @ Too Zesty, and I am sharing this spread with the talented bloggers there!radish spread in sunny windowradish spread in sunny window 2radish spread 2-1

Radish-Herb Spread

  • Servings: about 2 cups of spread
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup of traditional, unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 4 radishes, finely chopped

Directions:

Wash and finely chop the chives, dill, and radishes. In a bowl, stir together the Feta cheese and the Greek yogurt.  Add the herbs, radishes, and salt.  Stir again to completely combine. Adjust the seasonings if desired.  Use the spread on crackers, bread, or as a dip for tortilla chips and vegetables.  Enjoy!

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Bites

These little cookies hit the spot if you are looking for something sweet, yet full of protein and nutrition.  Peanut butter and oats give the cookies lots of nutrients, taste, and texture, and they are easy to eat as a satisfying snack or dessert.  These peanut butter-oatmeal bites are going so quickly around here, next time I make them I’m going to double the recipe!

peanut butter cookies 3-5With my kids’ spring sports schedules starting, I am once again looking for snacks that taste good, can be eaten quickly, and that also have nutrients to give my active kids good energy.  I am very happy with this recipe, which I adapted from one in my Dr. Cookie Cookbook by Marvin Wayne and Stephen Yarnall.  There’s just enough sweetness from the brown sugar to make the cookies taste like a treat, but enough substance to make them more than just sweet.  If you are looking for an easy, protein-rich cookie, this is a great recipe to try.

peanut butter cookies 2-1It is the very last day of March today, and I must say I am really looking forward to April!  Although it’s still chilly here, it’s such a great time to be outside, with the fresh wind, green grass, and trees and bushes budding.  The spring peepers have been peeping really loudly at night, and I love to sleep with the window cracked open so I can listen to those frogs all night long.  There is a feeling of new life and excitement in the air–I can sense it just from watching the birds in the sky.

Yesterday evening, I picked our first herb of the season–chives to chop and put on top of our macaroni and cheese.  I had forgotten how convenient and fresh it is to walk outside and snip some herbs to add to our dinner.  Soon there will be more and more things growing and blossoming, and more and more recipes to make!  In the meantime, these little peanut butter-oatmeal bites are tiding me over very nicely.

I hope you all have a great weekend! I’m going to take a plate of these cookies over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #113, co-hosted by two bloggers whose blogs I really admire:  Sonal @ Simplyvegetarian777 and Laurie @ ten.times.tea.peanut butter cookie doughpeanut butter cookies 3-9

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Bites

  • Servings: about 24 cookies, depending on size
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Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of natural peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large mixing bowl, vigorously stir the egg, brown sugar, butter, peanut butter, and vanilla until well combined.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to to wet ingredients, and stir until well combined.

Drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet, about 12 cookies per baking sheet.  Bake in your 350-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cookies are golden.  Cool the cookies on a wire rack.  Repeat until all the cookies are baked. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from the Dr. Cookie Cookbook by Marvin A. Wayne and Stephen R. Yarnall.

 

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