This has been a decidedly odd school year. Delayed start, a month on online learning, and now some are back in person, while others are online. My kids are online, and I’ve noticed that instead of three meals a day, they tend to graze for breakfast and lunch. This has caused me to change my shopping and cooking habits! Now I try to have some various snacks and things that they can grab on hand at all time. By making my own, I save money in the long run, and they avoid all the crazy preservatives that commercial snacks are loaded with!
Black-Eyed Pea Hummus
My kids looooooove hummus of any kinds, but this is a favorite.
- 3 cups cooked black-eyed peas (you can used canned peas or beans for this, but make sure to rinse them well!)
- ¼ cup tahini (available in most grocery stores now
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Cold water to thin the hummus to the desired consistency
Throw everything except the olive oil and the water in a food processor and pulse to combine. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Turn the machine off and check for seasoning. Add in salt, pepper, or more Cajun seasoning to taste. If you like it tart (we do!), add more lemon juice. Check for consistency, remembering that the hummus will tighten up in the fridge. If needed, add some cold water as the machine runs. This will keep for up to a week in the fridge and is great with homemade pita chips, tortilla chips, or veggies.
British Flapjacks with a Kick
In England, flapjacks aren’t pancakes. They are rolled oat bar cookies that are utterly delicious! I’ve added a couple of ingredients to add a little crunch and a kick.
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons gold syrup or maple syrup (Lyle’s golden syrup can be found at Central Market)
- 3 cups rolled oats (I use the quick oats for this – please don’t use instant!)
- ¼ cup mixed seeds – sunflower, pumpkin, flax, sesame, etc.
- ¼ cup chopped crystalized ginger
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Combine the butter, brown sugar, and syrup in a large saucepan or sauté pan. Stir occasionally until the butter and sugar have melted. Stir in the oats, seeds, and crystalized ginger and toss to coat well. Pour the oat mixture in an 8-inch square baking pan and spread out to about an inch thick.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the flapjack is light brown. Remove from the oven and cut into squares or triangles before allowing the flapjacks to cool completely in the pan.
Individual Cheese Balls
I don’t know about your kids, but my kids are part mouse. They LOVE cheese. Any kind of cheese. All kinds of cheese. These individual cheese balls are easy to portion and can be adapted to almost any taste!
- 1 8-ounce block cream cheese
- ½ cup whatever cheese you like (some of our favorites are Gruyere, aged Gouda, sharp cheddar, chevre, Boursin, and queso fresco)
- ½ cup add-ins (finely diced green onions, olives, bell peppers, bacon, dried fruit, cucumbers, mango chutney, ham or turkey, carrots, nuts and/or seeds, fresh/dried herbs… if you like it, try it!)
Mash together all ingredients in a large bowl and chill for about 30 minutes. Roll into individual balls about the size of a large marble and store in layers, separated by wax paper, in a flat, airtight container. If you want to get fancy, you can roll these in chopped nuts or herbs. My girls eat these with crackers, apple slices, bread sticks, or vegetables.
Some of our favorite combinations include:
- Gruyere, green onions, ham, and dried cranberries
- Sharp cheddar and sweet mango chutney
- Chevre, pistachios, bacon, tarragon, and dried apricots
- Boursin, red bell peppers, and cucumbers
- Aged Gouda, mixed fresh herbs, and slivered almonds
- Queso fresco, poblano peppers, and green onions