Baby Kale Chips

Can't wait to get them on a plate!

Can’t wait to get them on a plate!

It’s been weeks since I’ve had a chance to post on here.  My husband is working for a new restaurant and he’s working 14 hour days/6 days a week.  (Well, even his one day off he’ll still do food ordering, and other odds and ends.  Hey, better than being unemployed!)  After most of the past year having him around, I’d gotten quite used to it and now I’m back to doing all the parenting (after 8:15 AM) alone as well as cooking, cleaning, laundry, lawn mowing, shopping and my other job.  Oh, and the volunteer stuff I still do. Oh, and a kid home each day for 3 days last week after a 4 day weekend.  And, my son who’s not willing to get to school most days– at least on time.  So, all I’m saying is that it’s been a bit tough to sit down and write.  (Or I’ve got a fairly good excuse!)

I have been cooking and baking more now that my professional chef husband is out of the kitchen.  I’ve created a couple new things but mostly done many stand-by’s.  Those who are familiar with my blog might recognize some of the snack foods I’ve been making, but sometimes I like to change it up a bit. One such way, using baby kale when I make kale chips.  The boys gobble it up this way and I have done it 3 times in 2 weeks.  

I notice the taste of the kale is milder.  Maybe that’s why even my pickiest son will eat this faster and in larger quantities than normal (full-grown) kale chips.   It’s a very kid-friendly healthy snack!    


For these I just use a tiny bit of olive oil, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.  (Sometimes I’ll use a spray oil which gives a perfect mist.) I roast them in batches at 375F until they’re papery and crisp.  It is important not to use too much oil or they’ll burn or be too soggy.  I just put a couple drops on top of a handful in a large mixing bowl with the salt and pepper.  Toss it around and even rub the oil onto the leaves.  Line a cookie sheet with the kale so they’re only 1 layer.  

I can’t bake them fast enough!



New Snack Ideas- Oloves & DipIn

 I was recently sent some packs of Oloves brand olives and DipIn dips. 

Oloves & DipIn

Oloves & DipIn

While we were with friends and their children we broke out the different varieties to taste– 3 Oloves pitted green olive packs: “Tasty Mediterranean” (with basil and garlic), “Lemony Lover” (with lemon and garlic), “Hot Chilli Mama” (with habanero chillies {sic}) and 3 DipIn dips- Black Olive Tapenade, Pepper & Artichoke Brucschetta, and Classic Hummus.   Oloves come in little snack packs that are perfect to stick into lunch bags or to have as a quick, convenient snack. 

The boys (there were 5 boys six to twelve years old) and the parents (except my youngest son who refused to try the olives) liked all the Oloves.  I think the overall favorite was the Hot Chilli Mama which had just enough heat for most of us spice lovers and not too much for my spice-averse middle son.  The second favorite was the Lemony Lover.  The lemon gave the olives a pleasant hint of tartness but didn’t overpower them.  The packs are wonderful to toss into a child’s backpack.  IMG_4791 IMG_4790 Continue reading

Healthy Nut-free Snacks

Although a few weeks left in summer vacation, our town is starting to talk about going back to school and we parents can’t wait to see who our children will have for teachers.  The packets were supposedly coming last week, then we were told probably by the end of next week.  It’s such a big deal to many– not only in getting a good fit with teacher to your child but also to see who of your child’s friends will be in class together.  But I’m always hoping we don’t get the “your child’s class is a nut-free class” letter.  Luckily my children don’t have any food allergies, but we still have to be considerate of those that do.  Especially dangerous ones that can give a reaction just in tiny amounts, like nuts.  But, since my two youngest love peanut butter and since my youngest is super picky, it’s not the easiest to find snacks that they’ll eat.  



Here’s a list of some healthy snack ideas that are nut-free: Continue reading

Back to school soon… snack ideas

My kids are lucky.  They have no known food allergies, but of course going to school, they must be considerate of others who aren’t as lucky.  All the class snacks and my soon-to-be kindergartner’s lunches must be nut-free.  Sometimes they have to be free of dairy, soy, egg, and seafood, depending on the classroom. We get a list of nut-free foods that are safe to serve from the school nurse, but I always find so much junk on it.  So I create my own list, which you can find some of below and in full here.

I find that fresh fruits (squeeze a little lemon juice in some cool water to keep the brown away) and vegetables are easy and safe.  My middle son loves to dip his peppers, celery and carrots in organic ranch dressing.  Whereas my youngest son loves hummus for dipping in carrots and pita chips… or even his fingers. 

I often make popcorn at home either on the stove using canola, olive or grapeseed oils or in the microwave using a brown paper bag and oils.  I’ll season with real melted butter and salt or my own spice mixture.

Here are more snack ideas for school:

More Nut-Free Snacks*


Black Beans, Pinto Beans, etc.

Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans- plain or roasted with Moroccan spices


Sugar Snap Peas

Snow Peas

Green Beans

Sweet Potato

Sliced Bell Peppers

Cherry or Grape Tomatoes


Roasted Beets or Trader Joe’s Ready to Eat Beets

Lentils – Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils

Raw/Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)

Sunflower Seeds

Mandarin segments in juice (not syrup)


Cheeses- TJ’s mini brie, mini goat cheese, sliced cheddar, organic cheese sticks, sliced muenster

Kafir milk or Lassi

All natural yogurts without hormones like Stoneyfield or Trader Joe’s, Brown Cow, Whole Foods, Horizon

Trader Joe’s yoyo squeezers Stoneyfield or Horizon tube yogurt (freeze to keep cold or as frozen morning snack)

Hard-Boiled Eggs with sea salt

Devilled Eggs

Applegate Farm salami, ham, chicken or turkey

Applegate Farm sliced cheeses


Brown Rice




Pasta (whole wheat, brown rice, etc) served cold or in thermos warm

Triscuits or Trader Joe’s Woven Wheat Wafers

Popcorn (can pop on stove or in brown bag in microwave)

Oatmeal (served warm in thermos)

Kashi Shredded Wheat (vanilla, cinnamon)     

Finn Crisp Thin Rye Crispbread

Lundberg Brown Rice or Wild Rice Cakes

Wasa Rye Cripsbread Varieties

Ryvita Rye Varieties

Kashi Heart to Heart Whole Grain Crackers (Original & Roast Garlic)

Trader Joe’s Rice & Bean Chips

Trader Joe’s Veggie & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips

Happy Herbert’s Sesame Snack Sticks

Canned/Dried Fruits & Sauces

Organic Raisins, curents

Dried Plums


Mission Figs

Organic Dried Cranberries, Blueberries, Cherries, apple Rings, or Mangoes

Dried Unsulfured Apricots

Vermont Village Applesauce

GoGo Squeez Applesauces

Nature’s Child Grape or Berry Squeezers

Trader Joe’s Crushers

Trader Joe’s Fruit Leathers

Archer Farms Organic Fruit Strips, Bars or Pull Apart Peels

Fruitabü Organic Smooshed Fruitrolls

Trader Joe’s Fruit Flakes

Trader Joe’s Fiberful Fruit Bars

Clif Kid Organic Twisted Fruit Rope

Trader Joe’s Freeze Dried Mangos, Bananas, Grapes or Strawberries

Roasted Seaweed Snack (TJ’s or Costco)


Also homemade nut-free Leftovers!


*I need to update this list, as many new items that are gluten-free and/or nut-free are available since I wrote this. 


Nut Free Snacks

So it’s back to school time for everyone around here.  Our school year began with a delay created by the havoc Hurricane Irene wreaked.  She left so many trees down across roads and power lines which in turn left 98% of our town without power —and running water (we have wells that are powered by electricity).  The sound of generators running throughout the day and night got to me, maybe partly out of jealousy for those who wouldn’t be throwing the contents of their freezers out.  Then just into the new school year my middle son had his tonsils and adenoids removed (we’d made the appointment in May and didn’t know he’d only have 2 days of school, but thought it better to do it then instead of when the curriculum really kicked in.) He will be better for it as his tonsils were disgusting.  He was off from school for a week and needed much TLC.  The day he went back to school I pulled my other 2 out for a dentist visit. 

So today, Monday, I finally feel like school has begun.  I will get things done!  Yeah right.  So much to do.  Laundry, of course.  Sorting clothes to donate, cleaning cluttered office, regular household chores, continue working on potential new clients’ portfolio, begin marketing new business, getting Cooking Club labels printed, start grilling vegetables for ratatouille, finalizing Cooking Club dates, write a pitch & bio… Hmm, what am I missing.  I’m sure there’s something!  Oh, reply to all the emails that are piling up.

Most importantly I have finished the list of snacks here for parents at our school to counter the one our school nurse sent out.  It gave me shivers that so much junk was on the suggested snack list.  It is not easy to convince people that foods labeled with health claims are not actually healthful. 

My list is not faultless, it has better alternatives.  The brightly colored yogurts that I see in the stores targeted toward kids are full of artificial colors, sugar and may contain growth hormones.  So, while I do give a suggested contrast with other yogurts, I realized they aren’t perfect but this is the world we live in. 

I hope to get part of my To Do List done now. Funny, how I get joy from things like shopping on my own and accomplishing some order in my house.

My list was adapted from a wonderful site for living without processed foods.

Preparing for the storm

We are in the direct line of Hurrican Irene. 

I spent the past few days in Rhode Island with the boys boogie boarding and having a blast with friends on a much needed mini vacation.  Now, it’s time to hunker down and get ready.  Put toys and all our stuff away outside.  Now going to get my shared harvest, more batteries, and some bread.  I’ve got apples, pears, watermelon, roasted kale chips, roasted seaweed from Trader Joe’s and lots of nuts.  All healthy long-lasting foods that I won’t need to worry about our electricity being out for a week.  Hopefully it won’t be.  We do have our grill and a propane stove in case! We also have lots of books and games.  Actually looking forward to no TV, internet and just being together.

Stay safe all of you on the East Coast!  Wish us luck in riding out the storm with little damage and all remaining safe. Hope to stay in touch!