Tag Archives: snacks

Cheering for Olympic Gold!

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I love the Olympics. I’m not much of a sports girl – I’ll watch hockey here and there {and cheer for the Canucks!}, but mostly just enough to keep up with the hockey talk with my guy friends. Other sports? No way. Football bores me to death unless I’m watching it live, and I’d rather poke my eyes out than watch basketball or baseball. But every couple of years the Olympics rolls around, and I become glued to it. There’s something about amateur sport on the world stage that gets me every time. It fascinates me, so much so that I am always checking the results online. I don’t have the patience to wait for the time-delay feeds on cable. This year I’m looking forward to sharing the Olympics with my daughter – she’s six, and just the right age to really understand it. And of course, we’ll be cheering for Team Canada!

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Using Augmented Reality to learn about our Olympic athletes is super easy. First, download the app – searching for ‘Blippar’ in the app store on my iPhone brought it up right away, and imagine it would be just as easy on Android devices. Second, find yourself a box of specially-marked General Mills products {Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Nature Valley granola bars and Gushers fruit snacks are just a few of the ones you can get}, and use the Blippar app to scan the box. And lastly, have some fun with the app when it recognizes the box and brings up all the info on the featured Olympian, and even some games and photo ops.

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An interesting side-note: My box of Honey Nut Cheerios featured Eric Staal of the Canadian Mens’ Hockey team, and it made me do a double-take. I had read about the final roster earlier this week and was sure I hadn’t seen his name on it. Sure enough, when I scanned his box, I ended up with info about figure skater Patrick Chan!

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Oh hey, check out the athletes in my house! Just kidding – look at that disaster behind Patrick Chan. No way would I have such important guests without making the place sparkle first! These are the photos my kids were begging me to take once they saw the photo feature. My six year old loved the games, too. I had to almost wrestle my iPhone out of her hands to upload the photos!

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I couldn’t just do a post about the Olympics without somehow tying it into a recipe! With all the fun cereal that General Mills sent to me for this campaign, I decided to whip up a little sweet and salty snack mix in honour of Team Canada. I even had a bag of red maple leaf sprinkles in my pantry that I was hoarding for the perfect Canada Day cupcakes.

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Sweet & Salty Snack Mix

6 ounces white candy melts (or white chocolate chips)
2 cups Cheerios (Apple Cinnamon was my choice!)
2 cups Chex
2 cups Lucky Charms
1 cup pretzel sticks
1 cup salted peanuts
Sprinkles of choice
sea salt, to taste

In a double boiler, melt candy melts until smooth. Meanwhile, combine cereal, pretzels and peanuts in a large bowl. Pour the melted candy over top and toss to coat. While still wet, sprinkle with your decorative sprinkles of choice. Add a pinch of salt if desired, to enhance the saltiness (depending on your pretzels or peanuts, this may not be necessary. Spread on a cookie sheet and let harden. After it has hardened, break it up and serve! Perfect for snacking while watching our Olympians strive for gold!

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Disclosure: I am part of the Cereal & Snacks Olympic Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on my blog are my own.

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

I love muffins, and so does my family. Muffins and loaves are usually what they ask for when I ask “what should I bake today?” Apple muffins are a particular favourite of mine, especially in the fall and winter when apples are plentiful and inexpensive compared to other fruit. And given that my children eat apples like they’re going out of style, which necessitates me purchasing them by the bag pretty much every week, apples are something I always have on hand. This recipe was inspired by an apple coffee cake that I made. I wanted to make it smaller, easier to send with Eliza for her morning snack at school and in my husband’s lunch, and I wanted to spice it up a little, and not just go with the usual cinnamon and sugar streusel. The result is this: a lovely apple muffin that is moist and tender, with just a hint of chai spice. Perfect to enjoy with a morning cup of tea as a special breakfast treat.

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

Normally I’m not a “healthify your recipes” kinda girl – when I want to indulge, I want to indulge, if you know what I mean. But given that my family loves baked goods so much, I like to tweak my muffins to make them just a little bit healthier, and do things like use whole-grain flours, applesauce, less sugar {and substitute honey when I can}. This recipe uses a couple of my standard baking tweaks – some whole wheat flour subbed for white, and applesauce instead of some of the butter. When I make better choices with my ingredients, it might not be a super healthy option but at least I feel a little less guilty when I grab one on my way out the door.

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

Spices:
1 tsp cardamom
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground star anise
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Batter:
Spice blend {less the reserved 3/4 tsp}
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted & cooled
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 small apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

Streusel:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp reserved spice blend
5 Tbsp cold butter

Prepare muffin tins, greasing or lining 18 wells with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, mix together spices – cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, anise, & cloves. Reserve 3/4 tsp of this mixture for the streusel.

In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the larger portion of the chai spices. Blend well.

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and eggs, whisking until smooth. Add yogurt and buttermilk, and mix until all the lumps are gone. Stir in butter and applesauce. Fold in dry ingredients until just combined, and then gently stir in the chopped apples.

To make the streusel, mix together brown sugar, flour, salt, and reserved spices. Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter or two knives, until well blended and crumbly.

Fill muffin cups half way with batter. Top with a spoon of streusel, and then fill with more batter. {Tip: Press the batter in gently so that it sticks to the batter on the bottom and the layers bake together, otherwise the muffins can fall apart.} Top with a generous sprinkling of streusel, and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Yield: 18 muffins

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Last Minute Valentine Treat

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I’m a procrastinator. And as I mentioned in my previous post, Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that just sneaks up on me. I’m never ready for it, so everything I do is pretty much whipped together once I realize that February 14th is less than a week away. Some year I will be more organized, but 2013 is not going to be that year, at least not for Valentine’s Day. {On the other hand, I have already started gathering ideas for St. Patrick’s Day!} Thankfully, my kids are easily impressed, so making them feel special doesn’t require a whole pile of planning on my part.

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I first made this candy popcorn a couple years ago, when Eliza was in preschool and we were able to send treats for her classmates. This was yet another project that came at the last minute {the night before, if I recall correctly!}, so I promise you that you can make it in minutes, and everyone will be impressed. You can fancy it up easily, too – nuts, sprinkles, M&Ms, cinnamon hearts would all go very nicely into the recipe. I did not have any of those lovely additions on hand yesterday when I found the requisite colours of candy melts in my pantry, otherwise I would have added them. In fact, I thought I had red, pink & white heart sprinkles, but apparently my 5 year old has been requesting them on her ice cream as of late, and the bottle was all but empty. So much for that idea. Maybe next year, if I remember in time to buy them!

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Super Easy Candy-Coated Popcorn

Popped popcorn
Candy melts (~1oz per heaping cup of popped popcorn)
Salt

Place your popcorn in a large bowl. In a double boiler or a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water, melt candy melts. {Tip: if you are doing white, pink and red, start with the white, then pink, then red last and you won’t have to wash your double boiler between batches!}

Drizzle candy melts over popcorn, and gently stir with a spatula to coat. Sprinkle a little salt as you stir if you like your popcorn salty & sweet.

Spread popcorn on a parchment-covered baking pan, and let sit for an hour or so, until candy coating has set. Break apart gently with your hands, since the pieces will have stuck together.

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