Perfect for the beach, the car or the couch
When Spring Break is in full swing you might find yourself with the daunting task of entertaining children of various ages for an entire week. This might mean that your family is enjoying a few uninterrupted days of relaxation during a “stay-cation,” or maybe you’re hitting the road for the beach or the mountains. Either way, you’ll need to find ways to keep your kids happy and fed, so why not find a way to do both?
Creative Spring Break snacks are the perfect way to occupy idle hands in the kitchen, or satisfy cravings on long road trips. From simple to savory, these snacks will feed the troops and fuel the fun.
On The Road: The days of fast food stops are long behind us. We have more opportunities to create our own road trip recipes, especially with kid-friendly dishes the whole family can create. After you pile your family into the car for your annual Florida trip, drive right past the gas station snacks and try out some of these homemade treats instead.
Sweet Popcorn Snax
On a long car ride, food is one of the best ways to keep minds distracted, hands busy and mouths occupied. This Sweet Popcorn Snax recipe from Clabber Girl’s kitchen is a lip-smacking, savory combination of sweet and salty.
10 cups popped corn (not microwaved)
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Whoopie Pies (Gluten Free!)
These soft mini cakes with creamy vanilla buttermilk filling can halt any backseat argument. Quell repetitive chants of “Are we there yet?” with a delicious car ride cake that is sure to please palates of all ages.
For the whoopie cakes:
1 1/4 cup rice flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder, dutched
2/3 cup tapioca starch
1 tablespoon xanthan gum-optional*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
For the filling:
8 tablespoons butter
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 teaspoons vanilla
2-3 tablespoons milk
In the Kitchen: If your family is staying put this Spring Break, kitchen activities are a great way to occupy kids of all ages. Cooking brings your family together, laughing over culinary concoctions that teach teamwork and creativity, along with reading and math skills.
You pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the kids’ lunches on a regular basis. Go a little crazy over Spring Break and turn the staple item into a cookie! Not only will you be serving them a protein-filled cookie, but it’s also gluten-free.
Chewy High Protein Carb-Busters Candy
Got a house full of high-energy teenage boys that need some wrangling this Spring Break? Put them to work in the kitchen making these healthy, yet tasty, high protein candy treats. An ideal snack for growing boys, these nuggets are chocked full of honey, nuts, cumin, chili powder and other delicious raw ingredients that wow the taste buds and boost the immune system.
2/3 cup honey
2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal, plain and unsweetened- any puffed grain cereal may be substituted*
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup roasted nuts-almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews or a combination
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon allspice
pinch of salt
To prepare, brush both the bowl and beaters of a stand mixer very lightly yet thoroughly with vegetable oil, and brush a 9 x 13 baking pan.
Mix the puffed rice, roasted nuts and spices together in the workbowl of the stand mixer. Add the peanut butter in chunks and mix on low to distribute. Do not worry about mixing thoroughly, that will happen when you add the honey.
Bring the honey to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Boil to the hard ball stage, 260 degrees on a candy thermometer. If you do not have a candy thermometer, once the honey has reached a full boil, continue cooking for a full four minutes. Immediately pour over the nut mixture in the workbowl. Pour slowly with the motor on low and be careful, this is very hot and will burn easily. When all the honey is added, turn the speed up slowly to mix evenly. Stop and scrape the bowl a few times to ensure even mixing.
Turn the mixture out into the prepared baking sheet and pack it in firmly with a spatula or your fingers. Let cool for a few hours and cut into bite size pieces.
Makes about 2 lbs of candy. Store airtight.
* Any puffed grain cereal may be substituted
Recipe by Mani Niall – Mix it up with Mani
Whether you’re home or away this Spring Break, we know one thing… it’s bound to be sweet!