Monday, August 14, 2017

After School Snacks






Okay, folks, time for some honesty. I rarely do after school snacks. When my kids get home from school, I'm either staring at my computer screen, taking a nap, or racing them home after some errands. I know, I have a really interesting life. But even though I stink at this, I occasionally turn out something pretty awesome. And I'm always happy when I do. So I'm writing this post to inspire all of us if inspiring is what we need. Many of these are simple. Many of them are even healthy. And I really should get better because my kids are always STARVING when they get home and usually end up scavenging through cupboards until they find some year-old marshmallows or some equally unhealthy and generally horrible option to munch on.

We'll go from healthiest to least healthy.



1. Sweet Potato Chips. My biggest problem with these is that I end up eating most of them off the pan and then no one else gets any. Also, know that slicing them is the hardest part--you gotta get em thin. But when you do, they're sooo delicious.



2. Kettle corn. Easy, quick, good. If you have brave eaters who are popcorn lovers, you could try this even healthier option for homemade popcorn--Curried Popcorn.



3. Homemade Larabars. These can be really filling, so don't serve them right before dinner. Also, they're quite sweet, so just know that.



4. Whole Wheat Banana Bread (or muffins). At this time of year, we always have tons of spotty bananas hanging around. Not into bananas? Try this awesome chocolate zucchini bread.

5. Sour Patch Grapes (pictured at top). Regular grapes are healthier, sure. But these are sooo fun. Also, they're a great way to use up sour or otherwise lousy grapes.

And if you're looking for that classic cookie recipe, here it is:



6. Katie's Chocolate Chip Cookies. Or--for a healthier version of that old classic, try these whole grain, lower sugar chocolate chip cookies

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Natural Gatorade




I guess I better confess and say that I can't exactly call this natural Gatorade because what is Gatorade exactly? It's like watered-down Koolaid with electrolytes mixed in, right? And this isn't really an natural version of that sugared, electrolyted drink. What it IS is water that's been pimped up with some natural electrolytes. 

That's right. I just told you that today's recipe is water. Maybe I should feel embarrassed about the state of my lameness, but the truth is that this drink is really very lovely and kind of addicting. I find that I now crave it when I've been out in the heat or had a really hard workout or both (nothing better after hot yoga). You get the hydration and the electrolytes without drinking a lot of sugars and/or sweeteners and food dyes. 

And I do feel that it has more oomph and helps me recover more quickly than plain water. Sometimes after a hot or hard workout, I get headaches and this seems to help with that. I'm not going to call it a miracle tonic, but maybe it kind of is. 

And is it dumb easy? Yes

And is it super cheap? Yes. ($.25 at its highest price compared to the $.99 of Gatorade)

And is it tasty? Surprisingly. 

Half the time when I take a swig of Gatorade, I want to spit it out. It just tastes so fake and almost thick to me. This natural Gatorade is just so refreshing. Note: If you drink Gatorade because you like sweet, red/blue/purple/orange drinks, then you won't get that sweetness from this drink and you might find that disappointing. This isn't sweet. It's a barely flavored water, but what it lacks in sweetness, it makes up for in refreshingness (totally a word). 

Now I'm going to warn you: In this drink I'll instruct you to add salt to your water. And you'll go, "Ew, gross. Who puts salt in your water?" Um, you do if you drink any type of Powerade or Gatorade or probably any other number of processed drinks (Gatorade checks in with a whopping 11% of your daily sodium intake--270 mg). But that's not the point. The point is that we're going to add salt, but this still won't taste salty. It's just a pinch. Even alone in the water, you probably wouldn't notice it, but with that lemon, it's actually a really nice complement. Just be sure to mix it in (or you'll get a somewhat nasty last swig of water). Also, you MUST use a natural salt. First of all, it supposedly has more benefits (the naturalists will tell you that iodized salt is really just a processed food), but perhaps even more importantly--it tastes better. There's not that little hint of iodine that you can sometimes taste in regular table salt.



Natural Gatorade
Cost: $.28
lemon: .25 (I can usually get my lemons for cheaper, especially from somewhere like an Asian market), salt: .03

2 C water
1 pinch (or 1-2 grinds) natural sea salt (I used pink Himalayan because I had a tiny sample from a market, but any natural sea salt will work)
juice from 1/2 lemon or lime

Mix it all together. Be sure to get the salt dissolved and mixed in (just stir it a few times) or you will taste a big swig of saltiness at the bottom. 

Drink it. That's right. It's not the rocket science of recipes, but try it. I'd love to hear what you think of it after a workout. If it works for you, leave a comment below. 

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