Back to School Snacks

This is the time of year that we are packing lunches and snacks for school lunches. It is easy to get in a rut of what we pack, so I thought I would give you a few of our family favorites. These are very versatile which I love. We used to buy rice crackers at Costco, but they come in a six pack, three of which have cheese. We are a dairy free family so I quit buying these crackers since I had to give away half of them. My girls were so sad when I stopped buying these crackers. I figured they couldn’t be that hard to make since the ingredients were very simple and straight forward. Just like I figured, these are super easy to make! The cheese rice crackers were a request from my oldest daughter. Since I love to experiment in the kitchen, I thought I would give powdered cheese a try for her. It worked beautifully and is fairly simple to do. All three of these recipes come together very quickly. I hope you enjoy these new recipes!

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Rice Crackers

Ingredients
1 C White rice flour
3 C water, divided
1 T Sesame seeds (optional)
¼ t Onion Powder, or any spices you prefer
¼ t Salt + more for sprinkling
¼ C Olive oil

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a small pot Combine the rice flour and 2 C water and bring them to a boil. Stir constantly until you have a sticky rice goop, then turn the heat off. The rice goop will be very thick and should be relatively smooth. Next, add the rest of the water until the rice goop is now about the consistency of baby rice cereal. Add your spices, salt, and sesame seeds in and mix well to combine. Using a spatula, scrape the rice mixture onto your prepared parchment paper and smooth out until it is about ¼ inch thick. I spray a 2nd piece of parchment paper with non-stick spray, place it on top and smooth the rice mixture out. One the mixture is even, drizzle the top with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 375° for 1 hour and 20 minutes. After the crackers have cooked for 20 minutes, take them out and cut them into desired shapes with a pizza cutter. Return them to the oven to complete their baking time. You will take the crackers out a few rows at a time as they are done. Place the finished crackers on paper towel to let dry. Bake in 5 minute increments until the rest of the crackers are done. They should be a light golden brown color and firm to the touch. Once the crackers are completely cooled and dry, store in an airtight container. If they get soft, just bake them again until they are golden brown and firm. This should only happen if they didn’t get cooked well the first round. These are great plain, will sun or nut butter, with cheese, hummus, or any other spread you can think of. Enjoy!

For Cheesy Rice Crackers, follow the recipe above. One you have sprinkled the top of the crackers with salt before baking, add the cheese. Then continue with the directions above.

umpalaRAIN cheese rice crackers

Cheesy Rice Crackers

Ingredients
1/2 C Daiya cheddar shreds cheese

Directions
Prepare a dehydrator tray with parchment paper. Place the Daiya shreds on the parchment paper and spread evenly. Dehydrate the cheese for 2-3 hours or until completely dry. If you do not have a dehydrator, I bet you could do this in the oven on 125°. I haven’t tried this so I can’t guarantee it will work, but I imagine it will. Please let me know if you try this and how it works. 🙂 Once the cheese is dried I place it on a plate for an hour with a paper towel on top and bottom of the cheese as this cheese is very greasy. Blend the cheese in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, food processor, etc. to make it into a powder. Once you have the cheese powder, continue with the directions above.

umpalaRAIN Fruit Snacks

Fruit Snacks

Ingredients
1/2 C lemon juice
2 T Water
1 C Fruit of choice *(I use frozen fruit and have done, blueberry, berry medley, tropical mix)
4 T Grass fed gelatin such as Great Lakes brand
3 T Sweetener of choice (I have used honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and stevia successfully)

Directions
Prepare a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.

In a pot on the stove, mix lemon juice, water, and sweetener of choice. Mix them well to combine and then add the fruit. Turn the stove onto medium-high heat and bring the liquid and fruit mixture to a rolling boil. Once it is a rolling boil, turn the heat off. Prepare your high powered blender and then put the fruit mix in the blender. Blend well until the fruit is liquified. Leave the fruit mix to cool down for 5 minutes. Once your fruit mix has cooled down, add the gelatin and blend quickly together until the gelatin has dissolved. Moving quickly, spread the fruit liquid into your prepared 9×13 dish being sure to spread the mixture evenly. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until firm. Once the fruit mixture is firm cut into squares with a pizza cutter or use any small cookie cutters. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy!

*Be careful what fruit you choose to use. If you pick fruit that has a lot of seeds (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.) the fruit snacks will be very seedy. My kids don’t like that at all, so either avoid those fruits, mix them with other non seedy fruits, or strain the seeds out of the mix before you add the gelatin.

Here is another cracker recipe I posted a few months ago for cheese crackers similar to cheese it’s. These should set you up well for you and your kids to have great, healthy, and simple snacks.

*There are affiliate links above for your convenience and helps support my blog 🙂 always be sure to check ingredients to be sure the items are safe for you.

Back to school- granola bars

I know that some of you have been back to school for several weeks now. My girls head back to school next Wednesday so we are, begrudgingly, getting ready for school to start. We all love being home together so the thought of the girls going back to school is sad, but we know it’s what is best for all of us. It is time to get back to a routine and let me get something done. While I LOVE having my girls home all the time, I get a whole lot of nothing done. My desk has been piling up for two months so it’s high time I get several hours each day to tick through my pile. One thing in my pile is preparing curriculum to teach live video classes for you all. I am so excited to be able to teach you, right from the comfort of your home and mine. Stay tuned for more on that soon. My email subscribers are the ones that get to sign up first so be sure to get on the list!

Baking is in full swing around here in preparation for my girls to go back to school. I like to be sure to have several quick grab snacks that are packed with healthy ingredients. It’s important that I am not feeding my girls junk so I typically make all of their snacks myself. These granola bars are packed full of healthy fats, protein, and omega 3’s. The original recipe for these came from my friend Alayne. I have since made them allergy friendly and tweaked some of the ratios. When I cut these, I make them pretty small as they are very filling. These are great for lunch boxes, after school snacks, and other on the go activities.

Sunbutter Granola Bars

Ingredients
½ C Raw sunflower seeds
1/2 C Unsweetened coconut flakes (for those who aren’t allergic)
3 C GF Oats
½ C Allergy friendly chocolate chips like Enjoy Life Brand
½ C Craisins
2 T Whole Millet
2 T Flax meal
2 T Chia seeds
3 T Pepitas
1 t Salt
1 t Cinnamon
¼ C Honey or maple syrup for my vegan friends
¾ C Brown Rice syrup
1 C Sunbutter
1 t Vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 350° Prepare an 8×10 baking dish with parchment paper and non-stick spray, set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients through cinnamon. Once well combined, add the remaining ingredients. Mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly until everything is well coated. It’s easiest to do this with a stand mixer, but you can do it by hand if necessary. Place granola bar mixture in your prepared dish. With a large piece of wax paper, press down mixture firmly until the whole pan is even. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Once mostly cooled, press down one more time with wax paper. Let completely cool on the counter or in the fridge. Cut into desired sizes. Wrap individually and keep in an airtight container. Enjoy!

*There are affiliate links above for your convenience and helps support my blog 🙂 always be sure to check ingredients to be sure the items are safe for you.

Plantains

Plantains have become one of my all time favorite snacks. They are so simple to make, taste so good, and are healthier than many other store bought snacks. I make these about 5 days a week. A few days ago, I posted these up on Instagram and my friend, Kathlena threw out a few fun new flavors to try. One of those flavors was chocolate and I just had to make them today. Check out Kathlena’s website: http://www.foodandlego.com she is an amazing chef with tons of recipes to offer. Enjoy these fun snacks yourself with the recipe below. I have also added my new favorite chocolate version as well. Happy New Year everyone!

Baked Plantains

Ingredients
1 Plantain, as green as you can find
Sea salt
Olive oil

Directions

Preheat your oven to 400°

Be sure to pick the most green plantain you can find. If you buy a plantain that is becoming yellow or is yellow these chips will be chewy and taste stale. YUCK! To get to the plantain inside the peel, slice the peel with a knife (be careful) to the flesh lengthwise in four places. Then remove the peel. Slice your plantain in thin slices about the thickness of a quarter. Lay your sliced plantains on a baking sheet in one layer. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Place the baking sheet in the oven on the middle rack for best results. Bake for 12 minutes, then flip your chips. After you flip the chips, bake at 4 minute intervals until all of the chips are done. They will all be done at different times as they aren’t all the same size. When they are done, they are a nice golden color and a bit crispy. They are over done if they are dark brown or under done if they are still floppy. The goal is to have these be more dried than cooked per se. Enjoy!

Chocolate Plantains

For the chocolate version seen below, follow all of the directions above, then melt your favorite allergy friendly chocolate. We always love Enjoy Life Foods, but look forward to trying Lily’s chocolate since it’s sugar free. Dip half of your baked plantains into the melted chocolate, place on parchment paper and then sprinkle with Pink Himalayan Salt. Oh my were these AMAZING! As always, Enjoy!

img_2198umpalarainchocolateplantains