How to make homemade microwave popcorn

18 healthful snacks, better for you, better for your wallet

It’s hard to resist the urge to snack, especially when those mid-afternoon cravings hit and dinner is still hours away. If there are kids in the picture, then snacks are almost a necessary part of the day’s meal plan.

When you choose healthful, whole food snacks you don’t have to feel guilty when you reach for a quick bite to eat between meals. Best of all, you can save a lot of money by passing up the potato chips and packaged snacks for simple, homemade snacks that are better for you and better for your wallet.

healthy snacks simple bites

 

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sunbutter header image 3

Homemade Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter

Over the years, I’ve spent a goodly amount of time dabbling in homemade nut butters (several of my favorites are in my first cookbook, Food in Jars).

I really enjoy taking a product that’s most often brought home from the store and translating it into something I can make at home. It’s an added bonus that the homemade version is almost always fresher, made with better ingredients, and contains less sugar.

roasted sunflower seeds

My most recent batch was inspired by a comment a friend made online recently. Her daughter’s favorite sandwich was Nutella on whole wheat bread but her new school had a strict nut-free policy (understandable with all the allergies kids have these days). They were looking for a lunchbox replacement but were coming up empty.

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homemade whole wheat hotdog buns

How to make soft whole wheat hot dog buns

June is the month when we air out our camping gear and study the calendar for the perfect weekend to pack up and spend a few days in nature.

Whether you are pitching a tent in the backyard or camping on a pebbly lake shore, cooking over an open fire is such a fun family experience. We generally stick to real food camping meals, but once in a while it’s fun to roast a sausage on a stick and wrap it in a soft bun. For our (mostly) whole foods family, this takes a bit of planning, but here’s how I prep for a cook-out.

We’ll go to a nearby farm we know of that sells lamb sausage, or we’ll pick up organic, all-beef hot dogs at our local market for the excursion, so finding whole-food sausage is fairly easily done. But then there is the problem of the buns, as I refuse to buy pasty, all-white buns that are filled with sugar and who knows what else. I’ll consume these at the occasional hockey game, but I sure am not stocking up on them for a camping trip.

Homemade Whole Wheat Hotdog Buns on Simple Bites | www.simplebites.net

Our local health food store sells some decent unprocessed hot dog buns, but they cost a pretty penny, and around here we’re all about eating well and spending less. In fact, it’s my theme for this post, along with summer food to go.

So, for the past two summers I’ve been making my hot-dog buns and they are so, so great. A bit of butter and an egg in the dough keeps them soft, buttermilk gives the buns a nice tangy flavor,  and the whole wheat flour makes for a substantial roll that can hold up to the heftiest sausage.

Read on for the recipe and more suggestions for fireside meals.

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Weekend links

family dinner weekend

The last lump of icy snow melted yesterday as temperatures soared and a warm wind ushered spring through the door. Mateo and I discovered the first purple crocus and a carpet of tiny green ramps pushing up through the damp leaves of the forest floor.

We swept the last remnants of winter off of the deck, dusted off the folding chairs, and served dinner al fresco for the first time this year. It was glorious.

On this Earth Day weekend we have plans to sow the first seeds in the garden – peas, spinach, lettuce and radishes – as well as tidy the yard and build a bonfire. Are you planning to get out in nature at all?

I’ve got some weekend reading for you, in case you’re still relaxing with a coffee.

12 ways to help you eat well and spend less (recipe: Buttermilk Dressing)

12 Ways to Eat Well and Spend Less

Two long years ago a small group of keen food bloggers kicked off our Eat Well, Spend Less series, led by Jessica of Life as Mom. The series focuses on ways to feed our growing families nourishing and totally delicious foods while still staying within a reasonable budget.

Eat Well, Spend Less was created with you, the reader, in mind, but it has helped me immensely as the posts have been published over the months. The series has whipped my spending into shape and helped me to build better habits in the kitchen.

Since we’ve made it this far, we thought it was appropriate to take a look back at where we’ve come and the topics we’ve covered. Today I’m highlighting the best tips that I’ve shared since the series’ conception.

The points are brief, yet contain links to the full article should you wish to read more on the subject. And don’t miss my favorite new salad dressing recipe at the bottom of the post.

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