culture, food

Healthy Snacks Delivered to Your Door Step… Sign Me Up Please…

I used to loooooooove Fruit Roll-ups when I was a kid. When snack time rolled around at school, I’d whip out my tube of strawberry flattened fruit, unroll that puppy and then roll it right back up around my little finger to make one, long, fruity finger. Classy, I know. Hey, I was in first grade… and my fruit finger was delicious. Fruit Roll-ups, Fruit by the Foot, any sort of fruit snacks… I loved them all.

I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d had any sort of fruit snack other than the literal kind – like an apple. But just a few weeks ago I was introduced to the  natural, whole-foods version of the Fruit Rollup, thanks to Healthy Surprise

It happened when one day I came home from work and found this guy on my door step:


I knew it was coming — the company contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in trying out a box of their vegan, gluten-free, soy-free snacks. “You mean, snacks I can actually eat?!” I thought… bring it on!

I got my box and when I opened it I found chocolate chip cookies, macaroons, caramel corn, hemp seeds, flavored nuts and fruit snacks. Here’s what the little treasure chest looked like…


And here’s all my new snack loot layed out on the kitchen table…


How fun is that?! You can sign up with Healthy Surprise and get one of these healthy treasure boxes on your door step once a month. What a cool way to discover tasty new products. Brilliant idea! I sure wish I’d thought of it…

Thanks, Healthy Surprise for sending me a box, and in particular, for the fruit snacks.


Good-For-You Party Dips

Summer is officially here. School is out. It’s 100 degrees outside. Let the BBQs begin! Nothing says summer like getting together with friends to grill, eat good food, have a few cold ones and relax. So now the question… what are you bringing? Maybe an appetizer? A dip? Before you reach for the cream cheese, hold that thought. I love those kinds of dips as much as the next girl, and I’ll eat my fair share if it’s in front of me. But then I’ll feel all ‘bleh’ the next day because I ate a block of cream cheese. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to the standard party apps, try one of these for your next get together…


The main ingredient – chickpeas – are a healthy, low-fat source of protein. Making it is as easy as whipping together most dips. Sure, you can always buy it at the store in a pinch, but most of those packaged tubs have high fructose corn syrup and other additives you don’t want. So if you do, read the labels. But I suggest giving it a try at home. Just stuff a few ingredients in a blender and you’ve got something far better than the store variety – because YOU made it!

What you need:

2 cups cooked chickpeas
5 tbsp tahini
1 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup lemon juice (1 1/2 – 2 lemons)
2-3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water or cooking liquid
chopped parsley and paprika for garnish

What you do:

Combine chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Add water or cooking liquid as needed to facilitate blending. When the mixture is smooth, pour (more like scoop) into a bowl. Top with chopped parsley and paprika. Serve with carrots, celery and/or pita chips.

Change up the flavor by adding in one of these:
kalamata olives
roasted red pepper
roasted eggplant
spinach and artichoke
sundried tomatos and basil

Black Bean Dip

What you need:

1 1/2 cups black beans
2-3 tbsp salsa
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp lime juice
red pepper flakes (or Tabasco) to taste
1/4-1/2 tsp cumin
sea salt to taste
whole kernel corn
1 tbsp basil, chopped

What you do:

Combine first seven ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add water as needed to facilitate blending. Transfer to serving bowl. Mix in corn and chopped basil, then garnish with a little red pepper.

Mexican Explosion Dip

What you need:

1-2 avocados, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup whole kernel corn
1/2 red onion, chopped
1-2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lime

What you do:

Mix the avocado, tomatoes, black beans, corn and onion in a bowl. Stir in olive oil. Add cilantro. Squeeze lime juice over the mix. Refrigerate before serving.


Kale Chips?

It seems like every food or health blog I read these days is talking about kale chips. I eat kale. I’ve posted about kale. I usually saute it with some onions and garlic. The taste took some getting used to, but after a few tries I can honestly say I like it. After reading yet another blog post about kale chips I decided to see for myself what all the fuss was about. I tore up some leaves and spread them out on a baking sheet then drizzled olive oil over them and sprinkled on a little sea salt. As directed, I baked them at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. In a three roommate/judge taste test, kale chips got only one vote. Here’s Ashley about go in for her first taste…

I wish I’d gotten a shot of the face she made next. She wasn’t a fan. I wasn’t either. But Jen thought they were great. So, you might like them too. Regardless, it was fun to try. And it made eating greens a little more exciting. That’s key. If it’s not enjoyable, you’re not going to eat it. We’re not much different from the four-year-old versions of ourselves. So play. Mix your veggies in with your mac and cheese. Fashion your broccoli into a landscape. Put ketchup on your green beans (whatever floats your boat). Have some fun. We did making these. So give it a try! And who knows, you just might like it…