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Thursday
Apr132017

5 Snacks to Stop Buying and Start Making at Home

You're a busy mom. From the moment the alarm goes off until you hop into bed, you're always doing something – dropping off the kids at school, picking them up from soccer practice and getting some work done somewhere in between the madness.

Who has the time to make snacks? You're too busy wondering what you're going to make for dinner. I know this sentiment all too well. It's much easier to pick up a few staple snacks at the store and call it a day.

But I've found that it really doesn't take that much time to make some of your kids' favorite snacks at home. As a bonus, your homemade versions are usually healthier and less expensive.

Here are five easy snacks to stop buying and start making at home:

1. Yogurt Pouches

My kids love yogurt pouches, better known as "Go Gurt." And I always assumed they were a healthy snack choice – until I read the ingredients.

Aside from the strange ingredients I couldn't pronounce, the yogurt in these pouches had a surprising amount of sugar.

Yogurt pouches are so easy to make at home, and you can buy ZipZicles online that can be filled with your own little concoctions.

When I say these snacks are easy to make, I'm not exaggerating. If you have a blender (food processor will also work), yogurt and fruit, you're good to go.

Experiment with different fruits and ratios of fruit to yogurt to get the flavors and textures you want.

When you're done blending, use a funnel to fill the ZipZicles pouches and enjoy. If you don’t want to use pouches, you can just fill a baby mason jar with your yogurt. But kids really do love eating out of these pouches.

2. Apple Chips

We love fruit chips in our house, but apple chips are the best, according to the kids. Store-bought apple chips can be expensive (like $1.50 for a very small bag), but you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. Plus, you can use your own ingredients and ditch the preservatives and added sugars.

To make your own apple chips, you'll need two things:

  • Apples
  • Cinnamon

Sure, you can make these chips in a dehydrator, but that would take forever. We bake ours in the oven at 250 degrees for about an hour and a half.

  • Bake for 30-45 minutes.
  • Flip the apple slices.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Bake for another 30-45 minutes. 
  •    

The chips come out crispy, and they're naturally sweet. Cinnamon makes this treat taste delectable.

3. Cereal Bars

Cereal bars are a great way for the kids (and adults) to get their servings of whole grain and fruit. But these bars can be expensive when you buy them in the store. They're also loaded with sugar and other questionable ingredients.

Making your own is easier than you think.

The trickiest part (and it's really not that tricky) is making the crust.

Here's what you'll need to make the crust:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 2 cups oats
  • I tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups pastry flour
  •  2 tsp. baking powder

You could even turn this into a yeast-based crust and make the dough in your breadmaker to save time.

The filling is so easy to make. Just blend your favorite fruit with a little bit of water.

To make your bars, roll out the dough, cut into bar-sized rectangles, place a dollop of filling in the center, fold the dough  over, and seal the edges to keep the filling inside.

We bake ours at 350F for about 15-18 minutes.

4. Trail Mix

Have you seen the cost of a bag of trail mix? Furthermore, have you looked at the ingredients in these mixes?

It's incredibly easy to make your own trail mix blend, and you can add whatever ingredients you want.

  • Cashews, almonds and pecans.    
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and dried fruit
  • Dark chocolate chunks, peanuts and pistachios.     

You're only limited by your imagination and your taste buds when making your own trail mix blend. We've even added spices to our mix for a unique flavor twist.

5. Fruit Leather

I can remember eating Fruit Roll-ups as a kid, and now, my kids love them, too. But I can't bring myself to buy a snack that's loaded in sugar and preservatives. The amount of actual fruit in these snacks is questionable.

Like apple chips, fruit leather is so easy to make at home. You don't need a dehydrator either – just some parchment paper and a little time.

To make your fruit snack, puree your fruit in a blender or food processor. You can blend just one fruit, or a mixture of different fruits.

Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the puree onto it. Make sure the puree is evenly distributed across the pan to allow for even cooking.

All that’s left to do is bake your snack at 175F for three to four hours. After two hours, check the fruit leather every 30 minutes, and remove it when it's ready. It will be done when it's dry to the touch.

Which snacks do you make at home? Share in the comments!

Bio: Joe Hughes, known by most as the Village Baker, is an expert in homestyle cooking techniques, with a primary interest in baking. He runs the very popular website, http://www.village-bakery.com, which provides the latest homestyle cooking news, techniques, tricks, and recipes. He can be reached at Joe@Village-Bakery.com.

Monday
Mar202017

#MotivationMonday 3.20.17

Thursday
Mar162017

Baby Mantra's Bundle: The Perfect Baby Shower Gift

Baby showers provide some of the fondest memories surrounding the birth of a child. Friends and family come together to celebrate a new life and offer gifts so that parents can have a head start on this exciting journey. Aside from the games and delicious snacks, guests are tasked with finding the perfect gift for the parents to-be. Baby shower gift ideas include something off of the registry, something homemade and sentimental, or something special that guests want to share with the family.

While gifts can only help prepare new parents for so much, they are a great way for guests to join in on the celebration and introduce parents to new products for baby. Luckily, with the help of Baby Mantra’s Baby Shower Gift Pack, you can get everything a mom or dad needs to prepare for their newborn’s bath and body care.

Baby Shower Gift Pack

The Baby Mantra Baby Shower Gift Pack helps moms and dads prepare for the arrival of their new bundle of joy. With natural baby wash and newborn shampoo, all products are EWG Verified, tested for allergies, free of parabens, fragrances and dyes. The pack is a great way to purchase a variety of essential products at one time. Safe and healthy, new parents can be confident that their little one’s skin will be protected and cared for day and night.

The Pack Includes:

●     Newborn Wash and Shampoo with Coconut Oil and Lavender

●     Calming Lotion with Shea Butter and Lavender

●     Calming Massage Oil with Apricot

●     Bubble Bath with Lavender

●     Diaper Rash Ointment with Sunflower Seed Oil

The next time you are in need of the perfect baby shower gift, head to Baby Mantra to check out The Baby Mantra Baby Shower Gift Pack, and other all natural baby products.

Monday
Feb202017

#MotivationMonday 2.20.17

Being President's Day, it was only fitting to choose a presidential quote for our #motivationmonday. But, it was SO hard to pick just one. What's your favorite motivational quote from a current or former U.S. President? Comment here and tell us and you'll be entered to win a $50 Market Mommy gift card! Contest ends 2.27.17.

 

Monday
Feb132017

#MotivationMonday 2.13.17

In honor of last night's Grammy Awards, here's today's #MotivationMonday post ....