Recipe: Homemade Chex Mix

I could probably live without sugar and sweet desserts, but I definitely COULD NOT give up salty snacks.  A movie theater trip without popcorn is hardly worth it.  And if I feel the urge to binge on horrible, processed junk food it’s Cheetos or Doritos that call to me.  Because I know this about myself I try to keep some healthier, savory options around for snacking and one of my favorites is Chex mix.  The store bought kind is full of additives like malt syrup, trisodium phosphate, and “color added” (can you even call that an ingredient?!) so I adapted this homemade Chex mix recipe from Delish.com with some slight changes.  I hope you like it too!

Ingredients

4 cups cereal like Chex (I like Nature’s Path Heritage Bites)
1 cup Cheerios
1 cup pretzel sticks
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup cheddar crackers (I like Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies)
2 whole wheat bagels
2 teaspoons seasoning salt
½ teaspoon onion powder + 1 pinch
1 teaspoon garlic powder + 1 pinch
1 pinch dried basil
4 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons butter, melted
⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil

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Preheat the oven to 350°

Make homemade bagel chips:
Cut two whole wheat bagels into ⅛ inch slices.  In  mixing bowl, toss the bagel slices with ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil.  Add a sprinkling of garlic powder, onion powder, and dried basil.  Mix well and spread the bagel slices out on a nonstick or parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 10-20 minutes, checking often.  The chips will be done when they are golden and crispy.  Remove them from the oven to cool and set aside.  Lower the oven to 250°.

Meanwhile add all other dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.  Pour this over the dry ingredients in the large bowl and mix until everything is distributed evenly.  Pour into two non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheets, making sure the mix is evenly spread.  Bake for 1 hour, mixing every 15 minutes.  Remove the mix from the oven and add in the bagel chips.  Allow to cool completely before storing in airtight containers.

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Recipe: Cranberry Orange Smoothie

Even before I realized that smoothies were trendy, I was making smoothies. In my parents’ kitchen after school I would pull bags of frozen fruit out of the freezer and drop handfuls into the Cuisinart mixer together with milk to make a sweet, frozen snack.  My  M.O. hasn’t changed much since then. But I have come up with a few tricks and healthier options. Every couple of weeks, I buy a few bananas, peel them, cut them in half, and freeze them in a Tupperware container.  They make any smoothie creamy and substantial.  I also keep on hand organic frozen fruit, either bought in the bag in the freezer section of the grocery store, or I use fresh fruit that I’ve frozen and stored myself. I keep a stash of mini containers of unsweentened almond milk, and I almost always have organic spinach in my fridge.  A handful of the leaves adds a vegetable serving to any smoothie without overpowering the taste.  With those ingredients, I always have the option to make a quick smoothie for breakfast or a snack.  A nice blender is probably ideal, but my kitchen is tiny so right now I use a multi-purpose Cuisinart mini-prep  and it does the job.  I’ve been using this recipe lately since cranberries are readily available in the produce section of the market.

Ingredients

1 banana, frozen
½ cup frozen whole cranberries
½ orange, peeled and cut into chunks
½ cup cold filtered water

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Cut bananas into 1-inch pieces and put in blender. Add the frozen cranberries and the orange chunks.  Pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add ½ cup cold water and blend until smooth.

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Detoxing My Daily Routine

Have you ever thought about your daily routine and how much of it exposes you to some sort of chemical?  Think about waking up in the morning and getting ready for the day.  What are the ingredients in your shampoo, soap, lotion and toothpaste?  What about in your make-up?  Do you prepare coffee or tea in a plastic to-go cup? Do you microwave leftovers in plastic containers for lunch or dinner?  The fruits, vegetables and meats that you eat throughout the day –where did they come from and how were they grown/fed?  How about lighting a candle to relax after a long day?

I’ve thought about these things a lot recently; they are all actions that are part of my every day. But I was shocked as I read more about the harmful chemicals in my personal products like lotion and make-up.  I was saddened to learn about how much plastic we use and waste.  And I was surprised at how many antibiotics, pesticides, and chemicals enter into our food supply chain.  But what choice do we all have, move to wooden lean-tos in the woods and live on wild game and berries, and never shower?

Um, no.

So since I’m somewhat of a material girl living in a material world,  I’ve decided to skip the lean-to and instead make small, slow changes in my daily routine — the products I purchase, the way I cook and eat, and reducing my overall product consumption.  I enjoy the constant challenge of being faced with options and choosing those that will help me and hopefully the planet in the long-run.

I’ll be sharing some of the great natural products I’ve found and the healthy recipes that have become favorites of mine as I try to detox my routine.  I hope you like them, too!