Friday, April 23, 2010

Successful winter foods! - Part 3 (last part)

This last category is the hardest for me, anytime really but winter especially.

I struggle to find snacks that aren't pre-packaged and remain easy to eat on-to-go. Anything I make for a snack is not great in the car (crumbs!), but I don't want my kids living on pre-packaged fruit bars either. This year we rediscovered a classic New England berry - the cranberry.

Cranberry Bars
This is courtesy of All Recipes. I made only a few changes to make it more of a whole/real food.

12 oz. whole cranberries
1 c. white sugar
3/4 c. water
18.25 oz. cake mix -- I use a homemade cake mix (see later post on this)
3/4 c. butter, melted
2 eggs
1 c. rolled oats
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. ginger (I omit this now because the kids don't like it)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cranberries, white sugar and water. Cook, stirring occasionally until all of the cranberries have popped and the mixture is thick, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, melted butter and eggs. Stir in the oats, brown sugar, ginger and cinnamon. Set aside about 1 1/2 c. of the mixture, and spread the rest into the bottom of a 13x9 pan. Pack down to form a solid crust, getting it as even as possible. Spread the cooled cranberry mixture over the crust. Pinch off pieces of the remaining dry mixture and place evenly over the cranberry layer.

Bake in a 350 oven for 35-40 minutes until the top is lightly brown. Cool COMPLETELY (close to an hour - the anticipation is murder!) before slicing into bars.

Cranberry Almond Muffins
This is from a recipe pamphlet Ocean Spray makes.

2 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. white sugar (you really can reduce sugar in this)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. oil
1 egg
2 tsp. almond extract
1 c. cranberries, chopped
1/3 c. slivered almonds (or chopped)
OPTIONAL: sugar and slivered almonds for top

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin (or use baking cups).

Combine flour, sugars, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine milk, oil, egg, and almond extract. Add liquid ingredients to dry ones, stirring just until dry ingredients are moist. Stir in cranberries and almonds.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full with batter. OPTIONAL: Sprinkle tops with sugar and almonds (I don't bother). Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes in pan, remove to wire rack to cool completely.

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