Cranberry Orange Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake

I'm not sure that I can technically call whatever that was going on outside my window yesterday "a blizzard," but let's just go with it. (It was definitely some kind of crazy.)

The polar vortex has struck again, and I'm on a self-imposed lock down. I had an event to attend last night, and was actually super excited about it (it was 60s ski party themed!!), but...I could barely get around the block, let alone 100+ blocks.

So instead of parties and cocktails, it was braised lamb shanks and The Mindy Project (so good!) and working on the couch in my fleece-lined leggings (admittedly, not a bad compromise).

Oh...and there was cake.

(Because there should always be cake.)

We're lucky to still have a few slices of my Cranberry Orange Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake leftover from last weekend's brunch. I love this cake. It's moist and tender with the perfect amount of tart fresh cranberries and dark chocolate chips studded throughout.

The recipe is adapted from a beautiful coffee cake I found on Joy the Baker's site. Her's is a majorly gorgeous cake with pecans and streusel and icing. It was what I originally planned to make for my brunch, but I got lazy and skipped the struesel and icing and nuts. (And added chocolate. And extracts.)

I did keep one very awesome thing about the original recipe, which is that the main liquid in it is orange juice. Just pure juice--no buttermilk or anything else! It adds this lovely flavor to the whole thing and is (to me) the perfect winter cake.

Great in the late morning with a mug of coffee. Lovely as a light dessert after lunch. And simply fantastic in the evening when snuggled up on the couch watching television.

Even better? This recipe makes 2 loaves with no extra work. One to keep and one to share. Or one to eat and one to freeze (for later).

****
Love Always Order Dessert? Let's connect! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates. And if you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. Thanks for reading!    

 
Cranberry Orange Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake
Makes 2 9x5-inch loaves. Adapted from Joy the Baker.
 
Ingredients
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups orange juice (use something fresh and pulpy--or squeeze your own!)
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups whole fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line two 9x5" loaf pans with parchment paper so that it overhangs on the sides.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together melted butter, eggs, orange juice, zest, and extracts.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined with no dry spots left. Gently fold in the cranberries and chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly between loaf pans, and bake about 50-60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from loaf pans and let cool completely on a rack. 


Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pecorino, Hazelnuts & Honey


For our anniversary earlier this month, Eugene took me to Barbuto, Jonathan Waxman's cozy Italian restaurant in West Village. We typically use the special occasions as an excuse to splash out on one of the fancy restaurants on our to-do list, but this time we just decided to keep it low key.

It was freezing outside (a snowy winter wedding followed by a two-week tropical escape was awesome at the time, but now I find myself wishing it weren't so dang cold. This year, for example, I wore flannel.)

One of my favorite dishes of the evening was the Brussels sprouts salad, which featured thinly sliced sprouts tossed in a simple dressing of lemon juice and grated Pecorino cheese, topped with toasted hazelnuts.

It was magnificent, but while eating it, I kept wishing there was something sweet in there to balance out the tart lemon and sharp cheese.

"You know what this needs?" I told Eugene. "A nice generous drizzle of honey. A good, orange blossom honey. Man...I wish I had some honey to add to this."

Chef Waxman was actually standing just a few feet away from us, hamming it up with friends at the bar, and I pointed him out to Eugene.

"Why don't you tell him?" He challenged me. "Tell him the salad is good, but needs honey."

"Yeah...no, I'm not going to do that," I said.

"I'm just going to make it at home."

And so here it is!

The key to this salad is definitely the thinly shaved brussels sprouts. The thin texture combined with the tangy dressing makes the sprouts tender and absolutely irresistible. I used my food procesor to shave them, but you can also use a mandoline or even a knife (and some patience) to do it by hand.

And if you're feeling lazy? Check the prepackaged salad aisle at the supermarket; a lot of stores sell them already shredded!

****
Love Always Order Dessert? Let's connect! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates. And if you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. Thanks for reading!    


Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pecorino, Hazelnuts & Honey

Ingredients
1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts, thinly shaved
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted (or use roasted salted hazelnuts)
1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese (use a good, sharp imported variety)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons honey (such as orange blossom honey)

Directions
Toss Brussels sprouts, hazelnuts, and cheese in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to combine well. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary (you may need ab it of salt or additional lemon juice, depending on your preferences.)

Drizzle with honey and serve immediately.

Whole Grain Banana-Orange Sports Cakes

I'm really excited to share the latest movie snack recipe in my ongoing collaboration with Netflix! As you may know, each month, I create and share a recipe based on a streaming playlist theme that Netflix is featuring that month.

February's theme? Inspiration and teamwork, inspired by the Olympics!

With the Winter Olympics right around the corner, it's the perfect opportunity to check out a few of the amazing sports-themed movies, TV shows, and documentaries available on Netflix.

These kid-friendly titles are a great way for parents to open up a conversation about teamwork, inspiration, and competition--and what it means to "go for the gold"--both on and off the field.

And to make the conversation a little bit sweeter, why not serve some of these cute sports-themed mini cakes!

Made with whole wheat, mashed bananas, and fresh orange juice, they're a slightly healthier alternative to the usual sugary or salty TV & movie-watching snacks. (But don't worry--they taste just as good as regular cakes--I promise!)

I've included the recipe and directions below, but definitely feel free to play around and customize them as you'd like. Use different frostings or small candies for the topping--you can even play around with the flavors of the cake, adding other mashed fruits or spices.

Use these as an inspiration, and have fun baking, eating, and watching great stories, and even better moments, with your kids.


Note: This post is sponsored by Netflix. Thank you for supporting cool companies like Netflix who make it possible for me to keep creating fun new content for you to enjoy. All photos, opinions, and recipes are (of course!) my own.

****
Love Always Order Dessert? Let's connect! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates. And if you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. Thanks for reading!     


Whole Grain Banana-Orange Sports Cakes
Makes about 12-16 mini cakes
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large bananas--the riper, the better!)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the toppings
Footballs & Hockey Pucks: 1 bittersweet cup chocolate chips
Baseballs & Soccer Balls: 1 cup white chocolate chips
Basketball: 1 cup orange candy melts
Black and red frosting pens, for details (I like gel pens)

Special equipment: Round and oval (or football shaped) cookie cutters (about 2-4" each)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line two 8" square baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together both flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat butter, eggs, orange juice, bananas, and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix gently just until combined. Divide into the two prepared pans, and bake about 30-35 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Remove from pans to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

To make the mini cakes: Use the cookie or biscuit cutters to cut out circles and ovals from the cakes in a couple different sizes.

Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth, and then use a spoon to spread on top of a few of the cakes. Repeat with the dark and orange chips. Let set completely (about 30 minutes). Use black and red frosting pens to add the details (you can also tint canned frosting or cream cheese with food coloring and use a piping pen).

Let the mini cakes set, and then serve all together.

Movie Treats: Ras el Hanout Spiced Popcorn with Chocolate

This past summer, I was up in Vermont cooking for a retreat group when I ran out of cumin. When it comes to cooking (and eating) my favorite flavors are either Latin or Middle Eastern, so the cumin tends to go quickly.

I started rummaging around in the cabinets for something else to rub on the carrots I was roasting, and came across a small container of homemade Ras El Hanout--a North African spice mix that combines sweet, smokey and hot spices.

"Let's try it," I thought and added some to my prep bowl.

The results? Incredible! I served the roasted carrots with a yogurt dressing and some mixed herbs, and they ended up being one of the most popular dishes of the evening.

The next day, I pulled the spice out again, and whisked it into some yogurt with crumbled feta and finely chopped mint. I served this one with flatbread chips, and once again...another hit!

By the end of the long weekend, that spice mix had become a solid new favorite, and I couldn't wait to add it to my spice cabinet at home for continued experimentation.
And this popcorn? Definitely one of the winners of aforementioned experiments. It's an easy treat, too. You start of with plain buttered popcorn. You can make it on the stove or in the microwave. (The stove is healthier, but I admit to being lazy and almost always just doing it in the microwave.)

Then toss it with the Ras el Hanout, a bit of cayenne (for extra heat--totally optional) and drizzle with melted dark chocolate. Add some roasted salted almonds, and boom...done! A killer movie snack that's salty, sweet, spicy, and so super easy.

Btw, this + champagne? It just WORKS.

Where to Buy: Ras el Hanout is pretty commonly found at well-stocked supermarkets like Whole Foods, online, or at spice shops. Note that the mixes can vary based on the spice combination, so shop around and find the one you like best. Personally I go for the ones that are a little sweeter without too much cumin or turmeric (so look for something brown--not yellow). If you can't find it, Indian Garam Masala OR Chinese Five Spice would also work well in this recipe (each with slightly different, but similar, flavor profiles.) Buy Ras el Hanout online here.

****
Love Always Order Dessert? Let's connect! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates. And if you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. Thanks for reading!    



Ras el Hanout Spiced Popcorn with Chocolate


Ingredients
4 cups popped buttered popcorn (microwave or stovetop)
1 cup roasted salted almonds (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions
Toss popcorn and almonds in large bowl with oil, ras el hanout, cayenne, and salt. Spread out on a baking sheet. In a separate small bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave, and then immediately drizzle over the popcorn. Let set about 30 minutes. Transfer to a bowl

(Best eaten the same day.)


A Cozy Winter Brunch at Home + A Starbucks & Keurig Giveaway!

This past weekend, I invited a few of my favorite people over for a cozy winter brunch at home.

It was cold, but sunny, and felt like the perfect day to spend a few hours sipping coffee and feasting on a bevy of sweet and savory dishes. 

I've been collaborating with Starbucks this month to share how their Starbucks K-Cup packs make entertaining guests easier, so it was also the perfect opportunity to share the new Starbucks® Vanilla K-Cup® Packs and Starbucks® Caramel K-Cup® Packs with my friends.

I seriously love that I can just let my guests pick their favorite flavor, pop them into the Keurig Special Edition Brewing System, and in just a few seconds, am able to serve them a perfect steaming mug of Starbucks coffee--without even leaving my own kitchen!

As my friends arrived on Sunday, I told them to toss their coats on the bed, and let them pick their favorite flavor.

Once they had their coffee in hand, I sent them into the living room where I'd set out a pretty tray of cream, milk, and sugar so that they could prepare their coffee, just how they like it.

Decorations
When it comes to brunch, I like to keep decorations light and simple. Flowers are one of my favorite touches (they're perfect for brunch) and so easy and inexpensive.

We'd actually just celebrated our wedding anniversary a couple days before the brunch, and Eugene had given me a beautiful bouquet of roses that I decided to use for the party.

I also ordered a dozen Gerbera daisies from the grocer, and then broke both bouquets down to make my own simple floral arrangements.

Even the baby's breath found a home, tucked into tiny milk bottles and placed around the apartment. (I still have one of these sitting in my bathroom, and I absolutely love it!)

Nothing like fresh flowers in unexpected corners.

Set the Mood
I think one of the best aromas is the smell of brewing coffee, and I wanted to enhance the great scents coming out of the kitchen by creating my own DIY Coffee Potpourri.

To make, simply fill a small decorative container with coffee beans (choose your favorite flavor--they all have different scents!) and nestle in a small votive.

The warmth from the candle will spread the scent of coffee throughout your home, giving it that cozy, coffee shop feel.

The Menu
The beauty of brunch is that sweet and savory dishes are equally acceptable, so it gives you a lot of flexibility to play around with the menu and serve some of your favorite dishes.

To start, I set out a cheese plate featuring three great cheese (Cotswold, Humboldt Fog, and Coupole), with some accompaniments--sweet red grapes, dried apricots, apple slices, walnuts, Irish brown bread crackers, and slices of fig & almond cake.

I also put out a bowl of Spiced Feta Yogurt Dip with pita chips, and croissants and crackers with my homemade Mixed Berry Cocoa Jam.

The jam is one of my new favorite recipes, and I was excited to share it with my guests. The flavors went particularly well with the Starbucks® Vanilla K-Cup® coffee.

Entrees
As the main course, I made Mini Chorizo & Zucchini Frittatas, which I baked in a muffin pan and served at room temperature.

Mini frittatas are definitely the way to go when serving a crowd. They look cute, and are already perfectly portioned into individual servings so that people can just help themselves.
I also baked a gorgeous spiral ham, that I topped with a simple Orange Honey Ham Glaze.  The ham already comes fully cooked, so all you have to do is heat it through and pour on the glaze.
It's one of my favorite things to serve when entertaining.

(Especially when I can just let the boys handle the carving!)


Side Dishes

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Hazelnuts
For the sides, I made a couple of hearty winter salads.

Eugene and I recently had dinner at an Italian restaurant here in the city called Barbuto, and I fell in love with their Brussels Sprouts Salad with Hazelnuts. I wanted to recreate it...so I did!

It's a beautiful combination of shaved raw Brussels sprouts, toasted hazelnuts, and grated Pecorino cheese in a simple lemon dressing. I balanced it out by adding a drizzle of orange blossom honey on top just before serving.

I also made a simple Herbed Quinoa Salad with Turmeric, which added a lot of bright color to the table, and paired nicely with both the eggs and the ham.

(Tip: if you make this one, i recommend doubling the recipe as it keeps well for days and makes a brilliant brown bag lunch.)

Beverages

Along with the mugs of steaming Starbucks® K-Cup® coffee, I also served a mix of fresh citrus juices, by combining freshly squeezed orange, tangerine, grapefruit, and lemon juices.

It was bright and tart, and a fresh twist from the usual. I served it in my favorite glass beverage dispenser, but it would also look really pretty in a big pitcher or punch bowl. (I might even add a few orange or lemon slices, and possibly even a bit of fresh mint leaves!)

Some of the guests also brought bottles of chilled white and sparkling wines to share.

Dessert & Coffee

Cranberry Orange Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake
As the afternoon wore on, I pulled out the cake I baked for dessert.

I wanted to celebrate the flavors of the winter season, so I made a Cranberry Orange Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake studded with fresh, tart cranberries, and dark chocolate chips.

It's citrus season, so I scented the cake batter with rich vanilla extract and a flurry of fresh orange zest--a light and sweet combination that paired beautifully with the Starbucks® Vanilla K-Cup® flavor.

It really was the perfect sweet ending to the day!

Giveaway!!
I hope this has inspired you to bring a few of your friends together for your own cozy winter brunch at home. To help you throw your own amazing brunch party, I'm giving away a prize package that includes a Keurig® Special Edition Brewing System (just like mine!) along with a selection of Starbucks® K-Cup Packs (Approx. retail value: $200)

To enter: Leave a comment below telling me your favorite brunch or breakfast dish.


EXTRA ENTRIES: (Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry. If you include them all in one comment, it will only count as one entry. You can have up to 5 total entries.)
Extra Entry #1: Pin an image from this post on Pinterest and leave a separate comment saying you did

Extra Entry #2: Follow me on Instagram and leave a separate comment saying you did

Extra Entry #3: Share this post on Facebook and leave a separate comment saying you did

Extra Entry #4: Tweet about this giveaway to your followers and leave a separate comment saying you did (Sample Tweet: Enter to win a Keurig Brewer & Starbucks K-Cups from @Nandita and @Starbucks: http://bit.ly/1dCg4B7 ) and leave a separate comment saying you did
That's a total of FIVE possible entries!!

RULES: All entries must be in by 5PM EST Wednesday, January 22th. You must be 18+ to enter and live in the continental US. One winner will be selected at random and contacted via email. For full giveaway terms and conditions, please click here.

DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by Starbucks K-Cup Packs. Thank you for supporting great companies like Starbucks that make it possible for me to keep creating fun new content for you to enjoy. All photos, opinions, and ideas are (of course!) my own. 

Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Crackers

After brunch last week, Eugene and I brought my in-laws over to Chelsea Market. It was my mother-in-law's first time there, and we spent a lovely hour-or-so wandering through the market, dipping in and out of the shops.

One of my favorites there is Buon Italia. I love this place, as it reminds me of when I lived in Tuscany. I roam around the shop, reading the various Italian packaging and adding random things to my basket. Burrata. Mortadella. Roasted nuts. Chickpea flour.

This time I came across a bag of crispy chocolate hazelnut cookies. They were like biscotti, but sliced very thinly--no thicker than a deli slice of cheese. They looked irresistible, so I added them to my basket along with the other goodies.

These cookies were so good. Addictive. Crispy. A little bit sweet, but not too bad, with that perfect combination of hazelnut and dark chocolate. I ate one after another after another, until I realized that the bag would soon be empty.

And then I thought...I can make this!

They reminded me of the Fruit and Nut Crackers I made last year--tea loaves, sliced thinly and baked until crisp.

So I got in the kitchen & started mixing, only stopping when Eugene walked by and asked what I was doing.

"Already?!?" he exclaimed.

When I get an idea in my head, I just can't be stopped.

Sweet crackers really do need to become more of a thing. These are wonderful on their own. Eaten absentmindedly while leaning against the kitchen counter. Or more deliberately, spread with softened salty butter. You can dip them into teas. Sandwich them with peanut butter or cream cheese. Or serve them on a cheese plate.

(I actually meant to do the latter at my brunch party this weekend, but completely forgot. "More crackers for me," said Eugene when I remembered, hours after the guests had left.)

If you do make these (and you really should), I recommend making one or two of the loaves and leaving the others frozen for a future date when you've got guests coming over or craving a special snack.

Want more? Try my other favorite homemade cracker recipe


****
Love Always Order Dessert? Let's connect! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates. And if you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. Thanks for reading!   
 

 
Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Crackers
Makes about 80 crackers


Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg

1/2 cup brewed coffee (tip: use a hazelnut-flavored coffee if you have it!)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups toasted hazelnuts



Directions

Generously grease 4 mini loaf pans or 2 regular loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.



Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, kosher salt in a bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, coffee, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix until evenly combined. Fold in the toasted hazelnuts.



Divide batter into prepared pans and bake 30-35 minutes until risen (these rise up very high!). Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for minimum of 3 hours, but ideally overnight.



When ready to bake, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Use a very sharp knife to slice thin, even slices and arrange on racks (the same kind you use to cool the cake). If you don't have racks, you can also use an unlined baking sheet, and flip the crackers halfway into the baking.

Bake 17-25 minutes, or until the crackers are crisp and shrink slightly--this will be determined by how thinly you sliced them. I suggest keeping an eye on them during the last 7 or so minutes of baking to make sure they don't burn. 

Let cool completely.

 Can be stored in an air-tight container for about 10 days.

Mexican Chorizo, Sweet Potato & Spinach Soup

As soon as I woke up yesterday morning, I knew that I needed to make soup. It was freezing and though our bedroom radiator was banging and clanging away, it wasn't doing much to warm up the other parts of our home.

A pot of soup steaming away on the stove would help.

It's been a few days since I've done groceries so this was one of those raid-the-pantry type of recipes. I used my homemade Mexican chorizo, but the storebought kind would of course work really well (God...I sound like Ina Garten!). You can also substitute any other kind of fresh sausage, like a spicy Italian sausage or even breakfast sausage, although you may want to then spice it up a bit with some red chile flakes.

The soup comes together quickly once you brown the sausage--basically just put everything in the pot, and let the heat do its magic.

A generous handful of chopped cilantro at the end adds amazing flavor. I served mine with a couple thick slices of homemade bread (also made for the purposes of warming up the place).

If I had avocado or some fresh cheese, I would have added them at the end. (Next time!)

Enjoy and stay warm out there.

****
Love Always Order Dessert? Let's connect! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates. And if you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. Thanks for reading!   
 


Mexican Chorizo, Sweet Potato and Spinach Soup Recipe
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 pounds fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, removed from casings
2 teaspoons smoked spanish paprika
2 large sweet potatoes, diced into 1/2" cubes (not peeled)
1/4 cup tomato paste
12 cups low sodium chicken broth
 1/2 lb baby spinach
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 large lime, juiced
Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions
In a large soup pot, saute onions in oil over medium heat until translucent. Add the chorizo and cook until browned. Add the paprika, sweet potatoes, and tomato paste, and stir until everything is coated. Add the chicken broth, raise the heat, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer uncovered about 20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Stir in the spinach and cilantro, and let cook for an additional minute. Stir in the lime juice, and season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper, and serve.

5 Healthy Snacks that will Make Kids Smile

I hope you've been enjoying the movie snack ideas I've been sharing as part of my ongoing collaboration with Netflix! Each month, I create a fun recipe that goes along with a movie playlist theme. I've already shared my James and the Giant Peach Hand Pies and a yummy Chocolate Peppermint Smoothie to enjoy on road trips to grandma's house.

This month's theme is "Laughter is the Best Medicine," and features a collection of funny movies designed to cheer kids up when they're home sick from school.

To go along with the funny movies, I'm sharing 5 funny healthy snack ideas for kids that will also be sure to put a smile on their faces when they need it most.

Check out the ideas below!

1. Mouse Pear Salads
A fun way to get kids to eat their greens! Top fresh raw baby spinach with peeled and halved pears (either fresh or canned) decorated to look like an adorable mouse family.

To Make: decorate the pear halves with sliced almonds for ears, and use blueberries, pomegranate seeds, or chocolate chips to make the eyes and nose.


If the kids aren't feeling well, it's probably best to keep the salad plain, but when they're back to 100% you can dress it up a bit with crumbled cheese, more nuts, and a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.

It's a cute and healthy treat your kids will enjoy eating!

2. Silly Face Pancakes
Pancakes are the ultimate comfort food, and a delicate treat that will go down easy. Even better when they look a little silly!

To Make: Whip up a batch of your favorite pancakes--I recommend these fluffy whole wheat cinnamon pancakes or my favorite blueberry buttermilk pancakes--and serve topped with a fresh fruit smiley face.

You can use small dollops of cream cheese or whipped cream to make the eyes and mouth (just a little bit is enough!), and a big round cherry or grape for the nose.

And remember that pancakes are not just for breakfast--they're also perfect for dinner, too!


3. Hummus with Octopus Dippers
How adorable is this little fella?!

I spotted this idea on Pinterest ages ago, and have been wanting to recreate it, because it's just so cute. Hummus and veggies are an easy healthy snack popular with kids, and this presentation is guaranteed to make them laugh.

To Make: fill a wide, shallow bowl with hummus or your favorite healthy dip (herbed yogurt or another kind of bean dip would work well, too).

Then cut a bell pepper in half (use your favorite color, although I think red or orange work best), and place the bottom half with the cut-side down in the dip.
Slice the remaining pepper into 8 strips and arrange around the body. For eyes, you can use sliced black or green olives, or small slices of jalapenos (that's what I did).

I used white chocolate chips as the eyeballs and a dab of peanut butter on the back of each as the "glue."

Serve with some additional dippers like carrot or celery sticks, or slices of warm whole grain pita bread.

4. Apple Peanut Butter Smiles
Big smiles all around!

Apple slices with peanut butter are a classic snack for kids (of all ages--it's one of my own favorites!). The addition of a few white chocolate chips turns these into a funny little treat.

To Make: Slice a red apple into 1/2" wedges. Coat one side of the apple with creamy peanut butter, and then sandwich with another slice on top. Press white chocolate chips into the peanut butter to make "teeth."

For the "tongue," you can use a slice of cherry or strawberry. If your kids can't eat peanut butter, this also works well with almond butter or sunbutter.

5. Celery Peanut Butterflies
A small heart shaped cookie cutter is the only special tool you need to make these cute little butterfly snacks for kids!

To make, use a small heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out circles from a tortilla--both corn or flour work, so pick your kid's favorite!

Cut the bottom of the hearts off to make the wings.

Spread the 2" celery sticks with your favorite creamy peanut butter, and then tuck the "wings" in on each side.

A little round carrot slice works as a head (you can also use a berry or grape).

Tip: These have a tendency to flop over a bit when on a plate, so use a little bit of peanut butter spread on the bottom of the celery to "glue" it onto the plate.

I hope you give some of these ideas a try!


Note: This post is sponsored by Netflix. Thank you for supporting cool companies like Netflix who make it possible for me to keep creating fun new content for you to enjoy. All photos, opinions, and recipes are (of course!) my own.

****
Love Always Order Dessert? Let's connect! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates. And if you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. Thanks for reading!     

LinkWithin