I’ve reached that strange point in pregnancy where time is flying by, yet I feel like my due date will never arrive. I suddenly find myself at 36 weeks but I’m wondering if I’ll ever make it to 40!
This weekend was rougher than usual since I’ve been fighting a summer cold, but I still managed to get a new things accomplished, namely some cooking and baking. My toddler started camp today (and had a great first day!), which means I’m now in charge of stocking his little lunchbox with healthy, portable snacks. I know that not all packaged snacks are worthless from a nutritional standpoint, but as I find myself getting bigger, lazier and more uncomfortable, I’m relying a little too much on convenience foods for myself and my son – and it’s not a habit I want to get into.
So this weekend I set out to make a few homemade healthier-than-their-storebought-counterparts snacks; it was a surprisingly successful venture!
First, the big winner of the weekend: homemade pita toasts. My son goes nuts for hummus, but if I give him veggies for dipping, he just uses them as a spoon. He loves pita chips, but I still haven’t found a tasty version that’s 100% whole grain, so I picked up some whole-wheat pita pockets and tried to make my own. Turns out, what I ended up with was even better (and easier) than I intended.
I call these pita toasts because they’re not hard and crumbly like pita chips. Because of the thickness of the bread, them come out crispy around the edges yet still soft on the inside – and my husband and I loved them this way. But if you want them crunchy like true pita chips, place them under the broiler for an extra minute or two, or split the breads horizontally before spreading on the oil so you’re working with thin bread rather than thick pockets.
Garlic and Parmesan Pita Toasts
Making the pita toasts was so simple, I hesitate to even call this a recipe; it’s more like a method. Here it is:
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lay a few whole-wheat pita pockets on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil using a pastry brush. Lightly sprinkle garlic salt, garlic powder, grated Parmesan and Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle (similar to Italian seasoning) evenly over the surface of each pita. Now use a pizza cutter to cut the breads into wedges and pop in the preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes. That’s it!
By the way, I made these on Sunday to put in my son’s lunchbox for the week, but my husband sampled one straight out of the oven and immediately asked if I wouldn’t mind just making another batch so we could eat these ones. Of course I said yes, and of course we stood there in the kitchen and ate them all before they even had a chance to cool off!
Just be sure to serve these warm and fresh out of the oven; unless they’re completely crisp (like store-bought pita chips), they tend to take on a stale texture once they’ve been sitting around for a while.
Next on the list: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins. My kid is a breakfast hater, so he often doesn’t want to eat until he’s been awake for 3 hours. It wasn’t a problem until he started camp, but now I NEED to get something nutritious into him before we leave the house, and I figured chocolate chips might help make my mission a little easier.
I tried this recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins from How Sweet Eats, using white whole-wheat flour and making an oatmeal crumb topping instead of using the raw sugar Jessica suggests. They were really hearty and tasty, and just sweet enough to please my 2-year-old. I love that the recipe doesn’t use a ton of sugar, since the chocolate chips add plenty of sweetness on their own. Next time I may mix in a mashed banana or some applesauce for the additional vitamins.
I served my son one muffin with some sliced apples this morning and he actually went off to camp with a good breakfast in his belly.
And since one kitchen success always inspires me to try for another and another and another, here are a few more ideas for making homemade versions of store-bought items. I’ll report back when I actually get around to making these:
Do you have any favorite homemade versions of convenience foods?
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