Category Archives: Snacks

Not Just for Vegans….Nutritional Yeast

Does Nutritional Yeast sound good to you? Me either. But, I was introduced to it recently, and guess what? It’s actually really good—and better yet, it’s good for you.

Sugar-free, dairy-free, & gluten-free, nutritional yeast is naturally low in fat and sodium. Since it has a cheesy, nutty flavor, it works as a cheese replacement in many recipes, making it a vegan’s best friend. Since it’s healthy and tasty, I’ve made friends with it too.

So, what the heck is it? Well, for the full scientific explanation, check it out on Wikipedia….but in short, it’s a deactivated yeast sold as powder or flakes. It’s a source of protein and vitamins, and it’s often available fortified with vitamin B12.  You can find nutritional yeast in health food stores….I bought it at Whole Foods. It’s not cheap, but neither is cheese, and a little goes a long way.

I’ve used nutritional yeast in pesto, I’ve breaded chicken cutlets with it, and I’ve sprinkled it and on pasta and salads. Nutritional yeast makes a really tasty topping for popcorn, too, plus you can really enjoy it knowing it’s good for you.

Not-So-Cheesey Popcorn

(makes eight 1-cup servings)

  • 8 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • • 2 tablespoons of melted clarified butter, or 2 tablespoons of a vegan spread, melted
1. Place the popcorn in a large bowl.
2. Mix the nutritional yeast, italian seasoning mix and garlic powder together in a small bowl.
3. Drizzle the melted butter over the popcorn and toss it.
4. Sprinkle on the nutritional yeast mixture and toss again.
5. For a little extra zip, sprinkle on a little Cajun seasoning.

2 Comments

Filed under Appetizer, Entertaining, Popcorn, Snacks, Vegetarian

Wait. What? Watermelon!

Take a close look at this picture. You’re right, that’s not chopped tomato; it’s fresh watermelon!

Last week Cathy was looking for a quick and easy summer appetizer that would take advantage of the season’s fresh produce. We think she scored a home run with this sweet ‘n tangy watermelon bruschetta. You’re gonna love it!

Watermelon Bruschetta

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

2 cups diced watermelon, drained on paper towel
1/3 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon diced red onion
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon snipped chives
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 baguette, thinly sliced

• Combine all ingredients except for the bread.

• Cover and chill at least 30 minutes. Serve with bread slices.

Tips

• Do not prepare more than an hour before serving or mixture will become too soft.

• Try the watermelon over grilled chicken or salmon. Yum!

3 Comments

Filed under Appetizer, Breads, Cheese, Entertaining, Foodies, Fruit, Snacks, Vegetarian

Three Tasty Mice

 

Here’s the story behind these adorable little morsels!  I had dinner with my friends from PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society) last night. The conversation always turns to animals, and we all share our stories in one way or another.  At dessert time, my friend Alexis presented a tray of adorable edible mice.  They were actually quite simple in design: a chocolate-covered cherry (with stem) for the body and tail, a Hershey’s Hugs Kiss for the face, sliced almonds for the ears, and icing for the eyes and nose.  Serve them over a triangle of cheese… genius! Or should I say “Micey” Nice!

Cathy

24 Comments

Filed under Dessert, Entertaining, Snacks, Sweets

Touchdown Treat for a Crowd

Gimme a F-E-S-T!   Football Fest.  Beer Fest.  Fan Fest.  Media Fest.  And  last but not least, MAJOR Calorie Fest! Yep, it’s Super Bowl time. For me, the Super Bowl is all about two things: the Doritos commercials and, of course, the snacks. However, I am so over the predictable calorie-heavy buffalo wings and the cheese-laden nachos. Yet, a vegetable platter just doesn’t seem like football fare. Hmmm, there must be some middle ground! This afternoon, I remembered that ALC shot a yummy recipe recently for the Popcorn Board that fits the occasion perfectly.

Touchdown Popcorn Peanut Treat
makes about 4 quarts

4 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup unsalted cocktail peanuts
1 cup seedless raisins
1 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

– Preheat oven to 300F.
– In a large buttered bowl, combine popcorn, peanuts and raisins.
– In small saucepan stir together honey, water and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit, or hard ball stage  on a candy thermometer.
– Pour over popcorn; quickly toss to mix thoroughly.
– Turn onto a buttered jelly roll or large baking pan.
– Bake for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Tips

– Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor.

– The cold water test is a sure bet when testing for the hard ball stage of a candy  mixture.  Drop a small amount  of the syrup into cold water. It will form a hard ball.  If you take the ball out of the water, it won’t flatten. The ball will be hard, but you can  still change its shape by squashing it.

– Add dried fruits such as cranberries, cherries, pineapple, blueberries, apricots to mix it up a bit.

Heather

3 Comments

Filed under Entertaining, Popcorn, Snacks

Milk & Cookies = Cookies & Milk

Hey fellow foodies, wanna play a fun food game? Try A LA CARTE’s Classic Food Pairings Test! Here’s how it works.

Step. 1: Think of a classic food pairing and say it aloud. (i.e., “Spaghetti & Meatballs“) Does it sound delicious? Proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Transpose the food pairing and say that aloud.  (i.e., “Meatballs & Spaghetti“) Does it still sound delicious, or is it a bit awkward? If it’s still delicious, add it to your list of winners. If it’s awkward, try another combination.

You’ll soon find that this is a rigorous test and that very few food pairings make the list of winners.

When I played this game, Milk & Cookies was my first clear winner. It immediately reminded me of a shot our A LA CARTE team took of chocolate chip cookies and milk. This shot may look familiar to you since it’s the icon we use

in our Comments section. I love the shot because the cookies look warm and melty from the oven, plus the tall glass of milk looks cool and inviting—perfect for dunking. Cathy added toasted chopped pecans and extra chips to the cookie dough just before baking, and the way they catch the late-afternoon sunlight brings back happy memories of years of after-school snacking.

Other pairs on my list of winners? Red Wine & Chocolate. Bacon & Eggs.  Tea & Toast. Tomato & Basil. I could play this game all day…

Please send us your own winning food pairs, and we’ll comprise a master list to feature in an upcoming post. Happy pairing!

Heather

13 Comments

Filed under Chocolate, Cookies, Dessert, Snacks, Sweets

Caramel Macchiato Popcorn Balls

Why shouldn’t adults enjoy the whimsical play of a dessert on a stick?  Here’s a popcorn ball that’s not just for kids!

Traditional popcorn balls are usually loaded with gooey sweetness, but I’ve created a contemporary version with more grown-up appeal.  These coffeehouse-inspired popcorn balls are made with caramel, chocolate and espresso powder—what a combination!

Did you know that macchiato means marked or stained?  In this case, the popcorn is “marked” with a little espresso.  You have to try them—I’ve already eaten 3.  Okay, maybe 4!!!!

as photographed by our team, alacartepartners

Caramel Macchiato Popcorn Balls
Makes 6 popcorn balls

8 cups popped popcorn
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon warm water
20 caramels, unwrapped
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 popsicle or craft sticks

– Place popcorn in large bowl. In small bowl, stir together espresso powder and warm water.

– In medium glass bowl, microwave caramels, chocolate chips and espresso mixture on HIGH (100%) power, 1 and 1/2 minutes. Stir
mixture until completely melted.
– Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and quickly stir until popcorn is well coated.  Using greased  hands, shape mixture into 6 balls.
Insert a stick into each ball.

– Store in airtight container up to 1 week.

Tips

– You can use store-bought popcorn; air popped popcorn or your favorite microwave popcorn.

– For a sweeter treat, use kettle corn.

– Instead of forming the popcorn mixture into balls, spread it in single layer on a baking sheet.  Let sit for 30 minutes and break into clusters.

– For added coffeehouse flavor, stir 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon into the espresso mixture.

Cathy

10 Comments

Filed under Caramels, Chocolate, Dessert, Popcorn, Snacks

Put Some Pop In Your 4th!

A  Fourth of July tradition dear to my heart is the annual party given by my friends John and Terry. We have been a part of it for the past 30 years, give or take a few missed ones. Things change from year to year, whether it be moving to different towns, kids growing up,  or jobs changing, but two things that stay the same are the excellent company and the delicious food John & Terry serve. We all bring appetizers and desserts, and  this year I’m going to steer away from the norm and bring a little “pop” to the party!!!  Seems appropriate, yes?

We photographed this recipe for the Popcorn Board back in December, and we thought it would be a perfect sweet treat for  the Fourth since Heather propped it with an all-American theme.

Parties, pools, baseball, fireworks, and popcorn—what could be better than that! Enjoy this recipe — I know John and Terry’s guests will!!!

Homerun Sugar Popcorn
Makes 8 cups

1/4 cup vegetable oil for popping
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn
3 tablespoons white sugar

– Heat oil in medium-sized pan until hot.
– Add popcorn and sprinkle all of the sugar over it.
– Cover and shake continuously until popped.

Recipe courtesy of the Popcorn Board…

as photographed by our team, alacartepartners

Cathy

5 Comments

Filed under Popcorn, Snacks, Sweets