Friday, March 2, 2012

I Like to Put Things In My Mouth...I'm a Snacker. What of It?!?

This past weekend I went on a much needed road trip with some fabulous ladies to visit another fabulous lady in Wisconsin. I know what you're thinking..."Amber, why on earth would you drive to Wisconsin? In the middle of the winter? Silly girl!" Yes, well it did happen to be the one weekend it snowed this winter in Wisconsin, but that's beside the point. On this epic adventure, one person got a date under awkward-ish circumstances, one person got food poisoning (and puked in the car. Next to me. I don't want to talk about it anymore.), and I had some hellacious allergies which are just now clearing up. But for the car ride, I had a bag full of delicious road trip snackies. I had salty, sweet, healthy, not so healthy, a little something for everyone.

The reason I did this was because I am a chronic road trip grazer. I am all about chips, beef jerky, machine French Vanilla Cappuccino, pork rinds, giant chewy Sweet Tarts, Skor bars, all the greasy, crunchy, salty, candy shit that I don't usually eat at home. And I also knew that we would be eating and drinking. A lot. There was a brewery tour involved. Lots of beer. Everyone's diets/healthy eating habits went WAAAAAAY out the window with this weekend. So I decided to bring some things to try and head off putting such unhealthy things in my mouth. Here's what I rounded up:

Trader Joe's Roasted Seaweed Snacks

I am OBSESSED with these little snackums. They are salty and crunchy and one pack is 2 servings and only 60 calories total. I let my inner fat kid out when I get a pack of them. I devour them in my car, and then I get little seaweed flakes all over me and then pick them off of myself. I don't even care who sees and judges me. And don't even get me started on the wasabi flavored ones. If you've got a strong constitution and an affinity for spicy foods, give these little num-nums a try. Danny thinks they smell like ass (they do have a certain aroma about them), but I think they taste like heaven!

Trader Joe's All Fruit Bars Ends and Pieces

Sweet, chewy, fruity deliciousness. And because it's the irregularly shaped ends and pieces cut off the bigger sheets all mixed together, you never know what flavor you're going to get. It's like Christmas in your mouth with each bite!

Dried Apricots

Also purchased from Trader Joe's (noticing a pattern here?). I love the flavor and the texture of these little nuggets. Not too sweet, with a subtle tartness that just makes the tongue happy. You can grab them at most grocery stores, but surprisingly, they were significantly less expensive at TJ's.

Ginger People Ginger Chews

I have been eyeballing these guys for quite some time, and finally just bought them. Spicy and sweet. Extra chewy. Super gingery. All natural. 3 ingredients (cane sugar, ginger, tapioca starch). They melt gloriously into a cup of hot tea. Settles the tummy. What's not to love?

Roasted Unsalted Cashews

Cashews are another one of my usual roadtrip staples. But this time, I decided to go the unsalted route. What a difference! I could taste the nuts without that burny, raw feeling in your mouth that you get when you eat super salty nuts. And my fingers didn't get all bloated afterwards! Score! Also, way cheaper at TJ's.

Wonder Bars

These, friends, were my piece de resistance. The decidedly unhealthy portion of my sack of snacks, but sometimes, you just need a little guilty pleasure. I called them crack bars because when I was in grad school, I could literally eat an entire pan of them. Even now, I can eat far too many for my comfort level. They are just so dang addictive! I'm sure there are plenty of different variations on them, but here's my recipe:

1 1/2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter, melted
1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups of chips (I used a mix of semi-sweet chocolate chips, Reese's peanut butter chips and Heath toffee pieces)
1 cup crushed nuts (I used the aforementioned unsalted cashews and pecans)
Shredded coconut (enough to cover the top, about 1 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix butter and graham cracker crumbs. Press into 13x9 inch pan. (You may want to hit the pan with some pan spray, like Baker's Joy, to help keep the edges from sticking. I didn't and lost some of the edges.)

3. Pour condensed milk on top, tilting pan to cover the crust.

4. Evenly cover with chips, nuts and coconut and bake for 20-25 minutes, until it begins to brown. 

5. Let cool completely, cut and eat them shits up. Then recruit some friends to eat them too, otherwise you'll make yourself sick. 

Sooooo, in general, I think I did pretty good with keeping fairly healthy roadtrip snackums in my belly during this trip. A bag of teriyaki beef jerky may or may not have snuck into my stash of healthy snacks during a gas station stop, but I only ate like 2 pieces and the vast majority was eaten by the boy after I got home. So I say the jerky doesn't count. Another perk of packing my own snacks instead of grazing gas station culinary delicacies along the route is that I spent far less money than if I bought snacky snacks at each stop. 

Also, Celine Dion and Alanis Morisette make great singing companions. Just thought I would throw that little tidbit out there for y'all.

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