Mom, I’m hungry.
How was school?
Good. Can I have a snack please?
And so it begins! As prepared as I’m sure you are by now for making nutritious back-to-school lunches, having healthy after school snacks on hand is just as important. When kids run off the bus with rumbling tummies and dinner won’t be ready for another hour, having a satisfying and a nourishing snack makes all the difference. If they reach for junk food, there’s a good chance they won’t refuel their brain and body properly to tackle homework, not to mention if they load up on overly sugary or salty treats they might get too full for a wholesome evening meal.
After-school snack time is also an opportunity for you to take a break, have a cup of coffee and sit down with your kids to catch up with each other, since you’ve been apart all day. They’re much more inclined to talk about their days when there’s food on the table!
Instead of waiting to think about snacks until my kids come through the door famished, a little thought and planning for the week goes a long way. Just like meal planning and prep, making a few snacks in bulk ahead of time ends up saving time on busy school days. One of the ways I like to do just that is by using my Hamilton Beach Professional 14 Cup Dicing Food Processor. On a Sunday afternoon, before the rush of a new week begins, I can make a few easy recipes that both my kids and I enjoy. Today, I’m sharing with you three of my simple after-school snack ideas, along with one of my favourite fall specialty coffees that goes great alongside these healthy treats.
Before we dive in, let me tell you a little bit about how much I love the Hamilton Beach Professional 14 Cup Dicing Food Processor: It’s amazing! As an avid home cook, this food processor does everything I could dream of it doing. It dices, slices, shreds, kneads, chops, mixes and purees to my exact specifications. I find it so convenient to add all of my ingredients of different sizes, including whole fruits, without needing to pre-chop. It’s a sturdy, professional quality that is easy to use and gives me the best possible results. Yes, I’m totally swooning over it, which is why I wanted to let you in on some of the recipes I’ve been using it to make.
First up is Homemade Nut Butter. Making nut butter from scratch is such a wonderful after-school snack when spread on toast, crackers or fruit. I can’t tell you how simple it is to make in my Hamilton Beach Professional 14 Cup Dicing Food Processor – it’s ready in less than 10 minutes! You can try your hand at almond butter, cashew butter, or peanut butter.
Homemade Almond Butter
Makes approximately 1 ½ cups
3 cups whole natural almonds
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (or oil of your choice)
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
Set your up your Hamilton Beach Professional 14 Cup Dicing Food Processor with the Chop/Mix/Puree attachment. Measure and add almonds to the processor bowl and process on high until finely ground. Stop the processor, open the lid and add in oil and cinnamon. Restart the processor on high until the mixture becomes smooth like a butter. Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Next, I have a scrumptious recipe for Chewy No-Bake Granola Bars. The combination of oats, peanut butter, almonds, honey, cinnamon and mini chocolate chips make these an irresistible choice my whole family loves. The best part? No baking!
Chewy No-Bake Granola Bars
Makes 12 bars
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup natural almonds
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper right up the sides. Set aside.
Set your up your Hamilton Beach Professional 14 Cup Dicing Food Processor with the Chop/Mix/Puree attachment. Measure all the ingredients and add in oats, peanut butter, almonds, honey, cinnamon and vanilla into the processor bowl (leave out the chocolate chips for now). Process on low until a crumbly dough-like consistency forms. Open the lid and stir in the chocolate chips. Add the mixture into the pan and press down using your hands or a large stainless steel spoon. You want the mixture to get really compact and then smooth out the top. Put the bars in the freezer for 1 hour. Take them out of the freezer, let them sit on the counter for a few minutes and then lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Place them on a cutting board and cut them into 12 rectangles. Store them in a large container, or wrap them up individually using plastic snack bags or plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge for up to one week.
And finally, one of my top picks, The Snack Bite. These little bites of goodness can be made so many different ways, which thrills me because often I just open my pantry up to get creative with the Hamilton Beach Professional 14 Cup Dicing Food Processor! You can make apple cinnamon snack bites, chocolate chip oatmeal snack bites, or even healthy chocolate truffle snack bites. For today’s recipe, I’m showing you how to whip up Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites which pair marvellously with a hot cup of coffee and my Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer. For all my pumpkin lovers, this is for YOU! Keep on reading because you need this creamer in your life.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Bites
1 cup pitted dates
4 Tablespoons natural peanut butter
⅓ cup mini chocolate chips
¾ cup quick cooking oats
Optional: ⅓-½ cup of mini M&Ms
Set your up your Hamilton Beach Professional 14 Cup Dicing Food Processor with the Chop/Mix/Puree attachment. Add the dates to the food processor and process on low until they begin sticking together and are smaller bits. Add in the peanut butter, mini chocolate chips and oats. Continue to process on low until everything is well combined, about 2 minutes. If adding in the mini M&Ms, transfer mixture to a bowl and add them in with your hands (like a dough). Next, bring to roll approximately 1-inch sized balls, setting them on a tray or plate as you go. Place them in the fridge for 20 minutes before enjoying! You can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Before I share my absolutely decadent recipe for Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, let me tell you that every specialty drink first begins with a perfect cup of coffee. Our new coffee maker is the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew® 2-Way Coffee Maker, which lets us brew to perfection up to 10 oz. with K-Cup®* pack or 14 oz. with ground coffee. What makes this coffee maker ideal for break-time is the ability to make a single cup – what’s more, you have the choice of brewing with a single-serve K-Cup®* pack or your favourite ground coffee. That’s cool beans y’all!
To make my Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup of half and half (or full fat coconut milk, which also tastes amazing!)
3 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon honey
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
In a microwave safe bowl, add in half and half, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, honey and pure maple syrup. Stir and add in the cinnamon sticks. Place in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on medium-high to bring to a slight boil. Remove from the microwave, stir and put it back in the microwave for another 30 seconds to 1 minute if necessary. Otherwise, let stand for a few minutes for the cinnamon stick to really steep. Prepare a perfect cup of coffee using Hamilton Beach FlexBrew® 2-Way Coffee Maker, add in as much pumpkin spice creamer to your coffee to your liking (I use 1-2 oz) and transfer remainder of creamer into an airtight container and store for one week in the fridge.
Now if you want to get really fancy, and truly decadent, you can top your pumpkin infused coffee with a swirl of whipped cream and extra sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Oh heavens, it’s good.
Here’s to the school year ahead, may it be full of delicious snacking and special after-school memories made with your kiddos!
This post is proudly presented in partnership with Hamilton Beach Canada, as always all opinions are personal. Emily is a 2017-2018 Hamilton Beach Canada Ambassador.