Back to school: that time of year when your already busy life becomes even more complicated. School supplies, uniforms, meet-the-teachers, carpool, homework help, and endless after school piano lessons, sports, and dance lessons – the list goes on and on! With so much to do and only twenty-four hours in day, it’s a wonder any of us find time to take care of the never-ending to-do lists.
Candice Kidder, Vice President of the Junior League’s Marketing and Communications Council, can certainly sympathize. With three growing children and a demanding in-League placement, Candice finds the recipes in the “After School Snack” section (pages 48-51) of River Roads Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes, to be a lifesaver during this time of year.
“My kids (especially my boys) come home from school STARVING so the Miniature Pizzas and the Banana Berry Smoothie are hits in my house. My boys adore smoothies!” she says. Additionally, Candice is looking forward to adding the homemade granola recipe to the family’s regular morning routine this school year. “[We] usually have yogurt, fruit, and cereal, but the granola sounds yummy and healthy!”
Whether you have young kids starting back to school or perhaps you are just in need of some quick and easy snacks to enjoy yourself, the following recipes are just a few of the great options found in River Road Recipes IV, Warm Welcomes!
Grape Ape Smoothie, RRR IV, p. 50
- 1 (12-ounce) can ginger ale or club soda, chilled
- 1/2 (6-ounce) can froze grape juice concentrate
- 6 ice cubes
Process the ginger ale and grape juice concentrate in a blender until smooth. Add the ice cubes 1 at a time, processing constantly until of a slushy consistency. Pour into 2-3 glasses and serve immediately.
Other delicious smoothie options in the “After School Snack” section of River Road Recipes IV that your kids will go nuts for include Perfectly Peachy, Strawberry Smoothie, Count Choc-Ula, and Pineapple Freeze! Each recipe makes just 2-3 glasses and uses frozen or canned fruit or juice concentrate, making these quick, easy snacks to whip up when the kids get home from school.
Homemade Granola, RRR IV, p. 51
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1 (12-ounce) package frozen coconut
- 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup sesame seeds
- 1 cup wheat germ
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine the oats, coconut, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and wheat germ in a 9×13-inch baking pan and mix well. Bake at 300º for 30 minutes, stirring several times.
Combine the brown sugar, honey, oil, butter, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla. Combine the oats mixture and brown sugar mixture in a bowl and toss to coat. Return the mixture to the baking pan.
Bake at 300º for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let stand until cool. Store in an airtight container.
This Homemade Granola recipe makes 10 cups, making it a great bulk recipe you can make ahead and keep stored in the pantry. The granola can be enjoyed as a cereal with milk or with dried fruit, and you can also make nutritious granola-topped parfaits to keep in the refrigerator for a quick grab-and-go treat for breakfast to save time during those hectic weekday mornings.
Granola Topped Parfait
Layer one-half cup of your favorite fresh or canned fruit in the bottom of a large, disposable plastic cup, top with one-half cup of yogurt or cottage cheese, and finish with one-half cup of Homemade Granola on top. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate, and stock up on some disposable spoons for easy clean-up in the event you decide to bring it to work or need to eat on-the-go.
Miniature Pizzas, RRR IV, p. 51
- 4 miniature bagels, cut into halves
- 1 cup spaghetti sauce
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8 slices pepperoni (optional)
- Sliced green or black olives (optional)
Arrange the bagel halves cut side up on a baking sheet. Spread each half with some of the spaghetti sauce. Layer with the cheese, pepperoni, and olives. You can experiment with toppings, too, depending on what your family enjoys. Classic pizza toppings like bell peppers, mushrooms, sausage, or even pineapple make great options!
Bake at 400° for 7 to 10 minutes or until the cheese melts. Cool slightly before serving.
Makes 8 pizzas.