Every now and then, I have to give myself a pep-talk about snacking.
I’m big on snacking. I can’t help myself.
It’s mostly healthy snacks — such as a greenish juice around mid-morning, maybe some fruit during the afternoon, a protein smoothie after working out, or nibbling on dried fruit while watching TV at night.
Still, I should cut it down a little. Snacking is okay if it’s done in response to true hunger, but should never amount to mindless eating.
When I experience long intervals between meals, such as more than five hours - adding a snack might help deal with hunger, and ultimately make better choices at the next meal.
Along the same lines, after a kick-ass workout, a nutrient dense smoothie can help replenish the body of lost fluids, minerals and get rid of the starvation sensation.
I mean, we’ve all been there: you sit down for a meal at a restaurant so completely light-headed and starving that you don’t even remember eating the entire bread basket.
Or you’re so famished, the waiter doesn’t have to ask if you want the pie, because you’ve already gone ahead, and already ordered before you even ordered your meal.
But snacking just for the sake of snacking is a no no.
Snacking can be a great way to keep your cravings and hunger "in check". But should never be fueled out of habit.
As I said before, when running on fumes, munching a healthy snack is a good thing.
Snacking when you’re just bored or distracted is not.
Another golden rule for snacking is keep the snacks delicious, while maintaining portion size small and the calorie count low.
Snacks laden with processed carbs, sugars and additives, and general junk? No, thanks.
In the realm of snacks, yogurt covered treats have a special place in my heart.
Raisins, almonds, blueberries,…if it’s edible and has yogurt on it I’m a fan. But imo yogurt-covered cranberries are where it’s at.
If you were looking for dating advice I would suggest bringing yogurt-covered cranberries to him/her first. It’s a step in the right direction all while saying, “I like you and let’s snack on some delectable and healthy goodies.”
Flowers are overrated. A box of chocolates too predictable.
However, you bring along some bite sized yogurt-covered cranberries to chomp on and you’ll win every time. Trust.
Adapted from Real Snacks and TheKitchn
A couple of notes. Even though the directions for this recipe are lengthy and detailed, it is actually very easy to make these cranberries, and will require about 15 minutes of your time. The (long) drying process takes care of itself.
Furthermore, the leftover yogurt coating should be kept covered and refrigerated. It will set into a gel in the fridge. Before using it, warm it in the microwave for a couple of seconds until liquid.
3 cups / 8 oz / 225 gr dried cranberries (I used Eden Organics)
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon / 2 ½ sheets / ¼ envelope gelatin (I used Great Lakes)
¼ cup / 2.5 oz / 70 gr Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 ½ cup raw coconut palm sugar (I used Madhava)
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Place the coconut sugar and arrowroot powder into a food processor (or blender) and powder the sugar starting on low speed and gradually work your way up to the highest speed.
It will take a few minutes to powder the sugar. You can start and stop the machine if you need to. Just don't open the lid or you will have powdered sugar floating everywhere in the air.
Keep blending the sugar until it is all powdered and light brown in color. Keep the lid on for a few minutes to let it settle to the bottom. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss cranberries with one tablespoon of the powdered sugar mixture until they are completely dusted. Set aside.
In a small dish combine water and vanilla. Spread the gelatin over top and whisk with a fork until the gelatin is evenly distributed in the liquid. Set aside for at least 5 minutes. It will set into a thick paste. If you’re using sheet gelatin, soak it in cold water for 10 minutes until softened.
In another bowl whisk Greek yogurt, honey and salt. Microwave on high in 5 seconds bursts, stirring between each burst, until the yogurt is liquidy and warm to the touch. Don’t let it start to boil or it will curdle.
Whisk gelatin mixture (or softened gelatin sheets) into yogurt mixture until completely dissolved.
Scrape the yogurt mixture into a large mixing bowl. Pour the remaining coconut powdered sugar mixture on top.
Whisk gently until the yogurt and powdered sugar combine into a thick, but pourable, frosting.
Pour yogurt coating over the cranberries and stir until the cranberries are coated.
Drop coated cranberries onto the lined baking sheet and with your fingers separate them as much as you can. It’s going to be sticky and messy but you can definitely lick your fingers when finished.
Let cranberries sit, uncovered - in a cool and dry place - for at least 2 hours, or until the tops are completely dry to the touch.
Cut a new piece of parchment paper (roughly the same size as the other one) and put it over the coated cranberries.
Flip it - just as you would flip a pancake - and peel the old parchment paper from the top.
Most of the cranberries fill fall but most will stick to it - because the undersides have not yet dried - so use a knife to peel them off.
Let the the cranberries dry completely another 3 hours to overnight.
Be patient, it will work out in the end and it’s going to be delicious.
When the cranberries are dry, separate those that are stuck together.
Store cranberries in an airtight container at room temperature. They will keep for several weeks.
One serving (about ¼ cup) yields 80 calories, 0 grams of fat, 23 grams of carbs and 1 gram of protein.