Burning Down the House: Superfood Snacks

Morris, Julie. Superfood Snacks.
New York: Sterling Publishing, 2015.

This month J.K., 14, chose to try out Superfood Snacks by Julie Morris. She and I were both drawn to this cookbook by one recipe: Kraut-Stuffed Avocado Boats. Our family has a thing for sauerkraut and we also love avocados, so resistance was futile.

 Yum! Kombucha Ice Cream Floats

Yum! Kombucha Ice Cream Floats

J.K. liked the cute little symbols at the top of each recipe that indicated their superfood powers: “beauty, bone strength, heart health, immunity, low calorie, and protein.” Personally, I was eager to expand beyond my usual snack repertoire—spoonfuls of peanut butter. If eating more snacks could make one stronger, smarter, healthier, and more beauteous, count me in. (Before and after photos available soon.)

J.K. chose a bunch of recipes to make along with the avocado-sauerkraut combo: Protein Power Trail Mix, Kettle Kale Crisps, Crisp Garbanzos with Nori, Raspberry Quick Bread, and Kombucha Ice Cream Floats. We bought many ingredients at the Co-op that we’ve never purchased before: goji berries, white mulberries, stevia liquid, coconut oil, coconut sugar, hemp seeds, and dried soy nuts. Though we’re lifetime Co-op members, I asked so many questions that I felt like a visitor to another planet.

The avocado-sauerkraut combo took about one minute for J.K. to make. We all liked this a lot, though J.K. didn’t like the hemp seeds. We made this snack again and again. The trail mix also took about a minute to make, one of my favorite qualities in a recipe. I was surprised J.K. picked this one, and she and her younger brother didn’t like it, though Fred and I liked it a lot. Instead of the called-for dried salted edamame and unsalted pepitas, we used the Co-op’s dried unsalted soy nuts and tamari pumpkin seeds, which seemed to maintain the desired saltiness balance.

Next, I happened to call home from the Co-op when J.K. had just taken the Kale Crisps out of the oven. J.K. and Fred both thought it was amazing, and, in an unprecedented event, J.K. told me, “Buy more kale!” She described the 10-minute preparation process as “easy but unpleasant. The coconut oil made my hands feel really creepy, like moisturizer.” I thought the crispy kale was like kale candy, though maybe a little too sweet.

Next up, the Crisp Garbanzos with Nori: Make sure to use salted garbanzos (such as canned Westbrae garbanzos), because use of an unsalted brand led to J.K. shucking the husks from every bean. Despite her excessive labor, we all liked this snack a lot. It was fantastic hot, though not a smash hit at a potluck when served later at room temperature, no longer crisp.

Raspberry Quick Bread: Alas, the Co-op doesn’t carry the superfood lucuma powder, so we substituted a non-superfood, brown sugar. Although J.K. accidentally substituted hemp seed for the called-for flax seed powder, and kindly used gluten-free flour on my behalf, we demolished the warm bread in a quick few minutes.

Kombucha Ice Cream Floats: Every time we tried out the Co-op’s fun kombucha dispenser, we seemed to make new friends, or at least learn more about kombucha. J.K. said the kombucha “tastes like wine” (i.e., not good), and her younger brother asked reasonably, “Why would anyone like this?” However, we all liked these floats, slightly preferring them with vanilla rather than chocolate ice cream. J.K. liked the “tanginess,” which she thought made them “more interesting than a root beer float, which is just too sweet.” We made these multiple times. (To make one yourself, simply stir together 1 cup unflavored kombucha with 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 5 drops of liquid stevia. Then, in a tall glass, alternate a spoonful of frozen raspberries followed by a spoonful of vanilla or chocolate ice cream, approximately four times. Finally pour the enhanced kombucha over the layers of ice cream and raspberries and drink up!)

Sunning herself on a nearby window, Ollie, our bearded dragon, commented that every morsel that passes her lips makes her more beautiful, superfood or not. While Ollie follows a diet of greens, mixed veggies, and crickets, her current favorite snack is red crunchy pellets that bear a remarkable likeness to Cheetos. Watching us with our pinkish ice cream floats, she issued a plaintive request for more pellets.

All in all, J.K. thought Superfood Snacks was “good for someone who wants to eat really healthy, but a little too healthy for me.” I thought it contained many novel ideas definitely worth a try. Given that some of the ingredients are somewhat pricey or not readily available, I’m not sure when we’ll be reaping all the superfood benefits, but we’ll keep downing those ice cream floats until we do.