Remember when having the best snacks (think Gushers, Fruit by the Foot, Dunkaroos and any other overly processed, artificially sweetened food) made you the coolest kid at the lunch table? Well, we may be a long way from those elementary school days, but having cool snacks still makes you popular in your dorm. And what makes you even cooler? Making these snacks yourself!
Make your own: trail mix
Sure, you could buy trail mix at the supermarket, but there’s usually one ingredient that you avoid or eat all of first. When you make it yourself, you control all the ingredients. I recommend combining nuts, dried fruit and chocolate to maintain a balance of salty and sweet to delight your taste buds. Here’s my suggestion for a groovy tropical-inspired version.
What you’ll need:
• 2 cups of roasted, unsalted cashews
• 2 cups of dried banana chips
• 1 cup of sweetened, shredded coconut
• 1 cup of dried pineapple, diced into bite-sized pieces
• 2 cups of M&M’s
1. If you have access to an oven, first place the cashews and coconut on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until the ingredients are golden brown.
2. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. If you don’t have access to an oven, just skip right to this step.
3. Place all of the ingredients in a large Ziploc bag, seal and shake to combine. Pop open the bag and taste. It’s as simple as that!
If you’re looking to be more adventurous with your trail mix, here are some eclectic ingredients to try:
• Dried fruit: Experiment with dried kiwi, dried papaya or dried cantaloupe.
• Nuts: Tired of peanuts and almonds? Try hazelnuts or macadamia nuts.
• Candy: Step outside your comfort zone and set aside the M&Ms. Instead, try chocolate covered espresso beans, chocolate covered edamame or the healthier option, carob chips.
Make your own: zebra popcorn
A few years back, Trader Joe’s began selling this groovy concoction of chocolate and popcorn known as Zebra Popcorn. It’s basically popcorn drizzled with chocolate to make it taste even more devilishly good. And since it’s a real bitch to get to the nearest Trader Joe’s without a car, why not make this invention yourself?
What you’ll need:
• 1 bag of microwavable popcorn (preferably plain or kettle corn)
• 1 bag of dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1 bag of white chocolate chips
1. Place the popcorn bag in the microwave and cook according to the package’s directions.
2. Remove the popped popcorn from the microwave and spread the kernels out on a baking sheet. Try to get as much popcorn exposed as possible so that you have maximum chocolate coverage.
3. Place the dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Place in the microwave and heat on high for 2 minutes.
4. Stir the chips and continue to microwave until all of the chocolate is melted, which usually takes another few minutes. Make sure to pause the microwave and stir the chips every 30 seconds so that the chocolate doesn’t burn (which can happen very easily).
5. Once the chips are melted, repeat the process with the white chocolate chips.
6. Now the fun begins! Using a fork or spoon, generously drizzle the dark or semi-sweet chocolate back and forth over the popcorn. Repeat with the white chocolate. Once the popcorn has cooled and the melted chocolate has hardened, it’s time to dig in.
The next time you’re looking to procrastinate, try making your own snack food. You’ll feel productive and it’ll give you something to munch when you actually (if ever) sit down to do your work.