a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Create a Snack Basket Filled with . . .

portioned sizes of a variety of treats----for  a fraction of the cost of their commercial counterparts.

I don’t think I ever made a New Year resolution before I was married.  And I know positively neither Dave nor I have made one in our 51 years of marriage.

That said...  Well, actually, I don’t know why I said that.  I guess because I also know, positively, that Dave and I eat more, way more, than the portion sizes listed on the box, or can, or recipe or whatever.  The only time we don’t is when we don’t particularly like what we are eating.

And, in all honesty, how many of us are going to sit down with a glass of milk and a package of Oreo cookies (I have just discovered I LOVE the mint ones!) and eat the listed serving size of two!? The punctuation may be wrong but it is right in saying what I mean!!

You know why they make the portion size so low?  Because they are attempting to make the calories and fat grams sound reasonable by listing an absolutely unreasonable serving size.  That’s why!  What else could it be?

As I have posted at various times in the past, we are trying to eat more healthy. At times we do better than others.  I started the basket thing a few months ago and it has worked quite well.  It causes us to pause and decide what we want to snack on, sweet or salty? soft or crunchy? before we start nibbling away.
And the little packets set boundaries that we don’t do a good job of setting ourselves.

More and more grocery store shelves are filling with tons of “quick snacks”--- portioned and packaged for us----at outrageous prices.

My first step was to check out the snack-y items we had in our cupboards. 

I read the portion sizes of each and counted or measured each portion and zipped it in a snack-size zip-lock bag.  We had a starter selection of wheat thins, caramel-type popped-corn with peanuts, dried apples, dried bananas, pretzels, mixed nuts, and hulled sunflower seeds.

These were the first items to go into a large wicker basket I put on the bar that separates the kitchen from our eating area. 

Next I went to the store and picked up regular-sized boxes some of the sweet cereals we snack on when traveling and zipped them into packets. We like Chocolate Krave, tiny Cinna-bons, and filled/frosted Mini Wheats.

During the holidays we were given packages of pistachios and yummy little mints (It is nice how every package provides the number of servings it contains.) and each were added to the basket.

At the post holiday sales, in their own clearance basket for 75% off,  I grabbed two boxes of candy canes and a couple of bags of individually wrapped seasonal chocolates and did the same.  One bag of mixed types of mini candies had different portions for each: peanut butter “Santas”, snowflake” mint patties and milk chocolate “trees” so I packaged them accordingly: one santa, three snowflakes and two trees.

I wasn’t sure about the practicality of the candy canes, but who could pass up  12 full-size canes for 24 cents. (They are great when you longing  for a  long-lasting treat).

The basket sits on our bar in full view and we have not abused it (or ourselves).  

We are pretty amazed. People that drop by find it fun to search through the basket until something strikes their fancy.  I guess it is kinda like the candy dishes in banks, and other service providers.

I had decided I could be a little extravagant and throw away the empty snack bags but that went against my cheapskate-ness and all it took was for one of our snack-takers to ask where she should put the empty bag.  Now a clear plastic one-quart deli container nests among the full bags and holds the empty ones.

Try it ---- you may like it, and find it works for you, too. 

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