Travel Sustenance

Travel is tough for a healthy foodie like myself.  I can usually find something I’ll eat in the airport, but once I’m on the plane, not so much.  The latest airline we booked with didn’t even ask if there were any diet restrictions. This doesn’t bode well for this sworn health-nut, veg-head.

To prepare for my, “turn the nose up and give the tray back to the airline attendant,” I’m going to bring TSA friendly snacks on board with me.  No, I am not buying those over-priced, fructose laden snacks they have on the concourse;rather, I’m making myself some healthy snacks. So if I get hungry on the first leg of our flight(8.5 hours), I’ll be ready with healthy alternatives.  I have been thinking and planning these snacks since I purchased tickets last summer from a cut-rate airline. I’ll have my bagged snacks, a couple of bananas, and a large bottle of water. With my Kindle Fire in one hand and ear plugs jammed into my ears, I’m ready for a smooth flight across the Atlantic.

From left to right: Dehydrated Chickpeas, Deviled Chex Mix, No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars, and No-Bake Energy Balls.

Dehydrated Chickpeas

I did a search for various directions and recipes, and I came up with my own concoction.  I re-hydrated chickpeas in the pressure cooker, and while they were still warm, I sprinkled with apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and cracked pepper.  I then dried them in the dehydrator for 12-14 hours. This will be the protein I am sorely lacking with my snacks.

Deviled Chex Mix

I pulled this recipe off of one of the Chex boxes. Interestingly enough, when I checked this recipe on the Betty Crocker website, they upped the oil from three tablespoons to a 1/3 of a cup(whaaat?).  I’m sticking with the three tablespoons. I reduced the sugar down to one tablespoon to keep the mess at a minimum.


tablespoon sugar(I used just one tablespoon)
tablespoon paprika
teaspoon ground chili powder
teaspoon curry powder
teaspoon ground cumin
teaspoon ground coriander
teaspoon ground black pepper
teaspoon salt
cup vegetable oil(I used three tablespoons coconut oil)
cup assorted unsalted nuts, such as peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans
cups Rice Chex® cereal
cups Corn Chex® cereal
cups Wheat Chex® cereal
cup miniature cheese crackers
cup miniature pretzels).

  • 1In small bowl, mix sugar, paprika, chili powder, curry powder, cumin, coriander, pepper and salt; set aside.
  • 2In large microwavable bowl, combine oil and nuts. Microwave uncovered on High about 2 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in cereals, crackers and pretzels until evenly coated. Stir in sugar mixture until evenly coated.
  • 3Microwave uncovered on High 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute, until mixture is thoroughly heated. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.
5 Ingredient Granola Bars

I pulled these off of another blog,  I traded out the honey for maple syrup, and I shall never eat another store bought granola bar again. 

 I had to work in peanut butter since I probably won’t see it for awhile. Europeans love their Nutella, and the hubby and I learned that the hard way in Barcelona.  We were suffering from jet lag, when we woke-up with hunger pains at 1:00 am. We ventured downstairs to the hotel clerk who looked at us like we were…crazy. We asked him for a place to get food, and he informed us, “Just drinks at this hour.”  Hubby and I were not about to give-up.  We walked up and down a few streets until we happened upon a convenience store, of sorts. We collected a loaf of bread, bananas, nuts and Nutella? No, we scoured that place in search of peanut butter and none could be found.  We ate Nutella instead, and it’s not remotely the same.

1 cup packed dates, pitted (deglet nour or medjool)*
1/4 cup honey (or sub maple syrup or agave for vegan option)
1/4 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter or almond butter
1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten free for GF eaters)
optional additions: chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, banana chips, vanilla, etc.
1. Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain (about 1 minute). It should form a “dough” like consistency. (mine rolled into a ball)
2. Optional step: Toast your oats in a 350 degree oven for 15-ish minutes or until slightly golden brown. Otherwise, leave them raw – I just prefer
the toasted flavor.
3. Place oats, almonds and dates in a bowl – set aside.
4. Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the dates to
disperse throughout.
5. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8×8 dish or other small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily. (A loaf
pan might work, but will yield thicker bars.)
6. Press down until uniformly flattened. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let set in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden.
7. Remove bars from pan and chop into 10 even bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. I kept mine in the freezer to keep them
extra fresh, but it isn’t necessary.
*If your dates don’t feel sticky and moist, soak them in water for 10 minutes then drain before processing. This will ultimately help hold the bars
together better.

No Bake Energy Balls

I pulled these off of Facebook a year ago or more.  Easy to whip-up and great to pop a few before your workout.

1 cup dry oatmeal
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/3 cup of honey or maple syrup
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract

InstructionsMix all together is large bowl. Let chill 1/2 hr in fridge. Then make into 1 inch. balls.
There they are, snacks that are relatively mess free, figure friendly and health friendly.  And all four are easy and take very little time(use canned chickpeas for even less hassle). What doesn’t gets eaten on the plane will be handy for snacks in our hotel rooms.

Italian Breakfast Bread

I know I’m late to post this for Easter so let’s just make this bread in celebration of spring and the new life that blooms all around us.

There are a lot of breads I am excited to make, but this one caught my eye on Pinterest. It wasn’t hot cross buns or the traditional Easter breads with little pockets meant for the dyed eggs. No, this had dried fruit and looked delicious in it’s simplicity.  In case you haven’t noticed, I look for traditions from other cultures, and I do a little testing, complexity, healthy(sometimes), and taste, and I decide from those criteria if it stays or goes.  This is a delicious sweet bread that is very reminiscent of a dressed-down stollen. The eggs make it a tasty egg-bread and the dried fruit gives it sweet/tart flavor. No added fats like butter or oil weigh it down, so I was thrilled with that and didn’t feel guilty when I smeared a little cream cheese on it.

Italian Breakfast Bread

Start out with  one cup of warm water(110-112 Fahrenheit), 2 Tablespoons white sugar and 2 1/2 teaspoons of active yeast. I activated the yeast in a pyrex measuring cup.

While the yeast, sugar and water worked it’s wonders, I got a half cup of yogurt, a teaspoon of vanilla, two eggs and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and a teaspoon of salt ready for the mixer.

With the paddle attachment, add all ingredients above(including the yeast) and mix thoroughly. Change over to the dough hook and start adding all-purpose flour, a 1/2 cup at a time, and waiting until fully combined until adding more. Add enough flour to make a non-sticky, solid ball.  It took me around 5 1/2 cups.

Spray a large bowl and place the dough into it, making sure to rub the ball of dough into the oil. Cover with a towel and let rise one hour or more. While the dough is rising, prepare the dried fruit.  I added diced raisins, cranberries and apricots.

Punch it down and roll it onto a floured surface.  Create a loaf with a seam and add some of the dried fruit. Once you combine the fruit into the dough, make another seam and repeat.

Once all of the dried fruit is hiding, place the dough into a pan for baking(a 9×9 cake pan is not large enough-trust me). Place the dough in the fridge for several hours or overnight. My dough rose within three hours. Take it out and let it warm up at room temperature for an hour.  Bake in a 350 Fahrenheit oven for 45 minutes.

This was an easy and wonderful dough to work with.  It’s time consuming(as all yeast breads are) but not labor intensive. The taste was mildly sweet but not overpowering like stollen can be.  I’ll keep this recipe in my recipe box–absolutely.  Now onto Brioche.

Italian Sweet Breakfast Bread 
Makes one 10-inch round loaf

2 ½ tsp. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 Tbs. white sugar
2 eggs
½ cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
4-5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup chopped candied lemon peel

In the bowl of a large stand mixer, combine yeast, water and sugar. Cover and let stand 10 minutes, or until foamy.  (If yeast does not foam, discard and begin again with new yeast.)  Add eggs, yogurt, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Mix well. With the paddle attachment of the stand mixer, stir in flour ½ cup at a time, scraping sides of bowl down, until dough starts to form (after adding ~3 cups).  Switch to the dough hook and continue adding flour (about 1 more cup) until dough forms a manageable mass.  Continue kneading for 5 to 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary, until dough is soft and pliable, but not sticky (up to 5 cups).
Form dough into a large ball and coat all sides with vegetable oil.  (I like to lift the dough out of the bowl, pour a tablespoon of oil in, then turn the dough around in the oil until the dough, as well as the sides of the bowl, are greased.)  Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down in bowl, transfer to a floured surface, and knead in the dried fruits.  The goal is to get the fruits uniformly throughout the dough without any of them actually bursting out into the exterior of the bread (as they will burn if exposed in the oven).
Form dough into a ball and place in a greased 9-10 inch round pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and cool rise in the refrigerator overnight.
The next morning, remove pan from refrigerator and let come to room temperature (about 1 hour before baking).  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F  for 45 minutes, or until loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  (If bread browns too quickly on top, cover with a piece of foil.)

Leon and me at the Milwaukee Domes

It is with a heavy heart I announce the passing of my brother, Leon. He passed on April 2nd from pancreatic cancer at the young age of 55. To the man who loved to eat, this blog entry and loaf of bread are dedicated to you.

Whole Wheat Beer & Honey Bread Machine Rolls

Coming back to my blog feels great.  Only the reasons to keep me away this long are: My brother dying of pancreatic cancer, and I have had a killer head/chest cold.

This entry may be interpreted as cheating, and yes, it kind of is.  But sometimes even the DIY queen in the kitchen needs a shortcut. I found this recipe a year ago, and I make a batch every weekend.  I throw the ingredients into the bread maker, and I don’t think about rolls for an hour and a half. Truth be told: I just like opening a beer in the am on a Sunday and drinking the 6ozs of the remaining brew. Oh, and I get a mini panic attack when I don’t have a delicious bun to throw two of my girls’ eggs on.  I toast the bun, slather it with mustard or tapenade, half an avocado and over-easy eggs. The sandwich is open-faced, so I can justify an extra scoop of tapenade or two.

Gather the ingredients: Bread flour, whole wheat flour, instant yeast, beer, water honey, oil, and salt.

Combine 6ozs beer, 1/4 cup water, 1/8 cup honey, two tablespoons of oil(I use canola)and heat for 1 minute in microwave or until 110-115 Fahrenheit. Add salt and add to bread pan.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups of bread and whole wheat flours and two teaspoons of yeast. Start bread machine on roll option.

Take dough out of machine when finished, punch down and knead a few times. I weigh the dough to anticipate the size of the rolls.

Break dough off and form into rolls  I weigh dough to make sure it’s 3-3.25 ozs(I’m making sandwich rolls here). I make 8 for sandwich rolls but for traditional rolls, the yield should be 12. Make sure to grease cake pan or a 13×9 pan.

I put the oven light on for warmth, and I cover with a clean kitchen towel for the final rise. When you are baking with whole wheat flour, it needs the extra heat to rise.

Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 25 minutes. Remove from pan within a few minutes and place on a wire rack to cool completely. I store the rolls in the fridge and they last about a week.

Here’s a toasted roll with fixings I described above. This makes for a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Whole Wheat Beer & Honey Bread Machine Rolls


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/8 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
6 ounces beer (flat)
2 tablespoons oil



1 Mix honey,salt,water,oil and beer in small mixing bowl , heat in microwave 1 minute, stir until well blended.

2 Place honey mix with remaining ingredients into bread machine according to manufacturers directions.

3 Select dough cycle.

4 When cycle is complete, shape dough into rolls.

5 Place in lightly greased pans. ( I like to use pie pans instead of a baking sheet so rolls are wedged next to each other).

6 Cover rolls with a damp cloth and let rise about 30-40 minute or until doubled in size. When using whole wheat flour I like to set pans on an electric heating pad set on medium. (That makes the whole wheat flour rise faster,If you don’t use the heating pad, not to worry, you might need more rise time.).

7 When rolls have doubled, bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 15-20 min , brush tops with melted butter

Recipe from: