I feel like summer is always an inclinable time to indulge in way too many treats. Come fall, things start to shift and there’s a bigger worry when it comes to what I eat and what I refrain myself from eating. My mother is a huge snacker, she loves to keep our pantry and fridge full of goodies prepared to be eaten or with a quick preparation span, fortunately, I take after her and normally have a few go-to snacks for unexpected visitors or a sudden crave.
The basic trick is to be simple and very easy to make, with ingredients you can use on your day-to-day routine. A main ingredient, that’s never missing from my fridge, is cheese off all sorts, fresh, whole, sliced, creamy. Fresh fruit and vegetables are always abundant because they are very easy to prepare or cook. Usually, throughout a working day, I eat about three pieces of fruit – I tend to gravitate around berries, peaches, melon or avocados. Salty crackers are always on my shopping list because we like to dip.
This is one of my mother’s ultimate party snack, she does it when she’s invited to a dinner party, when she throws a party or even for lunch. Only recently I’ve come to appreciate the taste of smoked salmon, but I figured it’s a great addition to salads and small appetizers. This is just a small cracker, with a piece of smoked salmon and creme fraîche, topped with chopped chives and a caper.
Homemade croutons are one of my specialties. For a long time I bought them in the supermarket, but there’s something about making them at home that gives an extra and special taste – and it’s so simple! You just buy some bread, chop the bread in little cubes, display them on an oven tray with salt, pepper, herbs and some olive oil, get them in the oven for about 10 minutes, with a few stirs in between, and they are done. In this particular case I used herbs en provence.
In Portugal, and I’m sure many other countries, it’s very common to have melon and prosciutto as an appetizer. It’s one of the most perfect flavor combinations there is and rather simple to execute. But if you’re just doing it for yourself, a whole melon can be too much and maybe you don’t want to open it for just that particular reason. So another healthy alternative is the kiwi! I realize not everyone likes kiwi but give it a try with the prosciutto on top.
Dip, dip, dip, dip, dip. I love dips, but more often than not, they’re not very good for you. Add the chips or the crackers and it turns into a very heavy snack. The other option is to chop up some raw vegetables and use them as dip sticks. This tzatziki dip is made with yogurt and natural ingredients and it tastes amazing, I can never have too much of it.
If you’re craving something more sweet, my go-to snack is an oldie but goodie: fresh cheese and honey. You just have to get the cheese, place it in a bowl and add honey to your liking, mix a bit and it’s done. Can’t get any quicker than that I guess. My father has done this for me since I’m a child and, throughout the years, I’ve added a few varied ingredients like fruit, nuts and almonds or even granola.
Last but not least, a freshly squeezed orange juice – or even a mimosa if it’s the end of the day – to top off, or even be just the snack itself, your snacking time. I normally do either orange or lemon and, if I really want to commit to my snack, a delicious smoothie.