Category Archives: Snacks

Maple Walnuts


I set out to make a snack that would be healthy but still a bit decadent. What I came away with was a memory of my great-grandmother, Grammy Pray.

My dad’s father’s mother lived in a little house across the driveway from my grandparents. Us grandkids would go over and visit with her, while she sat in her chair and peeled apples for a pie or threw her legs up with joy as she reminisced about skiing down a big mountain when she was just a girl.

She was a spry, happy lady and she lived to the age of 96. I remember trying to keep my little brother from playing with the white lace doilies she kept on the side tables next to the couch.

Grammy Pray told great stories of her youth and she always wore a smile on her face. She was so proud of her only son, my grandpa. She talked about her memories of him as a little boy, always with a gleam in her eye.


I started the morning with a recipe for maple covered walnuts.


It’s not much of a recipe, really.


Toss a cup and a half of whole walnuts with 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup and a pinch of salt.


Bake at 325 degrees F for 10-15 minutes.

The kitchen was filled with scent of walnuts and maple syrup baking. That scent reminded me of Grammy Pray and the house I so often visited while I was a little girl and I’m so glad it did.

We miss you Grammy Pray!


Myrtle I. Pray

BRISTOL – Myrtle I. Pray, 96 of Beech Street, died Friday Jan. 28, 2005 at the Mt. Ridge Center in Franklin.

She was born in Boston, Mass., the daughter of Frank and Florence (Whiteway) Hinds. Prior to retirement Mrs. Pray had worked at The New Hampton School and the Laconia State School.

Mrs. Pray had been a long time resident of both Gilmanton and Bristol. In January of 2004, Mrs. Pray was awarded the Boston Post Cane as the oldest resident of Bristol. Mrs. Pray was an accomplished pianist and organist. She had played with a six-piece band at the Gilmanton Iron Works Town Hall, and had served as organist at the Baptist Church in Hill. In her spare time Mrs. Pray enjoyed the Lawrence Welk Show as well as Everybody Loves Raymond.

She was the wife of the late Norman C. Pray. Family members include one son and daughter-in-law Donald & Ruth Hislop of Gilmanton; one step daughter Myla Jacquith of Alexandria; two brothers Raymond Hinds of Tilton, Frank Hinds of Iowa; one sister Dottie MacDonald of Cape Cod, Mass.; four grandchildren; Betty Hughes, Michael Hislop, David Hislop, and Susan Ward; 10 great grandchildren, one great great grandchild. She was predeceased by one brother George Hinds and one sister Edith Hinds.





Chocolate Covered Banana Pops


Summer is just around the corner. Soon, we’ll be complaining about the bugs, the humidity and about sunburns. Before that happens, let’s master the art of chocolate covered fruit. In this instance, we’re working with bananas!

It really is a marvelous combination.


Semi-sweet chocolate chips and coconut oil are combined over a double-boiler until melted and smooth.



Bananas that are ripe, not over-ripe but just right are what we are looking for here.

IMG_1741The only other thing to think about is what toppings, if any, you want to add.


Chopped almonds and shredded coconut are just meant to be together. Let’s let them be.



  • Melt about a cup of chocolate chips and a tablespoon of coconut oil over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring after every minute until smooth.
  • Cut three bananas in half and peel them. Pop them onto a Popsicle stick.
  • Chop a handful of sliced almonds.
  • Dip the banana halves into the melted chocolate and place onto a cookie sheet.
  • Sprinkle with chopped almonds and a bit of shredded coconut.
  • Freeze for at least an hour. The longer they freeze the harder they become. If left overnight, make sure to let sit at room temperature for a bit, otherwise they’ll be too hard to bite into!




Homemade Cheese-Its


A lot of the great books I’ve come across in life have been through my love of NPR. The other day on my way to pick up Ethan, I listened while Jennifer Reese talked about her cookbook, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter on The Faith Middleton Show. It’s a terrific book about all the wonderful things you never quite thought to make yourself, like marshmallow fluff and ginger ale.

I love puttering around my kitchen, so it’s no surprise that I’d want to get right down to it and make as many things from scratch as there are hours in the day.

I started my adventure with her recipe for homemade Cheez-Its, which required me to purchase my very first bottle of Worcestershire sauce.

IMG_1182It takes no time at all to prepare these little bites of cheesy goodness. Even less time if you are blessed with a food processor.


The best part for me was grating a half block of extra-sharp cheddar cheese. I love grating cheese. I know, I’m peculiar.


The cheese speckled orange dough is shaped into a disk and refrigerated for an hour.


Once chilled, it’s rolled out and placed on a cookie sheet, holes are made and these babies are ready to be baked and then eaten!

Homemade Cheez-Its

(Recipe adapted from make the bread, buy the butter)

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Place the butter, cheese, salt, pepper and cayenne in a food processor and pulse until the butter is broken up into bits. (I used a pastry blender until little bits formed.) Add the flour and pulse until well combined. Add the Worcestershire sauce and pulse again. The dough should be moist and come together in your hands. (Since I used a pastry blender through this process, I had to work the dough quite a bit to get it to come together.)

Knead the dough until forms a ball. Pat it into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Roll dough out to a scant 1/4 inch thick. (I should have rolled mine thinner!) Cut the dough into 1 inch squares.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet. The crackers won’t expand, so they can be tightly placed. Make a small hole in the center of each cracker with a skewer.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the crackers darken a bit. Cool completely on a rack and store in a cookie tin for up to a week.

Makes 70-80 crackers.


Energy Bites


Human beings get the energy they require from the food they consume.

These little bites contain protein, carbohydrates and fat. These macronutrients are what the body needs for fuel, growth, tissue repair, vitamin absorption, immune function and proper organ function, among many other things.

These bites are simple to make and delicious to eat.

Energy Bites

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips


Everything is measured and then mixed in a large bowl.

IMG_1172Stir well until all of the oats are coated.


Take a small amount into your clean palm and push and roll into a bite size ball.


Bring a few along with you to work or school or while snowshoeing or on a long car ride or on a long walk with your dog or bring some to your yoga class or to karaoke or snack on them while you’re watching your favorite show or while you’re in the kitchen making dinner…you get the idea.

Rocky Road Popcorn

rocky road popcorn

I know there are others out there like me. Others that hear the voice…the one that says “you need to create something”. Sometimes it’s a crocheted hat or blanket; other times it’s a painting or simply coloring with Ethan in his coloring books. Today, it’s Rocky Road Popcorn.

the stuff

The other day at the grocery store, we came across bagged peanuts. There were two to choose from: Yankees and Red Sox. It seems that the lower half of Connecticut are straight up Yankees fans and in the northern part, Red Sox. We grabbed a bag of Red Sox peanuts. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

the peanuts

Do you pop your popcorn on the stove top? We have not used microwave popcorn since we heard this story. It takes the same amount of time to pop it in a pot without the chemicals that microwaving it emits.

Pop 1/4 cup popcorn on the stove top in a Tbs. of oil. Chop about 1/4 cup of peanuts. Grab some chocolate chips and mini marshmallows and you have yourself the making of a great snack.

the goods

Your hands will get all chocolately while eating this, but that’s a pretty good problem to have, right?

Rocky Road Popcorn

  • 1/4 cup popping corn
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Pop the corn. Let it cool. Add peanuts and marshmallows. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler with 2 Tbs. butter and pour over the popcorn mixture. Mix thoroughly and pour onto a cookie sheet to cool. Let set for about an hour. Or speed it up by placing the pan in the refrigerator.

Enjoy while watching your favorite movie. I would suggest The Goonies, since every time I think “Rocky Road” I hear Sloth saying it.