Simple Snacks

SHIRLEY'S KITCHEN

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Hello friends and readers:

Summer is here, we are planting new gardens, flowers, veggies and herbs. Watering is very important to sustain all this beautiful new growth, so today I choose to write about this wonderful gift called water.

Water is the sustaining and supporting matrix of all life. It allows molecules to flow through our cells. It cleanses our bodies, our cities and our homes. It changes form again and again, from a solid to a fluid, to a gas carrying the blessings of life's cycles around this Earth. It serves all beings without question, judging not who or what uses it and subtly transforming all it touches.

Water is life; water sustains every living thing.

Water is precious. Our bodies are 75 percent water and it is our cradle before birth. It runs through our bodies and through our rivers, re-creating us along the way. What is already here is all we have! Our planet is 70 percent water, yet only about .01 percent is actually drinkable. For us to be healthy, the planet's water systems must also be healthy. Water heals us. When the stresses of modern life become overbearing, water sounds/womb sounds have the most beautiful way of returning us to ourselves, reminding us of Nature's gifts and where we fit in the natural order. Please, let's all be very aware of how we use it, save every drop we can. Our life depends on it.

Now, how about preparing some simple snacks, always ready for nibbling?

Enjoy, Shirley

Bite-size oatmeal cookies

These cookies store well at room temperature up to three days. Prep time: 20 minutes Bake time: 6 minutes Oven: 375 degrees F.

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate pieces

1/3 cup chopped dried fruit, such as dried cranberries, dried tart cherries or dried blueberries.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Beat in sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and allspice. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in flour and oats. Stir in chocolate pieces and dried fruit.

2. Drop cookies by small spoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until cookies are golden. Transfer to rack. Cool. Makes 48 cookies.

Pretzel snack mix

Prep time: 10 minutes Bake time: 45 minutes Oven: 300 degrees F.

6 cups baked cheddar cheese crackers

1-9 oz. package bite-size square pretzel snaps (5 cups)

1-12 oz. can peanuts

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning, crushed

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In roasting pan, combine crackers, peanuts and pretzels. In small bowl, stir together melted butter, Italian seasoning, garlic and pepper; drizzle over cracker mixture; stir to coat evenly.

2. Bake, uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread snack mix on large sheet of foil to cool. Store in airtight container. Makes 20 (1/2 cup) servings.

Melon salad with lime syrup

Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 3 minutes Cool: 10 minutes

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

2 tsp. finely shredded lime peel

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

4 cups cubed watermelon (about half a small melon)

4 cups seeded and cubed honeydew (about half a medium melon)

4 cups seeded and cubed cantaloupe (1 small melon)

1. For lime syrup, in small saucepan combine sugar and water: cook over medium-high heat. Bring to boiling; cook 3 minutes until syrupy. Remove from heat, transfer to small bowl. Cool 10 minutes. Stir in lime peel, juice and cayenne pepper. Cover; refrigerate.

2. To serve, combine melons and lime syrup in bowl. Makes 12 (1 cup) servings.

Note: Cayenne pepper gets spicier as the salad sits. For milder heat, add a dash of cayenne just before serving.

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