Friday, February 10, 2012

Baked tortilla chips

It was a stunningly gorgeous day here in Northern Cali today. It is the middle of February but judging from the weather, you'd never know. Jayden and I took advantage of the beautiful day and little brother's nap time to get in some much needed one on one time. After giving him several options of things we could do, he of course chose jumping on the trampoline. Forty minutes of serious jumping and we were both tired and ready for a snack. Okay, let's be honest, I was the only tired one, that boy never runs out of steam.

I was getting our snack ready and Jayden wandered into the kitchen and said he wanted to cook something together. I knew we were having tacos for dinner and so I figured we could bake up some tortilla chips. Baking them, as opposed to frying, is obviously much healthier and just as delicious. They bake up crispy with only a trivial amount of oil and then we can reap all the whole grain goodness minus all the fat. Since Jayden was cooking with me, I wanted to make it a little more fun and so we decided to cut our chips into cool shapes. I have a ton of cookie cutters, and being the boy he is, he chose a train, car, and an airplane! I threw in a few other shapes too. He was so excited when he saw his "super cool" chips, he kept asking when dinner was because he couldn't wait to eat them! He said the train was the first one to be gobbled up. Funny how something as simple as cutting tortillas into kid friendly shapes can turn an ordinary snack into something special.

Whole Grain Baked Tortilla Chips

Corn or flour tortillas. ( I used corn and a whole wheat corn blend)
Olive oil
Sea salt
Cookie cutters

Preheat oven to 400. Cut shapes into tortillas and brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and place on baking sheet. Put into oven and bake 6-10 minutes, flipping once to ensure even browning. Since ovens can vary, be sure to check chips often to ensure they come out crispy and not burnt!

* Save tortilla scraps to thicken tortilla soup or bake them off too! They might not look as cool, but they'll taste just as good!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Pita Chips

If you have followed any of my posts. you know how much I love my sweets.  I am in a constant struggle between satisfying my sweet tooth and my desire to eat clean and healthy.  I wish I were one of those people who can eat dinner and not feel the need to have dessert but as hard as I try I just cannot do it.  It's like my taste buds need to have sugar.  So, I have come to terms with the fact that I have to make room in my diet for treats.  I will not however, indulge on junk.  I don't pollute my kids systems with refined, processed, sugar-laden trash so I resolve to not subject my body to it either.  That leaves me with the task of finding healthy, nutrient dense goodies to quench my insatiable sweet tooth.

My favorite thing to do in the kitchen is to make over store bought treats and replace the unfavorable ingredients, like high fructose corn syrup and refined grains with their wholesome counterparts.  So while perusing the snack aisle at the Nugget the other day, I happened upon Stacy's cinnamon and sugar pita chips.  Now, I have been known to knock back a bag or two of those babies in my hay day, but those days are behind me now. I studied the ingredient list and knew I could make them healthier and probably cheaper too!  The obvious swap was using 100% whole wheat pitas.  By now we all know about the benefits of adding whole grains to our diets and the detriment that refined grains can have on our systems.  Refined carbohydrates have been stripped of all their nutrients, which is why products using them have to add nutrients back in.  The only other thing I did was increase the amount of cinnamon to sugar ratio.  Cinnamon, like most other spices has tremendous health benefits.  It has an amazing ability to regulate blood sugar, can boost cognitive function, and contains iron, calcium, fiber, and manganese.

These cinnamon sugar pita chips are so delicious and incredibly easy to make.  They only consist of 4 ingredients, most of which we all have in our kitchens at any given time.  Plus, by making them at home, you are in control of the amount of fat and sugar that goes in them and you get to enjoy them warm out of the oven!  Now the only obstacle you face is practicing enough self control not to eat them all in one sitting!!

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Pita Chips

1 package 100% whole wheat pita bread
1/4 c granulated sugar  (may be more or less depending on your preference)
2 T cinnamon
2 T butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.  Try to separate each pita into two, this makes for thinner, crispier chips.*  Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place butter in bowl and microwave until melted. Working with one pita at a time, brush both sides with the butter.  Sprinkle both sides of the pita with sugar mixture and shake off excess.  Cut pita bread with a pizza cutter into wedges.  Continue with rest of pitas.  Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake for 6-10 minutes or until pitas are crisp. 

*  You will find that some pitas are more stubborn than others, and you are not able to separate them.  Not to worry, you will just end up with thicker chips and will need to increase cooking time to ensure crispy, crunchy chips!