Janet's Notebook
School’s Out: Kid-Friendly Snack Ideas for A Sunny Summer!

Sweet, Tart Kool-Aid Treats

Goodbye carpool, hello swimming pool! That warm breeze tells me it’s that time again; time to switch out the school year routine and get ready for a sunny, funny summer!

Of course, with all the giggly joys of the season comes the challenge - ok, let's call it an "opportunity" - to keep the kiddos and grand-kiddos fed and entertained. If my grandson has taught me one thing it’s that you can never have too much food on hand. We always have cut veggies and whole fruit in the fridge, but we also love finding unique treats for the occasional indulgence. Lucky for us, we’ve recently come across some super fun recipes for curbing the kids' cravings between meals!

Really, what says summertime snacking more than old fashioned Cracker Jacks?! We love 'em and were thrilled to find a terrific recipe for homemade 'jacks... with a twist! "This is our movie night favorite!" says Sue Adame of her Cracker Jacks Gone Wild. "I admit I tend to over indulge, but cannot help myself!" And it's no wonder! Chock full of salty-sweet popcorn, cashews and dried cranberries, this yummy mix is an eat-it-by-the handful delight! Oh, and did I mention that every bite is laced with colorful chocolate candies?! Have the kids pick their favorite colors and, well, go wild!

"My kids and I love sweet and tart little goodies," says Honorary Kitchen Crew gal, Leah Stacey. In fact, Leah’s entire brood fell head-over-heels for JoSele Swopes' cheerful Kool-Aid Treats. The simple addition of powdered drink mix adds oodles of color and pucker-inducing fun to these otherwise classic Krispy treats. "We have tried them in several flavors,” exclaims Leah, “and they never fail. If you want an extra kick try putting 2 packs of the same flavor in them."

For a savory all-star treat, gather up the kids and whip up a batch of Christine Reardon's Fun Pizza Dip. (With a name like that, you KNOW it's got to be good!) Christine has managed to pack all the gooey, flavorful goodness of pizza into an easy anytime snack. "I have probably made this recipe over 50 times," says Christine. "It is always one of the first dishes to go!" With layers of herbed cheese, tangy tomato sauce, pepperoni, peppers and scallions, this dip is a delight for the senses. Serve with crackers, tortilla chips or pita for a filling and fun afternoon treat.

With an eye on creativity, any recipe can turn into an opportunity for special time together. Kitchens are made for experimenting... so why not grab the kids and try something new?! After all, every recipe is a success when it's prepared with the ones you love.

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Lisa Lopes - Jun 5, 2012
Thanks, Bonnie! Same to you!
Bonnie ^O^ - Jun 5, 2012
LOL! Well, they should be changing it any moment for this week. Happy Cooking and Baking!
Lisa Lopes - Jun 5, 2012
Yes, please! While Janet's Sweet Tart Kool Aid treats are yummy for the kiddies, I'm kind of tired of seeing them pop up. Ha ha! Lisa, Gladys...great idea! Hope you all have a wonderful summer and enjoy LOTS of good recipes of all kinds. Variety is the spice of life, as they say.
Bonnie ^O^ - Jun 5, 2012
If you go to Town Square and click on Groups, there are several groups for healthy eating and cooking on JAP. If you have a problem with the recipes, then go to those groups only and choose recipes from there. There are also some diabetic recipes on JAP. There is something for everyone.
gladys dunn - Jun 4, 2012
I also agree with Lisa. I Think it's about time to change the subject. Everyone has their own opinion about what's healthy and how to handle it for their families, who are any of us to tell somebody else how to live?
Lynn Carlson - Jun 4, 2012
I totally agree Lisa
lisa mickey - Jun 4, 2012
it's a shame for some to complain ! geez..... just thank the lady who posted or say Nothing ! I'm sure you can post veggie recipes too..
Laura Spencer-Whitacre - Jun 4, 2012
Atta Girl xoxoxoxo
kristen haddock - Jun 4, 2012
I will probably regret ever leaving this post, but here goes. I am the mom of two boys, ages 2 and 4. I love that there are recipes on here for sweet treats, yummy fatty foods and the occasional healthy ones. I am teaching my boys to love and enjoy ALL foods but the key word here is, in MODERATION.
Because I don't limit my boys sweet intake to certain days or as rewards, when they do get them, they usually only want a few bites. They do prefer healthy snacks over bad ones, but the occasional bad foods they eat are far less than the healthy ones.
It would be nice if this site did throw in the occasional healthy dish, but that isn't why I signed up. If I wanted healthy, low sugar, low fat foods, I would visit the WeightWatchers site.
It is up to the parents and grandparents to teach our kids what is healthy and good and to make the right decision when it comes to food and diet. This site is for entertainment and for those that love food.
It's up to us to eat responsibly. It isn't anyone elses responsibility to raise my kids and tell them what they should eat. That is mine and my husbands job.
So, with that said, bring on the fatty, sugary, gooey recipes. We would love to try them. (in moderation of course)
Anne Brennan - Jun 4, 2012
I am still afraid of sugar substitutes so I will avoid them (I also have not found one I can stand). But, I use concentrated fruit juices and honey to sweeten if sugar is not an option. Granted, this rules out a lot of cooking recipes, but if there is a liquid involved in the recipe, I can adjust a lot of them. I do still indulge now and then with a sugary treat, but am aware of having them in moderation. Same goes for butter, fats etc. A little won't hurt you and when you only allow them now and then, they taste that much better!
terri redfearn - Jun 4, 2012
If you can not have sugar or if you do not want your children to have sugar all you have to do is substitute the sugar with a substitute sugar. Thank you for the recipe as is and I look forward to trying the recipe
Anne Brennan - Jun 4, 2012
Another thing you can do with this fruit puree is spread thinly (1/16" thick) onto parchment paper on a baking sheet and place into warm oven (200 degrees) until dry to touch. Remove, cool and cut into strips or cut with cookie cutters for fresh made fruit leather. Intense flavor, sweetness without sugar, fat and cost of traditional fruit leather.
Anne Brennan - Jun 4, 2012
I had a problem when my son was small. He was 'husky' and loved sweets. I started taking over-ripened fruits and cooking them down with a little fruit juice (100% juice, no sugar added). I would cook down until thick and puree it smooth. I would serve it over yogurt, low cal ice milk, or simply on saltines with a bit of natural peanut butter. It was extremely sweet, without adding extra sugar and was very versatile. Plus it gave me a way to use up left over fruit (or buy fruit beyond it's pretty stage cheaply). He'd even used the 'spread' on fresh fruit that was not as sweet as he wanted to satisfy his sweet tooth.
gladys dunn - Jun 2, 2012
Hav tried several recipes since I found this site and I've got to say that there are some really good cooks out there. Keep the recipes coming. I'm saving them faster than I can make them. Good job girls.
Shelly Grant - Jun 2, 2012
I love this site.. I'm new here and have read some of the comments above.. I think that if you are not looking for a recipe, just for fruit and veggies on hand, then your in the wrong place. I love the neat things I read here and love trying out the recipes. My 3 children are all very healthy and we indulge once in a while. I think the main thing to remember, is when it's home made, you can make it organic, and healthier. You can choose sugar substitutions in your recipes and stay away from all the refined ingredients. There are lots of resources to help modify any sweet recipe into something a bit healthier and enjoyable at the same time!! Thank you so much Janet for this amazing site and the wonderful reviews of recipes you work hard to provide for people.