Snack foods to make at home

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

Snack foods leave a lot to be desired. With the large amounts of sugars, salts, and chemicals that go into most of them, it's little wonder that they come in for so much criticism and controversy.

Snacking, however, has become a part of the eating habits for many who like something to munch on, things that are crunchy, chewy, crackly, or even gooey.

Here are some suggestions that are inexpensive and can help to make your larder well stocked in snack foods.

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Raw vegetables and fresh fruits go on such a list without a recipe.They might need cottage cheese and peanut butter for dipping.

"Open-a-package" snacks include olives and pickles, dates, dried fruits, marinated vegetables such as muchrooms and artichokes, or luncheon meats. Probably the favorites are ones you can make yourself. Here are some recipes that can be prepared ahead and munched at leisure. Fruit Balls 13-ounce can diced lemon peel 13-ounce can diced orange peel 13-ounce can candied pineapple 1/3 cup seedless raisins 1/3 cup shredded coconut 2/3 cup finely crushed vanilla wafers 1 cup confectioner's sugar

Combine all ingredients except the sugar and let stand 30 minutes. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls, then roll in confectioner's sugar. Makes 4 dozen. Fruit Kabobs

Place on a toothpick -- one maraschino cherry, one pineapple chunk, and one miniature marshmallow. Colorful and delectable, fruit kabobs can be made one at a time for immediate snacking, or can be made several hours ahead for all- evening munching. Apricot Pops Dried apricot halves Pecan halves Granulated sugar

Simmer dried apricot halves in water for 8 minutes until softened. Drain and let cool for 15 minutes. Wrap each apricot half around a pecan half and roll in sugar. Spear apricot- pecan pop with a toothpick and refrigerate until ready to eat. Cheese Puffs 1 5-ounce jar Old English cheese spread 1/2 stick butter or margarine 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup flour

Mix butter and cheese until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheet. Chill puffs in refrigerator at least 2 hours. When ready to eat, bake cheese puffs in 400 degree F. oven 10 minutes.

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