Homemade snacks cut down on costs and chemical additives

IF you are tired of children teasing for snacks and tired of the cost when you go shopping, you're not alone. Potato chips are the top offender, but so are crackers, candy, popcorn balls, and ice cream. All of these can be made at home from scratch. The advantage of homemade snacks is double: They cost less, and they have no chemicals or preservatives. Kitchen Potato Chips 4 large potatoes, peeled Salt Oil or shortening

Slice potatoes as thin as possible with vegetable parer or knife. Heat oil or shortening in saucepan or deep fryer to 375 degrees F. Fry slices 1 cupful at a time until light brown, about 1 or 2 minutes. Do not crowd. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Salt as desired. Graham Honey Crackers 2 cups whole wheat flour 1/2 cup margarine 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 cup honey 1 egg, beaten 1/4 cup hot water

Cut margarine into flour with fork or pastry blender until it resembles cornmeal. Stir in salt, baking powder, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add honey, egg, and hot water. Mix well.

Knead dough for 2 or 3 minutes, divide in half. Roll out one-half on floured board into a square 1/8-inch thick. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. With knife score dough into 2-inch squares, which separate after baking.

Bake at 350 degrees F. 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Lightly separate squares if needed. Proceed with second half of dough. Makes 36 to 40 crackers.

Kids and lollipops go together. The following are easy to make and store well if wrapped in plastic or wax paper. Lollipops 2 cups sugar 1 cup light corn syrup 1/2 cup water 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon or peppermint extract Red or yellow food coloring Wooden skewers

In heavy saucepan mix sugar, syrup, and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Wipe off sugar crystals that form on sides of pan with a dampened paper towel. Lower heat and cook, without stirring, to 300 degrees F. on candy thermometer or until hard, brittle strands form when a half teaspoonful is dropped into cold water.

Remove from stove, stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons extract plus a few drops of either yellow (for lemon) or red (for peppermint) food coloring to tint as desired. Oil cookie sheets. Place skewers about 4 inches apart. Pour the hot mixture in a thin stream over part of the skewers to the round size you want. To keep syrup fluid place pan over boiling water. Cool thoroughly, lift from pans, and wrap. Fruit Gumdrops 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin 1 1/4 cups cold water 1 6-ounce can frozen concentrated fruit juice, thawed, undiluted

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a saucepan. Stir for 4 or 5 minutes over low heat until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from stove, stir in thawed fruit concentrate. Pour into lightly oiled 8-inch square pan. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours. Cut into squares. Cheese Crackers 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 cup margarine, softened 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, using hands to form a stiff dough. Form balls 1 inch in diameter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Dip bottom of a glass in flour and press each ball flat. Bake at 350 degrees F. until light golden, about 10 minutes. Remove with spatula. Cool. Makes 30 to 40 crackers.

Buttered popcorn is popular in most families. Vary it occasionally by sprinkling it with onion or garlic salt, or grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese. When children ask for Caramel Corn or other sticky-style popcorn, try the following. Caramel Popcorn Balls 2 quarts popped corn 2 cups brown sugar 1 cup water 2 tablespoons cider vinegar 1/4 teaspoon salt

Boil sugar, water, vinegar, and salt together in large saucepan to 300 degrees F. or until a few drops of syrup dropped in cold water turn hard and crackly; stir only until sugar is dissolved.

Pour in a slow stream over popped corn, mixing and stirring with a large spoon. As soon as cool enough to handle butter hands lightly and form into medium-sized balls.

Wrap in wax paper or plastic film. For variety add 1 cup chopped nuts or peanuts to corn before adding syrup.

Ice cream is another favorite. An easy homemade ``ice cream'' recipe follows. Yogurt Ice Cream 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin 1/4 cup cold water 2 cups fruit yogurt, orange, cherry, etc. 1/3 cup sugar

Soften gelatin in water in small saucepan, heat, and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Combine dissolved gelatin, yogurt, and sugar. Mix well. Pour into small pan or empty ice cube tray. Freeze until firm. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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