SALT LAKE CITY — Do you have too many pins on Pinterest and not enough time to try them all? Don't worry — the Page Two editors of ksl.com will try them out and give you the low-down. This week on Pinterest: Four delicious, quick and easy recipes for healthy, tasty snacks — and two total flops.
No-bake chocolate chip granola bars
A previous pinner hyped this recipe for no-bake granola bars from laurenslatest.com as “better than Trader Joe’s” — lofty praise, to be sure. But the method was so simple, I had to give it a go. I was not disappointed. I had all but one of the seven ingredients, so I improvised: Instead of adding crispy rice cereal, I crushed up some graham crackers. I also added crushed peanuts for an extra protein boost. I followed the directions to the letter, and although they were incredibly easy to make and amazingly delicious (we inhaled the whole pan!), they did not stick together well at all. The second time I made these I reduced the amount of butter, as recommended, but still no luck. This is the only reason I’m not giving this recipe an A. Final grade: B+
Microwave potato chips
At last, a recipe for homemade potato chips without the grease and calories of bagged chips and without the hassle of deep-fried methods. This recipe from fatfreevegan.com is ridiculously easy: Simply thinly slice a potato, layer the slices on parchment paper, then stick the whole thing on your glass microwave tray. There are a few other instructions, like how to keep them from burning and suggestions for various seasonings, but otherwise that’s it. I didn’t have a mandolin or V- slicer, so I used the long, flat blade on my stand-up cheese grater. It was tough but effective. The next difficulty was watching through the microwave door for brown spots to appear, which is harder than it sounds because of the “tint” on the window. But these minor struggles aside, I was quite pleased with the ease of the method and the taste. If you’re expecting the flavor of Lay’s chips, you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re looking for a crispy, crunchy, healthy and easy alternative, this is your best bet. Final grade: B+
Homemade fruit roll-ups
This next better-than-the-packaged-variety recipe for fruit roll-ups from The Copycat Cook was also extremely simple to make, and even more successful than the last two pins. Simply blend your choice of fruit and a little cinnamon, then pour onto a dehydrator tray or parchment-lined baking sheet (I went the dehydrator route). While these cooked throughout the day, my house smelled heavenly. I poured these thin enough that they really did come out like fruit roll-ups, but without the sugar, additives and chemicals of the boxed kind. My only complaint was that they were a little tart. When I’ve made fruit leather with sugar instead of cinnamon they were sweeter, but also, of course, less healthy. Also, when I stored them in the fridge as recommended they became tough and brittle. Instead I rolled them in wax paper, put them in an air- tight container, and popped them into the pantry. Final grade: A-
Flour-less strawberry muffins
Allow me to introduce you to my favorite thing I’ve found on Pinterest: strawberry shortcake muffins from dashingdish.com. The recipe is unique. Instead of the usual suspects found in muffins, this version uses yogurt, sweetener substitute and oats, making this version gluten-free and diabetic friendly. I have, however, made two key changes. A friend told me she tried these but they weren’t very sweet, so instead of using plain low-fat Greek yogurt, I used regular old strawberry yogurt. The second change is important: The recipe says to throw everything in the blender (except the berries). When I did this, everything got stuck, and I have a really powerful blender. I had to keep adding milk to get this to blend — and the recipe doesn’t even call for milk. The second time I made these I wised up. I put the oats in by themselves and blended until I got a flour-like consistency. Then I poured the oats out, added the liquid ingredients first, and put the oats back on top before blending it all together. The results were spectacular. These muffins were moist, fluffy and bursting with flavor. If you’re wary of healthy baked goods, fear not, this is one recipe that is a definite taste bud pleaser. Final grade: A
A previous pinner said, “Strawberries in the oven taste like candy and are healthy and natural.” Even the picture suggested the same, showing plump, sweet, gummy berries and linking to a recipe from theworldwidegourmet.com so easy it could hardly be called a recipe. I followed the baking instructions but did not salt and pepper my strawberries as suggested (the chef intended these for salads, not snacks). The result was not at all as promised — instead of plump and sweet, they were shriveled and sour. Because the method was so simple I know I didn’t do anything wrong. I have no choice but to declare this recipe a total fail. Final grade: F
This pin doesn’t link to a website; instead, it’s a picture of squash and zucchini lining a cookie sheet with the caption, “Squash chips, 375 degrees for about 30 min. and enjoy the best snack ever.” Since there were no other instructions, I had to test out different cutting thicknesses as I did with the failed carrot chips. Also going by the picture, it looked like there was oil coating the squash and the pan, which I added. And again, as with the failed carrot chips, nothing about these came out crispy or even remotely chip- like. They were mushy, soggy and kind of burned. Best snack ever? Not even close. Final grade: D
Next week: DIY insect repellent and fun ideas for camping.