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Spark up the DeLorean

August 16, 2012 by Andrea Godfreyson, Registered Dietitian

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The other day at my friend’s place, I needed a snack as dinner wasn’t ready and I was dangerously close to crossing the crankypants threshold. My friend offered me some celery.

Seriously?! Celery wasn’t going to subdue me at this point.

I gave him a look that clearly communicated my offense to this suggestion, so he stuck his head in the cupboard to locate something more substantial. “I have peanut butter…” he said cautiously.  A distant happy snacking memory started creeping back. ”Wait a second,” I said, jumping off the couch with new found energy, “do you have any raisins?!”And at that, a favourite childhood snack, ants on a log, re-entered my life.

This had me thinking, what other retro foods had I forgotten about? Below is a list of some beauties I came up with that will take you back in time. I’ve outlined the classic recipe and then in the column on the right, I’ve included my ideas to incorporate new flavours and offer healthier alternatives.  
There was a real love for mayo in the past so a lot of the classics are loaded in their original recipes. In my renditions (the column on the right of the table), I like to use the bare minimum amount of mayo to bind the ingredients and then play with plain yogurt and other options to add moisture and tang.

Now that I am on this kick, I can’t wait to host a Mad Men inspired cocktail party to try these out all over again.

What retro foods take you back?  Share the joy!

Blast from the past The original recipe Bringing the recipe
back to the future

Ants on a log

This makes a fast after school/work snack

Celery with peanut butter in the centre and raisins dotting along the length of the stalk   

For a change of pace, try a different nut butter or try another kind of dried fruit.

You could also try some soft goat cheese instead of peanut butter with piece of figs instead of raisins.

Cheese ball

What’s not to love?

Various cheeses (including cream cheese and hard cheese) mixed with or rolled in various herbs or nuts and formed into a large ball

Meant to be spread on crackers
 Soft goat cheese is a good base and is easily molded (it’s higher in protein and lower in fat than regular cream cheese is). Try goat cheese with sundried tomatoes, and chopped roasted walnuts.

Try incorporating some veggies into the ball to “round it out” nutritionally. For example, try mixing frozen drained chopped spinach and fine chopped artichokes with a mix of feta and goat cheese.

You can even make them into small individual balls for guests if you don’t want them to chip away at the big one.

Spread on whole grain crackers or homemade pita chips.

Smoked oysters

This is my childhood Christmas day favourite!

Can of smoked oysters served on crackers with a thin smear of mayo I wouldn’t change a thing. You only need a hint of mayo for the oyster to safely perch on the cracker.

Use whole grain crackers or homemade crostini.

Mini meatballs

Your favourite meatball recipe with a toothpick in it for easy eating Use extra lean beef, turkey, chicken or pork and bake these babies with a tray underneath to allow the fat to drain off.

There are also many different recipes for vegetarian meatballs that can be found online.

Try serving with a homemade tomato and basil sauce for dipping.

Devilled eggs

Cheap and easy!

Eggs are hard boiled, cut in half lengthwise and then the yolk is removed from the white. The yolk is mixed with mayo and seasoned and then piped back in to the egg white. Just use a bit of mayo to combine the eggs together. Add in a bit of prepared horseradish or dijon mustard for some zip.

Try mixing fresh dill in with the yolk.

You can also swap some of the mayo for some mashed avocado to give them a whole new flavour (and colour!).


Shrimp cocktail

There are never any of these left on a table

Cooked shrimp served with the tail-on and cocktail sauce for dipping Skip the cocktail sauce and try something fresh. Mix a couple of cut up plum tomatoes, a bit of green onion, a minced clove of garlic, ½ a diced avocado and a tbsp each of lemon and lime juice. Season to taste.


Waldorf salad

 

Mixture of red grapes, cut up apples, chopped celery and roasted walnuts dressed with mayo.

You can also try using celeriac or fennel instead of celery to give it some flare.

I like to use more plain yogurt and just a bit of mayo for this salad.

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