August 3, 2015

Sand. And Salsa. And Sour Patch Kids.

As a lifelong Michigan girl, my favorite stretch of sand along the Great Lakes has to be the beach at Lake Michigan Recreation Area, 15 miles south of Manistee in the northernish part of the Mitten State. 

Big, private sites at the campground and a seemingly endless expanse of sand lakeside lured our family back year after year when my brother, sister, and I were growing up. 

Once a summer, we pulled into a campsite, hauling our pop-up camper—“pop-up” being a highly euphemistic or idealistic or unrealistic term, since the camper did not so much “pop up” as it was cajoled, cranked, hoisted, fastened, and secured. 

While my parents battled the camper (“Russell! There is a GAP in this door!”), my sister and I performed our requisite chore of positioning and securing the clothesline. Then we headed to the beach with towels, magazines of questionable literary value, Wheat Thins, and Tootsie-Rolls. 

Now, as adults, my siblings and I camp with our parents and our children a little closer to home but still on Lake Michigan. The pop-up camper has been replaced by a travel trailer that very nearly sets itself up. And my brother's tent. And my sister’s three-room “lodge.” And my parents' conversion van, a.k.a., the "camper annex." Which I happily avail myself of.

The Tootsie Rolls of our youth have given way to Sour Patch Kids, which don’t melt and, being coated with sugar, nicely disguise the inevitable sand. I highly recommend them for your next beach picnic. (Get the jumbo bag.) If you’d like to pack something a little more substantial, bring along My Sister's Strawberry Salsa with Cinnamon Chips.  All the fruit in the salsa makes a healthy snack, and if any sand finds its way in, just tell your crew it’s cinnamon-sugar. 


My Sister’s Strawberry Salsa with Cinnamon Chips
This recipe comes together very quickly if you have a food processor. But I’ve also included instructions for making it by hand in case you don’t have heavy machinery in your kitchen.

4 cups plain multigrain chips (such as Sun Chips or, if you’re an Aldi’s fan like I am, Clancy’s Multigrain Crisps…just make sure to get the plain version—this is not the place for sour cream and onion)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray
1 ripe kiwi, peeled
1 apple, any variety, peeled, cored, and seeded
2 cups strawberries, rinsed and stems removed
¼ cup strawberry spreadable fruit (Smucker’s Simply Fruit or something similar)
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy clean-up. Spread the multigrain chips in a single layer on baking sheet. Coat the chips lightly with butter-flavored cooking spray.  Mix together 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over chips.  (You can use any extra sugar mixture to make cinnamon toast…or your next batch of these highly addictive chips.) Coat the chips again with cooking spray. Bake for 8-10 minutes, watching carefully toward the end of the cooking time to prevent the sugar from burning if your oven runs hot. Remove from oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. If not using immediately, store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

If you have a food processor, cut all the fruit into chunks of about the same size and place in the bowl of the processor. Pulse about 8 times, until coarsely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add in the spreadable fruit and the brown sugar. Pulse another 8 times or until desired consistency. If you do not have a food processor, chop or dice all the fruit as coarsely or finely as you like it, then gently combine it with the spreadable fruit and brown sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

Chill the strawberry salsa for at least 15 minutes or up to a couple days. If you’ll be eating this on the beach, pack the salsa in a cooler with ice and the cinnamon chips in a glass or plastic storage container so they won’t get crushed. Makes approximately 1 ½ cups salsa and 4 cups cinnamon chips. 

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19 comments:

  1. I love your post and the camping snack sounds marvelous! I would love to have this for a football watching snack, too :) Thanks so much for linking up at Together on Tuesdays!!!

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! I am so happy to have found Together on Tuesdays and will look forward to coming back each week. You are so clearly a gracious and encouraging hostess. May God return to you the blessing you give out to others!

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  2. Girl this sounds amazing! I am going to have to try that strawberry salsa!!
    Kristen

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    1. Aw, thanks, Kristen! You're the sweetest! The salsa and chips ARE quite addictive, but in a good way. :) Hey, I was just on your blog and saw the fun "10 Questions"! I'll get to work on the answers ASAP! Thanks for being such a great encourager!

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    2. Awesome! I can't wait to read it!

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    1. Thank you! :) I am rather fond of it! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  4. I cannot wait to make!!! Sounds amazing for this summer:)))

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    1. Thank you, April! You are such a sweet encourager to me!

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  5. Thanks! Although your favorite beach is different than mine, I must present all sides of the argument. :-) My post that I'll be sharing this in is on MY favorite West Michigan Beach.
    I've never had a fruit salsa but that sounds delicious!

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    1. Haha! :) Can't wait to read about your favorite beach. I truly love and am thankful for all our Great Lakes sandy treasures! And I just made another batch of that salsa, and I love and am thankful for it it, too! :) Looking forward to your post!

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  6. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured at Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you are having a wonderful day and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

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    1. Oh my goodness...thank you for so kindly including me in your lovely list of features from last week! What a joy and privilege to be part of a such a sweet, encouraging blog party. I'm so glad I found you and your sweet site, Miz Helen. :) P.S. I do dearly love red gingham. ;)

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  7. Great capture! A beach anywhere is my favorite! Your strawberry salsa sounds seriously yummy! Would love for you to share your recipe at the #OhMyHeartsieGirlsWordlessWednesday! I pin, tweet and share! Hope you can join us! Enjoy the rest of your week!
    Christine@CherishingaSweetLife

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    1. Thank you so much, Christine! I've just dropped by your sweet (!) site and your Facebook page and gladly returned your kind "like love" on my newish page! I'm so happy to have met you and look forward to following you in the future. As you may have gleaned by now, I am DIY- and craft-challenged, but you may be able to inspire even me. :) And I WANT that Pink Lemonade Pie I just saw on your FB page. I am, truly, a chocoholic, but when I leave chocolate-land, I most often visit the land of lemon! Thank you for the party invite...I am headed there right now!

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  8. Yummy! This sounds amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe on Mommy Monday. I can't wait to try it.

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    1. Thank you, Mandi! We LOVE this salsa, so I hope you get a chance to make it and that you like it, too. Thank you for hosting Mommy Monday...so glad you found me or I found you...whichever way we got together! :)

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  9. This sounds so good... and we have an abundance of strawberries!

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    1. Okay, Sarah, I am officially envious of your abundance of strawberries--but happy for you. ;) My mom and I laboriously picked berries this morning, but it was tough going. Fresh, in-season berries would be amazing in this salsa...hope you get to try it soon. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!