Better Ideas for Better Times

Making your own snacks.

Doing what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Junk food can be a big money waster. High prices, low quality. It's not an accident that they call 'em "junk foods." The alternative to corporate frankenfoods is not "no snacks" and "no fun". You can make your own snacks for pennies on the dollar compared to the corporation price. But wait, there's more! Not only do the snacks cost less money, they taste better and are more nutritious.

The alternative to corporate frankenfoods is not "no snacks" and "no fun". You can make your own snacks for pennies on the dollar compared to the corporation price. But wait, there's more! Not only do the snacks cost less money, they taste better and are more nutritious.

If you want comfort food, try chocolate pancakes with pudding sauce. Yum, you won't find that in a box at the store. A home-made twinkie is so much better than the store version, you'll wonder why you ever paid cash money for that cheap tasteless junk food. And there is simply no comparison between homemade tortilla chips, salsa and bean dip and the junk sold under those names at the grocery store.It's not hard to make your own snacks, it's easy. Here are some simple snacks you can make.

Tortilla Chips

Corn Tortillas Frying oil for deep frying

Pre-heat frying oil in a deep pan. Tear the tortillas into quarters or strips. Test the temperature by dropping a bit of tortilla into the hot oil, it should bubble rapidly. Fry 6-8 tortilla quarters at a time, turn them over once, until they are crisp and just beginning to brown. Experiment to find out the exact stage of doneness your family prefers. After the oil cools, strain it and put it in a covered jar in the refrigerator for use again later.

Beer Nuts

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp maple flavor

1 lb shelled raw peanuts

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan (cast iron is good for this). Cook until the liquid is gone (about 10 minutes). Spread on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Bread Pudding

2 cups stale bread

1/2 - 1 cup sugar

2 cups milk dash salt (optional)

2 eggs

raisins and vanilla

Beat the eggs, milk, sugar, salt, and 1 tsp vanilla together. Tear bread into small pieces and add it plus the raisins to the egg mixture. Bake in a dish set in a larger pan of water for 1 hour at 300 degrees. For interesting variations, add a quarter cup of cocoa, or drained crushed pineapple, or chopped bananas.

Pizza Dough

1 tbspn yeast

1 cup warm water

3-1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

2 tbspn oil

1 tbspn sugar

Mix sugar and warm (not hot) water, sprinkle yeast on the water, let sit for 10 minutes until the yeast bubbles. Add salt, oil, flour (in that order). Knead until smooth and let rise one hour. Punch the dough and use a rolling pin to shape it into the size pizza you want (this makes one thick crust, or 2 thin crust pizzas). Put it on a flat cookie sheet or other baking pan. Top with spaghetti sauce, add your favorite toppings (shredded cheese, fried hamburger or sausage, onions, whatever). Bake at 350 degrees until done (15-20 minutes).

Easy Very Tasty Cobbler

1 cup flour

1 cup milk

1 cup sugar

1 stick of margarine

2 tsp baking powder

1 or 2 cans of fruit pie filling or other canned fruit

Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add milk and melted margarine, mix well. Pour batter into a greased baking pan (such as a casserole dish). Pour pie filling on top of the batter. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes (or until golden brown on top).

Easy Very Tasty Brownie Mix

6 cups flour

6 cups sugar

2 cups cocoa

Mix ingredients and store in an airtight container (such as a mayonaise jar). To make brownies, use 2 cups of the mix. Add 1 stick melted margarine and 2 beaten eggs. Mix well. Bake at 350 degrees in 9" square pan for about 15 minutes. Icing: Mix 1/3 cup milk, 1 stick margarine, and 4 tbspn of cocoa, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Spread on brownie.

Pudding Mix

1-1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

2-3/4 cup dry milk

1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and stir until well blended. Store in a tightly covered air tight container. Makes about 24 servings of pudding. To make chocolate pudding, use 1-1/4 cup pudding mix, add 1/4 cup cocoa, mix well in a saucepan. Add 2-1/2 cups water, mix well, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Add 1 tbsp butter or margarine. Put a cup of the mixture into a bowl, add 2 beaten eggs and mix well, then blend this mixture back into the saucepan of pudding, and cook one minute. Remove from heat and pour into a dessert dish, may be served warm or cold.

Easy Very Tasty Cake


2 eggs



2 tsp baking powder

Take a coffee cup from the cupboard. Fill it with sugar. Put it into a bowl. Take the same cup, fill it with flour, put it into bowl and add baking powder. Break eggs into the cup and beat with a fork. Fill the cup with milk, pour over dry ingredients, beat/mix well. Pour into a greased and floured cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. To make chocolate cake, add 1/2 cup cocoa. To make vanilla cake, add 2 tsp vanilla. To make a pineapple cake, add drained crushed pineapple. To make any of these cakes even more moist and rich, add 1/2 cup mayonaise.

Easy Very Tasty Winkies

1 Easy Very Tasty Cake

1 cup milk

4 tbspn flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup margarine

These are known in the store as "Twinkies". Make an Easy Very Tasty Cake and bake it. After it cools, slice the cake in half between the top and the bottom. Mix flour and water (the easiest way is put milk, then the flour in a jar, put the lid on it, and shake vigorously), put this in a pan and cook until it thickens. Let this cool, then add shortening, margarine, vanilla, and sugar. Beat (an electric mixer is best) until light and fluffy. Spread between the two layers of cake and let it set a bit. Cut into bars, munch. Make two recipes and freeze one for munching later.

Bean Dip

Add some salsa, garlic, onion, and chili powder to refried beans. This is much cheaper than the commercial dips, and you can mix it to your own personal tastes.

Sweet Potato Pie

Cooked sweet potatoes (canned or fresh)

2 eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 stick margarine pie crust

Pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves)

Beat the eggs, drain canned sweet potatoes and mash with the eggs, sugar, and margarine. Add spices and mix thoroughly. Pour into unbaked pie crust and bake at 350 degrees until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean (about 45 minutes). If you don't know how to make pie crust, simply bake it in a casserole dish. To make a simple pie crust, mix 1/2 cup shortening or oil with 2 cups of flour and a dash of salt. Add a little ice water until it holds together (about 3 tbsp). Knead the dough for about five minutes, roll it into a circle and place in the pie pan. Pie crust takes practice, so bake a lot of pies. Your family with love it and so will you.

Quick Cinnamon Rolls

Add 2/3 cup water to 2 cups biscuit mix (or make your own favorite recipe for homemade biscuits). Roll dough into a rectangle, 1/4 inch thick. Spread dough with 2 tbsp melted butter. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon, sprinkle onto dough. Roll up, and seal the seam (dip your fingers in water and pinch the dough). Cut into 1 inch slices using a string or thread. Place cut side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees about 12-15 minutes. Icing: Put a cup or powdered sugar in a bowl, add a little milk (about 2 tbsp), and mix. Add flavorings if desired, such as powdered cocoa, or lemon extract. Color with food coloring if desired.

Chocolate pancakes with pudding sauce

1-1/4 cup buttermilk

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp margarine

1/2 tsp soda

1-1/4 cups flour

dash of salt

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

Mix ingredients, cook on a hot griddle to make pancakes. For pudding sauce, make Chocolate Pudding as described in this flyer. Top pancakes with pudding sauce and whipped cream. If you don't have buttermilk, add 1 tblspn vinegar to regular milk, let sit for about 10 minutes.

Onion Rings

3/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp soda

1-1/2 tsp baking powder

1 egg

1 cup water or milk

1/4 cup cornstarch

Combine ingredients and mix well. Slice onion into rings, dip into batter, deep fry in hot oil. You can also dip thinly sliced potatoes, or carrot sticks, or zucchini.

Caramel Popcorn

2 quarts popped corn

1-1/3 cup sugar

2 sticks margarine

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup karo syrup nuts (optional)

Mix syrup, sugar, margarine, and vanilla. Cook until it is a light caramel color. Pour over popcorn and nut mixture. Press into a large pan. Cool, and break into pieces.

Beef Jerky

2 tsp onion powder

3 tsp pepper

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup soy sauce

3 pounds roast

2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup worcestershire sauce

Trim all fat from the roast and slice very thin (it is easiest to slice thinly if it is partially frozen). Combine all ingredients except the meat, mix well. Add meat and let it marinade over night in the refrigerator (cover the container tightly). Arrange strips of meat over the oven rack, directly on the rack (line the bottom of the oven with foil to catch drips). Bake at 200 degrees with the oven door slightly open for six to eight hours. Store in a tightly covered container.

Potato Chips

Slice potatoes very thinly, soak in cold water for 15 minutes, drain completely and pat dry with a towel. Heat oil in pan, and deep fry.

The Top Ten Lies of Television.

10. TV is real life. 9. The news tells the truth. 8. TV characters are good role models. 7. Children's TV is harmless. 6. TV advertising benefits you. 5. Everybody watches it, so I have to. 4. My life will be better if I buy advertised products. 3. What I and my kids watch doesn't really affect us. 2. I can learn all I need to know by watching TV. And the Number One Lie is: Television is necessary!

Prepared by the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House, Oklahoma City,