Favorite finger food for fall fair?

I have three long days at the fall fair next week. I love every moment of it, but boy oh boy is it ever busy. Every year I make a lovely bento, and every year, I never have a spare moment to eat it. This year, I'm thinking finger food. Some sort of snack food that isn't too greasy or sticky, that keeps at room temperature well for several days, and is healthy.

Can you help inspire me with some recipe ideas? What's your favourite make-a-head healthy snack food this time of year?



PHIL August 26, 2016
various peanut butter balls : http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/snacks/healthy/energy-balls/
caninechef August 26, 2016
Quinoa and Kale Crustless Quiche from Hillarybee is perfect for any meal and turns out pretty sturdy. I like it made with Braccoli Rabe. As you can see from the comments it is a winner.
Nancy August 25, 2016
Two classic foods meant for long storage come to mind -
biscotti and johnny cakes.
For biscotti, there are savory versions that can give you energy without sugar.
For johnnycakes, there are corn and wheat versions, plainish or with vegetables added.
trampledbygeese August 25, 2016
Oh! I love biscotti.

hang on a moment, let me say that properly.

I LOVE BISCOTTI (in letters five miles high). I always forget to make it. Thanks for the inspiration.

What a wonderful idea.

Johnnycakes are new to me. Off to google what that is.
But you mention corn - how about popcorn as a snack? That's always delicious. A bit greasy, and I don't know how 'healthy' it is, but what the hey.
Nancy August 26, 2016
Glad you liked the biscotti idea; recipes using Parmesan, corn +/or cheddar are here:
For johnnycakes:
I favor those made with cornmeal or potatoes, but they can also be made with rice or other grains.
And once you're into potato fry cakes, there are latkes (potato, zucchini, etc) and other variations to look at.
ktr August 25, 2016
Homemade or purchased granola bars keep well. Ones with oatmeal in them tend to be less sticky than the "Lara bar" type. Pita bread for sandwiches gets less squished when packed than regular bread. Individual packets of nut butters for an easy source of protein.
trampledbygeese August 25, 2016
That sounds yummy.
BerryBaby August 25, 2016
Rice cakes...all kinds of flavors. Top with Nutella, peanut butter, jelly or honey. Granola bars, beef jerky, grapes, bananas, nuts. Veggie snack bags with broccoli florets, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes. BB
trampledbygeese August 25, 2016
Oh, that sounds delicious.
trampledbygeese August 25, 2016
Off to a good start... however, I'm more interested in things I can make, not buy.

What are your favourite make-a-head snack food recipes?
Since 'healthy' is very subjective these days, use your personal criteria for what that means. For me it means not so sweet it gives me a sugar high, non-processed foods. Basically, if I can make it at home from ingredients I can grow, then I call it healthy.

This thread has also reminded me to make my version of black bean brownies (wich aren't called brownies, aren't gluten free, aren't vegan, don't have black beans in them, and aren't sweet - except for the sweetness of the beans...but is otherwise just about the same as black bean brownies) for a high energy, high protein snack.
Susan W. August 25, 2016
Oh this is just food for you. I thought you were feeding people from a booth at the fair. Okay, adjusting my thinking process.

What about your beloved falafel?

Roasted, spiced garbanzo beans?

I'd probably make some beef jerky and would want some lightly sweetened iced tea, but there's that nasty word "iced".

I've been living on thinly sliced beef and Turkey wrapped around cream cheese, cukes, orange bell peppers, black olives..since it sounds like there's a little fridge use.

Now I'll think of true room temp snacks.
702551 August 25, 2016
Well, you can definitely dry your own meats, fish, fruits and vegetables.

Also, you can bake your own crackers, make tortillas then turn them into chips. Therefore shelf-stable starches are not necessary a store-bought item.

For sure, cookies and cakes will give you *WAY* more of a sugar rush than any piece of fresh fruit, so it is curious that you are open to those, but decidedly unenthusiastic about fresh fruit.

I eat fresh fruit as my dessert for lunch every day. Maybe because it's at the end of the meal there's no sugar rush for me. In any case, fresh fruit is a popular snack for athletes.

A 12-oz. can of soda is about 150 calories and 39g of sugar. A 150g peach is about 59 calories and 13g of sugar. One cup (150g) of strawberry halves is 49 calories and 7g of sugar, so clearly there are ways of eating fresh fruit without consuming much natural sugar.

Of course, fresh fruit is a good source of dietary fiber.

I know the "food temperature danger zone" police here will have an apoplectic fit, but hard-boiled eggs are a possibility. In Europe, many cafes/snack bars sell hard-boiled eggs as snacks (and displayed at room temperature). Just boil them Friday night, pull out one or two every morning out of the refrigerator before you head to the fair.

Or if you have a little fridge space (you mentioned storing cheese), you can keep the hard-boiled eggs there.
trampledbygeese August 25, 2016
Alright CV, I'll bite.

I don't like fresh fruit for this kind of an event because...
... for some reason it does give me a sugar high - it is basically the sweetest thing I eat and it makes great sweetener, but that's about all I like about it. I haven't had pop in about 15 years, so I don't really know what that's like anymore.
...fruit is a trigger-food for my health problems (there is something in it that causes crohn's like ulcers throughout my digestive system)
...consequently, I'm on a low fibre diet, so I have to choose which fibre I eat carefully - fruit means no bean cake. Bean cake gives me more energy per bite, so fuit is out.
...Most of all, I find fresh fruit gets me sticky. I don't want to be sticky as I won't necessarily be able to wash my hands.

For cookies, I figure I can see what the recipe ideas are, then remove most of the sugar.

But you know, that's a lot to bother people with on a forum like this. Susan's got a great memory, but I don't imagine anyone else here knows about my food history. Instead of going into personal details, I had hoped to keep this simple and get a great big happy list of inspiration and recipes. This is why I wanted to know YOUR favourite recipes.

I can adapt them to my dietary needs if they seem yummy.

So, please tell me. What are your favourite cracker recipes that you like to make? Don't worry about my dietary needs, I want to know what crackers *you* like to make. This sounds like a delicious idea.
702551 August 25, 2016
Ah, that makes more sense, although you could have easily just said, "I have dietary restrictions that prevent the consumption of fresh fruit." without going into all the detail. Or you could just thank anyone with those types of suggestions and cross them off your list.

I did specifically single out fresh fruit since A.) I eat it, and B.) it is a common snack for athletes.

Anyhow, I don't really cook from recipes, so I have no cracker recipes to share. I'd just buy them from the store anyhow as I don't have time to be making my own crackers. In the same way, I rarely have time to make my own pasta (the dough itself is quick, rolling it out is time-consuming).

I dry my mushrooms, but don't bother with making my own dried fruits or meat jerkies.

I see you have gotten a lot of suggestions that don't require recipes anyhow (like veggie snack bags of celery and carrots), pita sandwiches, and "individual packets of nut butters", so there's nothing here that wouldn't be found in a second grader's lunchbox at this time.

I did mention that you could make your own tortillas and turn those into chips. I don't make my own tortillas, but I can get delicious fresh ones (like tortillas made earlier in the day) at the Mexican grocery store a mile away so I have no hankering to make my own (again a time issue).

I love cooking, but I also love other things, need to balance out my limited available hours.

Anyhow, good luck with your snack planning endeavours, I am now bowing out of this discussion.
trampledbygeese August 25, 2016
No worries CV. I was just answering your question since you were so curious about it.

I think it's fascinating how different people's bodies are and how we all react to foods differently. Between allergies, sensitivities, dietary choices, &c. it creates a great diversity of people and diets. From a selfish point of view, it means that when I'm stuck for recipe ideas, I need but ask and the good people at food52's hotline are always willing to share with a positive attitude. Each person here has different backgrounds and there is such a diversity of knowledge to draw upon.

Thank you everyone for such great ideas. Feel free to keep them coming. I have a week to get ready before the big event.

ps, great idea about the falafel's!
I'm also thinking about a proper, traditional, english, meat pie for the first day. Something like the ones here: https://permies.com/t/48324
Or perhaps this one ( https://food52.com/recipes/33994-english-chicken-and-ham-picnic-pies ) with a jelly filling to make it more like an aspic to exclude air from the pie so it keeps better.
Susan W. August 25, 2016
I think I remember this from last year. Didn't you have refrigeration of some sort or was that your big obstacle? Food that can sit at room temperature for a few days is a tough one. Unless, as CV said, you stick to fruit, vegetables and crackers.

I remember that thread having tons of ideas, but I could totally be thinking of someone else. I wonder if you could find that thread from last year.

Healthy is so subjective, but maybe you are meaning you want to avoid cookies, cake or candy.
trampledbygeese August 25, 2016
It was a different event I had a fridge for. But yep, you are probably thinking of me. This year, I'll be keeping some basics in the fridge (like cheese, &c) but would like things that can be cooked on Friday, kept at room temp, then eaten through Monday. But don't worry too much about the fridge thing. Mostly I'm looking for recipe inspiration - something outside my comfort zone to get me trying new things. You guys are always so creative and inspiring, I just know you can come up with something fun to try.

As for what meals... well, I don't really go in for that whole meal thing. At events I often end up fasting, which isn't great when I'm using up so much energy. On a normal day, my body type is better with the 'eat within 8 hours' kind of style. I figure snack food might be the solution to stop me getting low on salt and dehydrated.

Cookies and cakes would be fine, so long as they aren't too sickly sweet. I'm guessing something with a nice protein and carb balance, so I don't get the sugar high I would with fruit.

I'm just curious what everyone's favourite snack recipes are. Maybe something will click and it will be perfect for the fair.
702551 August 25, 2016
Although you didn't bother addressing it, I assume these snacks are supplementing a well-balanced breakfast and dinner each day and are basically tying you over since you are missing a typical lunch.

You'd definitely have a better selection of snacks if you were able to purchase them daily, but you don't indicate if that's an option.

If healthy is a primary concern, then we are really talking about fruits or vegetables. Some fresh fruit and vegetables are fine at room temperature over several days (including stone fruits, bananas, apples, pears, tomatoes). There are also dried versions to consider.

A small amount of nuts could be added. Alternately, you might consider trail mix. Since you are concerned about health, you may wish to make you own to have complete control over what goes into your mix.

Most cooked starches require some sort of refrigeration and bread will go stale. You could buy some crackers or other shelf-stable starches.

For animal protein, eggs are out. There's a wide range of meat jerky (usually sodium heavy) and many seafaring countries dry fish. The Japanese make some fine fish snacks, although they tend to be loaded with salt.

Gotta run, if I think of more, I'll come back to add stuff.

That said, I'd probably stick with fresh fruit, a few nuts, and maybe crackers. Pick different items for each day (different fruit, different nut, different cracker) so it doesn't feel like you're eating the same thing.
Recommended by Food52