Nut Butter Granola Bars

Nut Butter Granola Bars

After school snacks are pretty essential in our house. And because we can’t take nuts to school, it’s nice to enjoy them when we can. The cub helped Grandma DiDi make some nutty and sweet granola bars.

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In full princess attire, the Cub helped measure out the pecans. We used pecans, pistachios, walnuts and almonds.

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All the ingredients went into the blender.

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Next goes the oats.

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We blended all the nuts until they were finely ground. Careful not to blend too long as it will turn into nut butter.

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Our mixed nuts went into a large bowl where the Cub helped mix them up.

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Next, she whisked the egg while Grandma DiDi heated the honey mixture.

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In goes the warm honey mixture and the egg.

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The Cub helped Grandma DiDi quickly mix all the ingredients together. Looks yummy.

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We spread the gooey mixture into a parchment paper-lined pyrex dish and put them in the oven.

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Cub approved. Our granola bars have been quite a hit for an after school treat!

 

Nut Butter Granola Bars

(recipe from Bon Appetit)

Ingredients

2 cups raw nuts (almonds, walnuts. pistachios, hazelnuts) * We used store bought roasted  nuts and skipped the roasting part of the directions.
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, plus more for pan
2 cups old fashioned oats, divided
1 1/4 cup dried berries  (tart cherries, raisins, currants, dates, apricots, blueberries)We used wild dried blueberries from Trader Joe’s
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP. honey
1 TBSP kosher salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spread nuts and pumpkin seeds in a 13×9″ baking pan and roast until darkened in color and toasty smelling, 10–12 minutes. Transfer nuts and seeds to a food processor and let sit until cool enough to handle.

  2. Reduce oven temperature to 300°. Lightly oil 13×9″ pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both long sides. Lightly oil parchment.

  3. Add 1 cup oats to nut mixture in food processor and pulse until nuts are broken down to a sandy mixture and no whole oats remain. Transfer to a large bowl.

  4. Pulse any dried fruit larger than a raisin in a food processor (no need to wipe out) until finely chopped, about the size of chocolate chips. Transfer to bowl with nut mixture. Add remaining 1 cup oats and stir to combine, breaking up any fruit that is stuck together. Add 3 Tbsp. oil and stir to coat. Add peanut butter, but don’t stir it in.

  5. Bring honey, salt, and vanilla to a boil in a medium saucepan (honey will bubble up) over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until honey is foaming vigorously and smells like caramel, about 3 minutes.

  6. Immediately pour honey syrup over peanut butter in reserved bowl (it will melt the peanut butter). Stir to combine, making sure to aggressively break up any clumps of nut butter.

  7. Stir egg white with a fork or whisk in a small bowl to liquefy. Add to oat mixture and stir until egg white is no longer visible.

  8. Transfer oat mixture to prepared pan and press firmly into an even layer. (Be sure to really compact the mixture into the pan—it helps to use the bottom of a heavy glass or metal measuring cup.)

  9. Bake granola bars until deep golden brown and no longer sticky or wet, 30-35 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then lightly score into 16 long rectangles (1 cut lengthwise and 8 cuts crosswise will make bars that are about 6½x1″). Let cool completely in pan, then use parchment to hoist bars out onto a cutting board. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut along marks to separate bars.

Melon Popsicles

Melon Popsicles

Galai Melon is a refreshing, sweet and hydrating snack! Unlike regular popsicles that are extremely high in sugar, making your own popsicles with fresh fruit like galai melons,  can significantly cut the sugar but still have enough sweetness to satisfy any sweet tooth! Galia melon is also high in pectin and dietary fiber that help regulate glucose levels. Fresh over processed whenever possible!

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It looks very similar to honeydew melon, but with twice the flavor.

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We had a friend join us to make our melon pops. It was a good lesson for the cub to share tools, tasks, and attention with Grandma DiDi as well. The girls got started by chopping up the melon and adding it to the blender.

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Our friend helped squeeze the lime into the blender. Citrus can help bring out the natural flavor in other fruits.

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Because we wanted to make this an extra special treat, we added some raw honey. Honey is an excellent natural sweetener and substitute for sugar.

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After blending the ingredients, the girls helped pour the mixture into our Koji popsicle mold.

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Last but not least, they put the popsicle handles on top and placed them in the freezer to set. They can’t wait to try one!

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Melon Popsicles

(Makes approximately 8 Koji popsicles)

Ingredients

2 cups fresh cut melon
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp raw honey

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix.
  2. Blend and add more liquid if necessary.
  3. Pour mixture into a popsicle mold.
  4. Drop popsicle handle in and make sure you can see the mixture lightly squish out the sides of the handle.
  5. Place in the freezer for two hours and enjoy!

*If you have extra mixture left over, serve it as a smoothie!

Carrot Energy Balls

Carrot Energy Balls

We are big fans of The Natural Nurturer. She loads veggies in everything she makes so when we saw her no-bake carrot balls we decided to make it our way with a little help from the cub.

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We started by cleaning the carrots. The cub really likes peeling. The safest way to teach a kid to peel a carrot is to have it flat on the counter and to peel away from their body.

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Use a grater with a handle and make sure it is on a flat non-slip surface. We also taught the cub to hold the end of the carrot and thoroughly explained why the grater could hurt her hands and fingers if they got too close. She did an excellent job completing the task.

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After the carrots were added, the cub added the oats, dates and peanut butter.

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With precision she added the chia seeds and honey.

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A colorful mix of ingredients. No baking – just mix well.

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Grandma Didi had fun teaching the cub how to roll the balls in her palms.

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So much goodness in a bite-sized energy ball.

 

Carrot Energy Balls

(adapted from https://thenaturalnurturer.com/2019/06/12/no-bake-peanut-butter-carrot-balls/)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrot (about 1 medium sized carrot)
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey or less
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 dates pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips(mini if you have them)

Directions

  1. Combine the carrots, peanut butter, honey, oats, chia seeds, dates and chocolate chips in a bowl.
  2. Mix until all ingredients are blended evenly.
  3. Chill in your freezer for 30 minutes. This helps make the batter to form into balls easier.
  4. Roll tablespoon size balls between your palms.
  5. Place the balls on a cookie sheet and chill in your freezer for about 2 hours or until firm.

Bunny Smoothie

Bunny Smoothie

It wasn’t until I hit my 30s (and when I had my babies) did I really start to care about the medicinal properties of food. How do I pack the most nutrients into every meal, and still make it enjoyable for all?

Today we hit the jackpot. Yes, it took time and effort (and a few extra dishes), but it’s the best feeling to know they had a healthy snack. A fun combination of highly nutritious veggies and fruit blended into a sweet and tangy smoothie. We lovingly named this concoction, Bunny Smoothie.

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Blood Orange, Pineapple, Carrot, Ginger, Turmeric and Ice.

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Grandma DiDi began by juicing the carrot, ginger and turmeric.

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Then we added the pineapple, orange and ice to the blender.

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Our kitchen has another chef these days. She can’t really cook, but she likes to observe. We place her in her highchair to keep her contained and give her pieces of whatever we are cooking.

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The cub added the carrot, ginger and turmeric juice to the blender.

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and Grandma DiDi blended it up! Look at that vibrant color!

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A tasty and nutritious treat for both cubs in their new bunny cups. Happy Easter!

 

Bunny Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple, cubed
  • 4 blood oranges, peeled
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 inch turmeric, peeled
  • 3 very large carrots, juiced (pulped discarded)
  • 4 cubes of ice

Directions

  1. Begin by preparing all the fruit and veggies.
  2. Juice carrots, ginger and turmeric together, discard the pulp.
  3. Place cubed pineapple and peeled orange in a good blender (we used a vitamix)
  4. Add carrot juice mix to blender with 4-5 ice cubes and blend thoroughly
  5. Enjoy!

Note – You can freeze pineapple if you plan ahead and eliminate the ice.

Lemon Brownies

Lemon Brownies

Just in time for Easter we made a sweet and tangy lemon treat! Our uncle recently brought us a bunch of lemons from his house so we wanted to use them before they went bad.

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Is there a better smell than a freshly zested lemon? It’s a welcome sign of Spring time and we are thankful we have plenty.

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After we zested lots of lemons, it was time to juice them. We also have peace of mind that these lemons are grown without pesticides. Our uncle grows them himself, a trained arborist, and lover of all flora.

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In goes the flour. The cub makes sure it doesn’t dust up into her face.

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Next the lemon jest. She is loving all the smells.

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Measuring is her favorite! In goes the baking powder.

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The cub took a new step in her cooking journey. She was brave and helped crack an egg. The cub has always approached every new situation in her life with caution. (I’m a thankful mom for this) The sharp edges hurt her fingers but she repositioned and did it. She felt so accomplished!

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So excited to dump her first cracked egg into the bowl.

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Another first for her is using the mixer on her own. Clearly she was having a good time.

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Whipped to perfection. The cub takes so much pride with each task. She feels a part of our community when she helps in the kitchen, or around the house. We are firm believers that if she knows she’s a working member of our community, she will have greater respect and love for her home (and meals!)

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Licking the mixer… nothing better!

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Grandma DiDi quickly made the icing and the cub helped spread it over the baked, but cooled lemon brownies.

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This photo speaks for itself! Happy Easter everyone!

Lemon Brownies

(recipe from https://kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com/lemon-brownies/, made with love by the cub)

Ingredients

Brownie Ingredients

  • 1 C unsalted butter softened
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Lemon Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp lemon zest

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper
  2. Using a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder
  3. Using a standing mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until light and fluffy
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time until combined
  5. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until combined
  6. Pour batter into the baking pan and bake in the oven for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Make sure to not over bake.

  7. Allow to completely cool on the counter

  8. Using a large mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until combined
  9. Pour the glaze over the lemon bars and spread evenly
  10. Allow to harden overnight before enjoying  ( we couldn’t wait that long…)

Spinach Pancakes

Spinach Pancakes

St. Patty’s Day inspired pancakes! The cub loved making them! Although she doesn’t quite understand how Irish she is, she will soon. And hopefully she takes pride in this fun holiday for years to come!

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To start, we added LOTS of spinach to a blender to make our pancakes extra green (and healthy)!

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Grandma DiDi demonstrates how to crack an egg. The cub will be doing it on her own soon.

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She carefully added all the ingredients.

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And tasted them too!

Spinach6When her dominate hand was busy with the “taster” spoon the Cub adapted by using her left hand.

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In goes the wet ingredients with the dry.

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After they cook on the griddle, the cub helps use the shamrock cookie cutter to make clover pancakes.

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Honestly, not the prettiest green pancakes, but that didn’t affect the taste. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Spinach Pancakes

(adapted from superhealthykids.com)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (we used almond but I think using half almond and half wheat or cassava would work well)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

 

Directions: 

  1. In good blender put first seven ingredients in and blend until smooth
  2. In a bowl whisk all dry ingredients until mixed
  3. Add the wet ingredients from blender into the dry and mix well
  4. Cook on well heated griddle that has been lightly greased with oil of choice

Note:  These did turn out quite dark and I believe it was the almond and spinach mix but they weren’t burnt and the Cub “LOVED” them. Since our newest Cub addition isn’t allowed to have honey yet we will make them with maple which would be a perfect substitution.

 

Mini BBQ Meatloaf Bites

Mini BBQ Meatloaf Bites

Our little cub is growing up fast and that means we can be more creative in the kitchen for her. We love Jenna Helwig’s Real Baby Food cookbook. We used it when the cub was a baby and love it even more with our second baby. The cub helped make her mini turkey meatloaf bites.

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The Cub and Grandma DiDi got started by greasing the mini muffin tin pan. Grandma DiDi was having a little too much fun with the oil spray. ha!

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Time to make the BBQ sauce! SQUEEZE!

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One of the cubs favorite ingredients – maple syrup! It gives the meatballs a sweetness that any cub would love!

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It’s always important to taste your creations. Grandma DiDi’s signature move is to taste test with a finger lick. The cub is taking it all in.

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Now that they have perfected the sauce, it’s time to add it to the meat.

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The cub has been a little fashionista lately and insists on dressing herself. Girl moms, I know you hear me! Todays outfit is three skirts layered.

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Back to cooking… time to make the meatballs. The cub loves the texture.

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Grandma DiDi shows her how to roll them into balls. The cub is doing an excellent job.

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It’s very important to wash your hands after handling meat! Scrub, scrub, scrub!

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After she washed up, it’s time to brush the remaining BBQ sauce on the meatballs.

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Baked to perfection!

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A perfect serving size for baby cub. We break them up into tiny pieces for her to grab with her pincher finger and thumb. We store them in the freezer and pull one out to for an easy dinner option. Makes a perfect meal paired with a vegetable and some fruit.

Mini BBQ Meatloaf Bites

(adapted from Real Baby Food Cookbook )

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1/2 dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease muffin pan or generously spray the cub like Grandma DiDi!
  3. In a small bowl, make the BBQ sauce by mixing the ketchup, maple syrup, vinegar, Worcestershire and paprika.
  4. Beat the egg into large bowl and add the turkey meat, breadcrumbs, onion and  garlic powders and half the BBQ sauce. Mix well with hands.
  5. Divide the turkey mixture evenly among the muffin cups. Brush the top with the remaining BBQ sauce.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of each meatloaf reaches 165 degrees F.

Note: We store in the fridge in air tight container for 4 days or in the freezer for 3 months.  Also, you can lessen any of the spices if you feel it’s too much for your little one.