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.

Granola 1

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

Granola 2

All the ingredients went into the blender.

Granola 4

Next goes the oats.

Granola 5

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

Granola 6

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

Granola 8

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

Granola 9

In goes the warm honey mixture and the egg.

Granola 12

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

Granola 14

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

Granola 15

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!

melon1

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

melon2

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.

melon3

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

melon4

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.

melon5

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

melon6

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!

melon8Baby sister enjoyed the fruit of her sisters’ labor. Yum!

 

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.

carrot1

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.

carrot2

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.

carrot3

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

carrot4

With precision she added the chia seeds and honey.

carrot5

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

carrot7

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

carrot8

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.

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.

Meat1

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!

meat2

Time to make the BBQ sauce! SQUEEZE!

meat3

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

meat4

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.

meat6

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

meat7

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.

meat8

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

meat9

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

meat11

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

meat12

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

meat13

Baked to perfection!

meat14

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.

 

 

Sweet Potato Brownies

Sweet Potato Brownies

Wow, Wow, Wow, these are good! They are sweet, moist and have the perfect amount of chocolate flavor to satisfy any sweet tooth!

brownie1

The cub began by mashing one whole avocado. Grandma Didi pre-cooked and mashed one sweet potato to save on timing. You have to work quickly when cooking with young children.

brownie2

We were out of jared applesauce so we used our squeeze pouches. The cub loved this task!

brownie3

Proud of her stirring skills – she hasn’t questioned why they look nothing like brownies.

brownie4

Learning to crack and egg isn’t easy, but you have to start somewhere. She’s almost got it.

brownie5

The kitchen has gained a new member. Little cub is crawling and wants to be part of the action. She’s already a great eater! We haven’t really found anything she hates and we can’t wait for her to start cooking one day.

brownie6

In goes the arrowroot, baking soda and salt!

brownie8

We had a cloud of chocolate cocoa powder after dumping it in from too high!

brownie9

Now they are looking like brownies! Cooking with kids is not always perfect. You must be flexible to your environment and what works best for the child. The cub needed a break so Grandma Didi demonstrated the next step. Nothing was lost in this experience.

brownie10

After baking in the oven, perfect little brownies were formed. They are so delicious. We handed them out to some family members and their jaws dropped when they found out what they were made of and that they had no refined sugar. You need to make these!

 

Sweet Potato Brownies

(adapted from https://draxe.com/recipe/sweet-potato-brownies)

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup cooked sweet potato puree
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup agave (original recipe called for honey)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond flour (original recipe called for coconut flour)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Optional –  nuts, chocolate chips, etc

 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Grease 8×8 pan with coconut oil(or other oil) and line it with parchment paper.
  3. In a bowl, combine avocado, sweet potato, applesauce, agave and vanilla. Once creamy, add in cacao powder.
  4. Add in eggs one at a time.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine  flour, arrowroot flour, salt and baking soda.
  6. Combine both mixtures until smooth.
  7. Transfer to greased pan and bake for 25–35 minutes.

Immune Boosting Popsicles

Immune Boosting Popsicles

Preschool germs! Yuck! They are inevitable and impossible to avoid, but our hope is that if we eat the right diet we can reduce our chances of getting sick.

“Let food be thy medicine, let medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

immune1

The Cub loves popsicles, so what better way to get her to eat a mixture of foods that will help improve her immune system. Let’s break down the ingredients.

immune3

We began by removing the skin from the turmeric. Warning: it stains! So this was a job for Grandma DiDi! Did you know Tumeric contains bioactive compounds with powerful medicinal properties? Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence.

We used another powerful spice, ginger, which is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. We peeled the ginger as well and chopped it up. The cub added it to the blender.

immune6

We juiced Cara Cara oranges and lemons, both packed full of Vitamin C. A necessary vitamin to fight colds. Plus, they are juicy and sweet! And the Cubs personal favorite, Mangos! She chopped the meat and placed it in the blender.

immune5

The Cub gets help from Grandma DiDi squeezing the juice of the oranges and lemon.

immune7.jpg

And of course, she had to try the oranges for herself!

immune8

And the mango. Yum!

immune9

Next we add the honey. Honey is packed full of antioxidants. This powerhouse phytonutrient can have antibacterial properties and is a great sugar substitute.

immune11

After all the ingredients were added, little cub joined to blend it up. She loves the noise and the vibration of the blender.

immune12

After all was blended until smooth, we poured the mixture into our Tovolo popsicle molds.

immune13

Into the freezer they go.

immune14Slurp! Delicious and a perfect afternoon snack to help us stay healthy this season!

 

Immune Boosting Popsicles (recipe from relish.com)

Ingredients

  • tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • cups diced mango
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece of turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped (OR 2 tbsp ground turmeric)
  • 1/3 cup honey

 

Directions: 

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and place in the freezer.
  2. When ready to enjoy, run pop molds under warm water to release the popsicles.

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

When we started this blog a little over a year ago, we hoped to build an online archive of new and old recipes for our family as well as make memories along the way. We’ve done just that, and this recipe is one that has been passed down through the generations in our family. You’ll even see from the directions that you just kind of need to know it to make it. From this Christmas forward, we hope to carry on the tradition of handing out these delicious Chocolate Applesauce Cakes to our dear friends and family.

Choco1

Decked out in her Christmas red, The Cub helps scoop the flour.

Choco2

“Grandma, you scoop and I’ll level,” proclaims The Cub.

Choco3

Next they added the cocoa. The Cub added, “Like the movie Coco!”

Choco5

This recipe includes all the yummy spices that make up the season. Together they sniffed the allspice.

Choco6

In goes the applesauce with a plop!

Choco7

Th cub uses her William Sonoma Lil’ Bear spatula to taste test the batter! Cub approved!

Choco8

Stir, stir, stir!

Choco9

The cub then adds in the raisins. We had half a bag left so we just let her dump them in.

Choco10

Working on her knife skills, The Cub helped chop some walnuts. She’s getting so good at chopping and enjoys it too!

Choco11

After the batter is mixed well, The Cub and Grandma DiDi added the batter to the greased mini loaf pans. The Cub is careful not to spill any.

Choco13

Cooked to perfection! With a hint of chocolate and a whole lot of Christmas spice! We hope you share our favorite holiday recipe for your loved ones! And if you do, we would love to see your finished product. Tag us #thekitchencub.

 

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch
  • 2 TBSP cocoa
  • 1 tsp salt, cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • ½ cup shortening (canola oil)
  • 1 cup raisins, golden or regular
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

These are the directions that were passed down… 

  1. Mix all together and pour into greased loaf pan and bake in 350 oven for approximately 1 hour. 

 

Directions we actually used: 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking soda, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg.
  3. Add applesauce and oil and mix until batter is well blended.
  4. Add raisin and walnuts.
  5. Grease each pan with cooking oil. Pour batter into loaf pan making sure not to overfill as the bread will rise.
  6. For mini loaf tins bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick runs clean.  If using whole loaf pan, bake for approximately 1 hour.
  7. Cool for 20 mins and serve! Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for a week or freeze for up to 3 months.