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!

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!

Savory Pumpkin Bread

Savory Pumpkin Bread

Fall has arrived and that means everything Pumpkin! Grandma DiDi has been experimenting in the kitchen and whipped up this savory pumpkin bread!

The cub is at an age where not every morning is created equal. As she navigates her big emotions, we often invite her toys to join in on the cooking process to keep her engaged. Whatever it takes! 🙂

Pumpkin

The cub began by cutting the chives. She followed Grandma DiDi’s lead.

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Next up, they mixed all the wet ingredients together starting with the pumpkin.

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Followed by the yogurt. The cub is at an age where she wants to do everything by herself. We guide her with assistance when needed.

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Stir, whip, mix! The cub loves this part!

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Now the cub helps add the dry ingredients.  In goes the flour.

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Nothing better than the smell of spices! Even ones that aren’t sweet.

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A new fun activity is grinding the pepper. She can do it all be herself!

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In go the chopped chives! Sprinkle them everywhere!

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The cub takes her stirring duties seriously. With all that flour, the dough is getting really thick! “Look how strong I am,” the cub explains!

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Again, the cub is not always willing to participate. And she does want to do everything herself. Grandma DiDi has to offer help in this scenario. The cub does not approve.

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Once the dough is added to the bread pan, the cub gets to sprinkle hemp and chia seeds to the top. Now it’s time to bake!

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Ding! The bread is cooked to perfection. Perfect for a sandwich or just warm with butter or a cheese spread! Dig in!

Savory Pumpkin Bread
(Adapted from chefdehome.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup non-fat greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • ¼ cup oil (canola, olive or oil of choice)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP fresh chives or thyme (or both if you’d like)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds (more for top)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds (more for top)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven at 350. Grease a 5 X 9 inch pan
  2. In a medium bowl, add wet ingredients: eggs, oil, and yogurt. Whisk to break eggs and mix in yogurt. Add pumpkin puree and combine well. set aside
  3. In a large bowl, add dry ingredients: flour, spices and sugar. Mix well with fork to distribute evenly. Add wet ingredients in 3 batches and fold in until flour is moist and well blended. Add seeds and herbs.
  4. Transfer to prepared baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes then loosen sides and turn out of pan.
  5. Slice thin and toast with butter or make sandwiches. Suggested ideas are cream cheese and olive, turkey and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly actually works, too!

Artichoke and Dip Dip

Artichoke and Dip Dip

The ancients considered the artichoke full of health benefits, including uses like a diuretic, a breath freshener, and even a deodorant. Thankfully we’ve developed different forms of deodorant over time.

Grandma DiDi grew up a few miles away from the artichoke capital – Castroville – and recalls it being a staple at the dinner table when she was growing up. We hope to pass the same memories onto the cub. And this veggie is a good source of folate, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K. Artichokes are also packed with antioxidants; they’re number 7 on the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list.

Artichoke

The cub begins by seasoning the water, that we used to steam the artichoke, with herbs, garlic and oil.

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While the cub takes an apple juice break, she watches Grandma DiDi carefully cut and trim the artichoke outer leaves.

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The cub can’t wait to use the scissors to help trim the leaves.

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While the artichoke steams on the stove, the cub helps prepare the dip dip.

The base of ours is greek yogurt. You can also use plain melted butter or mayonnaise as a dip.

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The cub added mustard to the yogurt.

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Then curry for added flavor. She mixed it up and waited for the artichoke to finish cooking.

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Once the artichoke was complete, the cub dug in with a big munch! She loves artichokes!

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Enjoy! What kind of dip do you like to use when eating an artichoke?

Artichoke and Dip Dip

Ingredients

  • Fresh artichokes (as many as you would like)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried Herbs de Provence or oregano
  • Enough water to cover half of the artichokes

Dip Dip

  • 1/2 cup good plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp curry powder (depending on your taste – start light)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. Wash the artichokes well under running water; pulling leaves out a bit to rinse away any dirt or residue
  2. Trim top off with serrated knife and pull outer smaller leaves. If you want, snip all leave tops off with scissors (this removes little stickers on tips of artichoke leaves).
  3. Place right side up in saucepan that will comfortably hold the number of artichokes you are cooking. Fill with water to about half way up artichokes.
  4. Add oil, herbs, and chopped garlic to water.
  5. Place artichokes on stove over medium heat and cover.
  6. Cook for 30 – 45 minutes or until artichokes are tender when heart is pierced with a knife or fork. When the artichokes are done, drain all of water off and turn them upside down to make sure all water is out. (keep an eye on water level – it can evaporate so you may need to add more hot water during cooking time)
  7. To make dip, blend yogurt, curry, garlic powder and mustard together. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for an hour.
  8. Artichokes can be eaten hot, warm, room temp or cold and hold for days in refrigerator after being cooked.

Notes:

  • When choosing artichokes at the market, look for those with leaves that are tightly closed and when the leaves are squeezed gently there is a squeaking sound. These are the freshest!
  • Artichokes can also be placed on a steamer plate to cook.