Monday, October 31, 2011

Healthy Snacks take 2

Feeding my kids healthy foods is important to me. I know for myself, that I notice a huge difference in how much energy I have, how often I get sick, my mood, even my monthly, when I am eating healthy vs. when I am not. I can't think of a better gift to give my kids than a diet that promotes wellness and well-being. Imagine being able to curb the kids's crabbies, just by cutting out the junk food and replacing it with whole grains and fruits! But like most other moms, I have a really hard time getting my kids to eat food that is good for them (having a junk food loving hubby does NOT help!) and I know that forcing them to eat foods they don't like will only create life-long aversions to the foods I'm wanting them to eat. So, when I come across a healthy recipe that my kids will eat, I snatch it up and file it away. I'll share them here too!

Fruit Leather, by Georgia Pellegrini (found here: Fruit Leather)

Some Fruit (the recipe said 2 cups. I used a lbs. of strawberries + 3 apples)
Some water (I just did a tiny bit to keep the fruit from scorching in the bottom of the pan)
Some lemon juice (take it easy on this, I used half a lemon and got some pretty tart fruit leather!)
Some sugar (I prefer to use Agave Nectar as a sweetener, since the fruit leather will get stuck in teeth and sugar tends to go right through tooth enamel)

Put the cut up fruit bits into a saucepan and add the bit of water and lemon juice. Let it steep for a little while until it's mushy, and then pulp it in a blender. Line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap and brush it with a bit of oil. Pour your fruit pulp into it and smooth it all out. Bake it in a low temp oven (170 F) for several hours. It took mine about six hours, but I'm supposing it depends on how thickly you poured your pulp. I cut it up and when it was cooled, placed the squares into a ziploc baggie. Very yummy!

Black Bean Brownies (Found Here: Black Bean Brownies)

A friend recommended these to me just last week, an boy, are these just my thing! They're really delicious, just a tad softer than traditional brownies and I think I may add a bit less oil or omit the oil altogether the next time I make them. Which will probably be tomorrow. I'd make them tonight, but it's Halloween. :p I made a double batch and my kids ate the whole pan in less than 3 hours. Even my Adam, who exclaims vehemently how much he hates beans, demanded a second after inhaling the first. I will not bore you with a rant about how exquisitely perfect beans are as a superfood, but the more I can get into my kids, the better!

1 can black beans (or 1 2/3 cup cooked dry beans), drained and rinsed
3/4 Sugar
3 Eggs
3 tbs Canola Oil (or other oil)
1/4 c. Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder (I used Hershey's)
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
half pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup soy and dairy free chocolate chips (I just used semisweet)
1.2 cup chopped pecans

Blend the following ingredients very well: black beans, sugar, eggs, oil, cocoa, vanilla, salt, baking powder. Gently fold in chocolate chips and pecan pieces. Pour into a greased 8″ x 8″ pan and bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes. Let cool a bit before cutting.

Don't tell the kids what's in them and they'll never know!

Homemade granola bars (pictured above). This is my recipe, but you can find other variations all over. My kids love these!

2 cups rolled oats
2 cups rice crispies cereal
1 cup smashed up pretzels
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or nuts (FYI, pumpkin seeds make great granola fodder!)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, combine oats, rice cereal, pretzels, toasted seeds, honey, and agave nectar, until the dry ingredients are coated well. Spread on a cookie large sheet and bake for 5 minutes at 375F. Give it a toss, and bake for another 5 minutes. Return to the bowl, and add peanut butter. Place back on the cookie tray and flatten out to about a half an inch thick . Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and press them in. Let sit for a couple of hours until set up. Cut into bars and enjoy. :)

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