August 20, 2008
I came up with a recipe that meets our criteria.
They are made from whole foods.
They stick together and can be eaten on the go.
They taste great! In fact your kids will probably just call them cookies.
And they are simple to make. Really, they are.
Cinnamon Raisin Granola Bars
1/3c brown sugar
1/4 c room temp. butter, unsalted
1 medium egg
1 t. vanilla
1 1/4 c old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c bran (wheat or oat, whatever you have on hand)
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 c flax seed, ground
3/4 c raisins
1 T boiling water
Place raisins in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Cover and let steam.
Preheat oven to 350
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and cream until light and fluffy.
Combine dry ingredients.
Add dry ingredients and raisins, including any water left in the bowl, to wet ingredients. Stir until blended.
Form into balls, press together firmly. Place on lined baking sheet. Flatten balls slightly with wet fingers (it will help to keep it from stinking to your fingers)
Bake 14 minutes. Let cool on sheet. Transfer to airtight container, if there are any left.
The first night they were a little crumbly and crisp, the next day they were soft and moist and held together perfectly. These are more on the chewy side, I am not a huge fan of super crispy granola bars and neither are my kids but these are great. So much healthier than the granola bars from the store, cheaper, and tastier too.
I had so much success with the first batch I decided to try another flavor
Apricot Almond Granola Bars
Just a few changes:
Omit the water and raisins. Cut up 1/2 c dried apricots in small chunks.
Omit the Bran instead pulverize 1/4 c almonds into flour like consistency.
Add 1/4 t almond extract (more to taste)
Add 1/4 c toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
Then proceed with the recipe above.
I am sure you can think of endless varieties. I can't wait to try them with some sesame seeds, dried cranberries, etc.
August 17, 2008
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Leaf Lettuce (Romaine, Green)
All year: (These are mainly imported so we can get them all year)
So, is it possible to make you own? We tried, and well, we are going to try it again.
Granola Bar Recipe #1 - Kind of like a sweet bread but a bar. It was dense but yummy because we added chocolate chips. It fell apart when we cut it into bars the first day we made it, it was easier to cut the second day, but we still wouldn't give it to our kids inside the house or car.
Granola Bar Recipe #2 This one was lighter than #1, but fell apart just the same. With fruit inside it would have been just like a nutrigrain bar (w/out the nasty aftertaste). But the not staying together part was not working for us.
Granola Bar Recipe #3 Recipe adapted from Alton Brown's Granola Bars. This was more traditional granola made into a bar. This one stuck together better, still not what we would expect of a treat that is supposed to be portable. It had fruit and nuts and oats and a carmel type sauce that helped it stick together. Cutting it proved to be difficult because it had a mind of its own.
Granola Bar Recipe #4 Honey Almond Granola Bars. This recipe tasted really good. It had no sugar - just honey and was not too sweet. Broke apart though when we tried to cut it into bars.
Granola Bar Recipe #5 Oatmeal Cookie Granola Bars. This was a recipe for regular granola that said to press it into a pan before baking to make it into granola bars. It turned back into granola after I tried to cut it. It tasted just like an oatmeal cookie.
So every recipe had the same basic problem: Falls apart too easily. Could never feed it to the kids because of the mess it would make.
August 16, 2008
Homemade Baby Food
Start with single pureed fruits and vegetables
Buy Frozen, then thaw, then blend with a little liquid (formula, water or breast milk)
Buy Fresh, Steam or Boil, then Blend with a little liquid
Peaches (peel first)
* Sometimes can be runny so mix in cereal when serving to baby
* Wouldn’t recommend Citrus, Grapes or Melons
Frozen bagged veggies-
peas, carrots, green beans
*I have found my kids don’t like broccoli or corn and it doesn’t puree or digest well at first
Applesauce (natural, unsweetened)
* Note if you buy canned fruit make sure it is canned in it’s own juice, not in syrup.
Strawberry and Banana
Strawberry and Peach
Banana and Applesauce
Strawberry and Applesauce
*Fruits are easy to mix and most fruits go well together
Peas and Carrots
Bag of Mixed Veggies
Squash and Sweet Potatoes
Some Examples to chop in blender
- Whole Wheat Spaghetti and some Sauce
- Broccoli and Chicken and Brown Rice
Puree: Fruits: Many of these need to be peeled first. For things like peaches and nectarines the easiest way to get the skin off is to blanch them (dip them in boiling water for 20 sec, then cold water) then peel the skin right off. Then you cut it into chunks, add a few tablespoons of water and puree as usual. Storing:
Frozen Veggies: Microwave or cook on stove until no longer frozen with a few tablespoons of water (doesn’t need to be hot). When veggies are cool put them in the blender until pureed
Fresh vegetables: Cut up the vegetable into 1 inch cubes then in a small pan boil an inch or two of water. Turn stove down to a 3 or 4, then add in your vegetables and steam then. Put the lid on, but do stir every minute or so. After about 5 minutes it should be soft enough to mush with a fork. Dump water and vegetable into blender and puree.
Fruits: Many of these need to be peeled first. For things like peaches and nectarines the easiest way to get the skin off is to blanch them (dip them in boiling water for 20 sec, then cold water) then peel the skin right off. Then you cut it into chunks, add a few tablespoons of water and puree as usual.
Once your puree is made you are ready to freeze it for later use. I like to use an ice cube tray that has a slide on lid. Pour your puree into the ice cube trays and freeze until hard (4-6 hours?). When your puree is frozen you dump your ice cubes into a ziplock bag. Use a separate bag for each kind and be sure to write the flavor on the outside and the date. These can be frozen for 3 months or so.
When ready to use the puree- you just pull out the bag that has the flavor you want out of the freezer. Remove about 2 ice cubes (depends on how hungry your baby is). Then put them in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds, until it is thawed. If your puree is too runny then add some rice cereal and it will thicken right up.
Baby teething sticks:
August 10, 2008
Recently I acquired a laminated weekly meal planner and it has been great. I am usually good about planning out dinner, but I am really bad at getting a variety when it comes to snacks and breakfast (we eat way too much cold cereal). This planner has really helped.
I use a Vis-a-Vis pen, so it wipes clean with water. I generally plan out breakfast, dinner and a snack for each day and I try to vary the food groups. If we have fruit with breakfast then the snack is typically a vegetable. The dinner days often get switched around, because I don't always like what I picked for dinner, but the general calendaring helps.
Here is a sample of our week:
The second thing I made on our computer and it is a weekly food planner on one side and shopping list on the other. It is very good for keeping your shopping list organized and I like having the menu on the other side as a reference.
I keep it posted on the fridge and add to it during the week.
August 1, 2008
Ezekiel 4:9 "Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and afitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof..."
This was really good and easy if you do some prep ahead of time. I halved the recipe and got two large loaves, if I had a bigger mixer I would have made all of it. Note: You need a wheat grinder or find the mixture pre-ground.
In the grinder put in:
7 cups hard white or red wheat
1/4 c pinto beans
1/4 c soy beans
1 c barley
1/4 c lentils
1/3 c millet
1 c Rye ( we didn't have this so we used brown rice)
Mill at a medium flour.
5 C hot tap water
1/2 c honey
1/2 c oil
1 1/2 T. real salt
3 T. SAF instant Yeast
1/2 vital wheat gluten
2 T. dough enhancer
After you have made your flour, in your mixer combine the hot water and 7 cups flour. Add oil, honey, yeast, salt and gluten and mix together. With the mixer running add flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead 8 minutes. Add dough enhancer and knead until mixed through. Shape into 4 loaves and let rise until double. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
* This recipe was designed for a Bosch but I used my KitchenAid. My husband made all the flour, but I only used half once I realized there way no way it would all fit.
* A few things about DOUGH ENHANCER; this is the first time I have bought it and it was great. Someone once told me that it was just vital wheat gluten, that is false. Dough Enhancer has soy lecithin, pectin and acidic acid among other things in addition to the wheat gluten. My husband would like us to try making it ourselves.