Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vegan Banana Almond Oatmeal Bars

We’re huge bar fans at our house. No, not that kind of bar! I’m talking about the whole food bars that are taking the market by storm these days. Let’s be real though- they’re expensive and most of them still contain a lot of sugar. Well, check these babies out! I took three different whole food bar recipes and after adding and subtracting ingredients, I came up with this recipe yesterday morning! No butter. No added sugar. They are totally vegan and super quick and easy. My kids love them and actually call them cookie bars.
I feel so sneaky (insert malicious laugh) because kiddo number one (Presley) disdains all but a handful of food items. She also loves anything sweet. I have to be creative in trying to find foods she will accept.  This recipe is a blessing. So, if you do have a picky eater, give these a try. If you don’t, you’re missing out. Plus, they’re great reheated and the perfect breakfast bar.

Banana Almond Oatmeal Bars
2 ½ cups quick oats
¾ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup raisins or cranberries
2 tablespoons flaxseeds (optional)
½ cup chopped dates
½ cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons almond butter
3/4 cup applesauce
2 large smashed bananas

This recipe doesn't get much easier. 
It's as simple as mixing
up all the ingredients!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8 x 8 inch pan with tin foil and spread the “dough” evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Serve warm or let cool. Cut into squares and enjoy!

p.s. If you think cookie dough is addicting, just wait!

p.s.s If you are nervous about your kids trying these, feel free to add a few tablespoons of honey, agave or maple syrup to sweeten them up even more. You can also drizzle some over the top.

See they look just like dessert bars!

Apples and Bananas with Peanut Butter and Soy Yogurt Dip

I overcomplicate a lot of things. (If you don’t believe me ask my husband J) I sometimes get so caught up in trying to find new and exciting ways to make healthy snacks for my kids that I forget how simple children are! Like most kids, my girls love dipping finger foods.
This is such an easy snack to make. See? Sliced apples and bananas with a few tablespoons of peanut butter and some soy yogurt and they’re happy campers! You may be thinking, “Wow! That’s a lot of food for some little bellies!” Stick with me......

Here’s my philosophy on that one. As a society many of us have lost touch with our hunger and fullness scales. Many of us grew up in the generation of not being able to leave the table until everything on the plate was gone. I’m a firm believer that kids know their bodies. They know when they’re hungry or full. My kids usually don’t finish their meals and that’s OK because they’re learning to trust their bodies and understand that it’s alright to save some for later.

Presley wiped out the apples and about half the peanut butter.

Carsyn went right for the bananas and organic soy yogurt.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Vegan Spring Rolls With Mango Ginger Dipping Sauce

OK, so I know most kids wont be chomping at the bit to taste this recipe but it’s my favorite, so I had to share! I love to eat. All day long. I'm a grazer! That’s why I love spring rolls! They’re light, healthy and surprisingly satisfying. . I’ve been making them for myself for years. The first time I made them my husband called them “condom sandwiches” because ummmm…..well….you get it. The name has stuck with me too now! They’re the first thing I look for on a menu when I go to a Thai restaurant.  (Let’s just hope I don’t order them by the wrong name when I’m there right?) The great thing about these is that you can basically put anything in them you like. I stick with basics, but sometimes will add tofu or red peppers, basil or cilantro; depending on what I feel like.

Although I don’t have the ingredients for the sauce pictured (I had some leftover from a previous batch) here is the recipe. It’s fantastic!

4 Tbsp mango fruit spread
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp finely grated ginger
1/4 tsp hot sauce
Finely grated peel from 1 small lime

8 large rice paper wrappers
1 avocado diced
1/2 c shredded carrots
1 large zucchini cut into matchsticks
1 cup rice noodles
1 cup arugula
2 tablespoons crushed peanuts
After dipping your rice wrapper (found at your local Asian market. I get mine at Fred Meyer. And yes –they’re bazaar looking, almost like a paper plate.)  They are very fragile and sticky-when-wet so be prepared to screw a few up at first J Swish it around (one sheet at a time) for ~15-20 sec in warm water.  Next, lay it out on a cutting board and it becomes a canvas for you to fill! Center all of your ingredients on the rice paper, (I just toss mine in there. Hey it all tastes the same right?) fold over each side and then roll the top over and then roll it around.
Slice it in 1/2 at an angle, drizzle sauce, sprinkle with peanuts and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Homemade Cashew Milk

My kids love soy milk and almond milk, but let's face it; many of them are processed. This recipe for cashew milk creates very rich, creamy and sweet nut milk with no preservatives or unknown ingredients. You can have better tasting nut milk without lecithin, xanthan gum, potassium citrate or any other mystery ingredients! My kids love this cashew milk; especially my two-year old. You can use it in cereals, for smoothies, for baking, by itself (It’s like a vegan protein shake!) and I love it in my coffee or tea in the mornings.

This is one of my favorite recipes because it is so quick and easy! I make it once a week. As a busy mom, it's nice to pour a glass in the morning and feel totally satisfied.

Cashew Milk

Ingredients: (these amounts can be altered to suit your individual tastes I usually double the recipe.)
1 cup raw cashews
4 cups water
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Before making milk the cashews should be soaked in water at room temperature for 3 hours or more. (I usually just soak mine overnight) and then thoroughly rinsed. Soaking the cashews starts the nut germinating and increases the nutritional content of the nut. It also reduces the natural enzymatic inhibitors present in the nut and improves digestibility and nutrient absorption.

1.    Discard soaking water and rinse cashews thoroughly until water runs clear
2.   Place all ingredients in a blender. (I use a vitamix. If you don’t have a vitamix, you may have to strain the cashew milk.)
3.   Process on high speed 20-30 seconds
4.   Store in glass mason jar in refrigerator for up to a week.

Cashew milk is very foamy when first removed from the blender but usually settles after sitting for a few hours in the fridge. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Flaxseed Oatmeal

My kids LOVE oatmeal! That makes me smile because it’s the perfect whole-grain breakfast food. Oatmeal is absorbed slowly allowing kids to sustain their energy throughout the morning. The problem, however, is many of the oatmeal products on the market today are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. BOO! There are many studies out that point to various synthetic additives (used for flavoring, appearance, texture and extended shelf life) lead to a host of behavioral problems, allergies and even illnesses. Many parents will see the clever yet deceptively labeled “WHOLE GRAIN” boxes without paying much attention to the other less-than-sufficient artificial ingredients.
About a year ago, I started messing around in hopes of creating my own wholesome oatmeal using simple back-to-basic ingredients. I hope you love it as much as we do at our house. It’s loaded with fiber, protein and brain-boosting omega 3!

Vanilla Apple Cinnamon Flaxseed Oatmeal
1 cup dry rolled oats or steel cut oats
2-3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1-2 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Pinch cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg

1 apple peeled/diced or one package of dried apples (optional)
Mix all the above ingredients together,
add ¾ cups of boiling water and enjoy!
Additional Optional Ingredients
Organic Soy Milk/Almond Milk 

Slivered Almonds
Helpful Hint
Feel free to add less of the flaxseed and more of the maple syrup to start. Kids are picky and I have found it’s best to warm their taste buds up! Also, allow them to add the additional ingredients themselves. I’ve found kids are more prone to eating foods they help prepare themselves.