Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cooking with Your Child: Allergy-free Granola Bars!

As you may know if you read this blog, I decided last spring to dump almost all processed foods from our cupboards and dedicate time and energy to make those foods we were accustomed to in processed form from scratch. This is, of course, a work in progress. Don't overwhelm yourself, it does not happen overnight! Take baby steps. For us, the first things to go were cereal and granola bars. Granola and granola bars are an awesome, kid-friendly snack, so I had to find a homemade version right away. I researched many recipes that were allergy free and concocted my own granola bar recipe from there. I am continuing to tweak it but I think I have a good thing going! My little guy loves them!

I try to involve my two year old as much as possible in the kitchen! The more I involve him, the more interested he is in trying new things. Even if this means dumping the chopped vegetables or a cup of beans into the slow cooker and stirring, he is much more likely to eat what I am making! Once it is ready for a taste test, I try to make a big deal out of giving him a taste, he loves that!

This granola bar recipe is an awesome one to get your toddler or young child involved with! I would love to hear about your experience involving your child in making this recipe if you decide to try it. What other recipes do you find to be great for involving your child? Please share!

Here are some of my tips for involving your child in the kitchen:

1. When involving your child, especially toddlers, find a simple recipe that takes less than 15 minutes to prepare.

2. Don't bake when they are hungry! I find it best to make this recipe with my little guy right after snack or after lunch.

3. Let them get messy! I put a bib or smock on my little one when we cook together. But, let's be honest, that only protects his clothes, not the floor, chair, counter, etc.

3. Especially for toddlers, only bake recipes that are safe for taste testing.

3. Give him/her a spoon for tasting. (Or multiple spoons). After my little guy stirs the granola, it is his instinct to stick the spatula right in his mouth. I have a spoon on the ready and swap it with him so he can have a taste. Sometimes, I will have a few spoons ready so that he can taste the ingredients as we go. Then there is less inclination to taste right from the bowl!

(Sorry that there are no pictures of this process - there was no way the camera would have survived without honey and Sunbutter dripping all over it!)
Granola Bars

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (can use smooth peanut butter if there is no nut allergy)
1/2 cup honey (ideally, locally produced raw honey!)
1/3 cup raisins, chopped
1/4 cup ground flax seed

Optional add-ins: other dried fruit, nuts or seeds, chocolate chips (Enjoy Life makes allergy-free mini chips!), mashed banana or pumpkin, other spices like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg. Make this recipe your own! :)

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl until completely combined. Dump the granola mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat (or very well greased with coconut oil) and firmly press down until even (it will not cover the whole baking sheet, double the recipe to cover)! Pressing the mixture down will allow you to break it into large chunks.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until brown around the edges.

Let cool and break into large pieces. Refrigerate or freeze granola "bars" until ready to eat!

This will be posted at:

Lunchbox Love Fridays at Vintage Cookery
Allergy Friendly Friday

1 comment:

  1. These look nice and simple... I may try it without the honey- granted they'd be less sweet, but I have gestational diabetes and am thinking that without the honey, they may be ok for me "carb" wise.