I have a pet peeve.
Really, Chris? Just one?
Okay, I have more than one pet peeve. I have a whole trunk of them, but the big one is my disdain for junk food pretending to be “real” food.
The granola bars, breakfast bars, “fruit” snacks, “made from 100% fruit” juices, go-gurt, to name a few. Those tubes of yogurt make me want to gouge my eyeballs out. No really. Those and the single serving sized soups that you drink out of the can. Personally I think if you can not find time to use a spoon that you don’t deserve to eat. No soup for you!
I have no problems with eating or serving my children the occasional donut, candy, ice cream, or even Oreo. But the difference is I harbor no illusions that it is anyway good for us.
I read a great article by Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, in the New York Times recently where he wrote:
Once, food was all you could eat, but today there are lots of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket. These novel products of food science often come in packages festooned with health claims, which brings me to a related rule of thumb: if you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat.
But we are all busy. How do you fit the time in to make healthy foods a priority?
Last year I had undiagnosed food allergies and episodes of anaphylaxis that forced me to be a more vigilant label reader and in the process learn how to cook. If you had told me a year ago that I would enjoy cooking, I would have laughed at you. But now I do enjoy it.
Along the way I have discovered that making good foods also nourishes your soul. And that children already know this. They love pouring and mixing. They delight in handling fresh produce. It all seems magical to them that seemingly random ingredients come together to form food. Getting over the feeling that it is an awful chore that must be suffered through is difficult.
And so I am choosing to view the past year as a gift. Although now that I have learned my lessons I am so ready to pass the gift one. Any takers? No? I’ll throw in a couple of Epi-pens? No takers, huh?
Breakfast is always one of those meals that gets the short end of the stick. Lots of sugars and prepackaged, processed foods. Most of us don’t have the time to make healthy home cooked food in the mornings.
2 cups rolled oats , uncooked
1 cup flour
1 cup packed dried fruit (apricots, raisins, cranberries,dates or even mini chocolate chips)
1 cup apple juice or orange juice
1/4 -1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (if using sweetened peanut butter you might want to cut back on the brown sugar)
3T milled flax seed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
This is another recipe that you can’t go wrong with. Though I will say that the cranberry/peanut butter combo my children picked is not as good as some other more normal combinations. But they liked it and that is all that counts.
Oh, and artfully arranged measuring cup of rolled oats! Thanks, Chris we had no idea what those looked like. Be sure to not to photograph an important of the recipe now, okay?
I used my gluten free buckwheat flour. But you can use whatever sort of flour strikes your fancy. You could also run a cup of oats through your food processor and turn that into an oat flour if you want to get all wild and crazy.
I added the milled flax seed on top of the flour and mixed the dry ingredients up all together before adding the wet ones.
Or at least that is what I had planned on doing before I forgot and just started dumping things in. Which worked out fine too.
The wonder of orange juice in a measuring cup. I must have said 5 hundred million times, “No you can’t drink it.” Followed by, “No you can’t lick it either.” Sheesh, not when the internet is watching.
Pour it in. You will be surprised at how quickly it gets absorbed in.
My kids wanted dates in their granola bars. So I pulled out the mini chopper and chopped some up.
You may want to don some protective eye wear. You can never be too safe.
Now you will look into the bowl and say, “Huh. Is that really going to be good?”
You will need to work it with your hands to get it all mixed up evenly. It is very sticky.
Grease an 8″ x 8″ pan. Press firmly into the pan. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. When you remove it from the oven allow it to cool before cutting. Or breaking which is what I did. With my bare hands. Store it in an air tight container.
Like most home made “real” foods it is very filling. Unlike the packaged kind, where you can eat an entire box of them and still not feel satisfied.
Doesn’t the granola bar look like it is floating on a heavenly cloud?
That’s because it is.