Category Archives: Kids

Coconut Cashew Hangry Bars

Not sure how many Lara Bars we have purchased over the years, but more than enough to have given one to everyone at a soccer tournament!  Peanut Butter Cookie and Coconut Cream Pie are the top favorites in this house.

I decided that it was time to make them as it was getting challenging to find them on sale and it was just getting a bit expensive to purchase them regularly.  But I had to be sure I could make them for less than I was purchasing them.  Dates are pricey and I managed to find some at an acceptable price but I am still searching for a bulk source. (if you know any, please LMK :)   Also, I wanted to add other ingredients that provide more vitamins and minerals.

Proportions are not my expertise, but if I didn’t try I would never figure it out.  After a couple batches, I finally got the desired texture/substance ratio.  Then it was getting the add ins to the right measurements so it wouldn’t change the texture too much.  Let’s just say we had a lot of samples in the kitchen.

Now for why I was really excited about making these… Nutrient packed yumminess!!  The bars are high in calcium, iron, fiber, protein, carbohydrates and antioxidants, with NO FAKE INGREDIENTS  woot woot!!

These are a great source of energy for the body without the feeling of heaviness.  They provide enough nutrients and carbohydrates to the body that can easily be digested and will not make the body work overtime to digest during activity, unlike other snacks or sports bars (look closely at ingredients)

Please share your feedback, I would love to know if you made these and how they turned out.

unwrapped

Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup pepitas
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup goji berries
14-16 medium-large Medjool dates, be sure they are soft (I can not guarantee the result using soaked dates)
5 dried figs
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
Optional – 3 Tablespoons cacao nibs or chocolate chips

hangry bar ingredients

Directions:

Line a glass baking dish with parchment paper (7″ x 11″)

Using a food processor, place everything except the shredded coconut (if you put it in sooner it produces a wet oily texture from the heat of the processor, I know from experience!) * see note below about the chocolate chips before adding

Mix processor until it starts to get crumbly, ( the dates and figs are broken down and not chunky) and you will see it begin to hold together, don’t let it get fully sticky where it starts to ball up.  You can check it and if you pinch some of the mix together and it sticks then its starting to hold.

hangry bar process coconut

Add the coconut (if using chocolate chips add those now) once it is blended, process until it begins to stick, you may need to scrape in between. It should form a more solid texture (sticks together on its own) and that is when it is done.

 

Once it is sticking together, scoop from processor and place in the line baking dish and begin to evenly flatten it out with a spatula or use a piece of parchment paper and press with your hands.

going in dish

Once it is all in the pan, place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.  Cut them into bars or squares.  You can store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator.  These hold well for a couple hours out of the fridge as long as they are not sitting in a hot car :) or in direct sunlight.

NOTE: If you are using the chocolate chips, the mix will appear dark from some of the chocolate melting from the warmth of the food processor. You can also add them in with the coconut and they will be more chunky.  The cacao nibs will not give the same result so those can go in with everything at once. The kids preferred these plain (without chocolate chips) but they also liked the ones with the cacao nibs.

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DATES: are a whole food and rich in antioxidants (polyphenols) and are not going to reek havoc on your blood sugar or overall health like processed and granulated sugars will. This doesn’t mean to go buy a pound of dates and chow down,  but rather instead of reaching for the candy bar, cliff bar, protein bar, sports bar or can of soda, grab a date! Dates provide fiber for cholesterol levels and helps with digestion, potassium for your blood and heart, calcium for your bones and the use of other essential nutrients, zinc for hormone balance, aids in your immune system, is an anti-inflammatory and provides iron for your blood. They are high in sugar, but your digestion can process it easier and you won’t disrupt your body during physical activity.

DRIED FIGS: provide calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is essential for red blood cell formation as well for cellular oxidation. (Source: USDA National Nutrient database). Figs contain both soluble fiber which slows digestion and blood sugar control and also helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber improves bowel function. Calcium supports bone health and growth, according to the California Fig Advisory Board. Iron is an essential mineral needed to help transport oxygen in your blood.

RAW CASHEWS: according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database, cashews are high in calories.  1oz. serving size has 5.2 grams of protein, 12.4 grams of total fat, 8.6 grams of carbohydrates and 1.7 grams of sugar. Raw cashews also contain several minerals, including magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and potassium. Cashews are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Roughly 62% of the cashew’s fats are monounsaturated fat, 18% polyunsaturated fats and the rest a mix of saturated fats.

CHIA SEEDS: have maximum nutrients with minimal calories. They contain high levels of ALA omega-3 fatty acids (higher than salmon), are good source of fiber and antioxidants (which neutralize free radicals). These little beads are also high in calcium and manganese (good for bones and helps our body use other essential nutrients), provide plenty of phosphorus to maintain healthy bones and teeth.  And for those who are so caught up in the protein trend, they are a high protein source.

HULLED HEMP SEEDS: The hemp “seed” is actually an achene: a simple dry fruit with a hard shell, just like sunflower seeds. It is considered one of the most versatile and economical plants, with many uses from food to bio-fuel. They are an excellent source of Magnesium, zinc and protein and are low in sodium and cholesterol. These seeds are easily digestible, assist in cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system.  Unlike soy which has super high amounts of phytic acid (that anti-nutrient that prevents us from absorbing minerals), hemp seed doesn’t contain phytic acid.  A rich source of phytonutrients, the disease-protective element of plants with benefits protecting your immunity, bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin and organs.

GOJI BERRIES: provide a source for Vitamin A which is a natural antioxidant and helps cells reproduce and Vitamin C, another antioxidant which also aids in maintenance of bones and teeth. Iron, which is essential to make blood cells. ¼ cup of goji berries contains 4 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber .

RAW PEPITAS: Pumpkin seeds are loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbohydrates and essential fatty acids. The nutritive value of pumpkin seeds includes vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, iron, phosphorus, fat, carbohydrates and protein. For minerals, they include magnesium, manganese, zinc, potassium and copper, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Data Database. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with essential fatty acids, EFA, omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and arthritis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

RAW SUNFLOWER SEEDS: provide essential fatty acids; these fatty acids are polyunsaturated and are the kind you want to eat, they allow your body to balance hormones, slow down food absorption and are building blocks for cell membranes. Additionally, sunflower seeds are also an excellent source of fiber, amino acids (especially tryptophan) which make up the building blocks of proteins, B and E Vitamins, phytosterols, copper, magnesium, and carbohydrates.

UNSWEETENED SHREDDED COCONUT: Well coconut is high in fat, period. I rarely use coconut but it really pulls the flavor together in these bars. So I recommend not using coconut too often. It does provide a significant amount of fiber.

CACAO NIBS: are rich in antioxidants, which lower free radicals, which are chemicals that can alter or damage the body. According to Good Cause Wellness, the beans provide some iron and calcium, but are particularly rich in magnesium.

sources:
http://nutritionfacts.org
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/food-nutrition.html
http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/ac451e/ac451e0b.htm
http://www.livestrong.com/article/-nutrition-information/
http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome

Nut Butter Bombs

Clearly you know by now I like treats.  Dark chocolate and dates go hand in hand. That is why these naughty by nature treats are topping my favorite list!

Sinful, maybe.  Decedent, maybe.  Heavenly, maybe.  Down right freakin amazing, heck YAASS!

Most of all, these nut butter bombs are healthy and nutritious.  They are rich, gooey, sweet and salty (if you use it for a topping) and the ideal treat to keep stocked in your freezer for banishing those sweet tooth cravings. Not to mention, one of the easiest treats to make.

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Support and Encourage

 

It doesn’t matter if you are playing sports, are a kid or parent, have a job, are a stay at home parent, or are at the grocery store.  Kindness is key to survival and supporting each other is one of the best things we can do to leave this world in tact for our children.

I can think of many situations over the years to share, but there is a reason why they are in the past and have given me something to learn from.

We are not perfect, we may not believe in the act or logic of others and find it difficult to support their choices, however there is no need to ignore or be disrespectful to them.  Obviously if they are murderers, pedophiles, etc., you will not find many supporting those actions… I think you get my point.

What I am talking about is life. As my children are growing and are now teenagers and our lives are ever evolving, I am so much more in tune with the behaviors of others and teaching our children how to react to those behaviors.  As most of what they have learned is that the behaviors of others are usually issues within that person.

Recently I had observed two different scenarios that involved each of my children.  My youngest is in 7th grade, my oldest is a freshman and they both play for their school volleyball teams.  They have many friends on their teams that they have been friends with since elementary school, as well as played sports with.  As parents, we know most of these families.

I was attending my 7th graders game.  All of the players played a great game.  They were high-fiving and cheering each other on.  It was great to see them support each other, even when mistakes were made.  As an adult, you would expect to see most parents cheering on all of the players. Well, there was one parent who only cheered for her own child. As I observed from behind, it was an act that really disappointed me, yet realizing that maybe not many people probably noticed.  Especially the kids. However, this flood of emotion came over me and I realized I was letting the actions of this person destroy my inner peace.

Long story short, I did let it effect my joy in supporting all those kids.  It was noticed by other parents.  I let it get to me, because my child is friends with this parent’s child.  Which made me even more sad that an adult would behave in such a way.  In the big scheme of things, it really isn’t that detrimental.  It is merely an example of who not to be.

On to the freshman.  She has performed very strongly in volleyball and was asked to train and play with the JV team. She was very concerned about her teammates feelings and wasn’t sure if she wanted to accept the request.  Her kind heart was making this a difficult decision but also teaching her to take experiences and learn from them.  As we both have learned, when asked in high school sports, you just DO and figure it out along the way.

I was so proud of her teammates and parents in the support and encouragement she received.  There will always be feelings of jealousy or insecurity throughout their lives but to see how that was pushed aside and shown how to lift each other up with encouragement was pretty impressive. Due to her coming up to the JV team, the players brought their game up and the coaches felt she would have more play time and be of better value staying with the freshman team. A decision that she was happy about.
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No one is perfect. There’s always going to be somebody better than you at something. Why not learn, absorb and celebrate our differences and encourage each other. #getoveryourself

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

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Sweet potato??? really??? was my first thought when I came across this ice cream recipe. I was very intrigued by it because of the ingredients… ONLY 4 INGREDIENTS!!! Now who wouldn’t want to make this??

I have had great success with Brandi at The Vegan 8 recipes which was another reason to test this one. Well we have been blessed with another heat wave :( and we want something cool and sweet. I typically do not use coconut milk, but with this being ice cream, I felt it would be necessary for the full creaminess effect.

After I had blended everything (which BTW, you just put it all in a blender, so easy!) I had to taste test. Um, well I could have kept taste testing, this stuff is seriously delish! so I can only imagine how it will be when it is ready to come out of the freezer… DEVINE!!

Yup, that is sweet potato and dark chocolate!

Yup, that is sweet potato and dark chocolate!

 

Even though the coconut milk adds fat, it isn’t very much compared to the cream in packaged ice cream.  The processed fat and dairy which comes with a price to your health.

Our bodies can digest this easier as it is plant based. The sweet potato is loaded with Fiber, Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene), Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and also has protein and carbs, all of which come from the natural source. All the more reason to splurge once in a while with a cold treat!

 

Waiting for the chocolate to melt.

Waiting for the chocolate to melt.

 

Ingredients you will need: Serves about 4 cups

Canned coconut milk (you can use light coconut milk) be sure to shake before opening
Dairy free chocolate chips I use Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels
Cooked mashed and packed sweet potato (not yams)
Pure vanilla extract
Sea salt

 

Recipe here: The Vegan 8 – click here for recipe

 

Directions:

Cook the sweet potato however you prefer. I used a microwave because I want to make this quick and I was excited to get it in the freezer :) If you choose to bake it, bake at 400 degree F with skin on until soft. Do not steam or boil it.

Once the potato has cooled, peel and mash it really well. No lumps or skin. Pack it into 3/4 cup and add it to the blender.

Continue with adding the vanilla, coconut milk and salt. But do not blend yet.

Melt your chocolate chips your preferred method. Be sure to not get the chips too hot as they will burn easy and will be useless. Also try not to eat all the chocolate ;) I used my setting on my microwave, heat for about 15 seconds then stir and heat again until about 90% is melted then remove and continue to stir until all chips are melted.

Add the melted chocolate to the blender, scraping every bit of chocolate you can from the bowl into the blender.

Adding the melted chocolate to the blender

Adding the melted chocolate to the blender

 

Blend all ingredients until completely smooth. Taste test, and adjust if needed. I didn’t add anything extra to it, it tasted amazing just as is and I could have kept tasting it!

I poured mine into an ice cream storage container as I do not have an ice cream maker. If you have an ice cream maker, use it! Using the storage container, be sure to return every 30 minutes to stir to get your desired consistency. Best to set a timer for 30 minutes as a reminder and it may take at least 2-3 hours to get it to set.

Now it may not last long enough to be in the freezer overnight, but if you do have some just take it out to thaw for about 20-30 minutes to soften. Also, remember every time the ice cream is removed, thawed, and then put back in the freezer, ice crystals form. My guess is that there won’t be much to worry about that. You could always pour it in individual containers for single servings.

making choclate ice cream

School Incentives – Rewards

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State testing in our school district is currently happening.  The girls came home last week with a sheet of paper with the words “Incentive Program” at the top.  As I began reading through this sheet of paper, I suddenly started to feel frustrated and kinda angry.  Why do kids need incentives for doing something that is standard in their school curriculum?

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PB & Yay!

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For the longest time I have been making Kinda Like Muffins for the kids. They are the ultimate grab-n-go snack and always stocked in the freezer.  Over time they have evolved into other creations by changing up the ingredients, but always using the dates, bananas and oats as the base.

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Nature’s Candy Apples

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Alrighty, by now you have figured out that I like treats and I do my best to avoid using granulated industrial sugars of any kind.  I do use pure maple syrup and honey in some recipes and I am doing my best to reduce and eliminate those ingredients.  It is still sugar no matter how you perceive it, but a better alternative to industrial sugars. Dates are what I focus on using for added sugar.  These bites of heaven do more than satisfy a sweet tooth (and one does the trick!) they are packed with fiber, potassium, carbohydrates and magnesium that the body can digest easily.  They are great for sports, biking or running for a long duration.

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The Vegan 8’s Life Changing Pancakes

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Whoa Nellie!!  Back it up, whip these pancakes up, and let’s just sit and mow these bad boys down!

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