Well Easter is all done and so is our Lenten Promise of no processed foods. It was a much easier promise to keep then I had expected. I think we were already eating pretty healthy, this promise just pushed us to try more new recipes and alternatives to snacking. It was easy to rely on all the premade grocery items available; boxed dinners, mac & cheese, seasoning packets, quick snacks like granola bars, waffles, and chips. You don't realize how much of these items you are ingesting till you take them all away.
I think that was the big revelation, we didn't realize how much snacking we were doing. Everyone in the house was grabbing snacks in between almost every meal. And these snacks weren't particularly unhealthy but they were filling little bellies so there was no room left for the real stuff. I found by the end of our forty days that my Little Man wasn't such a picky eater anymore. I think before he was full at dinner time; now that he hadn't had so many snacks during the day there was more room for him to try new foods at the dinner table. Is he still picky, yes, did he try sugar snap peas, sunflower seeds, quinoa and zucchini, YES and it wasn't even a huge battle. He was hungry so he ate and he spit out what he didn't like, but we kept trying.
Will we go back to processed foods? Hmmm maybe not. I do miss my cereal and I think some chips are ok (craving chips and salsa as we speak) but I liked watching the kids reach for fruit and nuts instead of crackers and crap. Maybe all families should try no processed foods, for at least a week. You might be surprised at how much fun it is.
One last homemade recipe. The kids missed their Quaker Granola bars so we had to find an alternative and while these aren't prepacked perfection they are darn tasty and maybe a new staple in our home. I started with Baked by Rachel's Granola recipe and tweaked it from there to get the perfect yummy deliciousness. I had to replace the rice cereal since that would be considered processed and I think ours worked!
Homemade Chewy Granola Bars:
- 1 cup steal cut oats
- 1 tbl cinnamon
- 2 tbl brown sugar
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/4 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 4 tbls butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- handful or more of mini chocolate chips
Heat oven to 400. Grease up a 9x13 pyrex dish and set it to the side.
Mix the steal cut oats, cinnamon and two tbls of brown sugar on a flat baking sheet. Bake this in the oven for about 20, till you can smell the sugar melting. This will be the replacement for the rice cereal, the baking gives it a deeper flavor and also a better crunch (I didn't like our 1st version with no baking)
Mix the butter, honey, brown sugar and salt in a sauce pan on the stove. You want to melt the butter and just bring it to a quick boil. Add this to your dry ingredients; rolled oats, steel cut oats, almond meal and raisins.
|Honey trick: add pam to the measuring cup first and the honey slides right out|
Mix everything together well. You want the sugar/butter to coat every inch of your dry ingredients. If they are not coated well they will not stick together. Once everything is well coated press the mixture into your greased Pyrex dish. Add your handful or more of mini chocolate chips and press these in as well. You can use your spoon to mix them in a little but they might start to melt since your mixture is warm. Let the whole dish set in the fridge for at least an hour or longer. Once it is stiff just slid it out of your dish and chop into bars.
I wrapped each bar in a little parchment paper and put them in a container in the fridge. They are so yummy and delicious I sorta want to eat them all.
Good luck with your own non processed adventures!Linked at: