That is the true goal I have in life. Millennial mother of two looking to feed my family real food but also extremely aware of the fact that we live in a world of processed food.
For my children to be raised knowing what processed and fast-food is and knowing what fresh and homemade food is, but having a majority being the latter. That is my goal. Understand that ONE bag of mini-muffins costs 60¢, which is not a lot, but adds up AND can be poor for your overall health. Knowing the good, knowing the bad, and why you should choose the good but can moderately enjoy processed food.
Making these foods at home cuts out a lot of added ingredients and preservatives, is cheaper and you learn to respect your food a bit more. You know how much effort goes into creating the food, and you have to work to tailor it to your tastes.
Being in touch with your food is a learning process.
Spike an Interest.
My oldest child has helped me here and there in the kitchen, but never really has took an interest. Now he is four and unless he is competing for mommy-time with his brother, he is not trying to help me cook. He is too busy fighting bad-guys in his Iron Man costume, or conjuring up a new trick for his monster trucks.
My youngest son is two, and that little muffin sure does take an interest in the kitchen.
If I had a dollar for every time he saw me in the kitchen and asked, “what you makin’?” I would be a wealthy gal.
He is not only is asking to vie for my attention, he truly is curious. Sometimes I am busy and I just say ‘making dinner’ but that does not often satisfy his question. He will ask more questions, and so I pull up a chair and have him help me.
Teachable Moments for Respecting Food.
Every Monday we have bone broth soup of some sort. The kids usually pick out the noodles and carrots and maybe chicken, but that’s about it. Hey, they’re eating the food they were presented, and not junk.
This week was different. The two-year-old was feeling especially clingy when I needed to chop up veggies. I know you get more lenient as the number of kids you have grows, but for me, two is not the number where I can hold a squirmy toddler and chop veggies.
I grabbed a chair and explained what I was doing. This two-year-old isn’t especially clear with his words, but he does have a keen way of expressing his questions and observations.
As we got through the veggies and knife safety, his job was to put everything in the pot. Toddler got his mommy-time, mommy got her dinner made.
Until… We sat down for dinner. The husband comes home and we sit down to eat. The four-year-old picks through his soup per the norm. and the two year old couldn’t eat his soup fast enough. The husband was even chuckling at him spooning the soup into his mouth. The two-year-old takes a breath and looks at him and says, “I love doup.” He cannot pronounce S noises so he subs them. Soup is subbed to doup.
I cannot help but think that because he saw everything we put into the pot, he had a different respect and understanding of what we were eating, and the slimy cooked onion was no longer a slimy cooked onion, it was an onion that was cooked into his ‘doup.’
We respect the food when we know the effort and ingredients it took to make it. Even the two-year-old gets that.
Yes, even processed food can be turned healthy.
Okay, so… the processed foods.
Kids love sugar, duh.
There are no two-ways around that. Heck, I love sugar.
My children love to kill time all morning when I am trying to rush them, so by the time we are about to sit down for breakfast, we have to get our shoes on and go. 90% of the time, they eat in the car. Nothing I am proud of, but even if they wake up an hour earlier, they kill an hour whining or trying to play and get dressed. It’s a battle I am over fighting, I just fought what I could control – make a car breakfast healthier than pre-packaged food, but not so messy that I will regret bringing it in the car (aka NO smoothies).
So… granola bars, cheese, and a piece of fruit with milk to slug it down. That is usually their breakfast of champions. Actually, it probably is better than sugary cereal that most kids are eating. Car breakfast for the win.
I was buying more than a box of granola bars a week and it killed me. I know it isn’t giving my kids cancer or anything, but it went against everything I was about.
So, I present to you, the recipe that makes the kids happy and mom happy.
Granola Bar Variations.
These can be tailored to adult taste buds VERY easily. They can also be made healthier, but if it gets my children to eat them, I will throw minimal amounts of sweets in there. BALANCE.
The granola bars are SO EASY, about 10 min. of your time, and take 6ish ingredients, depending on your adventure. 😉
My children pick what their additions are, I will include their favorite ingredients, but, by all means, you can skip the mini-marshmallows and mini m&m’s (they aren’t wrong, they do taste wonderful).
Sometimes we skip the peanut butter and add raisins or craisins with chocolate chips – this is a good combo.
We have also made just chocolate peanut butter (no marshmallows), but that wasn’t as fun.
You could skip the peanut butter and add in a few graham crackers for a s’mores taste.
For a more healthy option add in flax seeds, chicory root, and dried fruit. Don’t skip the chocolate. Chocolate makes everything taste better – just opt for dark chocolate if you must.
PLEASE share your food with me – I check my inbox and reply to all. Better yet, post it on Facebook and tag The Sheep Shed.
Easy Peasy Granola Bars
- 2 1/2 c Old-Fashioned Oats
- 1/4 c Sunflower Seeds
- 1/3 c Honey
- 3 T Butter
- 1/4 c Brown Sugar
- 1/2 t Vanilla
- 1/4 c Mini-Chocolate Chips
- 1/2 c Peanut Butter optional
- 2 T Mini M&M's optional
- 1/4 c Mini-Mallow Bits optional
- Heat oven to 350F. Bake oats & seeds 5 min, flip & bake 5 more min.
- Combine honey, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and peanut butter. Stir until dissolved.
- Mix butter mixture with oat mixture until combined well. Cool 5 min & add chocolate chips - they will melt in.
- Press into parchment paper lined pan. I use a 13x9, but the bars do not take up nearly that much space. Take your time pressing the bars down - the more you press, the more they stay together when cooled.
- Cool in the fridge - or if you are impatient the freezer. I leave about 2 hours, but once they are set you may cut. Cut into 16 pieces. I wrap mine in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
If you ever have any questions, or ideas for future blogs, comment below or shoot me an email!
From the farm,