Feb 03 2011
MINI SERIES with ‘Our Best Bites’: Healthy Snacks and Treats!
It’s time for the next part of our little mini series with the fab food blog, ‘Our Best Bites’.
(Remember the intro from last week?)
Sit back and relax. And enjoy more great ideas.
Hey everyone! I’m Sara, one of the co-authors of Our Best Bites. My friend Kate introduced us last week and told you we’d be posting about kids in the kitchen over the next few weeks. I have 3 kids, all boys, ages 5, almost 3, and 7 months. Everyone tells me, “Just wait until they’re teenagers” but I swear, some days it is their sole purpose in life to come up with as many ways as possible to tell me they’re starving. How can they be starving when they seem to eat ALL DAY LONG? I’ve noticed that my almost 3 year old, in particular, likes to just graze all day. And if I’m not careful, he can easily consume 8 boxes of fruit snacks single handedly. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with fruit snacks. In fact, I’m pretty sure I keep that whole industry in business but I’ve noticed that my kids stay satisfied longer if I have some options that are fun, substantial, and somewhat healthy (and they totally don’t have to know about that last part.) So today I wanted to show you some of our favorite snacks and treats!
See this picture below?
The bowl full of soft, smooth, sweet, delicious, ice cream?
What if I told you it was made from only one ingredient?
And it wasn’t dairy?
No joke people!
That, my friends, is made from 100% banana.
And I’m not lying when I say it actually has the creamy texture of ice cream. I take claims like that very seriously. I don’t know how many diet books have told me to eat my meatballs and marinara on top of spaghetti squash and I won’t even know the difference. Um, like heck I won’t! This one is good. Really good.
Bananas can tend to get a bitter taste to them after freezing and it’s intensified if they’re under-ripe. So definitely use very ripe bananas for this. They shouldn’t be brown-mushy-banana-bread-ripe, but ripe. I found the best ones to be like the ones below, where the outsides were spotty but the insides weren’t brown yet at all.
Try it with about 3 medium bananas. Slice or dice into small pieces (to make the blending part easier) and place in the freezer. Place frozen banana chunks into a food processor.
Can you guess the next step? Ya, blend those babies up. Depending on the size of your food processor, the amount of bananas, and how frozen they are, you may have to stop it a few times and scrape and mush the mixture around. I’ve had to do that every time.
The first time I tried this, I was concerned when my mixture never turned into anything resembling ice cream. It just looked like tiny little grains, much like couscous!
But all I had to do was grab a spatula and when I stirred them even the tiniest bit, ta-da!
Sure enough it was smooth, creamy, and looked just like ice cream!
Now looking like ice cream is one thing, but what about the taste and texture? I was very surprised to find that this stuff actually feels like ice cream in my mouth. It tastes like- let’s be real here, bananas. But it’s still quite delish. One of the great things you can do is add some mix-ins to the food processor along with bananas. Sure it won’t make it “one” ingredient ice cream anymore, but it’s sure yummy. I tried one batch with some cinnamon-sugar, one with a spoonful of peanut butter, and our personal favorite: a scoop of heaven.
It’s really amazing how much frozen bananas can resemble ice cream.
The true test? This one:
Not only was this kid super happy to be eating a treat, he had noooo idea it was just bananas. Muah ha ha ha ha! Total victory moment for Mommy. Plus I won super-mega-cool-Mom-points by saying, “Why, yes son. Yes, you can have ice cream for breakfast today”
Test it out at your house!
Here’s a few more of our favorites!
Since we’re on the topic of frozen deliciousness… my kids love these homemade pudding pops. And I don’t mind them eating them because I make them with sugar free pudding and skim milk (which makes grown-up friendly add-ins like Oreos totally okay in my book!) Kids can help by pouring things in the blender, and even filling the molds.
We’ve got tons of flavor combinations- Click Here to check them out!
The other day I had a major melt-down ensuing from an I-woke-up-way-too-early toddler. I calmed him with promises of a movie and popcorn on the couch that we’re not allowed to eat popcorn on. (Hey, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do!) But after I’d bribed him, I realized I was totally out of the little mini-bags of microwave popcorn I like to buy. Then I remembered this awesome trick. Microwave popcorn in a brown paper bag! It’s so much healthier and it takes just minutes to make. Plus, since the bag isn’t coated in greasy fluorescent orange goo, the kiddos can eat right from the bag. Click here for the How-To!
I have vivid memories as a kid helping my Mom mix up a giant bowl of cheerios, butterscotch chips, fishy crackers, and other bite-sized snacks. Choose a variety of flavors and textures. We pick something chewy, something sweet, something crunchy, something salty, etc. This mix of flavors and textures will keep kiddos busy- and I’m not gonna lie, it makes a great mommy snack too! At our house, we make a huge batch and then divide into snack-size ziplock bags (partially to have them ready-to-go, and partially so I don’t go through and pick out all of the m&m’s.) Since they’re packaged already into servings, I can grab a couple and toss them in my diaper bag, take a few to the park, use to keep kids occupied at the mall or at church, or even as breakfast on the way to school (chocolate is okay for breakfast, right??)
Kids love to dip. And they love chips. These homemade cinnamon chips are so super easy! And you better make lots because I guarantee the kids will have to fight you for them! Tortillas are brushed lightly with butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Oven baking makes them light and crisp. Once they’re cooled, dip them in a sweet fruit salsa. See our recipe Here!
Lastly, this one is a little more of a splurge. But when it comes to “treats”, if I can trick my kids into making a fruit or veggie count as dessert then I consider it a success. One of our favorite family treats is homemade Dulce de Leche, which is probably a lot easier than you think! For a sweet after dinner treat, or even snack during the day, cut up a variety of fresh fruit and let them dip away! And guess what? This is another one-ingredient recipe! Click here to get it!
At our house, frozen freezer foods are a staple. Especially things that can be used for both snacks and meals. Hot Pockets are perfect for that- and these homemade ones are so amazing. Fresh baked bread? Real melty cheese? The best part is that you can make them totally custom for your family. They taste great warm from the oven, and just as good at room temp, so just grab and go! Find the recipe here.
We hope that gives you a few new ideas of things to try out in your homes! Thanks to Ashley for having us over today- we’ll be back again next week with something fun!