Healthy can be Fun!

Eating healthy is important to us. Since it’s a priority around here,  we have slowly implemented more and more change over the years to support a healthy life-style for ourselves and our children and it really has been FUN! Yes – there have been some “healthy” recipes and foods that we have deemed hands-down gross, but for the most part this road has led us to some delicious and nutritious eating. Sadly,  I’ve known so many people who have had such negative experiences from their childhood of “healthy eating” and how they were forced to swallow spoonfuls of brewers yeast and eat tofu right out of the package. Yuck, no wonder! So, it’s been a passion of mine to help creative a positive and wonderful experience for my children of what it means to enjoy the gift that food is and embrace a life-style of good nutrition to help care for the bodies God has given to us so we can serve Him most fully.

Plain and simple, healthy eating can be FUN! Fun for children and fun for the whole family. Here are three amazing, nutrient-packed recipes we’ve tried lately.  What a joy to be able to give the kids something they love that is also good for them. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

*for the topping, we chose to put 1 T Peanut butter instead of almond butter in the chocolate for a fun twist.
Almond Butter Rice Crisp Treats

Yield: 12 squares

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chunky almond butter*
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup*
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance (or non-dairy spread)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 3.5 cups  Rice Crisp Cereal
  • Chocolate drizzle: 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1 tbsp almond butter, pinch salt
  • Shredded coconut, to garnish

Directions:

1. Prepare an 8 inch by 8 inch square pan, by lining it with parchment paper on both sides.

2. In a large pot over low-medium heat, add the brown rice syrup, Earth Balance, almond butter, and salt. Stir well until combined and heated through. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

3.. Stir in 3.5 cups of rice crisp cereal until thoroughly combined.

4. Scoop into pan and spread evenly. Press down with fingers or roll flat with pastry roller. Place in freezer to set for 5 minutes while you make the chocolate glaze.

5. In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips. Microwave for about 60 seconds, stirring after 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn. Stir in the almond butter and pinch of salt.

6. Remove pan from freezer and drizzle or spread with melted chocolate mixture. Sprinkle with coconut and place in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes. Slice into squares. Bars will hold their shape quite well at room temperature, but you can store in the fridge to ensure the chocolate stays solid.

Notes: 1) You can use any nut butter you like. If you use a smooth variety, you can add some chopped nuts for more crunch.

Donut Holes

Ingredients:
Doughnuts:

  • 2 C Brazil Nuts
  • 1/2 C Oat Flour (made from raw oats)
  • 1 C Flaked Oats (raw)
  • 1/3 C Coconut Oil
  • 1/3 C Maple Syrup (not raw but used in raw food recipes, you could substitute agave or dates to experiment)

Topping:

  • 1/3 C Sucanat (not raw but not processed, used in raw recipes)
  • 1 1/2 t. Cinnamon

Equipment:
Foodprocessor, and a mixing bowl with spoon

Directions:
1. Fine chop Brazil nuts in food processor until fine. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl, mix together and then add to the wet ingredients. Stir.

3. For the topping, combine and put through blender. I use a coffee grinder for this to break up the grainy sucanat. You can skip this step and just combine the ingredients.

3. Roll into balls. Roll in sucanant cinnamon mixture and refrigerate. In an hour or so you are free to enjoy (if you can wait that long!).

Source Information: Recipe and photographs are copyright 2009 Susan Powerswww.rawmazing.com. All Rights Reserved.

Soft Peanut Butter Cookies

Soft and moist, with lots of peanut butter flavor. Dip these cookies in almond milk for a delicious treat that is not too sweet. I used protein packed and nutritious whole grain spelt flour here, but you can also use all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spelt flour (or all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup peanut butter (see note)
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • Turbinado & kosher salt, for sprinkling on cookie before baking

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick mat. In a medium mixing bowl mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. in a large bowl combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, optional oil (see note below), and vanilla. Stir until combined. Pour the flour mixture over the peanut butter mixture and mix. Place the batter into the fridge for 30 minutes to set or simply wet your fingers and shape into balls. Wet a fork and press down onto the cookie crosswise. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and kosher salt. Bake for 11 minutes at 350F and let cool for 5 minutes.

Note: The original recipe calls for 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, however I omitted this due to the fact that my peanut butter was very oily and slick (the result of a brand new jar!). If your peanut butter is a bit on the dry side, you might want to add 3-4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil into the mix to ensure that your cookies don’t come out too dry.

Yields 26 cookies.

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