One of my favourite pastimes whether or not the kids are around is spending time in the kitchen. I love feeding my friends and family tasty and nutritious food. Okay, sometimes not so nutritious, but I promise – always tasty! The cooking part of it I find very therapeutic, and it helps too if the end result is successful. Contrary to some belief, cooking up some delicious meals and treats can be inexpensive, even more so if you have main staples in your pantry. I don’t knock store bought stuff, because often it can taste better than my abilities to make it, but for a lot of stuff, homemade is always better, and cheaper! Below are a couple of my favourite recipes lately – both kid and husband approved!
No Bake Granola Bars
These are great for hungry little fingers, lunches and snacks. They are quick to make and also keep amazingly well in the freezer. They do however contain peanut butter, so if you are sending them to school or daycare with your child, best check out the peanut bylaw.
What you need:
2 cups rolled oats (I also like to use Rogers 9 grain cereal as a substitute)
1 ¼ cups peanut butter (natural, smooth, crunchy – doesn’t matter)
1 cup ground flax seed (I don’t normally have this in my kitchen so I use unsweetened shredded coconut)
¾ cup honey
¾ cup dried cranberries or raisins
½ chocolate chips
¼ sliced almonds (I just smash whole almonds)
What you do:
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir, or if you don’t mind using your hands, it’s a lot easier. Press into pans at desired thickness. Put in the fridge for 2 hours, or overnight if possible. Cut into pieces and enjoy! I normally double this recipe and freeze a bunch of squares in a freezer bag – easy to grab.
I will begin by saying, you will DEFINITELY want to double this recipe. They won’t last long otherwise.
What you need:
2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini (squeeze to drain excess liquid)
½ cup mashed ripe banana (approx 1 med banana)
¼ cup light olive oil, or canola oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 cups of whole wheat flour (I usually do 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup white)
1/3 semi sweet chocolate chips
What you do:
Preheat oven to 375’F. This makes either 12 large muffins or 24 mini muffins. I use a mini muffin pan as they make a great snack size for kids. Lightly grease pans.
Beat together the banana, honey, brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs until smooth.
Sprinkle the cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt over the batter and then mix. Sprinkle in the flour and mix until it disappears. Lightly mix in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Scoop into muffin cups (about ¾ full). Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. These also freeze nicely.
Enjoy! Feel free to comment and share how they turned out or what changes you might have made!