Archive for August, 2014
There are lots of tasty gluten-free snack bars on the market these days. But, if you don’t like the price, or the extra ingredients that may be in them, consider making your own.
With six simple ingredients, this recipe is easy to adjust to your own taste. I just used up what we had in our pantry. The whole family ate these up in no time. (Chocolate gets them every time!)
Enjoy these for a snack, a quick breakfast on-the-go, a protein burst after school, or even a sweet treat.
Cashew Cherry Chocolate Snack Bars
3/4 Cup Almond Butter (or other nut butter of your choice)
3/4 Cup Honey (or agave)
1-1/2 Cup Cashews (I used roasted but not salted.)
1 Cup Dried Cherries
4 to 5 Cups Gluten-Free Crispy Rice Cereal (Kellogg’s GF , Erewhon’s Cereal or EnviroKidz)
3/4 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks (Use Enjoy Life to make it dairy-free.)
- Combine the almond butter and honey together in a pot over medium heat on the stove. Stir until well blended. Take off the heat and let it cool while you continue with the recipe.
- Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. It doesn’t need to be perfectly lined, it just makes shaping the bars and removing the bars from the pan easier. You can also use a jelly roll pan, or simply a sheet of parchment paper on the counter.
- Place the cashews and dried cherries in a food processor, and give it a whirl until they are chopped into pieces. (Or get out a knife and cutting board, and chop by hand.) Pour it all into a large bowl.
- Add the cereal and chocolate chunks to the large bowl of ingredients. Then, pour the nut butter/honey mixture on top of the ingredients in the large bowl. Use a spatula to mix all the ingredients together. (If the honey mixture is hot it will melt the chocolate. If you want the chocolate chips to remain as chips, make sure the honey mixture has had enough time to cool.)
- Press the mixture into the lined 9 x 13 pan with a spatula, or use a sheet of parchment or wax paper on top and press it with your hands.
- Place in the freezer for 15 minutes, or place in the refrigerator for an hour to set.
- Once set, lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper and place on a cutting board. Use a pizza cutter or large knife to cut the bars into the size and shape you want. Makes 18-24 depending on how you cut them.
- To store these yummy treats, wrap the bars in plastic wrap or place in a sealed container. They don’t last longer than a week or two at our house on the counter. If you plan to keep them longer, you may want to store in the refrigerator.
- I’ve made these with a variety of ingredients: almonds, dates, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc. Choose your favorites or try a mix of nuts and dried fruit. Macadamia nuts with dried apricots is yummy! I’m trying Sunbutter next.
- Don’t be afraid to press these into the pan very firmly. They will stay together better if you do.
- I like to use the mega chocolate chunks because the warm almond butter and honey will partially melt them (as in the picture above).
This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays, where you’ll find more ideas for eating gluten-free!
Since writing about Gluten-Free Breakfasts a few weeks ago, I’ve had a couple more ideas I wanted to share with you.
Don’t forget to take your vitamins!
I’m surprised I didn’t even think about vitamins when writing about Back-to-School Breakfast ideas. So many people take supplements or vitamins in the mornings, especially kids! I neglected to mention it, probably because we haven’t been taking vitamins at my house until recently. With my kids getting so busy in sports, I realize that I really need to make sure they are getting all the nutrition they need.
I was intrigued by Hakuna Matata, a chewable multivitamin and natural fruit and veggie supplement. Healthy Pride Supplements was nice enough to send me some samples to try out on my kids. (I hate paying big bucks for vitamins, just to find out the kids won’t eat them!) I tried the vitamins, too. I prefer the chewable vitamins because I think they’re easier on my tummy.
The great thing about these vitamins is that they are gluten-free, wheat-free, and egg-free, with no artificial colors or sweeteners. They also do not contain meat, yeast, starch, or preservatives. And, check out the natural sources of all the vitamins and minerals:
- FRUITS AND BERRIES: strawberry, banana, raspberry, melon, pineapple, black currant, apricot, cherry, tagerine, kiwi, grape, apple, tomato, peach, papaya, guava, and mango.
- VEGATABLES: broccoli, carrot, spinach, beet greens, asparagus, onion, garlic, alfalfa, barley grass, artichoke, peas, and summer squash.
- ALGAE: spiralina blue-green algae, klmath blue-green algae, chlorella, kombu green algae, and cytoseira green algae.
- Other ingredients: Dextrose, orange juice flavored crystals, natural flavors, stearic acid, turmeric color, magnesium stearate, silica, citric acid, alfalfa juice and carmine color.
So what was our final analysis? We like them! They aren’t bitter, and don’t upset our tummies. I LOVE all the natural ingredients. I like to think that my family is eating healthy, but sometimes I worry that we aren’t getting enough of the good stuff.
Where can you buy them? You can order the vitamins online or through a select group of stores and pharmacies. For more vitamin options, check out the list of the Top 100 Children’s Vitamins, as reported by Vitamin-One.com.
Chex Gluten-Free Oatmeal
I happened to notice in the grocery store this month, a new arrival — Chex Gluten-Free Oatmeal. I grabbed a box to check it out, then noticed another shopper grabbing a box. She said it was really sweet and her kids loved it. So, I bought it, and took it home. My kids never did get to try it. My husband and I ate all of it.
The shopper was right: It is sweet. Maple Brown Sugar sweet. Just like the packages of instant oatmeal we used to eat when we were kids. Each box contains 6 individual packages. You simply pour the cereal into a bowl, add 2/3 cup water or milk, and microwave for 90 seconds. Yum!
I have only seen the Maple Brown Sugar variety in the stores. However, I found Apple Cinnamon and Original flavored varieties at Amazon, if you’re interested. You may find them in the cereal aisles at your store. I’ll be watching ours to see if they arrive. A variety pack might be nice.
Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Salt, Natural Flavor. Each pouch/serving: 170 calories, 0.5 g saturated fat, 180 mg sodium, 12 g sugars.