I love to cook and bake and share that with my kids. My boys are excellent cooks. My two girls hope to marry someone that cooks. My youngest who is now 10 wants to follow me around and cook with me and get this......clean up the kitchen. She loves it. Yesterday without being asked, she cleaned the kitchen on her own doing the whole kitchen for the first time; floor to ceiling. After lunch there was a mess everywhere from making super deluxe turkey sandwiches with everything on it. She even cleaned the stove which had soup that boiled over and no one wanted to clean it. She did an amazing job and had fun doing it.
I capitalized on it. I praised her. I brought the boys in to show off her amazing clean kitchen and told her she did the best job of anyone. I believe she is a red personality in the Color Code system which means she thrives on competition and getting the job done. She loves to play - but as she is getting older, work is fun for her. So giving her all kinds of praise and mommy time is giving her the reward she needs to love cooking and cleaning in the kitchen.
I have been a mom for 25 years now. All those years ago, I thought it was a treat to take my kids to your standard fast food restaurant; after all the food was cheap and you got a toy in the kid meal and there was a play gym. We baked cookies, bought cheap ice cream, made sugar colored drinks, and associated junk food with feel good times. We got the standard results of normal sickness. We visited the doctor about as much as anyone; my kids had the standard childhood illnesses and complaints. I was gaining weight that I couldn't lose no matter what I tried, including fad diets. I had kids that might have had ADHD and drove you nuts. I had kids that dealt with depression. But nothing to be concerned about as it was typical normal behavior.
One day I realized that diet made a huge difference. I started making changes and noticed big results. I had more energy and my kids didn't get sick as often. We no longer have colored sugared drinks and once in a blue moon, they will have a soda. Cold cereal is a thing of the ancient past. My two youngest kids have eaten at a fast food restaurant a couple of times in their whole life and have never been to the doctor because of illness - ever. In fact no one has for 17 years except for broken bones - it isn't because we don't like doctors - no one has been sick enough to need a doctor and that all changed when we changed our diet. We are not just lucky.
One of the side effects of this new healthier life was how in the world do I cook and make it fun? I had to change me and what I consider a treat and fun. And I'm back in the kitchen baking with my kids and making memories. The bonus - they associate healthy food with good memories and feelings. And they love this healthier version of food. Each year for my birthday for as long as I can remember, I have a German Chocolate Cake with coconut pecan frosting (which has nothing to do with Germany). No one liked it before. This year I experimented with making one using beets, zucchini, nuts oat flour and no regular flour. Since I was experimenting, my proportions were off and I ended up with 2 cakes. I thought I would have tons leftover. My family gobbled it up in a few days. It was totally healthy and full of fiber. I make crepes from sprouted wheat - they eat every last one.
My daughter and I made healthy Banana Bites and some memories. She was thrilled and they are extremely delicious. You could eat these for breakfast, a snack on the run, and camping trips; perfect for kids playing sports with some healthy carbs. They are so easy to make.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
· 4 mashed bananas
· ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
· 4 tablespoons of nut butter (if you need to leave this out, you can substitute sunflower seed butter or leave out entirely – you may need to add extra oats)
· Depending on how sweet your bananas are you may want to add 4 tablespoons of raw honey
· 1 egg
· 2 teaspoon vanilla
· Spices and flavoring (see below for options)
o ¼ to ½ teaspoon of 1 or more of the following: cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg
o A pinch of ginger powder or more for a ginger cookie
o The grated zest of 2 oranges
Stir together getting the nut butter mostly mixed in and your spices. Then continue to add:
· 4 cups of rolled oats
· 3 tablespoons of coconut flour (if you don’t have it, use extra ground flax seeds, oat flour, or whole wheat flour - you will need more flour like about 1/2 cup)
· ½ cup ground flax seeds
· 2/3 cup of dried fruit if desired and / or
· ½ cup or more of chocolate or carob chips. There are healthy versions of chocolate chips. I use a dark chocolate. I figure the smaller exposure to the chocolate chips make this seem more like a treat than a cookie with dried fruit. They are so high in fiber that your body doesn’t get a spike in blood sugar generally.
· ½ to 2/3 cups chopped nuts
Spray a cookie sheet or use parchment paper and scoop about ¼ to 1/3 cup size onto cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
You could leave out the egg and coconut flour, but they would be a bit more crumbly. I loved the texture of this as it held together nicely. If your bananas are really sweet you may not want the honey or try another sweetener like maple syrup.
You can add in other ingredients like shredded apple or zucchini. Use your imagination and experiment a little in the kitchen. I used cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, orange zest, and chocolate chips with a pinch of ginger.
I can’t wait to go home and have another and make more memories of fun, healthy food with my kids.
What are your favorite healthy treats to make?
Me and Rachel getting ready to gobble up our healthy and super delicious German Chocolate Cake (made with beets).
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