The last time I made Rice Krispy treats, both my daughter and I couldn't eat them. They were too much marshmallow sweetness even for her sugar-crazed palate, and so I sent them off with my husband to work so we wouldn't feel obligated to eat them. But my kids like crisped rice cereal on occasion, so I figured we might as well give it another shot, this time with a little less sugar and a little more good-for-you ingredients.I bought a jar of almond chocolate spread at Trader Joe's, which is essentially an almond rendition of Nutella. You can use Nutella instead
or make your own
chocolate nut butter if you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby. And if you don't want to use chocolate, you can always go with a traditional nut or seed butter, like peanut butter, instead. But either way these rice crisp treats are tasty and better for you than the traditional recipe.You have the option of adding ground flax if you have it on hand. It'll add omega-3 fatty acids, which are a great fat for kids and adults. Just a tip for using flax- you can substitute it in for butter on a lot of recipes thereby cutting out saturated fats and replacing them with healthy fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for good cognitive function, and are also linked with improving mood and important for cellular function. This is an optional addition though, so if you don't have any that's fine.Enjoy!Kiddo rice crispsPrep time: 15 minutesMakes: 15 squares
1/2 cup honey1/2 cup turbinado or raw sugar1 cup chocolate nut butter6 cups crisped rice cereal1/2 cup ground flax optional nutrition boostCombine honey and sugar over medium heat in a small saucepan. Cook until sugar is dissolved.
Add chocolate nut butter to sugar mixture and mix until smooth. Remove from heat.
Add crisped rice and flax (if using) and stir until combined.
Press into a greased 13 x 9 baking dish. Let cool completely to solidify, then serve.
Here's another dairy-free recipe in homage to my little guy's dairy allergy. Around here we've always been big smoothie drinkers. I think that they are a great way to get a lot of fruit into a snack and they're also a fabulous medium for sneaking in some added nutrients. However in the past, and in recipes featured here, I always used Greek yogurt to thicken my smoothies. But this time around I went with coconut milk, which is located by soy and almond milk varieties at your grocery store. Coconut adds a great flavor to your smoothie, and is both dairy and soy free.
I also added in some ground flax. I bought a huge bag at Costco recently and have been throwing it into just about everything. They add omega-3 fatty acids for better cognitive function. However you can also use wheat germ, bran, chia seeds, anything you have in a powder from that won't overwhelm the sweet fruit flavors.
I also used frozen pineapple that I found at the store, and they really complement the coconut, but again you can use whatever sweet, juicy fruits that you have on hand. On that note I also added honey because my strawberries were not very sweet, but the quality of your fruit determines if honey is really necessary.
So I guess the take home message is that smoothies are pretty versatile, hence my families love of them. They're great in the morning, after school or even as desert. Enjoy!
Coconut berry omega smoothies
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes: 24 ounces
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup pineapple chunks
3 tablespoons ground flax: optional, extra nutrient boost
1 tablespoon honey
6 ice cubes
Combine all the above ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Here's a great way to make healthy cereal a snack- try baking it in a loaf of bread. You can use several different types of hardier cereals, like bran, Kashi or granola. I opted for the latter because we had a box of pumpkin flax granola on hand. It adds more nutrients to an otherwise whole wheat loaf and makes for a tasty, satisfying snack.
I also made this bread dairy-free because my little guy can't tolerate any milk products. Bakers out there will note that I made a dairy-free sour milk (essentially just mixing lemon juice into your liquids), but if you don't have kids with dairy issues than you can use buttermilk instead. I think that any milk will do, but soy or almond help add a little more flavor to the bread.
I also added chia seeds to make this bread a little more calcium rich. But they are completely optional so if you don't have them that's totally OK. I just always have a bag handy because they are a great source of both omega-3 fatty acids and calcium (6% of your daily calcium intake is packed into just one tablespoon of chia seeds!). I think that the real stars of this recipe are the coconut and the molasses- they add a lot of flavor to this super healthy and yet really tasty bread. We devoured the loaf pretty quickly, but like most quick sweet breads it actually tastes better if you let it sit overnight so the flavors can meld together. Regardless of your family's patience level, this bread is a great morning snack. Enjoy!
Coconut granola bread
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Makes: 1 two pound loaf
1 1/2 cups granola
1/4 cup chia seeds: optional nutrient boost
1 cup soy, almond or coconut milk
juice from half a lemon
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry four
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl combine cereal, chia seeds, milk, lemon, molasses and syrup. Let sit for at least five minutes so that the granola and chia seeds soften.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, coconut, baking soda and salt. Add in the wet ingredients and stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
Pour the mix into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and refrigerate overnight before serving, if your kiddos can wait.