Sunday, February 3, 2013

Food For Friday: Nut Free Homemade Larabars

Take two on Homemade Larabars!  This version is allergy friendly and NUT FREE!  It is also dairy free, and if made with gluten free oats, can also be gluten free.

With Hudson's extensive list of food allergies, I am always looking for new ideas of healthy and easy meals and snacks for him.  I have come to love Homemade Larabars as a quick and easy snack for myself, so I set out to make an allergy free version for the little man.

Of course, Hudson wouldn't eat them, so I added them to the freezer pile of foods for him to try again later. But, we tried them and they are really good!  I hardly miss the nuts in this version.

1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup Sunbutter (or any sunflower seed butter)
2 1/2 cups pitted dates
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tbls. cocoa
scant 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Grind oats in the food processor until powdered.  Add sunbutter, olive oil, cocoa, vanilla & salt.  Pulse until blended.  Add dates and process until well mixed.  Press into a 9x9 pan or roll into balls.  (If making bars, you can line the pan with parchment paper for easier removal, but they come out of the pan fine without it too.)  If making bars, refrigerate the pan for 1 hour, then cut into bars or squares with a sharp knife.

Store in an air tight container, with wax paper in between layers, in the refrigerator for one week.  They can also be frozen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Food For Friday: Homemade Larabars

We suspect that Hudson might have a food allergy/sensitivity, so almost 2 weeks ago, I eliminated all dairy from my diet.  That eliminated my favorite granola bars for a quick and easy snack, so when I saw this recipe for Homemade Larabars, I decided to give it a try!  They were fairly easy to make with the help of my food processor, and a good snack to grab as I rushed through the kitchen in between nursing sessions, laundry, diaper changes, and entertaining my little man. 

A disclaimer:  I've never eaten an actual Larabar, so I can't comment on how these compare to the real deal.  They were described on the recipe as tasting like Snicker's bars, and I definitely wouldn't go that far!  These bars have chocolate peanut butter flavor, but they don't even come close to tasting like a Snicker's bar in my book, especially because the underlying date flavor is still very noticeable.  Just had to get that out there! 

With Larabars costing over $1.00 each, these homemade bars are definitely a more economical way to have a tasty energy bar on hand.  They would also be an awesome addition if you are taking a meal to a family with a new baby because they are a perfect quick snack for nursing moms.

I adjusted the recipe a little and used 1 lb of dates, which came out to be about 3 cups, from the bulk section of our natural foods store.  I also used vegan chocolate chips to meet my diary free requirement.  The next time that I make a batch of these bars, I think I will add in another tablespoon of peanut butter to see if I can up the peanut butter flavor.  You can find the recipe here!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Our Little Snowbaby

This past weekend, we had a huge snowstorm that left us with 17 inches of snow over 2 days.  We got another few inches the following day for a total somewhere around 20 inches!  We enjoyed some cozy family time in our pj's and drank our fair share of hot chocolate.  Just for fun, we took Hudson outside a couple of times to see the snow, and to "measure" how deep it was.  The first day, the snow was about half a baby deep, and Hudson wasn't quite sure what he thought of it...
On day two, it was nearly 2/3 of a baby deep, and Hudson was much more interested!  It was so deep we didn't even have to hold onto to his arm because the snow itself propped him up.  We laughed watching him explore the snow and captured some fun pictures of our little snowbaby!
 Hmmm, what is this white stuff?
Hey, I can pick it up!
It's kind of fun!
I wonder what it tastes like? 
It's kind of deep. 
It's sticking to my mitten.
I think I like it.
See? I'm a big boy!
 Just chillin'.
 I'm not so sure about laying down in it!
We love that Hudson will grow up experiencing all four seasons, and his Daddy is hoping he'll want to join him on the slopes in the next couple of of years!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Felt Flower Embellishments

Before Hudson was born, I was on the hunt for a diaper bag that was both cute and functional.  A lot of my friends had recommended Skip Hop bags, and there was a pattern with colors that I liked, but I wanted to add an embellishment to up the cute factor.  I searched felt flowers on Pinterest for inspiration and used felt and embroidery thread in the colors of the bag to craft some of my own.  I sewed the finished felt flowers onto a strip of felt with velcro to wrap around one of the diaper bag straps, so the flowers are removable.
This bag has been getting a lot of use!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Food For Friday: Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chip Muffins

These muffins make a delicious breakfast or quick snack.  I love muffins and as I have been looking for ways to add more whole grains to our diet, the whole oats and whole wheat flour in these muffins were a great way to do that.  And without all of the chemicals that come in most packaged muffin mixes.  They have a hearty, dense texture, but not an overly wheaty flavor.  They freeze well, so I often make a double batch and freeze half.  Pull a muffin or two out of the freezer the night before to defrost for breakfast, and then heat for 15-30 seconds in the microwave just before eating.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (Be sure you are using pastry flour!  I use Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 cup milk (I use 1%)
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place 12 muffin papers in a muffin pan.
In a bowl, soak 1 cup of oats in the milk for 15 minutes.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
After the oats have soaked, add the egg, vanilla, and oil to the oats & milk and stir to combine.  Add the oat mixture to the well in the flour mixture & stir quickly with a fork until the flour mixture is moistened and combined. Mix in the peanut butter chips.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hudson's First 3 Months

I have been wanting for months, literally, to share more photos of our adorable little guy!  But, my days have been full of cuddling him and kissing his sweet cheeks instead.  I am trying my best to soak in every moment with our sweet boy because I know how fast they grow.  He has already changed so much!  Mixed in with the love and joy I feel when I stare at his precious face is a little bit of sadness because every week I wish I could freeze him exactly as he is.  Each new week brings new things learned, a little more chub, new expressions, and change.  Even though we think he just gets cuter every week, I can't help but wish that each stage could last a little bit longer because we love him so much and there is nothing quite as sweet as holding your baby boy in your arms.  Each week I think he will never again be the exact same kind of cute as he is this week.

When I think of a word that sums up what Hudson has brought to our life, I immediately think of the word joy.  He has brought a fullness of joy to our home and our lives beyond what we could have imagined.  He has the sweetest demeanor and a huge smile that he can't keep to himself.  He is truly a happy baby.  My sweet husband has always brought smiles to my face on a daily basis, but I think our smiling has multiplied a hundred times over with this cute guy to love.  We can't help but smile every time we look at that sweet face.  I love that he brings a smile to the face of others as well.  When we are out, nearly everyone that sees him smiles.  What a blessing that our little bundle of joy can bring joy to others!

Here are a few of my favorite photos of Hudson's first 3 months:
Not sure what to think about his 1st car ride on the way home from the hospital.
We figured out in his first days home from the hospital that he loves music.  He loves watching his mobile and kicks his little feet whenever we lay him down and start winding it up.
He LOVES his hands, and in his first months, they were always somewhere on or near his face if he wasn't swaddled.  He literally fell asleep with his hands like this one afternoon and we thought it was so funny!
His first snow in mid-October.
Our little giraffe dressed up for Halloween.

He really enjoys his playmat and he especially loves looking at and talking to himself in his mirror.  He started rolling over at 5 weeks!  So, he doesn't get much tummy time because he just wants to roll over so he can play with his toys.
 Our first Thanksgiving as a family of 3.  We have so much to be thankful for this year!
 We even think his pouty lip is adorable!