Cashew Crushin’ for the Kids

by Sarah on January 31, 2011 · 13 comments

I hate to get all philanthropic on y’all again, but if you ask the question—Which is cuter? Puppies or babies?—I mean, can you REALLY pick between the two?

Thus, when I heard through Foodbuzz that Frigidaire was “opening” a Kids’ Cooking Academy called Make Time for Change to provide healthy recipes and tips for bringing kids into the kitchen, and that by contributing a kid-friendly recipe to the blogosphere, Frigidaire would donate $50 to Save the Children….well, the kiddo*-lovin’ teacher I am (and the small child within me) couldn’t resist.*Did you know that kiddo is a highly overused term among Texas public school educators? I have heard it used so often that I occasionally find myself abandoning my tried and true “small children” generalization and referencing them all as my ‘kiddos.’ Not to be confused with kudos, a word I still remember learning when I was ten years old from American Girl magazine.^ Just in case you were wondering.
^Yes, the magazine is still published. I checked. And, as I’m sure you were about ask, my American Girl doll was Kirsten. This was before Felicity was released and I realized and there was a true redhead (and daughter of the American Revolution!) in the bunch. Also before Addy appeared….along with my obsession with antebellum history. But I digress.

I should also mention that I almost didn’t contribute a recipe due to time constraints, but there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for the face of the campaign.
Yes, Jennifer Garner, who, in addition to being quirky and awkward and thus my idol, I have had the biggest girl-crush on since the days when this—
—was the best show on television. (Seriously, how amazing was she in that show? Even when JJ Abrams left to go produce Lost–which I still refuse to watch on principal–and it took a turn for the altogether bizarre, I will love Alias forever.*)

*Yes, I did decline a return invitation to one of the most popular sororities at UVA when the girl I spoke with there couldn’t pronounce the word “Alias.” [Uh-lie-us? What? Really?]

So right, back to the matter at hand: cooking for (and saving) the kids.

With cashews.[Source]
If you have a kid in the public school system, know a kid in the public school, or actually WORK in the public school system, then you know that nowadays peanut butter is pretty much contraband. There are separate peanut-free tables, or complete bans on even bringing the stuff into a 500-foot peanut-free radius surrounding the school. It’s like a War On Nuts* out there…

*If the peanut were actually a nut, that is.

[Apparently being allergic to peanuts is the new controversial marker of unwarrented discrimination.]

So menus feature soynut butter sandwiches and kids go without the joys of finding a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in their lunchbox every day. But we adapt. We move on. We Make Time For Change.*

*Thanks. I know that was a seamless plug. I should work in PR.

My recipe(s) today are not only kid-and-lunchbox-friendly, they are easy and peanut-free. And they are fun to make, because they involve easy-for-kids-to-operate-with-an-adult-present heavy machinery.

I present to you: Spiced Apple & Cashew (S)ara(h)bars!

Yes, my little Smarties, there is a new kid—er, I mean (S)ara(h)bar–in town…and it features cashews…

…and dried apple rings.

Into the food processor, you (and your kiddie helper) should combine 3/4 cup roasted, unsalted cashew pieces (or 1 cup whole cashews), 10-12 pitted dates (about 1/2 cup), and a 1/2 cup VERY tightly packed dried apples.
Sprinkle in 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. allspice (depending on the level of adventure found in your–or your kids’–tastebuds).
And then let the processor do the chopping!
[Let the small child in the room….or in your heart…push the on switch for this…
…just make sure when you do the “press-test” for smushiness and ‘moldability’ you help him or her avoid the blades of the machine.]
Once the mixture will hold together…
…pull out chunks and mold them into bars about the size of an adult thumb.
(Kids might prefer to roll them into balls or just make chunks. You might want to scoop out the ‘dough’ so they don’t cut themselves on the blade.)
They are delicious immediately….but even better when they have a chance to firm up in the fridge.
You’ll get about 9-10 bars from each batch.
Which is perfect for wrapping up and feeding 1-2 kids (or parents) for a week of school lunches!

Spiced Apple & Cashew (S)ara(h)bars
[Makes 9-10 thumb-sized bars]

3/4 cup roasted, unsalted cashew pieces [or 1 cup whole cashews]
1/2 cup packed pitted dates (about 10-12)
1/2 cup very tightly packed dried apple rings or pieces
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
2. Process until a “press-test” shows everything can be compressed and stuck together.
3. Form mixture into bars (or balls, or chunks…).

While you’ve got the food processor out, you could also go ahead and make what inspired this new batch of (S)ara(h)bars: Apple Cinnamon Cashew Butter. You see, when I had bought the peanuts to make my Paw Paw Peanut Butter, I had noticed bulk cashews were on sale……and y’all know I can’t resist a sale, so I found myself with some cashews at-the-ready for nut butterization when I got home from the store.Into the food processor went the cashews. [OK, and some peanuts…leftovers. I hate to waste! If you want a peanut-free spread, just add more cashews.]

Turn on the processor and let it do its thang.
Toss in some dried apples and a heavy dose of cinnamon.
Oh so sweetly satisfyingly scrumptious…
I imagine it would taste AMAZING combined with raisins either on a cinnamon-raisin English muffin or toast…or if you are into oatmeal these days (which I’m still, sadly, not) swirled in there with some raisins or other dried fruits. But since I rarely seem to eat my nut butters in any way other than with a spoon, straight from the jar…I really can’t be an authority on that.

Apple-Cinnamon Cashew Butter

1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts [may substitute cashews]
1/4 cup dried apple rings
2 tsp. cinnamon

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
2. Process until the consistency is to your liking! :)
3. Store in a jar or resealable container.

For this post $50 will be donated to Save the Children, but you, too can Make Time For Change by going to the website and joining the Kids’ Cooking Academy. Every new member will result in a $1 donation.
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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess@atasteofconfidence January 31, 2011 at 8:26 pm

That's a great program, and your post made me smile- my dad always calls me kiddo:)


Amanda (Eating Up) January 31, 2011 at 8:38 pm

American Girl magazine was my absolute favorite growing up! I still love it.


Tori @ January 31, 2011 at 9:17 pm

these look yummy!!!


Leila @ Spinach and Skittles January 31, 2011 at 11:53 pm

I saw that Make Time for Change campaign in a magazine today – perfect! Can you send me a sample of both please :)


Christina February 1, 2011 at 12:30 am

i just bought dates…i should really make these!


Maria @ Oh Healthy Day February 1, 2011 at 1:02 am

There are no words. Except if I don't get a food processor soon to make these, I might cry.

I was a fan of Molly and Samantha. I also subscribed to the magazine and longed for a doll, which were entirely too expensive. Then I moved on to Girls Life Magazine, which rocked. My dream someday is to write for Girls Life. This comment is out of control – that's what Sara(h) Bars do to me.


kate February 1, 2011 at 8:06 am

i need to start reading those foodbuzz emails. this sounds like a cool project.

and i LOVED my american girl magazine. my mom would keep it from me until after i finished my homework. i was glued to that thing until i read it cover to cover.


Tricia @ Saving room for dessert February 1, 2011 at 8:16 am

When in Chicago recently I got to stop in the American Girl store – pretty awesome! I loved reading the books with my daughter.

I will be making these new Sarahbars! Thanks.


Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free February 1, 2011 at 8:22 am

Oooooo…..I love spiced apples :) I love that they are donating 50 bucks for every post :) So wonderful!


atastelife February 1, 2011 at 9:55 am

cashews are my favorite nut of all!
and i might have to give cashew butter another chance…the last time i tried, it came out waaaaaay to thick and crumbly.


Susan February 1, 2011 at 10:29 am

Awesome recipes! I have totally been grooving on cashews lately too. Roasted with salt. Gasmotron.

I loved Alias too, though I did stop watching when JJ left. It just wasn't the same!


Kittie February 1, 2011 at 4:51 pm

The can of Planter's roasted cashews that I have say they are roasted in peanut oil, fyi. I realize people WITH an allergy would check that but someone with a little school mate who has an allergy may not. Those bars look great, btw! I have been meaning to whip up some Larabar type things but haven't had the time. Perhaps I will now.


Catherine February 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Did you know both Kirsten and Felicity (and Samantha!) have been retired? So sad! I had Kirsten, then I got Felicity. Sadly, I was just a little too old for the AG magazine.

How do you think you cinnamon apple cashew butter would work with fresh apples? Or should I just wait til I can find some dried? I want to try it, but I don't want to go to the store.


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