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