Nutter Butter Rolls

These are a tasty, quick, and energy-filled snack for kids. If you don’t have any dried dates on hand, use dried apricots or even raisins instead.

1/2 cup nut butter (such as almond or peanut)
1/4 cup finely chopped pitted dried dates (approximately 5 dates)
1/3 cup organic corn flake cereal
3 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon honey
4-5 slices soft whole grain bread, crusts removed

In a small bowl, mix together nut butter, dates, cereal, cream cheese, and honey with a metal spoon. Don’t be shy about crushing the cereal as you stir. Continue to stir until the cereal is broken up into small bits. Set aside.

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Spread the bread slices out a level surface and flatten them with a rolling pin as much as possible. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of the nut butter mixture onto each slice depending on the size of the bread. Roll up each slice as tightly as possible being careful to not rip the bread. Cut each tube into 1/2-inch thick slices with a serrated knife and serve.

Makes 4 – 5 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes

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Apple “Tarts”

[donotprint]I started thinking seriously about kid snacks about a year ago and apples were featured in some of my first experiments. This is probably the first of my homegrown recipes that made me smile when I tasted it.

Today I used a Jonamac apple (which is a cross between a Jonathan and a MacIntosh). Other tart and sweet apple choices are: Cortland, Empire, Golden Delicious, or Winesap.[/donotprint]DSC01899

4 slices soft whole wheat bread
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and chopped fine (approximately 1 cup of chopped apple)
4 tablespoons cream cheese or vanilla greek-style yogurt
4 teaspoons apricot preserves
Cinnamon sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cut the crusts off of the bread slices and discard. Spread the bread slices out on a large cutting board and flatten with a rolling pin. Cut a small (approximately 1 ½ to 2 inches long and ½ wide at the base) triangle out of each of the four corners on each slice.

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Transfer the bread slices to greased muffin pan. Make sure the center of each slice is resting on the bottom of a cup and the sides are overlapping slightly. Using your fingers, press the side flaps together and make adjustments to minimize any gaps or holes.

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In the bottom of each bread cup, place ¼ of the chopped apple. Center 1 tablespoon of cream cheese and 1 teaspoon of apricot preserves on top of the apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (if desired).

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Bake on the center rack of the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the edges of the bread crust are browned and the preserves start to sizzle. Allow tarts to cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes or more depending on your child’s age and preference. Gently remove from muffin pan and serve immediately.

Makes 4 “tarts” (easily doubled)
Assembly time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes

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Apple Towers

Kids have fun building this snack themselves.

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1 apple, cored and sliced
9 squares (2-inch) of cheddar cheese
2 raspberries

Make sure your apple slices are about 1/3 of an inch thick and flat rather than tapered so that they will stack easily. Cheese should be sliced 1/4 inch thick. Alternate apple slices and cheese on top of each other. Garnish with raspberry.

Serves 2.

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Avocado Cookies

[donotprint]Cookies are a personal battle when it comes to making “healthy” snacks. When I first started investigating and experimenting, I tasted a lot of low-fat, low-sugar baked goods that were cookies in name but definitely not in spirit. Therefore, my official policy is that cookies should not be tinkered with and be allowed to do what they do best: deliver a luscious combination of fat and sugar.

I am nonetheless tempted to experiment from time to time. And simply because I’ve never eaten an avocado cookie before and avocados are so high in good-for-you fat, I’ve come up with this “healthier” cookie that I feel a little bit better about putting in my kid’s lunch box. Its taste is no where near a Toll House. But I feel like they are probably as close as I am going to get to a “healthy” cookie that my family still enjoys eating.[/donotprint]DSC01810

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

1 ripe haas avocado, pitted and skin removed
½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 large egg
½ cup low-fat milk
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, oats, coconut, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Mash avocado with a fork in a large bowl until there are no large chunks remaining. Add butter and mix very well with avocado. Add sugars and stir well. Add egg and stir. Finally add the milk and stir until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Fold in chocolate chips (if desired).

Drop heaping tablespoons full of batter onto ungreased baking sheets or jelly roll pans two inches apart. Bake for 15-17 minutes near the center of the oven, rotating once if necessary. Once the edges of the cookies start to brown, remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack with spatula. Allow to cool slightly and serve.

These cookies will soften considerably if left out overnight. They are best stored in the freezer in an airtight container and thawed on demand.

Makes 38 cookies.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes

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Raspberry Rockets (a.k.a White-chocolate Filled Raspberries)

[donotprint]Surely I’m not the first person to have done this. But if you’ve heard of it before, don’t tell me. I’m busy being overly happy about my discovery. Oh, and the kids looovve these.[/donotprint]

 

20 raspberries
20 white chocolate chips

Wash the raspberries by holding them under gently running water or submerging in a bowl of water and agitating gently. Allow the raspberries to air-dry by simply putting them on a towel. Once dry, insert one chip into each berry with flat side of the chip facing you. Serve.

Makes 2 servings.
Prep time: 5 minutes

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Frosty “Cheeseburgers”

[donotprint] These are bit more time-intensive than I’d like. But I managed to make them with a house full of my own kids and some guests running around today. The only part that required much thought was making the chocolate mixture and then all I had to do was check on them in the freezer a couple times, and viola I had an extremely well-received afternoon snack.[/donotprint]

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3 tablespoons nut butter (such as peanut or almond)
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups crispy brown rice cereal
1 1/2 cups vanilla frozen yogurt, slighly softened

In a small saucepan, stir the chocolate chips and nut butter over medium low heat until smooth. Remove the chocolate mixture from heat. Add cereal to saucepan and stir with a rubber spatula until well coated.

Divide the cereal mixture between the cups of a muffin pan (preferably silicone for easier removal). Each muffin cup should be approximately 1/2 full. Cover and place in freezer for 30 minutes or until hard.

Fill the remaining half of each muffin cup with the vanilla frozen yogurt. Do not mound the yogurt; rather keep it somewhat level. Place the muffin pan back in freezer and allow yogurt to refreeze for approximately one hour or longer.

To serve, carefully dislodge frosties from the muffin pan using fingers or a knife to loosen the edges.

Makes approximately 8 frosties.

Note for Young Ones:
Right out of the freezer, these treats can be a little tough to eat. If your kids are on the small side, let them thaw for a minute or cut them up for them. In addition, roughly break up some of the rice cereal with a metal spoon as you are coating it with the chocolate mixture. That way it might be less likely to be rough on your little one’s mouth.

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Frozen Fruit

I believe the picture says it all (red grapes and watermelon on a stick). Leave in the freezer for at least 3-4 hours. Thanks to Janet for the idea.

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Note for Young Ones:
As far as toddler safety goes, the grapes did not freeze solid during my experiment so they would be fine peeled and cut to the size your child prefers. The watermelon freezes very well and eats a lot like a popsicle at first. If your child is coordinated enough to hold on to the popsicle stick, it should work out well.

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