By Carolyn Ketchum -
Editor’s Note: We’re very excited to welcome Carolyn of All Day I Dream About
Food to our Easy Eats blogging team! I’ve followed Carolyn’s blog for a while now, instantly loving her enticing photos, humorous touch and incredibly big
mom-heart. And I have her to thank for the fill-in-the-blank “All day I ____ about
food” that constantly comes to mind as I’m writing, baking, plating, serving, etc.
Carolyn will be writing for us from the mom perspective, helping us through the
twists and turns of feeding little eaters. Go say “hi” on her blog and come back
here weekly to see what she’s cooking up. Welcome, Carolyn! – Jacqueline
Hello, Easy Eats readers! I am so thrilled to be working with Easy Eats on getting and keeping your children gluten free. This project came at the perfect time for me, as I was thinking of starting a series on my blog, All Day I Dream About Food, on this
very subject. If you are unfamiliar with my blog, let me give you a little more background.
I am very blessed that no one in my family appears to have a gluten intolerance.
This means I don’t have to watch every mouthful my kids eat, in the fear that some slight trace of gluten will cause them to have an adverse reaction later on. Still, as a diabetic who has chosen to forego most gluten in my own diet, I believe there is
good reason to reduce the amount of gluten my children consume. There is enough literature on the subject to convince me that gluten isn’t really good for any of us
and may be contributing to a great many of the health issues we see today, very possibly including diabetes. Although my children may never have to face any of
these health issues themselves, I think it can only help to expose them to a wide variety of alternative foods and instill healthy habits now.
Our household hasn’t entirely said goodbye to gluten just yet, but I am working on it.
As an active family of five that has always relied on breads and cereals and pasta (albeit of the healthy, whole-grain variety), this gluten reduction project is no easy
feat. My children are still quite young and are in that stage when the unfamiliar, in either taste or texture, meets with almost automatic resistance. If you have kids, you surely know what I mean. The bite that barely touches the lips before the child is swearing in no uncertain terms that they don’t like it. The parent rolling their eyes
and saying, “But you barely tasted it!” It’s a story as old as time. And it has little to do with whether or not the food is gluten free and everything to do with the child-
parent dynamic. The more you want them to eat it, the more they will resist.
Perhaps my efforts are confounded by the fact that I am also attempting a sugar reduction project at the same time. We’ve always been healthy eaters by the
current standards of nutritional advice, but I still somehow ended up with diabetes. When I started to pay attention to the amount of sugar in even “healthy” cereals, crackers and other snacks, I was astounded. So I’ve made it my mission to cut down drastically on the sugar my family eats as well. We haven’t entirely ditched sugar
just yet either, but I am working on it.
One of the easiest areas I can cut back on gluten is snack time. Like most growing children, my kids like their snacks. There are plenty of naturally gluten-free snacks
out there, like fruits, veggies and nuts, and these are a consistent part of our repertoire. But I also love it when I hit upon the type of snack that lives up to my healthful standards, but that I can pass off as a treat. My kids have gotten used to
my experiments in the kitchen, and they hold no punches when it comes to telling
me what they like and what they don’t. When one of my recipes meets with the approval of all three little monkeys, I declare victory.
These granola bars are one of those victories. I made a similar recipe a few years
ago that contained far more sugar and although they were insanely good, I couldn’t even remotely pretend to myself that they were particularly healthy. So I set about trying to see if I could get good results with a sugar substitute, some honey and
gluten-free oats. I also made them nut-free so that the kids could take them for
school lunches. I finely chopped some fresh apple and chopped up some dried cherries as well. I contemplated tossing in some gluten-free chocolate chips but I wanted to see if I could win the kids over without the temptation of chocolate. They were a hit and most certainly a snack I could feel good about serving.
Cherry Apple Granola Bars
2 cups old-fashioned, gluten-free oats
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1 cup finely chopped green apple (no need to peel)
1 cup chopped dried cherries
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated erythritol OR 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp water
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving
an overhang on the ends for easy removal and cleanup. Grease parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flax seed meal, apple, cherries and salt. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter, erythritol and honey together. Stir until erythritol is dissolved. Add butter mixture to oat mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Spread mixture evenly in pan and press down firmly. Use the flat-bottom of a measuring cup if you have one.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes (they will be very soft), then lift bars out using edges of parchment. Let cool for another 20-30 minutes, or until starting to firm up. Cut carefully into bars using a very sharp knife.
Carolyn Ketchum is the evil mastermind behind All Day I Dream About Food, a mostly low-carb, gluten-free food blog. She has always been a healthy eater, but since being diagnosed with diabetes, she has overhauled her own diet and is now working on that of her family. Follow her adventures on Twitter and Facebook.