She prepared last night by laying out her clothes, packing her lunch, and picking out her favorite book to share with her class. I've always made her lunches in the past, but decided it was time for her to take on the responsibility - and she loved it! Ella even came up with her own "dessert" of sliced banana filled with peanut butter and chocolate chips. She especially loved making her own sandwich and putting it in her new Maxwell Designs sandwich bag.
We prepared for the new year by planning ahead with healthy foods for snacks and lunches. I'm working toward more home made and less pre-packaged foods. Both Ella and Ezra are interested in helping make foods, so we decided to start with a simple home made granola. I used a Classic Granola recipe from Cook's Illustrated, with simple, healthy ingredients, all of them available in organic varieties.
1cup walnuts, broken into 1/4-1/2-inch pieces
3cups rolled oats
1/2cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2cup blanched almonds, halved
1/4cup sesame seeds (we omitted these)
1/4cup sunflower seeds
1/4cup maple syrup
1/3cup canola oil (coconut oil works as a great substitute)
1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix first 6 ingredients together in large bowl.
2. Heat maple syrup and honey together with oil in small saucepan, whisking occasionally until warm. Pour mixture over dry ingredients; stir with spatula until mixture is thoroughly coated. Turn mixture onto a cookie sheet, spreading mixture in an even layer.
3. Bake, stirring and respreading mixture into an even layer every 5 minutes, until granola is light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Immediately turn granola onto another cookie sheet to stop cooking process. Stir in raisins, then spread granola evely in pan; set on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Loosen dried granola with a spatula; store in airtight container.
The kids could barely wait until this recipe cooled down and it was a huge success! They each put some granola in a Maxwell Designs Reusable Snack Bag and enjoyed a snack while they played. The granola offered just the right amount of sweetness, without food dyes or preservatives found in packaged snacks. We'll definitely be making this again, trying different dried fruits for variety.