By: Teresa Foley
I’m a farmer-loving locavore and I’ve got the bumper sticker to prove it. The brain activity and physical effort I’ve committed to getting healthful foods into my picky eaters go way beyond deceptively delicious. Each year there seems to be fewer foods I can serve without a fight. And I do not enjoy the work of force feeding, bargaining, bribing, or any other dinner-time parenting. It’s my meal time too! I value meals that require no work once it’s on the plate. Add the fact that we avoid wheat and dairy due to my youngest son‘s intolerance. Suffice it to say, much brain activity has gone into our food. Mucho.
I used to stare at the cupboard, feeling defeated, afraid to even try making something new for its almost certain rejection. Then one day, I had an epiphany. Let them eat sweets. By playing around with traditional dessert recipes, I can get fresh, healthy whole foods into my children with no complaining.
I was inspired to create a baked bar from a recipe for no-bake oatmeal balls from Whole Foods for the Whole World Cookbook, published by La Leche League, and came up with Apple Oatmeal Squares. They are moist and chewy, hold up well in a lunchbox, are made with local, whole ingredients, and taste like dessert. I brought them to a party recently, and they disappeared before the chocolate cupcakes did. True story.
Apple Oatmeal Squares
Bring to a boil:
- 2 large grated apples (skins and all)
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup oil ( I use canola)
Cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Then add:
- 3 cups of quick-cook oats
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 or 2 generous tablespoons of cinnamon
Spread in a 9×12” pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Apples are hard-core healthy
According to whfoods.com, apples do more than keep your Primary Care Doctor away, they also work to keep the oncologist and cardiologist away as well! According to the website consumption of whole apples, combining a good amount of fiber with anti-oxidant polyphenols, reduce the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The fiber found in apple may combine with other apple nutrients to provide you with the kind of health benefits you would ordinarily only associate with much higher amounts of dietary fiber. These health benefits are particularly important in prevention of heart disease through healthy regulation of blood fat levels. Intake of apples is also now known to significantly alter amounts of two bacteria (Clostridiales and Bacteriodes) in the large intestine.
One bad apple spoils the whole bunch= TRUE
Damaged apples not only turn brown from the oxidation of their polyphenols, but they also start releasing relatively large amounts of ethylene gas that can pose a risk to other undamaged apples.
So, keep your kids away from those bad apples. And enjoy your just desserts.
Teresa Cruz Foley is a warrior mom in Bridgewater MA, who is always trying to put food in people’s mouths. She has two blogs going: personal www.honoringbrynn.blogspot.com and business www.mothersmedicinalmagic.blogspot.com.
A great resource for local apples is C.N. Smith in Bridgewater, MA!