There’s An 80 Year Old Lady Trapped Inside My Body

I’m quite certain there is an 80 year old woman trapped inside my body. I’ve known this since an early age when my love of butter pecan ice cream, dates and prunes were not a popular favorite amongst other 9 year olds.

I’ve never considered myself “hip” or “cool” and have never gone out of my way to achieve this status.

I have never bought into the newest fads, trends or technology. I wait years to make sure all the glitches are worked out or that the “newest thing” stands the test of time.

I would probably still be using a 35 mm camera had my husband not insisted 5 years ago that I would save a lot of money using a digital camera due to my habit of taking 1000 pictures a month and the amount of money I was spending on developing costs.

I have no fancy gadgets in my kitchen. I still grate everything by hand and if I need chopped nuts …out comes a hammer.

I did a blog post one day for a recipe for carrot cake. My father was flabbergasted that I made mention in my story that I still grate carrots by hand. He insisted my mother buy me a food processor for my next birthday.

I few weeks ago I celebrated my birthday and my mom came with a wrapped present containing my first ever modern gadget….the food processor.

My mind instantly went to a recipe I had seen on 100 Days of Real Food that I thought looked really good, easy, contained dates but…..required a food processor. I had dismissed the recipe because it required a date paste and there was no way I could make this without this modern gadget!

The recipe was for Larabars.

Now if you’ve ever heard of a Larabar I think it means you’re “hip” and “cool.” I think you can only buy these at “cool” places that I never go to. They are wholesome snacks that generate a lot of buzz amongst the healthy crowd. They are expensive. I would NEVER buy these.

Equipped with my new food processor and a recipe containing my beloved dates I could make these and possibly even call myself a little “cool.”

I had the kids help me execute this recipe last weekend. The kids and I were excited to press the buttons and watch our ingredients twirl around in our new toy. It was magical watching it all spin into the gooey paste.

The outcome was a big disappointment to me though. They tasted nothing like dates. The peanut butter in the recipe took charge. My two older children will not eat them because they don’t like the consistency. My youngest son likes them so he has been the receptacle for all of them. He is “cool.”

Here is the recipe I used and more can be found on 100 Days of Real Food’s website:

Ingredients for our Larabars and my new food processor

Date/Peanut Butter Larabar

1 C. dates

½ C. peanut butter

½ C. peanuts (optional: I threw these in to really see what my new food processor could do!)

2 Tbsp. of flax seed (optional)

2 Tbsp. water or more if necessary

Directions:

  • Put ingredients in food processor and combine until mixture is of paste quality and no longer crumbly
  • Scoop out mixture onto cutting board and work it with hands to get it all formed into one clump
  • Grab small handful and pat into a square in your palms
  • Wrap each square into plastic wrap
  • Can be left at room temperature or stored in refrigerator

Our Larabars

I personally will be using the remainder of my dates to go make a date pie to satisfy the 80 year old woman trapped inside my body!

Packing the Lunches With Carrot Cake

A common task this time of year for many mothers is packing lunches for their school age children.

For me, this is one of those jobs that take constant creativity.

I’m not a fan of hot lunch for my kids due to that fact my kids aren’t HUGE eaters and the cost isn’t justifiable due to the amount they eat. Also, even though our school lunch system serves a variety of fruit and vegetables there are still plenty of non-healthy food items being served. When my kid’s small appetites are given the choice they will go for the non-healthy foods first and leave no room for the vegetables.

Therefore I pack my kid’s lunch every day and let them take hot lunch once a month on the day of their choice as a treat!

I really love my son…he LOVES peanut butter! My daughter HATES it! She has caused me to continuously scratch my head to come up with different meals for her that travel and keep well.

I will share some of the things I put in my kid’s lunches that they eat, love and travel well plus a recipe for a healthy treat!

  • Cheese Quesadillas (We have a quesadilla maker. The kids love these even at room temperature.)
  • Leftovers of chili, spaghetti and soup (I put these in their thermos and the kids say they are still warm by lunch time)
  • Oatmeal (I make this in the morning just using quick oats and microwaving for 1 minute. I then add a little brown sugar and craisins. This is a favorite!)
  • Crackers with cream cheese
  • Peanut butter  and Nutella (for my daughter) sandwiches. To switch this up a bit I put it on tortillas, buns and English muffins.
  • Plain yogurt mixed with the strawberry jam I made this spring (I only used apple juice for sweetener in making this jam)
  • Homemade granola…click here for my recipe
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables whenever on hand but I also keep frozen fruit and vegetables that are easily defrosted.
  • This last one might come as a surprise but…. my kid’s LOVE PRUNES so these are usually their dessert!

Last week, my mom brought me a recipe for a HEALTHY CARROT CAKE. The funny thing about this recipe is that it is on a recipe card in MY HANDWRITING! I’m guessing I was about 15 years old and went on a crusade to organize my mom’s recipes. She kept magazine cut-outs and slips of paper with recipes stuck in cookbooks so I went through and wrote them all on cards for her. Today, I still love organizing recipes and on the first day the kids went back to school this year I gathered all of my magazine cut-outs and slips of paper and wrote them all up in my recipe binder!

The great thing about this particular carrot cake is that it is so moist that it is actually like a bar so does not crumble and make a big mess plus it is so good that it does NOT need frosting! My kids will be getting this in their lunch this week as a special treat! Actually, I should say, I hope to put this in their lunch this week as my husband keeps getting little helpings! This is a true testament to this cake because I usually screw up homemade cakes and we end up serving them to the birds (who refuse to eat them as well!)

Healthy Carrot Cake

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Ingredients:

  • ¾ C. sugar
  • 1 C. grated carrot (I think we actually used closer to 2 cups because the kids got a little carried away…I think it might be better with the 2 cups!)
  • 1 C. raisins
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cardamom (optional)
  • 1 ½ C. water
  • 3 Tbsp. butter

In small saucepan, combine the above to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour into mixing bowl and cool to lukewarm.

Next ingredients:

  • 2 C. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 C. nuts (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp flax seed (optional)

Add the above ingredients to lukewarm mixture. Mix well.

Add mixture to 13×9 greased pan.

Bake for 25 minutes.

The kids busy peeling the carrots for their carrot cake

Bency busy grating the carrots!

Iris taking her turn at grating (I don’t own a food processor….we do everything the old-fashioned way…the kids love it!!!)

Carrot cake fresh out of the oven!