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Monday, March 19, 2012

Nut-free for today's kids

Happy Monday, everyone. How was your weekend? Today is my final cooking class of the trimester with my 4-6 year olds. As a special treat, we'll be making strawberry oat bars. Since the recipe takes 45 minutes and class is only an hour, I need to make sure we have enough time to eat. I made a swap out so, while the students will prep and bake the bars, they will get to taste a bar that was already made and cooled, so it doesn't turn to mush once it's cut.

Strawberry Oat Bars
Something that comes up often in my cooking classes is dealing with children with nut allergies. Besides searching labels for any traces of nuts, I also come across many childrens' recipes that contain nuts. Often I don't like to bother with recipes designed for kids because I don't believe in dumbing down a recipe for a child, and childrens' recipes are similar to better, more grown-up versions anyway. However getting around this nut issue can be tricky, so I've come up with an excellent substitute. Instead of nuts, I swap in an equal sized serving of granola instead. Though many granola cereals contain nuts, there are brands such as Cascadian Farms, who are nut-free as well as organic! Granola has great texture and the substitution is hardly noticeable. So my point to all of my dear readers is to think creatively!

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