I found myself deciding to make homemade muesli bars for the kid at eight something pm. This is when it dawned on me that I really had become 'that' mum. You know the one that does a weekly shop in Wholefoods and only feeds their kids sugar-free, organic, homemade stuff painstakingly made from scratch? Well once I had that realisation paired with the hindsight that Archie has, in fact, thrown most of my lovingly made creations on the floor with panache, I decided it was time to stop being that mum and just chill out about it all. But before I did there were some muesli bars to make! These are quick, easy and cheap to make and they freeze well. They have a really moist texture but aren't overly cloying so easy for little ones to chomp. One batch will last a small person a couple of weeks and they’re great for busy big people too but you may want to dial up the seeds and nuts and dial down the sweetness (easily done my friend).
My plan was to use them in my breakfast artillery as cereal and porridge has fallen spectacularly from grace. The following morning I slowly put one on his highchair tray, careful to not make eye contact, and walked away backwards so as not to draw his attention to the new 'alien' thing deposited in front of him. I busied myself washing up, holding my breath as he took it up to his mouth, waiting for the usual reaction of confusion and uncertainty which is closely followed by lobbing the offending item across the room. I turned around to find he was in fact loving it and had not only demolished it but was looking at me expectantly for more! I literally could've cried (Breakfast has been a particularly challenging event the last couple weeks!). These have now made it into the very small reserve of items that don't seem to fall out of favour (or I should say 'haven't yet'): cheese, bread and strawberries.
Now, I must warn you Arch is, like most babies, all about the sweet stuff and since he was rejecting most of things I put in front of him I did make these very sweet so if the thought of this offends you then half the amount of dates you add. Oh yeah! I forgot to mention the other great thing about these is they’re sugar-free! Now I'm no nutritionist and make no claims to be but where possible I ensure Archie doesn't have refined sugar or added salt so although these are high in naturally occurring sugars they're also a good source of energy thanks to the oats and nuts!
All you need for this is a mixing bowl and square 9” baking tin.
¾ Porridge oats blitzed for a minute in a processor
1 Cup of water
¾ Cup of pitted dates (halve this if you want it less sweet)
1 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
¼ Cup raisins
¼ Cup of ground almonds
1. Preheat oven to 150C and line 9” square pan with greaseproof paper
2. Blitz oats in a blender for a 30 secs – 1 min (if your baby is really texture adverse blitz them until they're a fine, almost flour-like consistency) then put into a big bowl
3. Put the dates and water into a blender and pulverise until a smooth liquid then add to oats
4. Add peanut butter, ground almonds and raisins to the oat mix and combine well
5. Pour into the pan and spread until all even – this is where a spatula comes in handy as you’ll have to tease the mix to all the edges, especially as the greaseproof paper will want to move around a lot
6. Pop into the middle shelf of your oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until firm to touch. You don't want the top to be overly brown or the mix to dry out so touch is the best way to tell if they're done.
7. Let cool in the pan for 5 mins and then transfer to a cooling rack until completely cool then slice!
You can add seeds and other exciting things to the mix if you’re making them for yourself but obviously steer clear of choking hazards for small people. Like I said before they freeze well for a couple of weeks (if you can make them last that long!), just pop them in a freezer bag and squish out all the air to keep them super fresh.
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