I’m a sucker for chocolate nut butters and can’t be trusted in the house alone with the store-bought kinds, which tend to be very sweet. So I make my own in smaller, less expensive batches that are still chocolately but not as sugary. All you need for this recipe is 2 cups of mixed nuts and 2-3 ounces of dark chocolate. I used salted mixed nuts and dark chocolate from Aldi (natch), but feel free to use your favorites. You can also use semi-sweet chocolate chips if that’s what you have. (For a straight-up peanut version, read “Make Your Own Peanut Butter“.)
Straight out of the food processor, it will be smooth and drippy, perfect for dipping. After a day in an airtight container at room temperature, it will thicken to a nice spreadable consistency, as shown in the top photo. Eat a spoonful with a glass of milk or spread on anything you like (I highly recommend crisp apple slices, a piece of whole grain toast, or a popover warm from the oven).
I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions (beyond a flimsy promise to “drink more water” which always fizzles out by January 3rd). But recently, I read about a concept of assigning “themes” to the year instead, and that seems much more doable. Besides, thinking in broader concepts instead of narrow action items is a nice change of pace for this serial to-do-list maker. So while I’m still mulling over my personal themes for 2014, I decided to focus a few on how I feed my kids, since there’s always room for improvement in that department.
Here are the three themes I chose:
Perhaps it’s because we’re crawling out from underneath an avalanche of holiday goodies (many of which were from my own kitchen), but I’m convinced we need to scale back on sugar in our house. Ideally, I like to limit sweet treats to no more than one a day and let my kids choose when they want it. In reality, this strategy fails more frequently than it works. My love for baking combined with sugary foods seemingly everywhere in my children’s lives–from school breakfast to the dry cleaner–conspires to over-sweeten our diets. It’s time to get back on track.
We recently took the kids to a Japanese steakhouse for the first time. They were thrilled with all the fire and spatula-tossing antics, my fourth grader ate two bowls of miso soup, and I was reminded that we don’t take nearly enough culinary risks when eating out, even though we live in a city with all kinds of restaurants. In 2014, I’d like to give the kids more exposure to different cuisines, instead of relying on the familiar. They may not like every meal, but they’ll probably surprise us too.
I am intent on raising Men Who Can Cook. But too often, I let my desire to fix dinner quickly (read: have 30 minutes to myself in the kitchen and not create a huge mess) nix any plans to involve my boys in meal prep. That needs to change. I’m inspired by Brianne DeRosa of Red, Round or Green, whose boys (ages 7 and 4) cook dinner for the family once a week with very little help (read all about it and see one of their meals here). I’d also like to get my kids more involved in packing their lunches and fixing their own snacks, not just to lighten my own load but also to give them tools they’ll need as they get older.
How about you: What would you like to change about how you feed your kids in the coming year?
I was at a party recently with other families. It was a potluck, and the food was on a buffet. Someone had brought mini cupcakes and put them on the table along with the rest of the food. So when the kids went down the line with their paper plates, guess what they wanted? Mini […]
When I embarked on the Two Week No (Added) Sugar Challenge, I thought it would be one of the hardest changes I’ve made. Instead, it was one of the easiest. Easier than exercising every day. Easier than not eating at my computer. So easy that when I hit the two week mark on Wednesday, I […]
I have a deep and abiding love for sugar. As a child, I passed up all manner of candy bars in favor of sticky-sweet Pixy Stix, SweeTarts, and Lik-M-Aid. I sneaked spoonfuls of powdered sugar when my mom was baking and sucked on Sour Patch Kids until my tongue felt numb. But lately, sugar has […]
Looking for something to do with your little people while they’re home from school this week? Making homemade marshmallows is easier than it sounds–and your kids will be amazed by how a few simple ingredients whip up into white, gooey, sticky deliciousness. (And it goes without saying, but from-scratch cocoa trumps Swiss Miss any day […]
I grew up having dessert every night after dinner, and my sweet tooth is frequently on overdrive. So this final guest post in the Dessert Dilemma series, written by Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better, hits home with me: Everyone has his or her […]
In part 3 of the Dessert Dilemma series, I’m pleased to have this guest post from mom-of-two Maryann Jacobsen, MS, RD, who writes the great blog Raise Healthy Eaters. She explains how creating some structure–and keeping her cool–help her kids manage sweets: Most parents want to teach their kids how to eat sweets moderately. The […]
When Sam demanded M&Ms for breakfast a few months ago, food sociologist Dr. Dina Rose had a radical suggestion: “Why not give him M&Ms for breakfast?” In part 2 of my Dessert Dilemma series, Dr. Rose (who coached me through Sam’s dinner strike and writes a terrific blog, It’s Not About Nutrition) explains how giving […]
Growing up, we always had dessert after dinner–and sometimes lunch too. I never thought much about it until I had kids and realized that if dessert is on the horizon, they couldn’t care less about the healthy dinner I just spent 45 minutes preparing. And oh, do they put on Oscar-worthy performances: Clutching their overstuffed […]